I'm sick of this.
No, I'm not talking about the game. The game was fine. It felt good to see the Browns beat up on somebody, even if it was the Lowly Lions (who were obviously not 0-16 last year by accident).
I'm talking about this stupid QB "competition". It's a sham. A farce. A waste of time. A joke.
I had no problem with it coming into camp because I was somewhat confident that Brady Quinn would distance himself from Derek Anderson, but the way this thing has been handled by Mangini is sloppy. Back and forth, up and down. They're supposed to get equal reps in games, but that hasn't been anywhere near the case. No consistency.
Here's what this "competition" is accomplishing: The team has no idea who their leader will be, there is no way to solidify the starting Offensive unit, and the players are probably starting to lose faith in both guys due to the fact that neither one can take control.
Congrats, Mangini - you're making a big ol' heapin' mess.
At this point of the season - going into the 3rd Preseason game - it's time to name a starter. The team needs to have some clarity.
There are only 2 logical reasons I can think of why Mangini is perpetuating this shamockery: Either 1) Mangini is trying to pressure Quinn into overcoming adversity and secure the position outright or 2) Mangini knows who his starter will be, but is trying to keep Minnesota "in the dark" before the Season Opener so they'll "have to prepare for both QB's".
(Which I'm sure is just keeping the Vikings up nights, wondering which crappy Browns QB they'll be facing.)
Before Training Camp began, I might've accepted a 3rd option - that whoever "wins" the "competition" should play because they give the Browns the best chance of winning. Yep, I'd buy that if the Browns were the Ravens or the Patriots or the Colts. I'd buy that if the Browns were a good team that could win a lot of games despite mediocre QB play.
But I've seen enough of this team to realize that they are not very good. The talent level is at low tide. Barnacles hang off the goal posts. There is no pass rush. The Run D will be mid-level at best. The running game will be questionable, and the QB will probably make enough mistakes to keep a lot of games from being winnable.
In lieu of this fate, the QB "competition" is null and void because there is only one possible answer, and any other answer is horrifically flawed.
Brady Quinn must start at QB.
If Derek Anderson "wins" this competition, then I will lose a lot of faith in Mangini, and I'll laugh at the scowls he makes every time DA Favre's him in the keister-hole. There is absolutely no reason for DA to start at QB for this team. He is simply not a starting-caliber QB on a good - nay, decent - team. I don't care what he did in the 1st Quarter of the Lions game - I've seen way too much of Mr. DA to buy that load of pyrite.
You've got one QB from whom you know exactly what to expect, and another who's a complete enigma but yet can't seem to buy starting reps. You've got a bad team that will likely be in the running for Colt McCoy/Tim Tebow/Sam Bradford. So you either 1) start Derek Anderson, and completely necessitate the drafting of McCoy/Tebow/Bradford because you need a Franchise QB for chrissakes or 2) start Brady Quinn and find out if maybe you might already have a Franchise QB on the roster, possibly allowing you to draft a Taylor Mays (or his ilk) instead of McCoy/Tebow/Bradford.
This ain't rocket surgery.
And yet this "competition" is supposedly a "dead-heat" or "too close to call", and DA's performance somehow "narrowed the gap". If I had hair, I'd be freakin' tearing it out.
That performance was just more of the same. DA's always been hot and cold. He can look like the second coming of Otto Graham... for a Quarter or a Half. Then he'll jam a brick right in your colon.
He was much better than last week, but he wasn't anything special. I watched the 1st Half 3 times. DA had 4 good throws... and the 4th was being generous. 1) first throw to Mo Massaquoi, 2) the 3rd Down pass to Josh Cribbs, 3) the pass to Steve Heiden, and, I guess, 4) the 34 yard pass to Braylon Edwards, even though it was behind him.
He also had 4 bad throws - the pass to Braylon that was OB, a slant to BE that was way too fast and nowhere near him, the pass that missed Robert Royal in the End Zone (no, he wasn't hit as he threw; he anticipated the hit, tried to flick it with "touch", and you saw the result), and, of course, the INT.
That was typical DA, and I, for one, don't want to see that starting for the Cleveland Browns. If you know he's the best you've got, then that's one thing. But no one knows that.
You may call me a hater, and I don't care. I have nothing against DA, and I especially have nothing for Quinn. But here are the facts about DA - he's inconsistent, inaccurate, lacks touch, and makes a lot of bad decisions.
Other than that, he's fine.
