Thoughts on the Browns: Bring on the Champs (With a Side of Cavs)

They’re finally gone. We love you, Ed Hochuli. Until you screw up like refs always do anyway.

Let us begin this week with letting bygones be bygones. It has been a while since we’ve talked on here, and there is so much to cover with so little time. The Browns are still winless, and I feel like if Joe Haden were here we would be 2-2. Every week I have lamented the loss of our beloved Joe Haden, and I think this phenomenon will continue. Can we make “Free Joe” T-shirts? It seems like that could definitely have been a thing.

The Browns’ big moment of the season thus far came this past Thursday, as the professional refs returned to a standing ovation from the Baltimore crowd in one of the weirdest scenes I have seen in professional sports in a long time. In Cleveland, some of us may have been sad to see the replacements go because they were so bad that they may just have handed us a game. Oh wait, if we don’t have bad luck we have no luck. Never mind. As predicted, it wasn’t long before someone was pissed off at the regular refs too. All was right with the world. More importantly, the worst QB to ever win a Super Bowl (Trent Dilfer) has to be happy that his ridiculous “protect the shield” rant following the Packers debacle was vindicated. Whew. One final note on this issue before we put it to rest, South Park once again hit the nail on the head with this loving and tactful reflection on the replacement refs in their latest episode:

Ok, back to the Browns for some brief thoughts on this weekend’s matchup with the defending champion New York Giants. I’m not sure that there’s a need for a big long list of one-liners, so I’ll save it. What I will say about this one is that the Giants have proven themselves to be seemingly much like last season’s team in the regular season. Beatable. Let’s not let the 0-4 record fool us into thinking we weren’t seriously in the game against four  good teams. If you think I’m making excuses, you’re absolutely correct. There’s nothing wrong with it, we played well enough to win at least 2 of those. At this point in the state of our franchise, I’m encouraged.

In this week’s brief installment of the Weeden watch (This could be a thing too, the alliteration just begs for it), aside from that costly pick-six, he continues to improve. There is no question in my mind that he is the best quarterback for this team at this time. That may seem like  a safe answer, because it is. Weeden has the tools to be a good quarterback. He doesn’t have to be great.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the Browns expand the use of Travis Benjamin’s speed. He may get a chance to return some kicks and punts, which seems to be something he would be dynamic at.

Craig Robertson and Billy Winn could be two dark horse saviors for our defense while Haden is out and Phil Taylor is on the mend. Robertson’s pick in the Ravens game was unreal, and his athleticism can only help him going forward. I like what I saw. Winn continues to be impressive.

I’m going to cut right to the chase here and get my pick for this Sunday out of the way. The embattled Cleveland Browns will resurrect the magic of 2008 and defeat the again-defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Trent BAMF Richardson scampers for 105 and a touch, Philly Dawg knocks in a 52-yarder, and Weeden tosses a 17 yard TD to Josh Gordon who arrives on the scene with a good game. Eli will throw 2 touchdowns, Victor Cruz will salsa, but it won’t be enough. Browns win, 17-14.

I’d like to switch gears here for the last part of this piece. Let’s start with this:

If that doesn’t get you a little excited about this year’s Cavalier squad, then you don’t need to keep reading, ’cause it’s about to get overly optimistic in here. Let’s roll with Kyrie for a paragraph or so. Irving was recently ranked in the top 25 current NBA players (correct me if I’m off here), is the reigning rookie of the year, is healthy and ready for camp, and is an absolute stud of a point guard. He can shoot, score, pass, and handle. And he’s ready to usher this franchise into a new era of success. We’re just getting started here folks, lace up.

A brief thought on this years draft class: I was as stunned as most by the Dion Waiters pick, but I like it. I like Zeller too. Maybe neither are superstar material, but they both bring strengths to the squad that didn’t exist last season. Getting a personal look at Waiters over my last few years at Louisville, he is what everyone has said he is. A pure scorer. Do not get caught up in the whole coming off of the bench thing. It’s irrelevant. Zeller can run, rebound, and score. All of those are necessities in Lord Byron’s system.

CJ Miles should be a welcome body to bolster the middle of the lineup. I see him as a young guy who hasn’t really found his place in the league, but could also contribute to Coach Scott’s up-tempo style.

Kyrie’s classmate Tristan Thompson appears to have the tools to be a Serge Ibaka in the making. He showed huge strides at the end of last season, and the jury is definitely still out on his potential. Early indications are that the sky is the limit.

I don’t want to get too in-depth right now other than to say that I am really excited about this season for the Cavs. I don’t think its outlandish to say that if things go well and the key pieces (Kyrie, Andy, Tristan, etc.) stay healthy, Believeland may make a earlier-than-expected push for a low seed in the Eastern Conference. Again, being completely honest, the East sucks. We could make a push to play He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named in the first round come playoff time. Speaking of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, did I mention anything about Kyrie Irving in this one?

See you soon, Cleveland fans. Go Browns. Go Cavs. Go Terry Francona.

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