Saturday, September 30, 2006

Just Lose, Baby!

The Browns are 0-3, but count your blessings--at least you're not a Raider fan. Like the Browns, the Raiders are winless, but over the course of the past month, Raider Nation has not only had to put up with lousy football, but also with a laughing wide receiver, a whining running back, and complete incompetence at quarterback. Hell, the Raiders are even having trouble getting their plays off on time.

Andrew Walter will start for the Raiders at QB. Walter replaced Aaron Brooks, whose most notable contribution to the team during his tenure as a starter was to serve as a source of mirth for Jerry Porter. How bad was Brooks? He was benched for a guy whose current passer rating is 19. The Raiders are last in the AFC in total offense, averaging less than 150 yards per game. For some idea of just how bad that is, keep in mind that the Browns rank second to last in total offense, and yet they are averaging over 100 yards per game more than Oakland.

The story doesn't get much better on defense, where teams are scoring an average of four touchdowns a game against Oakland. Of course, the Browns aren't exactly a defensive powerhouse either, and actually lag well behind the Raiders in total defense.

The Raiders have played only two games and are coming off a bye. Right now, they look like a team in complete disarray--much like the Browns looked just before the Baltimore game. This is a game that the Browns should win, but God help them if they don't.

If the Browns fail to build on their performance against the Ravens and get a win under their belt against what is a truly terrible football team, then predictions of a 3-13 season may start to look optimistic. That's because as far as the Browns' schedule goes, it's all uphill from here.

I think they'll get it done. I don't think it will be pretty, but I think the Browns will get their first victory. (Please, God!)

Browns 13, Raiders 7.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Good Old Hockey Game

My beer league starts tonight, and the NHL faces off next week, so I thought it was an appropriate time to post this tribute to one of the greatest youth hockey coaches of all time: Jules Winnfield. Don't believe me? Just listen to Chris Chelios.

Monday, September 25, 2006

That Sucked Too, But Not As Much

Betcha didn't know that the Browns' 60th anniversary celebration was going to include a tribute to Red Right 88, did ya?

This week, instead of an incompetent and lethargic effort that made watching the game only marginally more fun than a tooth extraction, the Browns treated fans to 60 minutes of hard-hitting football--and if it wasn't always high on competence, at least it was always high on effort. Ultimately, the game had the heartbreaking outcome we've come to count on: remember Terry Pluto's column after Game 7? "You're from Cleveland, so you knew it would end like this."

I've got no idea why, with the way that the Browns' defense was playing, they decided to throw the ball over the middle on the Ravens four yard line. I think I'd have been content with a field goal. But I honestly can't bitch too much about that, because for the first time this year, I actually believed that somebody on the field gave a shit. Not coincidentally, for the first time this year, I also see a glimmer of hope. Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards can play, kiddies, and Charlie Frye's cajones are so big that it's a wonder he can even stand up. Hell, they may even have the makings of a run defense (although I'm still skeptical there).

I don't want to get carried away here, because not only did they blow an 11 point lead in the fourth quarter, but there remain gigantic problems on this team. Unless this was the start of a trend, the Browns are still staring 3-13 in the face. They continue to have no running game, the offensive line's still horrendous, and I'd say that Hugo Chavez has a better chance of being the keynote speaker at the Republican Convention than Charlie Frye does of making it through the season in one piece.

All that being said, for one Sunday at least, they made me remember why I give a damn in the first place.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

One more step.

Sunday, the Browns will take one more step toward a top 5 pick in the 2007 NFL draft. They'll do that by losing to the Former Modells 33-9.

The sad thing is that this is exactly the kind of mismatch that that horse's ass Billick loves and where he really likes to shine. He's had his staff scheming all week to embarass the Browns and run up the score. The Ravens will be successful at both. I was generous by suggesting that the Browns will score 9. I guess I was feeling a little frivolous.

Excuse the cliche', but the Browns' offensive front is a sieve. The Ravens front seven will swamp them. I have a bad feeling that the guy we passed on, Haloti Ngata, will beat Fraley, as well as Andruzzi and Coleman, if they get in the way, to pulp.

It's gonna be bad.

The good news is that next week the Brownies get to play Oakland. After that, they'll be looking forward to Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve for their only other legitimate shots to win games. Any other win would be a gift from on high.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Sum of All Fears

For Tom Clancy, it was terrorists getting their hands on a nuke and heading for Baltimore. For me, it's Baltimore getting their hands on a real NFL QB and heading for Cleveland. This, my friends, could get extremely ugly.

