Thursday, August 31, 2006

Another day, another idiot

I found another Browns preview (this time focusing on the Defense) thanks to Dawgwire (handy little site, that is).

The general gist: The front 7 are poised to be great, but the secondary (and CBs in particular) are a glaring weakness. Again, an idiot who has no idea what he's talking about.

LB is not a position of strength. It has alot of potential, but we have a hole at MLB being filled by either a rookie (Diqwell Jackson) or a converted (and unimpressive) OLB (Chaun Thompson). We have another OLB spot being filled by a steady (but unimpressive) Matt Stewart, or a converted DE rookie (Kam Wimbley). I'm not down on our LB corp, but I wouldn't call them a position of strength.

Meanwhile, CBs are a position of strength. Now, there are some injury concerns, but Baxter is coming back, and McCutcheon should be back soon. With Baxter, Bodden, and McCutcheon playing, I feel we have one of the best CB corps in the league. Especially considering Crennel's style of using the big, physical CBs.

What really tipped me off to the fact that this guy is clueless was this line:
Currently, thanks to Baxter's and second man Daylon McCutcheon's lack of health, Leigh Bodden and Ralph Brown are the two starting corners, which could very well end up spelling trouble.
Ummm, does anybody really think of Bodden as a step down from McCutcheon? I mean, I like McCutcheon, and I'm glad he's on our team, but Bodden has played phenomonally well (that ESPN preview yesterday called Bodden one of the best corners in the league, and I agree). True, our 4th string CB is a concern (I'm really sick of hearing about some no name CB getting burned for a long pass), but in all likelihood, those guys aren't going to be on the field.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

For my next trick, I will write a paper on Tsarist Russia by reading yesterday's newspaper's season preview is out. Super Bowl bound? NO!

Previews are dumb. If we previews were even remotely accurate, why would they even need to play the seasons? So, any guy who is asked to write a season preview is put in a bad situation to begin with. But, I still don't mind ripping on them.

The first two previews (from Len Pasquirellli and Matt Williamson) don't even mention the fact that the Browns have a defense. They aren't even previewing the Browns. "Offensive line troubles, young quarterback, thats my story and I'm sticking to it".

The last blub includes this quote:
. . . budding star WRs (Andra Davis and Braylon Edwards) . . .
Ummm. Andra Davis isn't a WR, he's a Line Backer. Unless you're thinking of Andre Davis, who is currently with the Bills, and was cut by the Browns before the 05 season. Either way, it fuels my suspiscion that the vast majority of national sports guys are hacks who don't know nothin about nothin. In this case, the guy couldn't even pull out the right names, but even when they do use the right names, they're usually just passing on whatever conventional wisdom they heard, and its not cause they really know anything about them.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

And his momma is fat

In the PD Blurb about Chaun Thompson, something caught my eye:

Chaun Thompson (calf) started his first game at inside linebacker and is giving rookie D'Qwell Jackson a push. Jackson still is slightly ahead, but Thompson has the edge in experience. Against the Bills, he had three tackles and a near-interception.

"He made it a competition," said Crennel. "He should've had an interception, and he didn't give up plays. He made a specials teams tackle and made a tackle on a cutback that would've gone for a long way. He played pretty decently."

Thompson said, "I'm bigger, faster and most of all, I'm smarter."

Is it just me, or is that outside the realm of normal trash talk? Either that, or the PD failed to note dry humor when they saw it.


In real news, Gary Baxter is back and should be ready for the openener. He will help close one of the few gaping holes this defense still has.

During his time out and Daylon McCutcheon's time out, I was really disappointed not to see 05 4th round draft pick Antonio Perkins show up as a guy competing for the starting spot. He's going into his second season, he should really be able to show SOMETHING by now. I mean, if he's not returning punts, either, he's pretty close to being labelled a bust.

