|GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-2)||WEEK 7||CLEVELAND BROWNS (1-6)|
Embarrassed in our own home stadium. Before the season started, I was hoping that we could make it to the end of the season without seeing fans with bags over their heads. We didn't meet that goal; heck, we couldn't even make it to the half-way point of the season to reach that point.
As goofy as Mangini sounded in his post-game press conference, he was right about the things the team needs to work on:
(On the style of play he is hoping to get from his players every week)- "Aggressive, intense, tough, physical, finishing, being able to respond to a successful play that our opponent has and come out and create a successful play ourselves, consistency, execution, communication. Good, solid, sound, fundamental, tough football. Physical football. Intense football. That’s what I want every week. That’s what I want every single week. We’ll make mistakes and there will be plays that aren’t executed as well as they should [be] or things that we can do better, but if you play at that level every single week, you give yourself the best chance to succeed."
In summary, we need to work on everything. For a "veteran" head coach, shouldn't we be much further along at this point?
Let's get to the review of the game...
WEEK 7 - GREEN BAY PACKERS VS. CLEVELAND BROWNS (COMPLETE GAME REVIEW)
GOAT OF THE GAME:
- Derek Anderson: On the Browns' second series of the game, I was really impressed with Derek Anderson. He made quick decisions to the right players, and his passes were thrown at chest-level with a little bit of speed taken off of them. And then...the timeout came. After that, it was a complete meltdown at the quarterback position. Fumbled snap. Forcing the ball to a triple-covered receiver at the goal line. Horrible accuracy. Anderson should have lost his job with this effort, but Mangini said that's not happening.
- I could list a lot more goats, but then I'd have nothing left to talk about in the "general notes" section.
AWARDING GAME BALLS:
- Michael Gaines: That's right. A tight end we just signed as a backup while Robert Royal and Steve Heiden are out gets the game ball. All he had to do was catch 2 passes for 30 yards too. Both times he caught the ball, it helped us move closer to the end zone. Both catches were ones that Royal probably would've dropped too. Gaines' second catch was pretty spectacular, as the big man reached underneath and through his defender to haul in the pass while falling to the ground.
One Wildcat Play: Two years ago, the Miami Dolphins were the worst team in football. Last year, they improved upon that because they had the coaching staff that was creative enough on offense to implement and stick with the Wildcat formation. They didn't have the pieces to the puzzle at receiver to be a traditional offense, so they utilized whatever assets they had. It paid off, and it didn't even matter who was in the Wildcat either! It worked!
Mangini should've known that first hand from playing the Jets twice. We saw some more promise against the Steelers last week in using the formation more, but this week we only saw it once. Mangini claimed it was because we fell behind to quickly. I can understand that if you're down 21-0 in the first quarter, but half-way through the second quarter, it was still a 7-3 game. Our offense is clearly struggling, and for whatever reason we're failing to use our next best weapon after the departures of Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards.
- Stop Rolling to the Left! The only reason Derek Anderson should be rolling to the left is if it's a designed play, or if he steps ahead of the protection because the pass rusher was angled into the backfield. Instead, we again got to see Anderson roll to his left when Joe Thomas had his defender dominated.
- Cundiff Still Perfect: Kicker Billy Cundiff still hasn't missed a kick since joining the Browns, which is pretty remarkable given his lack of accuracy historically. He shanked his 22-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter, but it got a lucky bounce off the upright and still went through. Can you believe that? We were up 3-0 in the second quarter.
- Smart Football: The Packers played smart football against the Browns (although it was pretty easy to begin with). Case in point: as soon as the Browns brought S Abram Elam on a safety blitz, Rodgers immediately fired the ball to slot receiver Donald Driver for a 70+ yard touchdown. Compare that to Anderson, who always points at the defense as if he recognizes something, only to see him throw it into double coverage or see a running back run the ball right into a stack of defenders.
- Missing Edwards: Considering the lack of production we're seeing from the receiver position, I'm certainly missing the threat that Braylon Edwards offered. Brian Robiskie was targeted minimally and was held without a catch, and I don't even remember seeing Chansi Stuckey take the field. Mohamed Massaquoi was targeted several times, but the passes were usually way off.
