Browns-Packers: Report Card

No TV, no XBOX, and no Jay-Z until these grades are back up! What are we going to do with you? We're so disappointed... no, we don't want to hear about how you were sick. Your older brothers did so much better.... (parental weeping)

Derek Anderson has a near-inexplicable hold on the Browns' starting quarterback job.

The guy with the worst quarterback rating in the league (40.6) will start Sunday's game in Chicago, coach Eric Mangini said. Anderson keeps his job after an abysmal game against Green Bay when he completed 12-of-29 for 99 yards.

"(Anderson) gives us the best chance right now to move the ball," coach Eric Mangini said. "I know his numbers haven't been impressive, but he hasn't been alone in producing those numbers."

Unimpressive? The 99 yards Anderson had for the game matched the length of the Packers last touchdown drive.

To say that the Browns offense under Anderson has been poor is a gross understatement. In three games, Anderson has gone 23-for-70, with one touchdown and three interceptions.

Receivers have dropped 16 of his passes, but he's also made 17 poor throws. That's not acceptable for most NFL quarterbacks. But the Browns are not even glancing in Brady Quinn's direction, much less considering playing him.

Puzzling? Yes.

But the Browns have been a puzzling team since Eric Mangini took over, and what's happening during the season is no less puzzling than anything that happened in the offseason. The Browns are a 1-6 team going nowhere fast.


  --The Browns' young receivers have had their moments, but none came in the loss to Green Bay. Covered man-to-man by Packers' corners Al Harris and Charles Woodson, Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie were nearly invisible.

Massaquoi never could beat Harris deep, though the Browns tried several times on simple go routes to Massaquoi. Each time, Massaquoi was well covered.

Robiskie cut in on a pass route that Derek Anderson threw outside. The pass was intercepted.

The skills shown by the Browns wideouts are not polished, but the person who settled on the receivers and traded Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow is Eric Mangini.

"I don't think anyone is pleased with where we are right now," Anderson said.

--The Browns' defense has been abysmal all season. Plagued by poor tackling, missed assignments and lackadaisical play, the Browns defense is ranked 32nd in the league.

How bad are the Browns?

They are giving up 414.9 yards per game. They are giving up 170.6 yards rushing and 244.3 passing. Buffalo scored three points against the Browns. Every other team scored at least 23. Three topped 30 points.

All coach Eric Mangini can talk about is intangibles, which won't help an angry fan base.

"What we have to do is get better every day," Mangini said. "Any time you take over a new situation it's a process."


--WR Josh Cribbs continues to prove he is an outstanding kick returner. Cribbs had a crucial fumble against Minnesota, a dropped third-down reception against Buffalo, an interception against Pittsburgh and a fumble against Green Bay. The Browns continue to try to work Cribbs into the offense -- often at their own expense.

--TE Michael Gaines played after signing with the team in midweek and caught two passes for 30 yards. Gaines did yeoman's work with little time to prepare, but he's not going to change the Browns overall fortunes.

--RB Jamal Lewis leads the Browns with 280 yards rushing, but he's averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. Lewis, a veteran, seems like one of the most frustrated players on the team. He's a pro's pro, but his mettle is being challenged.

--CB Eric Wright continues to fall short making open-field tackles. The season started with Adrian Peterson pushing him out of bounds by his helmet. In the most recent game, Wright missed Donald Driver three times as he ran to the end zone at the end of a 71-yard touchdown.

--DE Robaire Smith deserves credit for his 12-tackle performance against Green Bay. Smith has given the Browns everything he has since he signed, even returning sooner than most expected from a torn Achilles' tendon. It's too bad more Browns don't play the way Smith does.


PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Derek Anderson said he's still giving his all and trying, but it sure looked bad against Green Bay. Anderson finished 12-for-29 and his season's quarterback rating is an embarrassing 40.6. The Browns blamed his struggles his first two starts on dropped passes, but they couldn't blame them in the Green Bay loss. The passing game was a debacle, with poor throws, bad reads and amateurish routes that included four go routes against one of the best pair of corners in the league. None connected.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- Running backs averaged 3.1 and 2.3 yards per carry. Jamal Lewis and Jerome Harrison totaled 54 yards. The running game is as almost as bad as the passing game. Why doesn't Harrison play more? On consecutive plays late in the first half, blitzing linebackers made him look silly in pass protection. So the Browns are left trying to use Lewis, who appears to have lost a step, or Harrison, who could get his quarterback lost for the season. Not a pretty picture.

 PASS DEFENSE: F -- Game in and game out, the Browns leave receivers running wide open. Sunday against Green Bay, backup tight end Spencer Havner turned a short catch into a 45-yard touchdown. Later, Donald Driver turned another short catch into a 71-yard score. The defense looked horrible on both plays. Aaron Rodgers had a rating of 155.4, throwing for three touchdowns and 246 yards -- on 20 attempts. The Browns are a very, very bad defense.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- Teams know how to get better against the Browns. Ryan Grant had not been having a great season prior to coming to Cleveland, but he ran for 148 yards on 27 carries, 5.5 yards per carry. As a team, the Packers totaled 202 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Punter Dave Zastudil continues an outstanding season. All four of his punts in the loss to Green Bay were downed inside the 20, giving him 25 for the season. Fourteen of his last 18 punts have been downed inside the 20. But this summarizes the Browns in a nutshell. The team's highlights swirl around the team's punter.

COACHING: F -- If Eric Mangini truly believes his message is getting through to his players he might be deluding himself. The Browns played without passion, with little effort. Once they fell behind 14-3 in the second quarter the entire atmosphere and mood around the team sunk, as if the game were lost. The team makes the same errors week after week (see the pass defense), keeps forcing round pegs into square holes (Josh Cribbs at receiver) and does little to help the offense (four go routes against strong man-to-man corners). The Browns look, play, act and carry themselves like a very bad football team.

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