June 29, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Some bright spots for Browns

It’s been this kind of season for coach Eric Mangini.


His offense finally wakes up Sunday to score 37 points against the Lions, only to watch the defense give up 38. On the same day, his trade of Braylon Edwards pays dividends, while his draft looks like a disaster.


Edwards was held to one catch in the Jets’ loss to the Patriots, while receiver Chansi Stuckey and outside linebacker Jason Trusnik made big plays for the Browns. Mangini acquired them and two draft picks for Edwards on Oct. 7.


Despite being a “meaningless” matchup of 1-8 teams, Mangini left receiver Brian Robiskie and inside linebacker David Veikune inactive. Both were second-round picks in April.


Robiskie, the No. 36 pick, had seen increased playing time after the Edwards trade, but managed just one catch. Veikune, taken No. 52, can’t get on the field despite season-ending injuries to starters D’Qwell Jackson and Eric Barton. He doesn’t have a defensive tackle.


Cornerback Coye Francies, a sixth-round pick, was also inactive and has played only a handful of snaps.


The draft hasn’t been a total bust, as first-round pick Alex Mack has been solid at center and Mohamed Massaquoi, the other second-round pick, is the leading receiver. But if Robiskie and Veikune don’t come around, it will be far from a success.


Enough of the negative, let’s look at the positive for a change.


Stuckey, who entered the game with one catch as a Brown, caught five for 76 yards against the Lions. He showed good hands and quickness and an ability to get open on third down.


“It definitely felt great,” Stuckey said. “It’s a long time coming. I felt comfortable out there.”


Trusnik was beaten by rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew for the winning 1-yard touchdown, but has been a welcome addition. He’s started four times in six games —he had never started in three years prior —with 28 tackles, two sacks and a forced intentional grounding that brought a safety.


“I felt good about that trade when we did it,” Mangini said. “This is a real concentrated amount of play time for Trusnik, nothing like he’s ever experienced before. As he gets more and more play time, he’ll continue to improve.


“The same thing with Chansi. We’ve got two more players (draft picks) that are going to come through and hopefully be a part of this organization for a long time. So you’ve got four young guys all under contact, two of them producing now that will keep emerging and hopefully two more that will play for a long time as Cleveland Browns.”


Edwards could be one and done in New York. This is the last year of his rookie contract, and he’s failed to help rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.


In fact, the Jets have been in a tailspin since Edwards arrived. They’ve dropped five of six, bringing Edwards’ record for the year to 1-9.


He has 17 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns in six games with New York. It would take an incredible hot streak for him to reach the 55 catches that would turn one of the picks the Browns acquired from a third-rounder into a second-rounder.


The worry around Browns Town was that Edwards’ talent would shine through with a fresh start, making the trade a lopsided win for the Jets. Instead, Edwards has continued his erratic play. An acrobatic catch is followed by a drop, with many of Sanchez’s interceptions thrown in his direction. ESPN’s Cris Carter said Monday that Edwards runs routes like a rookie despite being in his fifth season.


Edwards might still become a perennial Pro Bowler, but he wasn’t happy here and never developed the work ethic or attention to detail necessary to reach that level. So the trade is one of the few things to go right in what might be Mangini’s only season in town.


l Special teamer Josh Stamer was released Tuesday. He played two games for the Browns.


Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com.