Browns-Bears: Tales from a Notebook

By now, the buzzing sensation is probably fading, as you shake off the after-effects of last night's mind-numbing exhibition game. But, the autopsy ain't over until WE say it's over. Got it?!? John Taylor looks back at the Browns final exhibition game, as only he can...

Here are a few random notebook thoughts and observations from last night's 20-7 loss to the Bears.

(With apologies to a certain Cleveland sports scribe, whose idea for a notebook I blatantly lifted while he was busy rolling over and fetching for Larry Dolan.)

---Let's just get this out of the way: even for an exhibition finale, that was embarrassing.  Head coach Romeo Crennel had every right to be disappointed and disgusted in his team's effort. And he was.

---When the company shill opens the pre-game montage by saying this is probably your last game in a Browns uniform—as Jim Donovan did in regard to Lee Suggs—that's not good.  And when the team's executive advisor, Jim Brown, lists the positives of Reuben Doughns, Jerome Harrison, William Green and… ummm… not you… when discuss the running back situation, guess what?  Clean out your locker.

---Oh yeah, not getting a carry for the second straight game doesn't help, either.

---In the four pre-season games, Charlie Frye was the quarterback for 13 possessions.  Seven ended in three-and-outs, one on a missed field goal, one on a fumble and one on an interception.  The first team offense totaled 14 first downs and 14 points in what amounted to a game plus one quarter's worth of work.

---Seeing the above stats, I'm just thankful that general manager Phil Savage and head coach Romeo Crennel saw fit to put a seasoned veteran behind Young Charlie.

---Just thinking out loud here, but you have a second-year QB with a mere five starts under his belt and he plays in a little bit more than one total game during the exhibition season?  I understand one of the goals of the pre-season was to keep Frye healthy, but, as I've said before, it doesn't do your team a whole helluva lot of good to have a healthy young QB standing next to you on the sidelines following yet another three-and-out.

---Both Sean Jones and D'Qwell Jackson bit on a Rex Grossman first-quarter play fake, which allowed tight end Desmond Clark to find a soft spot over the top middle of the Browns' defense and score the game's first touchdown.  Clark beat Jackson once again—courtesy of a Clark stutter step—later on in the quarter, this time splitting the seam on a third-and-eight for 25 yards and a first down.

---That first-quarter sequence was a microcosm of why Chaun Thompson is still in the running to see significant playing time—if not start—over Jackson.  The rookie linebacker has been beaten often on passing downs, particularly when play action is involved.  Jackson simply doesn't have the speed to overcome those kinds of mistakes.

---That being said, Thompson did not capitalize on the momentum gained from a solid performance in last Saturday's game.  He was consistently out of position, and late to the ball carriers when he was in position.  His struggles to learn a new position are noted, but so is his lack of ability to show any kind of consistency in his three-plus seasons in Cleveland.

---What can you say about Kamerion Wimbley other than mouthing a Dennis Eckersley-like "WOW"?  He's simply a freak.  Or, as Brian Brennan called him, Superman.

---The back-to-back QB pressures were impressive, as was running down and making the tackle on a wide receiver who had avoided the tackle of Pete Hunter.  But, perhaps the most impressive play of the game was the rookie running stride-for-stride with a receiver thirty yards down the field.  Like I said, he's an absolute freak.

---There is no reason why Wimbley should not be an every-down player right now.  Forget about it happening in two games, after the bye week, whenever.  The rookie needs to be on the field as much as possible right now.  Sorry, Matt Stewart, those are the breaks.

---Kyle Orton, Ron Jeremy called.  He wants his mustache back.  Or, as my girlfriend said: "Isn't Tom Selleck too old to be in the NFL?"

---With all due respect, Doug Dieken, the ball doesn't arrive late because Ken Dorsey winds up before he throws.  It arrives late because he has estrogen pulsing through his right arm.

---Dorsey did absolutely nothing to show he deserves to be the backup to Frye.  And Derek Anderson—outside of yet another drive in the two-minute offense—did absolutely nothing to prove that he deserves to leapfrog over Dorsey and into the #2 QB slot. 

---The only thing shown last night was A.) Dorsey does not belong on an NFL roster in any other capacity other than as an emergency #3 QB; B.) Anderson needs another year of clipboard holding as he struggled in his first action with a conventional offense against first- and second-teamers; and, C.) If Frye goes down, and another QB with experience AND talent is not added, you can slap a toe tag on the season and ship the corpse off to the morgue.

---Unless the Browns decide to keep six wide receivers, Frisman Jackson's sterling performance last night went for naught.  Josh Cribbs has locked down a spot based on both his kick return ability and his development as a receiver.  Travis Wilson is a third-round pick, and you simply don't give up on first-day picks after one training camp and four pre-season games.  Unless you're the Denver Broncos and Maurice Clarett is involved.

---When did Tony Grossi swipe Robin Williams' arms?

---Has anybody noticed that Ted Washington is huge and takes up a lot of space?  Or, as Bernie Kosar noted when Bears RB Thomas Jones ran headfirst into a pile that included Washington, he's a pile in himself.

---And how great were Kosar's thinly-veiled jabs at offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon's over-reliance on slant routes?  And his chiding of the OC for leaving Kellen Winslow in to block—yet again—on a third and six was spot on.  Forget his delivery; Kosar can drop some science on the offensive side of the ball. 

---Just a suggestion for our friendly neighborhood offensive coordinator:  green bananas would not be a wise purchase.  Just trying to help.

---I know you should never wish for a player to get injured, but did anyone breathe a sigh of relief and wistfully think to themselves "one down, only five to go" when cornerback Daven Holly tweaked his knee?  Yeah, me neither.

---For the first time this entire pre-season, the offensive line featured all five players who are expected to start in the regular-season opener against the Saints.  It was for one series—the first—and lasted all of three plays before ending with a Dave Zastudil punt.  Well, at least they got a sustained drive under their belt in order to begin the jelling process, so they have that going for them.  Which is good.

---Speaking of Zastudil, would anyone be surprised if his left leg just flew out of its socket on a late-season punt this year?  Sad part is, the leg would probably bounce in the end zone and be brought back to the twenty because of a touchback.

---One final thought on Suggs: was I the only one feeling a bit of sadness for the guy when the camera zoomed in on him and held the shot as he took his place as the up-back on kickoff returns?  Through all of the injuries and rescinded trade and no plays from scrimmage, the RB has been nothing but the epitome of class and grace.  Whether or not he deserves the perceived snub is not the point.  Football is, after all, a business.  The point is he can hold his head high and leave town—if that is indeed his destiny—with his dignity firmly intact.

---Just keep repeating to yourself "it was only an exhibition, it was only an exhibition, it was only an exhibition".  And drink heavily.  That'll help.

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