The Cleveland Browns march to 0-16 thread

Holy shit do they suck.

They can’t suck more than last year’s Lions, can they?

I think they can. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more putrid offense in my life.

Every time they cut to the Browns game today for a highlight and the Browns were on offense you knew a pick was coming.

Hey Jets fans: was Mangini’s offense always this drab and unimaginative?

I already want him gone.

Ah yes, but the Lions didn’t achieve the level of failure with just a putrid offense. They had a inept defense, an ability to commit clutch, game ruining penalties, one of the worst road records of any professional sports teams in any sport, and years of poor draft choices and management. They seized defeat from the jaws of victory with a skill that few can manage.

Don’t ever underestimate the value of luck in sports. Bounces ,tips ,fumbles bouncing right ,and all that stuff matter a lot.

There is currently a winless team in 6 of 8 divisions, with the NFC South having two pending Monday Night’s Cowboys-Panthers game.

The Rams and Bucs are looking just as bad as the Browns.

I think the Bucs will turn things around. I’m not so sure about the Redskins or Raiders even they both have bright spots on defense. They look just awful so far.

The spread was 13.

In dog points.

That’s dawg points, Sigma, not dog.

There’s one comfort to being a Browns fan: We know, with absolute certainty, that our team has hit its nadir. They will never, ever do any worse than the did in 1997 or 1998.

The Raiders are doing their best to challenge for that title. At least the Browns have a quarterback who has exceeded a quarterback rating of 50 this season.

Thing is, I believe that if the Raiders actually had a competent QB they’d have the potential to be downright good on offense. There have been lots of opportunities for big plays and production.

I’m not sure the Browns are just a QB away.

If the Raiders had Derek Anderson at QB they’d be a decent team no doubt. Even with two young receivers they look pretty good, very good D, decent running attack. I don’t know what the Browns’ problem is. They looked to be making great strides a few seasons ago. Solidified several position, made a great signing in Shaun Rogers. And then…collapsed. I don’t know what happened to them.

I agree with this, essentially. The Browns will win 2-5 games this year. I don’t really care, to be honest - winning 1 or 6 doesn’t make much difference to me. 7 is the minimum for being non-horrible in my view. I’d have to look at the draft prospects to figure out if I wanted a pick in the top 3, but generally with the abusrd rookie contracts I want to avoid it. Then again, who knows what will come next year with the potential uncapped year or a new CBA with rookie restrictions.

The Browns defense actually isn’t bad. Yes, I know, you’re chuckling. In the first half of the Minnesota game when the game was still a real game, it was close. They held Peterson to less than 25 yards running at the half. They were stuffing him in the backfield, dominating the line of scrimmage, etc.

Then we had a sequence in the second half where the defense got the ball back for the offense, Quinn goes out and throws a pick and the defense is back on the field. Finally they either stop them or the other team scores (can’t remember), the offense gets the ball back, and Quinn comically fumbles the ball in an unforced way. The defense had almost no rest in the second half, and the game was getting out of reach - that’s when you suddenly see AP blowing big runs - both because they were tired, and because they were trying to strip the ball rather than tackle him. The analysis from that game is “ha ha, Browns defense sucks, they gave up 180 yards to AP!” but the reality is that they were very good when they had a reasonable amount of rest and the game was still in reach.

Similar deal with the Denver game the next week. The first half they played well. But they got worn down, and when they saw the offense unable to even put up a touchdown against Denver, I think they just sort of sunk and stopped busting their ass.

Third game rolls around, we start off with the keystone cops routine on offense, and they just say “ah, fuck it” and play half assed all game.

I feel bad, they’re easily a middle of the pack defensive unit capable of pulling out a number of game changing plays, but their spirit is crushed by the historic ineptitude on offense.

It’s pretty strange. The “great strides” were somewhat illusory with some spirited play combined with an easy schedule, but granted, they were far better than they are now.

The defense is better than it was in 2007, so it’s the offense that has regressed ridiculously far in this time. Here are some of the major problems:

We tried to cash in on Winslow before his knee fell off, and probably also because Mangini didn’t like him. Problem is - especially if you’re going to have Brady Quinn at quarterback, you can really use the guy with glue for hands for an outlet. There’s no real receiving threat besides Edwards on the team now and he gets double or triple covered.

The right side of the O-line has gone unaddressed for 2 years. We got by with some competant veterans in 2007, but they’ve been injured/retired and we restocked them with incompetant veterans. The Browns have the best left tackle/left guard combo in the league, and a highly rated first round center prospect - but they have utter garbage at RG and RT. It’s a gaping hole. We can’t run, we can’t pass block - the line just caves in.

Derek Anderson’s flukey great season was the primary reason for all the excitement in 2007. There were other factors - the O-line played great, Jamal looked at times like he was the Jamal of 04, and Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow bailed Anderson out of so many bad passes it was nuts. That, and the players sort of mutinied against the coaching staff and sort of ran the show - and since Crennel was a giant anchor dragging down the team, this was an improvement. A big part of the regression between 2007 and 2008 was that in 2007 the team excelled despite Crennel but the owner/GM looked at the results as proof that Crennel was competant and removed his lame duck status and gave him greater control, which he then used to drag down the team again.

