Upon further reflection and review of yesterday's events...
The New York Jets provided exactly what the Cleveland Browns needed when they came to town with one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL. Coming into the contest, the Jets rushing defense had allowed an average of 4.5 yards per carry.
Although it may have looked like Reuben Droughns was running amok at times, the Jets defense actually improved statistically by playing the Browns.
I'm not saying this to downplay the offense's accomplishments against the Jets. Unlike too many games in the past, the Browns offensive gameplan was geared to take advantage of their opponent's weakness, and the good guys ground out 3.8 yards per carry.
* * *
It seems to me, though, that our offense's identity crisis can be summarized as having a team with a lot of skill players in the passing game, and an offensive line that seems best suited to run block.
Davidson calls a lot of two tight-end formations and we see a bit less of the fullback. The Browns offensive identity will change, but the question I have is whether the identity will change to match the players or whether Davidson will need to match the players to what he wants to do. Yesterday's offense had a bit of a Belichickian flavor to it.
I'm delighted - ecstatic - about the team finally getting a win, but the offense will stay a work in progress for a while. That's why I don't think that you will be able to judge Jeff Davidson's work unless he has a year to work with the offense.
* * *
This year's squad has reminded me a bit of my family's dog, a mixed-breed pulled from one of those animal rescue centers.
While he's a great family member and an ever-vigilant security system, particularly when girl scouts or pizza delivery-related intruders are about, our pet has a bit of an identity crisis.
His biggest issue, at least the way I see it, is that he is a mixture of little dog (Pomeranian) and middle-sized dog (German Spitz). The problem he faces is that his brain appears to have stored a self-image of a Pomeranian, whereas his body is clearly a lot bigger.
As you can see from the diagram of a very similar-looking animal, the net result is a laughably front-loaded creature. All the useful systems have been concentrated towards the front of the animal, including the disturbingly small central processing unit (not labeled) which resides between his ears.
The placement of the useful systems in front, combined with the self-image of a tiny Pomeranian, has resulted in an animal which seems completely oblivious of his own massive butt area (orange circle). This is particularly disconcerting since his butt comprises most of the his actual mass.
This incorrect self-image causes a variety of everyday problems. For example, the dog will leap up into the unwitting lap of a family member, but will forget to allow for his full ballast. Due to Newton's law of gravity, the result is sometimes an embarrassed dog which has plummeted to the floor.
Or, he will lay his head in the lap of someone sitting on the floor, looking for attention, unaware that his butt remains a foot further back and still in the air. This will sometimes result in the butt blocking the human's view of TV, videogame, or other desirable visual stimulation. This is generally followed by the rude ejection of the dog's head from the lap, or forceful dragging of dog butt to the ground in order to accommodate both viewing and petting.
As you can see, not knowing who you really are can create a lot of problems, especially when you're starved for attention.
* * *
A lot of long-time visitors to the OBR are questioning their allegiance to the site. It's sad, but true.
Of course, the big problem is that we're not writing a lot of stories about winning games recently, and we've asked our visitors to wait patiently and give writers like John Taylor and Fred Greetham enough time to develop some more stories where the team wins.
Moreover, a number of visitors have questioned our honesty with them about Edgar's sudden demise, some with some suggesting that Edgar may have, in fact, been stomped on or chucked out the window because site management wasn't happy with how fast he ran around that little wheel.
That is not the case. Edgar simply decided it was time to keel over, and we need to respect his decision.
Whatever the case may be, it's simply not fair to blame me, the guy in charge, for the four-hour board outage or roughly 2-to-5 ratio of optimistic to pessimistic stories. I'm entirely supportive of our tech support and writing staff, and my heart's in the right place, so cut me a break.
* * *
The Browns got more turnover than the other team and ran the ball better. They won.
This game ain't so hard to figure out.
* * *
I made the mistake of listening to the post-game shows yesterday. I used to really enjoy them, but now I don't anymore, for some reason. Maybe it's just impossible to replace Rich Passan on my radio.
One caller really bugged me because he called up and demanded that the Browns "take anything they can get" for WR Braylon Edwards. The host responded that a lot of fans don't like him because he's from Michigan but that he's actually a good player.
Has everyone suddenly forgotten that Braylon Edwards ripped the heck out of his knee last year? He had an ACL problem and a lot of "knowledgeable" "commentators" (including, um, at least one so-called "publisher") didn't even think he would hit the field until after the bye week.
Athletes recovering from that sort of knee surgery often don't show you all they can do until the year after. Sean Jones, for instance.
Edwards drops some passes, and probably always will, but no one should think we're seeing Braylon at his best just yet.
* * *
Based on what I saw yesterday, I wouldn't trade Charlie Frye for Chad Pennington straight-up. At one point, though, Charlie Frye had a QB rating of 36.6 and Pennington had a QB rating of 30.0. I swear I saw Jeff Garcia sitting in the stands, giggling.
That 30-yard TD pass to Kellen Winslow shut him up in a hurry, though. That was a thing of freaking beauty.
I also loved the play where Frye rolled out, bought time, and Edwards came back across the field to grab a 20-yard pass. Those are the sort of plays that are just impossible to appreciate on TV. You have to be there.
* * *
Some random thoughts that I put here, lazily, because I don't have time to figure how how to write them any better:
- I hope you're as happy today as you were angry after the loss to the
- If Marty Schottenheimer ever wins a Super Bowl, will the media lionize
him as a bright and emotional man who has been successful everywhere he's
gone? Would there be many people rooting against him?
- I would have weaseled out of a trade for Lee Suggs if Kevan Barlow
popped free as well.
- Brad Smith is to Brian Schottenheimer as Lawrence Vickers is to Maurice
- Joe Jurevicius got into more fights than pass plays yesterday. He's a
guy you can't help want to succeed - ill-advised remarks aside - but it's
hard to call this thing anything but a disappointment for him so far. He
- I know the Jets scripted the first fifteen plays, because their
sixteenth was that amazingly stupid direct snap to the fourth-string
quarterback that saved our hash.
- Someone's going to say it, so get ready: If you have two first-and-goals
like the Browns did yesterday, you should come away with more than three
points. They let the Jets stay in this game.
- Man, it's been a long time since I ever wrote anything like the bullet
point above. I enjoyed it.
- I wish I was smart enough to figure out why the Jets were so effective
those first two drives and then struggled after that. I suspect it has
something to do with taking away the short passes Pennington was killing us
with, but I'd have to watch the game again to be sure. I forgot to record
it. Whatever it was, props to you, Mr. Grantham.
- Few expect to come out of San Diego with a win, but that stadium will
have Browns fans scattered throughout it. I'll be listening for them all
game, and I'm sure they will be heard.
- The Browns won and the sun is out. Life could be better, but the day
Barry McBride is publisher of The Orange and Brown Report. He began publishing football-related commentary as a hobby in 1996 with a website protesting the move of the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore. In 2001, he established the OBR, originally named Bernie's Insiders. Barry would be happy to receive your questions or comments via email at email@example.com.
The opinions expressed in this article are his and his alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of other writers or staff of the Orange and Brown Report.