Browns-Bears: Report Card

Scout.com was somewhat less than inspired by the Browns performance last weekend.

The Browns' quarterback situation remains as muddled as the team in general.

Muddled, in fact, might be too kind a word. The Browns and their quarterbacks are a disaster.

Sunday's 30-6 loss to the Bears included a performance by Derek Anderson that had most observers shaking their heads. Anderson had a passer rating of zero in the first half, when he completed two of nine passes for 13 yards and an interception.

In the second half, Browns receivers fumbled away two of his completions.

"It's ridiculous," Anderson said. "If it's not one guy, it's another guy. If it's not one thing, it's another thing. Obviously we control it, but it's stupid."

Anderson's passer rating is 36.2, and he has two touchdowns compared to nine interceptions. He is averaging 4.4 yards per attempt, which is lower than Brady Quinn averaged (5.3) in his three starts.

Despite a day in Chicago in which he completed six of 17 for 76 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, Anderson stayed in the game until just more than three minutes remained.

When that notion was proposed to team owner Randy Lerner that the quarterback position is a mess, he did not disagree.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Browns released a statement Monday night in response to rumors that general manager George Kokinis had been fired and escorted out of the building earlier in the day.

The statement said, "Cleveland Browns General Manager George Kokinis is no longer actively involved with the organization. In response to rumors and reports that Kokinis was escorted out of the building today, the Browns deny those reports. In the interest of protecting the parties involved we will withhold further comment."

FOXSports.com reported that Kokinis, who joined the team in January along with coach Eric Mangini, had been fired "with cause," leading to speculation that the team will try to make a case for not paying him for the balance of his contract.

--The frustration level of running back Jamal Lewis has grown to the point that he said the way things are going, this probably will be his last season.

"I think this is it," Lewis said. "The way this looks ... I had a good run."

Lewis basically lambasted the entire team and coaching staff when he said he has no idea how the Browns want to win games.

"No, I don't have an understanding," Lewis said. "I just know we're trying to win."

Which Lewis said is the goal of every other team in the league. The key is determining a formula that works, and Lewis said he has not been able to understand the team's approach since training camp started.

"Everybody bought in," he said. "That's when you did have a real clue as to where we were going and what we were trying to do. But then once things start going, week after week after week after week, it seemed like a blur."

--Quarterback Brady Quinn took the high road when asked about his playing time following the game. Quinn refused to second-guess or be critical, merely saying everyone needed to try to help the team.

"All I know is we need to get better as a team," Quinn said.

Quinn returned to the field basically because Derek Anderson had been completely ineffective. In his starts, Anderson completed 29 of 87 passes. In Chicago, he had a zero rating in the first half. In the past two weeks, he had guided the Browns to losses of 31-3 and 30-6.

Despite that, Quinn would not question what had happened to him.

"There's a lot of times in life I'm sure you can look back and ask why," Quinn said. "How's that going to help you in the future?"

GAME NOTES

--RB Jamal Lewis had some good runs against the Bears, as he averaged 4.3 yards on his 16 carries. There were holes for Lewis at times, as the Bears defense struggles against the run without Brian Urlacher. But turnovers kept the Browns from sustaining anything.

--WR Mohamed Massaquoi had a costly fumble at the end of a reception. The Browns had an outside chance to make a game of things in the fourth quarter, but Massaquoi fumbled the ball to the Bears at the Chicago 15-yard-line. It was one of many costly turnovers by the Browns.

--QB Derek Anderson seems to be responsible for turnovers in almost every game he plays. He made a poor handoff to Jamal Lewis that led to a fumble, then threw two interceptions -- the last returned for a touchdown. Anderson's 36.2 rating for the season is largely a result of his nine interceptions.

--LB Kamerion Wimbley had a tough hit on Jay Cutler after a pass. Wimbley put his helmet to the chin of Cutler and sent the Bears QB sprawling. Cutler got up and was bleeding from his tongue. Expect the hit to draw the attention of the league's fine committee.

--WR Brian Robiskie remains a non-factor on the field after being drafted early in the second round. Robiskie has seen his playing time increase, but he has just one catch in eight games for 23 yards. No Browns running back or wide receiver has gotten into the end zone.

--TE Steve Heiden had a costly fumble at the end of a first-down reception. It was emblematic of the game and the Browns' first eight games. Heiden is normally sure-handed and dependable, but even he contributed to a mistake-filled effort.

REPORT CARD VS. BEARS

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- A 0.0 rating for the starting quarterback in the first half summarizes the Browns passing game. Derek Anderson looks like a project instead of a guy who went to the Pro Bowl two years ago. His passes are inconsistent, his fundamentals lost. Were he not on the Browns, there would be no question that he would be benched following the bye week. But since he is on the Browns, Anderson still might get a start in Week 10 against Baltimore.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- There were times the Browns ran well against Chicago. Jamal Lewis and Josh Cribbs both averaged more than 4 yards per carry. Jerome Harrison averaged 3.8. At times, the Browns opened good holes -- especially to the right side behind Rex Hadnot. But turnovers and other poor plays marred the positives, as the Browns could not sustain anything offensively.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- It's hard to tell if the Browns played good pass defense or if the Bears played down to their level. Probably the latter. However, the pass rush on Jay Cutler was better than it's been all season. Though Cutler threw for 225 yards, he did not have a touchdown pass.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Chicago's Matt Forte ran for 90 yards but needed 26 carries to get those yards. The Browns defense seemed to compete a little better in this game. Problem was, the Browns gave up two rushing touchdowns, which gave the Bears more than enough points to win.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C - P Dave Zastudil remains the team's MVP and best player. Zastudil averaged 45.3 yards on his nine punts. Problem is that, again, the analysis of the Browns leads to glowing praise for a punter and nobody else. That's never good. K Phil Dawson returned from injury and had an extra point blocked. That's also not good.

COACHING: F -- The Browns have good coaches, guys who know what they're doing, but the message certainly isn't getting through. Eric Mangini's team looks lost on the field, and it collapses at the slightest sign of adversity. Either this group of players is completely lost, or the coaching staff cannot connect with them. Either way, the coach bears ultimate responsibility for the team, and the Browns go into the bye having lost consecutive games by combined scores of 61-9 and with a 1-7 record overall.


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