Lane's Direct Hits

Lane Adkins dissects the loss to the Broncos. Hard-core football analysis you simply don't get anywhere else...

- The Browns defense, facing an offense which had little threat at the RB position, was unable to execute. Broncos QB Jay Cutler utilized the spread offense and often faced man coverage, which he easily dissected, some of which was due to the Browns' inability to pressure the QB, as well as the QB making many outstanding reads and throws.

- The Browns starting CB's take too many chances and this team could use a more physical-type starting CB to face some of the larger WR's in the game. What we are seeing is an example as to why Crennel wanted another viable option at CB -- and didn't get it from Phil Savage. This issue at CB and the defensive backfield in general will continue to exist as long as the scheme is directed to seek measures to pressure the QB with DB's -- unsuccessfully -- and exposing CB's in man coverage for extended periods.

- There is no excuse for the defense to keep getting beat over the top. I see a defense and namely the DB's being caught out of position, peeking into the backfield for run support purposes and a lack of recognition and execution being the primary factors. Poor tackling and scheme alignment also play into the equation.

- Though not the reason why the Browns lost this game, strong safety Sean Jones had the Broncos FB is his grasp behind the line of scrimmage on a fourth and one run late in the fourth quarter; that was indicative of the Browns failures the past two weeks.

- Utilizing DB's to generate a pass rush leaves the secondary vulnerable; the game of Russian roulette utilized by the coaching staff has been costly to the overall success of the team and unit in recent games due in part to the inabilities of this defense. While this type of scheme has been relatively successful for the Browns, the defensive coordinator and position coaches must tone down the aggressiveness and risk-taking of the corners. In recent weeks, second-year CB's Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald have been torched due to poor execution, reactionary skills and technique; the problem in this game was the Browns' defensive scheme was not based on blitzing the Denver offense often and the Broncos QB took full advantage of the lack of pressure and execution of the Cleveland defense.

- Inconsistency at the LB positions continue to haunt this defensive scheme. Unable to get off blocks, slow reaction in pass recognition and pursuit were issues again on Thursday night. Rarely do the LB's in this scheme make consistent plays or plays of impact, which is a requirement in the 3-4 base scheme. The lack of a basic philosophy of the head coach, along with overall quality and depth along the defensive line, makes a change to the 4-3 scheme unlikely, although it would mask some issue at LB and makes this unit less likely to be a negative on game day.

- Say what you will about the Browns offense on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos, but QB Brady Quinn was solid in leading this unit. That's a testament to the player, his surrounding teammates and coaching staff. Quinn displayed the characteristics of a sound leader and shows the ability to know 'when' to get rid of the football, which simply is a facet some QB's can't grasp.

- TE Kellen Winslow was distraught following the loss despite having by far his best statistical game of the season. It comes as no surprise the TE was a presence once again in the offense as one noticeable characteristic of this QB is to utilize the TE's and RB's more in the scheme. Unfortunately for Winslow and the Cleveland offense, his pass interference call, a fumble and his whiff of a 4th down pass late in the game proved costly.

- WR Braylon Edwards had little impact in the game, some of which was due to the design of the Denver defense and some falling onto the shoulders of the talented player. The Broncos used tight over-under coverage on Edwards, which appeared to the naked-eye to disrupt the WR. Edwards did not appear to be in a position physically or mentally to be a factor as he looked rather non-descript on numerous routes.

- Once the Browns started to run the ball effectively with RB Jerome Harrison, the Broncos defense changed their collective focus to stopping the run and having the MLB focus primarily on the ball-carrier. The issue here is, the Browns removed Harrison from the game and depended on a less-quick Jamal Lewis to run off-tackle and sweep; during the run which the Browns appeared poised to take control of the game, Harrison's quickness, vision and cutback running skills provided this rushing attack the missing ingredient -- a threat at any time, as well as a viable threat to beat the MLB to the point.

- The tempo of the Browns offense appeared quick and upbeat, especially with Harrison in the game, and the designed use of misdirection in the running game was a plus. I question why Harrison was pulled from the game, and I would have liked the offensive coordinator place the threat of a vertical presence into the scheme. Quinn was solid in his execution and this aspect would have only further opened up the field.

- This loss lies in the hands of the Browns defense, coaching staff and perceived playmakers; the outcome of this game would have been much different -- just like last week, when the Browns gave the game away to Baltimore.

- A line must be drawn in the sand with this Browns organization. Only so many excuses can warrant the same type of inconsistent play - there is no Derek Anderson to gloss the defensive issues away this week.

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