Let's start with spin. While fans in Pittsburgh, New England, Baltimore and other cities prepare to enter the playoffs, again, Browns fans are treated to this by DC Rob Ryan:
"Eric Mangini is a great coach and this team believes in him.'' He also said "good luck'' if they bring in a new defensive coordinator "because he ain't going to be better than me.''
I agree that both he and Eric Mangini are great coaches. They wouldn't be at the highest level of the football food chain if they weren't. Are they great NFL coaches? Hardly. Eric Mangini (so far) has a losing record (28-38 in 2 head coaching stops) with one playoff appearance.
Rob Ryan's defense is 22nd overall so far this year. So, to answer Mr. Ryan's question, there are 21 other DC's, based on the defensive performance of the team this year, that I think would be "better than him."
I salute Rob Ryan's loyalty but wish he would stop trying to sell his spin to me and the media. The team is what it is, a bottom feeder. His defense is what it is, a bottom feeder. I am not taking anything away from him and Eric Mangini as far as their overall careers go. It is pretty obvious that they are at the top of their profession by making it to the NFL to begin with.
However, DO NOT throw the word "great" in my face. DO NOT tell me that you are the best DC out there. You are not. The records prove that. By the way, if you look through the stats of Mr. Ryan, his defenses tend to be in the 20's, rather than the top 5. Consistent top 5 perfomance and you can sell me that you're one of the best. Make plenty of appearances in the 20's, including a 22 this year (so far) and I'm not buying it.
I'm beyond tired of hearing Browns coaches tell us fans that the team is just about to turn the corner or that we can't possibly see everything they're seeing on film. These quotes from Ryan remind me of when Butch Davis tried to get us to swallow that outside of 5 runs, Jamal Lewis was really contained that day he set the NFL record for rushing (since broken, of course, but that day he was the record holder).
You know what I see? A 5-9 team. Missing the playoffs. Again. Period. Stop trying to shove "great" down my throat. So far, you, Eric Mangini and the team ARE NOT.
Moving on from the usual late season spin we're usually treated to as fans this time of year, let's go back in time to 2008. Remember that wonderful time when the Steelers and Ravens were meeting in the AFC Championship game? Ok, it was 2009 when they met, but it was after the 2008 season. Who did you root for? Who COULD you root for? It was hell as a Browns fan. Both bad choices.
We have a similar bad choice this weekend. Lose to the Ravens and you deny the Steelers an automatic AFC North title and likely 1st round bye and have a chance to knock the Steelers down at home the next week. However, if that happens, then the Ravens are likely AFC North champs with a first round bye.
Can I have neither? It's all about, I guess, who would cause you to grind your teeth less at the end of the day. I personally want the Ravens to win over the Steelers. I cannot believe I just wrote that because I CAN'T STAND THE RAVENS but it's better than seeing all those Heinz Field Terrible Towels being waved as a rested Big Ben and Troy Polamalu take the field, after getting an extra week of siesta time because they didn't have to play the Browns in the last week of the season.
What a choice. What a typical season.
More Rob Ryan "did he just really say that" comments on the heels of another terrible campaign and we have to choose which of our most hated rivals we want to lose more. Can't have both! Choose either the Steelers or Ravens to go further in the playoffs.
If one of them makes it to the Super Bowl, I'm going to shut all sports media off until draft weekend 2011.
The only thing Browns fans have to look forward to. Again.