The bye week has come and gone. Now the Browns prepare for the stretch drive. They sit at 3-3, and have some very winnable games coming up. This week they play the winless St. Louis Rams. This Rams team has certainly been one of the bigger disappointments of the NFL so far. That being said, they are still a dangerous team. They have Torry Holt and Steven Jackson is returning from injury this week. The Browns have yet to win a road game, and haven’t won consecutive games since Reagan was in the White House. (They may be an exaggeration.) Even still, they are favored to win, and many experts are picking the Browns.
In his press conference this week, Phil Savage addressed the state of the team. Not surprisingly, he was happy with the offense and a bit disappointed with the play of the defense. He praised the draft picks (which makes sense, he drafted them) particularly Joe Thomas, saying-
“Joe Thomas has been probably a little more than what I expected. He’s plugged right in and I don’t think you notice him in games, which is a good sign. He’s been a key in solidifying the offensive line.”
I would have to agree with Savage on this one. After a tough first game, Thomas has been very good. I watched the Dolphins game the other night, paying close attention to Thomas. He held his own against every defensive end and linebackers the Dolphins threw at him. He looked great on running plays that featured him pulling. He got to the second level and tied up linebackers. On pass protection the Dolphins gave up trying to bull rush him and went wide nearly every time. He handled every rusher well.
He talked about Brady Quinn, and how the emergence of Derek Anderson’s play has made Quinn a non-factor –
“It’s actually turned out to be pretty ideal for us. Brady’s gotten a chance to get his feet on the ground and understand what life in the NFL is all about. It’s a good time of growth for him without having the burden of having to play. It’s gone better than I anticipated.”
Better than he anticipated. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think Savage was that confident the Browns would be 3-3 after the bye week. My guess is that he figured, along with many of us, that Brady would be starting after the bye week.
As for Jamal Lewis, nobody seems to be able to answer whether or not the big back is going to be healthy anytime soon. This is not good news. Without Lewis the Browns will not be .500 at the end of the year. You can count on that. But with him…8-8 or 9-7 is not impossible.