A Warning Shot Across the Bow
Any Browns fan visiting this site already knows the situation with the Browns and their draft picks.
The team has been close to signing several picks since the weekend, but no signings have been made as of Thursday morning. Butch Davis' frustration with the situation showed up in remarks to the press yesterday when he a began placing pressure on draft picks to sign while also explaining the club's point of view.
At one point Davis issued a veiled threat: "We're going to have a hell of a football team if these guys don't sign. We've got some guys that I'm anxious to coach and nothing's going to slow this team down."
The local press, including BerniesInsiders.com, has largely refrained from blasting away at the Browns for the situation, and has dutifully reported the team's rationale for failing to sign the picks, which focuses on slow rates of signing around the league.
The national press, which doesn't work with the team on a daily basis, is less generous. In a front page article in Thursday's sports section of USA Today, the first opportunity to point fingers is not given to the team, but rather to one of the player's agents.
Ben Dogra, agent for first round pick Jeff Faine is given the first shot, telling McPaper: "If every guy with Cleveland was signed except Jeff, I might be more concerned. They've got not one single guy done. To me, that's on the club. They'll figure it out."
The Browns are undoubtedly used to harsh coverage at the national level following 2001's "Bottlegate" against Jacksonville and last year's episode with Dwayne Rudd. If the drought of signings continues for another couple of days, the Browns will likely be victimized by more.
The Browns have always had a reputation of being fair, if not generous, with contracts for draft picks. The Lerner family has been more lavish than stingy in attempting to develop the team.
These facts will mean little if national outlets feel that a story, or even (in some cases) the opportunity to take potshots at Cleveland, has presented itself. Regardless of the cause, the Browns now find themselves as one of the few teams in the league that has failed to sign a single pick, and also one of the teams with an early training camp.
The USA Today fired the first volley. If the logjam doesn't break in the next 36 hours, more will follow.
It's Courtney Brown Day
Browns fans who follow multiple local papers will notice a similarity in their coverage. Like yesterday's exhaustive coverage of Qasim Mitchell, many outlets have reports on Courtney Brown today.
The absence of signings and draft picks on the field gives the local beat reporters less to focus on, but Brown's availability to the press is also a major reason for the spate of stories. Courtney has rarely made himself available to the press over the last several years. His willingness to talk yesterday was unusual, and the reason that many outlets, starting with yesterday's commentary from The Owl, chose to cover the Courtney Brown story.
After being unable to attend camp on Tuesday and Wednesday due to a huge story called "Ben Curtis" in his neck of the woods, Dave Carducci will be at camp today and will be in our Browns Uncensored chat room tonight. Fans who want to talk more about some of the other players can quiz Dave about what he saw during tonight's chat.