Are the Browns Good at the Bye?
The Browns are 1-2 at the early bye.
They looked like a 4-12 team in the home opener against Cincinnati. But the Bengals have made every team look silly in their first three games and started the season 3-0. Quarterback Carson Palmer looks like a big league passer and the defense is stellar.
Then the Browns went to Lambeau Field and were able to beat Brett Farve and the mystic with a solid performance. It should be noted that cornerback Gary Baxter returned to action and had a key interception in the end zone. But the Packers aren't the Packers of old, posting a 0-3 record to start the season.
Just before the bye the team went to the RCA Dome and held Peyton Manning and company to thirteen points. Indianapolis is 3-0, but it appears that defenses have caught up to the Colts high-powered offense.
So what can we expect from the Browns in the rest of the season?
That's a question that will be answered in the next five games.
The next five opponents are all teams that the Browns can beat.
The Bears have a good defense, but rookie quarterback Kyle Orton can't keep his counterparts off the field.
Billick and the hated Ravens are in the same boat as da Bears, good D but can't score.
Detroit is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde team. I think the Browns can beat whoever shows up at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 23.
The Texans are trying to find their way on both offense and defense. Hopefully they will remain lost, because Houston has some talented players.
The Titans haven't won a game on the road through the first three games. The Browns will play them in Cleveland. I'm banking on home field advantage here in a close contest.
The next five weeks will tell us if the Browns were good at the bye or is it good-bye 2005 Browns and wait till next year.
Winning is the Only Thing
After the Browns lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the opener I wrote, "The Browns faithful should not be patient. This team must make substantial progress each week resulting in wins along the way."
By recent quotes coming out of Berea it is evident the team feels the same way.
"Inside this locker room, the expectations aren't low," said tight end Steve Heiden.
Kicker Phil Dawson had this to say, "There are no moral victories. You can't really gain confidence and say. We hung with this team.' It's all about winning."
Head coach Romeo Crennel said. "I'm not going to come out and say how many I think we can win, but I expect us to win, and I want to win. We're going to coach to win, and we're going to try to get them to play to win. That's why we're in this game."
O Romeo, Romeo! Where were you in 99 thou Romeo?
Dilfer Plays to the End
A coach's job is to put the best team on the field every Sunday. He owes it to the players and the organization. That is why Trent Dilfer needs to start and finish every game, unless injured or the coaching staff feels he is not being effective.
Charlie Frye's day will come soon enough. But by starting him so that he has experience for next year sends the wrong message to the team.
This organization says, "It's all about winning."
It would be hypocritical for the coaching staff to treat regular season games as if they where preseason contests.
The Pepto Bismol Wonder
The Bengals gifted wide receiver Chad Johnson has a laminated poster in his locker listing the cornerback he will face each week of the season. After their names there are two boxes to be checked "yes or no," if the particular corner was able to cover the Pepto Bismol Wonder.
Johnson recently said in an interview that Mr. Baxter was not able to cover him in week one of the season. No kidding Dick Tracey, Browns cornerback Gary Baxter wasn't even dressed for the game. He was still recovering from a concussion suffered in the preseason.
It wouldn't surprise me if Johnson declares he can pick up messages from outer space on those gold teeth of his. Hopefully, Baxter will send him tumbling back to earth when they actually do meet December 11.
Nice Place to Visit
The RCA Dome is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. The fan's intensity has picked up since the last time I visited the enclosed stadium which will soon be imploding. I guess that is what winning can do to a lethargic dome dwelling species. The atmosphere was friendly and hospitable. Indianapolis sure isn't Pittsburgh and that's too bad for the Colts. I can't wait to get back home to the Dawg Pound where football is played in the elements and the fans have a bite.
I like the chemistry of this team. The offensive line dines together once a week. Trent Dilfer even paid the tab after he wasn't sacked and the Browns won in Green Bay. All three running backs Reuben Droughns, Lee Suggs and William Green have coexisted and have said all the right things in the media. Players aren't complaining about not getting enough time off during the bye week. Andra Davis even suggested that the team isn't going anywhere on their days off. They seem content to just hang out together.
What a change in attitude this is from previous years. This chemistry comes from the top down. Randy Lerner has treated everyone in the organization with respect. Phil Savage is a straight shooter. Romeo Crennel treats all his players equally showing no favoritism. If he says he will play the best guys, the best guys are on the field. But this chemistry couldn't be in place without players leading in the locker room. I am not a player and only they know who the leaders are. I do know this. The 2005 Browns are a team.