Tales from a Notebook

John Taylor's scribbles madly at his notebook while watching the Browns get run over by the Bengals. Here are the results...

---How much longer are fans going to be forced to watch this stuff on the field that's being passed off as football?  Better yet, how much longer are fans going to allow themselves to be forced to watch?  Judging by the inordinate number of neighbors deciding to do yard work yesterday instead of watching their beloved Browns, the answer seems to be the Jerry Glanville definition of the NFL: "not for long".  Slowly but surely, the anger is turning to apathy.  THAT should scare the living hell out of everyone from Randy Lerner on down to the lowliest of regional scouts.

---This team has no identity, no singular thing that it does well.  They are the dictatees, instead of the dictators, on both sides of the ball.  They are the hen-pecked husband, not only allowing the wife to wear the pants but the entire suit.  They sit at home with the kids slaving over a hot stove while the better half is out smoking cigars and getting lap dances.

---As I watched this game, one thought kept running through my head: "thank goodness for the soothing power of beer."  That, and "this team could be epically and historically bad."

---Ralph Brown needs to be gone.  Not tomorrow, not even right now.  He needs to be gone the day before yesterday.  He is to cornerbacks what France is to national defense.

---The Browns start the season 0-2—in embarrassing fashion—and get the pleasure of facing the smothering, stifling defense of the red-hot 2-0 Ravens at home.  Cool.  Think things could get ugly out there on the Cleveland Browns Stadium turf?  What about in the stands?  In the Muni Lot?

---If there is one player on offense who should never, ever be taken off the field, it's Kellen Winslow.  Yet, on at least four occasions by my first-view recollection, the tight end was on the sidelines when the Browns went to the three-wide, two-back set.  The question is: Why?  Why was Josh Cribbs the third WR, when he's still learning the position and there has been a copious amount of discussion regarding the splitting out of Winslow in certain situations.  Why isn't third down one of those certain situations?

---Speaking of Winslow and the asinine third-down substitution pattern, anybody catch him seemingly getting lippy with Romeo Crennel during one of those situations?  If this season continues down the road that it seems to be headed on, they are going to, at some point, run smack into the flow created by an erupting Mount St. Winslow.  You can already see it smoldering just above the ice caps and through the wisps of clouds.  It's only a matter of time before the top blows off.

---When the Browns ran Reuben Droughns on the first five plays of the game, did you get the feeling that Maurice Carthon was giving the finger to both Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel for their comments earlier in the week about abandoning the running game too soon?

---Mr. Carthon, Sister Prejean called and had this message for you: "Look at you, Maurice.  Death is looking down your neck, and you're playing you're little male come-on games."

---Way to go for the throat following the turnover inside the Bengals' 15-yard line.  You seemed more than willing to lop off your head to spite not only your nose but the rest of your body as well. 

---That could also be construed as playing not to lose instead of playing to win.  You have to grow a football pair at some point.  Stop coordinating like a eunuch.

---That being said, somebody call Susan Sarandon ‘cause we have us a dead man coaching.

---Attention Romeo and Maurice: "The Ghost" nickname for rookie running back Jerome Harrison is figurative and is not meant to be taken literally.  One of the few bright spots of a miserable pre-season has been turned into nothing more than a living, breathing apparition.  My head and neck area literally hurts from shaking it so much at some of the game-day decisions made by this coaching staff.

---And, no, Harrison is not the answer to the offensive woes.  He could, though, be part of the equation that eventually leads to the solution.  He's been described as a "change-of-pace" back by Crennel.  If there is an offense that's in dire need of a change of pace, change of direction, change of anything, it's this one.

---That was a great hit Brian Russell put on Chad Johnson late in the fourth quarter trailing 34-10.  It was really cool playing make believe that the receiver's Mohawked dome rolling across the field actually mattered.  The question is: where was that aggressiveness in the first quarter, when the Bengals were rolling you over like a young piece of fresh "Prison Break" meat?

---Screw Holyfield, Leigh Bodden is the real deal.  He's one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal start to the 2006 season.  When he was manned up on Johnson, the corner virtually shut the Pro Bowl receiver down.  It's just a shame that he's stuck in the vortex of a perpetual suck cyclone.

---Kudos to the offensive line for bouncing back from a shaky first game and providing Charlie Frye with ample time to be indecisive. That extra time also allowed Frye to hit open receivers when he could actually spot them only to see the ball clang off their mitts.  So, big ups to the offensive line.

---I'm not going to make excuses for Gary Baxter.  Yes, he got lit up by felon-in-training Chris Henry for the better part of the afternoon yesterday.  But, he's not close to being 100% recovered from the strained pectoral muscle he suffered in the first pre-season game.  That's no excuse, it's simply a fact.

---By the way, did you read the above, Daylon?  He's playing hurt.  What a concept.

---I could've sworn that, in a 3-4 defense, there were two inside linebackers on the field on most occasions.  I must be mistaken, because there certainly weren't any on the field when the Browns were on defense.  Time to get out the "Football For Dummies" handbook again and brush up on my defensive schemes, I guess.

---Yes, the Browns had four sacks after being sackless Thin the season-opener, but it seemed like, on too many occasions, Carson Palmer had time to not only continue rehabbing his knee but also take up the pedestrian hobby of crocheting.  And that was with two starters on the Bengals' offensive line being out for most of the game due to injury and a third moved from his natural guard position over to left tackle.  This team needs to find a way to put consistent pressure on the QB to avoid further exposure of the suspect cornerback position.

---Just thinking out loud here, but when will at least a portion of the hot light of scrutiny currently shining—deservedly so—on Carthon cast at least a shadow on WR coach Terry Robiskie?  Dropped passes by seemingly talented receivers has plagued this organization since their return in 1999.  This is Robiskie's sixth season on the staff, and he's entering his fifth season as the WR coach.  Year after year, more balls drop than in a seventh-grade all-boys school home-room class.  And it's not like Robiskie has a plate full of Frisman's and Rideau's to coach up, either.  He's had a plethora of current or former first-day draft picks at the table, so the God-given talent is there at his disposal.  And yet, the results don't change.  

---What's the date of next April's draft again?  Time to start working on the value chart.

The OBR Top Stories