Browns-Texans: Joe's Game Review

Joe Brownlee reviews the Browns less than inspiring season-ending loss against the Texans. Listen for more Joe Brownlee this evening from 9-11 PM on the OBR radio program on Sportstalk Cleveland. Joe will be talking with hosts Barry McBride, Jeff Schudel, and Fred Greetham in the first hour of the show.

Listen to Joe during the OBR Radio program Tuesday night between 9-11PM on SportsTalkCleveland.com.




This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

- T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

Perhaps Eliot was a Browns fan before his time. Substitute the word "season" for "world" and this is an apt description of the closing game of a miserable season. This game was one for die-hard fans only, but it did give a few glimpses of things that might provide valuable insights during the offseason. Here are some observations.

Offense

The surprise start by Charlie Frye was not all that much of a surprise. After some decent showings by Derek Anderson, if I were Frye, I'd want the chance to show what I could do again before the end of the season. The problem for Frye is it looked much the same as when he played earlier in the year. I'm sure his wrist wasn't 100%, but to me, Frye looked like the same players we'd seen. Sure, he made some good plays, but he was directly responsible for two turnovers and didn't do all that much that impressed me. He did make some good plays by running.

Rueben Droughns looked a lot more like the 2005 version in the final two games. He was cutting back more, and it helped. But he also looks so slow and fumbled twice. I'll be interested to see if he looks better in camp.

The patchwork offensive line exceeded my expectations, but that isn't saying much. I expected a total disaster, but they did a below average job. The Texans normally weak front got consistent pressure. Rob Smith was agile in getting down field, but he lost his man more than once. Isaac Sowells saw limited action. Starter Kevin Shaffer didn't have a great game, either.

Kellen Winslow caught 11 mostly short passes to tie Ozzie Newsome's record of 89 catches in a season. Not bad for a guy whose knees aren't 100%. Steve Heiden also closed out the season on a productive note. The rest of the receivers had a quiet day. It was nice to see Travis Wilson in the game.

Defense

Given only two opening day starters made it through the day, it is pretty amazing the defense gave up only seven points. Three defensive players impressed me in this game. First, Kamerion Wimbley closed the season on a strong note. He was a force again. I also loved the look we got at Leon Williams these last few games. This guy has to get on the field somehow. Finally, Daven Holly close out an impressive season for a guy who probably would not have even made the roster had the starting corners been healthy.

Meanwhile, Willie McGinest played hard, but he is just too slow to make plays most of the time. Ted Washington didn't do that much, but when he left, the Browns were forced to go to guys far down the depth chart at the nose. That allowed Houston to run at will. While Simon Fraser batted down a pass, the final few games have shown that he is not ready to be a starter. I was also very disappointed with Chaun Thompson, who had a very Ben Tayler-like game.

Finally, I repeat again, the safeties simply haven't played as well without Brian Russell calling the shots.

Special Teams

Not much special here. Phil Dawson missed yet another field foal. Josh Cribbs had one good kickoff return. The coverage teams were OK.

Coaching

The team showed up and gave effort. That was more than I expected and more than the home fans got last week. I'll hold more comments on the coaching issue for later, but I'm still of the opinion that if a better option becomes available, the Browns should make a change.

Next Up

The beginning of what looks to be an eventful and contentious offseason.

The season is short. Bark hard!


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