BEREA - Bernie Kosar has signed on with the Browns as a consultant, which might prompt interesting questions from some of his many fans:
Why wasn't he named offensive coordinator?
What took so long?
Can he still throw?
It's interesting that owner Randy Lerner would hire Kosar, who was unceremoniously tossed aside by the ownership group led by his late father, Al, and Carmen Policy after it landed the purchasing rights to the franchise Browns. Kosar was front and center when the group was awarded the franchise in September of 1998, but he was conveniently forgotten when the lights went up on the expansion season in 1999.
Kosar apparently won't have a major role in football strategy. He's there to lend advice, when asked, just like Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown does as an executive adviser code for a close confidante of Randy's.
The sad fact is that Brown is hobbling on a pair of bad hips and Kosar's body wouldn't hold up to one solid hit. Many of the current Browns, while healthy and in their athletic primes, are struggling to live up to the tradition established by Brown and Kosar during their playing days.
No advice from Kosar or Brown could help the team's fortunes in the short term. While coach Eric Mangini might say he welcomes input from credible sources, it won't help him try to put the train back on the tracks.
"I've enjoyed getting to know Bernie and spending some time with him," Mangini said. "Whether it's from a quarterback perspective or from a defensive perspective in terms of what was frustrating to him as a quarterback."
Kosar has to be frustrated watching Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn combine for a 50.3 quarterback rating (41.7 for Anderson and 62.9 for Quinn). On a scale from 10 to 1 (10 being the best), a 50.3 rating is a 1.
Mangini doesn't plan to go back to Quinn after three consecutive bad starts by Anderson. Brett Ratliff, the third-string quarterback, apparently isn't an option.
"There have been times when we've moved the ball effectively," Mangini said. "We have to do a much better job of tightening things up. There have been times when Derek has done a good job of moving the team."
All blame for the offensive struggles can't be thrown on the backs of Quinn and Anderson. Dropped passes are expected on a regular basis. Most estimates have the Browns dropping a combined 16 passes in the last two games.
It doesn't help that the running game remains a problem. Jamal Lewis and Jerome Harrison had back-to-back 100-yard games prior to the 27-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Harrison against the Bengals and Lewis against the Bills but Joshua Cribbs led in rushing yards against the Steelers with 45 on six carries out of the Wildcat formation.
The Wildcat is something you need not mention to Anderson, especially if it comes from the mouth of a Pittsburgh television reporter. Anderson grew angry Sunday when asked about the Wildcat.
"No, Josh isn't going to play quarterback," Anderson barked back after the reporter asked him if his teammates think he's going to be the quarterback leading the team into the future. "Next question."
It's probable that Mangini will continue to make use of the Wildcat. Cribbs has more value in that situation than he does lining up in the slot.
The only concern is asking Cribbs to throw the ball. His one attempt against the Steelers was intercepted by Troy Polamalu.
"It's been part of our package and will continue to be part of it," Mangini said. "We're not gun shy with him throwing, and we'll continue to take risks."
INJURY REPORT: Mangini expected to know more later on Monday about the shoulder injury suffered by linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. Jackson missed the second half.
TRADE RUMORS: The trading deadline is today. Nothing was on the coals as of Monday afternoon, but that could change quickly.
"We don't have anything imminent, but if a call comes in we'll listen," Mangini said. "I don't anticipate anything happening."