If there’s one thing that’s dogged the Cleveland Browns throughout the decade it’s been the laundry list of significant players on the shelf for extended periods of time. Yes, all NFL teams experience injuries, but it seems no team is as snake bitten as the Browns. Exhibit A: LeCharles Bentley (I don’t want to talk about it). If there’s one conclusion we can derive from the 2007 season is that the team, for the most part, stayed healthy. This is unheard of for us Browns homers. Well, we’ve been humbled, the infirmary report is an ever-growing one this season. WR Joe Jurevicius had multiple knee surgeries this offseason, is currently on the PUP list and may not play this season (or ever again for that matter). Nickel corner Daven Holly didn’t even make it through OTA’s healthy, shredding his knee while battling Braylon Edwards for a jump ball in 7-on-7’s. Now, I’m not the biggest Holly fan in the world but at an already paper thin position we need all the depth we can get. LB Antwaan Peek didn’t make it to Week 1, SS Sean Jones will miss almost half the season after injuring his knee Week 1, DE Robaire Smith shredded his achilles against Pittsburgh, Donte’ Stallworth still hasn’t seen a snap (neither has Ryan Tucker) and the list goes on.
My point: while Browns fans are used to this, the long list of injuries seems to coincide with losing very well.
Offense = Offensive
A lot of the problems can be attributed to the injuries mentioned above, but the offense has been so bad (one TD in eight quarters) it warranted its own section. Many outsiders under estimate the value Jurevicius provides for this offense. He was DA’s go-to WR in sticky situations last season; 3rd down, playing from behind late, under pressure and the play’s broken down – DA goes to Vicius. He misses him sorely, and it’s shown on the field without an emergency outlet emerging. DA and Braylon have looked like they have never worked together right now, for a connection that was so potent last season that is very troubling. A lot of it has to do with Braylon missing most of training camp after one of the dumber injuries I’ve ever heard of (DA’s concussion), and the return of Braylon’s stone hands, but there has to be more to the story, right? Well, they have played one of the best defenses in the league (amidst the remains of Ike) and the best offense in the league weeks one and two. Its significance can’t be ignored but I think the problems with the skill position players are of greater importance.
Problems at the top
Romeo Crennel’s love for field goals when they don’t matter aside, there may be some bigger issues at the top for the Browns. Rumors have been floating around Cleveland that Phil Savage is flexing his GM muscles again indicating the team that’s out there should be good enough to play with (and beat) anyone in the league. He’s not happy with the way things have began this season and if drastic improvement isn’t seen soon we may be seeing some personnel changes in the near future. What exactly does this mean? It’s anyone’s guess. The immediate response is often ‘QB,’ but there are a host of other possibilities that could surface, including the head coach. Regardless, we’ll find out soon enough if the Browns don’t correct things in key divisional games vs.
The pressure’s mounting and results must be provided now. Is it the injuries? Is it the offense? Is it the coaches? Is it the schedule? Did the team really play that over their heads in 2007? Are