Being a lifelong Cleveland sports fan you start to become accustomed to disappointment. This weekend was one of those dreary times when you begin to wonder why you even bother following sports in a town that seems to be cursed with no end in sight. At about midnight on Sunday, The Buckeye state's favorite fighter, Kelly Pavlik, reign as the worlds best up-and-coming boxer came to a crashing halt when he was beaten by a man who started his career when the Youngstown native was only 6 years old. It didn't get any better at twilight on Sunday when the Cleveland Browns missed an opportunity to revive their season by losing a heartbreaker to the Washington Redskins. Cleveland sports fans, however, can take solace in the fact that we are witnessing something rather extraordinary this season: Braylon Edwards' inability to catch a routine pass.
Edwards not being able to catch is really nothing new. My favorite occurrence was in an Ohio State-Michigan game a few years back when Edwards, who was wearing the maize and blue for that school up north, dropped a pass at about the 6 yard line in a crucial part of the game against the Buckeyes. As an ardent OSU fan, I chuckled at the choke job as it helped Jim Tressel's squad to defeat its fiercest rival. When he was drafted by the Browns, people in the area who followed the Big 10 knew what to expect from Edwards. Edwards would bring athleticism and the ability to make big plays to the franchise but also make fans of Cleveland's NFL team age a little faster by dropping passes that would be caught by a first string Pop Warner player. You hoped that Edwards would somehow mature out of it but, instead of getting better, he seems to be getting an even worse case of the droppsies.
Coming into the game against the Redskins, Edwards' led the entire National Football League with 7 dropped passes. According to a graphic from CBS Sports during tonight's loss against the 'Skins, Edwards had added an amazing 5 drops tonight. While even Edwards will have a hard time keeping up that pace, he pretty much wrapped up being crowned the most prolific artist at the dropped pass this season.
The sad part is that it is not even just dropped passes by Edwards that is giving Browns fans headaches this season. Edwards sometimes seems to be on another planet during games. Cleveland fans, who were the first fans to get to know "Manny being Manny", can now probably coin a phrase of "Braylon being Braylon". Last week in the New York Giants win Edwards amassed his best individual numbers in his entire career. While the numbers in the win were impressive, what I will take out of the game is Edwards starting a play a good 3 seconds before it was suppose to start while the entire offense stood still. If there was such a thing as flagrant false start, this was it. I've seen a lot of football at a lot of different levels and it was the worst false start I have ever seen by a wide receiver. Late in the loss against the Redskins, Edwards showed that his mind was again not in the game failing to pick up a blitz where he was suppose cut his pass route short. Edwards missing the read cost the Browns a big play that could of been the back breaker against Washington.
Braylon Edwards has the athletic ability to become of one the top 5 wide receivers in the NFL. His lack of concentration is costing the team wins and his chance to carve out a legacy in the franchises upper echelon. It is up to the team's coaching staff to start to get on him about these issues or else, no matter how talented he may be to make an extraordinary play, he will become more of a liability on the football team and the Browns will struggle to ever get over the hump to become a playoff team.