Soulless husk of the Cleveland Browns.
So it’s time to talk Browns football again is it? Alright let’s dig in because it’s been a meh summer, so thank goodness we can rely on our Brownies to do right by us.
And by “us,” I of course mean a Franklin County mall rat who can’t hasn’t settled on which new Steelers jersey to purchase with his mom’s credit card since Polomalu is so 2010. He’d better watch out for Alec Scheiner’s marketing juggernaut because he might get steamrolled. The Browns want his $300 spend on this year’s Honduran-made Nike Elite jersey because their share of $5,000,000,000/year in television revenue and and 50 million in gate receipts are just not enough. Gotta confiscate 20 million from all the plutocrats residing in Cuyahoga County for scoreboards and escalators doncha know. What part of ‘maximizing revenue streams’ don’t you understand? Once you do understand, then maybe you’ll sign on for the dude-bro-est uniforms in all of the NFL.1
Good god they’re hideous.
Ok, before we get into the Browns, quick update on why it’s been a meh summer over here.
When last we talked I was bragging on my renaissance as a working class hero in the regional Walmart Distribution Center. The shit I wrote about the job amounting to getting paid to have a cross-fit trainer kick your own ass for ten hours a day was for real. Here’s my first day of work ID badge and eight weeks later:
But you know how I was complaining about the endless pallets of kitty litter? Well it happened 2am on a Wednesday morning, did a floor of motor oil and then kitty litter…
… and right away I knew something was off because I could barely walk a flight of stairs. Later that day, can barely walk across a parking lot and next stop is the ER with a pulse of 30; got admitted with full electrical block. Now I have a pacemaker (and then a second pacemaker surgery because the first one didn’t stick) and have to lay low while it heals and it all adds up to a low key summer.2
So the Browns and Cheddar Bay3 should offer a welcome respite and a cause for optimism no?
Hahahaha… let’s see. There’s good news and bad news.
Good news, bad news.
Good news: the importance of a having transcendent quarterback is vastly overrated.
Oh a competent quarterback is important. But a bad quarterback can lose a game for you… just like a bad cornerback or wide receiver or kicker can… and since the QB touches the ball every play, a bad one has a chance to kill you every play. So he is to be avoided. But is it THAT important to have a “Franchise” QB at all costs? Here’s last year’s QBR rating top ten — Romo, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, PManning, Brady, Brees, Luck, Palmer, Fitzpatrick, Wilson. So is really Fitzpatrick is a top ten, “franchise” QB? Or did he play behind a great o-line last year and throw to DeAndre Hopkins? Does Russell Wilson really pass your eye test? Or does he avoid mistakes in a game plan that features the singularly difficult to defense Marshawn Lynch?
This is a preview so I’m not going to bludgeon this. My point is that Josh McCown will be FINE. Every time you hear Rizzo whine, “But Tony, JOSH MCCOWWWWN!!” please remember that he is an idiot and that Cleveland possesses the worst talk radio I have ever heard. Hoyer would have been fine. All you really need is to avoid crowning a QB as a franchise savior before he’s done anything. Or even worse, crowning them after they HAVE done nothing. Which leads into…
Good news, (sidebar on QB situation). I’ll take this a step further. Our QB situation with the seatwarmer McCown is much better than the Bengals’ having taken on the boat anchor contract of a shitty loser QB whose teammates know will never lead them anywhere but he’s gonna be your shitty QB until 2020. Did you know Tony Romo is 35 and his 2013 contract goes through 2019? How would like to be shackled to Jay Cutler? Cam Newton? Ryan Tannehill? The Bears, Panthers, and Dolphins are committed to these borderline stiffs for the next six years! ELI MANNING WANTS TO BE THE HIGHEST PAID PLAYER IN THE NFL.
