Monday, December 19, 2005

Browns v. Raiders Redux

That was not an elegant football game yesterday. Two not very good teams slogged through the mud and delivered four quarters of mediocrity. But, the Browns won, so who cares?

I'll take a win any day. I don't want to throw my lot in with the guys who whine about how this moved the Browns down about half a dozen places in the draft and now they won't get A.J. Hawk. That's what fans of a loser sound like--they pray to lose so that their team can get some mythical draft choice who will suddenly turn everything around. I'm tired of that crap. I want to win.

Fans need to realize that overnight turnarounds happen only to teams that have the talent in place and need the right coach to maximize that talent's potential. (Think about teams like this year's version of Notre Dame or the Packers when Lombardi showed up.) The Browns just aren't that kind of team. They've got huge personnel issues, but they are still managing to get better in spite of them. I'm glad they picked up their fifth win for several reasons, but maybe most of all because they've now got tangible proof that they're better than last year's team, which they clearly are.

A few thoughts on the game:

  • Even though I've coached football for several years, I'll confess that defensive backfield play has always mystified me. Coverage assignments can be difficult to figure out, and a mistake that fans attribute to one player may be the fault of another guy, who wasn't where he was supposed to be. So, I'm very tentative in making conclusions about who is good and who is bad. That being said, Leigh Bodden is really impressing the hell out of me. The guy just makes play after play.

  • I'm not ready to have Charlie Frye anointed savior of the franchise just yet (he needs a bit more than a 69.5 QB rating to wear that particular crown), but it's real apparent that the team just plays a lot harder when he's in the game. This kid looks like a natural leader.

  • The Browns defense was just huge yesterday, but it was helped by some brain dead play calling by the Raiders and by a terrible performance by Kerry Collins. Why throw when Jordan's running 8 yards every time he touches the football? If you're going to throw, why not look for Randy Moss every now and again (just a thought)? Moss caught a touchdown pass yesterday, but that was the only ball thrown to him all day--or at least the only one thrown to him that he had a reasonable chance to catch.

  • The refs' call on Droughns non-fumble was inexcusable. What could they possibly have been looking at to rule that a fumble in the first place?

Anyway, on to the Steelers. Honestly, I can't imagine a better Christmas present than having the Browns sink Pittsburgh's playoff hopes, which a win here next week just might do. Pittsburgh delenda est.

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