Adkins: Cutting Bait

How long will it be before the Cleveland Browns come to the conclusion that their approach on offense is flawed? Will it take this team being recorded in NFL record books as the worse offense of all time? Lane Adkins ponders next steps...

Another week passes and the same discussion about the Cleveland Browns offense ensues.

I've been watching football for a long time, with this season potentially being the longest and most painful of them all. I have never seen a football team as consistently inept on the offensive side of the ball than this Browns team.

It's somewhat understandable the Cleveland offense would struggle early in the season. New players, a new offensive scheme and inexperience at key positions - including the offensive coordinator - would make a slow start close to inevitable.

But, ten weeks into the season, this Browns offense is right where it started, with a zero on the scoreboard.

At this point, one has to seriously look at how Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll factor into the equation.

After having two weeks to gameplan for the Baltimore Ravens, fans could be excused the assumption that the Browns would come out with some renewed vigor -- and an offensive plan.

And "offensive" does indeed describe what as put in motion Monday night. Even the rival Ravens chuckled at times during the contest, as the Browns offense provided little threat and were certain not to pressure the Baltimore defense.

How many times can a professional team run a bubble screen ineffectively? How can a team at the professional level fail to challenge a defense which lines-up eight and nine players in the box on a consistent basis?

Ten weeks... ten weeks... and this is the best this organization can muster against a Baltimore defense that has struggled against the pass throughout the season. The Browns only challenged the Ravens down-field pass defense in the fourth quarter. 

Granted, the Browns coaching staff was concerned about the Ravens big-play ability on the defensive side of the ball and how quickly the complexion of a game can change. There was little doubt the coaching staff had reservations about the Browns ability to contain the pressure coming from the Ravens defense.

Still, rather than attack the Ravens defense, the game-plan called for the shortest passing game imaginable, many resulting in negative yardage completions.

Throughout this disappointing season, patience has been a virtue on offense. Giving the roster's young players time to develop was made sense. But, now, as the season passes the halfway mark, nothing has changed. Rookies continue to play like rookies, the coaching staff displays no sign of support or confidence in those on the playing field.

Unfortunately for Browns fans, the embarrassment continues and there appears to be no saving way anyone covering the team can promise anything but endless debacles in store in the weeks to come. There is no visible sign of progress.

The question is whether team owner Randy Lerner decides the embarrassment has reached a critical stage.

In my opinion, it has, and the right thing to do would be to excuse Daboll from further embarrassment. The same should go for Mangini if he balks at the exit of his offensive coordinator.

There is no reasonable explanation for offensive failure at this level. There is no reason to believe this team is headed in the right direction on the offensive side of the ball.

The head coach has had nearly eleven months to create something positive in Cleveland. And, after eleven months, the product appears no different than the one which was in place as 2008 ended.

I've preached the importance of patience and development, but what is happening is no longer defensible.

For the sake of progress, for the sake of avoiding infamy in the record books, cutting bait appears to be the only recourse.

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