Monday, October 30, 2006

Yeah, that was totally a touchdown

Pushed him out, right? Why were Browns defenders flying through the air instead of trying to make tackles? Whatever. Even the wins are unsatisfying, to some degree.

That one against the Ravens was going to be OK, though, wasn't it?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

L'Affaire Carthon, c'est fini

And I think we can all be thankful for that ... so long as the new offensive game plan does not treat "establishing the run" the way married, 30-something males treat Scarlett Johansson's bodacious cans. Which is to say that said establishment is treated as worthy of worship and droolery.

Although in the latter case, that may be actually true. Hey, wouldn't this be an excellent spot for a photo of said sexpot starlet right now, wouldn't it? It would, but I know my readers, and they've probably already got that particular Google images page bookmarked.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

How now, Browncos?

The former Browns who now make up part of the NFL's best offense agreed to come into Cleveland, kick ass and disappear without rubbing it in everyone's face.

I guess they'll leave the taunting to the columnists, whom I am certain will be less able to resist the temptation than Big Money et al.

Also the name "Browncos" makes me think of that commercial with the brown cow dancing to create chocolate pudding (disturbing, when you think about it). Due to their silence and deadliness, I propose they be referred to as the ninjas, should anyone ever decide they want to talk about this game again.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In which the Browns finally win something

It's a major award.

From Deadspin: You Don't Like Your Team s Much As Browns Fans Do

A sports business journal ranked NFL fans, and determined that Cleveland's are the best. Well, duh. Have you seen how many people come to that stadium? And have you seen how bad that team is that we watch? It's nice to be good at something.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why does Maurice Carthon hate America?

Seriously, this is starting to look ugly.

Reporters smell blood in the water, and are pressing Romeo Crennel on every point they can. Including the towering blunder of starting Dennis Northcutt ahead of Joe Jurevicius, as if everyone knew Northcutt was going to bobble that pass and let it get returned for a pick. And then there was the botched trick play on third-and-short. Well, of course it looks silly when it doesn't work. That doesn't stop Bud Shaw from trashing Crennel and the recently nuclear-armed Maurice Carthon in his column.

I agree that Carthon seems to be outwitting himself on nearly every play. Maybe he needs to simplify his playbook, so he's not tempted to reach deep into the bag of tricks at least once per drive.

I've read it twice and I still don't know why he referenced rogue nations or Joe Torre and Alex Rodriguez. I think I know why he mentioned the CFL and threw around the term "Bill Parcells Guy" as if it represented something more than a foothold for lazy thinking. Although the column felt like Shaw wrote it while watching Tivo-ed episodes of "30 Minute Meals," and IM-ing Bill Livingston, I think his point was pretty clear: Carthon's playcalling sucks.

I'm inclined to agree. I didn't see the game on Sunday until the final couple of snaps leading to the field goal and very much onside kick. But it sounds like it was another dreadful Sunday of attempted run-establishment, followed by predictable passing, with plenty of botched execution and getting cute on third down thrown in.

Which brings me back to the day's biggest misstep. I don't necessarily hate a trick play on third and short, but it seems as if the Browns all too often try to finesse third or fourth and short. I could be all for that, as long as unpredictabilty is how we're going to roll. But where the hell is that spirit when running into stacked fronts on first and second down?

And if the light touch is because the Browns don't have the offensive line to dictate at the line of scrimmage (and they really don't), then why the hell do they pretend they do on first and second down?

What's that you say? The Cavs began their season tonight? You don't say ...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Every week can be rivalry week

Charlie Frye lost a bet last weekend to teammate Joshua Cribbs. See, Frye went to Akron. Cribbs went to Kent State (where I can only imagine he was apparently an utterly terrifying QB to go up against).

Kent State beat Akron over the weekend, so as per the terms of their bet, Frye had to wear a Kent State jersey on Wednesday. Although Stadium Mustard focuses only on Cleveland's pro teams, it wholeheartedly approves of alums backing their alma maters with goofy bets like this.

