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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Romeo, Romeo

I think a lot of English majors are about to get disappointed.

After watching the first two Cleveland Browns' games this season, one of my fears and thoughts about this team has been confirmed: Romeo Crennel is not a good head coach. As I see it, there are only a few requirements of a coach: Motivate his players; prepare them well for the games (most important); and in-game, he must be able to make good adjustments, call timeouts at the proper time, and manage the clock and score well.

While he seems to be fine with the players, the Browns never seem to be fully prepared. They simply look clueless as to what to do on given plays - there's a difference between getting beaten on a given play or being blocked by a good scheme from the other team (which certainly must be overcome) and being in the completely wrong place or in a bad scheme. Meanwhile, the adjustments are too slow - while the adjustments are often good, they need to recognize faster which plays and schemes the other team is having trouble stopping or moving the ball on and keep using variations of it until the other team stops them.

But the most frustrating times with Crennel have to do with clock management and the score. If you're down 21 with 10 minutes left, you go for it on 4th-and-3 from the 15. You don't kick a meaningless field goal - then kick away! - when you'll still need a field goal, two touchdowns, and a 2-point conversion (which is awfully similar to 4th-and-3!!). His botching of the clock and timeouts last night was incredible, though at least he was smart about ticking the ten seconds off instead of wasting a timeout (note that some of that is on Anderson as well for not just doing it anyway). They should have run up and spiked it with 22 seconds left in the half, then formed a play or two, then taken their timeout if they hadn't scored a TD to kick a FG. At the end of the game, instead of flinging the ball randomly after the sack, spike the ball with a second left and design another Hail Mary. And, most importantly, when you're down 10-3 with less than 4 minutes left at the opponent 27, why the heck would you kick a meaningless field goal which only means that you have to stop the opponent from approximately the same spot as they'll get it after you kick off, then drive about 70 yards to score a touchdown even if you can make that stop?!

Grr. The largest strand of hope for this season lies in the utter lack of any dominant team in the AFC other than the Steelers, whom even a pathetic Browns team somehow managed to stay with despite being seemingly outplayed all game. The Colts barely pulled out a win. The Chargers and Jaguars are 0-2. The Patriots are missing Tom Brady. The Broncos can't play defense, the Titans' starting QB seems to have lost it, and the Bills and Titans are big question marks. If the Browns can get a clue on defense, remember how to move the ball on offense [and not drop passes!], and perhaps rent a brain for Romeo, they can still make a nice run for the playoffs. Last year's Giants started 0-2, too.

Oh, and maybe if Matt Cassell turns out to stink, they can loan Brady Quinn (a Charlie Weis product) to the Pats for a few DBs for the year. How crazy would the idea be? It's mutually beneficial, could pay large dividends for both clubs... think about it!

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