I think it all comes down to execution. That is what makes the good teams great. What also defines championship caliber teams is an overriding identity. All successful teams have an identity. Labels like “passing team,” “running team” and “defensive team” have been moniker’s conspicuously worn by the league’s best. This is why the choice of Brady Quinn over Derek Anderson was so profound. But, with that choice there comes the expectation that this team follows through and not attempt to be something they are not.
Gone are the days of the effortless bombs over Cleveland Stadium into the hands of the streaking Braylon Edwards. More than anyone, his performance last year highlighted by a league leading number of drops single handedly put an end to that era in Browns history. A history that was mixed at best.
Now it’s time to commit. We are a running team first. We bolster that by the short, methodical passing game Quinn excels at. That’s where the execution comes in. This team should sell out for the run and the entire offense should be practiced and drilled on a stable of plays that they can run well at a moment’s notice. Watching Cribbs out of the Wild Cat in week one shows me that they haven’t made such a commitment.
Running the ball requires belief that you can do it in any and all circumstances. The truth of the matter is that the Browns have always been a running team. It seems that the organization has forgotten this true identity losing it from the moment of their rebirth. Isn’t that why we love Jim Brown so much? Isn’t that why we cheered for Byner and Mack? All this team’s draft day picks over the last decade and not one back that could be seen as a foundation to build around. William Green was such a stretch; I don’t know how to even classify that pick. Trying to make up for that by bringing in Jamal Lewis, as good as he once was, and thankful for what he has done for us, is still getting a good thing second hand.
But, he is one of three runners that we need to utilize. The big three; Lewis, Davis and Harrison must be used to get this team over the hump. All efforts by this team should be grounded in the desire to help them succeed. That is why execution should be the word of the week and every moment used to teach, practice and apply a steady regimen of smart running plays. No more thinking, only reacting and finally letting the God given talent take over.
Granted, I love Brady Quinn. I think he will be a good starting QB. I also think he is in over his head right now. He has won the starting job and now he is the steward of a team desperately searching for a win and an identity. For us to succeed this year, he needs to develop. He also needs to hand the ball off. There is a transition to be made and it has to start this week. The game against Denver is winnable, but only if we execute and are committed to the Browns true identity. We run first. That’s how we have always done it.