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  • Published: Nov 4th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Browns Ravens Live Game Notes

Browns Ravens Live Game Notes

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NOTE:  Check out the live News, Notes and Rumors show on Monday and Friday at 6 PM Eastern on The Bill Smith Radio Show or the archive of the shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.  On Monday Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I discuss the Browns game and the results of the weekend.  On Friday Tony Williams Giants beat writer for Metro New York joins Samantha and me to preview the upcoming games.



I want to offer my personal thanks to the Redskins for scoring on the first drive of OT so that the Browns/Ratbird game could be shown sooner.  I wish to offer my distain to the NFL for scheduling the game at 4:25 rather than 1PM.


The Browns get a call on a questionable interference flag.

Little catches a ball against double coverage and runs away from the tacklers to the 34.

Great read and throw by Campbell to Gordon to the Ratbird 6.

No push by the line on the run.

Good throwaway by Campbell.  No one was open.

Throw to Ogbonnaya on the wrong side.  He caught it but was stopped before he could get into the endzone.

Play call slow to come in.  Browns use their 2nd time out of the half.  This HAS to stop.

Bess catches the ball!!!!! TD for Cleveland.  Campbell gets laid out by Dumerville.

80 yard drive on 8 plays CL 7 RB 0


Thomas with the catch to the 29.

Rise up the gut for 5.

Kruger and Ward get Rice for just 2 yards.

Flacco with all day to throw to Thompson to the 46.

Ward gets Rice for a loss of 2 on a sweep left

Owens cuts in front of Thompson and almost gets the pick.

3-12 Illegal sub on the Browns.  This too has to stop.

3-7 Flacco runs out of pressure and throws to 17 for the first at the 28.

Rice from the pistol gets 4.

Browns blitz fails to get there but the throw is off target.

3-6 Blitz gets there and Groves gets the sack beating RT Ohr.

51 yard FGA GOOD.

CL 7 RB 3

McGahee hit at the LOS gets 2.

Blitz puts heat on Campbell he throws to the swing receiver for a yard loss.

3-8 Campbell runs and Ngata falls on his head.  He is down and out of the game.

Browns are DOOMED by Weeden!

82 with a great block on the reverse to Gordon for 10.

Little flagged for a 15 yard penalty after a run to the 49 of RB

2-21 Screen pass sniffed out and a loss of 2

3-23 Weeden wets his pants on a blitz by 59 and he throws it away.


Penalty on Upshaw on the punt puts the ball back to RB 9.

Blitz by Mingo bothers Flacco and the throw hits Jackson in the back covering Dixon.


Winn and Kruger stop the sweep right for a loss of 2

3-12 Kruger gets in Flacco’s face and the pass is wide.  Great stand by the D.

Campbell is back!!!!

Campbell looks right then throws left to Little for 7.

McGahee is hit again at the line but gets 2.

Great vision by McGahee slants left for 3 and the first.

Miss communication between Whittaker and Campbell.  Ball well behind the WR.

Little picks the ball out of the air against a hit to the 28

Little catches the ball on a shallow cross and runs it inside the 15.  THEN he is flagged for taunting.

Campbell runs for 8 and gets out of bounds.

3-2 Bess catches the pass at the 15 and runs it into the endzone.  TD!

CL 14 RB 3 10:08 53 yard drive in 9 plays.


Taylor gets Rice for a 2 yard loss

Pass to Jones and Skrine missed the tackle.

Browns blitz gets Flacco by Owens and Flacco goes DOWN.  Great call and execution.

Edwards catches the punt and cuts it back against the grain for a return of 39.

Little gets 2 on the pass.

McGahee is stood up at the 40 and the Ratbirds rip the ball out of his hands.


Flair pass solved by Robertson for a loss of 1

Run for 2 by Rice wiped out on holding call

2-20 Coverage by Haden on Smith ball is wide and low.

3-20 Flacco forced out of the pocket by the rush and throws behind Smith.  Ratbirds are now 1-6 in 3rd down conversions.

Run by McGahee gets 4 behind the right side of the line.  Good blocking.

Pass to Whittaker gets 5.

On 3-1 the Browns pass is incomplete.  Should have run for it.


Pierce gets 7 up the gut.

D Bryant gets pressure on Flacco and the screen pass is 3 yards behind the receiver.

3-3 Browns lose contain and Flacco runs for 9 and the first.

Ward and Owens trap Pierce for a loss of 1

Flacco throws into triple coverage and Haden picks it off.  Gipson tips the ball and Haden gets it.

Flacco got greedy and made a bad decision.

1-10 at the 23 3:06 left  Whittaker finds a hole and gets to the 34.

Again Whittaker hit behind the line gets just a yard.

2 Min warning

Smith gets Campbell and the QB throws it away.  No blocking against the blitz

3-10 Smith gets the sack.  Again the Ratbird blitz gets to Campbell for a loss of 13.


1-10 32 yard line 1:01 and 2 TOs Just a 4 man rush on a game gets Flacco for a 2 yard sack Kruger sets up A Bryant for the sack.  TO RB

Bryant smells out the screen for just 3.

42 yard pass to the Browns 19 He was wide open and Gipson seemed to be lost.  The question is with just a few seconds left how do you let a WR get that deep and be open?  Someone needs to pay for that mistake.

Flacco to Smith knocked away by Haden.

0:15 left TD Brown on a pass from Flacco.

CL 14 RB 10 67 yards in 52 seconds 0:09 left

The Browns get a penalty for delay after the kickoff.   This happens again!!!  Stop it!!!!!

Hail Mary to the 3 in incomplete.


Jackson can’t catch up with Smith and he gets the 1st.

Bubble screen gets 2 thanks to Ward tackle

False start on Shipley 2-12 Blitz fails to get there but Flacco runs out and throws it away

3-12 Blitz again fails and Flacco gets out side for 15 and the first.

Mingo gets Rice at the line for no gain

Brown pulls away from Jackson for 8 yards.

Pierce for 3 yards and the first right up the gut.

Flacco throws wide of Smith

Smith gets the ball fir the first

1-10 32 yl The blitz fails again Flacco gets out of the pocket and competes the pass but WR was out of bounds and came back in to catch it.

1-15 Skrine covers Brown and the pass is long.

Ball just off the right hand of Dixon ball falls incomplete.

