Sunday, October 26, 2008

Browns 23, Jaguars 17
So remember kids, if you're ever in a difficult spot with the clock running down, create a personal foul to stop the clock.

This was one of Romeo Crennel's best coaching jobs, squeezing every last ounce out of his guys while everyone around town kept blabbing about Kellen Winslow (me, included).

What I learned today (aside from what I mentioned above):

1. Shaun Rodgers is a beast and is having a Pro-Bowl season.

2. That's how that Steve Heiden play is supposed to work, when the quarterback makes a decent throw.

3. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski always gets praise when things go well, but I am worried he outsmarts himself sometimes. First and goal at the one, fourth quarter, Jamal Lewis is wearing Jacksonville down. Keep giving him the ball until he gets in. Surprise isn't a must when you need a yard.

4. The Browns will need Kellen Winslow this season, despite what some callers may think. He's not perfect, but he provides a danger than few others do, and the Browns will need that in the coming weeks.

5. Matt Jones should have, could have, would have. But who cares. That stuff always goes against the Browns, it's good to get one back.

6. The next two games will probably make or break the year. Cleveland really needs to win them both to have a realistic shot at a run.

7. Derek Anderson needs a fast start against Baltimore's defense, and Jamal needs at least 20 carries next week. The Browns cannot afford to fall behind early, or really any time against that defense.


Phil's Week 8 picks

Buccaneers (5-2) @ Cowboys (4-3)
The Wade Phillips firing pool is officially open.
Zach's thought: Phillips is a damn good defensive coach, evidenced again today.

Redskins (5-2) @ Lions (0-6)
Detroit has been getting trounced at home this year.
Zach's thought: And again.

Bills (5-1) @ Dolphins (2-4)
And just like that, the Wildcat offense may have been figured out by simply blitzing hard.
Zach's thought: The Bills are the Browns of last year. That means some success and head-scratching losses.

Rams (2-4) @ Patriots (4-2)
Time for a reality check for the surging Rams.
Zach's thought: Jim Haslett is an NFL head coach. Despite the final result, the Rams should keep him.

Chargers (3-4) vs Saints (3-4) - London England
Last year, the Giants won the London game and then won the Super Bowl. Not sure the same will happen in 2008.
Zach's thought: I have no fear. I live by the river. Saints needed this more.

Chiefs (1-5) @ Jets (3-3)
Since defeating Denver, the Chiefs have been outscored by a combined score of 68-10.
Zach's thought: Brett Favre did everything he could to lose this one for the Jets. Laveranues Coles made one heck of a catch.

Falcons (4-2) @ Eagles (3-3)
Playing in Philadelphia rattles rookie QB Matt Ryan a bit.
Zach's thought: Odd game where both teams come out looking decent.

Cardinals (4-2) @ Panthers (5-2)
Since December of 2005, Arizona is a paltry 5-16 on the road.
Zach's thought: If the Cardinals want to break into the next level, they need to win games like the one Sunday.

Raiders (2-4) @ Ravens (3-3)
Fast Fact: Baltimore has never lost a home game to the Raiders.
Zach's thought: In the last six years, few have.

Bengals (0-7) @ Texans (2-4)
Upset Special: They've got injuries, but Cincinnati is not going winless.
Zach's thought: Looks like the Bengals have packed it in. They'll get a win some time, though hopefully not against the Browns.

Browns (2-4) @ Jaguars (3-3)
The Kellen Winslow drama has taken away from the bigger issue in Cleveland that the Browns were overrated coming into this season.
Zach's thought: Big credit should go to Romeo for this one. He won't get it, but he should.

Giants (5-1) @ Steelers (5-1)
Possible preview of Super Bowl XLIII?
Zach's thought: The game of the day. It just became clear once New York got the lead that Pittsburgh was helpless against the Giants' defense.

Seahawks (1-5) @ 49ers (2-5)
No reason to watch other than the interim coaching debut of Mike Singletary.
Zach's thought: Actually, there WAS reason to watch. Singletary's first postgame press conference.

Colts (3-3) @ Titans (6-0)
Tennessee can take a strangle-hold on the AFC South Title with a win here.
Zach's thought: I like the Colts here.