The Ravens' defense is usually intimidating, but so far this year, it's been downright terrifying. Nobody's scored a touchdown on the Ravens yet, and that may be the team's least impressive defensive stat. Baltimore not only leads the league in total defense and scoring defense, but also boasts the lowest average yards allowed per play and per game. They've forced nine turnovers in two games, and lead the league in turnover margin.

Offensively, the Ravens still aren't a juggernaut, but they do have a potent rushing attack and rank sixth in the AFC in rushing and fourth in scoring. They aren't setting the world on fire through the air, and actually rank lower than the Browns in passing offense.

The relative weakness of the Ravens' passing attack isn't something from which the Browns should draw a lot of comfort. First of all, I doubt the Ravens' passing game is as bad as it looks on paper. In saying this, I'll admit to a certain partiality toward Steve McNair. I love how McNair plays the game, and think he is a tough, smart, competitive SOB who still has some gas in his tank. He may not be lighting up the scoreboard, but he's only thrown one interception, and his leadership is a huge intangible for a Ravens offense that has lacked leadership at the QB position since, well, forever.

What's more, I'm sorry to say that our beloved Pumpkin Helmets usually bring out the best in McNair. As this article points out, in his last eight starts against Cleveland, McNair has 8 touchdown passes and a QB rating of 104.3. Given the current state of the Browns' secondary, I'm afraid that Sunday will be another solid day for McNair. I think Ralph Brown shares my fears.

The news for Browns fans doesn't get any brighter on the special teams front. Ravens' return man B.J. Sams leads the NFL in kick returns and is fourth in the league (second in the AFC) in punt returns.

So, Browns fans, here's what we've got to look forward to this Sunday. The Browns and their anemic offense get to face the NFL's premier defensive unit, while an already high-scoring Ravens team that runs the ball as well as anybody in the league gets to strut its stuff against an injury-plagued Browns defense that has allowed 150 yards rushing in each of its first two games.

I've misjudged either the game's outcome or the Browns' effort in each of the first two weeks of the season. Not everybody is as downbeat as me, so here's hoping that I'm wrong again. All things considered, however, I think I'd rather take my chances with the terrorists than with the Ravens. Baltimore 30, Cleveland 3.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Good Deal

I'm glad all those people were right about the Wickman trade. They said the Indians had to take what they could get for him because he was done after this year.

Maurice Carthon's Playbook

While I clean up the coffee I spit all over my laptop, you've gotta go check out this masterpiece from Rich Swerbinsky at Swerb's Blurbs. Just don't drink coffee while you're doing it.

Why People Hate Notre Dame Fans and a Joe Buck Update

I'm a Notre Dame fan, so a couple of days ago I went over to wallow in the misery of Saturday's ass whuppin at one of the Notre Dame fansites. While I was there, it didn't take me more than 30 seconds to find a classic example of why people hate Notre Dame fans. This message board post has it all: sanctimony, self-righteousness, self-pity, and self-delusion-- not to mention a healthy dose of the front running mentality for which Irish fans have become famous over the years.

Of course, maybe this high-handedness is warranted. I mean, after all, ND doesn't bend the rules, hires only stand-up guys like Lou Holtz to run its football program, makes it a priority to recruit only high character athletes to represent Our Lady's University on the gridiron, and is unfailingly decent and evenhanded in its treatment of people.

Do Notre Dame's shortcomings make the folks running the school hypocrites? Yeah, but not any more or less than anybody else in big-time college football, and I guess that's my point. The people at Notre Dame aren't saints, and it would be nice if more Irish fans kept that in mind. Me? I like Notre Dame for complex reasons involving religious and ethnic identity, family history and gold helmets, but I've got no illusions that God's on their side. After all, everybody who watches South Park knows that "the Mormons are the correct answer."

While we're on the topic of hate, you know how much we love Joe Buck, right? Well, it looks like the first rate job he's doing at Fox NFL Sunday is winning him even more fans. I've started to dream about Terry Bradshaw ripping the hair helmet off of Jimmy Johnson's head and beating Buck senseless with it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The 330

Check this out from The Ohio LeBlog. Antonio, if you're doing what he thinks you're doing, Summit County loves you, man.

Props to Vinny

If you check out the comments section to this post, you'll find that Vinny pretty much called the outcome of the Browns game.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

That Sucked

That certainly wasn't the performance from the Browns that I had in mind. I guess I could figure out some way to explain to you how they "improved" over last week, but I'm not in the mood to play Stuart Smalley for my favorite group of NFL short bus riders.