3-15 Ward sacks Flacco on a delayed blitz.  Nice move by Ward.

8:43 left 3rd 1-10 at the 20 Little for 5 on an out pattern.

Pass incomplete Smith knocked the ball away from LiTTLE. 15 yards on Smith

McGahee again hit in the backfield for no gain.

Drop by Gordon after he pushed off to get open.  Penalty accepted

2-20 Swing pass to Ogbonnaya for 6.

3-14 Gordon catchs the ball but is a yard short.


Doss dropped the punt and Martin scoops it up.

1-10 @ RB 11 Penalty on RBs for 5

1-5 at the 6 Again McGahee is hit behind the line but gets 2.

Campbell reads the blitz and steps to the right.  Throw to a wide open Barn is good for the TD.

CL 21 RB 10


5:06 1-10 26 yl

Nice play by Ward for a loss of 3

3-10 Flacco rolls right against the blitz and finds Clark for the 1st

Kruger bats the ball down.

2-10 Rice for 3 Jackson gets him there.

3-7 Flacco again gets out of contain but the throw is short.  Skrine gets Smith before he gets to the LTG.

McGahee hit behind the line (this is beginning to be the norm) but gets 3

Campbell to Cameron for 4.

3-4 Campbell decided to run way too late and Graham gets him at the 15.

End of the 3rd Quarter CL 21 RB 10.


Doss returns the punt to the Browns 32

Pass to Brown goes to the 18.

Haden in man gets Smith for just a gain of 4.

Pass to the 9

3-1 Leach gets 2 for the 1st at the 7.

The Blitz fails to get there but Skrine was playing off and Browns gets the TD.

2 pt attempt Flacco beats the blitz and gets the 2 to Brown vs Haden.

CL 21 RB 18 12:09 left

Campbell throws over the middle Inc.  He looks much worse for wear after the injury.

The RBs double Gordon and the swing pass goes Inc.

Great throw by Campbell for 46 yards to Little.  He hurt his shoulder.

McGahee hit in the backfield but gets nothing.

Blitz by the RBs is picked up but the ball is high and slightly behind Cameron.  Inc.

3-10 Throw behind Gordon.  Ogbonnaya picks up the blitz.

Punt from a fake FGA set goes into the endzone.


10:49 1-10 @ 20 Pass to Brown for 6 tackle by Skrine.

Mingo gets Rice for a 2 yard loss

Sack by A Bryant is negated by hold on Ward.

Owens breaks up the pass to

Pierce for 6. 9:35 left

3-4 Jones catches the pass but is short.  The refs move the ball closer to the 39 short by 6 inches.

4-.5 yards at 38.5 Flacco is initially held short but the push gets him over.

5 yard pass to Jones

Rice run to the left for 2

3-3 Jackson misses on the initial blitz but 97 gets the sack.

25 yard punt gives the Browns the ball at the 29

  • 6:44 left

Pass to little broken up by Graham.  Little is hurt on the right arm/shoulder

McGahee gets 6.

Campbell waddles to the 48 and the 1st.

Whittaker gets the pass for 8.

McGahee gets 1. 4:30 left.

DT Winn comes in to block. TO because they were not ready to snap it.  This is the 4th time they had to use a TO because they were not set up right.

3:58 left McGahee hit in the back field and fails to gain a inch.

TO again when the team is not ready.

Campbell is flushed out of the pocket and throws just before going over the sideline.  Bess catches it for the 1st.

McGahee gets 3. TO RBs 2:13 left.

Great throw by Campbell to Ogbonnaya to the 17.  1st and 10 2:05 TO RBs.

McGahee loses 3 no one blocked the LB.

Campbell is hit a couple of times but flips it to Ogbonnaya for the 1st at the 9.  HorseCollar tackle takes it to the 4.5.

1:51 left.  McGahee no gain.  RB final TO.  1:47.

McGahee for a yard.

McGahee caught for a loss of 1.

17 seconds left 22 yard FGA GOOD!

CL 24 RB 18. 0:14 left.

KO Touchback.

1st and 80 yards to go for the TD.  Hook and Ladder for 14 0:007 left

Flacco to Rice tackled at the 50. GAME OVER

CL 24 RB 18




QB Campbell had a very strong game.  For the 2nd week in a row he did not have a turnover.  With a running game that struggled to get a yard at a time, he managed the game and made big plays when they were available.  He reads the field like the veteran he is.  He made the right decisions on almost every pass.  Despite a lot of penetration, Campbell stood in and made good throws.


He was hit and suffered bruised ribs.  When he went down there was absolute silence.  When Weeden came in the crowd and Browns fans everywhere buried their faces in their hands.  Campbell could have stayed on the sideline.  He had been shown a total lack of respect by the coaching staff and team management when they promoted QB Hoyer to start when Weeden was hurt.  He was disrespected again when Weeden replaced the injured Hoyer.  But he came back in despite the pain and led the Browns to a win over the hated Ravens.


One area in which Campbell has to improve is using the TEs more.  Both had a single catch each for just 4 yards.  Cameron is a weapon.  The O will be a much bigger threat if he can become a bigger part of the game plan.  The most important contribution the O made was to hold the ball.  Campbell moved the ball and allowed the D to rest.  Make no mistake, Campbell was the difference in this game.  Had Weeden been under center the Browns would have lost by 2 TDs.


The receivers did very well.  Gordon was doubled regularly and that left Little with single coverage.  He responded by making 7 catches including the critical 47 yard catch in the 4th quarter that flipped the field on the Ravens.  Bess had a very good game as well.  He made some critical catches including a pair of TDs.  The receivers were not open often but did a good job catching against pressure.


The O line struggled all day.  The running game was missing entirely.  Although no one would mistake McGahee for Jim Brown, he seldom got to the line of scrimmage without being hit.  The line has to do better blocking the front line and sliding to get hits on the backers.  The pass protection was also poor.  Campbell had to move away from pressure on nearly every play.  He was very effective throwing on the run.  That ability was critical in the win.  The Ravens blitzed often.  The backs did their best but Ogbonnaya is not big enough to block a DE or OLB.  The O line did a better job picking up the end-tackle game.  But both guards missed blitzes by the inside linebackers way too often.  Despite the heavy blitz percentage, the Browns gave up only 3 sacks.  That again has much more to do with Campbell getting rid of the ball or avoiding pressure than good blocking by the line.


