Wrapping up Browns vs. Falcons
Some final thoughts on the Browns tough loss to Atlanta on Sunday:
- Despite their 1-4 record, the Browns defense has actually played pretty well. Take away the TAINTs that Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace have thrown and the Browns are only giving up 15 points a game. They may give up a lot of yards and have trouble getting off the field on third down – they are 24th in the league allowing the other team to convert 41 percent of the time on third down – but they don’t give up points. They have yet to give up a rushing touchdown and held Atlanta to 0-for-3 in the red zone.
- After putting together big games against Baltimore and Cincinnati, everyone in Brownstown was wondering how the team was able to acquire Peyton Hillis from Denver for Brady Quinn. It’s likely the team just fleeced an incompetent Denver front office, but something Terry Pluto mentioned in his story Sunday in The Plain Dealer gave us pause: “It’s not widely reported, but Hillis missed four games in 2006 with ‘calcification of the bone in the right thigh’ when he was at Arkansas.” Now Hillis’ thigh is bothering him again. No way to know if this is tied to his problem at Arkansas, but that sure sounds serious. And may explain why the Broncos were willing to basically give him away.
- Brian Robiskie: 14 career games, 10 career catches.
- Finally, we have to talk about the quarterbacks. Apparently high ankle sprains are the new staph infections, as now Seneca Wallace has one and Jake Delhomme reinjured his against Atlanta. The Browns signed old favorite Brett Ratliff off New England’s practice squad and signs currently point to rookie Colt McCoy making his NFL debut Sunday in Pittsburgh. Now things could certainly be worse than going on the road to face the No. 2-ranked defense (No. 1 against the rush) in the league with a rookie quarterback and a third-year quarterback who has never taken a snap in a regular-season game. We just can’t really think of too many of them right now.
It’s unfortunate that injuries are hitting this team at spots where it is especially vulnerable, but we knew heading into the season that the Browns did not have a lot of depth. And while it has been frustrating and disappointing through the first five weeks of the season, it hasn’t be discouraging. With a couple of breaks, the Browns could easily be 3-2 and we’d be feeling differently.
But their record is what it is, but it’s hard to argue that the team hasn’t show some improvement over last year, especially compared to the first five games of 2009. While the Browns carry the same 1-4 record as last year, their four losses this season are by a combined 22 points; last year it was a combined 69 points. And their win against Cincinnati was a solid showing, not like last year’s ridiculous 6-3 win over Buffalo where Derek Anderson “led” the Browns with 23 passing yards.
So while it’s not all bees and honey, it’s not as bad as it seems. Keep the faith.