The Browns were terrible, and in a way that isn't completely reflected in either the score or the statistics. What bothered me most was that the team found a way to shift momentum to the Bengals at almost every opportunity. Here are just a few examples:

  • Given a chance to set the tone on defense at the start of the game, the Browns managed to let the Bengals take the opening kickoff and then move through their defense faster than Ex-Lax brownies.
  • The Browns got a turnover, and then did absolutely nothing with a possession starting deep in Bengals territory. What's worse, after settling for a field goal, the defense promptly rolled over once again, allowing the Bengals to go 92 yards in 14 plays to take a commanding 14-3 lead.
  • Finally, in the 4th quarter, the Browns figured out a way to score a touchdown. By now, you know what happened next--the defensive unit stuck its collective head up its collective ass and allowed the Bengals to go on another lengthy touchdown drive (80 yards in seven plays this time).
Of course, it was by no means just the defense that stunk. The offense, such as it was, was a barrel of laughs once again this week. I'm beginning to think that this team has some sort of religious objection to playing offense in the first half. When they finally took the field in the second half, the Browns' offense did much better than last week--taking a mere three steps back for every two steps forward.

Sure, Frye's numbers look better than last week, but aside from the long strike to Edwards, they're pretty pedestrian. On the other hand, the Browns receivers dropped several catchable balls, usually in key situations. At least Frye wasn't sacked this week, although pointing to that as a silver lining in today's dismal performance is akin to asking "aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"

Frye also wasn't helped by the running game, which was AWOL again this week. At least Frye wasn't the Browns' leading rusher this week, but they aren't going to win many games by getting a total of 57 yards on the ground. They also aren't going to win many games if they can't figure out a way to get the ball to Edwards and Winslow more than four times apiece.

That brings me to my next subject. I can't end this rant without at least commenting on the brilliant 3rd quarter coaching decision to put in a three receiver set on 3rd and long that didn't include Kellen Winslow. For God's sake, the only guys on this team that anybody else in the league worries about in passing situations are Winslow and Edwards. It's inconceivable to me that the Browns wouldn't have both of them in the game in every possible passing situation. And by the way, when they're in there, give them the damn ball!

Now we get to look forward to the 2-0 Ravens, who just throttled the Raiders 28-6. I can hardly wait.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Chili's Not Real Good, But The Bengals Are

I've never understood the allure of Cincinnati chili. I've eaten at Skyline and I think the stuff tastes like the spaghetti sauce they served in your grade school cafeteria. On the other hand, I can definitely recommend the ribs at The Montgomery Inn. I just wish I could recommend this weekend's football game to Browns fans, but I can't.

The Cincinnati Bengals are living proof that if you have enough monkeys banging randomly on typewriters, they will eventually type the works of Shakespeare. After more than a decade of being the worst team in football (and having one of the first five picks in the draft almost every year), the Bengals woke up one morning and found--through no fault of their own--that they had a number of decent players and, finally, a coach who wasn't a complete moron. The next thing you know, they're in the playoffs (although things went downhill fast once they got there).

It's hard to imagine the Browns playing as poorly as they did last weekend, and I don't think they will. People always say that the biggest improvement in a football team occurs between the first and second game of the regular season, and I expect that will hold true for the Browns. I just don't think it will be enough to compensate for the Bengals' significant overall talent advantage.

There are still problems with the offensive line (as this game preview from The Orange and Brown Report suggests, one of them may be Joe Andruzzi), but I think another week of practicing with Fraley at center will help smooth out some of the kinks that made the running game so ineffective last week, and should also result in some improvement in pass protection. I also expect to see the Browns trying to use Frye's mobility to counteract some of the line's shortcomings by rolling him out or otherwise moving him around in the pocket.

By the way, the Browns damn well better improve their pass protection. The Bengals sacked Trent Green and Damon Huard seven times last week. What's more, Robert Geathers knocked Trent Green out of the game with a controversial hit late in the third quarter. The Green hit should make everybody uneasy, because Charlie Frye appears to have some sort of martyr complex when it comes to protecting himself.

Of course, the biggest way to help out Frye will be to run the ball effectively. That's something they showed no signs of being able to do last week. On paper, the Bengals look like a team that you can run against. Last week, the Chiefs averaged 4.5 yards per carry against the Bengals, but that's a little deceptive. Larry Johnson got only 68 yards on 17 carries, and most of the other rushing offense was represented by Trent Green and Damon Huard running for their lives. Still, Reuben Droughns doesn't suck, and even a modest improvement by the line--along with less brain dead play calling--ought to give them a chance to at least establish some kind of rushing offense. At least I hope so.

