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10 on Monday

Posted: 12/17/2012 10:33 AM

10 on Monday 


1)  Not only is it harder to watch a game in a sports bar with all the mindless distractions, but when a female with a Redskins jersey cozies up to you and can't stop talking, it's even worse.  Yes, darlin', I'm married.  And by my stopwatch.... that was 12:45 from "Are you a Browns fan?" (wha... the brown sweater with orange trim made you think I was with the Greene County Pumpkin Growers Association?).  And my wife could care less about football, much less the Browns.  And ya know what?  That's not a bad thing!
Oh, she was okay.  At least she knew better and became more quiet as the Skins were pulling away.  Or she had too many Stellas. 

And really, don't we all have too many Stellas in our lives?

2)  Think of those nature docs where the larvae emerges from its cocoon, starting to reveal the beautiful wings of--SPLAT!  Army boot grinds it into the dirt.

Oh, we were talking about winning three straight, having a mathematical shot at the playoffs and Pat Shurmur earning himself another year as hc?

3)  In the first half, the Browns first and last plays on first down yielded 8 yards (pass to Watson) and 16 yards (Cribbs Wildcat run) respectively. 

Good.

In between those two plays, the Browns executed nine other plays on first down. 

And nine plays netted them a grand total of three yards.

That included five incompletions, two runs of one yard each, and one for a yard loss.

4)  In the first half, the Browns faced eight 3rd down plays.  Six of eight were for nine yards or more.  One was for 5, and the other was third and goal on the one.

Putting yourself in the hole early only makes it worse later on.

5  If I'm Trent Richardson, I'm wondering if it's something I said that makes this team not eager to create any holes.  Yes, he's not hitting them as quickly as is ideal, but the far greater lack of ideal is that holes actually exist.  They don't.  So the runs that are somewhat productive for him become these punishing scrums like the td.  It looks impressive when a large pile is just moved into the end zone.  Plays well on the highlights.  But it's not as fun as when a hole opens and the rb speeds through, or hits a wall and bounces outside.

There was no running game.  No great interest in establishing it, not much interest in executing it, and for this team to then pin its hopes on an aerial attack is a dangerous thing.

5)  The obligatory qb journal entry.  Not a good day, and certainly the beautiful td pass to Benjamin makes the overall stats a bit misleading.  Didn't see what caused the first int, but the second one looked to be both underthrown and well behind the receiver.  The usual mix of accurate and off-kilter short passes, and the art of lofting a ball like a drop in the waste basket is a tough skill that may be years away-- if ever-- from acquiring.
This game certainly did nothing to solidify Weeden as a starter in year two.  It'll be interesting to see how the brain trust regards him, and no doubt they'll be more comfortable with a hc who agrees with their assessment.  The only exception would be is if a well respected candidate tells them "Look, I think he's good and just needs some work."  My thinking is that if said candidate is not impressed, that will be the club's excuse to go after a decent fa qb as the 3-4 year band aid, and invest  in that lower round Kapernick or Cousins in the interim.  It all depends on who the hc sees as pulling their weight in the offense.  They may see Weeden undermined by inexperienced receivers and a square peg schemes, which he [new guy] doesn't employ anyway.  Or he may see Little and Gordon as promising talents who are undermined by the qb who isn't utilizing them sufficiently.

6)  And that's why they review all the scores.  Thought TR made it, but the replay really showed otherwise.  Thankfully he made it in no problem on the next play.  Ya have to get antsy when TJ Ward can't make it a pick-6 or a replay takes a score off the board.  But the Browns did convert both.  Often those plays would just set up fg's.  That's progress.

7)  Ya know, it wasn't until the FOURTH QUARTER that the Browns didn't bite on Cousins bootleg rollout.  The first 10 or so looked like a group tribute to Marquis Smith.  Cousins could have run for 25 yards each time out (well, if it was Weeden, run 8 yards and then slide), but instead threw impressive strikes.