Monday, August 28, 2006

First cuts

The Browns made their first cuts today. I don't really know much about the names other than Brandon Rideau. I'm not surprised that he was cut, but I guess that I am a little surprised that he was part of the first round of cuts. With Edwards, Jurevicis, Northcutt, Wilson, and Cribbs all practically gauranteed spots (Cribbs because of his return role, although his receiving role has looked OK), it was really coming down to either Rideau or Frisman Jackson getting cut eventually. But this was the first round of cuts, and Kendrick Mosley (who dat?) is still on the roster. Oh well, I'm sure he'll be gone soon enough, too.


For those keeping track, we are down to:
12 days
21 hours
24 minutes
26 seconds
until game day. Thats less than two weeks, for those fellow math majors out there.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

More changes at center

But this time, its a good thing.

Nothing exciting, but at least when Ross Tucker goes down with Ebola (Knock on wood), we'll have his backup immediately available.

On Monday's Tony Grossi chat, Grossi mentioned that he thinks the Browns should offer the Eagles a 3rd or 4th round pick for their backup center. My jaw literally dropped. Talk about over paying. If the guy was a legitimate starter, you could start the conversation, but he's still just a glorified back up. Is he better than what we currently have? Maybe. But think of it this way: He comes in, does an adequate job, we win 8 or 9 games (still a best case scenario in my book). Then next year, Eagles get our 16th pick in the 3rd round, and we are sitting ontop of the most expensive back-up center in the league, because Bentley WILL be back, and he WILL be the starter. So you just burned a 3rd rounder for a one year fix. That is not value, in my book.

The fact of the matter is, the football gods have burned us again, and there's no way to fix it short of overpaying for it. I'd rather suffer this year than gamble with the future for a one year fix.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Time movin like molasses

Per my handy-dandy Browns spreadsheet:

18 days
22 hours
11 minutes
42 seconds

until we turn the Saints into the Aints.

A Mountain of a Man

Peter King's MMQB has a recap of the Browns' trials and tribulations at the center position. Nothing we didn't already know, and I think it even glosses over how big the blow was in losing Bentley -- I mean, the guy was our number one reason why we might improve against the Steelers. But I don't read King for news. I read him as a gauge on where NFL convential wisdom lies. Since I don't have the standard national media outlets (namely, ESPN), I gotta get the conventional wisdom where I can. Not that I give it much creedence, but its interesting to me.

Last week I was out of town for work. At home I don't have cable (yeah, I'm cheap, so what?), so I was watching my hotel's cable a little bit just to see what I'm missing. And after watching ESPN's non-stop coverage of the T.O. injury drama, I am SOOOOO glad that I don't have cable. The coverage worked something like this:
> Headline: TO missing day XX of training camp. Will he be ready for Preseason game 2?
> Clip: Parcell's saying "We're unsure of his status"
> Clip: TO on stationary bike
> Announcer: Where is TO?
> Clip: TO saying he's working hard to get back.
> Announcer: But even if he gets back soon, will he have enough practice to have an impact in this week's [preseason!?!] game? And is he trying as hard as he should to get back?
> Clip: Parcell's saying "This is old. I don't have any news? Why don't you guys give it a rest?"
> Announcer laughs off Parcell's comment
> Talking Heads: Start spouting about how TOs lack of professionalism from not working to make it to this game is sending the Cowboy's season into a death spiral.

Now, I don't have much of an opinion on TO. And I just don't care. Its absurd that these talking heads put so much effort into such a non-story. Its even more annoying than all the celebrity baby talk. In fact, it was very telling that when I flipped from ESPN to CNN and there Jonbenet Ramsey coverage, I was relieved to see how much more responsible the journalism was.

So, Droughns got his court case delayed. I assume that nothing will really come of it. But its still disappointing that he has proven to be such a creep. I was willing to look past the DWI, but I can't look past this.

But, on better news, I enjoyed the PD's write up of Ted Washington. He's exactly what the Brown's need: a Professional. He's the anti-Gerard Warren: Where Warren talked, Washington is humble. Where Warren was just talk, Washington produces.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

He didn't even have an excuse

Now that Bob Hallen has officially retired, Savage doesn't mind spilling the dirt. And the real story is, Hallen wasn't even hurt, he just decided to throw in the towel.

