We couldn't watch this week's game from the Dawg Pound for obvious reasons, so we did the next best thing, and watched it at a joint called Kennedy's in Charlotte, North Carolina, with the Carolina Browns Backers. Except, obviously, the outcome of the game, it was a very enjoyable afternoon. Eighty or so dislocated Browns fans watching the game together in a great establishment with a big outdoor deck and flat screens everywhere, rooting for the team they grew up loving.
Another game and another loss. For the second time in two weeks no second half touchdowns, no second half scoring. My game notes from the game look very much like my notes from week #1. The Browns tried to get Trent Richardson going and they couldn't. The right side of the line couldn't get the job done. The defense, for the most part, looked good. And, for how many weeks in a row, no halftime adjustments.
The biggest disappointment so far to me has been the offensive line. Oniel Cousins and Mitchell Schwartz, for the second week in a row, did not get the job done. But this week it wasn't just them; the rest of the line did not exactly shine. This must stop immediately, or it is going to be a very long season. What has happened to the line? The right side of Cousins and Schwartz has gotten hammered, while the other side hasn't exactly been outstanding. I thought this was going to be one of the strong points of the team.
There were some highlights in the loss. Another solid effort was turned in by the defense. Joe Haden made some great coverage moves, and it was great to see Mingo Barkevious get a sack in his first play from scrimmage. When will third round pick Leon McFadden start contributing? When will seventh round pick Garrett Gilkey get a chance to replace Oniel Cousins? When will Shawn Lauvau come back?
I know I'm in the minority on this amongst fans and media, but stick with Weedon if he is healthy. You can talk about quarterback ratings all you want, but if half of his dropped passes were caught the Browns would be at least 1-1 and we probably wouldn't be having a conversation about this. Get the line playing better, get the receivers to catch the ball, get Trent Richardson up over 80 yards a game, and Brandon Weedon will be fine.
Driving back to Ohio Monday morning, all we heard on talk radio was rumors about the Browns scouting Johnny Football down in Texas over the weekend, and listeners calling in about how the Browns should have gone after RGIII. As I have said over and over, running quarterbacks do not survive in the NFL. RGIII has a banged up knee, can't run, and has the same record this year as a starter as Brandon Weedon.
Don't be enamored with the running, spread offense, flashy college quarterbacks that came out of college, or will be coming, to the NFL soon. I'm still not sure what will become of Brandon Weedon, but I do know he can be a good pro quarterback. What his upside is we won't really know until other things are fixed. However, it is pro drop back quarterbacks that win Super Bowls. The Manning brothers, Drew Breese, Tom Brady, etc., have won Super Bowls. Vince Young, RGIII, Michael Vick, Tim Tebow, Etc., superstars running quarterbacks in college, have never won Super Bowls.
It is not time to panic yet; it is time to fix things. Get Richardson thirty more yards a game. Eliminate the stupid penalties, this week it was delay of game. Hopefully Josh Gordon will bring his A game and rise up the rest of the receivers. Hopefully Shawn Lauvau will be back soon to help out on the offensive line.
Besides another disappointing loss, I can't say enough how much fun it was to be in the company of the Carolina Browns Backers. Here we were, almost 500 miles from Northern Ohio, over seventy dislocated Browns fans, together, cheering on our favorite team. There was something almost spiritual about the afternoon. All these groups get together every Sunday all across the country all to get a little bit of home. Too bad the team couldn't come through with a win, it was a vey winnable game.
Text by Greg Cielec
Photos by Dave Hostetler and Greg Cielec