The sad thing was that even when the Browns were looking for the rollout, they simply don't have anyone in their front 7 who can pursue with sufficient speed.

8 )  Cribbs kickoff returns look like the first year he did them... before he had more capable blocking and also developed vision.  Anymore, it looks like he's bound and determined to go full speed, come what may, and hope he can blister the hole before it closes.  And he ends up looking like Wiley Coyote hitting the black covering that looks like a tunnel opening, only to splat against the granite facing.  He's taken some hard shots of late, but still managed to make something out of little on two Wildcat plays.

9)  Down by 10 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter, and the Browns go for it on 4th and 3 at the Redskins 41?  Is Shurmur still trying to make up for his dubious punt call against the Colts?  It's like these guys take criticism for a particular move, then are determined to more than make up for it with completely opposite moves for the rest of their career.
And whenever it's a busted play and Weeden is on the run going to his left (don't slide!!), you just know nothing good is really gonna come from this.

If only Miley Cyrus had played the school slut when she was younger, we could be spared of all these silly attempts at overcompensation.

10)  The usual suspects pin the blame on the usual culprits, or more like they avoid pinning blame on their favs.  Wasn't it a true team effort?  I think so.  No question, Weeden stunk.  So did the running game.  So did the defense just when people were warming up to Jauron making a sum greater than its individual parts.  And one coaching staff made adjustments.  The other was left in the dust.  Sure, Weeden set them up a couple of times, but as the game went on, the Redskins had no trouble marching up and down the field.

However Dawson's pat's looked sharper than Forbath's, so the Browns had that going for them.
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Posted: 12/18/2012 1:53 AM

Re: 10 on Monday 


Always enjoy the writeup, Vark.

Couple points-

     Frostee Rucker has to immediately STOP doing that ridiculous "ripping the shirt open" move every time he's involved in a play behind the LOS. Yo Frosty, your 5-9, just go about your business like a professional.

A decent pickup, but to have that be the marquee FA is insane, in a pathetic way.

     Seems fairly obvious there is dysfunction in the flow of information between players on the field and coaches on the sideline. I'm not into parsing statements, but those that are looking seem to be finding more and more between the lines in comments from TR and Weeden.

In the end, the QB just has to make plays. Throw the ball to the guy that's open. It's the essence of the game. 

Benjamin brought one back 93 yards last week, yet was not included in the return game. How is this possible? Shurmer was lauded for playing Benji and Cribbs together (his genius coming to the fore), but unless I missed it, they totally abandoned that. I love Cribbs, but Benji's the hot hand. 

Shurmer's supposed to be fighting for his life and he leaving arrows in the quiver. If this was 'Nam he would have been fragged ages ago.

You've used that Wile E Coyote analogy with Cribbs before and I always get a smile. The best riffs, you gotta reuse 'em.

Cribbs is better at punt returns (seems like the guy always gets 12 yards or more no matter what) and it seems on kickoffs he will run everything out. 9 yards deep? **** it, I'm going. Maybe it's retaliation for not getting enough reps on offense. How is it that in the Wildcat, everybody in the stadium, including the peanut vendor knows he's going to run forward, and still that crazy SOB more often than not gets some decent yardage?

We have had some terrible coaches. Cribbs is on the downside of his career and has nothing to show for it. Never used properly, just like now with Little (last week he ran from scrimmage successfully, this week, fuggedabodit), Benjamin, etc.

I hear we have this guy Jordan Cameron #84. Nice looking kid, needs to get his teeth fixed. I see him from time to time making a catch and he looks good. Can't they work the ball to him, like past the yard markers? Kid looks like he can run like a deer. Instead they play Alex Smith, who likes to block because its the only way he can make a living in the NFL.

I'm not leaving the farm anytime soon, but man, these guys are shaving probably years off my life. Nothing to do but man up and hope the **** storm can eventually be ridden out.
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Posted: 12/18/2012 1:13 PM

Re: 10 on Monday 


jabber:

".....but man, these guys are shaving probably years off my life...."