McGahee averaged a yard and a half per attempt.  That is not going to win many games.  The biggest runs came from Campbell when he was flushed from the pocket.  The team needs to draft a RB in 2014.


Another area the team needs to improve upon is 3rd down conversions.  The team converted only 4 of 15 third down opportunities.  To be a contender rather than a pretender they need to do much better on the money down.




The D did enough to win.  The Ravens O is not nearly what it was last year.  QB Flacco has yet to justify his big contract.  He is not stepping up in the pocket and setting his feet before he throws.  As a result his accuracy is inconsistent.  He was 24 of 41 with two TDs and an interception.


The Browns blitzed a lot but seldom got to Flacco.  However, Flacco was seeing pressure even when it was not really there.  It clearly affected his passing particularly in the first half.  But on the blitz the D has to prevent the QB from breaking outside to throw or run.  The D did a below average job of keeping containment.  A more mobile QB would have burned the D for lots of yards.  The D did get to Flacco for 5 sacks.


The backers struggled to cover TEs and RBs coming out of the backfield.  However the defense backfield played very well.  With one exception, they kept the Ravens from big gains.  The backfield was credited with 6 passes defended.  The one big play they gave up was the 46 yard pass to Smith which clearly was a mistake in zone coverage.


The D also struggled to get off the field on 3rd down.  Despite having issues on 3rd down in the last two losses, the Ravens converted 7 of 16 and were 1 for 1 on fourth down.  But in the end the D did hold the Ravens to just 18 points.



Special Teams:

The special teams’ star of the game was punter Lanning.  He averaged 50.5 yards per punt.  The rest of the group was OK but nothing special.




The staff did a good job with the game plan.  However, if they have any thought of competing for a playoff position they need to get the play call process tightened up.  Three times they needed a time out to get positioned or the play in.  That will cause the team to lose a close game.  Time outs are too valuable to be wasted by failing to get the play in on time.



The Bottom line:

This was a great win against the most hated team in the Browns’ history.  Some might think I am pointing out flaws to be negative.  That is not the case.  However, I need to let my readers know the details of the win and what the team did well and not so well.  If the team can keep Campbell healthy and continues to play this well, it can challenge for a playoff spot.



That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.


You can listen to the podcasts at https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and hear NNR Live Mondays and Fridays at 6PM Eastern time on .  The Monday show is a review of the previous week and the Browns game.  The Friday show previews the upcoming games.


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 https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.  

He also edits .  

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


  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 25th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Browns/Colts live thoughts

Browns/Colts live thoughts

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KO-9 allowed the Colts to take the ball to the 40.

Kruger with a nice play v the run

Kruger gets the sack on a 5 step drop by Luck

Wayne beats McFadden.  The blitz didn’t get there.

Haden missed a tackle on the end around

RB Ballard blows through for 13 yards.

Jackson beats Ballard to the edge for a 5 yard loss

Winn stops Luck for a 2 yard gain

Luck breaks contain against the blitz for 6 yards.  Kruger did not hold his contain.

That was not a good job on D.

32 y FG GOOD IN 3 CL coming to bat

Richardson with a great move to get the 1st

Greco makes a great block to turn the DE Richardson gets 13

Weeden hangs a ball for Cameron high but JC comes down with it.  Great blitz pickup by TRich

Holding call on Thomas was weak

Obi1 gets a nice catch on a circle pass for 5

The Colt blitz forces Weeden to throw short.  Cameron double catches but the Browns punt.

Short punt gets the ball down to the Colt 12.


Rubin just missed a sack but Luck was able to compete for a 1st  at the 34

Jackson stops the run wide for no gain

Blitz with 6 fails again but the pass goes incomplete Skrine covering Wayne

Richardson gets only a yard on a sweep left

Little with a nice catch vs tight cover and gets the 1st 

Good throw by Weeden.

The first deep throw is incomplete

On 3rd and 8 Cameron missed the pass.

29 yard punt.  THAT is not good enough.


Bey gets away from Jackson and gets a 1st

Luck with all day to throw gets 14 more to Wayne

Winn and Taylor take down Brown for 2 yard gain

Luck runs up the middle as the pocket breaks down.  No pressure up the gut.  The Browns did not stay in their lanes on the pass rush.

Wayne uncovered by Skrine and gets 15.

Luck runs for 6.  Pass coverage was good in a zone

Pass to Bey good to the CL 3.

Browns call TO 8:13 left.  Not looking good on O or D

TD pass to FB Havilli.

IN 10 CL 0.

Bad choice by Bademosi to bring the kick out ends up at the 15.

Weeden gets Gordon for 15.

Pressure from a 7 man blitz forces Weeden to throw it away

TRich through a small hole for 3.

Good throw to Little but he lost the ball.  Colts ball after a 15 yard foul on Schwarts.


Haden with nice coverage on Wayne Incomplete

McFadden knocks the ball down

Wayne gets the 1st vs Skrine

Taylor and Rubin stuff the run.

Skrine got the hand on the ball to Wayne Incomplete

Wayne takes a head shot and gets the catch at the 7

Ball on the 4 after a penalty

Kruger forces a bad pass and Gipson comes up with a pick at the 2.  Great play on both ends

TRich gets 2 on his own.

Weeden throw into triple coverage is incomplete.  He is staring down his receiver causing the triple coverage.

Weeden throw Inc Browns punt from their 4.

Great punt 65 yards.


Great throw by Luck gets the 1st .  Ward missed the tackle that would have held them short of the 1st

Skrine knocks the ball away from Wayne

Browns get to Luck pass Incomplete

Browns force an incompetion and the Colts punt

1:39 Browns ball on the 20 with 2 TOs

Weeden gets OK protection but throws the ball away

Weeden runs for 5

With the clock running he throws into triple coverage again because he stared down his guy.


Good punt coverage No return 50 yard punt 55 sec left

Ballard runs for 7 TO 39 sec left

Fake the Blitz and Luck passes for the 1st He read it while Weeden does not.

Home town timer 38 seconds left 2 nd down.  No way that play took just a second.

Long pass Inc with pressure by Kruger 33 seconds left

Run fails to get the 1st

Punt downed at the Browns 4

Half time Ind 10 CL 0



Long pass inc  Little has to knock the ball down or it would have been picked.

