Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weird day in my hometown
So Eric Wedge has been fired, and Brady Quinn has been demoted. Well, actually, Wedge's firing isn't really a firing, in the sense that he has to GO AWAY for it to mean anything, and he's still going to manage for six games.

Wedge should have been fired three months ago. Maybe the Indians wouldn't have turned into the Rockies (Jim Tracy has made them playoff caliber after taking over for Clint Hurdle), but it's hard to see how they'd be any worse.

Wedge will land somewhere, learn from his mistakes and probably manage again. The Indians are another story. If it's true that the Indians are interested in John Farrell, it only confirms the belief that the team is uncomfortable with a different voice. Farrell was in the organization for years before bolting for Boston.

I think a new man (perhaps who has managed before, and is maybe foreign to the Indians' organization of the past 10 years) would be best. Anything else is just a new name.

As for the Browns, they'll lose no matter who quarterbacks. It's best if Brady just bolts and doesn't look back. He'll be better off away from this mess. The Browns won't be better until Mangini is gone and the team hires actual football people to do football jobs.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Panel Standings, post week 3
Phil Prusa 14-2 (34-14)
Vivek Vasavada 14-2 (30-18)
Zach 13-3 (34-14)
Nihar Vasavada 12-4 (37-11)
Aaron Rund 10-6 (36-12)
Joel Hammond 8-8 (34-14)
Andy Barch 8-8 (28-20)
Curtis A. 8-8 (24-24)
Coin 8-8 (24-24)

Thought: I wonder how well Vivek would be doing if he'd not taken the coin for two weeks. Usually the coin is under .500, but there's always the possibility of an awful, standing-killing week. Hasn't happened yet.


Ravens 34, Browns 3
Sunday's game was the type of game that gets coaches fired. The good news for coach Eric Mangini is we're only three games in, and even the most ardent critic would have to think that firing him now would be hasty.

But this football team is playing badly, and getting worse by the week. The Browns had no chance to win at Baltimore, but they did have a chance to extract some moments of joy from the game -- if not for themselves, then for their fans.

There is no way Brady Quinn is this bad. His 2007 performance against San Francisco, his start last year against Denver, were steady performances. The offensive line (that of three first-round picks) hasn't protected him, and when he does have time, he looks terrified of making a mistake.

Any football player, any level, will tell you the game can't be played that way.

Quinn doesn't throw downfield, probably because there's hardly anyone to throw to. Braylon Edwards (who is no doubt counting down the days to free agency)is the only receiver defenders respect. So enter Derek Anderson. He will throw downfield, but also throw three interceptions.

It doesn't matter who the quarterback is, though Mangini probably will act like it does. The defense has looked gassed in every second half, but this week, it started the trend a half early. Yes, the Ravens have a strong offense, but even strong offenses can be stopped a few times.

Nationally, the Browns have replaced the Lions as the laughingstock of the league. The question is no longer how many games the team will win, but when they will win. Look at the schedule. The Bengals are primed to go 3-1 next week. The Packers and the Bills are better than Cleveland. So is Chicago and (obviously) Pittsburgh. The Browns could go 0-8, and then, what do they do?

Eric Mangini is owner Randy Lerner's guy, which is to say that he probably was a bad hire. If the organization wasn't broken at the end of last season (and I honestly didn't think it was, so much as it needed adjustments) it sure is now. Again.

Mangini is apparently too busy keeping secrets and levying fines to notice that his football team is a mess, and he's largely to blame for the magnitude of that mess. We might have Butch Davis here, without the coaching talent.

I believe this team has played the worst football after three weeks of any Browns team since they they returned. Chris Palmer and his gang of misfits at least were hungry, and actually more competitive.

These Browns look like they're tired and want to end the season, and they're three weeks in.

Not a good start for Mangini.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Phil's NFL Picks: Week 3
Redskins (1-1) @ Lions (0-2)
Upset Special - Detroit fans celebrate their first win in 20 football games!
Zach's thought: I really feel good for what Lions' fans are left. No team or fanbase deserves to go winless.

Packers (1-1) @ Rams (0-2)
St Louis is completing with Cleveland for the title of NFL's worst team right now.
Zach's thought: At least St. Louis was competitive in week 2.

49ers (2-0) @ Vikings (2-0)
Don't get too cocky Minnesota fans. Wins against the Browns and Lions hardly classify you as a powerhouse team yet.
Zach's thought: Favre's throw will be replayed again, and again. I bet Madden wishes he hadn't retired so he could talk about it for the rest of the season on TV.

