What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
It's still fumata nera out of the chimneys in Berea.
And no white smoke announcing a new GM or head coach might be the best news we Browns fans have had in a while.
Am I the only one who's really not comfortable (read; nauseous) that Randy Lerner and his band of millionaire soccer enthusiasts are jetting off to various locales and interviewing head coaches? Doesn't the fact that he fired his most recent coaching choice four years and 40 losses after hiring him indicate that perhaps that choice should be left to someone with more knowledge of NFL football than a guy more accustomed to buying Lear jets and houses in the Hamptons?
The week got off to a fast-paced start with pretty much every recently fired football coach being named as candidates for the Browns job. Likewise, there were a couple of candidates pegged by Lerner as potential GMs. But Lerner insisted on getting involved in interviewing some of these coaching candidates himself and now he's got himself tied up in knots with the results. The main issue being his clear-cut choice as GM, Scott Pioli of the New England Patriots, and his clear-cut choice as head coach, Eric Mangini, recently sacked in New York with the Jets, don't appear to be compatible.
Already in the court of public opinion Lerner has screwed the pooch.
Lerner is a businessman and a football fan. Like many fans who share that same distinction that doesn't necessarily make him qualified to know which coach is the right coach to lead the Browns out of the abyss. Randy Lerner needs to fill out his organization from the top down. He needs a football guy to make football decisions and looking for a head coach qualifies as a football decision. That football guy Lerner so desperately needs will likely be a businessman as well, uniquely qualified to perhaps negotiate contracts and network within NFL circles when the need arises. Lerner knows businessmen. Lerner needs to narrow his focus to finding that guy. And then that guy can decide on which coaches are qualified to lead the team on the field.
I'm not comfortable with Lerner starting this chapter in the Book of Browns in the middle of it. I'd much prefer him taking his time and doing the due diligence to set this organization on the right path. None of us are going to be impressed if Lerner acts quickly but incorrectly and we're back in this position four years from now.
Go get your football guy first Randy. If you get the right one he'll know where to go from there.
I hate the two months following the holiday season. It's cold, there's precious little to look forward to and you tend to pass the time readying yourself for spring. Apparently the Cavaliers are of similar mind.
How else to explain to a depressing loss to the woeful Wizards in Washington on Sunday? The Cavs never looked interested until there were 4 minutes left in the ballgame and they just couldn't make up the gap of a 14 point Wizard lead to start the 4th quarter.
Oh, they tried. With a ton of help from Washington the Cavs actually tied the game with about a minute left. But Antawn Jamison hit a big bucket and the Cavs had no answer in the final seconds and lost a game they had no business losing, even without Zydrunas Ilgauskas, 80-77.
At least they salvaged a split during the weekend when they destroyed the Chicago Bulls at ‘The Q' Friday night. But they've flipped back and forth in the past couple weeks between a team that looks unbeatable and a team that looks like it's counting down the days until Friday when the Celtics come to town, if not even further down the road to the playoffs.
Dominant, historically elite teams don't have those issues. The Cavs just aren't to that level yet. But they do have an opportunity to earn the first seed in the Eastern Conference and with it the all important home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Perhaps the Celtics game this Friday night will remind them just how critical that is.
No Hyperbole This January
Last year at about this time this corner was preaching about how the Buckeyes had a chance to silence a nation of critics by lining up against LSU and debunking the myth that OSU was a second class BCS citizen and more a product of hype and a weak schedule.
We know how that worked out.
No such discussions this Bowl season. I'm really looking forward to Monday night's match up between the Buckeyes and the Texas Longhorns but I'm not expecting any revelations coming out of it. I think the Longhorns initially being 10-point favorites is indicative of the national disrespect for the Buckeyes but I can't jump up and down about that spread and I wouldn't be shocked if Texas covered the current 8 ½ points.
What I do think you'll see is a competitive football game between two very solid teams. I think you'll see Texas meet some defensive resistance for the first time this season and I believe you'll see the evolution and development of Terrelle Pryor continue.
If the Buckeyes come out of the tunnel and hit Texas early, and if they can win the turnover battle this could be a really entertaining football game and one OSU can win.
It starts on Fox at 815pm.
DeRosa Plugs Hole- But Which One?
I'm a big fan of major league baseball and a bigger fan of guys who are just simply major league baseball players. So when it was announced earlier last week that the Indians had sent three minor leaguers (the ‘headliner' being Jeff Stevens) to the Cubs for Mark DeRosa I was thrilled.
I still am.
This guy brings all the versatility that former whipping boy Casey Blake brought to the table but he's younger and has fewer pocks on his record. DeRosa can play 2b or 3b and does a serviceable job in the outfield when called upon. He's received consistent and regular at bats the last three seasons and has become a guy who will give you a .280 average with an ops of .800+. He can put the ball in play and drive it too as he's averaged 15 HRs per season in the last three seasons, including a career high 21 last year (with 87 RBI).
This deal barely warrants agate type in many cities but it's a very solid move for the Indians as it pertains to 2009. This is a professional, major league player who will step into either the 2b or 3b position and be productive most likely out of the second spot in the lineup.
The initial reports are that DeRosa will play 3b and that likely means the ugly end for Andy Marte. It also likely means Jhonny Peralta will be the starting SS on Opening Day and that Asdrubal Cabrera will start at 2b.
I'm a proponent of being as strong as possible up the middle, especially with a staff of sinker ball pitchers. But having Honny at SS as opposed to Cabrera at SS and DeRosa at 2b is really six of one, half a dozen of the other. By all accounts DeRosa's best position defensively is 3b. There's also the chance that things change during spring training but the important takeaway is that the Indians have a better lineup today (on paper) than they did a week ago.
Color me pleased with the Indians off season thus far. Two productive bullpen arms in Joe Smith and Kerry Wood and an offensive infield upgrade puts me in the mood to remind you that pitchers and catchers report in about 6 weeks.