Gordon drops a 3rd down pass.  Browns go 3 and out.

Bad coverage gives the Colts the ball on the Browns 48


Brown breaks tackles for 22 yard run

Nobody covers the FB and he gets the ball into the 15

Brown eating the Browns lunch for another 8 yard run

Carter with a nice tackle for loss of 1

Hilton is WIDE open and catches an 8 yard TD pass

IND 17 CL 0

The Colts put in their 2nd d

Catch by Gordon gets the Browns to 3rd and 2.  First short yard to gain in this game.

Good catch by Cooper for the 1st

Marecic CAUGHT THE BALL!  After he realized he had not been touched he got up and ran

TO Browns.  Not organized blow a TO.

Under pressure Weeden misses Little Holding on Indy

Jackson drops a pass in the flat

Ogbonnaya gets 3

Cooper gets open and gets the 1st on a 9 yard gain

Pressure again Weeden misses a wide open TE Davis

Blitz again and Weeden missed Cooper.  Weeden does not handle pressure well.

Blitz on 3rd and it almost gets picked on a throw to Cooper

50 Yard FG GOOD Ind 17 CL 3


Auguste stops the run.  If he missed it would have been a BIG gain.

Another great play by Auguste on a TFL

Slaughter hits the receiver just as the ball gets there. Pass INC

Bad punt by Colts gives the ball to the Browns at the 50.

Campbell complete to Davis for 6.

Smelley with a nice block on Jackson’s run for 3.

Davis was wide open but Campbell missed him badly.  He got hit after the play.

On 4th and 1 Jackson is tackled for a loss


CB Kena almost picks the pass from Hasselbeck

Auguste loses the WR and it goes for a 28 yard gain.

Sanford gets the back for a 3 yard loss

RB Williams is tackled for no gain

Auguste is caught for interference at the Browns 12

Fort catches FB Hughes for no gain.

Adams gets a tackle on Williams for 3

WR Whalen is open in the endzone but cannot catch the ball.

IN 20 CL 3 1:15 left 3rd quarter

Nice 6 yard run by Cook

15 yard run by Cook is called back Holding on Hauptman

Smelley with a nice catch runs for 6 more yards and gets the 1st.


Campbell gets sacked by Rayford

Pass for 2 yards on 3rd and 6.

The Browns punt almost gets blocked but Lanning gets it out.


The Browns get confused by a rollout pass in the flat that goes for 12

JM Johnson gets a TFL

Whalen gets open against Auguste again and gets the 1st

Meggett gets a 1st on a 15 yard run

Browns TO 10:13 left

Hasselbeck is hit and fumbled but the Colts got it back.

Auguste gets Whalen on a short pass.  Colt WR Palmer hurt on the play.

Browns ball on their own 9

Campbell misses TE Gronk

Edwards bobbles the 3 yard pass from Campbell and drops it.

RB Cook catches the pass and jukes for a 1st

LB Harvey breaks through again and grounding is called on Campbell

Nice throw to WR Edwards for 18.  3rd and 2

WR Roberson gets the 1st catching between 2 defenders

Rayford sacks Campbell but offsetting penalties negates it.

Croom makes a great catch for the 1st

Campbell throws behind the receiver on a crossing route.  Lucky is was not picked

Roberson makes a nice catch to the Colt 13.  Campbell got hit by the blitz but threw a nice pass.

OT Butler who got called on the hold jumps off side

Campbell gets buried and hurt by a blitz.  The entire line blew the assignment.


Roberson gets the onside kick.  Great play

Hoyer’s first pass is picked by former Brown Asante for a TD.

IN 27 CL 6

Roberson was open but dropped a pass right in his hands.  Nice throw by Hoyer

Gilkey with a false start.

Two short competions force a Browns punt


Kerwin Williams stops selling paint and runs for 25 yards

Harnish is in at QB


Final IN 27 CL 6

Brandon Weeden

Brandon Weeden (Photo credit: Erik Daniel Drost)


Overall thoughts

1st team Offense:

The game started with the Colts providing pressure on Weeden.  After that he was staring down the receivers way too often.  That tends to draw a crowd of DBs.  The throws into coverage become double and triple teams when DBs read the QB’s eyes.  He was obviously bothered by the pressure.  That was a knock on him coming out in the draft.  He stopped looking down the field and if his first option was not open he went to the check down or threw it away.


Weeden was not reading the defense well.  The Colts faked a lot of blitzes but came infrequently.  On the first drive they faked but rushed 3 and got a hit on Weeden.  It looked like he was afraid to throw deep.  At the start of the 2nd quarter he was 5 for 5 but all were very short throws.  I was wondering who gave Pat Shurmur the mike to Weeden’s head set and let the former coach call plays.  Weeden has always had trouble against the zone D.  Tonight was no different.  He will really struggle playing against the Steeler’s zone blitz schemes.


Weeden’s accuracy had been outstanding in the first two preseason games.  It was not tonight.  It is impossible to win when you miss wide open receivers.  The inability to make yardage on first and second down led the team back to third and long again way too often.  One drive was stopped by the failure to make 1 yard on two attempts.  That is due to the inability of the line to drive the D line back.


The receivers did not help Weeden or the other QBs at all.  While there were some nice catches too often the receivers were dropping the ball.  Little’s fumble stopped what looked like a nice drive mid way through the 2nd quarter when the score was just 10-0.  That error was compounded by a personal foul on Schwartz.


Oniel Cousins got the first chance to play RG but he is not a starting quality OL.  The pressure up the middle by the Colts was a result of C Mack trying to help Cousins in pass protection.  Cousins is better blocking the run than the pass.  He shows he has the feet to pull and is fairly accurate getting his block on the edge.  Cousins is alert to players rushing the passer but does not anchor well enough to blunt the attack.


The coaching staff did not trust the replacement RGs and ran to the left most of the game.  The rest of the O line did not play well either.  There were a lot of penalties and neither starting tackle played well.  The Colts got pressure with a 3 man rush.  That cannot happen.  Schwartz struggled all game long against the pass rushers of the Colts.  A lot of pressure was coming off the right side of the line.  Thomas had a holding penalty.


Both TRich and Cook ran very hard.  But again they were hit too often at or behind the line.  Jackson looked like he had cement cleats on running for 8 yards on 5 carries.  Cook is not likely to make the team but there is no quality depth behind TRich.  Hardesty is too fragile and Jackson is too old.