Chiefs (0-2) @ Eagles (1-1)
Good thing Kansas City spent all those millions to give Matt Cassel a long term deal eh?
Zach's thought: Kansas City really is a mess. But at least they have some structure.

Falcons (2-0) @ Patriots (1-1)
Atlanta plays four of their next five games on the road.
Zach's thought: Give New England credit: They just don't lose back-to-back games.

Titans (0-2) @ Jets (2-0)
Good: Tennessee is the best 0-2 team in the NFL right now. Bad: They are still 0-2.
Zach's thought:Why did it take so long for Rex Ryan to get a head coaching job?

Giants (2-0) @ Buccaneers (0-2)
New York's defense takes a hit with Safety Kenny Phillips missing the rest of the season after being placed on IR.
Zach's thought: The Buccaneers don't seem to have much going for them. Luckily the orange uniforms will be out soon.

Browns (0-2) @ Ravens (2-0)
Baltimore should be a popular Survivor pool pick this week.
Zach's thought: What exactly did the Browns do this offseason? Was Mangini to busy looking to see if someone bugged his office to focus on crafting a roster?

Jaguars (0-2) @ Texans (1-1)
Here's hoping that shutout loss in Week 1 was a wake-up call for Houston.
Zach's thought: Texans deserve to lose for dressing up like blood.

Bears (1-1) @ Seahawks (1-1)
Without Matt Hasselbeck, it's going to be 2008 all over again for Seattle.
Zach's thought: Game was ugly for the Seahawks -- and that was just in the uniforms.

Saints (2-0) @ Bills (1-1)
Trap game warning. Saints play the Jets next week and can't get caught looking ahead to that matchup.
Zach's thought: The Bills have actually trademarked the phrase "slightly below average." They have owned it for a decade.

Steelers (1-1) @ Bengals (1-1)
Fast Fact: Pittsburgh has not lost in Cincinnati since 2002.
Zach's thought: So much for "Big Ben hasn't lost in Ohio in the NFL."

Broncos (2-0) @ Raiders (1-1)
Denver's smoke and mirror team keeps the act going for one more week.
Zach's thought: Denver has beaten some shaky teams, but what I wouldn't give for my team to beat a shaky team rather than be one.

Dolphins (0-2) @ Chargers (1-1)
The NFL did Miami no favors by scheduling them to play across country after their Monday night game last week.
Zach's thought: The carriage has become a pumpkin for Miami.

Colts (2-0) @ Cardinals (1-1)
A win against Jacksonville is not enough to sell me on Arizona yet.
Zach's thought: Arizona delivers the first boring primetime game this year.

Panthers (0-2) @ Cowboys (1-1)
I'm already sick of seeing Dallas in primetime games this year.
Zach's thought: I write this on Sunday night... one coach will be in trouble after this one.

OVERALL: 20-12


Panel Standings, week 2
Aaron: 13-3 (26-6)
Joel: 12-4 (26-6)
Nihar 11-5 (25-7)
Andy 9-7 (20-12)
Zach: 8-8 (21-11)
Phil: 7-9 (20-12)
Vivek 7-9 (16-16)
Coin 7-9 (16-16)
Curtis: 6-10 (16-16)


The Panel
The coin is a 2007 penny. Two are using it

Cleveland at Baltimore
Taking Cleveland:Curtis, Joel, (C)
Taking Baltimore: Zach, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Nihar, Vivek

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Taking Pittsburgh:Zach, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Nihar, Vivek
Taking Cincinnati: Curtis, Joel,(C)

Kansas City at Philadelphia
Taking Philadelphia: Zach, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, (C)

Giants at Tampa Bay
Taking New York: Zach, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, (C)
Taking Tampa Bay:

Jacksonville at Houston
Taking Jacksonville: Andy, Curtis, Joel, (C)
Taking Houston:Zach, Aaron, Phil, Nihar, Vivek

Miami at San Diego
Taking San Diego:Zach, Aaron, Phil, Aaron, Andy, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, (C)

San Francisco at Minnesota
Taking San Francisco: Aaron, Andy, Curtis, Joel, (C)
Taking Minnesota:Zach, Phil, Nihar, Vivek