We should be grateful to have McCown. The alternative is to be blowing smoke up each other’s asses that, “This is the year Newton/RG3/Geno/Manuel/_insert “franchise QB name” here_ really figures out the offense!!” At least there’s no grey area with us and with a bar as low as ours, we’re probably going to get a pleasant surprise.
Bad news, this here Vince Lombardi quote:
How hard is it to find a decent running back? Cripes.
Alfred Morris played for the pickled zombie of Howard Schnellenberger on footballs teams actually worse than what you’d expect from football teams out of Boca Raton and look at him now. Meanwhile we take Milli Vanilli third overall. We get the journeyman reclamation project offended that we drafted and signed rookie RBs. We outsmart the Ravens by swooping in to snatch the Towson star right from under their noses… and they just draft Lorenzo Taliaferro 44 slots later; he’ll get plenty of touches this year. And now we’re seriously looking at another name-brand Ravens’ cast off… which reminds me: we got the bad Jamal Lewis.
Also, apparently the only running back on the roster who can catch a pass is the injured third round rookie. WHAT?? Crowell and West can’t catch a swing pass?
Why does the execution of basic football plays that everyone has done since Pop Warner always seem such a challenge for my Browns?
Good news, we are ALL IN on the offensive line.
We had a good team last year when we had three studs (Thomas, Bitonio, Mack) on the offensive line. 3-2 after five weeks and one simple third down convert in the fourth quarter of the Ravens game from being 4-1. The wheels fell off when Mack was injured and they no longer had three studs. This offseason the Browns went out and invested o-line STUD depth. It’s pretty awesome. We here at this site will never not be thrilled with first round picks invested in offensive linemen.
I know Greco has a decent PFF grade but seems to me I’ve seen him get rag-dolled in pass protection. He’s a good run blocker but was very exposed when Alex Mack was no longer on his hip. I’m guessing we quite a bit of Cam Erving and it will be a quiet difference maker.
Good news, Farmer/Pettine want to win the line of scrimmage.
Grossi wants playmakers and Rizzo CANT BELIEVE WE HAVE JOSH MCCOWN COME ON TONEEE… but playmakers don’t make plays and quarterbacks make turnovers when you lose at the line of scrimmage. Not only did Farmer invest in Erving but they also went with the highest rated morbidly obese nose tackle in 2014 college ball with an eye toward owning the defensive line of scrimmage.
The good news is that our brain trust are making football picks, not necessarily the splashy picks. If you want a silver lining from the drafting Manziel fiasco, it is that Haslam’s new beverage in the 2015 draft room must have been a steaming cup of STFU.
Bad news, obesity in athletics is a questionable path to success.
Danny Shelton is fat. Don’t care how many times announcers tell me about his amazing play count at UW, don’t care about what they say about his motor, is interesting but don’t care that he was dropping into coverage in the first pre-season game. This here:
is not sustainable for a long-term player in any professional sports league.
Now I gotta admit he was probably the most impressive Browns player in the first pre-season game. I’d just like to see if he can play nose tackle at a healthier weight. I really don’t want my players risking diabetes on my behalf just for another 7-9 season.
Good news, Brian Hartline was champion in two Ohio high school track events in 2005.
Bad news is that the events were hurdles (110 and 300 meters). But he is an honest-to-god track star and that can’t be bad. Hate to say it, but gotta say it: if Hartline were black he’d be viewed as more than a possession receiver who runs precision routes. Gotta look out for those Canton ‘athaletes.’ (Did you know Dustin Fox ran a 4.43 40 with a 43.5″ vertical??)
Bad news, I saw way too much Josh Lenz Thursday and in the Columbus scrimmage.
Are the other receivers that bad? Out of shape? Not working as hard? Why an undrafted Iowa State 24 year old on his fourth team in two years developing so much ‘chemistry’ with our backup QB? I am afraid it says more about our other receivers than it does about Lenz.
Good news, Marlon Moore.
That is all. Marlon Moore. He’s just a baller. Like Cribbs used to be. Get him on the field, let him make plays. I think Pettine will be more willing to feed that coaching instinct than Mangini was.
