Not sure about you, but I find myself enjoying the Cavs season more and more with each passing Browns game.
Throwing the Hammer Down
On the floor with this version of the Cleveland Cavaliers is simply no place to be if you're a bad or disinterested NBA team. Eight straight wins, all by double digit margins, and 16 out of the last 17 overall for the Wine & Gold leaves the Cavs at 17-3 as they hit the quarter pole of the '08-'09 season.
Not to get ahead of ourselves but that portends to roughly 70 wins for the season which is the rarest of NBA air.
And they're not fooling around.
The Cavs are consistently laying waste to the bad and mediocre teams the NBA is offering up and they're doing it like Sherman going through Atlanta. Big first quarter leads lead to bigger halftime leads and the Cavs have thrown aside their 3rd quarter issues of years past to stay on the accelerator after the intermission.
They're playing 3 quarters of inspired basketball on both ends of the court and then getting the kids and the end of the bench a lot of minutes in the 4th periods of games that count. All of which means their starters are relatively fresh for the next game on the schedule and the young guys are getting decent minutes against opponents who have their starters on the court in an attempt to save some face on the scoreboard.
If you were scripting or wishing for a dominant start to the season you couldn't have asked for much more than what this team is doing. The best news is that it could get better. The Cavs are dominating teams right now without arguably their two best deep threats shooting the ball well from beyond the arc. Wally Szczerbiak and Daniel Gibson are still working to find their rhythm from deep but each is contributing while they work out the kinks. Delonte West has picked up the slack with his 43% clip from 3-point range but all the Cavs perimeter players continue to get looks at the basket with Mo Williams penetrating to the rim and LBJ demanding a ton of attention as well.
Yes, the schedule is going to get more difficult, but this team is going to continue to get better as they move into the 2nd quarter of the season.
Thank God for that because there are still 3 more weeks of football season to endure.
Can't You Lose Without Invoking Laughter?
No one wants the Browns to lose more than I do for reasons outlined here.
But in the name of all things holy, can't it be done without looking like an expansion team and without the head coach looking like he's never seen a football game before, much less coached in one?
What's it take to get fired around Berea?
Gross incompetence? Check.
Inability to properly prepare a team through training camp and week to week? Check.
Lack of guts in regard to consistently opting for FG attempts as opposed to trying to continue a drive? Check.
Handling challenges and timeouts like they were tricky explosive devices? Check
Romeo, Romeo, what the $%#@ art thou doing Wednesday through Monday?
All you can do is laugh because the time for crying has come and gone. Not to mention the fact that watching a Browns game these days is just flat out funny in a macabre sort of way. You've got some percentage of players out there who are just bad, some out there who have quit and some percentage on the field of bad players who have quit. Throw in an overwhelmed coaching staff and comedy ensues. Do you realize that the team out there that lost 28-9 to Tennessee Sunday hasn't scored a touchdown since 10 days before Thanksgiving? Not since November 17th against Buffalo have the Browns found the end zone. They've scored a grand total of 21 points in the past three games.
This organization is a laughingstock. And it's symbolized by its head coach. You thought that when Romeo flipped a coin a year ago to determine his starting QB in a preseason game that he was being flippant and cavalier. Nope. Turns out that's actually his managerial style. How else to explain his hare-brained decisions Sunday? Another FG attempt that meant nothing. An astounding refusal to throw the challenge flag on a pass from Josh Cribbs to Braylon Edwards that was certainly debatable as to whether Edwards was in or out of bounds (the officials ruled him out).
That play came with the game still in reach at 21-9.
Romeo put that challenge flag in his pocket on what would have been a 50 yard gain and saved a timeout. Then he used the TO with less than two minutes left in the 4th quarter with the score 28-9 and the Titans just running out the clock. On the Browns 7 yard line.
Stupid is as stupid does. And that was stupid. What made it truly moronic is that he tried to call another one immediately afterward, before another play had been run. Most of us who have watched football for longer than an hour know that's not allowed.
Romeo had no clue.
And that's the moral of the story. The head coach is clueless in regard to preparing his football team and he's clueless in regard to managing a football game. That's typically a bad combination for NFL head coaches.
But apparently that's what passes as leadership here in Cleveland.
All you can do is laugh.
Fire Up the Stove
It's been a slow off season thus far in baseball. The economy is slow and that first domino has yet to fall in terms of a big free agent signing that signals teams to get busy.
Look for all of that to change as the winter meetings begin in Las Vegas on Monday. We're about 9 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting and teams have taken their time to determine their budgets and their needs. With various parties assembled in the desert you're likely to see some transactions in the next 7-10 days that will shape rosters for the coming year.
Expect the Indians, a team hit hard by the failing economy, to be active to some extent. It certainly won't be as a major player in the free agent arena but I'd be surprised if they didn't make a deal or two to address either their 2nd or 3b need as well as actively seeking a closer and middle of the rotation help.
The Tribe has a relatively deep minor league system as well as a bargaining chip in catcher Kelly Shoppach and I believe they'll use both to try and acquire the pieces they need for the coming season.
Baseball fans take heart. The 2009 season starts to simmer right now.