Yeah, but those are the years when you'll be cared for in a nursing home.  However, you'll have short term memory deficit and we can tell you that the Browns won the Super Bowl, over and over.

As for the game, was as frustrating from the on-end view from The Pound as well.  It began on the first series when we all saw Gordon wide open on a sideline fly pattern, and Weeds saw him, and launched the ball in the direction of the receiver, and we all stood because how sweet a touchdown here would be, and the line-drive throw was out of reach, and we all sat back down, and groaned, and.....well, you know.
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Posted: 12/18/2012 3:27 PM

Re: 10 on Monday 


GOM (on Frostee Rucker):

A decent pickup, but to have that be the marquee FA is insane, in a pathetic way.

AA:

Only if you define "marquee" as "only 1 of 2 guys who actually signed."  He's like the 5th best guy in an off season where a team signs 6-7 fa's.

GOM:

In the end, the QB just has to make plays. Throw the ball to the guy that's open. It's the essence of the game. 

AA:

I'll give Weeden credit for making progress in the sense that he's throwing fewer balls that get batted down by the secondary.  That's where a rook thinks he can sling it in there, only he can't so easily do that against faster players. 

But it's the usual:  are they not getting open, or are they... and he's just not seeing 'em?

I get the sense that in a world of two, maybe 3 options, plus the outlet, Weeden's stream of consciousness goes "1....2--1... nope, CHECKDOWN!"  He looks at the second option for about 1/30th of a second, and never gets to a third, if indeed one exists.  He just locks on the #1 guy, then opts quickly for the outlet guy when his internal alarm goes off.

GOM:

Shurmer's supposed to be fighting for his life and he leaving arrows in the quiver. If this was 'Nam he would have been fragged ages ago.

AA:

Funny you mention Nam, cuz I always thought he looked like one of those AF pilots that was paraded before the Hanoi press as a war criminal.  He looks forever contrite. 

GOM:

You've used that Wile E Coyote analogy with Cribbs before and I always get a smile. The best riffs, you gotta reuse 'em.

AA:

Trouble is Cribbs is a concern in that he's gonna really get dinged trying to make something happen.  In the rare moments he gets room on a punt return, he makes things happen.  He rarely gets much of a hole on kickoffs.  A talent wasted.

GOM:

I hear we have this guy Jordan Cameron #84. Nice looking kid, needs to get his teeth fixed. I see him from time to time making a catch and he looks good. Can't they work the ball to him, like past the yard markers? Kid looks like he can run like a deer. Instead they play Alex Smith, who likes to block because its the only way he can make a living in the NFL.

AA:

For someone who is considered a project, I'm not all that impressed with the athleticism Cameron brings to a table. It's decent, but nothing that tells you, "man, when we get this guy up to speed in two years, he will be a weapon."

GOM:

I'm not leaving the farm anytime soon, but man, these guys are shaving probably years off my life. Nothing to do but man up and hope the **** storm can eventually be ridden out.

AA:

As the man said, been down so long, it looks like up to me.  You get enough of this in your face and you start thinking it tastes like the neighborhood food co-op peanut butter.
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  • redright
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Posted: 12/18/2012 8:13 PM

Re: 10 on Monday 


Distracted...huh. well, It was a hard game to concentrate on. Drifting and unable to focus and fielding phone calls consisting of four letter f words, like fire as in fire the bums. get rid of all of them from the top on down, seemed prevalent on my end. You had the distracting Skins gal and Stellas, yet found focus enough to write 10 on Monday with some insight. I'm impressed.

This was to be a winable game. A game that showed our improved defense and a hard nosed offense..big east NFC stuff countering the Black and Blue AFCN.  I counted on RG being shot up and playing. He didn't show. The Browns didn't show. Kid Cousins showed and auditioned for FA bonus man of the year and did so as a raw first game rookie. BEt his agent has a highlight reel.

