What has Brown done for you? Not much.

Doc Gonzo returns with this missive from a darkened hotel room somewhere in downtown Cleveland...

Got desperation?

Let's hope the Browns do. Because this season is teetering on the brink of catastrophe. A loss today to The Illegitimate Entity™ drives a spike through the heart of any hidden hopes we had that this franchise might sneak into the playoffs. And you can bet Cleveland Browns Stadium will be less than filled for future games if the team falls to 0-3.

Why bother to come out? We can stay home and watch tapes of the past seven seasons to witness untimely penalties, botched plays, baffling playcalling, sloppy execution, zero mental discipline, fumbles, interceptions, drops, critical injuries, wasted draft picks, underwhelming play by high-priced free agents, zero ability to stop the run and weak, untalented offensive lines.

Thus far in 2006, we've seen the Browns regress to the worst of the past seven years. The ghosts of Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Dwight Clark and Carmen Policy have not been exorcised.

Let's face it: This franchise is stuck in perpetual rebuilding mode. The star-crossed Browns spent a ton of money in free agency this year, enough to get noticed by the national media, and the net result thus far has been two embarrassing losses. Of course, the biggest free agent was lost on the first play of training camp.


I don't know about you, but I'm tired of losing. I'm tired of me having to whine in print about losing. There's nothing new to say. We've been telling this story since 1999. Only the names change. Hell, there's an entire generation of kids today that have never known the Browns to be anything but a franchise mired in mediocrity and failure. Names like Bernie Kosar, Ozzie Newsome, Brian Sipe and Dave Logan to teens today are nearly meaningless.

We know what's going to happen today. The Illegitimate Entity™ brings a defense that should have begun to slide, but hasn't, and it will overwhelm Cleveland's frail offensive line. The Browns will try to run the ball, and the holes won't be there. Charlie Frye will throw passes that will either be dropped or intercepted when it matters most.

The defense won't pressure Steve McNair, and won't be able to stop the run. Ralph Brown will burst into flames by halftime.

Sigh. How many times have we read that storyline? Kinda makes you want to eat a bag of broccoli.

That said, we'll come to the stadium, or watch at home. Lemming-like, Browns fans return each fall filled with hope when reality says there's very little reason for any optimism. That's either of sign of frightening zealotry or an indicator of pathetic devotion to a lost cause. Are the Browns the Whig Party of the NFL?

I am at a loss to explain how this team managed to spend in the off-season like a sailor in a whorehouse, and turn out the product it has. The team seems to have regressed. It's just bad.

Many times I've made the argument that fans have a right expect a return on their investment, an investment of money, time and emotion. We're shareholders in the Cleveland Browns legacy, and those entrusted with our precious commodity don't appear to have done enough to build upon that legacy. Why not? Are we that snake bit?

Patience. It's preached by many when it comes to this team. Maybe the Browns will rebound today and eviscerate The Illegitimate Entity™ and renew our optimism. Making Ray Lewis and his fellow thugs and convicts look silly would go a long way toward rebuilding the trust that's been strained so far this season.

Lose, and the ships will start to leave this sinking rat.


Former Ohio newspaper editor and reporter Bill Shea has written the Doc Gonzo column each week for The Orange and Brown Report for six years. In fact, it feels like he's been writing the exact same column for six seasons. You can learn more about his, frankly, disturbing life at www.myspace.com/neocongonzo or e-mail his at docgonzo19@aol.com.

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