It is a later edition, but we have our weekly cross-blogging action. In preparation for the game between the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns, Chris Pokorny, who is the me of Dawgs By Nature, was kind enough to answer some questions of mine. I answered a few of his questions for them as well. He discussed Colt McCoy, Peyton Hillis and even a little Derek Anderson. Hit the jump to see what he said and how he sees the game playing out.
1. Cleveland has gone through a lot of QBs since their re-entry into the league. Does it look like Colt McCoy could be the guy? How popular is he over there? And why, oh why, did you have to unleash Derek Anderson on us?
First off, our condolences about Derek Anderson. We wouldn't wish him as a quarterback on anyone (although I did still have a soft spot for him and hoped that he would find some success in Arizona). With Colt McCoy, it's tough to tell if he is the guy or not. The whole purpose of this season was to know the answer to that question by the end of the year. We don't know the answer. Is it because we've had a patchwork offensive line? Is it because our receivers lead the league in drops and can't get yards after the catch? Is it because we basically haven't had any running backs this season? Should McCoy be at fault for not overcoming that adversity? Personally, I'd rather have elite players at the skill positions and an average quarterback. I'd like to keep McCoy as the starter for next season.
2. Over here in the desert we have seen how Peyton Hillis has not had the year that was hoped. Is he not a good teammate, is he not as good and people thought, is the Madden Curse striking again or is he being misunderstood?
I don't believe in the "Madden Curse," but you could definitely attribute bad luck to the reason he hasn't been successful this year. He has either been sick or hurt, and there isn't anything he could've really done to change that. The media has really tarnished his image because this happens to be the year he was asking for a new contract as well. The fan base is kind of split on Hillis' attitude right now, but I still believe that he is by far the team's best playmaker. The front office will have a tough decision to make in the offseason.
3. We don't get much Browns info out in Arizona. What does the team do best? What do they struggle most with?
At least for the past couple of weeks, the Browns have done a great job in goal-line type of situations. It has been unbelievable how many crucial stops the defense has had in those situations, even when they have been gashed on the ground in other situations. The offense just struggles to do anything in general. It's pretty bad that Browns fans are resorted to thinking the offense has "broken out with a big game" when two touchdowns are put on the board. That type of production would be embarrassing for most teams in the league. A big reason for the lack of points is having receivers who drop passes that could move the chains.
4. Who has been the biggest surprise on the team this year? The biggest disappointment? Why?
The biggest surprise has been nickel back Dimitri Patterson. He has been outstanding in that role and is the reason the team gets off the field in many third down situations. Coming into the season, I thought Patterson
would not make any impact whatsoever. The biggest disappointment for me is rookie receiver Greg Little. We hoped that he would be able to become the team's number one receiver this year, but instead he has dropped passes, showed trouble in getting separation, and failed to make much of an impact.
5. What will be the keys to the game for the Browns and what is your prediction for Sunday?
I have seen this script so many times before: our starter struggles, and the backup comes in to save the day. In a way, I think we've seen that with John Skelton over Kevin Kolb the past couple of weeks. Seneca Wallace is a career backup, but he has always worked in a West Coast Offense such as this one and will probably look more comfortable than McCoy has all season. Any time he has a chance to try to "prove" he's more than a backup, he always looks good for the first game or two before falling off.
This is the game where he looks good, but it won't be enough to take down the Cardinals in what I expect to be an outcome around 21-17 in favor of the Cardinals.
Again, we would like to thank Chris for answering a few questions. Head on over to Dawgs By Nature to see what they are saying over there.