~~~ My position on the QB fence is no longer relevant (as if it ever was). Charlie Frye will be the man under center on September 9th, regardless of how Quinn performs in the "why the hell are we playing this /please, God, don't let anyone get hurt" game...also known as the final exhibition against the Bears.
And I must say that Frye handled things pretty well on Saturday. I'm still not sold on his decision making. I still think he holds onto the ball for too long, and then once he takes that first step out of the pocket, he's hell bent to run and will cease looking for a receiver. I still also think he's one of the goofier looking quarterbacks in the NFL, but at least he's not in Jon Kitna's fugly category. And he's played his football for the Flashes (Willard) and the Zips (Akron)...that just doesn't sound like the type of macho background I want for my long term QB. Actually, it sounds like teams that Pee Wee Herman should have played for, but that's beside the point.
But screw it...he's the Browns version of a rented 8 cylinder Ford Mustang. Let's just abuse the hell out of him, ignore the superficial bumps, the ghastly gas mileage, and the long term affects of the punishment...because we don't care. He's just not that important, and is nothing more than temporary transportation while we're waiting on the delivery of our new BMW M5.
~~~ On the other hand, I'm not sure my Red Zone/2 Minute Drill Theory was disproved on Saturday. After all, Charlie often looks good until he gets inside the 20. The solution? Don't let him throw inside the 20, and sure enough, it worked! Frye's good pass to Edwards (great catch) came from the Browns' 30, and once they got down that far, they quickly realized that maybe the best thing to do would be to give the ball to the stud RB instead of letting Charlie get his normal "deer in the headlights" look. And they ran Jamal twice! Without once running a FB Option! Touchdown, Jamal! (Anderson attempting a pass in the Red Zone later on? Sack-time...but that did allow them to get three more points than we would have seen had Derek had time to throw...to the wrong team.)
You think that Brian Billick, Offensive Sooper-Genius might have been scratching his head a bit after seeing Jamal catching passes and turning in 10 yards gains afterwards? One of Jamal's biggest complaints with The Ego That Ate Baltimore was the fact that he was always taken out of the game on third downs if the Ratbirds were 5 or more yards away from the first down. Looks like Chud knows what he's doing, which will be great, because that will open up the offense even more with defenses not knowing if Jamal would be rushing, or swinging out for a pass.
~~~ So THAT is what Joe Jurevicius looks like when a ball is thrown his way. Four catches, 56 yards. Yes, I'm completely with Hiko in counting that TD catch from Quinn, and I also will be including it in my stats. Since none of the stats count anyway, why worry?
~~~ Braylon Edwards also continues to look great, but that's quickly becoming a redundant feature in my columns...so let's talk about the big problem facing this offense. NO DEPTH. Chud has all these really great looking formations and schemes to put in, but after Joe and Braylon, there isn't much there. One advantage is that in most three receiver sets, he can simply put Winslow in the slot, and then watch some 5' 9" Daylon McCutcheon clone nickelback pee himself at the line of scrimmage. Similar to the sick feeling those linebackers get when trying to cover K2; but with a nickelback, it's a fear of death by mauling rather than the fear of having your man beat you by 15 steps.
So I'm thinking that formations with Joe and Braylon on the outside, Winslow in the slot, and Heiden working the seam from the TE spot would be great. If they wanted to go with a true empty backfield five WR set, I suppose you could go with Harrison and Cribbs along with the Big 3. But putting Tim Carter or Steely McHands Wilson on the field at any time in a meaningful game would be like hitting on a girl ten minutes before the bar closes. It's a bad idea, and you're only doing it because you're drunk and desperate.
At this point, I'm scanning the transactions page of various websites on a daily basis, hoping someone of any talent level becomes available at WR.