Bad news, Michael Bowie.
He sucked Thursday. I know it’s not his fault that I and most everyone reading to post follow the Browns’ transaction wire too closely and are willing to believe every crumb reported… especially when we’ve outsmarted the Seahawks by breaking some unwritten ‘don’t claim an injured guy’ rule. Welp. He sucked. And not just first pre-season game/doesn’t know the offense suck either. S-U-C-K, suck.
Good news, Dansby-Bitonio-Hawkins-Kruger-Gipson-Hughes.
These are solid guys who may or may not make a pro bowl who you build a team around.
Holy christ, Justin Gilbert.
Lookit, when I tout a draft prospect who is fast with long arms and a great vertical it’s because I’m not a scout. I haven’t spoken to him. Have not broken down film. Be assured if I’m considering such a prospect as a top ten overall pick, I’d check all those boxes. It is hard to believe the Browns did even than minimal level of due diligence on the Gilbert pick.
Everyone talks about passing on Sammy Watkins but actually we traded Anthony Barr and a fifth rounder for Gilbert. ANTHONY BARR.
Am I calling him a bust? Ennnnhhh… too early. But he sure looks it. Totally lost. “Fluid hips” don’t mean dick if you’re always – ALWAYS – turning those hips in the wrong direction. The kid looks lost and worse, he looks the same level of lost as he did in his rookie year.
Good news, Desir.
On the other hand, Pierre Desir is improving.
Good news, Mike Pettine.
No nonsense football coach who knows the game, know players, inspires men.
Bad news, Jim O’Neil.
Why does this defense have no clue on how to stop the run? His defense needs to get better fast because he doesn’t get to blame the personnel this year.
I’m having a very hard time moving past the apparent whiff that were the two 2014 first round picks. Honest to God: just use a fucking dartboard you assholes.
Come to think of it, here’s your last five first round picks: Gilbert, Manziel, Mingo, Richardson, Weeden.
Can you believe that? Can you believe that after years of incompetence and after swapping GMs every other year and new scouts and new owners and new coaches and new stadiums… my god, it’s still –>
Gilbert, Manziel, Mingo, Richardson, Weeden.
Seriously, what are the odds of having five first round picks in three years and missing on all of them? It just doesn’t happen. Good thing we have new dude-bro unis and a “dog pound” marketing campaign that strains to have any connection to a unique bleacher area in the old stadium and has no connection any actual, you know, dog pounds.4 Good think we have a new logo and wordmark that is bold, as is the new orange which attempts to be more like the Bengals and succeeds.
Gilbert, Manziel, Mingo, Richardson, Weeden.
Good thing the Scheiner regime is sniffing around the beautiful white collar world of higher education and corporate insurance/fastfood/retailing that is Franklin County. God forbid they should spend any more time than necessary in working class hell holes of northeast Ohio.
Gilbert, Manziel, Mingo, Richardson, Weeden.
I am salty. Salty salty salty. Didn’t realize how salty until I started writing.
You had one job. Don’t fuck up the uniforms. ALL they had going for them that was cool and durable and meaningful, were the best uniforms in the league. And they couldn’t not fuck with them.
I went to a game last year. The tailgates were great. But what the fuck is that ‘pumpkinhead’ shit? Another lame superfan gets adopted by the PR machine and now is featured on the scoreboard?5 Another dick character pointing at me and posturing like he’s a tough guy? A tough guy calling me out? To what? To fight? Is that it? Do you want to fight me tough guy in a pumpkin or tough dog in a plushy outfit or tough.. elf?
Just any other expansion team in any other stadium. Thank God we have a full compliment of mascots and LOTS OF ORANGE to remind us where we are.
Gilbert, Manziel, Mingo, Richardson, Weeden … and SWAGGER!!