Bears (4-3)
Lovie Smith made the right choice naming Kyle Orton as his QB starter.

Broncos (4-3)
Have a winning record, but they have to know they won't win much of anything with that defense.

Packers (4-3)
Brett Favre who?

Vikings (3-4)
Their special teams have already allowed five opponents touchdowns this year.

OVERALL: 60-41


Friday, October 24, 2008

Song quote of the day
When it gets too much for me
when it gets much too much for me
I do the same thing that you do
I'll put the weight on you -- Van Morrison


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is the end in sight? Is Kellen Winslow II's career with the Browns ending already?

Some have suggested it. I can't say for certain that they are wrong. But I do believe everyone involved needs to take a deep breath.

Winslow is as talented as anyone in a Browns uniform. He's selfish, egotistical and brash. But players like him don't come around often. It wouldn't be wise to cut Winslow now -- which the Browns would have to do since the trade deadline passed -- and assure themselves nothing for such a talent.

Better to wait until the offseason. Hopefully by then, things will have cooled a bit. Maybe Winslow will see the error of talking first, then thinking. Or at least maybe he'll learn that a filter is good thing to have.

If things continue to deteriorate and he continues to be a problem, then yes, trade him. But not to Bill Belichick for a fourth round pick.

If I'm the Browns, I'm far more concerned about the 2-4 start than Winslow's comments. Most of the Browns' players have sided with the organization when asked.

Maybe they're covering themselves. I don't know. I do know few can cover Winslow, which is why cutting ties with him is so risky.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

At this stage
Here's what conservatives shouldn't do in the event of a Sen. Barack Obama victory:
(In retrospect, 4 and 6 aren't phrased correctly. Those are things we SHOULD do. Thanks to my aunt for pointing that out).

1. Proclaim the world's greatest country is in deep trouble because it will now be led by such a liberal man. My take is that since Jimmy Carter, Warren G. Harding, Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon couldn't wreck this nation, we'll be OK.

2. Pounce on every Obama mistake and hope that he fails. We have seen eight years of people who have blamed President Bush for everything, enjoying his every mishap in a misguided search for vindication over the 2000 election. The country is and shall remain the greatest in the world, regardless of who has control of the executive branch.

3. Watch MSNBC.

4. Work to come together if and when Obama wins. Some on the other side refused to do this in the last eight years, as did some on our side. This will be a chance for conservatives to appreciate Obama's historic implications, despite fundamental differences with his policies. The country will be better off if we accept defeat, not dispute it or resent it.

5. Blame the liberal media for Obama's win. No one likes hammering at CNN, MSNBC, the AP and Charlie Gibson as much as I do. But they won't be the reason for John McCain's loss. Eight years of one party is tough enough to extend without dire economic news and a still unpopular war.

6. Remember that we are all Americans, all on the same side. I am supporting McCain, but an Obama victory will not put me into depression. The American people will have spoken. We must respect and appreciate their decision, regardless of what it is.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oh, great ...
Remember this quote from Indians general manager Mark Shapiro:

Casey certainly has a natural fit on our club next year. ...

I know everyone in the world loves Casey Blake, and he appears to have done a decent job in Los Angeles. But he'll be 36 next year and he will cost more than $7 million a year to bring in.

Can't the Indians finally look elsewhere to fill that spot, with a true corner player, instead of an aging, average one?

Other great moments from Shapiro:

On Louie Isaac:
"That being said, the door has never been closed on Louie coming back. He made it clear to me, he wants to look for another big-league job. If that doesn't happen, and he still wants to work in some other capacity, he'll call me."

Yeah, I'm sure after 44 years with the franchise and 15 years in Cleveland, Isaac would love to finish up his career in Akron or Columbus. The move was classless, and everyone knows it.

Shapiro's only making it look worse, basically saying they'd re-hire him for a meaningless job if it would make him feel better.

On the offseason:
"We feel we're in a good spot. Major and minor league, short and long term. Now we need to go out and be relentless and execute an off-season plan that acknowledge we have areas to improve. We cannot, and will not be, complacent."

Yeah, we know. The Indians are only complacent after good seasons.

