Lane Adkins' Direct Hits

Lane looks back at the Savage and Winslow soap opera from the past week, along with other key Browns issues. Was there a "winner" in the face-off between General Manager and star player?

- With Cleveland Browns' general manager Phil Savage coming out and briefly speaking to the assembled media, the saga of TE Kellen Winslow has been put to rest for the time being. While Savage alluded to another medical issue(s) in the days leading up to his unscheduled statement to the media yesterday, Winslow simply had a staph infection. We wonder how the relationship will be down the line, as the player wants his contract redone and the Browns have not been receptive to such a non-essential move.

- There is no winner in a situation such as the one the organization and Winslow endured this past week. Both sides bore plenty of blame for what should have been a non-issue, which then turned the focus onto the Browns as yet another embarrassment and sideshow for all to view. I get the strangest notion neither party involved was completely forthright in their claims, and in their assumptions as well.

- TE Steve Heiden filled in admirably and was productive during Winslow's absence. Due to the success the Browns offense had with Heiden on the field, some watching the team believe Winslow may not be a critical piece of the puzzle. However, let's look at this from a talent perspective. Winslow is a dynamic presence, and he can do things many players at the position only dream of. The opposition defenses a player like Winslow differently than, say, a Heiden or a Darnell Dinkins. Heiden has been productive and is a valuable player, but he has not faced the defensive game plan which is built to make him a priority in the set. On the playing field, I'll take a player of Winslow's ability everyday of the week; he's that good.

- With another Browns victory and the quarterback managing the game adequately, the call for Brady Quinn has been quieted slightly. Derek Anderson and the Cleveland offense were the beneficiaries of a handful of big plays, which provided enough of a spark against a struggling Jacksonville defensive backfield. An offside penalty against the Jaguars in the fourth quarter on an intercepted Anderson toss cost Jacksonville an opportunity to score on the Cleveland side of the field.

- Creating opportunities for RB Jerome Harrison to get on the playing field has been challenging. With Jamal Lewis solidly entrenched as the feature back, the opportunities appear few and far between, especially as the coaching staff remains committed to using all three RB's (Jason Wright being the third) on the roster. As the season progresses, Harrison could be utilized more in the passing game and in some additional two-back sets.

- A common belief is the Browns do not place enough emphasis on rushing the football. It may come as a surprise, then, that the Browns pass to run ratio is nearly 55%-45%, which is not out of line with the stats league-wide. A problem with the rushing game has been the inconsistency of the overall offensive scheme -- notably the passing game -- which has left the Browns in far too many difficult second/third-and-long situations. Defenses again in the 2008 season are challenging the Cleveland passing game to beat them.

- Opposing defenses are placing focus on prohibiting the Browns movement at the point of attack. Focusing on gap penetration, the opposition has been steady in an approach of being physical and aggressive. The Cleveland offensive line has done a better job of manning-up at the point, but have been unable to contain or direct the opposition a sufficient amount of the time; this is also where the lack of quickness issue at RB rears its head. Also, LT Joe Thomas and LG Eric Steinbach do not appear to be moving nearly as well -- the reasons why are something to ponder.

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