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December 5, 2011 - Zach Baker
The Browns have been horrible this season.
So they almost beat the Bengals in Cincinnati last week. So what?
Nobody in white and Orange had a good game Sunday. The Ravens were better than Cleveland in every aspect. And it looked like the Browns didn't belong on the same field as Ray Rice, who gashed the Browns so badly he reminded me of Heidelberg's Germany Woods against D-III defenses.
I think Cleveland General Manager Tom Heckert drafts well. But Cleveland can't bridge the gap by merely outdrafting the Ravens and the Steelers. Those two teams are too far ahead, too strong of organizations.
It's times like these I find myself wishing some team would have just moved to Cleveland instead of being an expansion franchise. Yeah, it would have hurt another city, but I imagine the people there would have gotten over it.
Here are five things I think about the Browns:
1. We still don't know about quarterback Colt McCoy. He had played well in recent games, but he didn't play well Sunday. The drops of the receivers were a big reason. But McCoy didn't help himself with a number of bad decisions. I worry about his arm strength, not his toughness. He has a lot of things working for him. But he also doesn't.
2. You can't win with these receivers. Greg Little can't catch. Jordan Norwood has showed promise, but then he fumbles and I find myself screaming at the TV. Josh Cribbs has been my favorite player since he arrived in 2005, but he's not a receiver in his own mind, and it shows. Ben Watson and Evan Moore, tight ends, are supposed to be big receivers in this offense. Watson dropped a key pass, and Moore has had a dismal season. The Browns have two first round picks in April's draft. They need to use one on the best receiver available.
3. Jabaal Sheard is a beast on the defensive line. He, Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin have been good. And yet, the run defense has been awful, and these guys can't be excused completley. Sheard is 22 years old. I think he could be really good for a long time. But the linebackers and defensive backs aren't good enough either, save Joe Haden and D'Qwell Jackson. They need plenty of help.
4. Hey, no long snapping issues. Cool.
5. Is this Phil Dawson's last season in Cleveland? Probably. I can't see the Browns franchising him again. In a strange way, I hope he leaves, so this good guy can kick in another playoff game. Phil may be in his 50s before the Browns make the playoffs again.