- Lack of a Pass Rush: The lack of a pass rush was more embarrassing against the Packers than any other game this season. What has changed that in Week 1, we were pressuring Brett Favre early and often, but that in Week 7, we can't even lay a finger on Aaron Rodgers, one of the most-sacked quarterbacks in the league? We're too "average" on the defensive line with no youth to speak of. I don't think Shaun Rogers is "quitting" on the team, but I can't imagine he's giving it his all when everyone else around him is playing like crap. I don't blame him, because all of his work usually goes for nothing when other guys are getting dominated.
- Patience With Maiava: I can't jump too much on Kaluka Maiava because the only way to see if he can be a starter in the future is to let him get some reps now. There was a noticeable dropoff from D'Qwell Jackson though, and it showed when Ryan Grant gashed the Browns' on the ground all game long. Although it was nearly impossible to do, I believe the announcers also commented that Maiava was the man who came over late when Elam blitzed on Driver's big touchdown catch and run. Maiava was also flagged for a personal foul.
- Rogers' Tripping Penalty: Can someone offer clarification on how Shaun Rogers was called for a tripping penalty? I'm not saying he didn't do it, but it seems unusual for a defensive player to do that, and I couldn't find the foul when they showed a replay of it.
- Cribbs Fumbles Again: I said this earlier in the season: the Browns need to stop putting Joshua Cribbs into situations where he's going to catch the ball and get hit right afterward. He's a catch and run receiver. He's still to blame for fumbling the ball on his short catch, but the play doesn't utilize his strengths to begin with.
Kicked Ball Out of Bounds: The Packers kicked the ball out of bounds twice. That removes the chance for some excitement from Cribbs, but it does give us great field position, something that the contending teams in the NFL would take full advantage of. Instead, we punt the ball and watch the opposition drive 90 yards in a play or two.
- Too Much Regression: As bad as Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson have been this season, I don't believe this is the best that either of them have to offer. Both quarterbacks showed a lot more under the previous regime -- why have they regressed instead of improved? Sure, they've lost "weapons" on offense, but that's not what the problem is. The accuracy, decision-making, and overall confidence are just down the drain.
- Case in Point: In the third quarter, Derek Anderson fired the ball...right to Charles Woodsen. Even Woodsen looked surprised, because the ball was thrown to his outside shoulder and the receiver he was covering had already broken on the inside, pretty well ahead of him.
- Losing Streak at Home: The last time the Browns won a game at home was last season's "WTF" performance against the New York Giants. That was the last Browns game that I personally attended. I might be attending the Monday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens. If we win, something fishy will be going on...
- Poor Officiating Decision: The officiating wasn't really a problem this week, but it didn't make sense for the officials upstairs to not call for a booth review when Ryan Grant lost the ball heading into the end zone just after the two-minute warning in the first half. The replay might not have been conclusive enough to overturn the call, but it seemed like enough to warrant a review. Boo.
- St. Clair's Scuffle: When John St. Clair was mentioned on the Browns' first offensive series for getting into a "scuffle", it was the first time I've heard his name mentioned since Week 2 or Week 3 (which is a good thing, I suppose). Since St. Clair used to play for the Chicago Bears, I wonder if his past rivalry with the Packers had anything to do with the early push-fest.
- Put in the Rookies: If we're going to lose in a blowout, then I at least want to have the rookies gain some experience. That includes playing Jerome Harrison, David Veikune, and Coye Francies more. Francies was inactive again, and Veikune was only seeing reps on special teams it appeared. It's smelling like Crennel all over again.
Brownies: I couldn't find anything positive about this game except Gaines' performance, although TE Greg Estandia also had two short catches...I'm worried about blackouts occurring later in the season...the Browns gave up another big run to a quarterback, this time to Aaron Rodgers for 19 yards...I can't believe I picked the Browns to score 28 points in this game, although I still correctly picked us to lose...I didn't mention the running backs for a reason -- they were a non-factor.
The Packers fans had a lot to celebrate about in Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Up next, the Browns will head to Chicago to face the Bears. The Bears were atrocious against the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday, but they know they are a better team than that. If Jay Cutler gets time, he will rip a defense apart. Considering the lack of pressure we're generating, it looks like it'll be another long day for our defense.