The Browns are down to their final game, skidding toward their eighth season of double-digit losses in 11 years despite winning their last three games. They will close out the season Sunday in a home game against Jacksonville.
Big Show, Big Broom?
On a grander scale, they have one more chance to impress new team president Mike Holmgren. Holmgren's role has not been spelled out yet, but even if he retains Eric Mangini as head coach, it's a foregone conclusion Holmgren will be shaping the roster. Thirty-two players on the current roster were not on the team at the end of 2008.
The question is, will Holmgren, also known as The Big Show, take a big broom to the Browns roster?
"He's not here yet, but obviously we hired him," Derek Anderson said before the Browns played the Raiders. "I think it's an audition for everybody."
Anderson is under the microscope as much as anybody. He did not expect to play again this season after playing in five games when Brady Quinn was benched and then losing his job, but Quinn injured his left foot Dec. 20 on a 24-yard run in Kansas City and won't play again this season.
Whether Holmgren decides to trade Anderson in the offseason -- some team always needs a quarterback, starting with the Rams, the only team in the league with just one victory -- or whether Holmgren decides D.A. is a keeper could depend on how Anderson finishes. He was 8 of 17 for 121 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against the Raiders.
"I want a job next year," Anderson said.
The offense has a different look than the first time Anderson was the quarterback. Mangini switched to the no-huddle during the week he switched to Quinn, which corresponded with the bye Nov. 8. Receivers started catching the ball better and the run offense improved. The run offense is a by-product of the no-huddle and improved receivers.
Anderson used the no-huddle in training camp, but for some reason Mangini mothballed it until desperation and a 1-7 record at the bye forced his hand. It would seem the no-huddle would work for a rhythm passer such as Anderson; he could nail a receiver deep or, if he throws a bad pass, orchestrate the next play and not take time to stew about the clinker. While beating the Raiders he took a sack or threw the ball away rather than throw a risky pass.
The chief beneficiary of the improved run offense has been Jerome Harrison. Harrison rushed for 286 yards in Kansas City and 148 on 38 carries against the Raiders. He is another player out to impress Holmgren because his contract is up after this season. He would be a restricted free agent without a new collective bargaining agreement. Holmgren would have to decide whether to tender him an offer. No one else on the roster is capable of being the featured back.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 -- The Browns will close the season with four straight victories if the beat Jacksonville. They haven't won their last four games since 1986.
TRENDING: Floyd Womack has anchored right tackle while John St. Clair mends from an ankle injury.
--RB Jerome Harrison has rushed for 434 yards in his last two games.
--LB Matt Roth had 1.5 sacks, giving him four since the Browns claimed him on waivers on Nov. 25.
--QB Derek Anderson's passer rating vs. Oakland was 90.6. It was 36.2 before the game.
--CB Eric Wright sealed the game with his third interception with 2:49 to play.
--WR Brian Robiskie caught two passes and then left the game with an ankle injury.
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