Everything started so well for the Cleveland Browns when Blake Costanzo recovered a Denver Broncos' fumble on the opening kick off.
From that point on, the Browns played like we've come to expect - horribly. Not even a spin-loving public relations employee could find a positive among the debris the Browns left behind in losing, 27-6, at INVESCO Field at Mile High.
It's too early to say that Browns coach Eric Mangini is in trouble, or is it? There's no way Mangini's job is on the line, but his credibility is clearly on the chopping block if he doesn't find a way to turn around what is shaping up as another lost season.
As far as anyone knows, Mangini hasn't cracked a smile since training camp opened. It's doubtful that owner Randy Lerner found any humor in what's taken place in the first two weeks of the season.
The glaring problem remains the offense, which produced just two Phil Dawson field goals. Something has to be done in a hurry to what is arguably the worst offense in the NFL.
Think about this: the offense has scored just one touchdown in the last seven games dating back to last season. That touchdown really shouldn't count because it came on a meaningless drive late in the 34-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings eight days ago.
One touchdown! That's ridiculous. If the adage that offense sells tickets and defense wins games is true, why is anyone buying tickets?
It's too early to give up on the Brady Quinn experiment at quarterback, but it's clear that he's not comfortable. The excuse that pass protection has been bad only goes so far. Quinn is holding onto the ball too long. When he does get rid of it, the passes are often check-downs to running backs.
There has to be worry among the offensive coaches about Quinn's vertical passes, which continually sailed high. Derek Anderson might not be accurate on short throws, but at least he can connect with receivers on mid-range and deep passes.
Another offensive concern is receiver Joshua Cribbs. It might be a stretch to refer to Cribbs as a receiver because he's shown no feel for the nuances of the position. When he did get his hands on passes, he dropped one and fumbled away another.
Mangini seems determined to show the coaching world that he can take Cribbs' immense raw talents and develop them into an offensive weapon. Through two games, the experiment has been a flop. It might be wise to make less use of him on offense and return him to coverage units, where he's the best tackler on the team.
Of course, to demote Cribbs as a receiver means there's another player ready to step in. For whatever reasons, Mangini lacks confidence in rookies Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie. Massaquoi played sparingly and Robiskie wasn't activated.
It's obvious that the Browns aren't a playoff team. Why not play the kids and give them a chance to develop?
More creativity in the play calling might correct some of the mistakes. This isn't a strong run-blocking line, yet there seems to be an emphasis on the ground game.
Perhaps the identity the offense is searching for should center on the passing attack. Of course, that would require the coaches taking the training wheels off Quinn, and Quinn showing that he can handle the load when it's thrust upon his shoulders.
The worst offensive showing against the Broncos was staged by right tackle John St. Clair. No wonder why the Chicago Bears let him test the open market. He made Broncos linebacker Elvis Dumervil look like Lawrence Taylor for three hours.
It was the same story we've seen for years on the defensive side not much of a pass rush, breakdowns in coverage and a second-half collapse against the run. The defense played well enough to win for three quarters, but, as so often happens, fatigue set in. Once that happened, things turned ugly.
One could make a legitimate argument that the Detroit Lions weren't the worst team in the NFL at the end of last season. If the Browns weren't at the bottom, they were one rung above the winless Lions, and not much has changed this year.
It's sad to think that this is the franchise of Jim Brown and Paul Warfield.