Denver at Oakland
Taking Denver:Zach, Aaron, Phil, Nihar, Vivek
Taking Oakland:Andy, Curtis, Joel, (C)

Green Bay at St. Louis
Taking Green Bay:Zach, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Nihar, Vivek
Taking St. Louis:Curtis, Joel, (C)

Tennessee at Jets
Taking Tennessee:Aaron, Andy, Nihar, Curtis, Joel, (C)
Taking New York:Zach, Phil, Vivek

New Orleans at Buffalo
Taking New Orleans:Zach, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, (C)
Taking Buffalo:

Atlanta at New England
Taking Atlanta:Andy, Curtis, Joel, (C)
Taking New England: Zach, Aaron, Phil, Nihar, Vivek

Washington at Detroit
Taking Washington:Zach, Aaron, Andy, Nihar
Taking Detroit:Phil, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, (C)

Chicago at Seattle
Taking Chicago: Zach, Aaron, Phil, Nihar, Vivek
Taking Seattle: Andy, Curtis, Joel, (C)

Indianapolis at Arizona
Taking Indianapolis:Zach, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Nihar, Vivek
Taking Arizona:Curtis, Joel, (C)

Carolina at Dallas
Taking Carolina:Andy
Taking Dallas: Zach, Aaron, Phil Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, (C)


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 2's three up, three down
New feature from Phil and I.

Phil's ups:
1. 49ers
Already 2-0 with both wins coming in their division.

2. Jets.
Mark Sanchez is proving his week 1 performance was no fluke

3. Saints
Drew Brees is putting up video game stats so far.

Zach's ups
1. Giants
Two wins in one of football's toughest divisions.

2. Ravens: An early Super Bowl favorite looked strong in 100 degree heat Sunday.

3. Bears: Almost a must win, and delivered it against Super Bowl champs.


Phil's downs

1. Titans
Last year's 10-0 seems like a long time ago.

2. Browns
Cleveland knew this would be a rebuilding year, but the fans still have to wonder if this is it.

3. Patriots
Did their Super Bowl window finally close after the 2007 season?

Zach's downs
1. Packers
Bengals are certainly better than people think, but Green Bay gave this game away when it allowed a third-and-34 conversion in the second quarter. Without that (and the TD that followed), Packers are 2-0.

2. Browns
Might be the worst showing after two games I have ever seen from my favorite team. In 1999 they at least showed life in week 2.

3. Buccaneers
Good thing they fired Jon Gruden.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Broncos 27, Browns 6
It's probably going to get worse.

I'm not sure what Browns dictator Eric Mangini was up to from when he got the job in January until now. I was under the impression he was improving the Browns, not using the organization as his personal RISK board.

It's probably not fair to judge the coach just yet, but as I said last week, I'm out of patience. I don't have the stomach for another restart and rebuild. What does it mean? Well, I can't stop watching the team I love, but I won't make excuses for them either.

I guess that means I'll use this space for a lot of venting this season.

Seriously, what the hell was that Sunday? Brady Quinn looked like a young Tim Couch. Braylon Edwards being used as a possession receiver. Practically no pressure on Broncos QB Kyle Orton.

The offense is as bad as it was at the end of last season. It got so bad that my brother was actually talking about Derek Anderson quarterbacking the team again.

My brother loved Brady, and hated Derek. Two weeks of this and he's on the fence.

Defense couldn't get off the field. Offensive line couldn't block. Penalties.

It was just all kinds of bad.

Forget how many games the Browns will win this year. Look at the schedule. I assume at least three wins will come from somewhere. Maybe that's a No. 1 pick. Knowing Mangini, he'd keep trading it until he had received seven fourth round picks.

Baltimore is next. Imagine it. For the Browns not to score any touchdowns -- for the Ravens -- would be an accomplishment.

As for the game, no long threat, no danger. The opponent sells out for the run because they don't fear the pass. Mangini is so stubborn he runs anyway.

What a mess.


Why does Wedge keep talking like he's coming back?
Eric Wedge has to be fired. Has to be. The team was miserable this year, and has lost eight in a row. Safe to say, what veterans are left on this squad are mentally playing golf in Florida right now. Well, except for Travis Hafner. His shoulder wouldn't allow him to get through three holes.

No, the 2009 distaster, like the 2008 and 2006 disasters before it, is not all Wedge's fault.

Seven years. Two winning seasons. One playoff appearance.

I know he'll probably end up in Houston and lead the Astros to eight World Series titles. But it won't happen here.