Coaching staff showed a few new wrinkles like the 231 formation with 2 RBs 3 TEs and 1 wide out.  The run formation allowed Gordon to get open and get an 18 yard pass.  But there was way too many check downs.  The O looked a lot like last year’s disaster.


It looked like the team in general and Weeden in particular got nervous once the game started to go downhill.  The Colts jumped out to a 17-0 lead and the game was over.   The Browns never made a charge to threaten the Colts.  That is unacceptable.  To be a factor in the AFC North, the team must have the guts to fight back from a deficit.  The Colts did a good job taking field position away from the Browns.  But that too is no excuse.


1st team defense:

The D made some good plays but there were too many missed tackles.  Ward missed a chance to prevent a touchdown by missing the receiver.  The lack of experience at the CB and FS positions have haunted the team for years.  Injuries have added to the need for those positions to get experienced depth.  The team gave up a ton of long plays last year because it did not have a true center fielder to stop them.


FS Gipson had a great interception on the 3 yard line after the Little fumble.  But he is more of a strong safety than a free safety and is just beginning to understand coverages and techniques.


Kruger had an outstanding game.  He was getting pressure however against a bad offensive line.  He did get pressure on Luck with regularity.  Groves played well but was up against a replacement LT once Castonzo went down.  The D line in general played well.  NT Taylor and DE’s Winn and Rubin absorbed blockers but the backers did not take advantage of it.  Way too many plays made serious yardage when the Browns backers lost outside contain.  We also did not see the good pass coverage of the inside backers we had seen in previous games.


The DBs struggled to cover Wayne who regularly ran open through the defensive backfield.  He is a shifty older player.  However it is hard to understand how the pass coverage made WR Heyward-Bey look like an all pro.  He is a bust from the Raiders but looked like a super star tonight.


Injuries have taken a toll on the D backfield.  It looked way too inconsistent to even think this team could contend in the AFC North this year.  The team needs much better corner play opposite Haden and have to find a FS that is able to play center field.  Unless they do the D will give up a ton of passing yardage.


Special teams did OK for the most part.  P Lanning was inconsistent.  K Shayne Graham was solid.  The question with him is can he make long field goals in the winds of December when they really count?


The bottom line:

The failure to move the ball on offense had more to do with bad execution than the Colts D.  The Colts are not a great D.  If the Browns struggle to move the ball on them, how will they fare against the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals each of whom have a much better D.



That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.


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 https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

He also edits .  

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


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  • Published: Aug 9th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Browns Rams LIVE Thoughts

Browns Rams LIVE Thoughts

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The logo of the Browns Backers Worldwide.

The logo of the Browns Backers Worldwide. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Browns Rams LIVE Thoughts