Quinn might be just as bad. Hell, he might be worse. But, with him, there's at least a chance he might be good. There's a smidgen of hope.
Otherwise, we're just hitting Control-C on the 2008 season.
Josh Cribbs started the party with a 95 yard Kickoff Return for TD, but it was predictably called back. However, due to some nice intermediate passing from starter du jour Derek Anderson and some decent running from Jamal Lewis, the Browns finally managed to crack that End Zone hymen which has haunted them for nearly a year. Browns 7, Lions 0.
Superboy Matt Stafford started for Detroit, and it only took him one pass to throw a bad pick, this one to Eric Wright, who returned the ball to the DET 5. However, a stupid ticky-tack Personal Foul penalty drove the ball back to the 20, and DA & Co. did little with it from there. Browns 10, Lions 0.
A 3 and out from DET, a punt, and Cribbs took it 84 for a TD, sans yellow hanky this time. Browns 17, Lions 0.
Another 3 and by the Kitties, and DA managed another decent drive, this one ending in a FG and an inconceivable 20 point lead. Browns 20, Lions 0.
Finally, Stafford led his team to a 1st Down, but it was all for naught as they still punted. The Browns got the ball back and drove to a 3rd and 1 on the DET 38 when the Q ended.
End 1st: Cleveland 20, Detroit 0.
Quinn came in for DA, and was summarily sacked on a slow moving play. The Browns punted for the 1st time.
The rest of the Quarter was an exercise in futility. Stafford remained ineffective. Quinn was plagued by OL penalties. James "Crafty" Davis came in and showed effectiveness with the 1st Unit.
Daunte Culpepper finally replaced Stafford and led the Lions on a nice drive. But on 4th and 1 from the Browns 27, Robaire Smith blew up the Kevin Smith run and a couple other guys finished him off.
With 49 seconds left in the Half, Mangini was true to his word of getting DA a 2 minute drill (Quinn got 2 series to Anderson's 5). DA dinked and dunked and blew a lot of time off the clock, then reminded us that he was - indeed - Derek Anderson and threw a terrible pick high and behind Crafty... tipped and picked. DET immediately kicked a FG to salvage something of the 1st Half.
Halftime: Cleveland 20, Detroit 3.
This Quarter was no fun to watch... until the end. DET kept punting, but Brett Ratliff and the backup OL were going nowhere. Ratliff was getting lambasted - he barely had time to drop back. He got the ball swatted out of his hand on a long 3rd Down, and the Lions recovered. Drew Stanton came in and took all of one play to get a 20 yard TD pass. Browns 20, Lions 10.
The poor Browns O continued to suffer, and there were no holes for Crafty. No holes, that is, until 3rd and 12 at the CLE 19 with about a minute left. Ratliff faked a throw and handed to Davis on a delay. DET wasn't looking for it. Davis dashed through the hole, made a move that broke some poor bloke's ankles, shrugged off a would-be tackler, and took it 81 yards to the House. Browns 27, Lions 10.
End 3rd: Cleveland 27, Detroit 10.
Not much happened. How's bout we not waste our time re-capping this Quarter, mmm-kay?
Final: Cleveland 27, Detroit 10.
Josh Cribbs - Mr. Cribbs is bucking for a promotion. Obviously, a Kickoff Return TD (negated) and a Punt Return TD (completed) would be enough to get you a gameball, but he made a nice catch on 3rd Down as a Receiver, and I would be faulty if I didn't mention how effectively I saw him blocking on running plays. DB's are not gonna want a face full of Cribbs all day if he starts getting significant WR minutes.
Crafty Davis - ran very well with the first string OL. Struggled a bit more with the crappy 2nd Unit (see: Shame, Wall of), but still managed to break off that 81 yard TD. Also was a threat as a Receiver.
Corey Ivy - had several nice plays, including a pass breakup, a good tackle on 3rd Down, and a forced fumble. Might be locking up the Nickel.
Bret Lockett - several times I noticed this guy. He played with all the units, including the 1st Unit D, and I was impressed by his solid tackling and frequency of being around the ball. Which is nice for a Safety for a change.
Eric Barton - yes, that Eric Barton. Almost had a pick off of Stafford (who didn't), then planted him on a rush on the next play.
Derek Anderson - led a TD drive, and that is apparently not easy to do around here these days.
Robaire Smith - his penetration on the DET 4th and 1 right before Half blew that play right up.
Kaluka Maiava - making his Special Teams presence felt, 2 tackles there, plus a nice hit with the late-string Defense.