There has never been a town that has so desperately wanted to run a 24 year old pro bowl quarterback than Cleveland fanbase did after 2007 season. Anderson is extremely bipolar - he’ll rack up a drive with passes that will utterly wow you, and then throw the dumbest interception you’ve ever seen. He has enough flaws that there’s some serious question as to how good a quarterback he can be. But he’s young and had a chance to get better. Which may have been the case, except… the Cleveland fans didn’t view him as the guy who gave them an exciting season and the best quarterbacking they’ve had in a decade. They saw him as the guy who was holding back the Golden Boy, the hometown kid, first round draft pick pretty boy who is undoubtedly the next Joe Montana. We know Anderson is flawed, yet we haven’t seen Quinn’s flaws yet - ergo, Quinn is awesome and clearly better, we should cut or trade Anderson. A huge portion of the fanbase thought this way. A minority hoped he’d get injured so Golden Boy would get his chance to shine. It’s interesting seeing the different reactions now, by the way - they spent years convincing themselves that Quinn would be the greatest thing ever, and having reality smack them in the face gets all sorts of reactions.

So anyway, Anderson gets concussed in the preseason of 2008 and he’s clearly suffering mentally for it. Crennel thinks that Anderson gives the team the best chance to win, so he wants to keep him in there. But he’s worried that if Quinn gets in there, you could never remove him - the fan backlash would be enourmous. So he plays an injured Anderson who looks like crap. Towards the 3rd or 4th game, Anderson is getting over his concussion and his missed practice time and is starting to look good again - but now the season is swirling around the drain and the fans are all demanding Quinn… so Crennel starts him. Yep - the dumbest possible move - keeping his potentially promising backup QB on the bench when the starter is hurt, and then when the starter finally starts getting healthy again and shows improvement NOW he yanks him for the backup.

Shortly after, both QBs get injured, and we’re down to Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski as the quarterbacks for the last 6 weeks and it’s just an ugly mess.

So that brings us to this year. QB is an open competition, and neither QB gets full reps with the starting squad. Mangini doesn’t even announce his starting QB - it was a big secret to throw off Minnesota in week 1, you see. He only told the QBs themselves who would be starting a few days before that. So neither QB is too well practiced in this new system. That hurt the potential to hit the ground running for both.

This situation seemed to clearly call for a veteran offensive coordinator, but Mangini brings in the Jets QB coach to run things, and so far he seems incompetant. It’s hard to say for sure - the playcalling looks great when it works, and terrible when it doesn’t. But he’s had some really questionable decisions, like planning the running game around draws against the Vikings, and some bizarre offensive calls, like yesterday when they ran a QB sneak right up the middle on a first and 10 (???). You can’t see all the routes from the TV feed, but often the route designs are questionable - guys who are the 2nd read on a 3rd and 8 play running 4 yards out and hitching, that sort of thing.

Quinn was damaged somehow or something by the coaching staffs he’s played under, because every time he plays he looks worse than the time before. A great preseason his rookie year, a pretty decent few starting games in his second year, and utter garbage in his third. He used to be confident and have the sort of air of leadership you want your quarterback to have, but now he’s hesistant and so afraid to make a mistake that he ends up making tons. He’s certainly not in a good position to succeed with the gaping hole of suck on the right side of the O-line and no receivers, but he’s sure doing a poor job anyway.

There’s turmoil in the locker room - Mangini came in with an ultra hard ass, weird mind games style of coaching that keeps everyone suspicious and not quite knowing where they stand. A lot of the players resent it. I suspect some bought into it, figuring they’d give it a try - but now that the team is coming apart we may be looking at mutiny.

There are so many things going bad at once that it’s hard to say what causes what. It’s a mess. They should’ve pulled Schottenheimer out of retirement to get this team’s ass into gear.

I agree with pretty much everything you said, SenorBeef. Quinn looks antsy and indecisive in the pocket, and the playcalling has been totally vanilla. Against Minnesota they did a decent job committing to the run, but I don’t think they ran a single play-action pass in the first half. Every 2nd down was the same Jamal Lewis off-tackle run. I’m also not convinced that Cribbs should be the second receiver. Dude’s a beast, but I don’t think he has receiver instincts. They’d be better just playing him on a handful of gadget plays.

I would also mention the Browns’ ownership, worst in the division (yes, worse than the Bengals; Mike Brown is at least involved with his team). Randy Lerner only seems interested in his team every 4 or 5 seasons, at which point he brings in new people to scrap everything and start over. Look at how Mangini was hired. After the Jets fired him, Lerner interviewed him the very next day in New York. I’m betting Lerner was sitting his New York penthouse, heard the news, and thought “Hey, I’ve heard of that guy. Didn’t they call him Mangenius or something? They wouldn’t call him that if he wasn’t totally smart. I think I’ll make him the coach.”

Speaking of the Mangenius, I love this quote about going for the FG yesterday when they were down 27-0:

Give me a fucking break. The only thing you were trying to do is to put meaningless points on the board so that this game would only be an ass-whupping on your resume instead of a shutout.

I can’t wait to see TMQ tomorrow and see what Easterbrook says in response to that quote from Mangini.

Mangini hits me a terrible, terrible head coach.

Try him for a head coach. 0-16 is harder to achieve than you might think. The stars have to be properly mis aligned. You have to get a lot of bad breaks and let the other team capitalize on them. Bad calls and dropped passes have to be part of your playbook. I remember back when the Lions were like that. Now we are a powerhouse on the way up.

The thread title needs to be corrected. It should read, “Browns trip and stumble to 0-16.” Marches are an organized and coordinated thing, you see, and nothing about the Cleveland Browns looks to be either organized or coordinated, dating back to to when Modell fired Schottenhiemer.