By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
The Morning Kickoff …
Telling it like it is: I believe Browns safety T.J. Ward spoke for all of us when he expressed utter contempt with what he saw from his team’s offense Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers,” Ward said, spitting out each word.
“I’m tired of losing. In this manner. It’s a little bit different if you go to the wire and you’re fighting the whole game and you have an opportunity to win the game at the end. But when you’re out of the game in the fourth quarter, nobody wants to play like that.”
Now Ward is catching some grief for committing the venial sin of criticizing his own team’s offense. Spare me the political correctness.
It would be nice if somebody on offense would stand up and say the things Ward said.
It would be nicer if the head coach would stand up and say the things Ward said.
It would be even nicer if the CEO or even the owner would stand up and say the things Ward said.
Anger is a good thing when funneled in the right direction. Ward is angry. His contract is up and his Browns career is probably coming to an end the same way it began. His teams have gone 5-11, 4-12, 5-11 and 4-7.
Round and round they go: It’s a quarterback league, right? In his time, Ward has suffered – like the rest of us – watching the team try to win behind these quarterbacks: Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, Thad Lewis, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell.
Hoyer is the only one who was an inspiration at the position. He won two of two starts and was injured in the third.
Campbell played well in two starts, winning one, and then not so good in his third and was injured in the fourth. Injured not once but twice.
Weeden, who hasn’t won a game in which he started in almost 12 months, is now back at the helm for the third time this season after losing a fumble and throwing a Pick 6 in relief of Campbell in the Pittsburgh game.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.
This Browns’ season tapped out with a Joe Haden interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter in Cincinnati two Sundays ago. That score gave the Browns a 13-0 lead against the team in first place. The Browns were on the verge … of something. Beating Cincinnati would have positioned the Browns to make a charge to the playoffs.
In the next seven quarters, the Browns imploded and the season went to hell.
1. Campbell interception. Result: Bengals touchdown.
2. Spencer Lanning punt deflected. Result: Bengals touchdown.
3. Lanning punt blocked. Result: Bengals touchdown.
4. Chris Ogbonnaya fumble. Result: Bengals touchdown.
5. Campbell interception. Result: Bengals punt.
6. Campbell interception. Result: End of game.
7. Ogbonnaya fumble. Result: Steelers field goal.
8. Campbell fumble. Result: Steelers touchdown.
9. Weeden fumble. Result: Steelers punt.
10. Weeden interception. Result: Steelers touchdown.
Eight turnovers, two blocked punts, 45 points allowed.
Why wouldn’t Ward, or somebody else with a pulse in that locker room, explode?
The road ahead: Here’s the bad news: There are five games left.
The Browns’ starting quarterbacks this year have been Weeden for two games, Hoyer for three, Weeden for two, Campbell for four. Now, like it or not, it will be Weeden again.
After staying with two quarterbacks since Hoyer’s injury for seven weeks, the team finally is bringing in another quarterback, Caleb Hanie. I would not be surprised if Hanie eventually becomes the 21st quarterback to start a game for the Browns since 1999.
The Browns’ running backs have been Trent Richardson, Ogbonnaya, Willis McGahee, Bobby Rainey and Fozzy Whittaker.
Why wouldn’t a defensive player speak out about the offense? In this era of the NFL, every team takes its cue from the offense. If the offense stinks, the team stinks. And that’s why T.J. Ward is mad. He can’t do anything about it.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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