Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Save us Jimmy, you're our only hope


Jimmy won't be taking losing sitting down for long.
Are you watching this, Jimmy Haslam? Do you taste the bitter gruel that Browns fans have been choking down for what seems like forever?

Sunday's loss against Buffalo was classic New Browns: Take a decent amount of momentum from the week before and have that small bit of impetus come to a crashing halt during a winnable game at home. Owner-to-be Haslam is new to Browns football but the fans have seen this horrorshow in a continuing loop for 14 years.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What we think will happen against the Bills (Week 3)



alt Cleveland Browns vs Buffalo Bills

September 23, 2012




Brian  




Browns 23
Bills 17



Last week Brandon and Trent give us some reason to hope. Let's see if they do the same thing at home.


Tom 



Bills 27
Browns 24


The dreaded 0-3 start is unavoidable with CJ Spiller running wild on the Cleveland defense. Another bad September dooms the Browns. 


Doug 




Browns 21
Bills 13

The game against Cinci was about hope and the barest glimmer of a bright future. This week is about scuttling all that "moral victory" nonsense and putting a checkmark on the left side of the W-L column.


SamVox



Bills 24
Browns 23 


Heading into Thursday night's game, the refrain will be: We could have just as easily been 3-0.


Kevin



 Browns 24
Bills 17


Every time the Browns seem to have turned the corner, there's that steep cliff awaiting a hellaciously painful and fiery crash. Nonetheless, I'll bite. 


Ryan 



Browns 27
Bills 20




There is hope in Cleveland.


Sean 



Bills 20
Browns 17


With an actual offensive presence following a defensive showing, I almost feel optimistic. But I ain't chasing no waterfalls; I'm stickin' to the rivers and lakes that I'm used to (holla at ya Left Eye).

Vox Lox: Top Ten Cleveland Sports Quotes

10. "Hey kids, do drugs."
Scot Pollard couldn't have been any more irrelevant as the 12th man on the 2006-07 Cavs. Until a courtside camera caught him in street clothes at the end of the bench one night, and Pollard issued his own unique public service announcement for all young fans watching.

9. "I can only go by what I see."
This became the local media's trademark phrase when mocking Bill Belichick during his tumultuous tenure in Cleveland. Honorable mentions, of course, for "I'm not a doctor" and "diminishing skills." Ironically, as Belichick emerged as one of the great coaches in NFL history, he became amazingly unquotable.

8. "As of right now, I'm a Heat."
How painfully and plainly brilliant restricted free agent John "Hot Rod" Williams was, after signing an offer sheet with Miami worth $26 mil over seven years in 1990. No televised special or masturbation euphenism was necessary. And if you liked quick first steps and baseline jumpers, you were relieved when the Cavs matched the offer and kept Hot Rod's talents in Cleveland.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vox Lox: Week Two

At some point over the summer, I seriously grappled with the prospect of a winless Browns season. I eventually talked myself out of it when it was time to turn in my official CST prediction, but that three-win-leap-of-faith has more to do with the NFL's competitive balance (Any Given Sunday is more than just a cliche and a kickass film; it's a fierce mantra that separates the NFL from the inferior college product) than my confidence in the 2012 Brownies. If you read this space last year (and judging from the hits, you didn't), you know I was one of the first local media members to call out the suspect hiring of Pat Shurmur. Last week's home opener only reinforced Genuine Pat's status as the worst coach in Browns history, no easy feat with Chris Palmer and Coach Crennel so vivid in my memory. Simply put, I expect to lose every Sunday. That doesn't mean I'm numb to it. It hurts each week, in different ways. But I'm done fooling myself. As long as Shurm walks the sideline, the Browns will continue to surrender those inches that make up the difference between victory and defeat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This seventh grade game was probably more entertaining than the Browns-Eagles

Deadspin reported that Kevin Akin, who served as head linesman Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium for the debacle which was Brandon Weeden's Debut and the never-anticipated "race to 5 interceptions" between the Eagles and Browns, also was the referee for a game Tuesday played at a bit higher level.