This is a VERY thin crowd tonight.
Nice play on 3rd and 2 to Bess
Good 37 yard pass to Gordon
Runs are going nowhere.
Good pass protection vs blitz
Draw play gets the 1st.  Great call.
The pressure up the gut allowed the blocked pass.  It was not Weeden’s fault.
What Cameron misses Little catches.  Bad play by the TE.  Weeden is not showing much touch.  The pass to Little via Cameron was way too hot.
Again run gets nothing
Two incompletes force a FG.  Clev 3 St coming up.
Penalty on Groves (head butt) gives the Rams good field position.
Bradford had all day to throw.  That is not a good sign
On 2nd down Sheard had some pressure.
Blitz fails to get pressure.  1ST down
Jackson attacks the run which is a good sign
Browns blitz and the screen catches them for 17 yards
RB Pead fumbles on a taylor hit and Skrene picks it up.
Jackson shows good vision on the run.
Gordon breaks a tackle for a nice gain.
Barnidge with a good catch.
Greco with a good block down field on the screen.
Cameron with a nice pattern and catch
Jackson great effort on the run right.  Broke a tackle
O line gets no push on run up the gut on the 2nd down run to the 2 and a half
Pass to Lewis TD Cleve 10-0
KO +8
Jackson made the tackle 5 yards down the field again
Skrine with a nice play
Robertson does a great job of getting coverage on 3rd 5
90 yard punt return by Benjamin Clev 17-0
KO +8
Winn rocks the runner for a gain of 3
Blitz doesn’t get there and the pass goes for 59 yards.  Ward did not keep deep against Givens.
Run up the gut by Richardson gets 12
Up the gut again for 5
Givens gets the TD.  The Rams #1s move right down the field against the 2nd team D of the Browns
CL 17-7
PN Butler -5
Gilkey good push on the run
Butler pulls back too quick but didn’t get called
Campbell looks sharp on a read and a quick pass to
Jackson looks good running and catching.
Marecic can’t block at all.
Butler pulls early again and gets away with it.
Campbell scrambles for the 1st down.
Norwood with a nice pattern and catch.
Jackson catches and makes a tackler miss to get 4 yards
Campbell missed Ogbonnaya on 3rd and 3
41 FG Graham CL 20-7
KO +12 Graham
Groves gets the sack.
Middle of the D gives up a 12 yard run.
Blitz doesn’t get home but the WR missed the catch.
After the 2 min warning the Browns didn’t get the snap call and blow the 3rd down play with a sack.
The team was not organized and missed a chance to keep the Rams off the field in the 2 min.
Rams get the ball on their 40 after a poor punt
Blitz By 2nd team is not getting to the QB.
Mingo gets to the QB even after a trip attempt
Fort and Wade stop a QB run by Davis.
54 yard FG GOOD CL 20-10
On a 1st down run Mingo stood his ground and turned the run inside.
The 2nd team Zone is not working.  The players are not breaking down in their zones to cover in time.
Sanford does a great job getting a sack.
Mingo puts pressure on Davis and forced him to throw it away.
P Davis gets held as he rushed
JMJ made a tackle that Fort missed on 3rd and 26.
Hoyer in at QB missed a WIDE open TE Davis
Then Hoyer almost threw a pick but the receiver rounded off the route and did not get open.
Three and out again.
Stacy runs for 6 up the gut
A second run gets the 1st
T Wade makes a good play and Quick missed the pass
Kitchin levels Stacy on a reception
T Wade called for interference.
Bademosi provides great coverage on a deep pass
Davis misses a wide open 81
55 y FG Cl 20-13
The Browns are able this year to throw screen passes unlike with the Shurmur regime
Jackson is running hard from the handoff or with the reception.
Cooper gets on the ground to get the ball.  Good catch.
Roosevelt makes a great catch but Hoyer threw it out of bounds.
On 3rd and 4 the Browns total blitz fails.  WR Wide open get the ball to the 30
Cole does a great job staying home against a reverse.
Staples makes the 4th down play tackle of QB Davis to turn the ball over to the Browns.
Paul Davis deflected the ball and Staples picked it off.
Maysonet has very good vision and speed.  Can he take a big hit?  He also tries to take the ball outside too much.  He has to stay with the hole called unless he sees a bigger opening.
Critical 3rd and 3 Hoyer finds a wide open Robinson and hits him for the closing TD.
CL 27-13 3:01 LEFT 4TH QUARTER
ST allows a return to the 30
38 misses Radway and the Rams score 58 yards CL27-19 after the unsuccessful 2 point attempt
Edwards catches the on-side kick at the 50
Maysonet has surprising strength running inside.  He breaks tackles well.
Browns 3 and out again with a punt going into the endzone netting just 21 yards.
15 double covered gets by the deepest and drops the ball inside the 5
Holding on Kearney gives the Rams life
The Hail Mary almost scores.  The receiver Blake had the ball in the endzone but Justin Cole pulled the ball way to end the game.
My Conclusions:
              The first string O played better than I expected.  The Rams are good on D and the Browns moved the ball through the air well.  The running game suffered without Richardson or Hardesty.  While the loss of the later is no big deal, the loss of TRich is a major issue.
              The #1 O line is not getting much of a push up the middle.  The lack of timing with the 3rd and 4th backs didn’t help.  But the issue runs deeper than that.  Last year the Browns could not convert 3rd and short opportunities.  RB Lewis looked good and will only get better with more work.  Jackson is running hard but there are not many holes to run through.  The total O depends on the play action pass.  Without an effective running game the D will not react to the play action.
              The O line did pretty well protecting the QBs.  The Rams D line is very good but the #1 and #2 O lines both held their own in the passing game.  That was good to see.
              I am also concerned about the inability to convert inside the 20.  The O will have to be more effective inside the 20.  It was good to see Weeden throw the 2 yard TD pass to take the lead to Lewis.  Last year the team had major issues scoring TDs inside the 20.
              The Browns 2nd and 3rd teams are not as good as those of the Rams or a lot of other teams as well.  There is talent there but it will take time to allow those units to develop.  The coaching staff is focusing on getting the first team ready for the opener.  At this point in the season that is the most important thing.
              The bottom line on the O is that there were no turnovers and the Browns got 2.  Weeden looked very good and Hoyer looked OK.  Weeden dealt better with pressure around him and does not stare down the receiver as often as he did last year.  If an NFL QB stares down his receiver he ends up throwing picks more often than completions.  Hoyer is not seeing the field consistently and that is a problem.  While he may have the best grasp of the system, he does not have the arm to ever be a starter.
              It is important that the Offense scored 20 points.  That is more than they averaged last season.  But the team won only because the special teams scored.  Otherwise the game would have gone to overtime tied at 20 all.
              The big question of this season was if the Browns new 3-4 could get pressure on the passer and still do better stopping the run.  The answer after game 1 of the preseason is NO on both counts.  Even in the all out blitz the Browns were not getting to the QB.  There were some plays by the front 7 but often they were due as much to errors by the O line than outstanding scheme or D play.
              I was concerned about Sheard making the transition to LB from DE.  We had heard that he was doing very well but I was not impressed so far.  Jackson sometimes attacks the run but too often still makes tackles 4 or 5 yards down field.  Robertson made some big plays.  He showed he can be the coverage ILB.
              Without the hammer Jackson who is now in Atlanta, the Rams still got big yards up the gut against the Browns 3-4.  Had the score not been so lopsided, the Rams running game would have done a lot more damage.  I was encouraged with the play of Mingo.  He was running around and making plays.
              The D will get better as it internalizes the new scheme.  But against a questionable line with an extra injury the front 7 was not getting pressure on the QB without a blitz.  That is not a good sign.
              The issues with the defensive pass coverage will be exacerbated if the blitz is not getting to the QB.  The loss of the 2nd and 3rd CBs hurt but it was the safety play was particularly horrendous.   The safeties were beaten early and often.  That was an issue last year and based on the Rams game it has not gotten much better.  The Rams are weak at WR.  Even so, they were often running open through the Browns backfield.  Ward is much better at the line than in deep coverage.  The team’s failure to get a quality vet FS is hard to understand.
Bottom line on Defense:
              This team has a lot of work to do.  When they blitz they have to get to the QB.  The team is not good enough in the backfield to cover up for a poor rush.  There were some good plays but not enough.
Special Teams:
              I have been very hard on ST Coach Tabor.  I blamed him for not cutting a long snapper that lost his stroke and a punter that was damaged goods.  But despite losing the long time kicker Dawson, the special teams did very well.  The 4th quarter punt into the endzone from the 41 was pathetic but other than that they were solid.  Great PR by Benjamin for the TD and a solid blocking job for him.  The FG kicking was OK.  The issues of not cutting bad ST players may have been Shurmur not Tabor.
              I am not ready to endorse Tabor yet but am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Overall:  The Browns won.  That alone is different.  They beat a team that is solid and may challenge for a playoff spot this season.  The win was good.  But as always there are many things this team needs to work on to contend in the AFC North.  For more on the Browns/Rams game check out our weekly podcast on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.
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 https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
He also edits .  
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.

First round QBs in the NFL Draft may disappear.

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Not that long ago most NFL teams gave a rookie QB 2 or 3 years to mature and learn the game. However, that has changed in recent years and it may be changing again.

First round QBs are expected to start quickly and some of them are able to do that. The recent success of Roethlisberger (PT), Sanchez (NJ), and Ryan (AT) make us forget the list of those that have crashed and burned in recent years.

We start with 2007 because it is too soon to evaluate players being a bust from the 08 or 09 drafts.

2007-1st pick JaMarcus Russell Oakland Russell has thrown a total of 18 TDs and 23 picks since joining the league. He has a career passer rating of 65.2. In the 2010 draft the team traded for Campbell to replace him.