That damn dog mascot is going to be a running joke. Swagger. Never forget what an honest to god shelter dog mascot could have looked like:
The owners of this team recognize you the fan only as revenue streams and they believe that you’re in the bag so their goal is to find new fans. Those are the fans who need mascots and uniforms with the team name written out in letters because that helmet. I can hear the consultants in the conference room with Scheiner now, “Our focus groups are confused by the helmet. There’s no wordmark on it so we need to brand ourselves somewhere else on the uniform.” A Cleveland guy would say back — he helmet IS the brand. A Georgetown suit says, “I agree, there was a TED seminar on this very issue in Monterrey. Or was it Whistler.”
And on some level I’ve always known this, but this is the first year I’ve really felt smacked in the face by the reality of it. What those Sloan douche bags will never get though: Columbus will be Steelers or Bengals territory as long as the Steelers or Bengals are winning and Columbus will never be totally Browns country as long as Gilbert, Manziel, Mingo, Richardson, Weeden are the first round picks. Then Scheiner and company will be stuck will all you low-brow Cuyahoga County sin tax paying suckers and they will be chagrined by your declining income metrics and will seek to move to San Antonio as soon as possible.
I mean don’t you get it? They are dying to get out of Cleveland and Columbus is the best they can do for now. Columbus is growing; Cleveland is dying. And the Browns aren’t going to stick around for that.
Dammit, I keep trying to bring this back to a prediction. I predict I’m not going to care. They actually are an expansion team now with these uniforms. I mean: didn’t we sue Modell to enforce our lease and back down only when the NFL agreed to give us a new team with the same colors? We fought to prevent the Baltimore Browns. We fought and won that fight only to have a hillbilly and yuppie commission a Delaware County focus group to tell them what they knew in their bones already — we need three mascots!!
Christ, I can’t do it. I’m trying to get fired up. Here… “Josh McCown to Brian Hartline.” “Aggressive attacking defense.” Oh damn, that was two years ago. “Play like a Browns.” I got nothing. I feel nothing. I don’t think this team has any soul. A bunch of guys collecting a check. A bunch of suits spewing shit about ‘giving back to the community’ while taking as much as they can from that community and coveting new wealthier communities.
There will be no Dwayne Bowe renaissance. Craig Robertson won’t magically master pass coverage. Terrence West won’t stop doing whatever he does to piss off his coaches. Our punter will be better but our punt returners gonna do a lot of fair catching. Dansby will fight but he’ll lose a step. Taylor will be injured. Nate Orchard will bust. Hayes Pullard is this year’s Jamoris Slaughter. World keep spinning.
But they do have a good offensive line and Pettine is a good man and a good coach, so I’ll say ten wins. Yeah, because a good offensive line can make you a good team. (E.g., the mid-70s Cardinals went 10-4, 11-3, 10-4 and it was not because of Jim Hart and Mel Gray.)
I’ll also predict the NFL bubble is about to pop. We’re entering a serious time in history and overpaying rich people for frivolous distractions is not sustainable.
- Just for laffs, I went to Nike’s contract manufacturer site, picked a random apparel maker, googled them and found a report on their labor rights violations. Took fifteen seconds. The concept of “Free Trade” becomes the greatest bullshit when American makers are forced to compete against exploited workforces. [back]
- Walmart’s treatment of me throughout has been above and beyond. Everything from a personal call from the plant manager leaving me his cell phone if I needed anything to a Get Well Soon card from my orderfiller crew and a pretty liberal extension of benefits. I will brook no incivility toward Walmart in my presence. [back]
- Cheddar Bay launch coming this week but if you want to get ahead of the game, the 2015 rules/registration page is live. [back]
- From their site, dated July 14 2015: “Currently, the Cleveland City Kennel is at capacity, and is in desperate need of shelters and rescue organizations to step in and save canines in need. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.” [back]
- At least ‘Big Dawg‘ had a connection to dogs and the whole dog pound marketing gimmick. Inside the stadium could have been any other stadium. [back]