Every week, I try to reach as far as I can into the bag of optimism for the Cleveland Browns. The result usually predicts the Browns to still lose by two possessions every week. Where does the level of optimism come in? It comes in the fact that for some reason, I keep on picking the Browns to break out on offense with at least 17 points. The facts indicate I should be projecting otherwise. Out of the nine games the Browns have played this season, the team has scored six points or less in six of those games. Over the last three games, the Browns have a combined nine points.
I guess the problem is that I just can't imagine an NFL offensive coordinator topping himself week after week with a more putrid gameplan. I also can't imagine that after having drafted two wide receivers in the second round that neither of them has developed very well this season. I also can't imagine that our top two quarterbacks are considered jokes in the league after we had seriously thought a year or two ago that either one of them could've been dealt for first- to second-round draft picks.
Last week, I had three keys that the Browns needed to follow on offense to see more efficiency from Quinn at the quarterback position. Let's see how those keys worked out:
- Trust the Protection (FAIL): Quinn was sacked four times against the Ravens. Granted, the game plan was bad, but the same issues that plagued Quinn earlier in the season -- not looking very comfortable in the pocket when he did have time, continued against the Ravens. Although the playcalling didn't seem to call for downfield routes, there were a few instances in which Quinn certainly could have taken some shots on third down. Instead, he ducked at the sign of pressure and took the sack.
- First Down Passing (FAIL): This is unofficial, but I have the Browns down with having 13 runs and 10 pass attempts in first down situations. A good percentage of those passes came late in the fourth quarter though and don't reflect our focus on running the ball. There did seem to be a few more mixing up of the playcalling (minimally though) on which downs to call pass or run plays. Since we were so inept in execution though, this category gets a big "fail" as well.
The Screen Play (FAIL): I hope Brian Daboll and Brady Quinn didn't read DBN and think "gotcha, throw it high at the line of scrimmage to Mike Furrey." I believe we tried to run the screen play twice, both times leading to poor results.
If we can't accomplish anything different over our bye week, how can I have faith in our offense against any NFL franchise? Some might argue that the Detroit Lions haven't been much of a franchise as of late, but there's a reason that 84% of users are picking them to win against the Browns this week -- it's because although they might still be "a joke" in terms of competition, they aren't playing some of the most pathetic football you'll ever witness at this level.
So, will I say "GO BROWNS!!!" at the conclusion of tomorrow's game thread still? Of course. But with how Daboll (FAIL) and the offense (FAIL) has played, predicting success against the Lions is bound to end up with fans seeing the same product they've seen all season: nothing.