There are many problems with the Cleveland Browns offense from both last year as well as this year. When things are going bad, the two that always take the blame are offensive coordinator and quarterback. While Charlie is starting to feel some heat for the 4th quarter interceptions, it is Browns offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon has taken a beating in the press as well as from the fan base.
I received a few "not so happy" emails last week for supporting Maurice Carthon and most were centered on eyesight and the position of my head to the rest of my body - and, no, I am not that flexible. So this week, I thought it was a good time to lay out my way of thinking as well as a few questions.
In 2005 cornerback Leigh Bodden got off to a tremendous start against the Bengals. He had an interception, forced a fumble, and had another interception with a return for a touchdown negated by a penalty. Yet he was inactive, did not play or only played special teams for the next 5 games.
2005 Jason Fisk started 16 games. Enough said on that one.
Wide Receiver Dennis Northcutt has never been effective anywhere except for the slot and he has started every game this year as the #2 wide out.
Guard Joe Andruzzi was ineffective last year, had a very bad camp and preseason and is currently being beaten like a drum. It takes a 1-4 record before we decide to look at other options?
Ryan Tucker is our most powerful blocker but age and knees no longer allow him to protect wide. One would think a move inside would have at least been tinkered with in camp and or preseason.
So is it the coordinators that are in charge of making personnel decisions or is it the head coach?
Lawrence Vickers was a tremendous short yardage and goal line back in college that just plowed his way right through the middle. He also happens to have the 2nd best set of hands behind Kellen Winslow. We have used him in every other way but what he is good at. Sweeps to the outside with a fullback should never be allowed into a playbook, much less used in crucial situations. Plays that should be Vickers-specific are being run with Terrelle Smith - who is simply not that kind of fullback. I don't even want to discuss the FB option pass.
Not having Kellen Winslow on the field during any offensive play will raise eyebrows. Not having Winslow on the field during third downs in passing situations is pretty bad. Not having Winslow on the field for a 3rd and goal from the 6 yard line when you are down by 11 in the 4th quarter borders on lunacy.
The Panthers and Saints send their defensive ends wide on virtually every play, while relying on the linebackers to play zone pass coverage. The gap between guard and tackle is there to be exploited on virtually every single play but it takes a fast, slasher back to exploit this vulnerability in their cover 2 scheme.
Jerome Harrison is built to exploit that very vulnerability, yet he is rarely used and when he is, it is on a draw play right up the middle into the heart of the defense. This gives the defensive tackles and linebackers time to adjust and stop the play before it gets started.
Mentally Prepared for Sunday
Each and every week the Browns seem to sleepwalk through 90% of the first half. There are certain players that are fired up, ready to make plays and looking hit someone but they primarily consist of Kellen Winslow, Sean Jones and Brian Russell. The rest of the team could star in a remake of "Land of the Dead". Where is the passion? Who is responsible for getting these players ready for Sunday, since they aren't capable of doing it themselves?
The Browns biggest miscues seem to be in 3rd down crucial situations. Romeo Crennel has made offensive play calls in the past. He is on the mic to his offensive coordinator. He has been seen with the play sheet in hand. He can overrule any play at any time. Who is calling those plays? Who should be calling those plays?
Teams like the Patriots and Saints have a patched up offensive line which is pretty comparable in individual talent to ours. They have taken pressure off the backs of the offensive line by scheme. They are using 4 and 5 receiver sets, putting players in motion. The Browns have many of these exact same plays already in their playbook. Those plays are being seen less and less while the head-against-the-wall plays appear more frequently. Harrison and Droughns could become the poor man's version of Bush and McAllister.
The bottom line is that I am not one that enjoys blaming coordinators - especially when they have two people above them on the pecking order of coaches. Everyone contributes to the offensive playbook, scheme, personnel decisions, personnel packages and crunch time decisions.
The Browns have gone through a number of offensive and defensive coordinators since 99 and there has been little to no improvement when it has happened. Besides, if Romeo changes decision makers in mid stream, he may not have a viable scapegoat when the season is over.
I enjoyed the comments both positive and negative. Feel free to email me anytime. GregHensley71@yahoo.com