The seventh grade game between Bethany Middle School and Casady, in Bethany, Oklahoma.

Amazing. I'd love to see what the QB ratings were for that game. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Reply to Ani

Editor's Note: The piece below was written by SamVox in March 2002, a direct response to Ani DiFranco's brilliant and controversial 9/11 poem, "Self Evident."

ani,

i heard it.
least i think i did.
but we looked at death
and i underbid.
we spit at death,
just days before.
at crystalmeth
and teenage whores.
at trainwrecks
dressed as troubadours.

so now the towers shall dispel
our previous definitions of hell.
the devil's dust will remind
some hours we can't rewind,
some cowards can still run blind,
through our big backyard...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cleveland fans need to give Weeden a season


That did not take long.

Odds are, this did not turn out well.
One day into Brandon Weeden's pro career and half the Cleveland fanbase is ready to high-side him for a quarterback known for his toughness and numbing mediocrity. 

There's no question Weeden's performance yesterday was brutally bad. Either the coaching staff did not prepare him properly or the game was moving a million miles per hour faster than what Weeden was used to, because he simply did not seem like he belonged on the field. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Growing Pains apparent for the Browns

Growing Pains...and I'm sure as hell not referring to the 1980's sitcom with that pop star's father and the homophobe teen heartthrob. Growing pains are going to be abundant with your 2012 Cleveland Browns--if it wasn't clear earlier, it smacked us all in the face on Sunday.  Not many Browns fans would have thought the team would be within a point of the Eagles in today's opener, but I doubt there are many who are looking at today's 17-16 loss with rose-colored goggles. Instead it's another orange and brown punch in the stomach.

1. Yes, Brandon Weeden was terrible. But let's at least take a deep breath and remember this is his very first game--and I don't care how old he is. Naturally Fox was trying to stir up a QB controversy by the middle of the third quarter, and at least one Cleveland sports reporter tweet that the fans were crying for Colt McCoy. I wasn't at the game, so maybe some fans at the stadium were, but at the packed bar I was at, the fans were feeling pain with every Weeden mistake but I didn't hear any serious calls for McCoy. Just the normal Browns cynicism. And calls for more Dortmunder Gold.

2. Weeden could not make an accurate deep throw if his life depended on it Sunday, but at least the arm strength that Browns fans have been pining for was definitely there. And on more than a few quick slants, Weeden showed great accuracy.  It's early, the nerves just maybe never settled down for Brandon down the field. And that led to a couple very ugly interceptions. The first interception was an absolute bullet that hit Greg Little on the numbers for what could have been a touchdown, but CLANG--a pick.

3. And I don't think Weeden ever looked confused or skittish on the field--and that says a lot to me, after watching Happy Feet for a couple years.

4. If LJ Fort had made that interception in the end zone, we'd all be talking about how the Browns won and the offense just needs to get it together

5. The offensive line stinks. At least in the running game. Trent Richardson had no room to run all day long, with a couple rare exceptions, one where he removed Kurt Coleman from his helmet and possibly a few fillings on an explosive collision. But the pass protection wasn't half bad. Weeden only got hit a few times, and it wasn't the hits that made his day so painful.

6. The Browns defense was the epitome of bend-but-don't break. Thank goodness that Mike Vick was almost as bad as Brandon Weeden Sunday, because that and a few big Browns defensive plays kept this game close. But the first half featured quite a few Eagles third down conversions, including a 15 yard Vick scramble on 3rd and 15. That generally won't end well. The Browns' D fought back and harassed and beat up Vick all day, forcing him into four of his own interceptions. I guarantee that Vick won't be feeling good on Monday.

7. When Joe Haden intercepted Vick and ran it back 50 yards to the Eagles 22, the Browns needed an offensive touchdown like nobody's business. They made it down to the 4 yard line but had to settle for yet another Phil Dawson FG. Uggh. It was almost forgotten one play later when D'Qwell Jackson ran back another Vick INT for a touchdown, but that utter inability for Weeden to move the offense really takes the wind out of the sails.