~~~ It wasn't the best game for the offensive line, but it wasn't bad, either. Joe Thomas got pushed around a bit by Elvis Dumervil. Hopefully, he'll do like he has in other situations and learn from it. Maybe it's just that he hadn't faced that type of LB/DE before; a midget that weighs 50 pounds less than him, but is still a strength rusher. Got to admit, that's a bit of a rarity in the NFL. Or maybe Joe was Sampson-ized and lost some of his strength after his "involuntary haircut".
Hopefully the Browns aren't having to test that "depth" thing I was talking about a few weeks ago with the O-Line. It was a bit concerning seeing Kevin Schaffer going down with his concussion. It was more unnerving to see him without his helmet. He looks just like that bald, hairy guy making an ass of himself at every home game in Minnesota in that ridiculous Vikings outfit. Speaking of idiot mascots, I just now realized that I didn't once see "old naked guy in a barrel" that you usually see at Denver games. Whew...there are some things that just would not look good on high definition TV. OK, that's enough of the "Eewww" tangents.
I see that Ryan Tucker got in quite a few reps at left guard. Please tell me that's just to make him a more valuable bench player once he gets back from his four game suspension for his Barry Bonds impression, and it's got nothing to do with the injury to Eric Steinbach.
~~~ I was a lot more concerned this week about the Browns defense than I've been in the other games. Maybe things will get better once 96 year old Orpheus Roye returns, but right now, the defensive line is about as firm as Rosie O'Donnell's midsection. Since the Browns will be seeing Willie Parker, Rudy Johnson, Willis McGahee, Lawrence Maroney, and Ronnie Brown in the first six weeks...this is not a good thing.
Shuan Smith...you get the goat horns of the week. Here's a hint for you: when you try to separate a QB from both of his legs after you've tackled him, the refs tend to notice it and then drop yellow laundry on the field.
And would it hurt for the linebackers to actually COVER someone on a pass play? I've been doing all this praising of Leon Williams, and then he ends up covering a receiver as if the guy has a really bad case of B.O.
~~~ Phil, Phil, Phil. And I mean Dawson, not Savage (at least for this blurb). I know that as we get older, we can get a case of the "yips" every now and then...and if you saw my golf game last week you'd know what I'm talking about...but I'm starting to get a bit worried here.
Then again, maybe it's just time to think about finally get rid of the last remnant of the Debacle that was the 1999 Browns. Perhaps we can make one of the goal posts at the stadium into a stake, and burn Phil on it as an appeasement to the Football Gods who have punished us so. No? OK...how about just cutting him, and burning his little elf shoes? "F-you, Jobu...I do it on my own!"
~~~ Quick roundups on some of my favorite players.
Syndric Steptoe. Dumbledore needs to hit you with the Runforwardus Dumbassessnus Spell.
Rented Mule Perry. Fourth and five for the Donks, and guess who they pick on? Yep...first down. Coach wants to see you...bring your playbook.
Steely McHands Wilson. The biggest mistake Brady Quinn has made was Saturday when he threw to Steely on a third and six. CLANK!!! Mr. Zastudil, we're ready for your close-up.
~~~ So what happened to the Denver Browncos? All of this crap for two years about how all of these former Browns defensive linemen were cast off from the Browns, and then ended up starting for a "contending team"...and now, you can't find a one of them. "Big Penny" Warren? Traded for a sack of used K-Balls. Courtney Brown? Checking out whether or not his insurance will cover his next purchase from The Scooter Store. Michael Myers? Next on the list to get arrested in Cincitucky. Ebenezar? IR. Kenard Lang? Released. At least they still have Alvin McKinnley...who may or may not have been in uniform.
~~~ Next Bronco to become a Brown? My money is on Patrick Ramsey. The way he handled that two minute offense at the end of the game makes him a natural to pair up with Frye and Anderson.
Well...maybe not Anderson. As he probably should be checking the CFL rosters at this point, looking for his next job.
~~~ The Plain Dealer does a poll regarding Brady Quinn's haircut? That's some fine, outstanding journalism there.
~~~ Tim Couch. Sigh. Just be content with your millions in LernerDollars and your Playmate of the Year wife, and get on with life, OK?