He should be fired. And he will be. Right?

Quote from Monday's ABJ, talking about Matt LaPorta playing first base next year:

''It depends on what or if we do something in the offseason,'' (Wedge) said Sunday. ''What I like is that he has the rest of this season and all spring, so he'll be prepared for it.''

What does he mean by "we?"

Thing is, I can see him being back, because the Dolans are willing to buy any sales pitch GM Mark Shapiro throws. And you know Shapiro wants to keep his bff (I feel so dirty using that) on.

Cleveland: Where failure is not only tolerated, but appreciated and extended. Just ask Randy Lerner.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

No sympathy for Bradley, or the Cubs
Milton Bradley has had problems with just about every team he has ever played for. A man of immense physical talent, and according to many, a good, if complicated, soul, Bradley appears to be on the outs with his current team, the Chicago Cubs.

I don't know what drives Bradley's anger. I do know that he was suspended by the Cubs for the remainder of the season after making critical comments about the organization. What's worse, his teammates appear to back GM Jim Hendry's decision.

Indians fans will remember Bradley for having a dispute with Indians' manager Eric Wedge and leaving an exhibition game in a cab. As everyone knows, I'm often critical of Wedge, but he did the right thing in demanding Bradley be sent packing.

Since then Bradley has been to Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego (where he had a blowup with an umpire where he became so angry he injured himself) and Texas. He had an all-star campaign last year with the Rangers, hitting 22 homers and driving in 77 runs.

But given his history, most were suprised when the Cubs gave him a 3-year, $30 million contract this winter.

Bradley has always had issues. It was just a matter of time before they resurfaced. I don't feel sorry for Bradley, whose career likely faces another start with another team.

But the Cubs had to know what they were getting. That $30 million could have gone elsewhere and perhaps secured a player with less talent, but more stability.

I sound like Wedge.


Phil's NFL Picks
Panthers (0-1) @ Falcons (1-0)
Ugly stat of week 1: Jake Delhomme committing five turnovers (four
interceptions and a lost fumble).

Vikings (1-0) @ Lions (0-1)
Fast Fact: Adrian Peterson has rushed for at least 100 yards in his last
four games against Detroit.

Bengals (0-1) @ Packers (1-0)
What happened to that high octane offense Cincinnati was supposed to have
this year?

Texans (0-1) @ Titans (0-1)
Jeff Fisher is too good a coach to let his team lose their home opener
especially after 10 days rest.

Raiders (0-1) @ Chiefs (0-1)
Hey, at least both teams looked competitive last week.

Patriots (1-0) @ Jets (1-0)
Reality check for rookie QB Mark Sanchez.

Saints (1-0) @ Eagles (1-0)
Drew Brees is on pace to throw 96 touchdown passes this year, but NFL rules
forbid him from playing the Lions defense every week.

Rams (0-1) @ Redskins (0-1)
Cheer up Ram fans. At this rate, you have a real shot at selecting Colt
McCoy in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Cardinals (0-1) @ Jaguars (0-1)
Arizona may quickly become yet another Super Bowl loser to miss the
playoffs the following year.

Seahawks (1-0) @ 49ers (1-0)
Frank Gore averaged a measly 1.36 yards last week. That needs to improve
and San Francisco catches a break with Seattle's defense dinged up this

Buccaneers (0-1) @ Bills (0-1)
Buffalo should be 1-0 had not Loedis McKelvin committed a boneheaded
fumble while trying to make an ESPN highlight reel during a kickoff return.

Steelers (1-0) @ Bears (0-1)
Chicago's season may already be over with the announcement that Brian
Urlacher will miss the rest of the year with a wrist injury.

Ravens (1-0) @ Chargers (1-0)
With center Nick Hardwick out, San Diego's offense may have a heck of a
time trying to hold off Ray Lewis and company.

Browns (0-1) @ Broncos (1-0)
Minor upset. Denver stole a win last week on the road. Karma catches up
this week.

Giants (1-0) @ Cowboys (1-0)
Tony Romo in September is usually a safe bet. It's December and January he
breaks your heart.

Colts (1-0) @ Dolphins (0-1)
A win gives Peyton Manning 119 career wins, which would break the current
record held by Johnny Unitas.