We were supposed to win with Kid Cousins playing his first game and the Skins having an awful deep pass defense.  TR and pass deep, didn't happen. The score looked good for the first half. Still got f calls,which steeled me for the second half and kept me safe from my Skins family and friends.  I don't know what to make of the game.  We save our draft spot. I get to cheer on the Redskins in their drive for the NFCE cuz no one really likes the Giants; everyone hates the Cowboys; and anyone who ever sat in the VET cab only stomach an Eagles win if it is over the Steelers or Ravens.  What is there to take from this game? The bell tolling for Shurmur and Heckert and our season?

Vark, I doff me skimma to ya.  I am impressed as you were able to focus and write a column after a game devoid of commentary worthy plays.  Probably why, this is the least responded to Ten on ... I can remember.  Not much happened.  Excepting... We shot a 120 on the course but that one shot of Weeds to Benji, wasn't that sweet? And what did Mr Whipple say? Ten seconds ..... Guess there was reason to watch and after that shot, return next week.
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Posted: 12/18/2012 11:40 PM

RE: 10 on Monday 


I wanted this game to get us to 6-8 and a guaranteed 6-10, so we'd at least feel like we had hope. What we're getting is 2010 redux--that season we were 5-7 and in the hunt and then fell apart.

Now, 2 years later, we were 5-8 and fell apart. Same ****, different year.
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Posted: 12/19/2012 10:34 AM

Re: 10 on Monday 


red:

"...Probably why, this is the least responded to Ten on ... I can remember...."

You know, I was thinking the same thing.  This is usually an active regular thread.

Perhaps this is a barometer of (dare we say it...) apathy of the fan base.
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Posted: 12/19/2012 2:53 PM

Jump start on a stat 


RED:

Vark, I doff me skimma to ya.  I am impressed as you were able to focus and write a column after a game devoid of commentary worthy plays.  Probably why, this is the least responded to Ten on ... I can remember.  Not much happened.  Excepting... We shot a 120 on the course but that one shot of Weeds to Benji, wasn't that sweet?

AA:

Thanks, Red, and much cooler patter than "a tip of the Hatlo hat." 
But PFF is probably less focused on particular plays than trends and undercurrents. 
Sure, the Benjamin td pass was a thing of beauty, the 34 handicapper's 5 iron from 160 that landed 12 feet from the cup (the problem, of course, is that given 99 more 5 irons from the same spot, probably 80 don't even make the green, much less settle 12 feet out).  It was a brief respite.

But I again go back to that one glaring stat.

3)  In the first half, the Browns first and last plays on first down yielded 8 yards (pass to Watson) and 16 yards (Cribbs Wildcat run) respectively. 

Good.

In between those two plays, the Browns executed nine other plays on first down. 

And nine plays netted them a grand total of three yards.

That included five incompletions, two runs of one yard each, and one for a yard loss.

The Browns took the lead thanks to a big defensive play when Cousins had opening night jitters, and then converted it into a td.

And then nothing.

You can't score when you can't move the chains.

You can't get first downs when you constantly face 3rd & 9.

And you face third & long a lot... when you average ONE PHUQUING FOOT on first down.

Browns took the lead, stalled, and gave Cousins the chance to right the ship. 

And when the Redskins returned the favor with their own interception and td to start the second half, did their offense sputter out?  No, they got the upper hand and ground that heel into the neck. 

In the first half, the Browns looked like the studio wrestling jobber who hip tosses the villian, and then stands there urging him to get up for some more.  Yes, and while I'm down on the mat, thanks for standing there and allowing me to rest.  Awfully nice of you.  Now here, let me just... get up... and-- oops, boot, meet stomach.  

No question the second half was a study in adjustments made and not made, but the first half showed a stark contrast in the Skins offense from the first to the second.  The Browns did well to score before the end of the half, but you got the feeling that it was a lot easier for the Skins to move the ball than the Browns.  We just didn't know it would be by THAT much in the second half.

RED:

And what did Mr Whipple say?

