Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hopeful optimism

A redundancy if there ever was one. Of course, any kind of hope contains a large dose of optimism.

That said, the Cleveland Browns will wind up with a record of 6-10 this season, a prediction based on a modicum of talent, a lot of luck and nothing more than a hunch they'll win one game by accident.

As has been stated earlier, this team does not have the speed or quickness to compete with most of the teams in the National Football League. They have to physically beat the opposition into submission in order to have a chance to win.

That's why they'll blitz far more than the average defense, thus exposing what is widely known around the NFL. The Browns still can't stop the run, defend the pass or pressure the quarterback without some sorry of trickery.

On offense, Jake Delhomme will discover early on that he no longer has the likes of Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad to throw the football toward. And he won't be able to hand the ball off to the likes of DeAngelo Smith and/or Jonathan Stewart.

When he faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener tomorrow, he will have one hand figuratively tied behind his back. Yes, he has completed roughly 75% of his passes during the exhibition season, but precious few went beyond 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Why? Because his receivers had trouble getting open.

And you can bet the Bucs today will stack the box early and often against Delhomme, who has had great success against them in the past, and force him to throw the ball. Unless Mo Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey or Joshua Cribbs have somehow discovered ways to get open, it could be a long afternoon for the veteran quarterback.

But the Browns should win the opener against a team clearly worse than them. And the defense should be the main reason. For that reason alone, the score should be low and close because nether team has the offensive tools to scare anyone. Browns win, 17-13.

But don't get too sanguine. After the Kansas City Chiefs in the home opener next week -- and that one is not a lock -- the Browns face the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints in the next five weeks. Oy!!

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