Is the Rust Gone?
The Browns have had four exhibition games to shake off the rust and become a well-oiled machine. Has Romeo Crennel used enough elbow grease to remove those nasty reddish brown spots from his team? Is the offensive engine purring like a fine sports car or chugging along like a broken down pick-up? Is the motor of the defense circulating all of its fluids efficiently or is it leaking like a sieve? We'll find out soon. The parts are in place for this year. The final roster is no longer a mystery, although some fine tuning will still take place. It is what it is and it's time to play some football. I for one can't wait.
My Rust is Gone
I too needed the preseason to shake off the rust. I first realized this when walking to the stadium for the first exhibition game against the Giants and one of Cleveland's finest whistled me for a false start. I stepped off the curb before getting the green light. I guess I was just eager to see the Browns hit players wearing a different uniform.
When entering Cleveland Brown Stadium I was hit with an illegal equipment infraction. Security would not let me bring in a cow bell or the six-pack of Bud. I'll have to buy baggier pants before the opener. Apparently last year's game day apparel is fitting a little snugger. Might have to rethink the sausage, chicken wings, pizza and beer diet? I went directly to the first beer vendor I spotted and ordered two brews. It took me a while to count the proper amount from the coins taken from my Browns Helmet Bank prior to the game. The fans behind me in line were shouting what would translate to illegal delay of game. I just want to know when was the signaling of this penalty changed to just extending the middle finger.
Instead of going to our seats in the upper Dawg Pound, Mrs. G and I thought we would attempt to watch the game in the lower level. We knew that many of the corporate types would not want to waste their time watching a preseason game in the rain which would leave many of the high-priced seats empty. We didn't think the Browns would mind if real fans would take advantage of the open space. Well we were wrong. The usher slapped us with an illegal shift penalty faster than Phil Savage showed the door to previous under achievers. We improved our technique by halftime and managed to watch the rest of the game from the lower level on the fifty-yard line behind the Browns' bench.
The vendor closer to our seats whistled me for a neutral zone violation when I attempted to pour my own beer. I was in fear that he would cheat me out of the last drop. With the prices at the stadium I wanted to make sure I got it all. I don't know what's worse? The way fans get gouged at the concession stands or the price they pay for gas get there. This one may be a tie.
During the first half Mrs. G gave me my first taunting penalty of the year for giving the "Dawg Pound" welcome to four Giants fans as they made their way up the steps. She proceeded to add on an unsportsmanlike conduct foul when I threw a peanut at them and warned me of disqualification.
We sit in the middle of the row. The fans on the very end handed me a yellow flag for excessive time outs on my fifth trip to the bathroom, one even suggested I look into cauterization by the opener. I'm open to any suggestion that will make me better on game day so I might give it a try.
I also found that I must improve my stamina. I was feeling dizzy and light headed after only four beers. I thought I was in mid-season shape with my performance at the NASCAR Allstate 400 in early August. But it was definitely something I still needed to work on.
So I hired Obnoxious Bob, a personal fan trainer, to get me ready for the season. We started with me pounding a six-pack in my abdomen. Then worked on controlling my bladder for three hours. At first I fidgeted like a little boy but by the end of the summer I was in full control.
Next we wanted to improve on how my voice carried. I started the exercise by yelling, "Defense!"
Obnoxious Bob got right in my face and shouted, "Is that all you got sissy boy? The Steeler fans are going to eat you alive."
He kept on me until I got it right. I knew I was there when a policeman knocked on my door late one Saturday night and warned me to keep the party down. At the time I was sitting in my recliner wearing only my Browns boxers and watching a tape of the Detroit game by myself? Mrs. G was in bed with pillows on her head trying to get some sleep. The officer poked his head in and took a quick look around before leaving shaking his head.
We had to call in two old friends Bud and Jack, to assist me with my stamina. When I was able to consume all they had to give with no ill effects, I told them they could go. But they insisted to stick around through Week 17. I didn't argue with them because I'll need to turn to them for support all season.
I know I am ready for the opener and the Browns are too. I recently spoke with Coach Crennel and he made this candid comment, "I guarantee we will win all of our home games and the fans will have plenty to cheer about this year. We will win the AFC North and the Super Bowl is in our grasp."
So what the conversation happened in a dream. It was real to me. Bring on the Bengals and let's get this party started.