Blake Costanzo - another Special Teams maestro. The guy looks like a brick port-o-potty, and was in the middle of much of the ST action.
Leon Williams - actually made some nice plays sideline to sideline, using his speed to cut off a couple plays that looked like they'd get a lot bigger.
Wall of Shame
Backup Offensive Line - flat out blew. Didn't do Quinn any favors, and certainly made Brett Ratliff's life miserable by being unable to block even 4 man fronts. Pray there are no more OL injuries, cuz this unit's thinner than a microwave pizza.
John St. Clair - mysteriously killed 2 significant gains on Quinn drives with penalties (Holding and Illegal Formation). How does a RT get an Illegal Formation in this day and age? Coincidence or PenaltyGate? You decide.
Abe Elam - the only time I noticed him, he was wiping out Cribbs' opening Kickoff Return TD with some Holding.
Time of Possession: Detroit - 30:09, Cleveland - 29:51
Total Yards: Cleveland - 348, Detroit - 288
This, of course, reminds me of the classic YouTube Cleveland Tourism Video:
Come on down to Cleveland town everyone!
Under construction since 1868.
See our river that catches on fire.
It's so polluted that all our fish have AIDS.
You see the sun almost 3 times a year.
The Flats look like a Scooby Doo ghost town.
Don't slow down in East Cleveland or you'll die.
Our economy's based on LeBron James.
Buy a house for the price of a VCR.
Our main export is crippling depression.
It could be worse though - at least we're not Detroit!
We're not Detroit!
The tackling was much better, but the reduction of penalties was not (especially on Special Teams). 11 penalties for 85 yards. One wiped out a 95 yard TD run. Another (on a punt) cost the Browns around 35 yards of field position. Several others killed nice offensive gains (those drives all subsequently died).
Mangini said in his press conference: "The penalties tick me off. It's a problem. It's going to lose games. It doesn't work. It doesn't work. It's not good football. That's a focal point. It's been a focal point. It'll continue to be a focal point."
Glad I'm not the only one that noticed.
Does running increase brainpower? Let's find out.
We have an interesting situation at Running Back. With the emergence of James Davis, the Browns can now claim to be legitimately 3 deep at the position, and (outside of fantasy football) I love it when a team can bring a powerful Running Back-by-committee. Think about the Giants of the last couple years - they'd trot out big, powerful Brandon Jacobs, then versatile Derek Ward, then fireplug Ahmad Bradshaw. All 3 effective, all 3 bringing a different skill set to the table.
So the Brown Committee would likely consist of Jamal Lewis, Jerome Harrison, and James Davis. Triple J! (or some such bologna).
Aye, here's the rub - Harrison and Davis bring a lot of the same skills to the table, so switching out Jerome for Crafty or vice versa doesn't really give you a unique advantage.
Jamal Lewis is done. The maple tree in my back yard grows faster than he moves, and it's dead. He had some nice runs against Detroit, but those plays where he bounced it outside and finally turned it up wouldn't work against a real NFL Defense. However, he still has his purpose. He still has power, and he would be excellent at wearing down a D in the 4th Quarter.
My vision for him is this: Due to his stature and history, he remains the "starting" RB. He gets the first series of the game. Maybe the first 2. Then in comes RB2, who switches back and forth with RB3 for the remainder of the 1st Half. Then Jamal gets the first series of the 2nd Half, and back to the bench until late in the 4th Quarter, when he is brought on to Jerome Bettis his way through the tired enemy D and finish them off.
Now, that would entail asking Harrison and Davis to carry the entirety of the rest of the game, and I'm not sure 2 guys with that similar a skill set can pull it off effectively. So maybe you hold on to a guy like Noah Herron, who has looked good in his limited time and does have that skill set which appears to be somewhere between Harrison/Davis and Lewis (nice shiftiness and power). And since you can't really let one of Harrison or Davis go (can you?), you're forced to keep 4 RB's on the roster.
But, oh, what Committee potential!
And, no, I'm not kidding.
Alex Hall and Kam Wimbley both made some nice plays in this game, especially in run contain (keeping the RB from bouncing outside for a big gain). However, they once again did not manage to make much headway in attacking the QB.
Ahtyba Rubin once again did a respectable job at Nose, and the DL didn't get blown off the ball like they did against Green Bay, but they also didn't get much in the way of penetration.
David Veikune rushed from the outside a couple times, but was completely negated by simple RB chop blocks (the legal kind).
