Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Meanderings as we await the resumption of the season for the Browns . . .

It’s time to get Alex Smith off the field and Evan Moore on. The Browns need to get better in a hurry on offense and the first step should be Moore back in a full-time role.

The reason Smith has seen so much action this early is the weakness on the right side of the offensive line. Coach Pat Shurmur deemed right tackle so weak, he loaded up that side of the line with an extra tight end for pass protection.

And now that Tony Pashos is healthy (for at least the next game Sunday in Oakland), there is no need to give him any help in pass pro. That should mean a seat on the bench for Smith.

Shurmur, who said the other day that Moore needs to be on the field more, still hasn’t figured out that Moore is much more valuable as a wide receiver. It’s the position he played at Stanford.

As a tight end, he’s a terrible blocker. As a wide receiver, he’s clutch. Rarely drops a throw. Runs good routes. Would be perfect as a slot receiver. Needs to be on the field as much as possible.

Colt McCoy needs someone he can rely on. Moore is that guy. Not Mo Massaquoi. Not Joshua Cribbs. Not Greg Little.

The west coast offense is a pass-first offense. Tethering Moore to the bench works against that philosophy.

It is said the best coaches always put their players in the best position to be successful. That obviously is not the case with Shurmur and Moore. We’ll see Sunday if the coach has figured it out.

* * *

Do the Browns have the hurry-up offense in their playbook? And I don’t mean in the final two minutes of a game when they’re trying desperately to win.

It certainly looks as though Shurmur has dumbed down the offense to the point where is looks as though they are incapable to playing anything else but vanilla football.

No screens. No misdirection. No gadget plays. Makes one wonder if Shurmur’s favorite color is gray.

Strictly draws, traps, dive plays and stretch plays. Ho hum. No wonder opposing defensive coordinators do not fear the Browns’ offense.

* * *

The Browns need to work a lot harder on first-down plays. On both sides of the ball. Winning first down is essential.

You win first down on offense and you have a better shot at moving the chains. Second and short or medium is a lot easier to convert than second and long. That’s been a season-long probem.

Win first down on defense and you force the opposition to do something with which it has trouble. Second and long for the opposition changes the whole dynamics of a series and enables you to bring more pressure.

* * *

Is the National Football League game too fast for McCoy? It seems as though he’s having trouble with the speed of the game. In college, he had much more time to throw. The game seemed to slow down for him.

That does not appear to be the case in the NFL. He has had way too much trouble picking out his receivers and has delivered the ball late at an alarming rate. It’s a wonder he doesn’t have more interceptions.

Waiting an extra beat or two before getting the ball out is a sign of failing confidence in your receivers. Watch your successful quarterbacks and notice how they release the ball well before the receiver makes the break.

McCoy has become shy to the point where he waits until the receivers make the break and then throws the ball. That second or two enables a defensive back to recover and be in a position to spoil the play.

* * *

And why doesn’t McCoy throw downfield? In the Tennessee loss 10 days ago, he threw 61 times in 65 dropbacks and never once threw the ball beyond 20 yards. He needs to stretch the defense.

Is he not capable of airing it out? Is his arm that weak where the best he can do is 40-45 yards? If so, then the Browns are in real trouble. If nothing else, McCoy needs to throw long to dispel that notion and keep opposing defenses honest. Don’t be afraid.

* * *

Hopefully, the Peyton Hillis nonsense if over. Both sides poorly handled damage control over something as simple as a step throat. The Browns should have said he has a strep throat and won’t play against the Miami Dolphins. Period. And Hillis should have kept his mouth shut.

It’ll be interesting to see how many touches Hillis gets Sunday in Oakland. The Raiders have trouble stopping the run and the idea of giving your best running back 25-30 touches sounds like the best plan.

It’s time for Hillis to have a bust-out game. But his coach needs to give him the opportunity.

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