Q: Is the Cleveland offense as bad as it has looked in the first two weeks of the season or is there a factor which has limited the production of this team?
LA: This Cleveland offense is not bad, but rather the unit is underachieving at the present time. The Browns have played two very good defensive teams to open up the season, which is not an excuse but the reality of the situation.
As long as WR Braylon Edwards continues to drop passes, QB Derek Anderson fails to pull the trigger and struggles -- while mistakes remain an issue -- this Cleveland team is not going to succeed. While the issues are deeper that the WR and QB, the offense is geared to run through these two talents to provide an explosive quality. The passing game isn't working, and that facet directly relates to the inability of the running game to get on track, etc.
What we are seeing with this Browns team is very similar to the stretch run of the 2007 season; the difference is that team a season ago found a way to win when struggling, while with this team you don't get a feel that they are going to win.
Q: Do you think the injuries in training camp that kept the offense from playing together is a factor in the slow start of this team?
LA: I certainly believe when players are not in the lineup for any period of time, the chances of playing at their highest level is greatly reduced.
I am concerned about Anderson. The QB is not throwing the ball well, appears somewhat tentative and is not utilizing the tools at his disposal. Anderson's confidence in Edwards and Kellen Winslow is evident, as he tends to look for these two receivers exclusively. I believe the QB is leaving too much on the field, as there have been other open options on game-day that he is not utilizing.
Right now, the Cleveland offense appears to be missing that swagger, the confidence they played with a season ago. For this offense to be successful, they must find a way to get the running game kick-started and eliminate the penalties and other mental mistakes that are hampering this team.
Q: Derek Anderson has not played well and the offense has struggled. When does it become time for the team to sit the starter and give backup Brady Quinn an opportunity to see what he can do before it's too late this season?
LA: When an offense struggles, the QB is always at the center of attention. While Anderson has not played well in the first two games of the season, I would note that he is not the sole issue with the offense.
I am concerned that Anderson has been programmed so much to take what the defense is giving him that he has lost some of that edge that elevated him and this Cleveland offense a season ago. I am uncertain if the playcalling is the issue or the QB is going way from the grand scheme during his progressions.
Regardless, this offense is in a funk and this needs to change for this team to be a threat and competitive. The worst case scenario for this organization and Anderson is playing out as both he and the offense is struggling and the team is not winning.
If the offense again struggles this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, the heat may become intense for a change at the QB position, especially if Anderson does not play well and lead this team to a victory.
Q: It appears to me that the Browns do not play with any sense of urgency and need something positive to happen to get rolling, much like last year. Do you expect to see the Browns come out Sunday and play well or do you see much of the same in the works?
LA: I don't see a sense of urgency with this team and that is a good thing to a point. This team has taken on the look and personality of the head coach, which is that of a calming presence and low-key approach.
Coming out of the gate 0-2 was not what this organization expected or wanted to see occur. The game against the Ravens this weekend is a must-win for this team There is absolutely no other way to approach the situation.
This game is one that the Browns should win, but it is not going to be easy. The Ravens still are a strong defensive team, but they have issues along the offensive line and a rookie at QB which should be to the benefit of the Browns.