Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday Night Football: The Ravens shutout the lowly Browns

CLEVELAND – The team, formerly known as the Cleveland Browns (Baltimore Ravens), marched into their old city and claimed a victory over the current Cleveland Browns. Starting quarterback Brady Quinn over Derek Anderson didn’t help the anemic offense as the Browns were shut out 16-0.

The Cleveland defense played solid but the offense stunk. I could barely stand to watch. The Browns have scored just five offensive touchdowns this season. That’s horrific.

In the press conference Browns head coach Eric Mangini had this to say when asked about the offense: I’ve tried a lot of different things and obviously it’s not been successful enough. We’re going to have to keep trying things until we get to the point where we need to be.”

Quinn didn’t try throw downfield at all. Was anything over a ten yard pass off limits for Quinn? Sure looked that way to me but Mangini suggests, “It’s not like we were avoiding that part of the field.”

What game was Mangini watching?

The first half was like watching grass grow. Both teams couldn’t move the ball.

In the second half the Ravens got the offense and defense rolling. It wasn’t pretty but a wins a win. Raven quarterback Joe Flacco said, “It was an ugly win, but that’s the way some wins are in the NFL.”

The 1-8 Browns wish they could get a win ugly or otherwise. Truthfully the Browns were doomed before this season began. I must digress.

Wide receiver Donte Stallworth decided to whop-it-up in Miami Beach this summer and sadly killed a man while driving intoxicated.

Kellen Winslow Jr. was traded for essentially being too outspoken.

Romeo Crennel was fired after posting a 4-12 mark last season. Eric Mangini was hired to restore order but his team sports a woeful 1-8 record. Guess his tough-guy tactics aren’t working.

Then last month Braylon Edwards misbehaved himself out of Cleveland by picking on LeBron James’ friend who is half of Edwards’ size. The Browns were forced to ship him to the New York Jets.

Then the Browns recently fired the General Manager George Kokinis. Pretty rare that happens during the season.

Wait, there’s more. Browns owner Randy Lerner recently met with disgruntled fans to talk about the state of the franchise.

Are you kidding me?

Talking to fans about running a team is a classic case of the blind leading the blind.
The level of dysfunction with the Browns organization is off the charts.

Largely professional franchises are privately owned but are publicly subsidized. The fans should have a voice. But the best you way you communicate with fans are to win games.

One of the major problems with professional sports, and more specifically the Cleveland Browns, is ownership and upper-management know squat about the intricacies of sports management. Lerner and his cronies understand profit and loss sheets but seemingly lack the capabilities to run the franchise.

The Cleveland Browns haven’t been champions since Jim Brown led then to the title over the Baltimore Colts in 1964. The way the Browns franchise is being handled the drought is likely to continue.

The Browns need a complete overhaul. They need players that can play. The front office, the coaching staff and the players must share a common goal and rally around it. Success breeds loyalty.

Speaking of loyalty, did the Browns organization give up on Romeo Crennel too soon?

Typically when franchises make changes they hope to upgrade the franchise.
Was Mangini truly an upgrade over Crennel?

Looking at the woeful Browns tonight I’d have to say no.

Crennel was perceived as a softy who let the players get away with too much. He posted a 4-12 record last year granted but did he really get a fair shake? In 2007 Crennel was 10-6. It boils down to this: is Mangini doing a better job then the guy he replaced?

Crennel was fired too early. In most cases a white coach in Crennels’ situation last year would be more likely to get the benefit of the doubt. Crennel will not likely get recycled anytime soon like many of his white coaching brethren.

Luckily the Cincinnati Bengals got it right. Marvin Lewis suffered through a 4-11-1 record last season. There were rumblings Lewis would be canned in the off-season but the organization stuck with him. Now his team sits atop their division.

Lewis is clearly the exception, not the rule. For every Marvin Lewis who gets the rare benefit of the doubt there’s Ray Rhodes, Art Shell, and Dennis Greens who get the hook too soon and rarely recycled.

So what's the answer in Cleveland?

Hire competent front-office personnel that will be a reflection of the coaching staff and ultimately the players.

Get a real General Manager then fire Eric Mangini. Get a coach who has respect amongst his peers. Get Bill Cowher off the set at CBS. He's won a Super Bowl.

Next, get a quarterback. Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn integrated together won’t give you "one" solid quarterback. Trade Anderson and Quinn and sign a veteran.

Bottom line: if something isn't done quickly the Cleveland Browns will continue to be the laughing stock of the NFL for years to come.

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