The Complete Pre-2011 “Xs and Os with the Bros” Archive

by Cleveland Frowns on January 17, 2012

As we slowly but surely say good-bye to another football season here with as much uncertainty as ever with respect to the prospects of the Browns, it’s good to know that at least one thing will be good about next season: A fresh round of “Xs and Os with the Bros” posts by our new Xs and Os Editor, @rodofdisaster.

Given that, and the fact that John Doe happens to have the upper hand today at the salt mine (NOT FOR LONG), it’s as good a day as any to uncover the treasure trove of “Xs and Os” posts that rod made before he started posting them at this website.

So here they are in all their glory:

Pass Protection
Run Blocking
How we almost Lost
Jacksonville 2010
Horizontal Stretch in the Passing Game
Beating Revis
Confusing Brady
Beating Belichick
Colt and DPI

While rod used to title these posts, “Anatomy of a Play,” whatever you call them, they just represent a basic attempt to dive deeper into the game of football, learn something about the X’s and O’s that make it go, and better appreciate the games within the game. We call it “Xs and Os with the Bros” here at least in part because you don’t have to be a former player/coach or a rocket surgeon to get something out of taking a close look at a football play.

Anyway, it seems like every day that somebody says, “Frowns, I could read those ‘Xs and Os’ posts all day long.” So have at it. And remember, the rest of the “Xs and Os” archive can be found in our “Categories” section in the right sidebar under “Xs and Os” (or just by clicking here).

  • Anonymous

    They should have an “Xs and Os” breakfast cereal. The ads could be spoken by Frowns’ miscreantic football head.

    • Anonymous

      “Now with Mornidine!”

      • Anonymous

        Kids love it…..Moms don’t mind…..FUN for the family!

        (now with Mornidine)

        “Xs and Os in the Bowls”

        • Anonymous

          Mother’s little helper.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    the jax 2010 game is eerie to me in how right rod gets it. rod says ‘… most of you may think that by clicking on this topic that you’d see something to do with the offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, and his play-calling. Nothing could be further from the truth. This thread is not about him. It’s about the real reason we lost this game…the crappiest offensive line performance that I’ve seen this season …’

    i remember that game. this was the game right after the OT jets loss and everyone was up in arms about not winning the game with all the turnovers from jax. but rod gets it right. it was more about losing (surprisingly effective) billy yates and replacing him with lauvao in his first start and then compounding it with porkchop womack being injured and replaced with john stclair. so youve got a rookie making his first start and with john stclair covering his right side. it was a nightmare all game. six sacks/nine hits and hurried on pretty much every play.

    i think that game *might* be looked at as a turning point with colt’s development. he was fairly poised in the pocket prior to that game. i havent researched it but wouldnt be surprised to find that he was never the same after.

    • Anonymous

      >>>It’s about the real reason we lost this game…the crappiest offensive line performance that I’ve seen this season …’>>>

      It’s amazing how often this is the “real” story of the game. That little stretch in ’10 of NO, NE, Jets where we looked like a serious team was the best line o-line play we had in years. Then it quickly fell apart. If I remember Hillis went for like 150 in the NE game, and when you added in some big turnovers/brain farts from the Pats, that was nearly the whole deal there.

      BTW folks NFL Rewind offers 2 prior years of archives now, so whoever was saying they wanted to buy games on itunes or whatever, that’s how to do it. I highly recommend taking a look at that stretch and noting how much of the awesomeness was due to individual plus players winning matchups. Roth, Bernard, Fujita, big baby, Ruben, Haden, Bowens, Hillis, Steinbach, Thomas, Pashos and McCoy (these last two for the only productive stretch they had). When injuries hit this group, the team became ineffective, regardless of preparation or scheme, and you can talk about “competitiveness” but the fact is after the golden stretch we were losing to the same kind of scum we lost to this year. The injuries were part bad luck but pretty predictable given the average age we were trying to run out there.

      This is a data point in my series of smileys trying to convince folks to cheer up about the admittedly bad Eric-for-Pat trade. Competent coaching is important. But it’s the norm, not the exception at this level, and it’s the assembly of a complementary group of plus players that make the team go.

      • Anonymous

        It was 184 yards, but who’s counting?

        • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

          Interestingly enough, that’s almost exactly what the first day of training camp will look like in Foxborough next year.

