If you are anything like me, you left the Browns loss in Tampa with more questions than answers. If the Browns were planning to take the next step in respectability, beating teams like Tampa Bay needed to happen.
1. Where did the run game go?
The Browns finished last season on a four game winning streak because they ran the ball. They ran it when the other team knew they were going to run. It didn't matter. They took the ball and shoved it down the throat of the opposition. What changed? Where did that "F*ck it, were still running it" attitude go? With 5:35 to go in the second quarter, the Browns ran the ball 11 times in the final 35 minutes. We had the lead. There is no excuse for abandoning the run game. We passed the ball 38 times.
2. Jerome Harrison becomes glued to the bench again
This goes hand in hand with point one, but it deserves mentioning. What else does Harrison need to do? Saving Mangini's job last season still doesn't seem to be enough to get him out of the doghouse. The man showed last season that he can handle a full workload and handle it well. Yet, even with Hillis' fumbles, Harrison had nine carries in a game where the Browns led for 51 minutes. You think the Ravens would give Ray Rice 9 carries in a game where they held the lead?
3. Joe Haden is getting better every play
I don't blame Joe Haden on the Spurlock touchdown pass. There isn't a cornerback on earth, not even Revis, that could have done anything about that pass. I decided to look at what Haden did well. He continues to use his hands better than any defensive back we have had since '99. His instincts seem to be getting better with every play he's in on. I realize that we are one week into his career, but I have a good feeling that Haden is going to be a very good cornerback in this league.
4. Jake Delhomme is who we thought he was
I have been one of the few Brown fans that didn't like the Delhomme signing. I wanted a QB that would come in here and protect the ball at all costs. That isn't Jake Delhomme and you saw it at the end of the first half. Delhomme made a poor choice trying his best to make something out of nothing. I don't expect Delhomme to change his ways. But if this coaching staff expects to ride the arm of Jake Delhomme to anything other than disaster, then they are in for a rude awakening. Even his TD pass to MoMass should have been intercepted.
5. Marcus Benard is the best LB we have
I don't know if I should be happy about this statement or weep. Benard is the only LB that we have that can beat an offensive lineman one on one. The rest of our teams pass rush is based off blitzing the QB. That is great when the defense can get to the QB, but when we don't, we better hope our DB's can step up. The rest of our LB's are slow and cannot play in space. I am already dreading Kansas City spreading us out and matching Jamal Charles and Dexter McCluster man on man with the likes of Matt Roth and Eric Barton.
Here's hoping that the Browns coaching staff remembers what saved their jobs before next Sunday.