Friday, October 27, 2006

". . .my kneecaps were up in my thighs"

PD got a good interview with Wendell Davis, the first guy in the history of the universe* to tear both patellar tendons at the same time. The only other guy to do so? Our very own Gary Baxter.

It sounds terrible. I think it'd be worthwhile to say a little prayer for Gary Baxter. The smart money is on him never playing in football again. Even if he does, he might have to move to saftey.

How the heck do the oddsmakers give this upcoming game to the Browns? I mean, sure, I think that we can win, but I'm nothing but a blindly-loyal homer looking through rose-colored glasses.

The media love fest that has centered around Jeff Davidson is funny to see. I like his look. That is one sharp shirt.

I found that image by doing an image search for Jeff Davidson. But check out this website that I got it from:
Its some crazy Italian NFL site doing a recap of the Browns 06 draft. It describes Kamerion Wimbley as "scelto al primo giro, tredicesima scelta assoluta". I don't know what that means, but it sure sounds impressive. And of Babatune (!) it says "Un potenziale 'steal' per i Browns". You got that right, buddy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No Mo

So they finally pulled the trigger on Carthon.

I don't like the constant changes. Not that continuity is the end-all-be-all, but you can only go through so many guys before you have to ask "is it them, or us?" But, it looked like the Carthon move was necessary.

And at least by doing it now, they can let this be Davidson's "rookie" season, so that next year we won't be reading all these stories about our "new" offensive coordinator.

I wonder how things went down. The PD portrayed it as Savage and Lerner as the ax men, but I have to believe that Crennel could've saved Carthon if he really wanted to.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Here I was thinking that the Baxter injury was a nice, simple torn ACL* that'll take 9 months to heal from. Oh, no, nothing so easy.

The guy tore his patellar tendon. You know, that injury that fell LeCharles Bentley and will take 1 year+ to heal from (meaning Bentley might not be back for the start of next season).

But wait, there's more. If you call right now, we'll throw in a second knee injury for the free. Thats right, he tore BOTH patellar tendons.

This could be a career ending injury. Sorry, Gary. Sorry you had to get stuck in the middle of our curse.

*Only in Cleveland is a torn ACL a nice, simple injury

Predictably Unpredictable

In this Patrick McManamon article, I read two interested statements:
Take a fourth-down pass in the first quarter that led to quarterback Charlie Frye trying to scramble for a first down and getting hit in the noggin.
Winslow seemed to be the intended receiver, but Winslow said he wasn't open.
``I think they knew the play,'' Winslow said
He took a deep breath.
``They knew it,'' he said.
In Carolina, defensive lineman Mike Rucker said the Panthers knew the plays that were coming. Now it appears the Broncos knew at least one, which does not sound good.
``Obviously not,'' Winslow said.
He then correctly pointed that, at times, every defense recognizes a play that is coming based on a formation and that the offense has to execute.
Well, the offense isn't doing much of anything, and if the play-calls are so obvious that the defense knows them, said offense will never succeed.

They do things that make you scratch your head. Like on third-and-10 when Steve Heiden was sent into the huddle and Kellen Winslow was dragged out. What play was called?
A tight end screen to Heiden.
Now, Heiden is a fine player, a good player. And he'll catch the ball when thrown to him, but you have to ask: If you're going to run a tight end screen, why not throw it to a guy who can avoid people and break a tackle, a guy like... WINSLOW?!?!?
One can imagine the thought process. Well, Heiden usually blocks. Let's trick 'em and have him fake a block, then catch a screen.
If that happened, that's just too much thinking. Heiden blocks because he's a good blocker. Winslow catches and runs because he's good at it.
You just want to shake somebody and say: Stop overthinking and trying to be tricky. Run a stinking play that's fundamentally sound.

Why did they call the play to Heiden? Maybe the result of the first play to Winslow is the answer to that question. Now, I'm not defending the play calls, I just wanted to point out that they ARE obviously trying. Its a shame they can't succeed.
Hats off to Kenard Lang. I appreciate his refusual to gloat or trash talk after the game. Of all the former Browns on the Denver roster, he's the only one who might have a legitimate gripe against the current guys in charge. Its a shame his class didn't rub off on Quincy Morgan.
Is there any question that Baxter is done for the season? Whats with this? I mean, I expected that he might re-hurt his strained pec, but no, it was his knee. I feel bad for him. We should just cut him, and let him get on with his career somewhere else. Its obvious that he's jinxed in Cleveland.
So, 2007 Draft anyone?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rude awakening

When I got up this morning, I was surprised (and not pleasantly so) to see Roger Brown's girlish mugshot over a new article. Isn't he supposed to be gone?