The Panel: Week 2
Aaron Rund
Andy Barch
Joel Hammond
Nihar Vasavada
Phil Prusa
Vivek Vasavada
Curtis A
Coin (a 1981 quarter this week)

Carolina at Atlanta 1:00 PM
Taking Carolina:Zach,Curtis, Vivek, (C)
Taking Atlanta: Nihar, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Joel

Minnesota at Detroit 1:00
Taking Minnesota: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Joel
Taking Detroit: Vivek (C)

Cincinnati at Green Bay
Taking Green Bay: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Joel, Vivek (C)

Houston at Tennessee 1:00 PM
Taking Houston: Vivek (C)
Taking Tennessee: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Joel

Oakland at Kansas City 1:00 PM
Taking Oakland: Zach, Nihar, Aaron, Andy
Taking Kansas City: Curtis, Phil, Joel, Vivek (C)

New England at NY Jets
Taking New England: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Phil, (C), Vivek
Taking New York: Aaron, Andy, Joel

New Orleans at Philadelphia 1:00 PM
Taking New Orleans: Curtis, Nihar, Aaron, Andy, Joel
Taking Philadelphia: Zach, Phil, (C), Vivek

St. Louis at Washington 1:00 PM
Taking Washington: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Joel, (C), Vivek

Arizona at Jacksonville 1:00 PM
Taking Arizona: Nihar, Joel
Taking Jacksonville: Zach, Curtis, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Vivek (C)

Tampa Bay at Buffalo 4:05 PM
Taking Tampa Bay: Andy, Vivek, (C)
Taking Buffalo: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Aaron, Phil, Joel

Seattle at San Francisco 4:05 PM
Taking Seattle: Andy, (C), Vivek,
Taking San Francisco: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Aaron, Phil, Joel

Pittsburgh at Chicago
Taking Pittsburgh: Zach, Nihar, Phil, Andy, Joel
Taking Chicago: Curtis, Aaron, (C), Vivek

Baltimore at San Diego
Taking Baltimore: Zach, Aaron, Andy, Joel, Vivek, (C)
Taking San Diego: Curtis, Nihar

Cleveland at Denver 4:15 PM
Taking Cleveland: Curtis, Nihar, Phil, Andy
Taking Denver: Zach, Aaron, Joel, Vivek, (C)

NY Giants at Dallas 8:20 PM
Taking New York: Nihar, Aaron, Andy, Joel, Vivek, (C)
Taking Dallas: Zach, Curtis, Phil

Indianapolis at Miami 8:30 PM
Taking Indianapolis: Zach, Nihar, Aaron, Phil, Andy, Joel
Taking Miami: Curtis, Vivek (C)


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Panel, week 1 results:
Nihar 14-2
Zach: 13-3
Aaron 13-3
Phil 13-3
Andy 11-5
Curtis 10-6
Coin: 9-7


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Intolerance in politics cuts both ways
Mark Salter's column today is so strong I wish I had written it. But the biggest issue I have with President Obama's allies making claims about racism from his opponents is simple:

It's not race. It's politics at worst. Policy at best.

You had to wonder how long it would be before people like Maureen Dowd would cry racist when someone questioned President Obama.

I was only 12 when President Clinton was trying to do something similar on health care, and I remember the venom he faced in doing it. It was, mainly, because many in this country don't want socialized medicine as a main coverage. They also aren't wild about spending without restraint. I didn't like it when President Bush did it.

I didn't like what Joe Wilson did during President Obama's address. But let's not pretend the last eight years were civility-filled. President Bush was himself charged with racism, and was himself made to look like Hitler by his fringe opponents.

But in this case, I can't help but wonder if every time Obama faces resistance, his allies will say it's about race. Trust me, if Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, Hillary Clinton or any other potential president pushed these types of policies, they would hear about it too.

There are fringe people who will go too far. There are people out there who probably hate Obama because of his race, just as there were people who thought Bush was responsible in the planning of 9-11.

But to pretend that's a motivating factor behind protests, in either case, is ridiculous.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Being against a public option does not make you a racist. Period.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vikings 34, Browns 20
For a moment, right before the half, I allowed myself a moment of dream.

If the Browns could jump on the momentum created by Josh Cribbs. If they could continue to be this strong on defense. If Brady Quinn could keep managing the game.

"Then, we probably can beat Denver next week," I told the gathering watching the game with me.

My brother got me to snap out of it.

"This always happens," he said. "They look good in the first half and choke in the second."

