Adkins: The Debacle, Take Seven

Another game, another embarrassing loss. Lane talks about yet another debacle, and puts the onus squarely where it belongs...

Uninspired, unprepared and underwhelming. Sounds like a Browns game on a Sunday afternoon.

For the rest of the league, seeing Cleveland on the schedule provides a sense of relief for a week in the otherwise competitive NFL.

In Cleveland, the organization appears to be spiraling deeper into the depths of despair.

Where to start?

Head coach Eric Mangini has had 10 months to field a competitive team. Not 10 minutes, not 10 days, not 10 weeks, but 10 months and the product is far worse today.

At 1-6 and with this team being systematically dismantled on game day on a weekly basis, something has to give.

It's true that this team does not possess the talent of some others in league; they certainly don't need to hear it from me or even Browns consultant Bernie Kosar to understand the situation.

Talent is one aspect of the game, a huge facet, but the inability to get those on the roster to play with the discipline required to achieve at this level is inexcusable.

Linebackers late in sliding over to blitz-cover responsibilities, defensive backs slow in blitz and cover drop angles, while certain defensive linemen play the game in a manner in which the team philosophy is thrown out the window.

Big play after big play, the Green Bay Packers attacked the Browns' defense. Not doing anything fancy, simply beating the Browns' defense off the tendencies shown on film -- game in and game out.

Blitz and deep-cover has become the staple of this Browns' defense. Fortunately for the league, the Browns do not blitz well, the linebackers are not fluid enough to make an impact in coverage drops and covering the soft zones appears weak; receivers always have five yards of open area to work with against this Cleveland defense.

The troubling thing is, Mangini and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan have a history together. This isn't a first-time stint for these defensive-minded coaches as both were on staff in New England under Bill Belichick and have a working relationship.

What riddles me is the sense of helplessness in Cleveland. Ryan implores his players; he can be viewed at various times discouraged with what is occurring on the playing field and talking to players explaining what they did incorrectly.

The problem here is a lack of consistency coupled with a lack of urgency and desire that often masks what the defensive coordinator is attempting to achieve.

Missed tackles and blown assignments are the norm for this Browns' defense. No matter how solid the plan may be, if players cannot execute, the results are going to be atrocious.

Which they have been, repeatedly.

Offensively, the Browns challenge some Div. III college programs in their scheme and ability.

Harsh but true.

This is the NFL, the highest level of professional football. Throwing inexperience into the fire at numerous angles only screams for failure.

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll doesn't have much to work with, but using what he does have at his disposal has proven to be fruitless.

Built upon the premise of using the base scheme of the New England Patriots and New York Jets, the Cleveland offense is expected to be a variance of these two clubs.

But, this isn't NE and NY -- and the confidence level of the coaching staff in Cleveland does not funnel through to the player roster.

Daboll's offense lacks confidence in the QB position to make plays. Again, this coaching staff and namely the head coach have put this team, this specific unit, into the position it is today.

Conservative does not work when the QB is unable to compete or achieve in the specific scheme being run in Cleveland.

Derek Anderson has proven time and time again he is not going to become an efficient short- to intermediate-throwing QB. As is usually the case in Cleveland, trying to fit the square peg into the round hole doesn't engender success.

When looking at this roster on the offensive side of the ball, the plan and play-calling are confusing. There is no rhyme or reason for the consistently embarrassing play of this unit, other than the lack of playmakers, imagination and trust coming from the coaching staff -- namely Mangini and Daboll.

The most disappointing aspect of the 2009 season has been the inability to show any promise, any progress. Much rather, this team appears to be regressing.

There comes a point in time when a loss is simply a loss and you cut bait.

Mangini isn't dangling on the end of the hook yet, but as the weather cools, the heat is on the head coach.

And rightfully so.


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