Then I remembered: My mom is retiring from the PD after 35 years, and she's leaving under the same buyout program as Roger Brown. She said the leave dates were staggered throughout the end of the year (I think it was 10/31, 11/30, and 12/31 as last days). So, we may have a couple more months of Brown.
So, I'm going to be a bad fan today. I'm not going to watch the game. Here in Virginia its a hassle, because I have to find a bar showing the game, and so it ends up being an all afternoon commitment. And frankly, I just don't have the time to waste.

Don't get me wrong, I really want to see how they're gonna do. I always have hope that they could pull something off, and open alot of eyes. And there would be nothing more satisfying than to see them do it against the Broncos. But, I've had my hopes dashed too many times lately. And even if they do manage to win, it will most likely be an ugly game that we'll win because Denver made more mistakes than us.

I'll probably follows CBS Sportsline's gamecast, just to see how its going. But any "analysis" I have is just gonna be based on what I read in tomorrow's papers.

I hope I'll regret this.

Friday, October 20, 2006

So I guess somebody else is going to have to make stuff up

The Plain Dealer is hurting, and as part of its recent cuts, they have lost that Jayson Blair of Cleveland journalism, Roger Brown.

Brown's articles, when they said anything at all, were chock full of unnamed sources and implied criticism that even he knew he couldn't get away with making explicitly. And the guy was the ultimate Monday Morning QB, telling everyone after the fact that he knew all along that this guy or that guy wouldn't work out.

I think the defining moment of his career was just this season when he predicted the Oakland Raiders would make it to the Super Bowl, and then a few weeks into the season had the gall to trash talk those who said the Browns might get 7 or 8 wins this season.

I have issues with some other PD guys, but they are what they are. At least the try to stick to the facts, and they have a little class.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

On the lookout

I just saw a car commercial (I think it was GM) that had a collage of football clips. There were a couple Browns helmets that caught my attention. I'm pretty sure that one of the clips was of a Brown throwing a pass. But this Browns' number was #4. Why would a national avertising campaign use a shot of Phil Dawson throwing a pass?

Please let me know if you've seen this commercial, to confirm if I'm crazy or not.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Schadenfreude: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

Courtney Brown, after a stellar 06 campaign of exactly zero appearances on the field, has been placed on the IR. Nice pick-up, Denver. How are Kenard, Gerard, Ebenezer, and Michael going to get by, now?

Glad we let that one get away. Our IR is too full as it is.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Going into the bye stinking. . .

I was all set to write a post complaining about our playcalling, and particularly an over-reliance on running, and particularly running up the middle. Then I decided to do a little analysis, and the preliminary results surprised me: we were actually relatively effective running up the middle.

Since those results are not what I expected, I need to go back and look closer at my numbers, but expect some hard-core number crunching later this week.
In short: Carolina gave us the chance to win the game, and we just couldn't take advantage.
My first instict is to praise the defense in keeping it close enough to possibly win, and blame the offense for not pulling it off. But it wasn't really our defense that kept it close, it was some really bad play by Carolina, and particularly drops by Steve Smith. Don't get me wrong, the defense did some good things in their own right, but it wouldn't have been enough if not for Carolina helping us out.

The offense, on the other hand, didn't have any help from the Carolina defense. Peppers had a great game, but we had some terrible play calling and some poor execution. Maybe someone greased up the balls before the game, because our guys were dropping them left and right, too. I got REALLY sick of seeing that Northcutt-bobble-turns-interception-turns touchdown getting replayed. The announcers kept going on about how great of a job Marshall did of being in the right place. Huh? The guy's coverage was off, and he just got lucky that Northcutt couldn't catch it, and that it fell into his hands. Why don't the Browns ever get gift plays like that?
That roughing the passer call on Wimbley was a sad reflection on how bad NFL refs are. It doesn't make up for it that they called a borderline roughing penalty on Carolina later on to make up for it. The fact is that the refs make too many bad calls, or even worse, no calls.
And that punt-returner's fumble that we recovered, only to be overturn? Sure, his knee might've been down at the second he was touched, but I sure didn't see enough "indisputable evidence" to overturn it. I can guarantee you that if the Browns had had a fumble like that, the refs would let the fumble stand.

I was disappointed that we couldn't generate any sort of pass rush. I guess that was to protect out hurting secondary, but if we could've gotten some more pressure we could've stifled Carolina's already-meager passing game.

Holly was playing too soft to make any judgements about his coverage, but I gotta give him applause for his tackling. He made a couple great wrap-up tackles of Steve Smith. Smith could've easily taken a couple balls for a LONG ways, but Holly managed to keep the damage to a minimum. He's starting to remind me of a young Daylon McCutcheon.

Brodney Pool on Keyshawn Johnson? So, does this say good things about Pool, or bad things about Ralph Brown? A little bit of both, I think. He did OK, considering.

Run defense still has issues, but that dead horse has already been beaten.

Josh Cribbs continues to impress. I'm glad to hear that he's still trying to improve himself. The first quotes I heard from him after Oakland and Carolina was that he's disappointed in himself that he didn't get the TDs. Thats the attitude thats going to keep him improving himself.

