Browns vs Ratbirds (RB) Week 4 in game notes.

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Nice run on the first play but the O died due to a bad play call and no blocking against the blitz.

Again a weak punt gives the RBs nice field position.


Got some pressure on Flacco and the pass was wide

Jauron has a plan to cover Rice. It worked on 2nd down.

Skrine with good coverage on the WR

A great job by the front 4 so far against the run and the pass.  Stopped Rice on 3rd and short.

The ruling on the Cribbs fumble is WRONG.  The play is dead when the helmet comes off.  It is impossible to recover a dead ball.  The ball should have been given back to the Browns because they were the last team to legally possess it prior to the ball  becoming dead.

The new helmet rule has confused both the rule makers and the “real” refs.   The rule may have to be updated to prevent a fumble being caused by a legal hit recoverable.  Again, you can’t recover a dead ball.

Great pick by Robertson.  He saved the league and the refs.  He should be the starter because he has the speed and instincts to do the job.

Thomas has had a tough season.  There have been WAY too many holding calls.


DQ is playing better this year.  Nice read on the run.

—– end of the 1st Quarter

Brown gives up 39 yards because he is S L O W.

Skrine gives up a 34 yard pass because he is short.

DT Winn is really playing well.  I predicted he would beat out Hughes and he did.

The zone D broke down on the TD pass to Smith.

But because they missed the EP we are only 2 Dawson FGs behind.

-BA 6 CL 0

Weeden has small hands.  That is an issue in rain.

Richardson is running very hard.  When you carry Nota on your back for 3 yards, you are running VERY hard.

Weeden misses again and the Browns are 3 and out.


Another special teams gaff and the game is getting away from the Browns.

Patterson is solid in covering Smith in the endzone.

Long FG is good.  Now we are 3 field goals behind.

–BA 9 CL 0

No blocking on a great 3 yard run.  TRich is outstanding.

The right side of the line collapses for a sack and the Browns go 3 and out again.


Our O does not work in the rain, or the sun, or the snow, or …

Little with a nice catch.

Then Weeden throws into triple coverage.

Two more nice throws take the team down to the goal line.

Richardson shows his speed getting to the corner for a TD.

=BA 9 CL 7

The new Ratbird O is built for quick strikes.  The Browns need to stop this drive to have a chance.

The D got the stop but then 3 and out.

Hodges punts the ball 32 yards again.  Another special teams gaff.


Second half

Great run by Rice.

The Ratbirds use Bolden to drive down the field and score.  That is what half time adjustments can do.  Of course the Browns spend half time giving orange slices to the players.

–BA 16 CL 7

The Browns OGs are getting pushed around by the D.  Pinkston shows some potential but Lauvao is hopeless.  In my opinion he does not have the feet to play at this level.

Richardson is a weapon.  Nice throw and great YAC .

TRich is also a great blocker.  On the long pass to Watson, TRich leveled the blitzing LB.

The second throw to Norwood was way too hot.

51 yard FG by “Mr. Automatic” Dawson.

=BA 16 CL 10

The D front line is starting to wear down.  It will be much better when we get Taylor back.  We will be able to rotate more often.

The sack by Hughes was due to coverage.  Flacco had nowhere to throw.

Again coverage is so good Flacco had to hold the ball.

The penalty for hands to the face was caused by coverage as well.  The RB O line is struggling to keep Flacco upright while he looks for a target.

The zone D of Jauron is holding up well.

The 47 yard FG is NG.

Cameron with a great catch.

The RBs had seen the reverse and reacted to it well.

The pick was due to Weeden not throwing the ball on time and throwing behind the WR.  Williams was sitting on the route and had time to get to the ball.

=BA 23 CL 10

The Browns throw another 2 yard pass.  THAT is not going to get it done.

A swing pass to TRich netted 20 yards all yac.

Weeden was 4-4 as the Browns moved the ball down the field but missed an open Cameron on 1st down.  Then the Ravens ran 2 blitzes and the drive stalled.  Another great kick by Dawson for 50 yards.

=BA 23 CL 13

Quick slant to Bolden has been open all game but now the RBs are using it.

Rice continued to run well

Lavauo is really not NFL material.  He does not have the feet to play G.

More pressure on Weeden caused another 3 and out.


NFL NEWS flash —- Holding will no longer get called on the home team

Fuj actually chased down Flacco.  I didn’t realize Flacco was that slow.

On 3rd and 9 Skrine got a knockdown to force a punt

Great 38 yard punt return by Benjamin that was allowed by two nice blocks.

