Hard to measure progress in losses

Posted by Vic Carucci on September 25, 2012 – 2:47 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Spencer – I don’t think the Browns are far off. I think they don’t have a lot of ability to overcome hardship. I think Pat Shurmur and Brad Childress keep getting receivers open deep, but Brandon Weeden hasn’t found that rhythm yet. With this much youth, I think the coaching staff should be judged far more closely in the second half of the season than the first. I think that it’s hard to watch progress when it looks like mistakes, but I think the Browns match up badly against a dominant front four right now. Your thoughts?

I agree the Browns aren’t, as you put it, far off, Spencer. I believe there are some good players who, for various reasons, aren’t playing well enough to allow this team to win.

The biggest reason, as you point out, is youth. It’s also fair to say that they aren’t ready to overcome hardship, such as spotting the opponent a quick 14-point lead as they did against the Bills on Sunday. And it’s fair to expect that those younger players will (or should) start performing better as they get more games under their belt.

It is hard to see progress in losses. And there weren’t a whole lot of positives to take from Sunday’s 24-14 loss. I still think that Trent Richardson is an extremely talented running back. I still Brandon Weeden is going to establish himself as an effective starting quarterback. Other young members of this roster have a longer way to go.

I do agree that outstanding defensive fronts, such as the Eagles’ and the Bills’, have gotten the better of the Browns. The offensive line needs to step up its game, because the challenges aren’t going to get any easier.

Greg – Hi, Vic, I listen to you every week; love your show! Quarterback is the most important position in the NFL and all home games take on greater importance. So please address why people should pay to see Brandon Weeden, after two home games, has thrown one touchdown pass against six interceptions. The media stated all preseason that the offensive line was a team strength and Weeden’s arm was so good, he would make his receivers better. I welcome the opportunity to be educated by you on this important question which the team should be addressing to paying ticket holders.

Thanks for the kind words about “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford,” Greg.

I would be happy to “educate” you about why Weeden is the Browns’ starting quarterback.

One, he is the most talented passer the Browns have. He has the strongest and most accurate arm on the team. He offers the right combination of size and strength to work well from the pocket, which makes him perfect for a Browns offense that wants the quarterback to take deeper drops, stand tall, and find the open receiver.

Has he had his share of mistakes? Absolutely. Weeden also has suffered from some of the mistakes/struggles of others, including his receivers and offensive linemen.

It is no coincidence that his best performance came when the Browns had their best day of rushing, the Week 2 loss at Cincinnati, and that he fell short of that output when they ran poorly, in the season-opener against the Eagles and on Sunday against Buffalo.

I expect Weeden to steadily improve and have more games like the one he had against the Bengals. Even on a day like Sunday, he did make some good things happen with his arm and decision-making with the ball. I don’t see any reason to give up on him after only three games.

Missphenom: With varying levels of productivity, how do the Browns execute well enough to defeat the Ravens this Thursday?

They show up with a sense of urgency and aggressiveness, Missphenom. They take the action right to the Ravens. That’s what a team must do playing in a hostile environment, especially in prime time.

I think it’s important to be persistent with the running game, even if it did struggle badly on Sunday. Trent Richardson is the Browns’ offensive foundation, and everything the team does on that side of the ball is built from there.

It’s also vital that the defense collapses the front of the pocket on Joe Flacco and either get him on the ground or operate with someone frequently in his face.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/browns_daily, Twitter.com/viccarucci, e-mail: Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com, or by calling 855-363-2459.

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