On Travis Hafner:
"If for some reason he can't go, that would be an adjustment we'd make from the group of players we have internally."

Like David Dellucci?


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bill Cowher is gone
Did you watch the Steelers tonight?

Did you see how they rallied late, scored a touchdown late, then hammered the Jaguars into submission?

Sometimes I have to remind myself Bill Cowher is gone. Pittsburgh is the exact same without him.

Two questions for every Browns fan dreaming of Bill coming home to Cleveland next year:

If a coach comes to a bad organization and it stays bad, is he a bad coach?

If a coach comes to a great organization and it stays great, is he a great coach?

I ask these questions not to question Bill Cowher's abilities. I ask because we are always looking for a cure-all in this town. It just doesn't work that way.

Romeo Crennel probably isn't the greatest head coach in the world. But he inherited a bad organization and this year, a horrid, horrid schedule.

Cleveland has had its share of miracle men. Bernie Kosar, great as he was in those early years, couldn't beat the Broncos. Butch Davis outsmarted himself.

Cowher may want to come back, and he may return to the sidelines some day soon.

But one at least has to consider that Cowher was a product of the system in Pittsburgh. Cleveland doesn't have that formula.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Good break, but now let's blog
A heavy workload has stopped my usual blogging schedule. But because of my inability to keep away from television and the Internet, as well as the fact that I work at a newspaper, I have a lot to say.

- Eric Wedge was exposed yesterday as an ice-cold human being. You don't preach hard work and loyalty for seven years, then turn around and -- without warning -- fire the bullpen coach who has been with the team for 43 years.

I'm amazed how Wedge holds on to guys he's hired or helped bring in through borderline incompetence (Mike Rouse), or several poor seasons (Derek Shelton), but can't seem to work with anyone he didn't.

And Louie Isaac is too good of a man to rip Wedge for his coldness. But really, is it Isaac's fault the Indians didn't hit for half the season?

This move just makes me sick. If nothing else, it might cause some in the local media to re-evaluate Wedge, who has been adored despite winning one division in seven years and running off star players because they aren't part of the "right 25."

- Everyone is asking, "Why does Romeo Crennel stick with Derek Anderson?" Maybe the question should be, "how bad is Brady Quinn?"

That's all I can think of. Yes, Derek rallied the Browns Sunday in the fourth quarter. But before that, Anderson was awful, and should have been pulled about four different times.

Naturally, many fans assume Crennel to be an idiot. I reject such criticism as usual venting against the person in power.

No, all I can think of is that Crennel knows something we don't -- that Brady Quinn is just not cutting it in practice and will be exposed as soon as he runs on the field as a bust of gigantic proportions.

It's possible the Browns surprised themselves last year with Anderson. Had they known he would throw 29 TDs and make the Pro Bowl, they never would have traded a first-round pick for Quinn. Maybe the Quinn pick was just to buy Savage some time, since he knew it would go over well in the media and with the fans.

That's all I can think of. Anderson did everything he could to get benched Sunday. Hopefully his final quarter is the start of something, not an aberration. I hope it's the former, fear (and believe) it's the latter.

- It amazes me how much CNN is in the tank for Barack Obama. Last night on Larry King there was a crawl on the bottom of the screen which read: McCain Re-thinking Palin Pick?

It's a month to the election. Everyone knows McCain has to stick with what he has, for better or worse. The Obama campaigners working at CNN know this. What they are attempting to do is make McCain's campaign appear to be in chaos. Chaos can equal an Obama landslide, which CNN and MSNBC desire above all.

But here's the golden rule of journalism: Don't make the news. Report it.

And if I ever see Paul Begala on TV again without the phrase "Partisan left-wing hack" identifying him, I will throw a brick through the screen.

Sarah Palin is being treated with disrespect by the press not because she's a woman, but because she's a Republican woman. Bill Maher (or the world's biggest ass, as I call him) calls her a "stewardess." Jack Cafferty attacks her on a daily basis.

In Maher and Cafferty's mind, to be an empowered woman is to be liberal. Conservative women are either evil (Margaret Thatcher) or clueless bimbos (Palin).

Sometimes I'm ashamed to be a journalist.

- Deep breath. It's good to be back.

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