Get Out the Pitchforks, and Take to the Streets of Cleveland…

September 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

By pitchforks, I mean snide comments, and by streets I mean, do not actually venture out into the world, and rather cower behind the anonymity of internet message boards. I mean, football is not a game of strategy, riddled with nuances; it is just an excuse to binge drink and yell, in person or at the TV. There is nothing we need to learn as fans, we only care about wins, not about anything we have to think about.

(That is sarcasm. I only point it out because I have read those message boards and have severe doubts about some of my fellow Browns fans picking up facetious tones in print)

fa·ce·tious   [fuh-see-shuhs]


1. Not meant to be taken seriously or literally: a facetious remark.

2. amusing; humorous.

3. Lacking serious intent; concerned with something nonessential, amusing, or frivolous: a facetious person.

(sorry, I could not resist further goading.)

The Tampa 2:

Originated by Tony Dungy, Monte Kiffin, and Lovie Smith, the Tampa 2 was created to stop the wide spread use of the West Coast Offense. A modification to the Cover 2, which utilizes a linebacker who can drop deep to cover the middle of the field, the Tampa 2 requires speed over strength. It is a zone coverage scheme that asks a lot of the linebackers. The theory behind the Tampa 2 is the same as the Cover 2 “bend but don’t break” mentality, only bending more and breaking even less. It uses the strong safety in coverage almost exclusively, so that it is pretty much guaranteed to be a little lacking in run support.

What it lacks against the run, it more than makes up for against the pass, with corners, linebackers and safeties are responsible for small zones, they can limit the separation by receivers by being in position throughout their zone, and not worrying about getting beat deep or crossing patterns as they can hand off that responsibility to a teammate, they can play closer with better position on shorter routes.

The Tampa 2.1

Raheem Morris, head coach and defensive coordinator, has installed his own version of the Tampa 2, and it is extremely aggressive. It still features the one-gap defensive line, with smaller and, dare I say sleeker, linemen. They help generate pass-rush better than the two gap system that was attempted last year. Further there are the stunts, the blitz packages that differ from the original.

Versus the Browns Offensive System.

Well, as everyone in Cleveland with a pulse knows, the Browns run a West Coast Offensive system and that is exactly what the Tampa 2 was designed to stop.

Then you have the whole AFC North, that have big D lines with pretty much everyone occupying blockers, so the Browns line is built to withstand bulk and brawn, not the smaller, faster linemen in Tampa.

The short zones of the Tampa/Cover 2 also pose a problem as the Browns receivers, and subsequently the routes, are crowded. The short zones help neutralize the stopping or short-breaking routes which has been the bread and butter of the passing game during the preseason.

Key Points

-Turnovers were huge in result. Then again their turnover would have been equally as big had the Browns pulled it off.

-The line struggled a bit against the speedier D-line

-The receivers left a bit to be desired in creating separation, from defenders and each other. You figure the separation from defenders is going to be tough, with the defensive system designed for the offense and the inexperience overall. The bunching of the receivers was a big problem in getting open. The plays are designed to send multiple players in the general vicinity, but they were too close. The theory is to stretch the zones, the application saw those zones were not stretched rather one player was in position to cover multiple receivers.

-Blaming Delhomme solely for the interceptions is irresponsibly ignorant. For the pressure and bunched receivers, garner some of the blame, although he clearly could have made some better decisions.

-Hillis has to protect the ball better.

Glass half full

– The Browns beat themselves, they did not get beat. Obviously this is bad, but not as bad as getting flat out beat. If they lost because they were not good enough, there is no upside. Here they are better than the final score so the evidence of a bad year is at worst inconclusive.

– They lost, but of the 16 game season you have:

6 High priority games, the in-division games against Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Pittsburg

6 Second tier priority games against teams in the conference, including the 4 from another division, (this year the AFC East; Buffalo, Miami, New England and the NY Jets) and equally placed opponents from the remaining two divisions; Kansas City from the West and Jaguars from the South.

and 4 games out of conference, this year the NFC South where Tampa Bay represents.

So if they are going to beat themselves in a game, you would rather see it early in the year, since they will have time to correct problems, and a non-conference game.

– Sure the Buccaneers went 3-13 last year, but, not unlike Cleveland, they turned it on at the end of the year. Once the head coach, Raheem Morris, took over as defensive coordinator, week 11, their points given up dropped around 10 per game. That said, the team that was in Tampa for the Browns was not the team the Bills beat by 13 in week 2, rather the team that beat the eventual Superbowl winners in the second to last game of the season.

– Turnovers:

I am willing to chalk Hillis’s fumbles up to it being early in the season, while they can simulate much of the game, the players do not have a chance to get used to contact.

Delhomme’s first interception, right before the half was inexcusable; it was a forced throw and while Watson was wide open for a bit, the risk/reward should have been to take the sack. The second interception, on the other hand, down by 3 and heaving a jump ball, I don’t really have a problem with. It was a few yards shy of an inevitable punt, and the defender just beat Massaquoi to the ball.


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