2007-22nd pick Brady Quinn Cleveland He didn’t get thrown into the game immediately but that still didn’t help him. In 3 years he had a rating of 66.8. He was traded to Denver this year for a bucket of water. They were so impressed with Quinn that they used a 1st round pick on QB Tim Tebow.

2006-3rd pick Vince Young Tennessee His first 2 years he was the starter and had passer ratings of 66.7 and 71.1. He got benched in 08 and the first part of 09 but came back after learning a little more about the game and had some success.

2006-10 Matt Leinart Arizona He started in game 5 of 06 and threw 11 TDs but 12 picks. He ended that year with a QBR of 74. He was named the starter in 07 but was done after 5 games with a QBR of 61.9. He has started 1 game since. He will have to fight for the job this year because the Cards traded for Anderson after Kurt Warner retired.

2006-11th Jay Cutler Denver Cutler was quite successful in his first 3 years with QBRs of 88.5, 88.1 and 86.0 before wearing out his welcome forcing a trade to Chicago. There he threw 27 TDs but 26 picks and a QBR of a mediocre 76.8.

2005-1st overall Alex Smith San Francisco Smith started the last 5 games of 05 and all of 06. But 7 games into 07 he was pulled for an undrafted FA. Even with a QBR in 09 of 81.5 his career number is 69.2. In his first 3 seasons he threw 19 TDs but 31 picks.

2005-25th Jason Campbell Washington Campbell sat out 05 but started 7 games in 06, 13 games in 07 and every game since. Despite improving his stats each year, he was traded to the Raiders this season for a 4th round pick in 2012. That is the equivalent of a 6th round pick this draft.

So in the 3 seasons we looked at, there were 7 first round QBs picked and only Cutler has been successful enough to be named a replacement pro bowler after a couple of others backed out. Young may be on the upswing after sitting for a year and a half. The rest were pretty much busts. Those busts set their teams back several seasons except the Cards that had future Hall of Fame QB Warner in reserve.

So what is the problem? There are several factors that are making the drafting of a QB in the first round less likely now and perhaps prohibitive in the near future.

The first cause is cost. The price of a QB as the 1st pick in 2010 will be 50 million in cash guarantees. Bradford will get that even if he never plays a down for the Rams. The Rams were willing to take offers to trade down but even in an uncapped year there were no serious bids for the pick.

The more pressing issue is the spread offense of the College game. More and more college teams are using a version of the spread and QBs that play 3 or 4 years in that system are not at all prepared to come to the NFL.

The pass patterns that the spread runs are very limited. The most frequent pattern is the bubble screen. There are very few teams that use the route tree like that of the NFL. The favorite pattern in the NFL is the skinny post. Very few college QBs even know what that is.

WRs are wide open in college but are not open at all in the NFL. As a result, QBs are not forced to make the throw to the back shoulder of a WR. There is accuracy in college but that does not relate to accuracy in the NFL.

The average QB is in the shotgun 90+ percent of the time. They never have to worry about the 3, 5, and 7 step drop back. Footwork is critical to accuracy and almost none of the QBs coming into the league have consistent footwork.

The CBs that an NFL QB faces every week are better than any that a college QB in his career. The college kid has seldom seen a rotating zone or combination man/zone D. Those are used every week in the NFL.

The worst part of the spread is that QBs never have to make more than 2 reads of the defense. Bradford was not even looking at the D prior to the snap. He was always looking for the coach’s call from the sideline. It takes time to learn to do pre-snap reads. An NFL QB has to know where the pressure is likely to originate and has to adjust to it.

The more the rookie 1st round QBs cost the more pressure there is to put them under center Day 1. But given the complexities of the NFL defenses and the lack of NFL offenses in college, the more expensive QB is less prepared to come into the league.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

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 is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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What to look for in the Saturday Divisional round games.

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Cards @ Saints

Cards QB Warner had just another day at the office. Against one of the most improved Ds in the league he went 29-33 for 379 yards and 5 TDs without a pick. The Pack had no answer for Warner. They blitzed him and he picked man to man coverage apart. They rushed 3 and kept 8 in coverage and he found holes in the zones. The O line protected Warner for the most part and sub WRs did well to make up for the loss of WR Bolden.

On D, the Cards and the Pack allowed the score board to look like the something out of Pinball Wizard. Neither D could put consistent pressure on the others QB. The Pack was so focused on Warner that they allowed RB Wells 6.5 yards per attempt. They were lucky that their O was putting up so many points or Wells would have had more than his 14 carries. If the Cards are going to have any chance to stage the upset the D is going to have to play like they did last year in the playoff run to the Super Bowl. The passing game of the Saints is equally lethal. The Cards are 23rd in pass D. The D may be missing DE Campbell, LBs Davis and Hayes. If they can’t go the D will be in even more trouble. Get your popcorn ready, this could be a wild offensive show.


The Saint’s D coordinator Williams isn’t sleeping too well this week. He has nightmares of Card WRs running wide open through his D backfield. The Saints D had played much better this year than last but it has had a tough time against high percentage passing attack. The good news is that CB Jenkins is hampered by a hamstring but is expected to play. The bad news is that Boldin is optimistic about playing as well. The Saints are ranked 26th in pass D. The key to the game for the Saints D will be their ability to pressure Warner better than the Pack did.

The Saints O is outstanding. They are 1st in both yards and points, 4th in passing and 6th in rushing. The team stumbled into the playoffs with 3 straight losses. The O is going to have to play like they did early in the season and not in the last 3 games. They scored only 44 points in those losses. The 23-10 loss to the Panthers could have been explained by the team resting a lot of the key players but not the losses to the Boys and the Bucs. The problem was not rushing. They ran for 124 against the Bucs. The problem was not turnovers or completion percentage. The Saints may get RB Thomas back. That will help them get a running game going again.

The problem was they could not get the ball into the endzone. The game will depend on the Saints finding their scoring punch again. If they are forced to kick field goals to score, they will lose.

Both teams have a questionable D. But the Saints are struggling on O and the Cards are hotter than the sun. I will go out on a limb and pick the Cards in a huge upset.

Ravens @ Colts


The Birds did a great job pressuring the Pats D with the running game. The O scored 33 points but got a lot of help from the Pats. They won’t get that kind of help from the Colts.

