John Taylor's Pre-Game Twelve-Pack

Once again, John Taylor presents an always-refreshing and never-bitter way to continue your game-day preparation. Unless you're easily offended, in which case you'll feel neither refreshed nor not bitter. But that's just how he rolls.

Thoughts, notes and questions as the Cleveland Browns finish off a stretch of three straight home games against the Kansas City Chiefs.

(That's not three straight home games against the Chiefs. That's three straight home games played, with the Chiefs being the last of the three. Just wanted to set that record straight.)

  • Would it make me a complete Massengill to simply state that "the Browns must stop Larry Johnson in order to have any chance at a 'W' today" and just leave it at that? Since empirical data suggests both to indeed be the case either way, I will do just that.

  • Of course, the above would be a lot easier to accomplish if Orpheus Roye and Ethan Kelly were healthy and playing. Both will miss the game due to injury, with Kelly's being of the season-ending variety. That's like going into a gun/knife/hot poker fight with a Frenchman by your side.

  • I would also say that this is the beginning of a five-game stretch for Charlie Frye to begin to re-instill some hope in the coaching staff and the front office on his future as a viable starter, but I fear that the water is not only under the bridge, it's carried that span away. Frye will have some competition--with competition being defined as "someone other than Ken Dorsey"--next season, whether it comes in the form of a veteran free-agent or a high-round rookie. Or both. It was a mistake to go into the season with no viable option behind Frye. The Browns have come to that realization. That won't happen again.

  • Speaking of veteran QBs, could the source of Frye's 2007 competition be standing on the opposing sidelines this afternoon? Chiefs backup-turned-starter-turned backup Damon Huard will be a free agent at season's end and could be a mildly hot commodity given his performance in place of the injured Trent Green earlier in the season. Another plus in Huard's favor as he gets set to enter the open market? His handling of the "demotion" following Green's return to health. Nary a peep was heard out of Huard, even though the numbers he put up in Green's absence certainly made for a good case. His age--he'll turn 34 next July--could be a factor in setting his market value, as will the fact that, before throwing 241 times this season, he had attempted a grand total of two passes in the five seasons prior.

  • So, the game will be shown in high-definition this week? Really? Wow. How white of CBS to throw a small bone to fans of both teams. I should probably bow and shriek "We're not worthy!" or something right about now, I think.

  • The past and future of the tight end position will be on display at CBS today as the great Tony Gonzalez and the soon-to-be-great Kellen Winslow II take the field. During the week leading up to this game, Winslow claimed his "I'm the best TE in the NFL" rant in the run-up to the game against Antonio Gates and the Chargers was all in jest, that Gonzalez is actually the best at his position in the league. But this much is certain: Winslow will be at his best in attempting to impress someone he grew up respecting, while Gonzalez will be out to prove that he's not ready to give up his crown. And the winner in all of this? The fans of really good, quality football.

  • Just a thought in general on the state of the Browns eleven games into the 2006 season: I'm not really certain whether or not Romeo Crennel deserves to be fired. I am certain of one thing though. This '06 edition of the Cleveland Browns has more individual talent than any other squad since the return. Granted, that's like saying Tinky Winky is the least annoying Teletubbie, but it's the job of the coaching staff to transform whatever individual talent is at hand into a cohesive unit. And who's ultimately responsible for the coaching staff? Well, his name rhymes with "Romeo Crennel".

  • I can't help but look at some of the young talent on the roster and think that general manager Phil Savage is onto something. That there is indeed hope for the future. Hope that hasn't been there for the past seven-plus seasons. You see Winslow and Wimbley and Jones and Pool and Jackson and Davis and Edwards and Bodden and Holly and Shaffer running around making plays on Sundays and think to yourself "there's somewhat of a foundation being built here." Then you look up the standings, see the 3-8 record and get pissed off all over again that the talent that is on a roster filled with holes is being squandered. And feel like a loss is just around every Sunday corner. It's great being a Browns fan, ain't it?

  • Watching Kelly Butler replace Ryan Tucker--he of the season-ending mental disorder--for the remainder of the season will be an interesting subplot to the rest of the year. Butler has actually been a little better than serviceable during his stints replacing Tucker this season. The Browns privately and quietly hold out hope that the immensely sized and talented right tackle can turn into a castoff gem that seemingly every quality offensive line contains. He'll have five games to audition for a serious look in 2007.

  • Why do I get the feeling that we'll be hearing the word "audition" a lot over these next 28 days? And why do I get the feeling that, given the audition tone this season has taken, that we'll still not see a lot of Jerome Harrison? And why will I still not be able to understand that whole situation? And why can't I stop asking myself questions? Why?

  • Willie McGinest: I understand that you are not 100% healthy and are getting up there in age, but your words of support for RAC will hold a lot more weight if you were actually producing on the field. Yes, you are second on the team in sacks--which is kind of like being first runner-up in the Miss West Virginia pageant--and you have a hand nearly filled with Super Bowl rings. But your words tend to ring hollow when you aren't making plays as expected on the field.

  • 147 days, 1 hours and 25 minutes until the 2007 NFL Draft. Please adjust your watches, and expectations, accordingly.

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