Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Fan commentator Rich Swerbinsky takes a lyrical turn in his latest column, a look at the Browns show-stopping opener...

It's been Ten Years Gone since the great fans of this city have been able to enjoy an opening day win from our beloved Cleveland Browns.  The Waiting Is The Hardest Part, and only made Sunday's pummeling of the criminal-laden and thoroughly unlikable division rival Ravens all the sweeter. 

It was an all-around dominating performance that left the villainous and overconfident Ratbirds in a Purple Haze.  The front four refused to let felon and accused Cocaine dealer Jamal Lewis Break On Through to the secondary, and on the rare occasions he did, he was instantly Thunderstruck by Andra, Holdman, and Griffith.  Kenard Lang gave Ravens backup left tackle Ethan Brooks a crash course on Life In The Fast Lane, repeatedly abusing him off the edge, and spearheading a pass rush that had Akili Boller Paranoid all afternoon.  Anthony Henry played the Heartbreaker, displaying amazing athleticism and skill with a clutch interception to start the fourth quarter that helped seal the deal, and had reputed egomaniac Brian Billick saying, "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place."

After a pre-season that was filled with many a Communication Breakdown, and had many fans Comfortably Numb about the Browns 2004 prospects … many questions were answered in this vicious beating of a Ravens team that everyone thought would be Easy Money to Ramble On to the AFC North crown.  But one main question remains as we revel in the Satisfaction of this encouraging start to the season:  Is this team a contender?  Can Big Shot Butch Davis and Fortunate Son Randy Lerner lead the fans on a Magic Carpet Ride through the playoffs … or was week one merely an aberration against an overrated Crackmore team missing the best offensive lineman in football?

As I stated in my "Crystal Ball" piece from last week, this Browns team is a helluva lot better than anyone gave them credit for this pre-season.  I Won't Back Down from those predictions, and I feel a lot of the national pundits will be saying "I Should Have Known Better" by The End of the season.  This is not a perfect team, and I Won't Get Fooled Again by one decent half from an offensive line that looked shaky as ever early and was not addressed aggressively enough to appease me this off-season.  We must stay healthy up front, avoiding constant personnel Ch … Ch … Ch … Changes.  The unit must continue to gel as the season progresses, building symmetry and cohesion, and develop Good Vibrations and Instant Kharma amongst one another.  They must honor Garcia's requests to "Gimme Three Steps", and allow Willie and Suggs prove they were Born To Run. 

But as a whole, what I saw from Garcia, the special teams, and the defense had me Dancing In The Dark until After Midnight this past Sunday.  My prediction that this team would win the AFC North was More Than A Feeling, and I feel even more confident of that today.  I look at the next three games and tell myself the team must win at least two of them, to get it to 3-1 before the schedule toughens up.  We play at Dallas this week, then travel to play a very poor Giants team before The Boys Are Back In Town to face the Redskins in week four.  I believe three wins at the quarter pole is crucial, as the following five games include two with the Steelers, one against the scary-good looking Eagles, and what is sure to be A Hard Day's Night when we travel to Baltimore for a rematch with what is sure to be a seriously pissed off Ravens team at home on Sunday Night on ESPN.

This Browns team, as well as Butch Davis, is at a Crossroads.  You Can't Always Get What You Want, but Butch needs to deliver success to the anxious fan base sooner rather than later … as pressure is mounting in year four of his tenure here.  If Glory Days do not come soon for the Browns, Butch can Dream On about Stayin' Alive here in the Rock and Roll capital of the world.

Because in the end, the team we all love plays it's home games in a city that hasn't tasted success in forty years, and there's only one song we care about … and it's lyrics are below:

I've paid my dues
Time after time
I've done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes
I've made a few
I've had my share of sand
Kicked in my face
But I've come through

And we mean to go on and on and on and on

We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting
Till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions of the World

I've taken my bows
And my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune
And everything that goes with it
I thank you all
But it's been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise
I consider it a challenge before
The whole human race
And I ain't gonna lose

And we mean to go on and on and on and on

We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting
Till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions of the World

We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting
Till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions

Rich Swerbinsky
swerb@berniesinsiders.com


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