Offensive Over-programming?

Scout takes a look at the Browns woeful start, and pull no punches in attributing blame...

The Cleveland Browns offense has produced some woeful numbers -- like going half a season without a meaningful offensive touchdown.

Aside from a meaningless touchdown against Minnesota with 28 seconds left, the Browns have not found the end zone in eight games. Romeo Crennel's team last season was crippled by injury, though. This season's team has just been bad.

Chief problem: The Browns do not sustain drives. The team is a woeful six-for-26 on third-down conversions.

This has been caused by inconsistent play in the running game, and shaky play from quarterback Brady Quinn. Quinn has looked at times nervous, shaky, skittish and nervous. Through two games, he appears to be playing scared.

The reason: The point has been hammered into his head so often to avoid the mistake that Quinn is playing not to make a mistake instead of playing aggressively to make a play.

The result: His throws are largely short and careful, and he jumps away from the rush at times when there is no rush.

A lot of people must play better to help Quinn, including on the offensive line. But Quinn also needs to somehow relax and find his game. If he doesn't, the team's near-inexplicable streak without a touchdown will continue against Baltimore.


--QB Brady Quinn has numbers that indicate he's a quarterback who is over programmed and trying too hard. Quinn is averaging 5.5-yards per attempt, 29th in the league. He has only three completions longer than 20 yards. He's been sacked nine times, and his passer rating is 66.9, fifth lowest in the league. Quinn clearly looks rattled.

--RB Jamal Lewis had a rough time in Denver, gaining just 38 yards on 14 carries. Lewis looked good in the opener against a good run defense, but bad in the second game against a poor run defense. His struggles mirror the offense's. It's hard to know what to expect of him from week to week.

--WR Braylon Edwards had a strong game against Denver, but could not find the end zone. Edwards made some nice catches on high throws from Brady Quinn and gained 92 yards receiving, but as long as the team struggles with a legitimate second option at receiver, Edwards will receive the bulk of the attention from secondaries.

--WR Josh Cribbs is an outstanding return man, but he is not a No. 2 receiver. Despite that, Cribbs continues to start opposite Braylon Edwards. But he's not skilled or polished enough to be a threat. Cribbs dropped on third-down throw against the Broncos, and fumbled another. He and the team's offense would be better served if he returned to the specialist role he played last season.

--TE Robert Royal is not making anyone forget Kellen Winslow. Royal, signed by Eric Mangini, has been inconsistent. He catches one pass, drops another. Against Denver he was a near non-factor with one catch for 13 yards.

--CB Brandon McDonald competes and tries, but he's not consistent enough to be a starting cornerback in the NFL. McDonald was victimized on a simple out buy Jabar Gaffney, who avoided McDonald's tackle and turned a mid-range pass into a big gain. The Browns want to attack on defense, but when it does it leaves McDonald alone in coverage and gets results like that one.

--CB Eric Wright continues to imitate his idol, Deion Sanders, when it comes to tackling. Wright ran alongside Correll Buckhalter for almost 10 yards at the end of Buckhalter's long touchdown run, and Wright barely tried to bring Buckhalter down. His complete unwillingness to make basic tackling efforts hurt the Browns in the first two games, and will hurt them the rest of the season.

--LB Kamerion Wimbley is a solid, but not a great player. Wimbley often comes close on pass rushes, but does not get the sack. Against Denver, he was victimized on the goal-line trying to cover a tight end. Wimbley is defined by expectations he may never meet. If people accepted him for what he is -- a good to very good player -- he'd be appreciated.

--WR Mohammed Massaquoi may see more playing time this weekend against Baltimore. The Browns badly need a skilled receiver to play with Braylon Edwards, and Massaquoi, a second-round draft pick, seems to be the most logical choice.

--WR Brian Robiskie was a surprise inactive in Denver. Robiskie was the first of two receivers the Browns chose in the second round in April, but he's barely seen the field. It's odd, because Robiskie is considered a technically correct and precise player. He needs to get on the field.

--TE Martin Rucker was a much ballyhooed draft choice of former GM Phil Savage in April of 2008. Eric Mangini waived Rucker this week. Rucker broke many of Kellen Winslow Sr.'s receiving records at Missouri, and it will be interesting to see if another team signs him.

The OBR Top Stories