Q: Why has the defense gone from being aggressive to what we see today?
LA: Changes in the defensive philosophy have filtered from the head coach to the defensive coordinator. from what I understand, Crennel was displeased with the big plays the defensive was giving up and told coordinator Mel Tucker to play much more soft zone coverage. The young players in the defensive backfield do not like the scheme and the defensive linemen are gassed quicker since they don't have supporting help from LB's or DB's to create pressure.
Q: Since the move to Brady Quinn at QB, the Browns are 1-2 and still appear to have issues offensively and at the QB position. Is this a case where the team may not have a legitimate starting QB? Maybe the talent on the offense is not what we thought it was?
LA: It is difficult to evaluate a player on a handful of plays, etc. In the case of Quinn, I see an offensive coordinator or head coach being too protective of the player and not letting him play with a full set of options. Also, having surrounding players not doing their respective jobs on game-day remains an issue whether Quinn or Anderson are under center.
Q: Has Jamal Lewis slowed terribly or is his lack of consistency due to the overall play of the offense and the play-calling?
LA: While I do not believe Lewis is quick enough to blast through the hole as regularly as he did in his earlier days, he can still be successful in the right offensive scheme. The Browns offensive line has not been nearly as consistent and technical at the point of attack and this has led to some of the drop-off in the running game. The play-calling and execution has been questionable at times - at times due to the flow of the game and at other times for no apparent reason. The inability of the Browns offense to execute consistently and open up the field has enabled the opposition to squeeze the field on the unit and take away plays that were successful a season ago.
Q: Derek Anderson had the second half of last season and half of this season before being pulled by Crennel for being ineffective. Why did it take only two-plus games - games the team was in and could/should have won - to pull the plug on Quinn after throwing an interception?
LA: Only the head coach can explain his actions, though I believe he panicked and went with the player he believes in. The first interception was on Quinn, but the second interception was a direct result of WR Braylon Edwards not running through his route and making himself bigger to Quinn on the pass attempt. When the WR is not aggressive in getting to the spot and not running the route precisely, there can and will be an issue, as there was on this attempt. Receivers can't be passive.
Q: If you were in the position to make a difference for the organization, what would you do in the immediate and long-term to provide some stability and confidence back to the team as well as the fans?
LA: This is a team and an organization in need of help. Romeo Crennel has gotten what he can from this roster of players and a change is necessary to remove some of the complacency within the ranks. Crennel was a solid choice to help this organization from a standout of experience and a calming influence following troubling times under former HC Butch Davis, but most teams in this game need a new voice after a period of time.
This Browns organization lacks mental toughness and a sense of playing the game with solid fundamentals. This is one of the worst tackling teams I have watched and this roster of players makes mistake after mistake - coaches are on staff to coach, to teach, etc.
In all, I would remove the HC, hand the reigns over to a coach of experience on the staff and get some of the younger players on the field to expose to the game and gain experience. These final five games would be an opportunity to see who can play, who wants to play and who can be counted on to create a positive atmosphere in and around the team.
It can be rather amazing when you have a different set of eyes evaluate the situation.
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