Lions - Browns Q&A - Part 2

Bernies Insiders magazine's Barry McBride answers questions from Lions' fans regarding the Browns. Need some prep before Sunday's contest? Check it out the Q&A session!

How Gary Baxter is filling for Anthony Henry? Who is the better coverage and tackling corner?

The general consensus is that the Browns filled in behind Henry's exit with a player of roughly equal caliber. Baxter looked bad a couple of times during pre-season, but as the season has progressed he hasn't been burned in coverage often and opposing teams tend to throw more towards Daylon McCutcheon, who is smaller than Baxter. Both corners have been solid so fa, with McCutcheon having one of his better seasons.

The cornerback position doesn't get a lot of focus in coverage of the team, because the biggest challenges for the Browns have been in the front seven, which is not only undermanned, but still adjusting to the 3-4 defense.

Would you rather see Joey or Jeff???

I'm not sure it matters to the Browns, who have been burned by Harrington frequently during pre-season games over the last couple of years. From the perspective of a lot of fans, they may remember that and Garcia's lack of effectiveness last year, and prefer to see the latter.

The key for the Browns is trying to generate some pass rush, which they've largely failed to do in 2005, and protecting against cutback runs which burned them against Chicago and Baltimore. If they can't do those things, it doesn't matter which QB is playing – they made a below-average QB in Anthony Wright look good last week because of the lack of pass rush. If they can't put some pressure on the QB, either Harrington or Garcia may have a better game than either has had in recent memory.

In the offseason -- many Browns fans expressed a positive feeling about Harrington. I wondered -- would the Browns potentially be interested in Harrington if he's available in 2006 (as a cut FA) (Harrington is 6.5 years younger than Dilfer)?

It's doubtful, simply because the focus will be on local hero Charlie Frye as the Browns quarterback of the future. He looked superb at times in pre-season, and the Browns feel they got a third-round steal in the youngster from Akron. There will be a QB competition between Frye and Dilfer next season, and it's most likely that third QB won't get a lot of opportunity.

Who is better? Jim Brown or Barry Sanders?

In our opinion, Jim Brown is the best running back to ever play the game. Like Sanders, there's that always intriguing "what-if" concerning his sudden retirement, but we would probably continue to defend Jim Brown as the best all-time NFL running back even under painful physical torture.

(What would you expect a Browns site to say?)

It's been very encouraging this year to see Jim Brown get involved with the Browns organization and work with players again.

Do you expect a better game out of the Cleveland offense this week? Who will be the number 2 reciever since Bryant is the #1 now?

The #2 receiver is Dennis Northcutt, without a doubt.

We expect to see a better game out of the Browns, if for no other reason than the coaching staff seems to want to re-commit themselves to the running game. The Browns offensive line is a better group of run blockers than pass blockers, and Trent Dilfer isn't the type of quarterback who should be putting the ball up 35 times a game as he has been.

New OC Maurice Carthon has started to get some subtle criticism for giving up on the run so early – the Browns have a good downhill runner in Droughns who has a nice average per carry and is able to get positive yardage even in tough situations. The team has shown a tendency to empty the backfield on third-and-short, which is another strategy which hasn't been successful and may be abandoned somewhat this weekend.

Prior to Suggs breaking his hand, was he on track to unseat Droughns???

Not at all. In fact, Green was still listed as #2 on the depth chart even when Suggs was at full health. Crennel doesn't seem to be fired up about Suggs, despite his talent, and one has to assume that is because Suggs has been hurt twice in Crennel's brief tenure here. Droughns, on the other hand, has been an effective performance. If Suggs is going to get carries, he's going to have to get healthy, stay healthy, and take advantage of poor performances by the other two backs. Even Green looked good last week in a brief appearance against the Ravens.

Do you know how crazy Braylon is going to drive you by catching the circus ball but dropping the puppy?

Expectations are high for Edwards, and his injuries have been yet another frustration for a fan base tired of first-round underperformers.

Still, there's a lot of excitement about what Edwards can do, particularly since it's not been a secret that he was really #1 on the Browns draft board. During the pre-season, Edwards made an acrobatic catch for a touchdown late in a game for the win, and that got a lot of people excited. He also caught a pass across the middle against the Packers and took it to the house, pulling away from the Packers secondary.

Garcia was sent packing for Dilfer. Was the feeling in Cleveland that Garcia was washed up?

Perhaps not washed up, but not right for the Browns offense either last year or this year. With a lot of experience in the faster-paced West Coast Offense and his CFL background, there was some criticism inside Berea that Garcia had a tendency to bail out on plays too quickly. The Robiskie offense really lacked an identity, but it wasn't anything close to what Garcia played in previously.

Garcia also found himself the subject of various off-field rumors and stories, some of which surrounded his girlfriend, and resulted in televised news reports that could not have made the organization happy. That, and being considered a reminder of the Butch Davis era, was enough for Garcia to be allowed to find a new team this off-season.

After missing last year due to injury has the safety Jones progressed enough to be a pro bowler someday?

It's still way to early to say how Jones' career will turn out. While being a gifted athlete, Jones has made some very easy-to-spot errors both in coverage and on special teams that has earned him some bad notices in 2005. There is also some concern that he's not as fast as he was before the injury.

Next year will be an important one for Jones. He will given some slack for essentially being a rookie and coming back off of injury, but he will need to compete for a starting spot next year and cut back on the mistakes. The Browns also drafted Brodney Pool this year, and most observers would say that he has looked better than Jones so far in 2005.

Seriously though how great is Romeo Crennel? That NE team had 3 of the best coaches period in Crennel, Weis and Belichick and we're stuck with the owner of the hair club for men.

It is far too early to say that he'll be a great coach, but he's certainly a welcome change here in Cleveland. Crennel is really the anti-Butch Davis in that he's very plain-spoken and not prone to the sometimes-absurd spin that Browns fans were subjected to in recent years. Most importantly, the players seem to appreciate his honesty and have bought into his approach and system. Right now, that's a huge plus.
Crennel is still getting a bit of a honeymoon here in Cleveland, and he's being given considerable slack by both fans and the media. At the same time, there is some murmuring that he is a "passive" gameday coach. He's not protested calls that players or the fans might have wanted him to protest, and he has yet to throw the replay flag.

Still, you would be hard-pressed to find many Browns fans or media members who aren't surprised by the team's performance to date, or who feel the Browns made a bad choice in Crennel.

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