Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Metcalf Up the Middle?

It's two days later, and I'm still struggling to figure something out about the Cleveland Browns game Monday night.

No, not how they won. (A healthy line, better offensive play calling, DA and Braylon clicking, defensive pressure, a rowdy home crowd -- and really cool helmets -- all helped.)

What has me puzzled is how Eric Metcalf, who played with the team from 1989 to 1994, rates as one of the team's "legends." A good player, yes, but a legend? Did we forget about Dino Hall or Gerald "Ice Cube" McNeil?

Maybe I'm still stung by Bill Belichick's insistence on running the 5-foot-10, 188-pound back between the tackles. "Metcalf up the middle" became a refrain for Belichick's stubborness.

What the Browns Legends profile says: "Eric Metcalf was an electrifying player who was versatile enough to play different positions and fast enough to score any time he touched the football."

What the stats say: In his six seasons here, Metcalf had 15 career receiving TDs, 11 rushing TDs. 5 punt returns for TD and 2 kickoff returns for TD. He had TD receptions of 49, 68, 69 yards and a 43-yard touchdown run. He also had punt returns of 75, 91 and 92 yards for TDs and a 101-yard kickoff return. But ... The Browns high-powered offense in 2007 almost matched Metcalf's career figures: Braylon Edwards scored 16 receiving TDs. (New England's Randy Moss had 23.) Jamal Lewis scored 9 rushing TDs. Josh Cribbs had a punt return and 2 kick returns for touchdowns.

What the stats say (Take 2): He ranks 10th in Browns history for rushing yards, 8th in attempts and 8th in receptions. He's second in team history in kickoff returns and kickoff return yards (behind Dino Hall). But ... Metcalf never had a 100-yard rushing game. Guys who did? Legends such as James Jackson (1), Tommy Vardell (1),
Jamel White (3) and William Green (6). Plus, he only had two 100-yard receiving games — the same number as Michael "Thriller" Jackson. And consider this: Tim Couch ranks fourth in team history for passing attempts, third in completions, fifth in passing yards and seventh in touchdowns and would anyone consider him a legend?

What the highlights say:

But .... If you really want to see him in action, click here.

I'm still not convinced, but watching those two TDs against Pittsburgh sure is fun!


Anonymous said...

He fully deserves to be a legend. Besides maybe Josh Cribbs, name one other Cleveland player in your lifetime that had a better ability to electrify the crowd. The only knock you gave on him was not having a 100 yard running/receiving game, which is a pretty weak argument. He was fighting for touches with Earnest Byner, Kevin Mack, and Leroy Hoard.

Anonymous said...

I love Dino and Gerald, but you can't compare them to Metcalf. Hall had 3 tds as a Brown and Mcneil had 6, Metcalf had 33.