Call it what you will, and Browns fans have found a number of inventive adjectives over the last 24 hours, but the Browns again found the second half of game to be devastating.
Perhaps, as my wife calmly states, "it must have been the altitude".
Even a non-fan has the excuses readied following yet another disappointing Browns game. It comes with the territory.
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In as much as I like defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's attacking style of defense, I question whether the Browns defensive backs are talented enough to play man coverage consistently. While Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald did an admirable job, they both were beaten, but the truest issue resides at the nickel CB.
Veteran Hank Poteat was brutalized on numerous occasions and it could have been worse if not for a dropped pass and a couple other errant tosses.
How can head coach Eric Mangini and Ryan not look to the more athletic rookie Coye Francies?
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As was the case in the season opener, the Browns defense has troubles defending the rush outside the tackles. The lack of team speed and recognition is concerning, but the lack of execution is alarming. As the game progresses, the Browns defense loses its focus, which may be a result of being on the field for extended periods of time.
An interesting trend is developing with the Browns defense. This defense is very solid playing straight-up, moving forward defense. When the game progresses to the lateral movement stages, there is a definitive drop in execution, which includes tackling. Interestingly, as the game progresses, the defense becomes more aggressive in pursuit, with teams taking advantage of such by cutting back against the pursuit.
In the weeks to come, we have to see more of defensive lineman C.J. Mosley and OLB Alex Hall. Reason being, Mosley gets off the ball to the perimeter seal much better than Williams and plays the run well overall. With Hall, his athleticism would help the team defense, as veteran David Bowens has been virtually one-dimensional -- a pass rusher with very limited success.
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Coming off a solid performance in the opener, OLB Kamerion Wimbley was very pedestrian against the Broncos. Denver ran at Wimbley, neutralizing his ability to pressure the QB.
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As we noted prior to the game, the Browns offense needed to expose the openings in the middle of the Denver defense. QB Brady Quinn misfired on a couple huge opportunities and did not see others developing.
While the overall execution of the offense has been poor, there are plenty of specific issues we can examine:
-- Right tackle John St. Clair has played poorly in the first two games. His inability to provide stability to the line has further enabled unsettling developments with the overall play of the QB, which directly relates to the inefficiency of this Cleveland offense.
-- Throughout the game, the Denver defense stacked the run well. The Browns offensive line was unable to open holes in the rushing game, and as was the case against the Vikings a week before, the best rushing came when the team was in a passing set.
-- KR/WR Josh Cribbs had a very good training camp and displayed the ability to play the WR position at this level. The issue is, Cribbs is not polished enough at this stage in his development to be a legitimate number-two receiver. Rookie Mohamed Massaquoi runs better routes, displays better explosion off the line and is able to gain separation.
Why in the world the rookie is not gaining reps is baffling. As he did in the opener, Massaquoi was able to beat the DB and make a play. Against the Broncos, the rookie beat the coverage in the seam and would have been off to the races if the Quinn pass would have been on-target.