So, anything happen with the Browns this week?
Opinions around the league vary wildly on the Trent Richardson trade, much of which (in my opinion) is based upon how many Browns games people have watched the last year and change. See, Richardson is a big name. He also is a fantasy darling, as he scored a lot of TD's last year despite being really oridnary in the yards gained and yards per carry categories. But that was all due to the injuries, see? This year, he would rip it up.
And when, after 2 games, he didn't, Joe Banner took a deal he couldn't refuse.
I believe Trent will be fine in Indy, decent, solid... but I also believe a RB with the same qualities can be found in the 4th round these days. He lacks the explosiveness to be a true difference-maker at this level, and he still has to learn to just hit the hole and take what he can get. The latter he can learn, the former, well, he be what he be.
So for a team that is going nowhere fast this year and probably hopes to "accidentally" find itself in the Top 5 with a shot at one of the top QB prospects, getting a 1st round pick for a guy who - despite being clearly the best option on your team at that position - is clearly replaceable by a mid rounder is a big WIN.
In the long run.
For next year.
For the future.
You see, if you're Joe Banner and you come in here you need to see that you need to win right fucking away if you don't want to lose the city. You don't necessarily have to be competing for a Super Bowl, but just make enough short-term concessions to get the team to about 7-9, 8-8, whatever. You do that, you keep the fans interested. And that can go for 2 or 3 seasons while you build the long-term product.
Yes, the penalty for those 7-9, 8-8 seasons might be that it takes you a little longer to develop the players and "build it the right way", but even if the absolutely correct thing to do is walk in, blow it up, and start from basically scratch to build it the way you want it, you just don't have that luxury in this market. So you can't do it that way.
Their plan was to do that anyway, but do it increments so maybe the fans wouldn't notice.
Personally, I completely understand the need to have an awful season to (hopefully) solve the QB issue, and then you can legit build from there, which was impossible prior to now due to the parade of ass-play from the ball tossers. But this is a damn hard sell for Joe Fan, especially when all the past regimes have had plethoras of high picks too that they just turned around and squandered or got sent packing by the next regime that inevitably arrived because the current regime was taking too long "building it the right way" (assuming it would ever get built at all).
Let's be clear - even if I'm trying to win now, I probably take that trade. Trent Richardson does not make or break your team. The tanking/trying not to win/not making an effort to not lose began long before now. It began with Free Agency, when the team made a modest early splash and then essentially sat the rest of the thing out. It continued with the draft, trading away picks for future picks. Then it peaked when they broke from Training Camp with 72 undrafted free agents, a Kicker they found sleeping behind the dumpster, and Oneil Cousins plugged into a starting role.
This was why I was so angry at the first game - it felt like they weren't even trying to win, and thus the results were completely predictable.
I now see that losing/not necessarily winning/I'm-going-to-leave-the-keys-to-this-car-I-can't-afford-in-the-ignition-downtown-and-if-it-disappears-oh-well was by design. Which is a theory that, frankly, gives me hope for the first time that this regime knows what it's doing.
However, there will be a price to be paid in fan anger, attendance, leaguewide disdain, reputation loss, and if they don't have a HELLUVA draft in 2014 they will experience mutiny at a record pace for even this tortured fan base. Good luck, LomBanner - your personnel track records scream that you'll need it.
And now onto the delayed rankings, which I have updated to include the first game of Week 3, since, shit, that already passed.
After moving to 3-0, the formula tells me that the Chiefs remain the #1 team in the NFL. I'm not ready to buy that any more than I'm ready to buy Alex Smith is a championship-level QB, but I can no longer convince myself they're a fluke. They very well may still finish 9-7 and Denver will probably use them like a baby uses a diaper, but they'll be in the playoff hunt, and objectively based purely on their 3 performances, they don't not-deserve the top spot.
The Browns are rockin' it out down at 30, their usual haunts, despite having a very respectable #12 ranking defensively. Clearly, LomBanner is hoping for enough offensive ineptitude that the D will wear down late in games and lose close ones, thus proving those "tanking" charges patently false. Then, with your decent Defense in tow, you draft Teddy Bridgewater, a WR with the second pick of the 1st, bring in Ben Tate and a legit guard in FA, address the remaining defensive needs (CB, Safety), and suddenly you have an incredibly competent team!
That's the theory, anyhoo.
At least Pittsburgh is every bit as bad as we are. Hope they enjoy their stroll down Washout Lane.
And the 49ers evidence what happens to your ranking when you get crushed in the 2nd game...