What's that? No. That was more than a week ago - I have no clue why you even care anymore. I said No! Oh, all right, fine, here's your lousy review.
The Bears and the Browns locked in a titanic struggle, literal life and death hanging on the line. Neither Brady Quinn nor Derek Anderson played in yet another desperate attempt to fool us all. James Davis had some nice runs.
End 1st: Browns 7, Bears 3.
Some stuff happened. Chris Jennings ran well.
Halftime: Browns 13, Bears 6.
Football was played for approximately 15 minutes.
End 3rd: Browns 20, Bears 20.
Men that we will never hear of or from again played out the dying days of their careers. You have to respect the ball player just trying to finish out the season.
Final: Bears 26, Browns 23.
Chris Jennings - Tough runner with some decent moves and speed. A nice developmental project. I'm glad he was signed to the Practice Squad.
Richard Bartel - Looked like the superior # 3 QB in his Cleveland Swan Song.
Wall of Shame
Jamal Lewis - His average per carry was even lower than usual.
There. Happy? Jeesh.
We finally know whom the Browns starting QB will be. It was always likely this gent would eventually be named, but now the formality has been erased.
According to Eric Mangini, he finally told the QB's who would start on Tuesday night (9/8). He waited until the last possible moment to attempt to maintain the secret and the "competitive advantage".
But he HAD to tell them Tuesday because they were going to start installing the Offensive package for the game on Wednesday, and it was kind of important that he actually have a First Unit Offense in existence. So his hand was forced at last.
Would that put players in a strange situation of trying to maintain absolute silence on the QB question while being hounded endlessly by pressers desperate to be the first to break the story? "I don't think anybody is in an awkward spot trying to maintain a competitive advantage," Mangini said in his Wednesday Press Conference. "I think everybody's excited about doing that."
Well, not everybody.
Interviewed on Wednesday and asked if it would be tough to keep the secret, Derek Anderson said the following:
"No. Because after this next two minutes are over I'm not going to be talking to you guys. It's pretty easy. Obviously, the rest of us have to go about our regular preparations and continue to do what we always do and just not talk to our families."
"I'll continue to prepare. Obviously I got in the first game. The guy who's not playing has got to be ready."
That's awesome. It's bitter, and it basically says "No, it won't be hard to keep the secret, because I'm going to give it to you right now." I'm not a huge fan of DA as a QB, but I have to appreciate the quasi-subtle F-U he just gave Mangini and his concept of "keeping a competitive advantage". DA comes off as a hayseed, but I don't think he's stupid. That was petty vengeance. Bravo, Mr. Anderson.
Then Terrell Owens sent out a (stupid f-ing) Twitter/Tweet congratulating Brady Quinn on his starting job, indicating that someone on the team is friends with TO and didn't think about the fact that maybe TO wouldn't mind glorifying himself by revealing the info.
So the cat was out of the bag. Brady Quinn is the starter.
Honestly, in this world of instant information, did Mangini really expect to be able to keep it a secret? He waited until the last minute, and it still got out almost immediately. Did he really think that that many people would be able to maintain radio silence?
And what was the big deal about the secret in the first place? It's not like DA and Quinn are Michael Vick and Bernie Kosar - two vastly different QB's whose unique and individual skill sets would make enemy D Coordinators have to double-prepare. All his magnificent effort to keep the world in the dark really accomplished was to give the starting QB and the starting Offensive Unit only 4 days together to prepare to face one of the toughest Defenses in the NFL.
I don't care that Mangini didn't let US know. He doesn't have to. I don't care if he lets the fans and media know anything ever. If he thinks he wins because he keeps secrets, then so be it. But I do want the team to know who its leader(s) is(are), and I want them to be as well prepared as they can be going into live battle. I just can't help but question the wisdom of sacrificing cohesion for secrecy.
If the Offense goes out and looks sharp, then obviously my worries are all for naught.
You need not send me the e-mails stating that you're sure that Coach Mangini knows more and knows better about his team than I do.
But unless the Browns' PR Department wants to start slipping me a check every couple weeks, I'm not honor bound to agree with everything Mangini does just because he's "smarter than me". Lots of people are smarter than me, but it doesn't keep me from continuing to prove it.
Brett Favre announced this week that the coaches and staff of the 2008 Jets knew about his torn biceps, but they didn't list him on the injury report. This is potentially against NFL rules and could result in some kind of "action" against then-coach Eric Mangini and Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum.
Tannenbaum, predictably, backed down in the face of pressure by announcing that they should have listed him, it was their responsibility, he wishes they'd handled it differently, blah blah blah yada yada yada.
Mangini, however, said, "I can tell you that we always fill out the injury report by the guidelines set by the NFL. That was true there and will be true here and will be true every week of the season."
That wasn't an apology. That was "I've found a loophole in the system and I will unabashedly exploit it until you force me to do otherwise."
You've gotta like the guy that's willing to do anything and everything he can to win, even if it means bending the rules into a freakin' pretzel.
My sources - who are everywhere - were on the sidelines during the Bears-Browns Preseason Epic, and they witnessed this conversation between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn.