The O is going to have to get more out of the passing game. They won 3 of their last 4 games but those wins were against the dregs of the NFL. Against a team that scores like the Colts, 4-10 for 34 yards and a pick will not get it done. QB Flacco has not stepped up to the challenge like most expected him to do. The O line isn’t the problem, accuracy and lack of game breaking receivers are the critical issues. The coaching staff doesn’t trust Flacco to win games for them and they shouldn’t. He has crumbled in big games like against the Steelers. The running game is solid but won’t score often enough to keep the Ravs in the game. They will have to depend on the passing game and it will let them down.

The weakest part of the Ravs D is the pass defense. They are 5th against the run and 8th against the pass. They depend on pressure on the QB to control the pass. They won’t be able to get enough pressure on Manning to stop the Colts passing game.


The Colt O is devastating but it is one dimensional. They are #2 in passing but dead last in the running game. They are going to have to run the ball a little to keep the chains moving. The one advantage they have is that they can play catchup really well. Manning is playing at a very high level. The team lost 2 games but in both cases Manning and company were pulled early.

The Colt D has played great in some games and lousy in others. They rank 24th against the run and will get a lot of practice stopping it against the Ravs. The key injuries on D are all probable. That should help as the D has suffered a lot of injuries during the season. The rest the wounded got will help them.

The key to stopping the running game has been S Sanders but he is on IR again. The Colts’ D will struggle stopping the run but will get the win due to their O.

Saturday I will discuss the Sunday games.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over.  Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at http://sportsims.net/.  Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

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 is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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Around the NFL for Wile Card week.

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The Coaching carousel spins.

Redskins—Zorn is gone. Former Denver coach Shanahan is in and has total power. See there is not a “no win” policy in Washington. Shanahan is smart and will get a lot more out of the talent that is there. The biggest problems with the Redskins are the O line and QB. The D is solid but has suffered because it has been on the field nearly 40 minutes a game. Shanahan will get the running game going and will move on from QB Campbell soup can.

Browns—Mangenous is still there. Browns Pres. Holmgren announced today that Mangini and his minions will be given one more season. Most observers had hoped that the team would at least demote or fire OC Daboll because he was clearly over his head in that spot. Holmgren is an offensive coach and all the Browns fans can hope is that the he will be puppet master calling the shots for the O.

There are a couple of things going on here that made that decision reasonable. First, there is a 75% chance that there will be no NFL football in 2011. For all the reasons I have published here months ago, there will be no agreement in time to prevent an uncapped year in 2010 and little chance that the two sides will agree to a deal before the drop dead date early in 2011.

The second reason is that I believe the rumors that have Jon “Chuckie” Gruden joining the team after football returns as head coach of the Browns. I would love that combination. I believe it would finally turn the team around. Both Holmgren and Gruden realize what a big job this is going to be. But both thrive in turn around jobs.

Steelers—The staff of coach Tomlin is paying the price for the team not making the playoffs. OL coach Zierlein and not so special teams coach Ligashesky have been fired. This is a move to take some heat off the HC chair. If the team comes around next season, Tomlin will keep his job. If not he will be the next one to get the pink slip out of Steel town.

Giants—O line coach Waufle was fired yesterday. The O line was one of the best in the league in 08 but disintegrated in 09. It caused QB Manning to run for his life on almost every play. The way the team rolled over and died late in the season, the O line is not the only problem. Look for more changes in the Big Apple.

Bears—The Bears fired OL Luke Butkus and quality control/wr assistant coach London. The problem on the O line was age not coaching. OT Williams was the only top 3 round pick in the last 6 years for the team. C Kreutz is a year past serviceable, Gs Garza and Omiyale are “never was” guys that are below starting quality and RT Shaffer is a journeyman. The WR problem is lack of WRs. The combination of Bennett, Davis and Hester don’t equal one #1 NFL quality guy.

Chiefs—Kansas City is trying to become “Patriots West.” As I have written before the only way that coach Haley saved his job was to bring experienced coordinators in like training wheels on a bike. Former ND and Pat OC Weis has been named OC. Look for current DC Pendergast to be the next causality. There are rumors that ex-Brown coach Crennel will be named DC. That might give Haley enough experience on his staff to make up for his lack of it.

The INs and the OUTs.


Jets—The Jets got REALLY lucky being scheduled in their last 2 games against two teams that had already clinched their playoff position. The Jets won those games and they are in. They are playing a little better than they were earlier in the year but you can’t go far with a rookie QB at the helm unless you come from Pittsburg.

Ravens—The Birds won the games they were supposed to win to get WC spot. They are matched up against the Pats and that should be a great game.

Cowboys—Who says threats don’t work to motivate players and coaches? JJ threatened to blow up the team and start over if they missed the playoffs and the team responded. They beat the Eagles easily to win the NFC East. Let’s see how far they go. They will meet the Birds again in the Wild Card round.

Packers—The Pack beat the Cards easily and that will be the Wild Card game. The Cards rested a number of players that were nicked up. They will play this weekend.


Broncos—After a 6-0 start, the team disintegrated going 2-8 and failed to make the playoffs. It was only the 2nd team since the playoffs were expanded to 12 team to go 6-0 and not make the big dance. The problem is the head coach. He ticked off his all pro QB Cutler so badly that he was forced to trade him. Then he benched his all pro WR Marshall twice losing all those games. McD is not qualified to be head coach of a peewee team.

Texans—This team is just not talented enough to be much over .500. They have had some good drafts in the early picks but not enough guys contributing from the middle and late rounds to get over the hump.

Dolphins—One of my readers asked why I didn’t talk more about the Dolphins. Here you are. The Fish amazed everyone in 2008 going from the 1st overall draft pick to the AFC East championship. This year they were scheduled against other playoff teams and that and key injuries to their QB and RB proved to be too much to get to the playoffs for a 2nd year in a row. They are a really good team that has found their QB of the future in Henne.

Steelers—A Steeler team that can’t run the ball won’t make the playoffs. They are going to have to solve the O line problems to both protect the QB and create holes for the RBs. Their D missed Polamalu most of the season. The D has become far too dependent on him to correct mistakes that the other players make.

Giants—A combination of injuries and guys getting old in a hurry killed their chances for the playoffs. This team will be reworked in a big way in the off season.

Falcons—This team was another surprise in 08 that failed to make the dance in 09. They are getting better but had a lot of injuries that hurt its chances of making the post season.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

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 is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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