The Vikings scored a touchdown on their opening second half possession, and went up, 17-13. The Browns had the makings of a good drive, until Brady Quinn threw a horrible interception that was either his fault, or Braylon Edwards'.

It was pretty much all downhill from there, as Adrian Peterson wore down the Browns' physically and mentally. His final touchdown run, where he broke five tackles, looked to me like the result of a defense with a broken spirit. So much for Eric Mangini's "finishing."

Yes, this always happens.

Week one really has never been the Browns' thing. Since they came back in 1999, this especially has been the case. For 11 years, Cleveland has opened at home. Ten of those years, they've lost.

This is the problem with another reset. Every coach comes in and needs time. So the fans have to sit in the stands and watch at home while the new coach gets a grace period from ownership to get things together.

I don't want to hear the excuses anymore. I'm tired of waiting. When Romeo Crennel was fired last year, I wanted Mangini to come in, bang his hand on the table and say "we expect a winning football team."

Instead, it's more process, mental mistakes and a quarterback situation that, if nothing else, distracted people from how bad a shape this franchise is in.

Quinn was bad today, but it hardly was his fault. Everyone, save maybe Jamal Lewis and Kamerion Wimbley, had a bad game.

That includes the playcallers. Back-to-back Wildcat from the 2? Are you kidding?

Yes, the defense was better, for a half. But it's a 60-minute game and we're all to familiar with seeing the Browns treat it like it's 30, or at best, 59.

The Vikings look like a very good team and probably would have found a way to win even if the Browns played the second half like the first.

It's almost stupid to place blame for the performance, except to say the Browns are simply not good.

It's a frustrating line that is bound to be repeated for the next 17 weeks.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Phil's NFL Picks
Titans @ Steelers
The defending Super Bowl Champions get a boost playing at home to open the season.
Zach's thought: Only the Steelers could give away a win at the end of regulation and get it back the first possession of OT.

Dolphins @ Falcons
Both teams are hoping that 2008 was not a mirage year.
Zach's thought: These teams may combine for 11 wins this year.

Cowboys @ Buccaneers
Bet you didn't remember that Tampa Bay was 9-3 last December before everything went sour.
Zach's thought: Poor Wade.

Lions @ Saints
Detroit starts this season just like last year....with a loss.
Zach's thought: Thanks to NFL rules, people in NW Ohio get this game instead of Browns-Vikings.

Jaguars @ Colts
No pressure for head coach Jim Caldwell. All he does is take over for Tony Dungy, who had 7 playoff births and won a Super Bowl during his stay in Indianapolis.
Zach's thought: Jaguars have new uniforms, which I didn't notice when watching exhibition games. It's amazing this franchise, which has really been a powerhouse for much of its history, is in so much trouble.

Jets @ Texans
Fast Fact: Mark Sanchez is the Jets first rookie starting QB since Matt Robinson way back in 1977.
Zach's thought: Hard for Sanchez to top what that other USC QB did.

Vikings @ Browns
Tough draw for rookie center Alex Mack, who draws Pat and Kevin Williams in his first ever NFL game.
Zach's thought: Browns always lose openers. And finales. And pretty much everything else.

Chiefs @ Ravens
One of the AFC best vs one of the AFC worst.
Zach's thought: Isn't it amazing that after one of their worst seasons, the Ravens regrouped into a Super Bowl contender? Yet with the Browns it's always process's and plans and coaches who flip coins to decide QBs.

Eagles @ Panthers
Over/Under for number of plays Michael Vick is in is set a 2 and half.
Zach's thought: Remember when Vick was going to change the quarterback position?

Broncos @ Bengals
Denver is just happy to get this nightmare of an offseason finally over.
Zach's thought: At least they have the Browns in week 2.

Redskins @ Giants
The Giants will be tested in their first full season without wide receiver Plaxico Burress as they only averaged 18.2 points without him in the lineup.
Zach's thought: Took the Giants. Think it was a mistake.

49ers @ Cardinals
Arizona sets off to prove that they were not fluke champions in the NFC last year.
Zach's thought: Sorry, but if you go 9-7, you are a fluke SB team.

Rams @ Seahawks
Seattle may regret passing on QB Mark Sanchez in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Zach's thought: This will be paint drying over a gridiron.

Bears @ Packers
Chicago gets Jay Cutler, but who does he throw the ball to?
Zach's thought: Packers' DBs.

