Sunday, October 01, 2006

That's a Relief

I wish I could get worked up about this win, I really do, but all I can muster is a little relief. I'll take it though, because at least it keeps alive a glimmer of hope that this season might actually amount to something.

No, by "amount to something," I don't mean a playoff berth, a winning season, or any other utterly unrealistic expectations. I'm not that big of an idiot. What I'm looking for out of this season is something to justify my belief in Savage and Crennel, and that means progress on the field. Specifically, more than six wins. The odds are stacked against that happening, but I think (and hope) that most Browns fans are so fed up with the steady diet of spin and bullshit that the prior regime force fed to us that we'll only believe the team's getting better when we see it in wins and losses.

There were plenty of positives to take away from today's game if you're a "glass is half full" person. The special teams were, in fact, pretty special. Kellen Winslow looks to be a legitimate red zone force. The 2005 edition of Reuben Droughns finally showed up. Joe Jurevicius showed why he caught 10 TDs last season. Charlie Frye was tough and showed a nice touch at times, although if he tries to force another end zone pass late in the fourth quarter I swear I'm going impotently at my TV and have another beer.

Maybe the most astonishing positive of the day was the fact that with the exception of his inexplicable decision to hand the ball off to Droughns on 3rd and 15 in the second quarter, Maurice Carthon was competent, and at times even inventive.

Then again, it was the Raiders. And if, like me, you measure the current regime's progress by wins and losses, then you've got to admit that looking at the schedule, six more Browns' wins are going to be damn hard to find. Come to think of it, the next win is pretty hard to find. But you know what? You can't get seven wins without getting your first one, and the Browns managed to do that today.


Chris McVetta said...

I said it at the start of the season ...and I'll say it again: The Browns HAVE the talent to be a 9-7 team THIS YEAR.

Look at their draft and their free-agent acquisitions: They HAVE lots of talent.

Sure, the AFC North is tough. But the Steelers are in turmoil, the Ravens (I still don't believe in) are old. And, yes, the Bengals are the real deal and will win the division (and, most likely, make it to the Super Bowl if the Colts choke again).

I blame their record on the coaching staff. They should be, at the very least, 2-2.

Ah well - that's life here in Browns' town, I guess. But don't we deserve better...?

Hornless Rhino said...


I'm afraid I'm with William Munny:

"Deserve's got nothin' to do with it."

erik said...

It's not about the talent. They have talent. It's about the team.

Having the talent is one thing. Building a team from that talent is totally different, and infinitely harder. That's where the Browns are.

That horrible offensive line? Four Super Bowl starters are on that line. But they can't seem to get on the same page, so they are playing like a patchwork of scrubs.

No matter how great Savage's drafts are, this team will continue to lose until they start playing as a team. And that's not an indictment of Romeo Crennel. When a team has had as little stability as the Browns have had for the past three years, it takes a long time to build that cohesion. Then you have to throw in the curveball of injuries.

The Browns aren't getting anywhere close to 9-7 this year. But if they stay on this path, slowly, things will turn around.

Chris McVetta said...

I don't necessarily disagree with you, erik...

But then how do you explain the sudden turn-around of The New Orleans Saints with:

1. A new head coach?
2. A new starting quarterback?
3. A new star running back?
4. A new star wide receiver?

Sean Peyton, Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and (7th round draft pick from Hofstra) Marques Colston ...all just joined the team THIS YEAR.

And The Saints look like a totally different team (a winning one).

And if you don't blame the head coach who has the talent, then who do you blame...?

Erik said...

I don't think assessing blame is the first thing to do right now. Let's face it, the Browns were such a disaster when Crennel and Savage took over that they could do the best job within their power to do and might still not have this team winning until 2008.

I've been hard on the Browns, but only because I just want to see them build toward winning. I'm sick of not only the losing, but the feeling that there is no impetus for change.

I know winning is a trial-and-error process when you're coming from where the Browns have been. That was the point of my comment. Talent is raw materials. The system is how you synthesize it into something meaningful. That's where the Browns are, trying to figure out how to manipulate the talent to render wins. I saw some promising things against Baltimore and Oakland. But let's see them do it consistently, and do it against good teams.

Carolina would be a good place to start. They might not win, but dangit, Carolina better beat them if they lose. It had better not be because the Browns self-destructed yet again with penalties and dumb play-calling.