Hopefully throughout the rest of the year, we'll be hearing about bets between Andra Davis (Florida) and Kamerion Wimbley (Florida State); Phil Dawson (Texas) and Antonio Perkins (Oklahoma); Braylon Edwards (Michigan) and Simon Fraser (Ohio State). You know, I'm sure things get a bit chilly between Mason Unck (Arizona State) and Dennis Northcutt (Arizona) when that Territorial Cup is on the line. And do you think Daven Holly (Cincinnati) and Ted Washington (Louisville) won't be sniping at each other when the Keg of Nails is on the line? (Do they make Bearcats jerseys big enough for Ted's planetoid-like frame?)

I think there's probably a potential bet like this for everyone on the team. Heck, Cosey Coleman and Rob Smith (Tennessee) could have a bet with Matt Stewart and Jovan Haye (Vanderbilt) with the losers having to team up to form the World's Most Giant Vol (or 'Dore).

Well, maybe not everyone. I have a feeling that Leigh Bodden (Duquesne) is more or less immune from all this.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Midweek compendium: Let's do it for Mrs. Smith

  • Maybe I was wrong earlier about the reasons for the Browns comeback. Maybe it was Terrelle Smith's rousing halftime speech that perked up the Browns. That said, you can't go to the My-mom-has-cancer-and-is-watching-so-let's-win-this-for-her well that often. Look into the pass more, is all I'm saying. I'll shut up now. Also, Charlie Frye knows his second interception was really freaking stupid. [The Plain Dealer]

    Fun fact: The win over the Raiders the biggest Browns comeback since 1966. That's Lou Groza and Leroy Kelly territory. Also, they haven't won two straight since 2003. That's Jamel White and Paul Zukauskas territory! [Akron Beacon-Journal]

    Bad Idea jeans clearly come in husky sizes. How else to explain Romeo Crennel keeping Kellen Winslow on the sidelines for most of the first half? Oh, you say it has something to do with establishing the run?

    “He’s not as much of an impact player when we are running the ball, and we
    wanted to try to run it a little more.

Grr. So not only are the Browns going to be throwing pebbles into the surf for at least one quarter, but doing so necessitates keeping one of the team's best players off the field? I'm not a football coach, but it seems to me that one would want to figure out ways to incorporate the team's best players, no?
[Canton Repository]

In other news, the chances of Leigh Bodden playing this weekend against Carolina appear slim. The Browns signed a backup CB named Jereme Perry from the practice squad, cutting Babatunde Oshionowo for the second time this season to make room. This is a double shot of bad news for the guys over at Mistake by the Lake Sporting Times, because they really like Leigh and really like Babatunde, too. Buck up, guys. They'll both be back soon. And who knows, maybe Jereme will grow on you.

Monday, October 02, 2006

What's Japanese for "They're still shitty"?

I'll begin this whole Quixotic venture with a request for the Browns to heed the one big lesson of their first win: Please do not attempt to "establish the run."

When the Browns fell behind the Oakland 21-3 on Sunday I ventured to the knowledgeable, friendly and Danish (seriously) Raiders fan next to me that this could be the catalyst for a bit of a comeback. After all, down 18 points, offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon would almost certainly have to abandon the run and begin passing more. And from what I've seen of the Browns this season, abandoning the run and passing is about the only way they can move the ball, even against a sorry team like the Raiders.

That's almost exactly what happened. Before the Raiders took their 21-3 lead, the Browns had run the ball 14 times (for 61 yards) and attempted to pass 10 times (with five completions, a pick and 44 yards to show for their troubles. To be fair, it was the kind of performance which most likely prompted aphorisms like Neyland's Razor.

But the Browns seemed to undergo a metamorphosis after they stopped trying to "establish the run." From that point on, they threw 24 times and ran 16 more. The passing game was much better: Charlie Frye completed 16 of 22 passes for 142 yards _ and those three touchdowns that provided the final 24-21 margin. (We're leaving the incredibly ill-advised fourth-quarter throw that resulted in a pick alone for now). Even the running game was more efficient, though only moderately so.

It's been pointed out elsewhere, mostly by Mistake by the Lake Sports and Football Outsiders, that the concept of establishing the run is a classic post hoc fallacy. Of course, I doubt very much that the Browns top brass spends much time on those sites _ or studying symbolic logic. So we're probably doomed to more drowsy, scoreless first quarters in which Carthon chases his Holy Grail of a properly established running game until a sufficient deficit exists to force him to play to the real, and not imagined, strengths of the Browns offense.

The Browns rushing attack encounters unexpected resistance