Bills @ Patriots
Tom Brady is back, and that means more than the Terrell Owens signing in Buffalo.
Zach's thought: I miss Tony Eason.

Chargers @ Raiders
JaMarcus Russell is moving dangerously close to being classified as a bust.
Zach's thought: Yeh, but most will give him the "Raiders' pass"


Friday, September 11, 2009

Never forget.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Panel: Week 1
Kicking it old school in 2009.
Aaron Rund: BGRSO mate
Andy Barch: BGRSO mate
Joel Hammond: BG News chum
Nihar Vasavada: High school
Phil Prusa: BGRSO mate
Vivek Vasavada: Elementary school buddy
Curtis A.: Brother
Zach: If you have to ask by now...
Note: Vivek is ill this week, so the coin is filling in for him. Get well soon. Caw.

Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
Titans at Steelers
Taking Tennessee: Vivek,(C)
Taking Pittsburgh: Zach, Joel, Phil, Curtis A, Aaron, Nihar, Andy
Thought: Only the Steelers could fumble away the ball inside the Titans' 5 in regulation, get the ball back on the OT toss, then win. Sickening.

Miami at Atlanta 1:00 PM
Taking Miami: Zach,
Taking Atlanta: Phil, Joel, Curtis A., Vivek, Aaron, (C), Nihar, Andy.
Thought: Surprise teams of last year. I don't think either will be good.

Denver at Cincinnati 1:00 PM
Taking Denver:Nihar.
Taking Cincinnati: Zach, Phil, Joel, Curtis A., (C), Vivek, Aaron, Andy
Thought: Nihar likes Denver. Not to say that the rest of us LIKE the Bengals.

Minnesota at Cleveland 1:00 PM
Taking Minnesota: Zach, Joel, Phil, Aaron, Nihar, Andy
Taking Cleveland (for some unknown reason): Curtis A, Vivek,(C)
Thought: The coin damns Vivek to picking his favorite team.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis 1:00 PM
Taking Indianapolis: Zach, Phil, Joel, Curtis A, Aaron, Vivek, (C), Nihar, Andy
Thought: No love for Jax.

Detroit at New Orleans 1:00 PM
Taking New Orleans: Zach, Phil, Joel, Curtis A., Vivek, Aaron, (C), Nihar, Andy.
Thought: Even the coin is afraid to pick Detroit.

Dallas at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM
Taking Dallas: Zach, Phil, Joel, Aaron, Nihar, Andy
Taking Tampa Bay: Curtis A., (C) Vivek, Andy
Thought: Where did Raheem Morris come from?

Philadelphia at Carolina 1:00 PM
Taking Philadelphia:Phil, Joel, Vivek, (C), Nihar.
Taking Carolina: Aaron, Andy, Zach, Curtis A., Andy
Thought: Michael Vick is boring already.

Kansas City at Baltimore 1:00 PM
Taking Baltimore: Zach, Phil, Joel, Curtis A., (C), Vivek, Aaron, Nihar, Andy
Thought: But, Matt Cassel...

NY Jets at Houston 1:00 PM
Taking the Jets: Zach, Joel (C), Vivek, Aaron, Nihar
Taking the Texans:Phil, Curtis A., Andy
Thought: In Texas, there is another problem: Texans.

Washington at NY Giants 4:15 PM
Taking the Giants: Zach, Phil, Joel, Curtis A., (C), Vivek, Aaron, Nihar
Taking the Redskins: Andy
Thought: Et tu, Aaron?

San Francisco at Arizona 4:15 PM
Taking San Francisco: Zach, (C), Vivek, Aaron
Taking Arizona: Phil, Joel, Curtis A., Nihar, Andy
Thought: Arizona was almost Super Bowl champion. How?

St. Louis at Seattle 4:15 PM
Taking the Rams: (C), Vivek, Nihar,
Taking the Seahawks: Zach, Phil, Joel, Curtis A., Aaron, Andy
Thought: And into every week a boring game must fall.

Chicago at Green Bay 8:20 PM
Taking the Bears: (C), Vivek
Taking the Packers: Zach, Phil, Joel, Curtis A., Aaron, Nihar, Andy
Thought: Jay Cutler doesn't like us.

Buffalo at New England 7:00 PM
Taking the Patriots: Zach, Phil, Joel, Curtis A.,(C), Vivek, Aaron, Nihar, Andy
Thought: Tom Brady comes back by destroying an NAIA school.

