Once again, I give you Steve DiMatteo from Dawg Pound Daily.
1) What made the Browns so tough in the middle of the season? Why the letdown?
– The Browns have become notorious for playing to the level of their opponent, which is one of the biggest reasons the Browns played so tough in the middle of the season. There was a stretch where the Browns played the Saints, Patriots, and Jets, and the Browns more than held their own, beating two out of the three. But the Browns have looked like the Browns of old against teams like the Panthers, Bills, and Bengals, making that run in the middle of the season all the more baffling. Other factors certainly contributed to this – Colt McCoy’s injury, Peyton Hillis perhaps wearing down a bit – but the team as a whole continues to play to the level of its opponent.
2) Has Colt McCoy done enough this season to ensure his near future with the Browns?
– I like that you used the term “near future” rather than calling him the undisputed quarterback of the future and savior of the franchise. Too often, we like to develop pipe dreams about what rookies can do for an organization, but it seems as though we’ve had reasonable expectations regarding McCoy. I think he’s done more than enough to be given a chance next season. His poise and accuracy are two of his best qualities and it’s obvious that the offense has a different rhythm when he is under center. This season has proven that he deserves a look next season as the starting quarterback.
3) Will Mangenius and Rob Ryan be with the team next season?
– It’s not looking good at this point. The back-to-back losses to the Bills and Bengals might have sealed Mangini’s fate, and if he goes, I don’t see Rob Ryan sticking around either. I’m willing to bet that Mike Holmgren will want to clean house, especially if he makes a return to the sidelines. But, then again, it was surprising to some that Holmgren kept Mangini for another year.
4) Tell us about this Joe Haden kid? He was been getting some serious hype on the broadcasts. Are Browns’ fans digging this guy?
– Browns fans are loving not only Joe Haden, but rookie safety T.J. Ward as well. Ravens fans know a little something about hard-hitting defensive playmakers, and it’s been a while since the Browns could claim one as their own. Haden has looked great on coverage and looks to be the real deal. Both he and Ward have already endeared themselves to Browns fans, and it looks like they’ll continue to do so for quite some time.
5) Do you think the Browns have enough in the tank to finish off the season strong
– The best thing about Eric Mangini is that his teams always play strong, no matter the record. The Browns will have plenty of incentive to play hard at the end of the season (whether it’s to impress Mangini or whomever the new coach might be), especially when you consider these last two games are divisional games at home. They’ve remained relatively healthy this season, and I imagine every player wants to finish strong. Believe it or not, this team still has a bright future. And, like I said, the Browns consistently play to the level of their opponents, and their opponents don’t get much better than the Ravens or Steelers.