8. Pat Shurmur needs a few days with an image consultant and a mirror. I do not want my head coach looking shell-shocked and confused every time the cameras go to him.

What we think will happen against the Eagles (Week 1)


Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns

September 9, 2012






Brian

Eagles 24
Browns 14
It's gonna take a lot more than a couple games for an offense with a rookie QB and RB to show consistency. But still it will be miles better than last year. Passes of more than 6 yards in the air! That's progress!
Doug

Eagles 23
Browns 10
Browns don't make a complete hash of it, but lose anyway.
Kevin

Eagles 28
Browns 17
If there's one thing I've learned in making Browns predictions on CST, it's to NEVER pick them to win the first game no matter if they're playing the Green Bay Packers or the St. Ignatius Wildcats. Whether it's the defense forgetting to line up or someone taking their helmet off too soon, the Brownies will find a way to lose.

As Bob proclaimed in La Bamba, "It's guaranteed!"
SamVox

Eagles 37
Browns 6
All good anyway--the Muni Lot is absolutely loaded with smoking hot chicks.
Ryan


Eagles 31
Browns 23
Hope is alive.
Trout

Browns 24
Eagles 9

Our optimistic man in the muni lot says the Browns defense will bend, but not break
Sean


Eagles 30
Browns 13
Hope is not alive.

What we think will happen in the NFL this year....




Cleveland Browns and the NFL
2012 Season Predictions







Brian

Browns: 6-10

Super Bowl: Packers over Patriots
Preseason schedule strength means almost nothing--as last year's supposedly "easy" Browns schedule ended up being the sixth hardest in the league. If Richardson can stay healthy and Weeden can stay off his back the Browns might have an offense actually worth watching after a few games.
Doug

Browns: 5-11

Super Bowl:
Packers over Patriots
Young Browns will show improvement but there's too many injuries and too much uncertainty to overcome for true progress.
Kevin

Browns: 4-12

Super Bowl:
49ers over Texans
I'm usually a glass half-empty type of guy. But this year, my Browns glass has only the last few disgusting drops of backwash. The kind you close your eyes, plug your nose, and swallow because it's there--not because you enjoy it. I'm setting the max at 5-11 but am thinking we're looking at an all-too-familiar 4-12.
SamVox

Browns: 3-13

Super Bowl:
Cowboys over Ravens
Rough schedule, rookie QB, key injuries/suspensions, and the worst coach in the NFL. Still, I'll stay optimistic and say we'll find three wins.
Ryan

Browns: 6-10

Super Bowl:
Patriots over Packers
Young Browns team struggles to find their way.
Sean

Browns: 3-13

Super Bowl:
Packers 
Uggh.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Browns fan's complex emotions about Art Modell

Art Modell died early this morning in Baltimore.

This will elicit a wide range of emotions across the sports universe, but most particularly in the city that brought him his wealth and power, Cleveland, Ohio.  There will likely never be a bigger villain in the city of Cleveland than Arthur Modell, despite how hard some will try. Unfortunately, some fans will react with unseemly satisfaction, or even glee, at the man's passing, from the anonymous screens of Twitter to--I'm sure--the beer fueled courage in the Muni Lot this Sunday. God knows there was no shortage of fans wishing for Modell's suffering and much, much worse indignities to be done to the man.

I'm just hoping that Cleveland fans react with the class that Art Modell didn't when he ripped the Browns from the city in 1995, and with it, a part of the heart of Browns fans worldwide. I have to say, although there was undoubtedly rage throughout the sports universe when the Browns announced their move, even at the time for me it was more bewilderment and heartache. And I reacted in part by shutting down. I didn't go to the last game at the Stadium, where 80,000 Tim Taylors decided to dust off their tools and dismantle the Dawg Pound. I didn't play fantasy football the next year. Or the next. Or the next. I didn't make a point to sit down and watch football all day every Sunday. Because I was too heartbroken. It really wasn't until 1999 that I dove full into football again. (Although, of course, the Buckeyes kept me busy.)

Sure, I disliked Art Modell and everything he stood for, for his greedy, selfish move in Cleveland. But in the spirit of fairness, I need to share something that I learned only a few months before the Browns announcement, that made it impossible to "hate" Mr. Modell. My mother suffered from breast cancer for many years in the early-to-mid-90s. Near the end of her illness, she was in the Hospice of the Western Reserve on it's beautiful campus on Lake Erie. On one of my many visits there during the summer of 1995, the nurse was showing off the beautiful chapel that was completed at the hospice house. Although there was no plaque or anything noting the face, the nurse said that it was all paid for by Art Modell, and he wanted no publicity or credit for it. And she said that's not the first thing he did for that hospice. In fact, he and his wife started it. So when I hear all the obituaries mentioning his philanthropic works, I know that's not just PR spin. The names "Lerner" and "Lewis" and "Wolstein" may appear on buildings throughout Cleveland, but "Modell" never did, even when he was in the city's good graces.

Six weeks after my mother died, Art Modell announced he was moving the Browns.

Being charitable doesn't erase Modell's negative deeds, and certainly won't erase the enmity from Cleveland.  But for this Browns fan, the emotions are far more complex than that.

I'll always hate the Ravens, and hate the devious actions that Mr. Arthur Modell did to the City of Cleveland. But this is a complex man. An accomplished man who contributed much to the behemoth which is the NFL. And in respect for what he did that was good, and for his family, I'll just say Rest in Peace.

And Go Browns.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CST Doug's Fabulous Fantasy Football Freakout!!


Feel that tension
Author's note: Like my cynical colleague SamVox, I sent a submission to Grantland's Fantasy Football writer contest that was summarily rejected by the website's editors. After much inner debate, I've decided to post the deathless brilliance that the gormless twits at Grantland turned down because they're unable to comprehend the CST Doug "philosophy." So, if you've got the stones (or, uh, the stonettes) to stare directly into the sun of some flash-blinding wordsmithery, do read on.  ­­-CST Doug

 ***
Your knockoff rayon-knitted NFL jersey from Target has been pulled from the hamper and doesn't smell too mildewy. The cardboard-stiff brim of your Starter cap is rakishly tilted to one side, and the Excel spreadsheet saved to your laptop is primed and ready to go. Soon, you will be downing Jazzin’ Jalapeno™ wings and football glasses of cheap American beer as patrons of the sports bar next to the Lube Stop on Jennings Avenue look upon your table of geeky gridiron gurus with a mixture of pity and contempt.

Yes, it's fantasy football time, folks. In the spirit of the season, here are Dangerous Doug's Lock Down, No Doubt, Dip It In Cement And Put It On The Mantle Top-Five Fantasy Football Picks (and one sleeper) for 2012!
----


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vox Lox: Top 5 Fantasy Footballers

Editor's Note: The following piece was a failed contest submission to join Grantland's staff as a Fantasy Football writer. Please note that SamVox considers FF to be the most irritating and inane part of American sports culture, and this column marks his first and last stab at the topic. Grantland's huge loss, of course, is our modest (and off-color) gain.

1) In 1996, when you and your mates were doing stats by hand in the back of a lecture hall (USA Today, tucked neatly behind your Philosophy 101 notebook), he was Emmitt Smith. Five years later, at your entry level cubicle job, he was Marshall Faulk (hope your employer didn't cock-block the Roto sites). You got married in 2003, and Faulk became Priest Holmes. By the time you started a family and the NFL decided to unabashedly acknowledge and then shamelessly prostitute Fantasy Football, he was LaDanian Tomlinson. Enter 2012, and only the name has changed. We're speaking both specifically and generically of that pass-catching elite RB that seemingly burps touchdowns and clinches your playoffs as soon as you open the email confirming your squad lucked into the first overall draft pick. Re: Fantasy Draft. ARIAN FOSTER----Sent From My iPhone.