Defensively, the Browns will have their hands full with the Bengals' receivers, but with Rudi Johnson in the backfield, they shouldn't even bother making the trip to Cincinnati if they don't dramatically improve their run defense. Johnson loves playing against the Browns, and if I averaged 165 yards in each of the past three games against them, I think that I would too. Romeo Crennel's got the right idea about what needs to be done defensively, but the question is whether the Browns can execute on his prescription.

I'm afraid that the Browns just don't have the talent to get it done this weekend, but I think they'll show more offense and the game will be closer than many people expect. Bengals 28, Browns 20.

Friday, September 15, 2006

First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All The Marketing People

What idiot thought up this idea? It's worthy of ridicule on so many levels. If we're into ripping off other teams, why limit ourselves to the Steelers? Let's steal from the Bengals too, and start calling Browns Stadium "The Dirty Brown Jungle." How about we rip off the Raiders "Black Hole" and christen the stands on the west end of the stadium the Dirty Brown Ho--wait, on second thought, scratch that one...err, well, I mean don't scratch it...well, you know what I mean.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Noel Devine

Want to see what the best high school running back prospect in the country looks like? Sure you do. Meet Noel Devine from North Fort Meyers High School.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Trading Away the 1960s

Sportsfilter has a link to an article from Pro Football that attempts to answer the age old question, "who was the worst QB of all time?" Surprisingly, the answer isn't Ryan Leaf. Based on a statistic called "adjusted yards per attempt," the formula for which involves far too much math for my taste, it's actually Rick Mirer.

Browns fans will be interested to learn that Mike Phipps comes in a close second to Mirer. You'll recall that the Browns traded away Paul Warfield to get the rights to draft Phipps back in 1970. That means that Modell traded away a Hall of Fame player for the second worst QB who ever lived. This clearly puts the Warfield trade in the running for the worst trade of all time, except for one problem--objectively speaking, it probably wasn't even the worst trade the Browns made during the Modell reign of terror.

In 1961, the Browns traded another Hall of Famer, Bobby Mitchell, for the rights to draft Ernie Davis, the Heisman Trophy winner from Syracuse. Davis's potential was legendary, but his life was tragically cut short by leukemia before he ever played a down for the Browns. So, while the Browns got a bucket of warm spit for Warfield, they ended up with nothing for Mitchell.

The Browns have been given a free pass on the deal because of Davis's tragic death, but maybe they shouldn't get one, because there's a good argument that the trade never should have been made in the first place. Bobby Mitchell was a burner who could both run and catch passes, and was a great complement to Jim Brown. In contrast, Davis projected to be another power back in the style of Brown. Paul Brown engineered the deal, but Jim Brown wasn't crazy about it, even though he thought Davis was a tremendous football player. You can read Jim Brown and Art Modell's thoughts on the trade here.

My own view is that the Mitchell deal probably cost the Browns at least one NFL championship, and maybe more. In 1963, the Browns went 10-4 and finished second in the Eastern Conference to the Giants, who went 11-3 that year. Jim Brown rushed for an NFL record 1863 yards in 1963, and Gary Collins led the league in touchdown receptions. But Bobby Mitchell led the league in receiving yardage and was second in receptions--and the Skins used him exclusively as a receiver. (An overview of the 1963 season can be found here. The Browns results are here, and the season's individual stat leaders can be found here).

The bottom line is that the 1960s didn't have to be about Lombardi and the Packers. The trade of Mitchell for Davis, and Modell's mishandling of Jim Brown's request to be allowed to arrive late at the team's 1966 training camp, made sure that they were.

Monday, September 11, 2006

You're On Notice

Thanks to Ben Cox at Random Thoughts for finding the on-line, "On Notice Board" generator.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I Was in That Number, When the Saints Came Marchin' In

Yup, I was there, and man, it was awful. The Browns sucked harder than Monica Lewinsky on roofies. A game that they should have and could have won ended up being the latest addition to the long list of feeble opening day home performances by the Cleveland Browns.

The downhill slide started even before the opening kickoff. During the pre-game ceremonies, the Browns paid a tribute to the American military, which is a fine and appropriate thing to do. Unfortunately, although probably inevitably, they chose the awful country singer Lee Greenwood to headline the tribute.

