Where are the playmakers?
It's a question that dates back longer than this Browns season. But two games and two losses in, little seems changed with the Browns' offense. Only receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs seems to be able to give the team a spark.
In Sunday's 16-14 loss to Kansas City, Cribbs scored on a 65-yard touchdown from Seneca Wallace, catching the ball about the 20 and eluding cornerback Brandon Carr, who dove for Cribbs' heels at about the 10.
Cribbs' TD gave the Browns a 14-10 halftime lead. But that was virtually it for the Browns, who managed just 55 yards in the second half.
Browns receivers Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie and Chansi Stuckey totalled three catches for 32 yards. Tight end Ben Watson was the leading receiver with four catches for 62 yards and Cribbs added three for 74. Robiskie supposedly made huge strides in the offseason program, but hasn't shown it on the field. Massaquoi had two near-catches close to the sideline. Other than Cribbs and Watson, the most effective part of the passing game seems to be throwing to running backs Jerome Harrison and Peyton Hillis.
The front office elected not to bring in a veteran receiver capable of making the roster (sorry Bobby Engram), probably to avoid stunting the growth of Massaquoi and Robiskie.
Perhaps that's also the reason the Browns aren't interested in Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, suspended for violation of the league's personal conduct policy following a second arrest for driving under the influence. Under a settlement reached Thursday, Jackson's suspension will be reduced from six games to four if he's traded by 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Jackson, a restricted free agent, reportedly wants a contract averaging $9.5 million per year and $30 million guaranteed. He also may cost at least two draft picks.
If I were Browns general manager Tom Heckert, I'd be on the phone to San Diego this morning. If the Chargers' asking price doesn't involve a first-round draft pick, I'd at least be talking it over. No matter whether the quarterback is Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace, the Browns' offense needs a deep threat.
Browns president Mike Holmgren has taken chances on players in trouble before. He would also have to decide if Jackson would be worth the risk, especially with the money involved and a lockout looming in 2011. But with an 0-2 season that could be going south in a hurry, it may be time for drastic measures.
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