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October 27, 2010 - Mike McLain
The Browns officially began the fun part of the bye week when players finished practice Wednesday and scattered to parts throughout the country.
The unexpected win over the New Orleans Saints will make the down time more enjoyable. It certainly will make for an easier week for coach Eric Mangini, who came up with a win that eased talk about his future with the organization.
The best part about the first seven weeks has been the play of the defense. The line has some old, injured players, and the secondary has been revamped, but the results have been impressive.
Much of the credit has to go to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who's dipped inot his creative reservoir. His blitz-happy ways haven't always been successful, but he's been able to keep offenses off balance.
Players clearly enjoy suiting up for Ryan, who's as extroverted and colorful as his twin brother, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan. You can never discount the importance of having coaches that are well-liked by the players. Sometimes that extra bit of energy given by a player because he respects a coach can make the difference between winning and losing.
Special teams coordinator Brad Seely is also showing why he's one of the best in the business. The Browns perennially have one of the best special teams in the NFL, and it's not all because of Joshua Cribbs. Players like Nick Sorensen, Ray Ventone and Blake Costanzo are tailor-made for the crazy work on special teams.
The coverage units have also been helped by rookie safety T.J. Ward, who has a way of being the first player down field on coverage.
Most of the improvement after the bye has to be accomplished on the offensive side. That might be too tall of an order because of instability at quarterback and the lack of speed at the receiver and running back spots. If the Browns are two reach five or six wins, it will again rest on the shoulders of the defense and special teams.
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