Ok, Cleveland. How many of us saw that coming? I know you’re thinking that by saying “that” I mean the part where the Browns let Michael Vick and company (who were largely unimpressive in my opinion) march to a late touchdown for the win. We’re Cleveland fans, all we do is invent new and innovative ways to lose. They didn’t fail us in that department.
The “that” that I’m talking about is the part where the Cleveland freaking Browns more than hung with (and quite frankly beat up) the Philadelphia Eagles. The same Browns that were starting a 28-year old rookie QB, an un-drafted rookie linebacker and a rookie running back that hasn’t played a real football game in close to a year. The same Browns that also weren’t starting Scott Fujita, Chris Gocong, and Phil Taylor.
Get ready, faithful readers. Here comes an attempt at rationalizing the latest installment in what has been a long litany of suckery from our beloved Browns. The attempt will be sprinkled in with my random thoughts that came to me while watching the game.
1. I heard Matt Barkley’s favorite color is orange, followed closely by brown. That’s weird.
2. Trent couldn’t have faced a whole lot better of a front seven for his first ever professional game. Additionally, the offensive line is a work in progress. I touched on this earlier in the week, and I still firmly believe that the line will improve with time and good health.
3. Another thing about Trent: Hows your chin, Kurt Coleman? He might need paint remover to get the orange off of that thing. Trent decided that not many people truly know what smash mouth football looks like, so he decided to literally define it by smashing Coleman’s mouth.
4. I said earlier that LJ fort was a surprising part of the defense yesterday, but the Browns have been high on him throughout camp. We saw why. I don’t put the ball that went through his hands in the endzone against him, seriously. The guy proved he can contribute.
5. Where was Josh Gordon? I was completely wrong in my prediction that he would be a focus for Weeden. WKNR personality Kenny Roda tweeted that even if Gordon was on the stat sheet, he didn’t remember seeing it. Couldn’t agree more.
6. Speaking of Weeden: Tick, tock.
7. STO’s Zac Jackson urged Case McCoy to tweet something following yesterday’s QB play. I second that motion. It’s never too late, Case.
8. Mo Mass made himself useful, and I will happily eat my words if he emerges as an option. Of course, in order to be an option, he needs to not be overthrown by 107 yards when he is streaking down the right sideline wide open.
9. I wasn’t encouraged by Weeden, did you catch that drift yet?
10. D’Qwell Jackson played well, besides the obvious pick six. He’s a leader the Browns can count on to help continue the maturation of Fort and the rest of our young ‘backers.
11. The pressure that got to Vick was impressive. Aside from a couple of easy first downs he gained because of a lack of help (or really anyone standing) in the middle of the field, it was a huge difference maker. Attribute that to new DC Dick Jauron.
12. Dimitri Patterson is more of a key to the defense than he gets credit for. He is a former Eagle, but his play was inspiring regardless. Definitely a critical defensive back, and someone who I think may be better than Sheldon Brown. Obviously, two completely different stages in their careers, but Patterson can start in this league.
13. As pessimistic as I was about drafting any defensive player from Boise State, Billy Winn looked good too. How’s that for insightfulness?
14. Bob Costas was puke-inducing at halftime as usual. Bob, nice try. Cleveland will never love Art Modell. Did he do good things for the league? Of course. Was he an awful business man that covered up his mistakes and bad decision-making by picking up and moving a historic franchise because he somehow found a way to not make money from the cash cow that is the NFL? Absolutely. There are two sides to Modell’s legacy. Period. Save the cheesy appeal to Cleveland fans for never, Costas. You waste your breath and America’s time on national television plenty as it is.
15. Philly Dawg.
16. It was music to my ears to hear Cleveland Browns Stadium rockin’ once again. I know it was the opening Sunday, but if we stick with this team long enough, something good is bound to happen.
The theme that carried the day for me was the same one that we saw a lot last season. The defense worked their tails off to stay in the game, even contributing a touchdown of their own on the day, and the offense returned the favor with, well, sucking. This unit ranked 5th in total defense last season, and they picked up where they left off.
I’m not one to put the game on single players very often, and this one is the same way. Simply put, if Greg Little catches the ball and we pick Vick off in the endzone, the Browns win the game easily. It was a mixture of shortcomings on both sides of the ball (OK, I can’t hold it in any longer, Brandon Weeden was absolutely, positively, unequivocally, horrendous). I swear I’m not putting this one on any one player.
The Bengals are next week, and I still refuse to admit that they’re really all that and a bag of chips.
If you’ve watched South Park, your most interesting subplot will undoubtedly be the battle of the gingers at the quarterback position. If you’re me, living in Kentucky, you’ll be repeatedly annoyed all week by the support for the Bengals down here and will likely be checking StubHub all week trying to find a way to get to the game. If you’re anywhere but Cincinnati, you probably won’t talk to a very serious Bengals fan. If you’re in Cincinnati, you probably won’t talk to a very serious Bengals fan. If you’re sitting in Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday, the Bengals “fan” sitting next to you most likely works for Cincinnati Bell and got free tickets from the boss (this is assuming you’re sitting in the lower bowl, because if you’re in the upper deck, you won’t be talking to anyone).
As Mike Polk Jr. so aptly put it in his famed “Factory of Sadness” piece, we’ll see ya Sunday. Live from the Nasty Nati.