Rich's Rant: Pointing The Finger of Blame

Rich says Mangini's sideline anger was misdirected as yet another inept and impotent offensive performance punctuates yet another embarrassing loss...

Browns coach Eric Mangini yelled at the wrong coach.

When the Baltimore Ravens scored the game's first points on a Ray Rice 13-yard run early in the second half Monday night, Mangini was upset because the Cleveland defense was caught unprepared on the play.

The Ravens' hurry-up offense surprised the Browns' defense and Mangini, who knows a thing or two about defense, made his displeasure known to coordinator Rob Ryan is a demonstrative way.

Repeating . . . he yelled at the wrong coach.

Ryan's effective defense made the Baltimore offense look almost as bad as Cleveland's throughout most of the evening.. The Ravens looked confused with the defensive coordinator's multiple looks.

If it hadn't been for Ryan's defense, the Browns would never been in a position to make a comeback in what turned out to be a 16-0 loss. Wait a minute. That's not right. This team is incapable of making a comeback.

No, the coach Mangini should have been yelling at is offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, the man responsible for designing the worst and most impotent offense the National Football League has seen in 50 years. Maybe more.

Two weeks to prepare for this one and the best the Cleveland offense can muster is 2.6 yards a play? The deepest penetration is the Baltimore 45-yard line? Only four of the 61 snaps in Ravens' territory?

Just when we think the Cleveland offense has bottomed out, that it couldn't get any worse, it yanks this stinker out of the helmet. One can only imagine what the practices must have been like the last two weeks.

It's gotten so bad, the crowd goes crazy every time the Browns register a first down. That was 10 times in three very long hours against the Ravens. How pathetic is that?

The Browns have played nine games this season and scored just 78 points. They have failed to score a touchdown in six of those outings and have just five offensive touchdowns in their last 15 games going back to last season. Those numbers are beyond embarrassing.

It can't be easy for the Browns' defense, which played arguably its best game of the season against the Ravens, to go out on the field knowing the offense has practically no chance of scoring. They need to pitch shutouts in order to have a chance to win.

Only one man to blame for that. And that's Daboll, the one constant as the Browns plumb the depths of futility. Makes no difference who's under center. This offense is amateurish.

And this time, a national television audience witnessed what Browns Nation has had to suffer with the last nine weeks. Even Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden in the ESPN booth had trouble fathoming just how awful the Cleveland offense performed.

Gruden, who knows a thing or two about offense, watched as the Browns flailed harmlessly and aimlessly when they had the ball. Someone apparently neglected to mention to him that this offense doesn't play the game of football the way other teams do.

Midway through the third quarter, Gruden said, almost hopefully, "The longer you let Cleveland hang around, you're in trouble." And no, he wasn't joking. It was obvious at that point he was watching Cleveland operate with the ball for the first time. Trouble wasn't even in the same Zip code.

What Jaworski and Gruden should do now is take the tape from this one and use it as a primer on how not to play the game of offensive football.

The thinking was that with the bye creating a two-week window to prepare for this game, the Cleveland offense would somehow come alive with Brady Quinn back under center. That thinking was flawed.

Derek Anderson's awful quarterbacking the last month is the only reason Quinn was back in the lineup. Mangini really had no choice but to switch back to him. And his performance against the Ravens served only to justify the notion that the Browns do not have a solid quarterback around whom they can plan their future.

And no, Quinn's poor performance was not the result of a terrific Ravens defense. That defense is not nearly the intimidating force it was as recently as last season.

As it turned out, Quinn's best shot of the evening was the cheapie he took at Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs' knee in the third quarter following his second interception.

You also have to question Daboll's judgment on the last play of the game. With five seconds left, he called a hook and lateral from the Cleveland 35 in hopes of accomplishing who knows what. Must have been some secret 16-point play only he and Mangini knew about. And why was Mangini still wearing his headset at the time? He had to have known the game was over at that point.

Trent Dilfer of ESPN perhaps summed it up best after the game. "I've played on some bad offenses, but this is the worst offense I've ever seen," he said. Can't argue with that.

Next up, the vaunted Detroit Lions in what could be the battle for the No. 1 selection in next April's college football draft. At least the Lions can score touchdowns.


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