Browns get an UGLY win.


Note: On NNR today Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports & I discussed the Browns Raiders game. The podcast is on

A win is a win is a win. But this was as ugly a win as any team has had.

This was another VERY slow start by the offense. They had been one of the best running teams in the NFL but could not run against the old and injured Raider D line. The problem is that the new O line configuration can’t get to the 2nd level. As a result the LBS are there to make the tackle.

The choice of RBS is also an issue. Terrance West is doing WAY too much dancing looking for the big play. That gets him tackled for a loss. RB Ben Tate is missing holes and doesn’t look healthy. So rather than using Isaiah Crowell the Browns brain trust kept running Tate and West.

New C Nick McDonald looked OK on pass protection but the zone blocking system will require a lot of work to get the run going. It depends on 5 blockers moving as 1 and there were way too many holes in the run blocking to allow decent yardage.

QB Brian Hoyer looked just OK as well. He was better than in the Jags game but not nearly as accurate as he was against the Steelers. The problem there is footwork. He is lifting his back foot to throw too often which tends to make the throw inaccruate. His duck throws were another case of bad footwork. He needs to drive off the back foot bringing his hips around as he steps into the throw.

Hoyer was very lucky he did not have 3 or 4 interceptions. If the Raider DBS had better ball skills they would have had a win.

The Browns did not do much better against the run. The D line is getting pushed 5 to 7 yards back too often. The injury to DE John Hughes will not help the depth.

One bright spot was the pass coverage. Joe Haden is begging to look like the all pro he has been. He had several key passes defended. And rookie CB Justin Gilbert played better.

The special teams were “short bus special.” The punt return that was fumbled was a huge issue. And punt returners can not dance. A retuner has to pick a direction and RUN!

The bottom line: I was asked on the radio if the Browns were a contender or a pretender. I said they were neither. Even a pretender beats the teams they are supposed to beat. This team has an up side of 8-8. And we all know the down side. That is because we have seen it so often in the past.

That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.

NOTE: News, Notes and Rumors podcast are BACK. Check out our thoughts on Fridays about the games coming up and Monday on the results of the weekend. My co-host is Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports. Podcasts can be heard on Thanks for your support.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on

He also edits .

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.


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