John Taylor's Circling the Browns

Why are teams throughout the NFL so giddy about how the Browns beat the Giants? Could the maligned Browns coaching staff have figured out what no other team could? Plus, scoopage on penalty issues, the tight end situation, the status of Sean Jones, and more...

In talking to a NFC East scout early this afternoon, he was downright giddy over the Browns' win last night and, in particular, how they went about knocking off the defending Super Bowl champs.

"They just gave the entire league the offensive blueprint for how to beat (the Giants)," the scout gushed. "Quick drops, sets and throws (by quarterback Derek Anderson), and misdirection all over the place. And they tossed in an occasional deep ball to keep a weak secondary back on their heels. They took the Giants' strength (their speed on defense) and turned it into a weakness. Absolutely brilliant."

A Browns source could not agree more.

"That was just genius, what Chud (offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski) and the offensive staff came up with," the Browns source said. "Now I guess people see why there was still optimism in this building even after the way the season started."

-- With that being said, and even with the memory of a huge win still fresh in their minds, the Browns realize that there are still issues on this team and they can't comfortably say they've turned the corner just yet.

"The penalties are a concern. The (coaching staff) must emphasize the importance of getting rid of the mental errors (false starts, illegal motion, etc.). And we still are giving up too many yards on the ground," the source said. "There were some very, very big strides made last night, and you don't beat a team of that caliber by that margin and it be a fluke, but we aren't completely out of the woods just yet. But, we do like the direction we are headed."

Still, more than one person involved with the organization labeled last night's win as the biggest – hands down, not even close – since Phil Savage/Romeo Crennel took over the football reins in 2005, and possibly the biggest win since the club returned to the NFL in 1999.

-- As a personal aside: it's amazing how much easier it is to get in touch with these "sources" following a win as opposed to after a loss. Funny how that works.

-- The question on everybody's mind, I know, remains the following: what is going on with Kellen Winslow and when will he return? Much like yesterday, the answer is a resounding "(sound of crickets chirping)". Simply put, nobody is willing to hint at, let alone discuss, exactly what is going with the tight end and what led to his four-day hospital stay. Three sources we spoke with would not even hazard a guess as to when Winslow would return.

-- When Winslow does return, look for the Pro Bowler and backup Steve Heiden to be on the field together a lot more. That could mean more two-TE sets, or it could mean Winslow moving into the slot. Additionally, rookie Martin Rucker could begin to see some playing time and, the hope is, the youngster could help take some of the burden off Winslow and allow him to finish stronger and healthier than he has the last two seasons. The only problem is, the rookie has missed so much time, the club is uncertain as to how much he will be able to contribute. The club's fingers are crossed, though, and they are hopeful.

-- Barring an unexpected setback, safety Sean Jones should return from injury and be on the field for next week's showdown with the Washington Redskins. While Mike Adams has filled in admirably during his absence, the veteran simply can't do the things on the field the hard-hitting Jones can. Should he return, it would be a welcome sight for coordinator Mel Tucker and the entire defensive staff.

-- I got the following text message from a Browns source in the wee hours of the morning following the huge upset win over the New York Giants: "nice pregame story and prediction you (interesting combination of bad words strung together)". It ended with one of those smiley faces, but the intent was clear. And, yeah, I guess I deserved that one.

-- The NFL trading deadline came and went at 4:00 p.m. EST this afternoon, and only a couple trades went down – the biggest being the Detroit Lions trading wide receiver Roy Williams and a 2009 seventh-round pick to the Dallas Cowboys for three '09 draft picks (reportedly a 1st, a 3rd and a 5th). On the Browns' end, there was precious little activity. All the Berea phone lines were open, a Browns source said, but there were no major or even minor deals seriously considered.



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