Breaking faith with Browns fans.
Speaking only for myself: I found my Browns fan experience yesterday largely unchanged from past years. How was yours?
The CSAT numbers can’t be good; perhaps a note to the VP of Fan Experience is in order.
Because, I kid you not, the Browns can afford such an executive although apparently they cannot afford a probowl, never-missed-a-start center. (We’ll get to Alex Mack.)
After an off-season featuring the implementation of new office furniture and the adoption of analytics-to-improve-personnel talk (if not use); after healthier cafeterias and improved stadium cell service; after the junking of the dinosaur 4-3 defense in favor of the the current preferred turbo/hybrid attacking aggressive 3-4; after prudently eschewing free-agency use in favor of building through the draft (albeit next year’s draft); and dee-jays don’t forget dee-jays … it turns out that when you don’t significantly improve the roster of a 5-11 team, they continue to look like a 5-11 team.
And yet in yesterday’s #CheddarBay work, our generally savvy pickers threw down a collective 39 points on the Browns versus one point on the Dolphins. It goes to show how the reportage on the Browns has been wanting for objective, sober analysis.
The question I have is who let you down more: The Banner regime and its dedication to window dressing or the Cleveland sports media and its fawning over it?
They both thought you were pretty dumb; they’re soon to find out you can be pretty pissed before lapsing into wholly apathetic. It’s a longshot but: the Browns and their sycophantic reporters are actually at risk of losing the best sports fan base in the country.
I’ll work the media angle today.
I’m not going to dig into the problems we saw yesterday. Thin offensive line? Pass rush not a panacea? Vulnerable secondary? Nope, I’ve done some work on the problematic talent acquisition strategy of this off-season. Just some. Here’s a taste of what’s been written here at Kanick and you can dive into it at these links:
2013 Brown preview (Indifference); TRich, Dancing Bear; The Fallacy of Attacking 3-4 defenses; Having a short secondary; Parsimonious Joe Banner; Alex Mack, Y U NO SIGN HIM; No one cares about Berea’s makeover; Joe Banner’s window-dressing strategy; Norv Turner, paid gun for hire; Gimmicky defenses reliant on personnel packages for specific down/distances are soon to be obsolete; Short d-back issue not tended to in draft; The lunacy and hypocrisy of trading out of the fourth and fifth rounds after eschewing free-agency with the ‘Build through the draft’ mantra; Short d-backs (with math); Drafting redundant pass-rusher; Commitment to non-Excellence; How did a front line with Taylor, Rubin, Sheard become a focal point for renewal? Short d-backs (Kerry Rhodes please); Explaining salary cap rollover and Banner’s hoarding of same; What a smart draft looks like; ILB depth (draft Alec Ogletree); Defining the needs of the team and addressing them through free-agency and draft; O-Guard depth (sign Andy Levitre); Short d-backs (sign Keenan Lewis); Why the 4-3 is inherently better.
No since I’ve done that already, today it’s worth looking at how people who are actually paid to cover the team are serving their readers.
An ominous beginning.
The day started on a sour note with a La Canfora’s tweet.
Also, Browns standout C Alex Mack will play out his rookie deal. No contract talks; he's not open to deal in-season league source said
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 8, 2013
If any paid media member so much as asked Joe Banner about Alex Mack in a salary cap context, let alone got a meaningful response, I surely missed it. As it stands, I’m pretty sure that some guy with a blog in NH is the only one asking the obvious question: what the hell are you doing with $30 million in unused cap while Alex Mack is about to become the best and pretty much only UFA Center to hit the market in six months?
No that’s not a question we see raised in when talking with Berea. Instead the Banner Charm Offensive yields reporting like this.
The Browns will have the second least-experienced roster in the NFL. They have a new coaching staff, an unproven quarterback and a dismal recent history. So what should fans watch this season?
Hey Terry, thanks for noticing the absurdly young roster. But if the Browns have such an inexperienced roster, we fans already know what we’ll be watching. The better questions to the person who assembled the roster are:
- Why are the Browns so inexperienced when you’ve had more salary cap space than pretty much any other team?
- How does the strategy of building through the draft square with trading out of the draft?
- Given your unwillingness to sign Alex Mack, wouldn’t drafting an Outland and Rimington Trophy winner, two time BCS Champion who started at both guard and center be a better use of that fourth round pick you traded to our biggest and in-division rival?
- Aren’t you punting this season?
I mean,, you know? You Mr. Journo are supposed to be serving the fans. You get access to these people that we can’t. But instead you’re serving Berea. This is a problem.
But perhaps Banner does have a Jedi mind trick going on because next up in non-investigative fan-boy journalism is Tom Reed:
But seldom in the last 14 years has the franchise’s connective tissue coursed with such a singular thread: Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Whether it’s placing a deejay on the field before kickoff to goose the game-day experience, employing a high-risk defense with an inexperienced secondary or letting the meter run out on the contract of a beloved Pro Bowl kicker, the Browns are eschewing convention.
Mother of God. I know things are tough at the PD but isn’t it bad form to interview publicly with the Browns? Don’t they still have Vic Carucci?
You have options.
The good news is that it’s not too too hard find candid and honest takes on the Browns from people who are not beholden to Berea for the sacred ‘access’ to players and coaches. I’m on the job and you can count on Frowns and Kolonich and Passan in this area too while our ink-strained wretches figure out this twitter thingy: