Monday, November 23, 2009

Some thoughts from a game I couldn't (bear to) watch...

So I spent my Sunday driving from Chicago to Cleveland, and so couldn't watch what I expected to be one of the worst games ever played, between the 1-8 Lions and the 1-8 Browns.  Little did I know that it would turn out to be such a "great" game, at least for fans with no rooting interest.

I'll give my perspective.  By the time I got a score, I was driving through an area where I could only get the Packers game on about 6 different stations, but no Lions-Browns, and found out it was 24-3 Browns in the first quarter and Brady Quinn had 3 touchdowns.  Now, even tonight, I haven't seen highlights of the first quarter, so I can only assume he had a good quarter from the stat line I heard.

Here, however, is my perspective on Quinn's performance, gathered from the second quarter on when I could pick up the Lions' radio network.  There seemed to be a LOT of the same from Brady.  Either balls thrown behind or over the intended receivers, especially when trying to go deep.  This seemed to be a pattern I am only too used to seeing from Quinn.  No ability to make the great 20+ yard throw.  The announcers were basically saying if a couple of balls to Massaquoi would have been on target, they could have gotten even a couple more touchdowns, but the deep accuracy wasn't there. 

Now the defensive effort can speak for itself. Ugly.  But overall this year, the defense has played reasonably well, at least in contrast with the anemic offense. 

Finally, what the hell is up with WTAM 1100?  I could not pull that station in until I was well past Toledo.  I thought it was a powerhouse AM station?  I had no problem picking up 1000 ESPN Radio from Chicago even past Sandusky, and WLW 700 from Cincinnati was clear as a bell from mid-Indiana on.  Even the Redskins' Washington station came in way before WTAM.  Somewhere along the way, they must have had their power cut.

And finally, again.  I like Jim Donovan.  As a news sports guy, as a Cleveland guy, etc.  But I listened to half a dozen games on the radio during my drive Sunday, and I can really say I don't like him that much as a play by play guy.  I don't know if it's his "too exciteable" way of announcing, or what, but he just seems a bit minor league for me.  I miss Nev Chandler still, I guess.

Monday, November 16, 2009

MNF Haiku

#Haiku. It may be Monday/
But it's still a day of rest /
For the #Browns offense.

Are the Ravens Sarah Marshall?

Bill Simmons seems to think so...

Ravens (-10.5) over BROWNS
I was watching "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" at something like 4:30 in the morning recently because my body clock is screwed up and I keep waking up at weird hours like the girl in "Paranormal Activity." Anyway, Half-Asleep Me had this half-awake epiphany that the Browns are Sarah Marshall and Browns fans are Jason Segel's character. In other words, there was a devastating breakup (Sarah/Browns dumping Segel/fans), followed by Segel/fans being in the dumps, followed by an improbable reconciliation (Cleveland getting football again/Sarah wanting to make sweet love to Segel again) … and then, the awkward sex scene in the movie (when Segel can't perform, then realizes he needs to get away from Sarah) has been like the past 10 years of Browns football (when the Browns just sucked and kept sucking). Half-Asleep Me liked this parallel so much that I stumbled out of bed and fumbled for my glasses, then wrote it down on a notepad before falling back asleep.

Whether it made sense or not, I will never watch that movie without thinking of Browns fans again. The return of the NFL to Cleveland has been like one long awkward hotel-room sex scene. And it won't end. Just hire Bill Cowher already. For God's sake.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Browns' Efficiency Rating

Well, "Efficiency Rating" might be a bit of a misnomer, but listening to Aaron Schatz from on the BS ESPN Podcast, I was checking out the team efficency ratings. Not surprised at all that the Browns were near the bottom (actually I was surprised they weren't AT the bottom), but who knew that --compared to the baseline average--they have the #1 most efficient special teams in the NFL?

Of course that doesn't offset the second-worst offense and fourth-worst defense.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Schefter: The Browns "ship is sinking"...

Umm, kinda looks like it's at the bottom already to me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kokinis out??

The latest sorry chapter in "As The Unmitigated Football Disaster Turns" has taken place today in Berea. According to numerous reports, including one from The Plain Dealer, the glorious half-season reign of Browns GM George Kokinis has ended. Per the PD's Mary Kay Cabot:

Kokinis was escorted out of the Browns facility in Berea by security, two league sources told the Plain Dealer, and is believed to have been fired.The Browns did not immediately return calls or emails, including an email to owner Randy Lerner.

Lerner spent considerable time following Sunday's 30-6 loss to the Bears on Sunday talking one-on-one with Dawn Aponte, Vice President, Football Administration, who was under Kokinis' jurisdiction in the football operations department.

Afterwards, Lerner told two reporters that he wouldn't fire Mangini during the bye this week but that was searching for a football authority to guide the organization.

"There's absolutely no question about that," he said. "The highest priority that I have is a strong, credible, serious leader within the building to guide decisions in a far more conspicuous, open transparent way..I think my highest priority is to have a stable figure that represents the voice that explains the decisions."

Even though Mangini has been the voice of the organization since his hiring, Lerner seemed irked that Kokinis didn't take a more high-profile role in the organization.

Kokinis' ouster comes just days after the Browns dismissed Mangini's hand-picked director of team operations, Eric O'Brien. O'Brien was Mangini's righthand assistant with the Jets.The move also comes just weeks after Lerner brought Bernie Kosar on board in an unofficial capacity as another pair of eyes.

So, what exactly does this change, besides making the Browns look even more dysfunctional? Perhaps this is a shot across Mangini's well-fed bow, telling him that he may be next to go. Maybe Lerner didn't want to fire both of his hires at once for fear of scaring away a big-name GM from joining an already constantly in-flux organization.

Otherwise, Kokinis's dismissal means nothing for the immediate future, and there's no way #19 is going to be named GM, no matter what your Bernie Fathead may be whispering to you at 2AM. We need a guy with NFL experience, and although I do believe Kosar is a football genius who would be a great guy to have within the organization, one year of picking players for the Arena League's Cleveland Gladiators is not nearly enough to recommend him for such a critical, high-profile gig.

I cannot commend Lerner for pulling Kokinis's plug, if that is indeed what happened today. Too little, too experienced GM should have been brought in after the firing of Phil Savage. Did Lerner not learn the lesson from that failed experiment? Now we have fans planning "Brown Outs" in limp-wristed protest of a team that makes one pine for the days of Jerry Ball and Darrin Chiaverini. I cannot remember a lower point for this organization. This is not just a bad season in a decade full of them, this is incompetence of historical proportions, the kind Terry Pluto (or Stephen King) could easily be mining for the subject of his next book.

Lerner can shuffle deck chairs all he wants. The only way this ends is if he cuts his losses, does what's right, and sells the franchise. You gave it a go Randy, and it is not working. Sell low and give Cleveland back its football team.