Another blown block by the O line caused the grounding.

Then the Bench got a penalty for another 15 yards. 2nd and Washington DC.

Another drop by Little after Weeden got the ball out against the blitz

Dawson gets a 52 yard FG.

=BA 23 CL 16

Bolden again hurts the Browns with another great catch for a 1st down.

After the holding penalty the rookie breaks out for 16 yards

A penalty against Skrine gave the Ratbirds the 1st

Good play by Sheard forced a punt and a chance for the Browns

Good job by norewood to prevent the pick on his slip.  We need more of that kind of effort to help out our QB.

Great effort by Weeden to get the ball down the field.  We had a shot but yet again came up just a little short.



The Browns played much better than they did against the Bengals.  If they had put out this effort last Sunday, we would have won.  That is not unusual.  Young teams lack the consistency that you want.


The O was better.  The RBs focused on stopping Richardson.  That allowed more single coverage on our receivers than usual.  Weeden shows a lot of guts standing in against the rush and keeping his eyes down field.  He took a lot of hits and threw for more than 300 yards for the 2nd time in 4 games.  Any rookie QB will make misreads like the pick.  But keeping him in will make him a much better QB for the next coach.


The O line is struggling.  RT Schwartz has yet to show he was worth the high 2nd round pick.  He has potential but has not shown as much progress as I had hoped.  Lauvao has to go.  The Browns need to bring in a RG to replace him or a UFA LG and move Pinkston.  The running game will never be what it should because our guards are not able to get to the 2nd level.

Thomas is playing hurt and it show.  He has a leg issue and cannot move his feet quick enough.  That causes him to hold.


The WRs are bad.  MoMass is at best a 3rd WR and is always hurt.  Neither Little nor Gordon can catch on an NFL level.   They also struggle to run accurate patterns like the WCO requires.   I like Norwood but he is thin as tissue paper.  The Cribbs experiment is over but the coaching staff has yet to realize it.  He is too slow and too small to be a WR.  Benjamin is 3 feet tall.  While he has great speed, he is used too often down the sideline.  He gets picked by a taller CB.  They need to keep him in the middle like Welker for the Pats.

The TEs are just OK.  Cameron has iffy hands.  Watson will be on IR soon.  He is as fragile as fine china.  Smith is a blocker but not much of a down field threat.  He also is not much of a running back.


The D has played well overall.  It suffers when the O goes 3 and out so often.  Jauron has put in two of the best game plans we have seen since 1999.  The Eagles and Ratbirds game plans were brilliant.  However, both Maiava and Fuj need to be benched.  We need to develop Johnson (when he gets healthy) Fort and Robertson.  They are the future at OLB.


No question that Haden’s suspension has really hurt the team.  He let his fellow players down.  We need a solid CB opposite him.  Skrine is a nickel at best.  Patterson is smart but does not have the speed to be effective.  Brown is 3 years past his expiration date.


The book is still out on Ward.  While he is a big hitter, he takes bad angles too often and struggles to cover in space.   The Browns do not have an NFL quality FS.  Hagg has potential but is green as baby peas and is athletically limited.  Young is a stop gap at best.


The special teams are horrid except for the star of the team Dawson.  If I was the GM or head coach both Hodges and Special Teams coach Tabor would have to find their own way back to Cleveland.  They both would have been fired on the spot.  Tabor would have lost his job after the debacle in Oakland last year.  We have not had a regular season punt blocked since the early 90’s.  It will happen this year if Hodges is not cut.


I will comment on head coach Shurmur in a separate article.  I will say that I would much prefer to see Childress call plays.  Shurmur as the OC is frankly offensive.


That’s what I think.  Tell us 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  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

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Browns vs Bengals: The Browns fans finally have hope for a brighter future for the team.

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Browns vs Bengals

Browns vs Bengals

Last week you had to take a number because there was a long line waiting to jump off the I90 bridge after the Browns lack of offense.  In that line were several of the Browns defensive players and coaches.

Week 2 took the team to Cincinnati to face the division foe Bengals.  The offense looked much better.  While the team ended up losing the second straight game, both QB Brandon Weeden and RB Tony Richardson showed the talent you hope every first round draft pick has.

The lack of coverage by the defense allowed the Bengals to win the game but for the first time in a long long time there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  And I do not believe it is an oncoming train.

The first great sign is the new owner Jimmy Haslam.  One of the things that I have talked a lot about on my radio show is the organizational lack of urgency to win.  My Dad was a smart guy.  One of the early lessons he taught me was there is a fine line between being laid back and laid out.  And you better know which side of that line you are on.