          • Anonymous

            Peyton may think twice about that one, with McDaniels there now. Somehow I think Mangini and Hillis will be reunited at some point, and make sweet sweet football once more.

          • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

            That’s a good point about McDaniels, I forgot they announced that.

          • Anonymous

            I think Hillis will end up in the AFC East. All the pats opponents are dying for power running because that is the Pats weakness both in and of itself, and because you need to reduce Brady possessions.

            Not sure Hillis really fits the Pats attack exactly, but they might be wise to bid just to keep him from crushing their linebackers’ sternums 50 times a year. If the Jets are smart…oh…wait…
            If the Dolphins are smart…oh…wait…
            If the Bills….???!?!

            I’m pretty convinced Hillis isn’t going to be back here, since it sounds like the Browns offered him fair money early on and he didn’t take it, and isn’t going to admit the mistake now. I love Hillis’ running but I congratulate Holmgren on not letting the “White Rhino” hold the organization up for popularity money. That would have been corrosive.

            I think the real Madden curse is what it does to people’s egos. When the rest of the league offers him the same money or less a year and a couple injuries later, they’ll have to do creative incentive clauses. Big boy will have to be flattered into believing he didn’t make a big mistake playing (and not playing) for peanuts in 2011, just so he could leave the team that saved him from roster obscurity in Denver.

          • Anonymous

            Fame is definitely the devil’s playground. I’d rather be poor than famous.

            Oh look, my dream came true.

          • Anonymous

            I’d rather be rich than poor.

          • Anonymous

            Rich people have as many or more problems as poor people, they’re just different problems.

          • Believelander

            I strongly disagree with that statement.

          • Anonymous

            Anybody fits the Pats’ attack.

          • Anonymous

            I think someone with jittery quickness like Woodhead is “more perfect” for them. They like to use the TE’s vertical and the back as receiver in vacated space in the middle when LB’s bail early. You want someone that can dart around and start and stop fast. The Rhino can catch, but he takes a bit more to get it stopped and started.

            I seriously don’t think they are ponying up 6 million for him. That is absolutely not their way of doing things.

          • Anonymous

            the Pats under BB have NEVER paid for RB’s.. i guess there is a first for everything, but it seems to me that they never get in bidding wars over FA’s and unless Hillis takes a paycut to pay for the hoodie, it’s most likely that the highest bidder will prevail.. as previously mentioned, i think the Skins are the odds on favorite.. shanahan comes full circle (mcdaniels traded him, not shanahan)..

          • Anonymous

            If he’s not a Brown, let him be far away. I know I’m emotionally linking feeling good + #40 last year, but it’s a drug and I’m an addict. Hard to quit that around these parts.

          • Anonymous

            odds on favorite are the Redskins.. obviously Snyder is notorious for splurging on FA’s and then the little fact that Shanahan drafted Hillis.. and then of course the John Riggins factor.. i think it’s a foregone conclusion that Hillis will play 4 games for the Skins next year, the rest sidelined by a hammy or a degenerative bone disorder..

        • Anonymous

          The Fan-girlz, that’s who.

    • Anonymous

      “i remember that game. this was the game right after the OT jets loss and everyone was up in arms about not winning the game with all the turnovers from jax. but rod gets it right. it was more about losing (surprisingly effective) billy yates and replacing him with lauvao in his first start and then compounding it with porkchop womack being injured and replaced with john stclair. so youve got a rookie making his first start and with john stclair covering his right side. it was a nightmare all game. six sacks/nine hits and hurried on pretty much every play.”

      I tried making this point (The O went to crap when the Yates and Womack went down) a couple of times last year and early this year, but I could never find any evidence to back it up. Thanks Rod!!!

      • Anonymous

        so it was the OL’s fault we lost even with a +6 turnover margin??? derp.

        • Anonymous

          Was the defense supposed to put the ball into the end zone?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kAQmUJfmHE

          • Anonymous

            yeah, it was def a rough day at the office with the line banged up (gave up 6 sacks).. they def did their best to get the ball in Peyton’s hands though, he had 8 targets for 6 catches for 96 and 21 rushing attempts, but for a real weak 48 yards..

          • Anonymous

            Colt was hot garbage in that game as well.

