Eric Mangini is doing his level best to keep his job. The Browns won at home Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, 23-9. If Cleveland beats the Jaguars at home in January, the Browns will end the season with four consecutive wins. Mike Holmgren recently declared on radio that he would take some time to make his decision on whether Mangini will remain the Head Coach for the next season. The two men are scheduled to meet soon to discuss Mangini’s future.
There are a few things emerging in Cleveland which are exciting. Jerome Harrison had another great day with 39 carries for 148 yards and one touchdown. The Browns can finally run the football with some consistency. In turn, that leads to passing opportunities, and we now have a solid receiver in Massaquoi. Let’s face it – this guy is the star of our 2009 Draft to date. He had three receptions for 61 yards and a score against the Raiders. He has shown very good speed on both post and cross-field patterns all season long, and his concentration in traffic is exceptional for a rookie. Third, the Browns are showing much greater discipline than they did earlier in the season. We are now winning the penalty battles. The Raiders showed on Sunday how you can beat yourselves in the NFL. The black and silver amassed 13 penalties for 126 yards.
But we continue to show real inconsistency on defense, particularly in the secondary. Yes, we had three picks on Sunday, however, we allowed Charlie Frye to pass for well more than 300 yards. Chucky is no John Elway. At the quarterback position, it is almost like we win in spite of the quarterbacks, not because of them. Derek Anderson, in for the injured Brady Quinn, completed less than 50% of his passes (8 for 17) for just 121 total yards. On the bright side, he had no turnovers and showed unusually nice touch on the TD pass to Massaquoi. Watch it here – you may never see Anderson loft a football like this again without drilling it into the stands: http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2009122702/2009/REG16/raiders@browns#tab:watch. By the way, the guy driving the Benz in the intro is Randy Lerner.
This is only the third time in more than 10 years that the Cleveland Browns have won three straight games. We can make it four in a row by beating the Jaguars at home on the final Sunday of our season. At 7-8, the Jags are still in the hunt for an AFC wild card berth, although they need a lot of help. We will certainly have an advantage in the blistery winter weather at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Go Brownies.
Happy New Year to all the orange and brown faithful. Cheers.