As I head into this week's version of Pat Answers, I find myself saying: "Self, are the Browns not as talented as we believed? Or are they talented and not displaying the professionalism needed to win games? Or are they talented but filled with individual agendas?"
And I say, "Self, I have no idea. "
So I conclude, "Well, Self, they better get something done right in Cincinnati or it's gonna be a long season."
And I respond, "Self, you are right. Watching Hannibal's venture across the Alps with the elephants might be a better ticket come October."
And then I wonder what the heck I'm talking about as I start to answer the letters.
How is it that Jim Tressel can substitute 57 players in the first quarter in one of the biggest games of the school's season – mostly with teenagers – in front of a hostile crowd that dwarfs an NFL crowd – and have every one of them go in and execute. WHILE Romeo Crennel has 53 players on his entire roster – seven of whom are inactive on game day – and more than five don't even play – so let's make the number 40 actual players on game day – in front of a home crowd – against a team that picked second overall in the draft the year before – and have the number of missed assignments, emergency time outs, and general lack of professionalism? - Matt Edwards
I said I'd try to answer questions. But they have to be answerable. I can, for instance, answer the question: Who is buried in Garfield's tomb? (Grant, dummy) However, I can't explain the intricacies of colitis.
This question is a valid one, but it's way too metaphysical and empirical or whatever fancy word you want to use for my simple brain.
Truth be told, I don't know the answer to your question because the way the Browns played is inexplicable.
It was inexplicable that the team played so poorly, that they acted like they were entitled to win just by walking on the field. That they couldn't block and they couldn't stop the run and they didn't have a better plan. In-ex-plic-a-ble. Period.
Or … maybe the Buckeyes are paid better.
Was it just me or did it look like Rueben Droughns wasn't running hard at all in the Saints game? When will Jerome Harrison take over as the starting tailback? Can he handle the ball 25-30 times a game? What viable option do we have to replace Andruzzi?
He looked SERIOUSLY overmatched against the Saints. - Darren
Well … I believe this week's letters will have a "tone" of negativity, shall we say.
I don't know how anyone can judge Droughns' running in that game because he only ran 11 times, and when he did there was nowhere to run. That being said, Romeo Crennel did get on Droughns a bit for his first-half runs.
Look, it's not time to think about taking Droughns out. He has had consecutive 1,200-yard seasons, and he deserves a fair shot. Harrison, right now, is a change-of-pace back. To suggest he take over is akin to suggesting Anna Nicole Smith is a nuclear physicist. It just doesn't mesh.
As for Andruzzi, no, there is nobody behind him. And yes, there are concerns.
It seems like the Browns are starting to go in the right direction, but we need playmakers and guys that are going to step up. Other than possibly Wimbley, do you see any guys that could approach that level? Lastly, Savage's attempt with Kyle Boller was dreadful; do you think the same thing could be the case with Charlie Frye? - Fletch416
This some kind of James Bond code or what?
I love how the term "step up" has become part of the sports world. "Step up" to what? To do your job? Why does that require stepping anywhere? And why is that when the Browns step they seem to do it right into a pile of dog doo?
Your question about Frye is one that will be asked all season long. To be honest, though, without Frye and his scrambling, last week might have been a shutout.
What's the downlow on Mo's standing with Savage and RAC at this point? Dow you see Davidson more involved with the gameplan and playcalling, say after the Bye week? - Marktroy
Maurice Carthon is the offensive coordinator and he will call the plays. I would be shocked if Crennel took that away – unless things go further south. Crennel is fiercely loyal, and he will allow his guy to continue.
Davidson has his hands full right now, I would guess, trying to fix that offensive line. I mean, isn't that enough?
Savage, by the way, does not get into the coaching decisions. Crennel hires his staff, and Savage does not interfere. Crennel and Carthon will live or die together.
With all the cornerback issues we've had why isn't Antonio Perkins out on the field? If he's (still) hurt, when do we cut him loose and create a roster spot? - John D
Dear John D,
Well, if he's healthy Perkins did not earn his way on the field in training camp. He had a couple good days, but faded quickly.
If he's not healthy, you can't cut an injured player. If he's got a groin injury, it has to be healthy before he can be cut.
Can we get these underachievers' attention by benching these guys when they stink up the joint? A garbage team cleaning the Browns' clock should have gotten someone benched. From the superstar to the 53rd man. Feel free to pass over this and answer the softball questions. - Larry
If you benched every player from the superstar to the 53rd, I do believe that would leave you with no players to play the game, and then things would really get ugly.
