John Taylor's Pre-Game 12-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, questions and suggestions as the Cleveland Browns head into The Land of the Rat for yet another tough (unwinnable?) AFC North showdown.

  • It's that time of the year once again, when a young Browns fan's fancy turns to draft position. No offense, but take that line of thinking and shove it up your Kiper. This team, this organization needs a win. Especially against an AFC North rival on the road. Especially against the "old" Browns, who have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs well within their reach. An upset loss today would make the road that much harder to travel. While a win wouldn't completely wash away the acrid taste of yet another lost season, it would help this year's performance go down a little smoother. Right? Right? Yeah, I didn't think so either, but it sounded good on paper.

  • I'm going to need beer today. Lots and lots of beer. And perhaps some of the finest herbal remedies that money can buy. And a credit card. Chop, chop, chop!

  • Derek Anderson will make his second NFL start against arguably the best defense in the entire league. The very same defense that treated Charlie Frye like a new millennium Reginald Denny, only with less regard for his safety and well being. Anderson is a young man with a wife and family and people that care about him. If he's still breathing and has all of his limbs/major organs in place when the final gun sounds, it will be a positive development.

  • A quality game from Anderson won't mean that he's the answer at the quarterback position. Likewise, a poor showing won't mean that he has no future in the league. However his performance pans out today, though, only one thing will remain certain: there needs to be competition for the starting job next training camp, and a competition that includes a veteran whose name in no way, shape or form resembles "Ken Dorsey".

  • Just a thought: What if Anderson isn't treated like a dog in a country music song, though? What if he does what he's done over the course of the last six quarters: goes through his reads and progressions quickly and professionally, steps up in the pocket, and gets rid of the ball before the rush can wash over him? Given how Frye was treated in the first Baltimore game, it would be more of an indictment on the kid from Willard than anything else. But it still won't change the need for a veteran in the off-season.

  • Despite the very public support of general manager Phil Savage, Romeo Crennel is far from a sure bet to return in 2007. Yet another blowout loss in embarrassing fashion to a divisional foe would make it very difficult for owner Randy Lerner to continue on the course Savage has suggested and publicly lobbied for. If the players indeed like and respect Crennel as much as they claim, they can't bend over and take it in the south from the north. Again. Otherwise, they could be facing the very thing they want to avoid.

  • Why not rip a page out of Jim Tressel's game plan vs. Michigan and spread the Ravens out? What would being ballsy hurt at this point in the season? The Browns, no matter how dedicated they are, will not run on this team from their "traditional" offense. They won't. And attempting to establish the run out of the base offense is akin to stabbing yourself in the eye repeatedly in an effort to get rid of an itch on your foot. It just doesn't make a whole helluva lot of sense. So, go with four wide and quick routes. Again, what could it hurt? Besides DA's internal organs, of course.

  • Two words for the wide receivers and running backs: hang onto the ******* ball when it's thrown to you. See ball, catch ball. Simple, basic and, most importantly, an absolute necessity. Hook a young quarterback brutha up, because he's going to need all the help he can get.

  • There are a multitude of reasons why I want the Browns to become successful. It's a lot easier to cover a team that's winning consistently, I've been a fan for 38 years, it would shut Steeler fan the hell up, etc. However, quickly streaking toward Number One with a bullet is the following: The days of Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcot as the team's "broadcasting" duo would be nothing but a distant and ear-piercingly-bad memory. There's bad, there's Shannon Sharpe, then there's those two. Dayum.

  • Kellen Winslow is hurting. More so than he's willing to let on. The Browns have done everything in their power to rest him during the week, but the effects of two major injuries the past two years are beginning to wear on him. That being said, can the appearance of one of the best tight ends in the game--the Ravens' Todd Heap--put a little bit of spring back into Winslow's step? It didn't work two weeks ago against Tony Gonzalez and the Chiefs, save for one long catch in the overtime win, so we'll have to see come 1:00 today.

  • Just be careful in Baltimore, Browns. No, not necessarily of the Ravens themselves. Rather, be wary of the STDs in that city, diseases which float around that festering cesspool of a metropolis like confetti in a ticker-tape parade. You get out of there without any sores or itching, consider it a victory.

  • On a future related note: Just say no to Ted Ginn Jr. in Brown & Orange. He is to NFL football what Pam Anderson is to breasts. The epitome of the word "bust". He may want to return home, but the Browns shouldn't reciprocate.

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