          • Anonymous

            Just so we’re on the same page here. The O-line (with 2 replacement players on a previously clicking offense) gives up 6 sacks, in addition to the awful 9+ running plays that Rod pointed out where they are taking turns playing matador or doing their impressions of turtles on their back, and it is somehow Hillis, Daboll, or Colt’s fault? The game is won and lost in trenches, unfortunately the media thinks that it doesn’t make for compelling sports news which is why this is the only place you’ll hear about it. Imagine if TG, Pluto, or MKC wrote this article last year.

    • Anonymous

      I just read the Jacksonville post. No wonder Alex Mack didn’t like going to film sessions with the entire team while Mangini was coach.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    [dupe comment]

  • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

    I guess I’ll give “keeping the internet going” a crack this morning. Today is The Greatest’s 70th birthday, and as we all know there are undeniably important ties between Ali and Northeast Ohio.

    Maybe the biggest was the Ali / Wepner fight at Richfield Coliseum that inspired Stallone to make billions of dollars off of the “Rocky” franchise. Ali claimed in the interview below that Wepner called him a n****r. Mike Douglas sort of baited Wepner about it, but (in the interest of self preservation, I’m assuming) didn’t directly ask him about it. I do like that Wepner won’t back down an inch against Ali, and the innate ability that Ali has to get a crowd roaring is incredible.

    Part 1 – http://youtu.be/9HqpWoj8INs

    Part 2 – http://youtu.be/hwcmZSDm2Vw

    What kills me is that you can clearly see Ali and Wepner laughing during their confrontation at about the 4:10 mark in 2nd clip. The man truly was a showman of the highest order.

    He also scheduled an exhibition fight that I remember reading about which was a match staged in order to raise money for Forest City Hospital (it closed a year before I was born). By all accounts, this is the first boxing match that Don King ever promoted.

  • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

    And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t also give rod a hat tip for the excellent work he put in on the pieces he wrote this season. I feel like I’m a smarter football fan for having read them. Thank you, sir.

  • Anonymous

    X&Os is great. but pretty much nothing is more fun than comparing things to rocket surgery.

  • Anonymous

    Frownie, thanks for doing this.

    As I’ve always said, this started out as an attempt to understand my favorite sport. The disclaimer has always been particularly important to me because I, like you, am not a coach or player. I’m not an expert and I am not putting myself out there as one. With that said, I don’t feel that you need to be one to get more out of it than the pittance of knowledge that the TV networks throw at you. The American football-watching public is starving for it. I am no different.

    The mistake that American professional athletes and administrators make is to assume that they are the only ones who can truly understand the game. To do so is to forget that the fan is the true custodian of the game. He or she is only blinded by his or her love for it and not the chance at income or some other gain.

    Thanks to everyone who’s encouraged the writing of this feature. Hopefully, I can continue it next season.

    • Anonymous

      Can I have free cereal from now on?

    • Anonymous

      yeah but Frownie played high school football.. lol

  • Anonymous

    rod, I will make time to read all of your work. So much to learn. Thanks for your generosity.

  • Jaceczko

    NFL.com’s mock draft has the Browns trading up to get BGIII. I would be happy with any of the players in the top ten, even the DT (wouldn’t be a waste to have three legit starters—one or two being stars—there like most elite defenses).

    I’m so pumped about the draft because of Heckert’s 1st- and 2nd-round drafting so far. It’s great to see guys contributing from the draft, instead of a Browns team cobbled together from free agent has-beens.

    • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

      i like us trading back with miami. i figured kirkpatrick would be a nice pick at #9 and we could find good o-line help with miami’s 2nd round pick (#42). here’s the mock i’ve been playing with.

      but then kirkpatrick gets busted for weed. it’s not the weed that bugs me, it’s getting busted for weed right before the ‘testing for weed before the draft season’ that bugs me. where’s his head? i plugged hightower in a #9.

      im not sold enough on rg3 to trade up for him. if he’s there at 4 and we take him, that would be fine. im prepared to have my concerns blown out of the water. just no trade up for him.. too many holes. we absolutely need to keep our picks at #22 and #37.

      • Anonymous

        I think I’d give away 37 to go get him and be happy. If we had to give 22, I’d be concerned. I really doubt he’s going at 4. Barkley kind of guaranteed that.

        But I do want him, and I think he would help the offense as much or more than say Blackmon plus the 22-level line help or whatever.

        • Anonymous

          New post is up! Look alive!

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    this weekend playoff lines are locked for cheddar purposes:

    ravens +7.5 at pats
    giants +2.5 at 49ers

  • CLEinMPLS

    Bama -7 for the all play

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