AA:

"Please, don't squeeze the Charmin"?
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Posted: 12/19/2012 3:38 PM

Feel like we had hope 


KTS:

I wanted this game to get us to 6-8 and a guaranteed 6-10, so we'd at least feel like we had hope.

AA:

Well, you can HAVE hope.  Genuinely have it.

But if you "at least FEEL like we had hope," that sounds more like delusion.

If we operate on the principle that your record is pretty much a reflection of your team, then wishing for a slightly better record only creates a house of cards.  Fans want a better record so that they can FEEL like it's a better team.  Even if it isn't.

A mediocre team is still that.  Sure, they can run into some bad luck and lose even more games.  Or they can get lucky or maybe run into a team that had a starter shoot himself in front of the hc.... and think the victors are better than they are.

This goes back three weeks ago when some folks were feeling (cue Larry David) PRITTT-TEEE GOOD after the Steelers defeat.  Ugly win?  What ugly win?  No such thing.  Here's a few things I wrote:
________________

Three years ago, the Browns beat the Steelers at home, and that was the beginning of a 4 game winning streak (interestingly, they also faced the Raiders and Chiefs back then).  I'm sure the 2009 Browns thought their Steelers victory was a big turning point as well.  The 2012 edition can defeat both the Raiders and Chiefs, or at the very least get a split.  They'll know a lot more if they face a Steelers team that is reasonably healthy for the playoffs.  IMO they'll gain a bigger measure of self respect if they lose in a competitive contest with a healthy Steelers team than defeat a team down to their third string qb and a wr who's been on the team not even a week.

An ugly win is just that.  An ugly win against the Steelers is sure prettier, but given the circumstances, you can't lay there in bed with the one armed crack whore and draw on that cigarette (COUGH, COUGH "Is this bothering you?") like you just boned Amber Heard.
________________

Playing better than the other team helps the organization move forward.

Having an opponent play even worse than you doesn't help the organization move forward.
________________


And the point remains that teams win games by playing well, not by playing only slightly less shiddier than their opponent.
_________________



So what's the end result?  The Browns play a team that many fans believed were beatable, maybe even if RGIII played, and certainly thought so with him not suited.
They won three in a row, had a mathematical shot of the playoffs.  They sounded downright legit.

Bambi, meet Godzilla.

The Browns are not a a 2-14 or 3-13 team.  They have some real talent, if too much of it young in the same places. 

But they're not a 6-10 or 7-9 team either.

And while I bristle at the notion of losing for draft position, I'd just as soon the Browns to be in a position where 1)  it's true of who they are, and 2)  they can draft one of 2-3 stud pass rushers.

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Posted: 12/19/2012 4:40 PM

RE: 10 on Monday 


we're stuck in that 4-12, 5-11 suckfest....ugh. 6-10 to me is at least an indicator of progress, best season since 07.
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  • redright
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Posted: 12/19/2012 8:26 PM

Re: Jump start on a stat 


ENNUI

Such was the first half. I sensed it in real time. Reliving it in your post drives it home. At their best on Sunday, it was awfully hard to become involved. Then the second half made the first half less than tolerable, but a better offering.

I drove 600+ miles to watch the Bud Carson Browns quit and take a 42-0 trashing by the Bills. Somehow, I didn't feel any better watching last Sunday and that was without the expense or expenditure of 1500 miles of driving

Next up the Broncos. A 2 TD plus loss is expected by many. Me, I'll watch. I'll tape. I'll muse of what might have been and look for the silver lining.

For some reason I like Heckert. He is not without shortcomings, but the more egregious faults laid at his feet may have been dictates. In a conference setting, I think of him as a valuable asset. One who can contribute. Holmgren has me trying to not think of him as a fraud. Shumur did his best and seems to be a good guy poorly caste. I see no reason to keep any on the staff, save Heckert.  Hence, worse than last Sunday's debacle will be the upcoming off season of posts in the role of Mr. Negativity. No one has a lower opinion of last Sunday's game than I.  Sad.
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