I am sure that Holmgren is a great guy.  But he has never proven his ability to lead an organization to win.  He was hired by the Seattle Seahawks as the GM and head coach.  He was relieved of his GM responsibilities due to a poor record of drafting quality players.  Before he was hired in Cleveland as team President, I warned my readers about his lack of success as anything other than head coach.

I believe that Mr. Haslam will inject the entire organization with an urgency to win.  That will be a gift to the long suffering Browns fans.

Weeden looked a lot better against an under rated Bengal defense.  He threw for more than 300 yards for 2 TDs and no interceptions.  He still makes great throws that get dropped by the young wide receiver corps.  But both the QB and the WRs are getting better.  With good coaching, Weeden has the talent to become a good NFL QB.

RB Richardson has extraordinary talent.  When I rated him as a potential draft choice, he ranked just behind Adrian Peterson overall.  Sunday, he gave us a glimpse of that talent.  He caught the ball, made tacklers miss and got into the endzone twice.  He also provided a running threat.  The West Coast Offense depends a lot on play action.  With no running threat last year the opponent linebackers laughed when Browns’ QBs faked to the RB.  Now they have to respect the running game.  That allowed the middle of the field to open up for Weeden.

So while the Browns are 0-2, there is for the first time hope of brighter days ahead.  Give the new group a little time to get things turned around.  It looks like we are finally headed in the right direction.

That is what I think.  Tell me what you think.

NNR at 6PM EDT follows the Moohead show at 5PM on  If  you cannot hear the show when Moo ends, press the join event button to hear the show and be able to ask questions written of Papa or his guests.

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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 and was a senior writer for .  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

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  • Published: Aug 29th, 2012
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

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Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

Great first call with a 28 yard pass to Gordon

Pinkston penalty  2nd guy always gets caught

Smith can catch but cannot run the ball.  Great read by Weeden throwing the crossing route vs zone

Play was late coming in and the confusion by Weeden of the defense caused a TO

New owner Jimmy Hasslam has to worry about the empty seats in the stadium.

Make up call against the Eagles on the off side.

Hardesty does not have very good vision.   That is a problem.

Hardesty spinning is a problem as well.  He just doesn’t look like an NFL back to me

Weeden arm strength obvious on the pass to MoMass

The leakage on the right side is going to be a huge problem

MoMass needed to go a little further on the out route.

Good throw by Weeden.

It is hard to run wide against a wide 9 D.

Hardesty cannot give up that much yardage in the redzone

Holding against Pinkston shows a problem at guard.  He is better than early last year but has a long way to go.

Screen pass that went VERY BAD on the Weeden fumble.  Pinkston has to get a better block on a screen pass.  Thomas also gave up way too much ground.


Great play by D.  Good pass rush great coverage on the Haden pick off.

Great play recognition by Rubin on the pass rush.

Benjamin was open and Weeden missed him.

WAY too many 3rd and long situations.  No Offense can be successful always facing 3rd and 7 or more.

Incompletion to Little was as much on him as QB.   It looked like the ball was out before Little made his break


Ward is doing a lot better job on covering this year.

Great read by DT Winn on the sweep cutting down the RB in the backfield.

Very solid coverage by DBs on 3rd down.  Good pressure by Sheard.  Eagles were holding but that was not called.

Little recognizes the pressure and came back to help his QB.  He attacked the ball which is good to see.

Hardesty fumbles again.  Cannot have that.


Haden great read on the screen.  He broke through and got the tackle.

JMJ lost track of the TE.  TD Philly. 0-7 4:18

O line false start really hurt.

Hardesty had lots of room outside on 2nd down but didn’t see it.

3RD and 15.

Browns O line cannot keep 2ND Philly D off Weeden.   Both OTs allow penetration and Thomas’ guy caused the fumble.

Punt blocked right up the gut.   Blocker was untouched.  Hanna let him in clean.


TD Pass to Lewis vs Ward.  0-14 2:00

Cameron drops the ball on a sideline route.  Leakage over Schwartz again.

Another 4 yard pass on 3rd and long.  Just cannot do that.

Schwartz gives up the sack.

Long punt that is not covered well gives up a long return.

2nd quarter

It does not look like the Browns are ready to play.  Just missing critical blocks, lanes, and balls.

The O can’t move the ball vs the Eagles 2nd unit at all.

Browns 2nd D gets fooled by cut of WR Johnson.

Fort misses the tackle cleaned up by Robertson.

1ST team CB Brown gets burned by speed for the near TD.