Bench them? This is the team that was chosen, and the changes an NFL team can make once the season starts are few. Oh, there is the occasional backup you can slip in, but there aren't many.
Here's my solution for the Browns, and it's a novel one: Just go win the game.
Is there any other offensive line in the NFL without a single draft pick in
it? One that's even marginally successful? - Pat
Related note (from Matt Edwards):
Did you know that the hated Pittsburgh Steelers have drafted EVERY player on their offensive line – but one? AND all the starters are 1st and 2nd round draft picks except the starting RT who was a 3rd round pick in '04 who slid in that draft? Think we are doing something wrong here?
77 Smith Marvel 00/2 (drafted in 2000 round 2 by PIT)
79 Essex Trai 05/3 (drafted in 2005 round 3 by PIT)
66 Faneca Alan 98/1 (drafted in 1998 round 1 by PIT)
64 HARTINGS Jeff U/Det (FA pickup by PIT but drafted 1st round by Det)
56 Okobi Chukky 01/5 (drafted in 2001 round 5 by PIT)
62 Philip Marvin 06/6 (drafted in 2006 round 6 by PIT)
73 Simmons Kendall 02/1 (drafted in 2002 round 1 by PIT)
68 Kemoeatu Chris 05/6 (drafted in 2005 round 6 by PIT)
78 Starks Max 04/3 (drafted in 2004 round 3 by PIT)
74 Colon Willie 06/4 ((drafted in 2006 round 4 by PIT)
Very good question, one I have not done the research on. I assume you mean a draft pick of the team, because Ryan Tucker was a draft pick.
Your point about Pittsburgh is one I've been preaching for years. They make boring, mundane draft picks, and they win games because of it. An offensive lineman isn't sexy or exciting, but he wins games. Their draft strategy is impeccable. And worth following.
Then again, in January I wrote a column for the Beacon Journal saying if the Browns wanted to emulate another team and organization, it should be Pittsburgh. People got mad at me, but I stand by it.
The Steelers do it right.
As for the draft picks on the lines, I'll check into it and let you know. Better yet, I'll have Barry or John check into it and tell me and then I'll let ya know and act like I did the work.
Seriously, one of us ought to be able to check into that. It could make for an interesting story.
If I were setting up a defense to stop the Browns, I would stack eight men in the box and force Charlie Frye to pass. He rarely has the time to look deep so his throws (if he gets them off) are short and easily containable by the defense. Do you think Carthon/Crennel will ever consider a four receiver/one running back formation to unstack the box and make the offense less predictable? - TXBrownsFan
If they did that, does that not mean they would be taking Kellen Winslow, a tight end, off the field?
Your point, though, about stacking for the run is a good one. But I would submit that a team has Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards should be able to counter that plan. And … if a team is good enough it will be able to run the ball no matter what the other team does. Running the ball is, after all, an attitude.
At this point in time, it's easy to come up with "should this" or "should that." There are some shoulds the Browns can do – like make a plan that makes sense, and play like professionals, and make every play the absolute most important one of the day.
But tricks and wholesale changes are not the answer now. Solid plans and professional play are. Just go win the game.
Do you think its possible that if we stop spending our hard earned money, buying all the merchandise and stop going to the games, that they will finally produce a winner? -Jimmy
One of the great mysteries of the Cleveland Browns is why the fans keep showing up and why they keep spending their money for the product they are given. Browns fans are either the most patient in the history of the league, or the most stupid.
I'm not gonna say which.
That being said, a boycott won't help on the field. Professional play and solid plans win. Again, I know this is a novel idea, but just go win the game.
Why is Maurice Carthon the offensive coordinator? Last week's
performance looked like training camp never existed. Until we were playing
catch-up, it didn't even look like we were trying to score. I know if that
were my job, I would have Rueben Droughns running on third and short, Braylon
Edwards would be running down the sidelines, and we would be doing more
play-action. Any chance Romeo could start calling plays and Maurice can
hold the cord? - Eric Ramsdell
Ya know, I had a lot of questions about the game-plan last week as well, and I'd sure have left Droughns in on third-and-short instead of giving it to the rookie. But I don't see how having Crennel – a defensive coach – call plays helps much. Nor do think blaming Carthon for everything is fair, either.
At some point in every team's growth, the players take charge of their fate. To use a Brian Billick phrase, they take ownership. The Browns players are not taking ownership of anything right now except the stinking valet parking tag when they park in the stadium.
The plan needs to be better, no doubt. Absolutely no doubt. But the players need to be better, too. To take ownership. To stop the silly penalties, the dropped passes and the lackadaisical play. They need to be professionals. They need to compete. They need to win some dadgum games.