San Diego at Oakland 10:15 PM
Taking San Diego: Zach, Phil, Joel, Curtis A., Aaron, Nihar, Andy.
Taking the Raiders: (C), Vivek,
Thought: ESPN ALWAYS does this. Gives us a great idea, but the worst possible team (Raiders) to execute it.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Shuffling the Ipod
1. Can't Stop- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Why it's there: I just dig the bass line and the intensity of the track. It's a great workout song, though I must admit I've drawn curious looks while lip syncing it on the treadmill. It's my favorite RHCP song, I think because the idea of "can't stop" sums up how I feel about my work ethic. I didn't work hard enough ever in school, so I tell myself I can't afford to stop or slow down, because people are less forgiving when you're an adult than when you're a child. It's a reminder that it's part of who I am. It's not I shouldn't stop, or won't. I can't.

2. Addicted to Love- Robert Palmer
Why it's there: When did I realize I liked girls? The first time I saw a Robert Palmer video. I didn't care if it was satire; I didn't care what he was really saying. As a young, young kid, all I knew what that it was something hot. Even then, I knew the women in the videos weren't really playing the instruments. But I've always thought the song was great. A somewhat sad postscript came in 2003, when my AIM status read "I wish my life were a Robert Palmer video," I thought people would think it was funny. The next day I read on that he had died.

3. Heat of the Moment- Asia
Why it's there: Kind of a forgettable song for me, until 2005, when it was used in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Not sure why, but the song has stuck with me since, a reminder of why I do certain things that don't make sense.

4. Magic- The Cars
Why it's there: Not even my favorite Cars song (That's Just What I Needed), but it's catchy, and like most Cars songs, never untinteresting. Usually with songs like this, there's a phrase in the lyric that draws me in. Here, I just like the "Got a hold on you..." part, which brings a certain intensity that isn't there in the other parts of the song. Plus, this song isn't played on the radio all the time, so it's never a song I skip because I've heard it too much.

5. Blue Jean- David Bowie
Why it's there: One of my favorite Bowie songs, and one of my favorite songs, period. It's bouncy with a great vocal track, and the lyrics are some of the best I think Bowie has written for this type of song. "One day, I'm gonna write a poem in a letter/one day, I'm gonna get the faculty together." Plus, two interesting videos (one where a costumed Bowie is singing on stage while a business-man Bowie is in the audience trying to seduce a girl).


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Cleveland and the Browns
The Cleveland Browns haven't won a division title since when I was nine years old. Unless the Browns shock the world and win the AFC North in 2009, I will pass my 30th birthday without having seen another.

A friend asked me the other day how the Browns will continue to attract fans, having been bad for so long.

"Who would choose to be a Browns fan?" he asked.

It's a fair question. But when I walk around the Cleveland area now, I see more kids with Browns shirts and hats on than any other team combined. Most of these kids weren't even alive when the "old" Browns existed. There only sample of the Browns has been one of a predominantly losing franchise.

So why do people still love the Browns?

I can't speak for everyone, but for me, it never was a choice. I was born into it. My father watched Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly play. Later, when my mother was pregnant with me in 1979, he would go up on the roof and turn the TV antenna towards Toledo so he could watch blacked out Browns games.

It scared my mother, but it was simply forshadowing. Less than a decade later, I'd pace around our wood floor and scream at the TV.

My father is a Browns fan. My grandmother was a Browns fan. All my parents' friends are Browns fans. It was just assumed all of us kids would be Browns fans.

I never chose the Browns. I just knew they were my team. Yes, it helped that Cleveland was good from 1985-1989, flirting with the a Super Bowl appearance each year. But my friends and I stuck with them.

There was the 3-13 1990 season. The Bernie Kosar release in 1993. The move.

Now a new generation is growing up with the Brown and Orange. They weren't around for Jim Brown, Brian Sipe, Ozzie Newsome and Eric Turner. They have seen a battered expansion team for more than a decade.

But they resist the temptation to cheer for Pittsburgh, Dallas or New England. Not all, of course, but most.

There is no other choice for them, because there is no choice. Cleveland and most of Ohio is full of families that have passed down a love for the Browns from generation to generation.

I worry about the future of the Browns. But I never lose faith in Browns fans, who keep coming despite bad football and a worse (maybe) economy.

Maybe it's that misery loves company. Or maybe it's just family. No matter how strained things get, the door (which I guess has CLEVELAND on it) can never be shut.