EXT. SOLDIER FIELD - NIGHT
Derek Anderson stands by himself on the sidelines, arms crossed, chawin' on a fresh hank of tobaccy, watching the game with a bored expression on his face. Brady Quinn wanders up and stands next to him, also crossing his arms and watching the contest. DA doesn't take any notice.
Quinn (nonchalant): Hey.
Quinn: Weird that coach didn't have us play in this game, right?
DA: Yeah. Weird.
Quinn: You'd think he'd have wanted one more shot to see us do our stuff before... you know.
DA: You'd think.
Quinn: So, he must already know who he's choosing.
DA just grunts and spits.
Quinn: So, I just want to make sure there's no hard feelings.
DA: Nah. Of course not. Why would I have hard feelings?
Quinn: Well... you know... you never know. I guess.
DA (finally looking at Quinn): Dude, what the [profanity] are you talking about?
Quinn: I just don't want you to be pissed at me.
DA: Pissed? Hell no! You're my backup. I need you to send me the plays.
Quinn (smiling incredulously): Uh... you think I'm the backup?
DA: Well, I thought Coach would've given you one last shot tonight, but I guess he'd seen enough.
Quinn: Uh... no no. You can't really believe that.
DA: Why not?
Quinn (flustered): Because... I played better! I won! Ask anybody.
DA: Can I ask, say, Trent Dilfer?
Quinn (rolls his eyes): All right, anyone except him.
DA: I'm the Pro Bowler. I'm the one with the big arm. And somehow you think you beat me out?
DA looks at him, the looks back at the field and re-assumes a bored look.
Quinn: No? That's it? That's your argument? No?
DA: The only reason that anyone would choose you over me is if they saw you on the cover of Muscle Beach magazine and decided "Hey, that roid-head will help us sell a bunch of pink jerseys."
Quinn (getting pissed): And the only reason anyone would choose you over me is if they wanted to see if there's any way a starting QB could come in last in every single major NFL passing category! Except interceptions for Touchdowns, of course.
DA (hot now too): I didn't lead the league in Interceptions for Touchdowns!
Quinn: That's only cuz you got benched!
DA: I didn't...!
DA gets control of himself, turning away, narrowing his eyes.
DA (muttering): Dick.
DA: Pretty boy.
They fall into silence, staring angrily out onto the field. Finally, Quinn shrugs and pats DA on the shoulder.
Quinn: Well, anyway... no hard feelings, K?
He then trots off.
DA: Yeah... [profanity] your mother.
No, I don't think Derek's gonna be happy about being a backup. I think he resents it. I also think he resents Brady Quinn, Eric Mangini, the fans, and the state of Ohio.
No, I don't think he'll make a distraction out of himself. He'll get over it and settle into his role.
No, I don't think the Browns will trade him, because they couldn't possibly get value for him at this point, and no team wants to take on his contract. The best I can see the Browns getting for DA is a 5th Rounder, and he's more valuable as insurance.
No, I don't think the Browns should trade him. If something happens to Quinn in Game 3, I'd much rather have DA starting than dipping into the Well of Doom that is 3rd Stringers and waiver-wire-wannabe's.
So, no, DA's days in a Browns uniform aren't done. And who knows what the future holds? Derek Anderson - harder to get rid of than genital warts.
Here's yoooooooooour 2009 Cleveland Browns Opening Day Roster!
Quarterback: Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Brett Ratliff
Running Back: Jamal Lewis, James Davis, Jerome Harrison, Cedric Peerman
Fullback: Lawrence Vickers
Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards, Josh Cribbs, Mike Furrey, Mohammed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie
Tight Ends: Robert Royal, Steve Heiden, Martin Rucker
Offensive Line: Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, Hank Fraley, Floyd Womack, John St. Clair, Alex Mack, Rex Hadnot, Phil Trautwein
Defensive Line: Shaun Rogers, Robaire Smith, Kenyon Coleman, CJ Mosley, Corey Williams, Ahtyba Rubin
Linebackers: Eric Barton, D'Qwell Jackson, Kamerion Wimbley, Alex Hall, David Bowens, David Veikune, Kaluka Maiaiva, Leon Williams, Blake Costanzo
Cornerbacks: Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald, Coye Francies, Hank Poteat, Gerard Lawson, Marquis Floyd
Safety: Brodney Pool, Abe Elam, Mike Adams, Nick Sorensen, DeAngelo Smith
Special Teams: Phil Dawson (K), Dave Zastudil (P), Ryan Pontbriand (LS)
Practice Squad: Marcus Benard (LB), Titus Brown (LB), Corey Hilliard (OL), Pat Murray (OL), Chris Jennings (RB), Lance Leggett (WR), Brian Schaefering (DL), Keith Grennan (DL)
Cut were: Richard Bartel, Noah Herron, Charles Ali, David Patten, Paul Hubbard, Jordan Norwood, Aaron Walker, Ike Sowells, Dustin Fry, Kurt Quarterman, Branndon Braxton, Santonio Thomas, Adam Hoppel, Beau Bell, Hamza Abdullah, Bret Lockett, Tra Battle, Corey Ivy, and Brandon Anderson.
