Monday, December 28, 2009


Hey Jim Caldwell, up until the time you pulled all your starters, your team was undefeated and chasing history. I understand what you were doing, but that takes some stones.

In related news, even though the Jets got the win, Braylon Edwards did damn little. For those keeping track at home, he didn't get anywhere near catching 55 passes this year, which is rumored to be what it takes to transform the pick the Browns will get into a second.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'll Believe It When I See It

Holmgren, huh? Sorry to be cynical about this, but I'm not buying that this is anything beyond a negotiating ploy to get the Seahawks to move more quickly.

Mike Holmgren is exactly the kind of guy that the Browns need as their football czar. He's experienced, he's a winner, and his unsuccessful effort to wear two hats in Seattle probably has given him an appreciation for just how much is involved in a general manager's role. His draft record is a mixed bag, but it does include Shaun Alexander and Steve Hutchinson, both of whom are better than anyone who's worn a Browns uniform in a generation.

Perhaps best of all, Holmgren's got zero ties to Belichick and his coaching progeny, and has a reputation for not suffering fools. Based on Eric Mangini's statements in this morning's paper, the prospect of Holmgren showing up in Cleveland is already making the Mangenius extremely uncomfortable. In fact, I think it's fair to say that when you read his quotes, you can almost see the beads of sweat on his upper lip.

If the Browns do sign Holmgren, then I really think a celebration is in order. I just can't convince myself that this is actually going to happen. Here's why: if I'm Mike Holmgren, why do I want any part of this mess? Aside from the fact that the team has 11 picks in next year's draft, there's nothing to recommend this job. The organization is a laughingstock with a deeply ingrained culture of losing. The owner has proven to be eccentric, impulsive, and erratic, and seems to be much more interested in his Premier League soccer team than his NFL franchise. Besides all of that, the idea of relocating to Northeast Ohio just isn't likely to hold much attraction to a West Coast guy like Holmgren.

If you've got no better alternatives, then maybe you sign up for this trainwreck, since Randy Lerner does have that billionaire thing going for him and his checks will definitely clear. But it's unlikely that Cleveland will end up being Holmgren's only alternative. In addition to the Seahawks and the perennially open positions in Washington and Oakland (which are every bit as unattractive as the Browns' spot), several other teams, including perhaps Tampa Bay and Chicago, may be in the czar market this offseason. That means Mike Holmgren is likely to have plenty of alternatives in the near future, and if so, why on earth does his take this one?

I guess the answer to that question is that if Holmgren figures out a way to turn around a franchise as far gone as Cleveland, then he goes from borderline Hall of Famer to an absolute lock. I really hope Holmgren decides to take the job. In fact, it's all I want for Christmas, but I'm afraid that I'm much more likely to wake up to find the usual lump of coal in my stocking.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I watched last night's game with really mixed emotions. On one hand, like any true son of Ohio, I hate the Steelers. Every single time Rothliesberger got sacked, I kept wishing that Joe Turkey Jones would have finished it off. Every time Cribbs stiff-armed someone, I was thrilled. Stopping Rothliesberger's consecutive win streak against Cleveland and dimming any chances for a trip to the playoffs was, as they say, priceless.

But, as loyal readers know, the Rhino and I love the NFL draft. We love gearing up for it and inflicting our opinions upon you here. This year, the biggest defensive stud in years is coming out, but a team's gonna need the very first pick to get him---Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska. He's a 6'4", 300 lb monster, who tears up offensive lines. He'd look damn fine in an orange helmet lining up next to Shaun Rogers, but that's not going to happen now due to the big win.

I can't help but thinking that some toothless bastard in Pittsburgh is laughing his ass off in his trailer and that Mangini and Daboll are somewhere singing alleluia.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Christmas, Pittsburgh!!!


You just had your season ended by a team that won one game all year.

Deal with it, yinzers.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Evan Moore

On a day when the Browns didn't suck nearly as much as fans thought they would, perhaps the biggest question on everyone's mind was "who the hell is this Evan Moore guy?"