The untalented Greenwood proceeded to shamelessly wrap himself in the flag (he had a stars and stripes jacket on) and serenade us with his trademark crypto-fascist hymn, "God Bless the USA." Sorry if you like the tune, but to be honest with you, I think it's practically an English-language version of the Horst Wessel Song. The only good news was that since he sang it before the game, we didn't have to listen to it at the end of the first quarter for a change.

Then came the Marine Corps flyover, but for the first time I can ever remember, the planes were late, arriving just as the massive American flag that had been rolled out for the festivities was being rolled back up. The Marines' tardiness turned out to be sort of an omen for the day, because as we all saw, the Browns offense arrived late as well--about 30 minutes late.

The list of villains for today's performance is lengthy. Charlie Frye held the ball way too long on several occasions, and he was absolutely terrible at key points during the game, most notably during the Browns' last possession. The offensive line was completely out-of-sync (not all that surprising), and the defense still can't stop the run despite the addition of millions of dollars to the payroll and hundreds of tons to the NT position. Still, if I had to choose one guy to blame for today's fiasco, I'd point the finger at Maurice Carthon.

Play calling may be overrated, but it's hard to overrate how inept Carthon's performance was today. Why do you run a slow moving sweep out of the elephant package on third and one? Why do you do it twice? Why do you run any play on third and one that starts 7 yards deep in the backfield? The New Orleans Saints have two decent defensive players. They both happen to be defensive ends. Why do you base most of your rushing attack on zone stretch plays apparently designed to run at them?

During the Browns touchdown drive, the team came out in a twins right, split left formation. Winslow and Edwards were the twins, and Northcutt was the wideout on the opposite side. To his credit, Carthon made a nice call, and had Frye throw a slant pattern to Northcutt. The play picked up a key first down, but I think that was the only time that we saw that particular alignment. Why? I think it would've given the Saints fits all afternoon.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot about the shotgun draw that killed the only drive of the first half. That was beautiful.

Unfortunately, based on this game, Maurice Carthon's second season as impresario of the Browns' offensive game plan doesn't seem to promise much beyond what we saw during his first. That doesn't bode well for the remainder of the 2006 campaign.


Sorry that I've been MIA, but I've been otherwise distracted. However, with the start of the Browns' season, I thought I'd share a few uplifting words with loyal readers of V&THR. So, here goes: the march to a top five pick in next year's draft begins today.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Let's Crash the Pity Party

You can feel it coming, can't you? In fact, it's already started. You know what I mean: the NFL's feel good opening weekend story line about the special bond between the Saints-- and St. Reggie in particular--and the people of New Orleans.

Not to throw a turd in the punchbowl, but as I recall, before his canonization Reggie Bush was most recently in the news for being the subject of a Pac 10 investigation into potentially improper benefits that he received while at USC. I wonder how many former Trojan teammates will think he's a saint if the NCAA makes them forfeit their 2004 National Championship? Of course, all that's been conveniently forgotten (or at least buried 10 paragraphs deep), along with the fact that Saints owner Tom Benson has spent most of the past several years figuring out how to get the team out of New Orleans. Apparently, that's in the past. Today, butter wouldn't melt in Benson's mouth, even though for my money he remains one of the biggest jerks in the NFL. (Check out his narcissistic bio on the Saints website).

Frankly, I think all this NFL spin-machine manufactured Saints love is the biggest crock of bullshit to come out about New Orleans since "you're doing a heck of a job, Brownie." Trust us, New Orleans, they'll move your team as soon as the coast is clear. Been there, done that.

Aside from all this, the game itself may say a lot about whether the Browns have any shot at respectability this season. The Saints defense is terrible, and if Cleveland's offense can't get it done against them, then they aren't likely to get it done against anybody. In contrast, the Saints have some potent offensive weapons. Aside from Bush, they've got Deuce McAllister, Joe Horn and Drew Brees. That means we may find out pretty quickly whether hopes that the Browns defense has improved enough to keep the team in games are realistic.

Speaking of Drew Brees, why isn't the media covering the real story of the weekend? Of course, I mean the fact that Brees signed a $60 million deal and still won't pony up to have some Hollywood plastic surgeon remove that hairy thing from the side of his face. What's the deal with that? If I had that kind of coin, you can bet your sweet ass I'd have a jet powered Hoover hooked up to liposuck about 70 lbs of fat off me.

For the record, I wish the people of New Orleans all the best, but not this Sunday. I want the bad guys to crash the NFL's cynical national pity party. What's more, I expect them to do just that.

Browns 19, Saints 10.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Party On, Joe!

