Can I just say that I think I’m finally past this whole “Denver Thing”?
There was a time when if the Browns were playing Denver I’d be emotionally involved if they were playing a game of beer pong against one another on Ross Verba’s deck. Last night? Not so much. It was just another non-descript X season game where two teams scrimmaged. Much like me channeling Dieter in Sprockets, this routine has become tiresome to me. I am ready for the opener in two weeks. Whoever won last night, I could care less. In fact, I experienced non-alcohol related napping syndrome in quarter three, so much like the details of my 21st birthday, a huge chunk of Quinn’s touchdown drive is missing from my consciousness.
The Quarterback play – how does that happen?
Frye looked positively average Saturday night. He sparkled to the point of near serviceability. He looked good when he passed, his throws seemed crisp, he ran only at the right time, and he hit a few different guys. A team with a running game and solid defense can win with what I saw Saturday night. Then DA, relieved of the “pressure” of actually competing for a starting job apparently, came in and did what all career backups do – look great as a back up. Lastly, the recently-hazed Quinn played with the big kids and did his thing. JJ did catch that touchdown pass that was wrongly called incomplete and both his feet were in. Why we didn’t throw the flag is a mystery. Either Romeo was busy making that call to Donato’s or we wanted Dawson to keep up his fine job of kicking himself off of the roster. The big positive from Saturday was the good showing by all three quarterbacks and I feel much better about life. There is some hope there until BQ is ready to go, which I am grudgingly starting to admit may be sooner this year rather than later. Kid can ball a little right now. I still wouldn’t start him until bye week at least and I firmly believe most fans vastly underestimate the live game experience factor to the point where for now Charlie gives us a batter chance to win. But Quinn is doing nothing but holding his own and it is logical to believe he’ll get much better.
Who are these 5 guys and what did they do with the run blocking?
No push at all. No seams at all. C’mon big gnarlies, move somebody. Now I know that much like co-pilot Kareem said to the kid in Airplane, let’s see me move Sam Adams out of a gap before I preach out my cakehole, but they got stuffed pretty consistently. I thought the backs did a pretty nice job taking what was given, but unfortunately, it wasn’t much. I can only hope that the return of Steinbach helps more than incrementally, and that Elvis Dumb and Dumerville housing Joe Thomas to the point of a Bob Gallery imitation is but a never-to-be-seen-again point on a short data curve. Yuck. Gotta get it together on this one.
When do I worry about the run defense?
At times last night they got Sam and Thaned pretty much repeatedly. The backs were into the second level too easily. I need to re-watch the broadcast on STO, but the safeties didn’t seem to offer much help either. Sean Jones just doesn’t seem to be that enforcing player he was at times last season. It was almost feast or famine. On some plays Shawn Smith was a presence and D’Qwell and Leon ran some cats down, but Denver consistently had Cutler and that Ramsey stiff in some pretty sweet down and distances. I am hoping that some of that is due to Denver’s rather unique scheme and lack of game prepping and planning for an X game, but my well honed Browns’ fan cynicism pushes me another direction. If we don’t get this fixed, it’ll be a long, hot day of shame – again - on September 9th.
The medium middle third – do we have a coverage that accounts for that 15 yard circle?
I know Cutler has a silly arm. Wow, does he have a gun and unlike Kyle Boller it actually goes where he throws it. He’s an impressive young quarterback. But good gawd in heaven could cats have been any more open? And let’s not forget that Dan Graham is a good tight end, but I’ve never heard of Denver’s other receivers besides that journeyman Stokely and they looked like the late 80’s 49ers in the middle of the field against us. I don’t know what Grantham has the Browns doing, but I’d like to know what Brodney Poole is supposed to be up to on some of those coverages. About all that comes to mind is “what the hell”? Again, you give Heath Miller and Hines Ward that real estate and Halloween comes early for me on September 9th, Romeo, Phil and Randy. I’ll be the one dressed as an orange bleacher. I will never sit through the 1999 opener and the 2005 Eve of Destruction ever again while your security guards protect the Appalachians dissing me in my own house cause y’all are an embarrassment. There is major work to do here and camp is o-v-e-r. I hope you take what September 9th means to C-town fan seriously.
OK, so what did the Souljah really do this time?
Why was he benched and what did he do? Eventually, it will come out.
Hazing on any level is bull crap.
So apparently at the end of training camp, per how I understood what BK and Jimmy Donovan shared in the broadcast – and that point is key – it is how I understood the event took place - several defensive players physically restrained Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn and they buzz cut their wigs. Call me a muckraker and send me the hate e-mail and accuse me of being a wuss, but physically coerced hazing for any purpose of initiation is bullshit in this day and age. It is the sign of a team that has control and discipline issues. Were this hazing perpetrated on a high school team that was a member of the OHSAA and it came out in the media, I’m of the opinion that there’s an inquiry, bad publicity, and possibly penalties imposed. At its most benign, what happens if Quinn hurts an elbow or hand or shoulder roughhousing? What if Thomas twists a knee? Being the Browns, both probably got nicked by a sharp edge and will get staph on their heads and be out for their careers. This is a case where a coaching staff continues to allow boys-will-be-boys tolerance and to this fan it shows me a lack of professionalism and discipline. The next time I have to read an interview about how the players love this “players’ coaches” staff because they “treat them like men and professionals”, I’d like just ONE of our intrepid media to ask, “Like when you shaved your rookies’ heads?” Hey, make ‘em buy the doughnuts for the meeting. Make ‘em get you coffee if you can’t live without newbie nuts breakin’. Make ‘em sing songs badly at mealtime. I can even see some taping someone to the goalpost outside for a few minutes if they are passive. But lay off anything that crosses the line into the area of physical coercion. Romeo should go on record as not supporting this crap, reintroduce some players to Mt. Belichick, and suspend the dudes involved for the last exhibition game.
But that would involve him not enabling people.
Your mileage may vary on this one, and I have some other less flattering thoughts, but I’ve said my peace.