Doc Gonzo: Sense and Nonsense

Gonzo takes a look at common sense arriving in Cleveland, and it's impact on the lo<br><br><I>Views expressed by fan commentators may not necessarily reflect those of Bernie Kosar or the staff of Bernie's Insiders</I>

Brian Billick is muttering insane nonsense to anyone who'll listen these days, and his unnatural rage brings pure joy to my heart.

Any time that babbling jackanapes is out of sorts, it must mean the forces of Good are on the march somewhere in the world. The man is an effete pillar of salt.

I've been holding back on writing about Billick's latest embarrassing outburst because everyone else has been piling on his moldering corpse. But then I said to myself, Why not? It seems like the right thing to do. He's an evil dunce working for an illegitimate franchise in the sleaziest city in America. Whatever foul luck befalls him is his own rich reward. The vultures have come home to roost, and the raven -- a gutless bird with no redeeming value in the food chain -- is no match.

It seems the swashbuckling young Phil Savage has been pillaging the Ravens' roster of the few players without criminal convictions, and that has Baltimore's addled management making all sorts of staggering blunders and bleating wild lies to the media. Clearly, it's team spinning out of control and on the brink of a shameful plunge to the basement of the AFC North. Yet any franchise that aggressively coddles dope-fiends and murderers and other assorted thugs isn't a team with which to trifle. They are Dangerous People and they must be treated accordingly. Preferably with Tasers and lethal chemicals.

Billick has no soul so it's no surprise to hear the mendacity he spews. He reminds me of someone that ritualistically abuses small animals, kicks children and snarls at old people. He probably does nothing of the sort, but the man is a horrible caricature of a human being.

The fans are guilty by association. They're a shameful mob of brainless thugs and perverts who engage in disgusting, degenerate self-abuse every Sunday that stains the image of the NFL.

The sooner the league comes to its collective senses and disbands this illegal franchise, the quicker our national healing can begin. As long as the Ravens continue to pollute the league with their existence, there will be something sinister and troubling about the NFL, like looking at a family portrait and seeing Pol Pot in the back row with his arm around Aunt Betty.

In the meantime, the pure genius of Phil Savage threatens to mellow my congenital pessimism. His hiring has been an injection of common sense into the Browns. Regardless of what happens in 2005, the man has made the ATTEMPT to fix the obvious problems with the team. Unlike his predecessors, he made aggressive moves to bolster the offensive line and add depth.

Merely acknowledging there are problems is a tremendous first step. While Butch Davis is sunning himself in some redneck trailer park, Savage and new coach Romeo Crennel are suturing the wounds inflicted by six years of criminal neglect. They're traded or released or disavowed the talentless hacks and other dilettantes Davis hired in his crude hillbilly wisdom.

Clearly, Savage is going to bludgeon the Cleveland Browns into respectability, the exact tonic this aimless franchise, six years adrift on a sea of embarrassing defeat, requires. Players who don't fit the mold will be jettisoned without fretting over empty notions like loyalty. There is no place for loyalty in the National Football League. There is no substitute for victory, and Savage appears willing to live up to his surname in order to assemble a team that will butcher the opposition.

And in the bottom of our hearts, that's all we want. Win, and all else is forgiven. If it takes coldly releasing William Green and his mounds of sob-story press clippings about dead parents, or Courtney Browns and his pathetic Nice Guy persona, so be it. Life in the NFL is a risk-reward proposition, and Willie nor Courtney appear to be a vital part of the new machine in Cleveland. Savage has shown the calculating hand it takes to scalpel atavistic notions like loyalty in favor of the icy heart that consistent winning will demand. The New Model NFL Team requires parts working together fluidly and a willingness to replace them without hesitation.

As they say, there are only the quick and the dead in this league. And for six seasons the Cleveland Browns have been staggeringly slow -- and dead. But there are real signs that the mood has changed and victory is not far off. Maybe not today, but it's coming. An injection of aggressive common sense and ruthless personnel-acquisition and management are the answers to the question that has haunted our winter dream for six long seasons: How do the Browns assemble a team that reminds us of the Old Days.

Let us pray these are the correct answers because those Old Days continue to recede farther into the past, and no amount of beating against the current will bring them back. Being a perennial loser is a hard label to bust.

Just ask Brian Billick.

Former Ohio newspaper reporter and editor Bill Shea writes the Doc Gonzo column for Bernies Insiders each Thursday during the season. He is currently developing new ways to libel Brian Billick and the entire Baltimore Ravens organization. To send suggestions or comments or checks, write to Mistah Shea at

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