Ryan Tucker got schooled by Julius Peppers. Why didn't we have a tight end or full-back there to lend a hand? Cause having that 4th receiver on the field sure opened things up. Note to Carthon: A QB on his back can't make a pass, no matter how open he is.

I'm starting to get downright sick of Crennel using his line that "Its a bad play because it didn't work". Now, I'm cool if Crennel doesn't want to publicly call out his coordinator for a bad play call, or his players for bad execution, but just decline to comment. The trite responses repeated ad nauseum make him sound dumb, and we know that isn't the case.

That being said, I'm glad that Romeo has left "coaching adjustments" during the bye week on the table. 1-4 is unacceptable. We've got too many talented guys to be pulling off stuff like this.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vs. Carolina

We have another big test this upcoming Sunday. Carolina has Super-Bowl quality players, but so far they've lost two, and just squeaked by in their two wins.

I don't have alot of hope for this game. I don't think our defense will be much more than a speedbump against Carolina's passing game. We've shown that we still have some holes defending the rushing game, too. I think that our best hope is that the pass rush kicks it up another gear, and we don't allow any break-away runs. Bend but don't break is the best we can hope for, with some sacks to give us a little extra bending room. We're going to need to force some interceptions in this game, because Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson have the potential to embarass our hurting secondary.

What I'm more interested in seeing is how the offense fares. We've had two straight weeks where we've shown some great play in spurts. If our offense can play at the higher level the entire game, we could stay in the game. I'd like to see us come out passing early. The Panthers have a banged up secondary, and we should be able to make some plays. If we can muster some success passing it, we should be able to get the ground game moving as well. I think that the key is that we don't get into a "run it up the middle" rut, because Carolina's front seven will be able to stop us if thats our game plan.

If we can win this, or at least make it a close game, I think we can classify it as a success. I just don't want to see another embarassing loss.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Some respect at last

Josh Cribbs wins AFC special teams player of the week. Yeah, baby!

We may not have any Super Bowl rings.

We may not have any Pro Bowl players since 2001.

We might not have any post season victories since I was in high school (or was it middle school?).

But we got us the AFC special teams player of the week.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Some fresh legs at CB, but at what price?

The Browns added an undrafted rookie from Michigan State to the roster. While I agree that we needed a fresh body in there, I question how it was done.

To free up the roster spot, they cut Babatunde (!) and put him back on the practice squad. As Mistake by the Lake correctly pointed out, Babatunde was the whole reason we won this past Sunday. So when we lose against Carolina this Sunday, we already know why: Because Babatunde wasn't there to will the victory.

I am glad that we have some fresh blood in there. While I'm still ready to see a bit more of Daven Holly, I have already written off Ralph Brown (whether or not he appeared competent last Sunday). And Antonio Perkins looks to me like a Ray Mickens in the making. Its really a shame that Demario Minter is out this season, as he would've had his opportunities cut out for him.

I wonder if Travis Wilson could play CB?

Monday, October 02, 2006

What's better, a hope-inspiring loss or a demoralizing win?

Its hard to come up with something to say about this game. For a while the defense looked like the 03 team (". . .except for those 5 runs. . ."). Charlie reminded us that he's still learning (I mean that interception . . . . . . maybe Carthon shouldn't have trusted him at the end of the Ravens game).

The Browns really controlled that game. When the Raiders were up, it was because the Browns GAVE them the lead. Based on how in control we were, that game should've been a blow out. But it wasn't a blow out, and against a decent team (or heck, even an-only-modestly bad team) you won't be able to survive the kinds of mistakes we made.
The passing game is really starting to come around ('cepting for Charlie's brain cramps). It was good to see Jurivicis out there catching some balls.

Sean Jones still looks pretty decent, although, again, that interception had more to do with the incompetence of the Raiders and less to do with Jones' skills.

Wimbley with two sacks, including one where he embarassed Robert Gallery. Wimbley has three sacks YTD, thats only 2 off from last season's team leading 5 sacks.

I'll admit, I was one of the "go get Gallery" guys back in 04. Even with Winslow missing two years, he still looks like the better pick.

Simon Fraser with another sack.

Gotta love these local guys making their marks. Heck even if they don't do well, I'd rather do our sucking with local kids than with the likes of Jeff Garcia and Quincy Morgan.

If we can pull off an upset against the Panthers (a HUGE if considering that Ralph Brown and Daven Holly will be trying to cover Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson) it could really turn this season around. As it is now, with a couple seconds changed in the Ravens game, we'd be sitting at 2-2.

I'm starting to look forward to the Steelers games (why do we gotta wait until the end of the season?). Not because I think that we'll win, just as a kind of gauge in our progress.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


It wasn't even close to pretty, and seeing Leigh Bodden get carted off the field hurts. But a win is a win.