* Before training camp we at Browns Rant lauded Kokinis(though I’m sure Mangini has a little to do with it) for his plan to build the Browns from the ground up and bolster the depth at cornerback and along the offensive line, two places which it has been sorely lacking the last few seasons. Too long had we seen Phil Savage treat the nickelback position like it was his red-headed stepchild.
The Browns added three very respected veterans with eighty four career starts between them and two rookies to take their shot at it. That worked out as well as Brian Daboll’s game plan the last couple weeks. Ivy and Hood got chopped, Carey got stolen by the Jaguars, Hank Poteat “won” the competition and gets the bulk of the reps at nickel and is as embarrassing as the new season of “The Office”. Coye Francies, the sixth rounder who showed flashes in the preseason, is inexplicably glued to the bench(maybe Mangini doesn’t like guys who can’t take a joke).
As far as the offensive line is concerned, consider the following sequence from the Browns-Broncos game. John St. Clair, the prize OL free agent pickup, had a false start and gave up two sacks-in consecutive plays. That could very well be the worst three play stretch by a Browns offensive lineman ever.
* The Keystone Beer keys to the game are:
Blitzing: You probably thought I was talking about Rex Ryan’s defense, right? Wrong. Want to see me predict the future? OK, here goes. The Ravens are going to blitz early and often. And this is good for us. Do you think I’m crazy yet?
The truth is that Brady Quinn actually hasn’t been half bad when the other team has blitzed; he usually gets it to the right guy and recognizes when Braylon is getting single coverage. Couple that with fact that Ravens secondary has not looked to pretty thus far,except for Mr.Reed. Quinns problems arise when he has to stare at seven defenders in coverage while worrying if John St Clair fell asleep again. If the Browns take advantage they might actually be able to hit on some big plays(read: longer that fifteen yards)for a change.
Nickelback: Hank Poteat has been absolutely atrocious in both games. It’s time for Francies to start stealing playing time except Mangini feels that that would send a terrible message to the young impressionable teenagers of Northeast Ohio after the stunt he pulled on Friday. The bottom line is we need improved play from this position if we want any hope of getting off the field on third downs.
These are obviously besides for the usual cliche keys to the game: The Browns getting a run game going; substituting for the run game with misdirections and screens; Brady Quinn not sucking; stopping the run and might personal favorite: setting up the passing the game with the run game. I leave those for tomorrows announcers. Wouldn’t want to steal their thunder.