Rookie WR just missed getting the 2nd foot down and did not hold the ball to the ground.

0-17 13:31

Jackson misses the pass right off his hands.  I thought he was supposed to be a pass catcher.

The run on 2nd and long will look better with TRich.

Great catch under pressure by Norwood for the 1st.

Good run by Jackson.  He has better vision than Hardesty.

Weeden put some mustard on that ball.

Short corner fade was double covered.  Not a great read by Weeden.

Hunt comes off right side unblocked to force the fast throw.

Jackson runs right by hunt not noticing Hunt was coming to crush his QB.


DE Parker makes his debut with a great move.

DB Brown had no clue where he was or when the ball was coming

Parker gets through 2 blocks for the hurry.

JMJ gets REAL deep in the secondary to knock away the pass.


Way too many 3rd and long situations because the Browns are not making good yardage on 1st and 2nd down.

Great throw and catch Weeden to Gordon on the slant.

Benjamin reached too soon and it slowed him slightly to fail to catch the ball.

Pinkston crushes the right side of the D to get Jackson 9 yards

Bad combination of routes makes Gordon doubled.  They needed to send 2 receivers deep.

Schwartz never touched the DE and the pass was still good but incomplete.

Screen passes eat up the Browns.

The Eagles kick a field goal on 2nd down with 48 seconds left.  WHY?

Norwood was hurt.

JMJ penalty was not that bad.  Sims picked the pass and scored but it was called back.

4 missed tackles on the Brown run.  Again contain is non-existent.

Hasslam looks like he has fire.  Shurmur had dead eyes.

JMJ caused the fumble but the Eagles recover.

The 3rd string of the Eagles marched the ball right down the field and scored

3-24 6:54

Thomas has much better vision and speed than Hardesty or Jackson

Great pass by McCoy to Winsor for 23 yards

Pass blocking is non-existant.

Eagles are covering very well.

Daniels takes a penalty making it 3rd and 16.

Good job by McCoy to get 12 yards to make it 4th 4.

Play VERY late coming in.  McCoy didn’t see the play clock running down.

McCoy runs for the 1st.

RBs get hit just as they get the ball.

McCoy gets hit as he throws.  3rd 12.

Thomas catches the ball and gets 9 yards after contact for the 1st.

Cribbs catches the ball against pressure coverage to the Philly 6.

Moore has great feet and hands.  But he can’t block a lick.  10-24


In the 2nd half there were a lot of empty seats.

Foles did very well as the QB of the Eagles.  He burned the Browns D like it was dried leaves.

Edwards looked good as well.  Shaffering got a nice pass rush to force a hurry on a 3rd and 2 pass.

First throw by Wallace is into triple coverage and is picked.

Edwards has the guts to stand in against pressure.  He might be the 3rd QB for Philly.

After the pick, the Eagles score AGAIN.

We are not that far away.  All we need is an offense, a defense and some special teams.


Final thoughts:


The Browns are not a good team.  The Offensive line is a major worry.  If they can’t protect Weeden the Offense will not progress.

The WRs are a concern as well.  The group is very young and has trouble running the disciplined routes that the West Coast Offense demands.  There is also an issue catching the ball.  That has to improve to let Weeden thrive.

The running game will get better.  Several holes were there but the combination of Hardesty and Jackson either could not see them or just couldn’t get there.  Richardson will make the running game work much better.  It will also help the team move the chains with a 3 yard pass to TRich on a 3rd and long.

The D has played well.  The O put them in bad positions allowing the Eagles to score 17 points by moving the ball less than 30 yards.  That is not acceptable.

The D line has done OK despite the injury to Taylor.  The rookie DTs are playing better than expected.  The LBs are an issue.  The team needs to get Jackson back and at 100 percent.  Johnson looks the part on the outside.  He has the speed that last year’s starters outside lacked.

The big issue in the backfield is the potential suspension of Haden.  If he is suspended the Browns will be burned often by the long pass.


The team is going to get better as the season progresses but this is no more than a 5 win team given the schedule, the youth of the roster and the coaching.  As a long time Browns fan, I wish I had better news but I have to be honest with my readers and listeners on NNR.  That is about all we can expect.  Anything better will be a major move in the right direction.


NNR at 6PM EDT follows the Moohead show at 5PM on  If  you cannot hear the show when Moo ends, press the join event button to hear the show and be able to ask questions of Papa or his guests.



The complete archive of the show is available on the front page an hour after the show ends.  The individual interviews are available the following day at

Be part of the show by calling our hotline at 216-539-0607.

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 and was a senior writer for .  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

He edits .  



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