Until Saturday, Moore was a member of the Browns practice squad. However, after his performance yesterday, it's very unlikely he'll be back there anytime soon. Moore caught six passes for a team leading 80 yards, and with the exception of a fourth quarter ball that hit him in the helmet, pretty much snagged anything that was remotely catchable. In fact, he probably made more tough catches in a single afternoon than Braylon Edwards made during his entire career with the Browns.

So who is this guy? Well, according to the Stanford media guide, he was a high school All-American in football and basketball, played basketball on Stanford's #1 ranked team during his freshman year, was voted the Stanford football team's most outstanding sophomore, and was an honorable mention All-Pac 10 that season.

So how does a guy like that end up on the NFL's Island of Misfit Toys? Well, Moore dislocated his hip during the first game of his junior year. That hip injury was very serious (one media report used the word "horrific"), and cost Moore his entire junior season. He returned the following season, but the hip injury was just the first in a series of injuries that have plagued Moore ever since. After returning to the team in 2006, Moore suffered a stress fracture in his foot that limited his playing time that season.

Moore had a good, but not outstanding senior season in 2007. His size, athleticism and the flashes of brilliance that he'd shown during his playing career at Stanford still managed to put him on the NFL's radar screen. However, he didn't have the speed to play WR at the professional level and he'd never played a down at TE, so Moore went undrafted. The Saints signed him as a free agent, but quickly released him. The Packers picked him up, but the injury bug bit again, and Green Bay put him on injured reserve after he suffered a pre-season knee injury. Green Bay waived him prior to the start of the 2009 season, and he was signed to the Browns' practice squad in early November.

This morning's Plain Dealer pointed out that yesterday was Moore's first professional game. What's more impressive is that yesterday's game was the first football game of any kind that Moore has participated in since 2007. Based on Moore's performance, it's highly unlikely that it will be his last game.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Jamal and The Hall

Shortly after the news broke about the likelihood that Jamal Lewis sustained a career-ending injury last weekend, speculation began about whether he's got Hall of Fame credentials. Although this year, we've come to know him as Grumpy the Aging Tailback, Jamal Lewis has been a terrific football player over his career and there's an awful lot to like about his approach to the game. When it comes to the Hall though, my guess is that the answer is going to be "close, but no cigar."

Lewis has always been a hard nosed, old-school running back who played the game with a great deal of intensity, and he had some of the most spectacular individual performances in the history of the game. Unfortunately, I think the case for him on rushing yardage alone isn't real strong, and that's a problem, because that's the only category in which Lewis ranks among the NFL's top 25 performers all-time. He ranks 30th in rushing touchdowns, barely cracks the top 50 in yards from scrimmage, and ranks 70th in all-purpose yards.

But a bigger problem for Lewis may be the peers he's up against. He'll be considered along with guys like Edgerrin James, Ladanian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander and Fred Taylor, and that's going to be really a tough bunch to be competing with when it comes time for the voters to decide.

Those who advocate for Lewis point to the fact that he's one of only five players in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season, his record shattering 295 yard performance against the Browns in 2003, and his selection as the league's MVP that same year. If you're a fan of Lewis, you might also argue that voters should factor in some of the time he lost. After a spectacular rookie season during which he rushed for over 1,300 yards and helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl, Lewis blew out his ACL and missed the entire 2001 season. (His legal problems also led to him missing four games during the 2004 season). That missed time may well have cost Lewis 1,500 yards or more, and if you add that to his total, he's over 12,000 career rushing yards and probably a shoe-in. My own guess is that this argument isn't going to count for much. The only guy whose injuries I think voters really took into account when they voted on him was Gale Sayers, and to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, "Jamal, you're no Gale Sayers."

If you're a fan of more delusional arguments in favor of Jamal Lewis, you might want to check out the guy in Baltimore who points to Jamal's Christ-like humility as the quality that tips him over the edge and makes him a first ballot selection. According to this writer, the one thing that Hall of Fame voters really groove on is a humble player. Seriously? How do you suppose they feel about drug convictions?

At this point, it looks like most of Hall of Fame voters think that Lewis is a long-shot. For what it's worth, I think the bottom line on Jamal Lewis is that he will be remembered as one of the decade's great backs, but not quite a Hall of Fame caliber player. I'll tell you what though, anybody who loves to watch a guy play football the way it's supposed to be played will definitely miss Jamal Lewis.