Detroit Lions assistant coach Joe Cullen found out how true the slogan on this t-shirt is over the course of the past two weeks, when managed to get himself arrested for drunk driving and for driving around without any clothes on. I'm guessing alcohol may have been involved in the nude driving incident as well.

Following his second arrest in two weeks, Cullen apparently has decided to get some counseling. That's probably a good idea.

This just in: Tequila has denied responsibility for the incident.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dallas Washington

Unlike Cleveland Pittsburgh, Dallas Washington knows how to tackle.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Modell Website

I thought nobody could despise Arthur B. more than I do, but it looks like I was wrong. Deadspin reports that somebody has apparently set up an Art Modell death watch website. I guess Hell hath no fury like a Browns fan scorned. The guy even has a "status report" icon (pictured left) that you can download to keep you constantly updated on whether or not Art's "joined the bleedin' choir invisible."

The Modell Death Watch guy isn't the only one with an interest in when Modell shuffles off his mortal coil. This particular group of fans has even come up with an appropriate dirge to sing at his funeral.

For his part, Art seems to be doing all he can to forestall the inevitable.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Busy Saturday for the Browns

The Browns made a ton of roster moves yesterday, releasing 19 guys and--much to everyone's relief--finally working out a trade to snag veteran center Hank Fraley from the Philadelphia Eagles. There were some surprises, at least two of which were pretty pleasant as far as I'm concerned.

The first pleasant surprise was that the Browns cut Lee Suggs and put William Green on the injured reserve list, pending a financial settlement that's expected to result in his release. That means that as of right now, my guy, Jason Wright, is on the roster. I once had a coach whose slogan was "performance, not potential." It's nice to see that the Browns appear to have finally adopted that slogan when it comes to their running backs.

The second pleasant surprise was the release of Frisman Jackson, which puts Josh Cribbs into the mix as the fourth wide receiver. Cribbs is still learning the position, but he's explosive and fearless, and could develop into a playmaker if given a chance. It looks like the Browns have decided to give him that chance.

The other roster move that surprised me a bit was the release of NT Babatunde Oshinowo. Vinny and I were both pretty high on Oshinowo when the Browns drafted him, and he did make a splash in a couple of preseason games. The biggest knock on Oshinowo was probably his size. At a mere 302 lbs., he is undersized for the position. He's at least 20 pounds lighter than Ethan Kelley and J'vonne Parker, and is practically bite-sized compared to Mt. Washington.

The biggest roster move of the day was the Hank Fraley trade. Fraley was a solid performer for the Eagles, but was made expendable by the performance of Jamaal Jackson, the guy who replaced him when he missed eight games with a shoulder injury last year. There were rumors that the Eagles wouldn't do a deal with the Browns, because they were still smarting over the way Cleveland aced them out of signing LeCharles Bentley. Fortunately for the Browns, that turned out not to be the case.

Fraley's an over-achiever who probably doesn't get the respect he deserves. He has a reputation for being a cerebral player, which is sort of odd for a guy whose nickname is Honey Buns. Anyway, Fraley's reputation as a thinking man's player may explain why he was the subject of a lengthy profile a couple of years ago in The Atlantic Monthly, a publication whose interest in sports is usually on a par with that of Scientific American.

The bottom line is that while Fraley is no LeCharles Bentley, everyone except Ross Tucker thinks his acquisition represents a big upgrade to the Center position.

4th and 1 from Midfield

Your team is clinging to a narrow lead with just a few minutes left to play. You've got the ball at midfield, and it's 4th and 1. What do you do?

If you're Pete "Goat Boy" Carroll in last year's Rose Bowl or Charlie Weis in last night's Notre Dame v. Georgia Tech game, you go for it. If you're noted youth football coach Hornless Rhino, whose team is currently 0-2, you punt every time. I'm obviously no threat to either of these guy's jobs, but you know what? I still say I'm right on this one.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Worth Ted Washington's Weight in Gold

The Browns may need a lot of help on the field, but one place they ain't hurtin' is in the wallet. Check out this article from, which ranks the value of the various NFL franchises.

Five teams -- the Redskins, Patriots, Cowboys, Texans and Eagles-- are worth more than $1 billion. However, the Cleveland Browns just missed the billion dollar club, with an estimated value of $970 million.

Okay, if you want to get technical about it, the Browns are worth a lot more than Ted's weight in gold. Gold's about $625 per ounce, or roughly $10,000 per pound. So Ted's value in gold ($3.65 million) wouldn't even amount to a decent signing bonus by NFL standards.