So, what's the deal with Jeff Faine?
The Browns center continues to be the subject of news stories which focus on the importance of the his upcoming season.
After seeing every Browns first-round draft pick from 1999 through 2004 underperform (or not even appear) on the field, it seems there's a sense of waiting for the team's 2003 selection to fail. The center's size and comments from outgoing offensive line coach Larry Zierlein late in the 2004 season didn't help things.
The Akron Beacon-Journal's Pat McManamon keeps the focus on Faine today, as the center responds to Zierlein's comments and discusses the upcoming season. It's a nice overview for folks who want to follow what may be a continuing story in 2005. The Canton Repository's Steve Doerschuck also talks about Faine, bringing up the fact that Faine (in his third year), is now snapping to his fifth starting quarterback.
I'm fine with all this, except that McManamon mentions in his article on Faine that Butch Davis' offensive coaches preferred Eric Steinbach over Faine during the 2003 draft. This dredges up bad memories.
Drafting Jeff Faine is one of those decisions in the Davis era that I still brood about sometimes. It's not a real problem, like the federal deficit or determining the chemical composition of a Shamrock Shake, but it still rankles me a bit.
The gang here was pretty confident from what we heard inside the organization - and, well, our own common sense - that OT/OG Steinbach was going be the choice. After all, the Browns had drafted a center the year before.
Butch Davis, it seemed to me, continually kept trying to out-wit everyone including his own coaching staff. The Browns wound up selecting a player from Notre Dame who the team barely seemed to scout before the draft. It was a confusing moment.
Phil Savage, on the other hand, is someone we've referred to as a "Football 101" guy. He seems to listen to his scouting staff and make decisions that click with well-informed fans. For example, our article the other night covered why the team's go-slow approach on Peter Boulware makes sense.
Given that not many expect a basketful of wins this season, maybe the team's marketing angle for 2005 should be "We Don't Require Brain Injuries to Make Sense of What We Do" or "Cleveland Browns: Now 60% More Comprehendible!".
SOME RANDOM TIDBITS FROM WIRELAND: The Dayton Daily News has been doing a very nice job of covering mini-camp. Sean McClelland offers a look at a player who isn't on most fans' radars: DB Charles Byrd. Sean McClelland covers Byrd's background, the reasons behind the team's interest, and the difficult adjustment from Morehead State to mini-camp at the pro level. Also from McClelland today: a look at Crennel's response to dire forecasts from early NFL pre-season guides.
OUTLAWING NITWITTIAN BEHAVIOR: In a risky political move which may result in backlash from the poorly-behaved-drunk constituency, the Ohio legislature is taking on goofballs who think it's cool to get on TV cameras and, well, act like goofballs. The bill proposes making "criminal trespass on a place of public amusement", i.e., running around on the field like an idiot, a first-degree misdemeanor instead of a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
We well-behaved drunks have never been fond of the poorly-behaved drunks, who chose to cause public chaos rather than simply going home and updating their websites. We don't find any excuse, however, for public servants mocking a bunch local sports teams, as they do in this article. They should just be mocking the Bengals, like the rest of us do.
LAST, LEAST, AND DESERVEDLY SO: As we enter this desolate stretch for Browns news, we're re-assured by CBS Sportsline that John Madden will be taking his act to another network this year. The coach-turned-color-commentator will be calling games for NBC when it takes over the Sunday night telecasts. Fortunately, it looks like Monday night games will be handled by ESPN's Ratbird-lovin' gang of doofuses who irritated so many Browns fans with their call of the Browns-Ratbird game last season. Gee, um, that will be great. Yeah.