I was surprised by Bartel not being tabbed for the Practice Squad. I thought he played pretty well. I was also somewhat stunned by Corey Ivy hitting the bricks instead of Hank "Toast" Poteat.
Bret Lockett originally made the roster, but was cut after the Browns picked up some players off the waiver wire. I'm certain they wanted to sneak him onto their Practice Squad, but the Patriots stole him away and stuck him on their active roster.
And I guess I'm slightly surprised by Ali getting waived. Outside of injury, I guess there's no reason to carry 2 Fullbacks. But Vickers does get nicked up...
After the cuts, the Browns picked up 4 players via Waivers. Here are their profiles:
Marquis Floyd (CB) - 2nd Year
Floyd originally signed with the Seahawks on August 11, 2008 and spent all of last year on the team's practice squad after playing the previous four seasons in the Arena Football League and af2. He played with the San Jose SaberCats of the AFL from 2006-07, Rio Grande Valley Dorados of af2 in 2005 and the Tennessee Valley Vipers of af2 in 2004. The 6-0, 190-pound Floyd was a four-year letterman at West Georgia where he set school career records for interceptions (19) and punt return yards (982). Born March 17, 1980, he attended Monroe (Ga.) Area High School.
DeAngelo Smith (CB/S) - Rookie
Smith was a fifth-round draft choice (143rd overall) of the Cowboys this year. In his four-year collegiate career at Cincinnati (2005-08), he played in 47 games with 28 starts, and recorded 126 tackles, 12 interceptions, 21 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He also fielded 17 kickoff returns for a 20.8-yard average and 23 punts for a 9.5-yard average. He split time between free safety and cornerback as a senior after seeing action primarily as a cornerback from 2006-07. Born July 17, 1986, Smith attended Independence High School in Columbus, Ohio.
Phil Trautwein (OL) - Rookie
Trautwein joined the Rams as an undrafted college free agent this offseason following a four-year career at the University of Florida (2004-06, 2008) where he played in 46 games with 29 starts, including all 14 at left tackle in 2008, when he was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. The 6-6, 310-pounder attended Eastern High School in Voorhees, N.J. He was born on April 15, 1986.
Cedric Peerman (RB) - Rookie
The 5-9, 210-pound Peerman was a sixth-round draft pick (185th overall) of the Ravens this year out of the University of Virginia. In the preseason with Baltimore, he rushed for 40 yards and a TD on 14 attempts and caught four passes for 42 yards. In his four collegiate seasons (2005-08), Peerman rushed for 1,749 yards and 15 touchdowns on 382 carries and caught 67 passes for 344 yards and a touchdown. He also averaged 25.1 yards on 50 kickoff returns. Born October 10, 1986, Peerman attended William Campbell High School in Gladys, Virginia.
I'm so freakin' sick of Roger Federer and Serena Williams. They win everything. No one's even close. I know some of you out there appreciate their greatness, but I'm just bored of watching them make a mockery of the Grand Slam draws.
It's been said that it's always best to go out on top. Well, Roger and Serena, you're on top. Now go out.
From Skip Doe, Zanesville: "Do you think that Josh Cribbs will be the Browns Number 2 WR this year, and, if so, will they give him a raise?"
To your first question - Yes. Mangini tipped his hand in that Bears game by not playing Cribbs at all. He didn't play any of his starters (or players he wanted to make people think were starters). Mohammed Massaquoi did play, right alongside Brian Robiskie. Mike Furrey is gonna be the slot possession receiver. So, by deducement, Josh Cribbs HAS to be the # 2.
And that's good. I've noticed that Cribbs has improved his routes, he's catching the ball well and with his hands, and he brings a lot of options to the Offense. I really think he could be a major game-changer.
And that will lead to him getting a new contract. But not right now. Look for talks to quietly ensue during the season after the team can justify giving a raise to a player with multiple years left on his contract because his role his increased exponentially.
The Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have a great Run Defense, which is fine since the Browns probably won't have a strong Running attack against most teams this season. They'll have to supplement their running deficiencies with the most oft-used play of the Preseason - the screen. Well-timed and schemed screens will have to become the default Running game for Cleveland against the several Defensive monsters they have to play this season.
Minnesota also has a great Run Offense. Adrian Peterson is bar none the best Running Back in the NFL right now, and even though I think the Browns Run D will be improved - especially with Rogers back in the lineup - I think Peterson will still gash them.
Really, when you look at the talent level of the two teams, it's really not even close. The Browns will have Quinn starting his 4th game ever, possibly with a rookie Center who will be facing The Williams Brothers. Quinn will be under pressure all day, likely harried into a turnover or two. With the Offense unable to stay on the field, the Browns D will eventually wear down and break.
Honestly, the only thing Cleveland has going for them is a Home Crowd (who will most likely start booing by the 2nd Quarter) and whatever tricks Mangini has up his sleeve. Maybe this whole QB thing was part of his evil master plan to unveil - surprise! - Derek Anderson as the starter on Sunday afternoon.
I must admit, everyone would be fooled. It would be the most clever ruse since the Devil convinced the world he didn't exist.
The only thing wrong with that plan would be that Derek Anderson would be starting.
Vikings 27, Browns 13.