One thing is painfully (emphasis on "pain") obvious - this team will have to blitz all day and all night to get pressure on the QB. That will be... ahem... a PROBLEM.
Josh Cribbs is looking for a new contract. He's got 4 years left at around a million per, but he claims he had a bad agent and he didn't know what he was doing and he made a mistake and now he's not getting paid anything near market value.
It is also rumored that he might sit out the Regular Season if some headway is not made to a contract re-structure from the powers that be.
This is a bit of a conundrum. Cribbs has rare talent - a combination of speed, power, and moves makes him one of the best Kick Returners in the league. He's also tits on Kick Coverage, and he now even seems to be making a serious contribution as a Receiver.
But you just can't go tearing up the contract of a dude that's got 4 years left. You can't. There's this thing called the Salary Cap, and if you do it for Cribbs, every two-bit schmoe on the team is gonna be threatening a holdout before you can say Shiznit. That's the concept that so many foo... ahem, individuals... that I've heard saying "Just pay the man!" don't seem to grasp.
If there were only some way to re-do the contract without making it look like a capitulation.
The only thing I can think of is to name him starting WR (opposite Bray-Bray), then claim that, due to his responsibility spike, he is due appropriate compensation. That way, Josh is happy, and yet you can still tell the next guy that comes to the office with his hand out, "YOU don't play 14 positions, do you?"
Matthew Stafford is one of the highest paid players in the NFL. Nice to see that he's earned it. He was awesome in that game. How he's not the THE highest paid player, I don't know. With overthrows and decisions like those... ye Gods!
This is why we need an NFL Rookie Pay Scale. Stafford may one day be one of the best players in the NFL and deserving of his fat contract. But until he is, no way in Detroit should raw Rook be making 10 times almost everyone else on his team.
Mangini on the sidelines is a hoot. I mean, what a character! I need to party with that guy! Standing there with that pissed off look on his face, no matter what happens... rock on, big guy!
Don't get me wrong. I appreciate that he takes the job seriously and that he's never satisfied and that there's always some way to get better. That's a good thing.
But he does look like about as much fun as a colonoscopy.
Oh, guess I forgot to address this in my earlier ramblings...
Round 2 winner - Derek Anderson.
Quinn didn't get much of a chance, and DA must've paid off St. Clair, but you can't argue with the fact that DA was more productive in his time behind Center.
So the score is tied at 1 now, for whatever that's worth. (And the answer to that is: Nothing).
At Halftime, I noticed that Channel 3 News had a brief spot about what they would be showing after the game. When discussing what would be on sports later, they had more coverage of the game, as well as highlights of the Steelers-Redskins contest.
Why? Because they're AFC North rivals, and they didn't show highlights of the Ravens and Bengals because they played on different nights?
It better be. If a Cleveland News Station was kowtowing to Populist Bandwagon Hilljacks, it is a sad day indeed. You think they're showing Browns highlights on Pittsburgh stations? Detroit no they ain't!
Those Tim Misny commercials are so vague. What is it he does for a living? What's his goal? What kind of service does he provide? It's so hard to tell.
Uhhh... yeah... so I went to the grocery store on Saturday to pick up some things for my girlfriend who was making a bunch of food for a party we were having. I'd spent all week under the cruel whip of actually having to complete household projects, which included staining the deck, mulching around the back garage, and caulking around the tub in the bathroom she just painted. So I was more than glad that my next (and last) task was to purchase bread crumbs and large quantities of alcohol.
As I walked down an aisle, searching vainly for said bread crumbs, my cell phone rang. It was my friend Zeke, who had stopped by my house whilst I was away and was hanging out with (bothering) my girlfriend. He complimented me on the deck stain job.
"Yeah, well, check out the caulk in the bathroom," I told him.
Suddenly, a woman I was walking by looked at me with disgust and grabbed her child protectively.
It wasn't until I was in the next aisle that I realized why.
From Lon Doe, Cuyahoga Falls: "You suck! I agree with you that the Browns will probably suck this year, but you suck more! When I look up suck in the dictionary, I see you!"
It was a slow week in e-mail land.
The Tennessee Titans.
Good Running Game. Good OL. Solid DL. Get a lot of pressure on the QB. Get a lot of turnovers.
You know, all the stuff that gives the Browns nightmares.
This will be a Detroit of a test for our team. If they can hang with the Titans, then Cleveland might actually start to let hope fester once again.