Sunday, October 16, 2016
The Titans are not a walk-over, but they are beatable, and the Browns must take advantage of this opening, because if they lose to the Titans this Sunday the positivity and steady leadership from Hue Jackson takes another hit, and players begin to doubt the good advice and the glass-half-full attitude that has made Hue so successful thus far.
Sunday, October 09, 2016
|Keep smiling, Hue. We're just getting to the hard part...|
That being said, I like this pugnacious young Browns team, and despite the impending 10.5 point spread, I expect the Cleveland Browns to play hard and hopefully stay in the game. This will be a great benchmark game for a young Browns squad. Stay with the Patriots, even come close to winning, and it's sign that Hue and his staff have moved this team a great distance in the time he's been here.
It hasn't been easy, though. If we're all being honest, there is no way Hue Jackson hasn't gone to bed at least once and said to himself, "What the hell is going on here? Can't I catch at least one break?" Maybe even, "What did I do? Why did I come here?" This Browns team has had more than it's fair share of bad luck. Some of it is unavoidable, like the various injuries to Griffin III, McCown, C. Coleman, Nassib (back today hopefully), DeValve, Haden, Erving, the list goes on.
|One more example of past regimes' mistakes.|
Some of the bad luck was almost self-inflicted, Josh Gordon is an example.
But a lot of the bad luck was inflicted on the Browns by the league. I'm acknowledging my homer bent here, but it seems that the Browns have had an inordinate number of bad calls this year for a team that needs every break they can get. Starting with last week's debacle, when Duke Johnson fumbled and then immediately recovered, but the officials ruled that Washington recovered a phantom ball that wasn't in the scrum...because Duke Johnson was holding it. I've heard people say this week that it didn't really matter in terms of the outcome of the game, but I couldn't disagree more. There's no telling what transpires if that is ruled correctly.
|But I have the football...|
There was also Terrelle Pryor, Sr.'s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the Baltimore Ravens game that could have led to four chances at the end zone for the win.
And now, through no fault of their own, the Browns will have to bear the brunt of Tom Brady's ire for Roger Goodell. So once again, the league is stacking the deck against the Browns. There's a larger problem here, I think, but that's an article for another time.
But all of those unfortunate incidents aside, this season hasn't even gotten challenging yet. In true Cleveland fashion, the naysayers' cries of discontent are strengthening like a distant echo barreling down a canyon in your direction. Looking at the Browns' schedule there are three winnable games in the near future: Titans, Bengals, Jets. If they win two of those games, which at this point is a stretch, they will be 2-6 with eight games to go. From that period on, there are not a lot of games that jump out as wins, which means that this is going to get worse/harder before it gets better. I expect the Browns to steadily improve due to good coaching and hungry young athletes, but the detractors outside the building are going to get louder and louder.
This is what bothers me. It's like hiring someone to gut your home and re-do it in the exact image of your dream house, and then showing up during the demolition phase and freaking out that they've torn down all the dry wall. It's short sighted and ignorant.
Let's all back up folks. Look at this team and the problem with building a winner here from 30,000 feet instead of the mashed-up-face against the window view point we've all been prone to in the past. Remaking the roster is only part of the fixing that needs to be done here, and it looks to me like Hue, Sashi, and Paul are beginning to put things in line behind the scenes as well as assemble young hungry talent on the field. The bottom line is that through better drafting (how can our drafts not improve?) and better coaching (let's be honest, there was little coaching going on here in recent years) and an aligned vision through a dynamic leader like Hue Jackson, things will improve. It's just that right now the dry wall is in pieces on the floor, the studs are exposed, and the kitchen sink is sitting in a sad, lonely puddle in the back yard. Let's let the builders finish the demolition and construct a new structure and winner before we judge. In this case, with this group, I think patience is a virtue.
Sunday, October 02, 2016
|TP is a bright spot for this new Browns team.|
|Seriously, this dude was our quarterback last year!|
Many folks feel like the Browns latest saga with Gordon is yet another let down, but I feel like it is the latest in this new management's effort to eliminate players who are not in line with the overall direction of this team. So in that sense, although losing his potential is unfortunate, filling his roster spot with yet another player who is interested in winning games and playing within Hue Jackson's system is an overall gain, not a loss.
|Yes, Hue. Let's go in that direction!|
Sunday, September 25, 2016
|He looks like a really nice guy. Good luck today, Cody! Seriously.|
Today is one of those games that I am already regretting spending the time to watch. I just don't see much of a way for the Browns to win this one. With such a young team and so little depth, the Browns simply can't weather an injury storm like the one that has befallen them over the past two weeks.
So the logical question is: if a young healthy Browns team can't beat Philly, and a young sort of healthy Browns team can't beat Baltimore, how on earth is a young injury riddled Browns team supposed to beat Miami? Don't sell Miami short here. They are also 0-2, but they have played two of the top teams in the NFL (I'm disregarding your "the Seahawks suck this year; they can't score." comments right now, as you're thinking them. Isn't that amazing, you didn't even know I was thinking about you. Wait. Forget that. Keep reading.) in the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.
But this is where the being a Browns fan thing rears its ugly head. I still have this glimmer of hope. Everything presented to us, all the facts, all the pundits, all logical thinking would tell you that there is no way the Browns can win this game. But, I still can't wait for kick-off. I'm secretly hoping that Cody Kessler is as good a quarterback as he seems to be a teammate and hard worker.
Hopefully, John Greco will be an upgrade over Cam Erving as he goes against Ndamukong Suh at center... I can't even continue down this line of reasoning; it's making me sad. But, I'm still excited! What is that? Why have we been chosen for this?
My misplaced excitement and hope aside, something interesting to watch today will be how Joe Thomas handles Mario Williams. There have been many in the past few years that have given Thomas a hard time, citing declining skills, and riding out his all-pro rep while not playing at an all-pro level. To be fair, there are as many, maybe more, who feel he deserves every bit of praise he gets. So today will be a great test for the "future Hall of Famer" against a possible future HOFer.
Another interesting aspect of this game will be how Hue Jackson fashions the offense for Cody Kessler. By all accounts we might see some interesting formations and play calls today.
So, in the end, I will gather the family into the car and drive down to our local sports bar and eat lunch as we watch the Browns game unfold in real-time. While I'm afraid that I've become one of Pavlov's dogs as I dutifully sit myself in front of the TV for four hours each Sunday, I'm also just hungry. So in this case, I salivate for a win, or for another quarter like the first quarter against the Raven's last week. Man, that was fun! And then it wasn't. But here I am, hearing the bell and returning to the dog bowl. (Wow, that metaphor ended nicely.)
Monday, September 12, 2016
Below is the email I sent this past Sunday that got this ball rolling...
I'm sitting in a bar on Grand Cayman watching this debacle. While I never expected dominance, let alone a win, this has been tough. Usually it's week six or seven when I begin the question the prudence of dedicating four hours a week to this team, but after this, on week one...wow. It's going to be a long season. (How many times have we heard that?)
I'm not even sure why I'm writing all of you, other than it's (especially) lonely being a Browns fan in a foreign country.
The crazy part is that I like what they're doing. Go young. Let people play. Draft well. Suck for a bit. But man, sucking blows!
Part of me wants to start Metcalf up the Middle again as a live blog during games. We could all contribute. It'd be hilarious.
Anyway, off to do some home improvements followed by dinner on the beach.
Peace out, dudes, and I hope you all had a good weekend. Hug your children, and tell them it will get better.
In Hue/Sashi we trust?
Ps - I just saw an old dude roll by wearing a Charlie Frye Jersey. Going to talk to him now...