Scouting the Cleveland Browns, Part 1


This week, I’ll be writing a bunch of posts scouting the Browns in anticipation of next Sunday’s game. I figured I’d start by giving my initial take after watching today’s game between the Browns and the Raiders. The Raiders held on to win 24-17, and Cleveland had a legit chance to force overtime when they recovered an onside kick late in the game. The couldn’t get a single first down though, and the game ended with the Raiders in victory formation.

The game wasn’t as close as the score would indicate, and don’t listen to those people who tell you that it was a fake field goal for a TD was all that separated the teams. Oakland had long since gone into ultra-conservative mode, and withdrew into their turtleshell ever further once the lost starting QB Jason Campbell to a broken collarbone. The Raiders led 24-7 when the 4th quarter started, and were obviously just trying to run out the clock and go home.

Here’s some other random notes:

  • There’s something going on between the coaches and RB Payton Hillis. He was pulled, and initial reports were it was a coaches decision. That was later changed, and it was reported he was out with a hamstring injury. Things were complicated further when Hillis returned to the game in the 4th quarter.
  • Colt McCoy has worst arm I’ve ever seen on an NFL QB. He makes Chad Pennington (after all those should surgies) look like he had a cannon for an arm. McCoy struggled to throw the ball 20 yards in the air. It was unreal.
  • Cleveland’s defense was surprisingly decent against the run. Especially late in the game. Granted, everyone knew the Raiders were trying to run the ball, and weren’t going to try and pass with Boller in there, and therefore the Browns had safeties or corners on run blitzes on almost every down. But there is still something to be said for being able to stop the run when you have to.
  • Cleveland’s pass rush disappeared for long stretches of the first half, but was rather effective at other times. I wasn’t paying attention to personnel groups or anything during the game (I’ll look at that when I watch the coach’s tape later this week) so I don’t know what caused the big shift’s in it’s effectiveness.