Reports Card: Browns vs. 'Skins

The grades are in, and the Browns may be looking at summer school following yet another abysmal performance.


PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Dropped passes, poor passes, poor protection, routes broken off improperly. The Browns passing game was a mess. The evidence was Derek Anderson completing 14-of-37, Braylon Edwards dropping four passes in a terrible game and Kellen Winslow breaking an out route deep and leading to a big incompletion. The Browns regressed to preseason form after looking so good against the Giants.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- The Browns ran fairly well, they just didn't run enough. Jamal Lewis ran very hard and well, but when the team has a 2-to-1 pass-to-run ratio it's going to struggle. Lewis has been underutilized in most of the Browns losses, and it's time to recognize that fact. With the passing game struggling, the running game may have to carry the Browns.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Sean Jones returned to the lineup, which meant the Browns had their starting safety tandem for the first time this season. The secondary's main problems came on third down, and the Redskins wisely took advantage of a matchup advantage with Terry Cousin. He simply could not cover the Redskins' slot receivers -- Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- What was supposed to be an improved facet of the team has turned into an abysmal failure. Clinton Portis ran for 175 yards. Though the Browns forced him to fumble late, a key play, the Redskins pretty much ran at will. After spending a lot of time, effort and money in the offseason to improve the run defense, it's actually worse than a year ago. The Browns will not be a winning team until they stop the run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Asking a kicker to make a 54-yard kick to tie the game in the final seconds is asking a lot, but Phil Dawson's leg is strong enough to make the kick. He left it wide right, though. It's the life of a kicker -- they're asked to do difficult things, and when they miss they face the music. Offsetting Dawson's was the outstanding punting of Dave Zastudil, who placed three of his punts inside the 20.

COACHING: D - This loss goes more to the players, but the Browns were not exactly efficient in the two-minute drill trying to tie the game. After a quarterback sneak got a first down, the helmet communication system failed. Instead of telling Derek Anderson to spike the ball, the coaching staff had him run to the sideline to get a play. Almost 25 valuable seconds ticked away. Then on third-and-10, the Browns had Anderson try a 20-yard pass downfield when a 10-yard gain would have been enough to get Phil Dawson into field goal range.


The inconsistencies of quarterback Derek Anderson have to be a major concern to the Browns. Anderson played terribly against Washington the week after he played so well against the Giants on Monday night.

Against the Redskins, Anderson went 4-for-13 in the first half and threw for 40 yards through three quarters.

He made a bit of a comeback in the fourth quarter but fell short in a game-winning drive. The Browns have been patient with Anderson, and he has not rewarded their faith. He has a 62.9 rating and has six touchdown passes in six games.

The dropoff in his play from Monday night to the following Sunday was dramatic.

"The supporting cast, they were not able to make some plays," coach Romeo Crennel said. "I thought the protection wasn't as good as it was Monday night, and he wasn't as good as he was Monday night. When you put that all together, you are not very effective."

To say the least.

Despite his inconsistencies, the Browns have given no indication they are going to go away from Anderson and to Brady Quinn. The job appears to be Anderson's until the team is officially eliminated from playoff contention.


--Kellen Winslow stirred a powder keg when he admitted a staph infection kept him in the hospital for three nights and out of the Giants game. Winslow said he was very angry that the team claimed he did not want his condition public when it was the team that made the decision.

He also criticized GM Phil Savage for not calling him when he was in the hospital. Crennel said he tries to call every player who is sick or injured.

Winslow's words followed a loss and were curious. He has wanted a new contract, and he chose to make his condition and his feelings public after a tough loss.

It could not have helped team unity.

--Braylon Edwards dropped four more passes in the loss to Washington. He now has a league-high 11 for the season.

Edwards' poor season also showed up in the final drive as the Browns attempted to tie. He did not read a blitz and ran a wrong route, then stopped on a third-down that could have given Phil Dawson much better field position for a field goal.

Edwards wants to be a star, but he's not playing like one. Not even close.

"We have to keep coaching him and keep working with him on focus and concentration and not pressing, to relax and just let the ball come to him and not tighten up when the ball does come to him," Crennel said.


--OT Ryan Tucker apparently will be a week-to-week proposition with an inflamed knee. Tucker played against New York but didn't against Washington. His absence was noticed, as he is a very good run blocker.

--RB Jamal Lewis continues to run well, but not enough. Lewis had 80 yards on 19 carries but had half as many carries as Derek Anderson had throws. That ratio won't work.

--DT Shaun Rogers has played very well since being acquired in an offseason trade. Rogers consistently gets good penetration into the opposing backfield, and is very disruptive.

--CB Terry Cousin has to be in danger of being replaced at nickel back. Cousin has struggled badly in the slot, and if Mike Adams is healthy Adams could take over that role in Jacksonville.

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