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Passan: The Lowest Point?

Long-time Cleveland sportswriter Rich Passan has seen a lot of Browns football, but none as bad as this. Rich offers his thoughts on last Sunday's debacle against the Bills and what he has seen out of interim head coach Terry Robiskie. Talk to Rich in the <A HREF="">Ask the Insiders</A> forum!

The ghosts of Cleveland Browns past looked down in total disbelief.

They shook their heads in abject bewilderment.

Then they wept. Sadly. Silently.

Paul Brown, Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Blanton Collier, Bill Willis, Lou Groza. Some of the great players who helped make the Cleveland Browns the Greatest Show in Football.

What they witnessed Sunday in Buffalo was a disgrace to the great name of the Cleveland Browns. The Bills stomped all over that name in the 37-7 blowout that wasn't nearly as close as the final indicates.

In what clearly was the low point of not only this season, but arguably the glorious history of what used to be the great Cleveland Browns, this season's edition wrote a chapter that will never – and should never – be forgotten.

The nadir is no longer in sight. It has been reached in spectacular fashion.

Fifty-one total feet of offense and seven gift points. And for that, these 53 strong and hearty men will draw fat paychecks.

To say the Browns impersonated a football team against the Bills would be an insult to impersonators.

They were inept to the nth degree. They gave the word a whole new meaning.

This woeful excuse for a football team owes its fans an apology for that so-called performance against the Bills. So do owner Randy Lerner and his management team.

It wasn't so bad that the Browns lost to the Bills. It was the manner in which they lost.

They did not compete. It was, as interim coach Terry Robiskie said after the game, "men against boys." The only thing missing was a white flag.

It was 1999 and 2000 all over again, only worse. At least those expansion teams had a competitive streak. They weren't abundantly talented, but at least they competed.

Just when you wonder how low the Browns can go this season, they go out and demonstrate with a disgraceful game like Sunday's. It's scary to think what the last three games of the season are going to be like.

No one, from Lerner on down, could have predicted the Browns would lose out after splitting their first six games of the season. But that's exactly where they are headed.

It was not a fair fight Sunday. Fighting an unarmed opponent is never fair. The bully bullied the little guy. Kicked grass in his face. Embarrassed him at every turn.

Robiskie, on shaky ground as it is, looked like a defeated man on the sidelines. After the game, he sounded like one, too.

After acknowledging his men "have a lot of heart, a lot of desire," he labeled the Cleveland Browns "a beat group – coaches, players, front office. We are a beat group. We are. We are a whipped group."

Let that sink in. Deeply.

Honest, yes. Brutally. Stupidly.

A head coach – interim or otherwise – who talks like that has no business being the head coach.

No coach should talk like that about his team publicly, no matter what the circumstances. Sometimes, what you don't say can go a long way in getting a point across.

You just keep your mouth shut, bite your tongue and move on.

You never heard Butch Davis talk like that about his team. As bad as it got sometimes, and as much as he might have wanted to, Davis never delivered such a harsh indictment on his team.

He was smart enough to rein it in. Deal with it privately. Let the media speculate all it wanted. To his credit, Davis kept his lips zipped.

Even though the players like and respect Robiskie, they have to question him when he talks like that. Unless, of course, they are sycophants and believe anything he says.

Robiskie even went so far as to say he's not certain the Browns can win another game.


Anyone need tickets for Sunday's game against San Diego at Browns Stadium? How many brown paper bags will show up disguised as fans for that one?

Robiskie, well intentioned as he might be, is not the kind of guy you want leading your football team. If you're a player and hear your coach talking like that, what would you think?

He said he has the players' backs. Whether they have his is another matter. Doesn't look like it.

Robiskie probably doesn't have much left up his coaching sleeve. He's tried just about everything. Words don't seem to work. Gimmicks don't work. Nothing works.

It has become apparent this team does not know how to win anymore. The big question is whether it wants to win.

If this collapse weren't so sad, it would be laughable. Laugh until you cry. Sadly. Silently.

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