A few questions came to mind after watching the Cleveland Browns lose to the Baltimore Ravens, 16-0, on Monday night.
Question 1: Why would Mike Holmgren want to accept a front-office job with the Browns?
Question 2: Why would Bill Cowher risk ruining his reputation to coach the Browns?
Question 3: Why would Jon Gruden, who signed a three-year extension with "ESPN" this week, want to get out of the contract to coach the Browns?
The Browns are now at Titanic level. An expedition crew might be able to find part of the team, but there won't be signs of an offense.
Before the start of the Monday night game, a Browns employee stopped me in the press box and asked why I've been writing so many negative articles about the team. I got the feeling he asked because he knew the answer. What else is there to write about?
This might be the worst offense in the history of the franchise - both the Art Modell era and the Lerner family era. The offenses in the early years of expansion were better than what we're seeing now. If you recall, quarterback Tim Couch had a few outstanding games when he wasn't busy picking himself off the ground and putting body pieces back into place.
Watching the offense on Monday was like viewing one of those gory educational films they show in driver's education classes. There were times when you wanted to turn your ahead away to avoid seeing something that might make you sick.
Countless words have been written to describe the bad play of quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, which has allowed the offensive line to escape the media carving knife. Quinn didn't have a chance to accomplish anything against the Ravens because of the constant pressure he faced.
Right tackle John St. Clair allows in more people than a Wal-Mart greeter. Even guard Eric Steinbach, who's considered a solid pass blocker, was easily beaten on a play that blew up in Quinn's face.
The only recourse for offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was to run an offense that looked similar to many of the offenses seen playing on Friday nights at high school stadiums. The only way to deal with the Ravens' pass rush was for Quinn to sprint out and throw short passes to running backs in the flat or receivers on quick outs.
Quinn tried to mix in a few slants, but one of the better passes he threw bounced off the hands of receiver Mike Furrey and was intercepted by Chris Carr. Only the Browns can turn a safe slant pattern into a negative play.
If you're a glass-is-half-full person, you could say that the defense played well enough to defeat the Ravens, with the exception of the missed tackle by cornerback Brandon McDonald that led to a 41-yard reception by Derrick Mason to set up a touchdown. The Ravens' second touchdown was set up by good field position following Carr's interception.
A distinct pattern has been set up this season. The defense plays well early while the offense struggles. The offense continues to struggle (I'm being kind here) in the second half and the defense eventually wears down and allows big plays.
The result is some of the ugliest football imaginable. Surprisingly, the crowd wasn't bad, although the Monday night lights and decent weather were enough to get many fans off the couch to make the drive to Cleveland.
That might not be the case when the Browns finish the season with home games against Oakland and Jacksonville Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, respectively. Imagine if the Lake Erie storm machine brews up a couple of bitter cold days.
There won't be enough hot chocolate available to tempt fans to show up for those games.