Vinny da Fly: Some Angry Buzzing

Vinny lets it fly (heh), with the inside dope and blunt talk no one else has the nerve to say. What are people REALLY saying about the QB decision, the Browns head coach, and more!

There's a lot that's been going down in Berea, and some stuff you all need to know. I've kept my ear to the wall, and I'm going to lay it all out there. I don't have time to mince words, so here's what I'm hearing and thinking.

The Head Coach

  • Yeah, Romeo Crennel suddenly woke the morning following the Browns latest defeat and sought the infamous morning after pill - after he and his team were violated by the Ravens. Too bad RAC didn't have a Glad Bag handy to dispose of the waste - which was his team on Sunday. 

  • I was freaking shocked to hear Crennel talk about the team not having energy in the loss to Baltimore. How in the hell does a professional football team playing in front of a stadium full of home fans not have energy to win a football game? I wasn't the only one. Team owner Randy Lerner and GM Phil Savage were none too pleased with the excuse the head coach offered up. 

  • One league assistant G.M. told me this week that if his coach discussed the game and offered an excuse as that, he wouldn't want him on the sideline. The belief here is the Browns are a team that lacks the discipline, mental toughness and focus to be successful week in and week out. You can't win in this league without those qualities. Can. Not. 

The Quarterback

  • Before we get any further, lets put this one to bed. The head coach was well-aware of opinions within the organization regarding the quarterback position. Finally, the head coach caved, but he was loyal to his guy right to the end. And don't you believe for a second the organization wasn't worried about what the fans would do with the world watching on Thursday night. The switch "was not made due to the fans", but it's obvious that this fan base can get inside the head of an organization. As well as some of the quarterbacks that have pulled on the seal brown, orange and white.

  • By the way, the same front office exec mentioned above told me what you see is what you get with the Browns ex-starting quarterback. Anderson is streaky and needs those around him to perform at a high level, which is essential because DA doesn't have the greatest confidence and decision-making skills. Not a shocking revelation, at least you know what other teams are saying when the media's not watching. 

  • So, Brady Quinn is now expected to waltz in on a short week and start against the Denver Broncos. Mind you, the organization could have picked any number of better settings for the second-year player to receive his call to duty, but the geniuses in the Cleveland front office came up with this abortion of a strategy.  The worst part of the scenario is this: the head coach and the organization are not committing to the young quarterback. No, they say that they are going to see how he performs and revisit his role on a weekly basis. 

  • The legendary Jim Brown and Bernie Kosar have the ear of team owner Randy Lerner. I wonder what these two former Browns' greats really think of this team and its issues? Oh yeah, Brown did speak out and was rebuffed by the organization regarding the quarterback issue. As for Kosar, he really doesn't believe Anderson is playing that poorly. Too bad Bernie took so many hits to his dome, as four player personnel evaluators within the league tell me Anderson leaves more plays on the field than any starting quarterback in the game today, except JaMarcus Russell in Oakland.

  • Sure, a change had to be made. Too bad not a soul in this dysfunctional organization had the foresight or balls to man-up and take control of an obvious situation. A few losses later and the head coach comes up with the grand plan to replace the quarterback with nearly the worst passer rating in the game for unproven fan-favorite Brady Quinn. Tremendous foresight and organizational prowess there, Romeo and Phil. 

  • Some of the local media Einsteins recently talked about the incentive structure of Brady Quinn's contract and suggested the Browns kept him on the bench to ensure he did not reach incentives in the 2008 season. Totally ignorant. The decision to keep Quinn on the bench was not salary-related in the slightest. The head coach just wanted to with the guy who got him some success last year. 

The Offensive Line

  • I talked to a front office exec who has scouted film of the Browns since they are an upcoming opponent. Yeah, yeah, everyone wants to talk about the quarterback. Sure. But he believes the Cleveland offensive line has been the biggest disappointment of the 2008 season for the Browns. He theorized the line has been inconsistent in pass protection and below average as a run-blocking unit. The deterioration of the line has hampered the ability to run the football effectively, while providing little room for Anderson to perform without pressure. 

  • The hard word is this: the right side of the Browns offensive line has played average, at best, this season. Guard Rex Hadnot lacks lateral movement and is slow coming off the ball. Despite being a one-time starter, Hadnot was signed for depth purposes, and is not nearly the player Ryan Tucker is. Tackle Kevin Shaffer hasn't looked good this season. Some of Shaffer's issues are due to the play at right guard, as Shaffer moves adequately for a linemen, but has troubles with quick rushers with good burst due to his slow drop and plant.

Personnel Moves

  • It is too easy to pick apart the moves of this organization following a surprisingly successful season of 2007. While the fans show increasing disdain for the head coach, don't forget that Crennel has asked for personnel help and received little in return. Crennel wanted a cornerback, Phil Savage gives him Terry 'Toast' Cousin. Ole' Romeo wanted another cornerback, Savage provides him Travis Daniels. I had the opportunity to talk with someone close to free agent cornerback Ty law this past week. Law, a veteran that played corner when Crennel was the defensive coordinator in New England has been available for the right price. To make a long story short, Law was willing to come to Cleveland and play for one million dollars. 

  • Crennel is an old defensive coach and loves linebackers. What does Savage do? Well, he gets Andra Davis to re-do his deal for less money and then hands him back the same player that has proven for a couple years that he can't excel in the defense. Oh, and he signs Shantee Orr, some guy that made plays with the Houston Texans in the 3-4 defense, so he can play on special teams. Let's not forget to mention that Uncle Romeo asked for depth along the defensive line and got Santonio "Unblockable" Thomas as a gift-wrapped present. You just have got to love a GM that is on top of the situation and can deliver in the clutch.

  • It's not just defenders: Coach wants an experienced wide receiver, and Phil hand delivers Steve Sanders and Syndric Steptoe off the practice squad. That's a sure fix. 

  • The Browns have shown no urgency in dealing with representatives for players that are going to be free agents, or players they would like to retain long-term. One player of interest is safety Sean Jones. For whatever reason, the Browns are in a wait-and-see mode. There are some on the staff who think Jones is too inconsistent against the pass and want to see him healthy before cranking up the negotiations.

  • There's some good news. Brodney Pool is developing into the caliber of player the browns anticipated when selecting him out of Oklahoma. Due to some serious work in the off-season and dedication to film-work preparation which improved his recognition and footwork, Pool has quickly become a consistent presence in the defensive backfield.

  • There was a lot of garbage out there on the rumor wire. Prior to the trading deadline, the Browns did talk to a few teams, but were never into any type of negotiations worth mentioning. Rumors swirled that the Kansas City Chiefs offered numerous draft selections for Quinn.... didn't happen. The Minnesota Vikings were rumored to have offered two first-round selections for Quinn... didn't happen. Word came out that the Philadelphia Eagles were interested in Kellen Winslow, this did happen, but the Eagles were not willing to deal a first round pick for the tight-end.

  • As the season progresses and if the Browns fall out of playoff contention, expect to see the following occur:

        A.) Rookie linebacker Beau Bell will get some reps in game situations.
        B.) Rookie wide receiver Paul Hubbard will be signed off the practice squad.
        C.) Rookie tight-end Martin Rucker will get reps with the 1st and 2nd team.
        D.) Linebacker Leon Williams will gain additional reps in place of Andra Davis.
        E.) Running back Jerome Harrison will see additional reps at receiver and back.

Alright. That's it. I'm not sure when I'll talk to you again. Now that I look this over, it probably seems like I've sort of given up on the Browns. 

I admit it, I'm angry. Browns fans are as good as they come, and you deserve better.

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