Ten reasons why the 2008 version of the Cleveland Browns has been unsuccessful:
- A lax training camp in which the coaching staff wanted to ensure the players were not burned out
During training camp, many observers questioned the intensity and actual physical work the team put in during the dog-days of the summer. While many players enjoyed the lax setting, some would later note to theOBR that the laid-back camp did not enhance their ability.
- Phil Savage's failure to add talent to a roster which was depleted at CB and WR
Youth in the defensive backfield played a role in the struggles of this Browns team, as did the lack of quality, experience and depth at the WR position. The general manager may be a solid scout, but his role in securing talent, especially for a head coach that requested such help, cannot be overlooked.
- The loss of Joe Jurevicius
The wide receiver was a team leader, and his loss was monumental. The veteran was a player the offense depended on to know where the markers are on third down to keep the chains moving. As a safety valve and reliable receiver and leader, the loss of Jurevicius was never addressed and the offense was left without a reliable, experienced presence on the playing field.
- Injuries prior to the regular season to Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards, Donte Stallworth and Ryan Tucker
Losing that core of players for various periods of time was instrumental in the very early struggles of timing and consistency within the offensive scheme. We will never know how significant the missed time was, but there is no doubt the team did not play nearly as well as in the 2007 season - and at a lower proficiency than in the second half of that season.
- The decision-making process of head coach Romeo Crennel
There were questions regarding game-day decisions made by the head coach week-in and week-out as the team was outplayed, out-coached and beaten physically at the point of attack. It was difficult to understand the clock management of the head coach, as well as his starting QB. Also, questions surround his decisions on crucial game-calls, notably sending his field goal team out on a couple occasions.
- Braylon Edwards and Jamal Lewis
They were both mainstays in the 2007 season, and have virtually disappeared in the 2008 season. While Lewis has openly noted his displeasure with the offensive scheme, the impact of Edwards may be the most troubling development for this organization. Edwards leads the league in dropped passes, which had a significant impact on the team throughout the season. Numerous times in the 2008 season, Edwards' dropped passes ended scoring opportunities, some of which could have solidified the potential for victory.
- Derek Anderson
The quarterback was struggling terribly throughout the first half of the season and the head coach failed to realize the team needed a presence to gain consistency within the scheme. Crennel finally relented and replaced the ineffective Anderson, but the season was already in turmoil. The 2007 season was a tale of two different types of players, all wrapped in a shell known as Anderson. However, the 2008 version of the QB was far worse than the inconsistent player viewed over the second half of the previous season.
- Inconsistency along the offensive line
Due to issues along the offensive line, the consistency within this group was average at best -- both in failing to protect the QB adequately and failing to play fundamentally sound in the run game. Injuries to LG Eric Steinbach helped in the demise, and has to factor in the less than stellar season of LT Joe Thomas, who was nearly dominant and consistent a season ago. But losing RG Ryan Tucker was significant, as the right side of the offensive line has been average at best, and only then at that level on a few occasions during the 2008 season.
- Jerome Harrison versus Jamal Lewis
With an offensive line struggling to open gaping holes as they did in the 2007 season, Lewis had trouble getting to the hole and gaining positive yardage. Lewis' lack of quickness and vision were evident to the naked eye, while the team basically refused to play RB Jerome Harrison, who produced in limited opportunities running behind the same offensive line as his quickness and vision enabled positive results.
- Chud and the offensively offensive scheme
Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski's scheme has been in question throughout the season. Explosive early in the 2007 season, the Browns offense has struggled mightily in the 2008 season, and there appears to be no light at the end of tunnel. Predictable and inconsistent, the Browns' offense has been a monumental failure in the 2008 season as the execution has been terrible and ability to adapt to the defense has been as poor. Integrating Stallworth into the offensive scheme has been non-existent, as has been the ability to count on Edwards.
Ten Reasons: Why the 2008 Browns Failed
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