Monday, December 31, 2007

Browns Link Recap

The season's over. The Browns are just the third team since 1992 to win 10 games and not make the playoffs. Is that acceptable to you? If you told me they'd win 10 games at the beginning of the year I'd say I'd take it in two seconds. But I'm a greedy. They were a 10 win team that should have won 12. Who is on the hook for this? Romeo? Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham? Phil Savage for putting together this weak defense? I'm staying positive though (unlike my bitter brother who claims not making the playoffs in this bad league is unacceptable). Lets look at the links.

Browns Get 10th Win, but Tennessee is in - Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer

The prevailing emotions as the players departed Cleveland Browns Stadium were helplessness, naturally, but also great satisfaction.

They insisted a win would be meaningful, even if it didn't secure a playoff spot. They wanted to reward their loyal fans with one last home win, and they did.

Plus, circumstances enabled the home fans to see rookie quarterback Brady Quinn perform for the first time in a regular-season game. It made for a fun time.

No Surprise as Fates Go Against Browns - Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer

If you're a Browns fan, you knew this would happen. You knew you'd get your hopes up. You knew you'd be teased. You knew the 10-6 Browns season was too good, that something would go wrong.

You knew your team would miss the playoffs, which they did after Tennessee beat Indianapolis, 16-10, Sunday night. It didn't matter that Tennessee had the same 10-6 record as the Browns.

It didn't matter that the Browns beat San Francisco, 20-7, earlier in the day. It didn't matter that the NFL rules for this situation meant the Browns could have lost and still went to the playoffs with a 9-7 record.

All Tennessee had to do was lose. Which you knew would never happen.

Quinn's Cameo Can't Overshadow Anderson's Year - Bud Shaw, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Getting him out of harm's way and giving Quinn more snaps would've been a better use of everybody's time. In complimenting Quinn, Crennel made a point to say (jokingly, I think) that there isn't a quarterback controversy.

Of course not. Anderson is the starter. That's so obvious you wonder why he was so quick to react to a question during the week about Quinn getting some snaps.

The Browns went 10-6, winning seven games at home for the first time in their history.

If putting Anderson back in Sunday was to spare him uncomfortable feelings, he's going to need to get used to it.

Anderson and Quinn can't co-exist beyond next year. Quinn's contract may not be a drag on the cap unless he reaches starter incentives, but he won't be happy sitting and making the base in his deal for years to come.

Bittersweet Ending for the Browns - Patrick McManamon, Akron Beacon-Journal

Winslow's catch. To me, the one that stands out was the catch by Kellen Winslow on the last play of the game in Arizona.

Winslow made an amazing effort to come down with the pass, and it sure looked like he was knocked out of bounds by a Cardinals defender. ''If that's not a forceout, I don't know what is'' was a common lament of the Browns. Instead, the pass was ruled incomplete.

That play, that catch, would have won a game and would have lived in Browns lore forever. It almost seemed Winslow deserved that catch, just as it seems the Browns deserved to go to the playoffs. Winning 10 games and missing the playoffs is excruciating.

After that game in Arizona, Winslow asked about the Browns' remaining schedule. He then said, ''Eleven and five. That's what I've said we'll need.''

Turns out he was right.

Subdued Browns Lose Out, But Future Bright - John Clayton,

Still, Browns players were appreciative of the job Crennel did this season. Veteran linebacker and leader
Willie McGinest gave the coach a game ball as a symbol of what he means to this team. McGinest thanked Crennel for sticking with the players when no one else believed in them. McGinest said the Browns played this season for their coach.

"I told you back in training camp," Crennel told the team, "if you look good, I look good."

Monday Morning QB - Peter King,

Sunday night, clock ticking down on the Browns' dream season, reality setting in at the Braylon Edwards home on the west side of Cleveland, and the last story of the 2007 regular season is written. Tennessee's in. Cleveland's out in Sixth-seed-ville.

"I've been sitting here in agony,'' Edwards said, watching Andrea Kremer interview Kerry Collins, one of the heroes of the Tennessee playoff bid. "But it's our fault. We played horrible in Cincinnati last week [losing 19-14] when our fate was in our hands. We didn't take care of business, and so now we have to suffer because of it.''

Ten-and-six, though. Not bad. Pretty great, in fact, for a Cleveland team no one expected to even sniff .500 this year.

"This is just the beginning,'' Edwards said. "We'll be back.''

The Fine Fifteen: 13. Cleveland (10-6). Love the brains of the Browns fan. Banner in the stands at Cleveland's meaningless tilt versus Niners: "From the Office of the Commissioner -- Tony Dungy: Play Peyton or you'll be coaching Miami. Roger Goodell.'' And this one: "Sorgi Fan Club,'' in honor of the Colts' backup quarterback.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Cleveland KR/PR Josh Cribbs. Imagine having 129 punt-return yards at the end of the first quarter. His 74-yard touchdown on a punt return was the first punt return score of his career and cemented his status as the returner of the year in the NFL -- with all due respect given to Devin Hester. I'm not saying Cribbs is better than Hester, because he's not. But he had more opportunities, and he had 629 more return yards. And in this game, he had a 94-yard kickoff return for touchdown called back on a horrible holding call against wedge-man Lennie Friedman.

King's All Pro Team: T: Joe Thomas, Cleveland. Not that hard a pick. Played every snap, was better than Walter Jones, and was the biggest reason why a D-minus line in 2006 played like a B-plus line in '07.

K: Phil Dawson, Cleveland. This year's Vinatieri.

KR/PR: Josh Cribbs, Cleveland. Top five NFL punt- and kick-returner, and he was Steve Tasker all season as a pursuit man.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Joe Thomas, T, Cleveland. No disrespect to Adrian Peterson, but for 16 games, Thomas was more impactful on the Browns than Peterson was on Minnesota.

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