Sorry The Owl was stuck in the barn last week. Some things just can't be helped. But man, oh man, there is a lot to catch up on.
Let's start with Butch Davis. The Owl's winged cousins, the buzzards, are circling Davis waiting for him to get axed by Randy Lerner, the Browns owner. You might think Davis would be up tight, snappish, ready to lash out at anyone that asks a difficult question.
You would be wrong.
For the last two weeks Davis has been as nice as Captain Kangaroo. He was loose before the game against the Ravens and he is loose this week. Now, we're not going to read a lot into this, but it is almost as though Davis has come to the conclusion he won't be around next season and is comfortable with that decision.
The Owl doesn't want Davis fired. It wouldn't be fair on his part to bail, and he isn't a quitter, so if he goes it would be because of Lerner. Lerner has the right to can Davis, but let's take a look at what that means.
Davis is the one committed to Jeff Garcia. He's the one that figures a two-headed running back will work and he's the one that used the first round draft pick on Kellen Winslow Jr. He's the one that has invested a ton of Lerner's cash in the defensive line that statistically is nothing special.
Finding a coach that likes what Davis has built won't be easy. The Owl says give Butch one more year. Now, if the Browns stink out the place for the next eight games, Randy has to say ‘See ya later, coach the Gators,' but if the Browns finish 7-9 bring Davis back.
You don't plug in head coaches in football the way you do a manager in baseball. This team needs some stability, something it has not had since the team came back in 1999. I mean, Sunday the Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers. Chuck Noll started coaching them in 1969 and did not stop until he retired in 1991. Bill Cowher took over in 1992 hand has been there since. That is two coaches in 36 years. You know who was coaching the Browns when Noll took over? It was Blanton Collier.
The Steelers have stability. The Browns could use some.
And another thing. The Owl wasn't too sure about Jeff Garcia in the beginning. Now, he wishes there were 53 players on the roster with Garcia's heart, passion and dedication. If there were, there would be no question about Davis' future.
Garcia ripped guards Kelvin Garmon and Melvin Fowler a new ear hole Wednesday for their stupid false start penalties against the Ravens. Garmon was flagged twice and Fowler once for jumping early. William Green got nailed, too.
Garmon is gone, on injured reserve with a serious knee injury. Fowler is still on the roster. Only God knows why. Probably because Garmon is hurt. Fowler has been a disappointment for three years. We would say he has been a stiff for three years, but that is unkind. Oops.
"It's about discipline," Garcia said. "It's about attention to detail. All week long we work on a silent snap count that's utilized where the crowd noise does have an affect. For the guard, there is no excuse because they can hear whatever word I have to say to start that silent snap count.
"That starts when you start playing football at the elementary school level. That is worked on every day in practice so when it comes to game time you don't have those mistakes. We have to continue to emphasize it in practice. The coaches can't take it lightly and look at it as ‘Oh well, we made a mistake.' It has to be harped upon and drilled into every one of these players."
The Browns have already been called for 15 false start penalties. That is ridiculous. It isn't like Garcia has a squeaky voice. He bellows when he calls signals.
Garcia is probably having bad dreams this week. He is going to be in second-and-long and third-and-long a bunch of times if his linemen get jumpy. And then the Pittsburgh mighty blitz will bury him.
Sunday could be a long, cold afternoon.