I guess its good that this happened now. Do you really want a guy who is so unconcerned about screwing the teammates who depend on him to start for you at center? Savage made a mistake with this guy. Maybe he'll head out and party with that flake Ross Verba.

Another intersting item out of this:
The Browns also thought they had a deal this week with Miami for backup center Seth McKinney, but he suffered a back injury Tuesday and underwent season-ending surgery on Thursday.

So, you can kind of say that we've already lose THREE centers for the season.

Savage sums it up pretty well:
"We've gone from having the best center situation in the NFL to one of the worst."
Welcome to Cleveland, Phil. Hope that you can keep up your "there's no such thing as a jinx" front. But to do so, you might not want to talk with Gary Baxter, and his 3-4 week injury.

Friday, August 11, 2006

That Pluto

Funny piece from Pluto. Yup, pretty much nails it on the head.

So what took place Tuesday stunned Romeo Crennel.

Remember that the Browns coach is the kind of guy who could be told pirates just moved into his basement, and he'd say, ``I'm not real surprised; these things happen. We just have to regroup and charge down the stairs to save the ping-pong table.''

But he was left nearly speechless by the Hallen affair.

The Browns had been using a free agent rookie named Rob Smith at center, but he supposedly sweats so much that quarterbacks fumble his snaps.

So thats why Lang Campbell hasn't been holding onto the ball

Suppose Faine had remained? He'd probably be down with scurvy by now.

Thats actually true. Don't forget, Faine finished all three of his season so far on the IR.

Extrapolating from here, David McMillan will get 32 sacks this season.

So we lost. I'd prefer to get our losing out of the way in the preseason, anyway.

I couldn't see the game (stupid work), but the box score paints enough of a picture for me.

0 3 2 15 2

What that leaves out is that the sacks are on Jeff Garcia.



0 1 1 7 1


Special Teams

0 1 0 0 0
Uh oh. Ryan Pontbriand, LSE, is starting to make his mark. Do I smell probowl?

4 21 5.3 11 0
4 13 3.3 5 0
1 10 10 10 0
1 6 6 6 0
6 -3 -0.5 2 0

I would've expected a little more rushing. Nice to see that William Green is as consistent as ever. In his podcasts Grossi is always talking about Green as a workout warrior. I can't vouch for his workouts, but I can vouch for what he does (or fails to do) on the field.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Dude, WTF?

So, news this morning was that Bob Hallen was having back spasms. So I'm thinking, No big deal, Jurevicis was out with back spasms last week, and he's back already. But now, word is that Hallen is AWOL, probably gone from the team. So, now our replacement center is gone, too.

Oh, ye football gods!

I guess we've traded for 27 year old Ross Tucker. I don't know much about him, but he's coming from the Patriots, so he could have worse credentials. I hope we didn't pay out the butt for him, but if he's a suitable stop-gap measure/long-term backup, he could be a good addition.

And, when he goes down, we always have Ryan Pontbriand, LSE.

Its gonna get confusing with Ross Tucker lining up two spots down from Ryan Tucker (once Ryan makes it back from the DL). I guess they're gonna have to go the Andre/Andra Davis route and put their whole name on the back?

Another one in the waiting camp. writer Pat Kirwan's recent trip to Cleveland lead him to conclude that the Brown's are improving, but that we should be happy if we get to 8-8.

I agree with him on some points, but he's giving the defense alot of credit. Heck, he makes it sound like the D is already there, and we just need to wait on Frye to improve and the O-line to get healthy.

The Defense should be fun to watch. If Bodden doesn't prove to be a fluke (I don't think he is) and some guys can stay healthy, the defense should show some serious improvement. If Crennel is convinced that Bodden and Baxter can handle their guys in single coverage, we can expect to see alot more creative use of the safties. We might see Brian Russell get back to his interception-monster form, and we might get to see Brodney Pool do his own taz impersonations.

