Thursday, February 22, 2007

Getting Off The Road to Nowhere

Great week for Browns news, huh? First, we get confirmation of something we've known for a long time but couldn't bring ourselves to admit--we can forget about LeCharles Bentley for next season. Then we find out that the little "cleaning out" that needed to get done on Kellen Knievel's knee was actually major surgery that may sideline him until training camp or even beyond.

In the midst of all this, most of the mock drafts that I've seen have Cleveland using the third or fourth pick in the draft to select injury prone Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson. They can't be seriously thinking about doing something like that, can they? As far as I'm concerned, the Browns could clone Jim Brown, shoot him up with human growth hormone, and give him a machete and a can of mace and they still wouldn't have a running game worth a damn. They need to find some linemen and stop looking for a quick fix that's going to keep them on the road to nowhere.

Adrian Peterson may turn out to be a terrific NFL back. In fact, put him in the right situation, and that's probably the most likely outcome. I'm only saying that Cleveland is not that situation. Yet fans and, I fear, the front office continue to look for the Messiah--that one player who is going to lead us to the promised land. That kind of a quest leads to dumb decisions. Adrian Peterson would be one of them.

The good news is that there is at least one pick that would be worse than Peterson; the bad news is that this pick is also apparently on Phil Savage's radar screen. Who am I talking about? Who else-- Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn. There's some talk being bandied about in the media that the Browns might select Quinn. I'm a big fan of the Irish, but I'm not a big fan of Bradycakes. It would surprise me if he turned out to be a big star in the NFL, but he's almost guaranteed to be a complete disaster here. Just ask Tim Couch what happens when a team selects a franchise QB without commiting to surround him with a capable offensive line.

Offensive linemen aren't glamorous, and offensive lines aren't built in a day. It's going to take a combination of draft picks, smart free agent signings (as opposed to blockbuster free agent signings) and some luck in order for the Browns to build a line. It's hard work and it is going to take a lot of time. But if the Browns ever expect to build a contender instead of a laughingstock, it's the only realistic option.

There is no Messiah. Trade down, stock up on linemen and keep your nose to the grindstone.


Erik said...

It's not that Kellen's recovery in of itself will take him until training camp. It's that microfracture surgery is very risky and the procedure really hasn't been perfected yet.

Right now, microfracture surgery can hurt as much as it can help. In the NBA, Amare Stoudemire is an example of a guy who had the procedure and is back performing at a high level. Chris Webber had the surgery and is serviceable, though not the player he once was. Allan Houston had the procedure and it basically ended his career.

Working in Winslow's favor is that he is young like Stoudemire. Workign against him is that fact that he's had that knee operated on multiple times. And that fact that he plays for the Browns, where the worst-case scenario seems to happen more often than not.

What are the odds on Winslow contracting another staph infection?

Anonymous said...

the houston texans are borishly forging ahead with the messiah-lite strategy - who knows if the'll ever get there, while the new orleans saints put it all together last year w/ the messiah - reggie bush...and an energetic, offensive minded coach that knows how to use his personal - he rarely, if ever, sat reggie bush on 3rd down...the stink starts at the top with the browns

Hornless Rhino said...

Funny you should mention the Saints. Before drafting Reggie Bush and adding Drew Brees through free agency, the Saints first built the core of their offensive line through the draft.

They picked right tackle Jonathan Stinchcomb in the second round pick in 2003, left tackle Jammal Brown in the first round pick in 2005, and guard Jahri Evans in the fourth round in 2006. Don’t forget, they also drafted LeCharles Bentley in the second round in 2002, so I think we can number New Orleans among the teams that believe in spending high draft picks to build an offensive line.

By the way, Jammal Brown was selected to play in the Pro Bowl this season and Jahri Evans made the NFL's All-Rookie team. Don't feel too bad for Jon Stinchcomb, because he had a career year and is an unrestricted free agent.

I'm not sure I'd characterize Bush as the Messiah for that franchise. Sure, he was a giant media event and became an impact player, but he didn't lead the team in rushing, receiving yardage or touchdowns. In fact, Bush wasn't even the team's best rookie. I think that honor goes to Marques Colston, who finished second to Vince Young in the Rookie of the Year race.

Anonymous said...

Championship caliber teams are built around franchise or messianic players - Indy/Manning, Cincy/Palmer, Pats/Brady, SD/LT, Seattle/Alexander, KC/Holmes-Johnson....Charlie Frye is an average back-up, Ruben is servicable, but neither will elevate the franchise like any of the players listed above...if Peterson turns out to be the next LT - shame on us.