Is today Tuesday? I guess its time for another Bengals arrest.

The joke just keeps on going:

Bengals left guard Eric Steinbach was arrested Saturday night and charged with operating a boat under the influence on the Ohio River.

What is this, their 5th guy arrested this offseason?

Monday, August 07, 2006

And next, we'll be seeing Leigh Bodden play wide receiver

2004 6th round draft pick Andrew Hoffman (remember, the guy who injured himself by dropping a keg on his toe) is being asked to move to guard. I'm glad their willing to think creatively and try guys at new positions. But I can't say that I wouldn't be more than a little concerned if he ends up playing any downs for us.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Don't you miss this stuff?

Nice little blurb from Grossi in today's PD:

Stop me if you've heard this before:

The Broncos say they intend to unleash Gerard Warren as a Warren Sapp-type pass rusher this year. Warren had only three sacks last year but is continually praised by Denver coordinator Larry Coyer. "What Larry wants me to do this year I call funball,' " Warren told reporters. "It's creating havoc. I could care less about numbers. If I can get in there and disrupt the offense and keep them off-rhythm and keep pitching a change-up and giving them fits in the middle, then my job is accomplished." For now, Warren will have plenty of time to think about his new objective: He dislocated a toe during a drill Saturday and will be out two to four weeks.

Man, I don't care how far Denver goes into the postseason, I'm glad to be done with that joke of a defensive line. Player-wise, they're adequate (when they're healthy), but, man, all that drama. Its amazing that, going into year 6, Gerard "Penny" Warren's incredible potential is still waiting to be unleashed. It makes me thankful for the quiet, professional guys we've got taking care of business now.

I look forward to seeing them on October 22. Too bad LeCharles Bentley won't be around to pound Penny into submission. I guess Hallen will have to take care of it instead.
Down in Akron, Patrick MacManamon (probably my least favorite Brown's guy) says a whole lot of nothing about Friday's scrimmage. He starts off by acknowledging that scrimmages don't mean much, and even then the starters on had 17 plays, and that a number of offensive guys were out, but then he starts crying about how bad they looked. Why not just say "Its hard to tell how the team will look at this early point". Instead, he's already writing off the 2006 season.
Meanwhile, further down 77 into Canton, Steve Doerschuk (probably my favorite Brown's guy) has a nice little review of the Sporting News' recent position-by-position player rankings. The point that I take from this: Though we're not making any headlines, the overall level of players is improving. Thats easy to see. In past years we had guys like Jason Fisk, Earl Little, Jonquin Gonzales, Barry Gardner, and Damion Cook filling holes for us. Now, its alot easier on the mind that our weakest links are Alvin McKinley, Bob Hallen, and whoever wins the other MLB spot.

Yeah, it'll be a happy day if and when we have one (or, dare I say, more than one) Pro Bowler on the team. But until that day, we should be happy that the overall level of the team is improving.

So, in past years guys like William Green and Lee Suggs were our starting RBs and Dee Brown and Nick Maddox were backups. Now, Green and Suggs are the backups to Droughns. That, my friends, is progress.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Earning a spot. . . . . . on the bench

Ah training camp. When every draft pick is better than advertised (unless they held out, in which case they are inexctrably behind) and every undrafted rookie is a diamond in the rough (remember Qasim Mitchell, our sole offensive lineman prospect of the year, and a giant of a man who didn't have much else going for him?).

Its with a doubting mind that I approach the stories about Josh Cribbs turning into the next Antwaan Randle El, or Leon Williams looking like a legitimate starting LB.

I guess hearing good reports that probably won't materialize into on-field achievements in better than reading bad reports that prove to be true. But in the end it just makes me that much more anxious.

I'm ready. Now lets see these guys prove it on the field.

On that note, as I type this there are 36 days, 19 hours, 18 minutes, and 42 seconds until kickoff. . .