Courtney Brown in his latest commentary. Reviewing the comments and questions made about the Browns #1 pick in 2000, Aardvark realizes that it's up to him to set the record straight."> Courtney Brown in his latest commentary. Reviewing the comments and questions made about the Browns #1 pick in 2000, Aardvark realizes that it's up to him to set the record straight.">

Courtney Brown: Answering My Own Questions

Aardvark ponders the enigma that is <A HREF="">Courtney Brown</A> in his latest commentary. Reviewing the comments and questions made about the Browns #1 pick in 2000, Aardvark realizes that it's up to him to set the record straight.

In the never-ending bloodletting over Courtney Brown and our expectations for him, I asked a few pertinent questions before taking off for vacation (and while I did have access to television in the middle of East Colostomy Bag, Missouri, I came in on the Packers game at 14-0. Dohh!!).

Upon my return, I saw these questions go unanswered. What a surprise. Okay, many of the questions were leading and had their own agenda displayed prominently on their sleeve, but they did go unanswered nonetheless.

This is par for the course in the Forum where scientists would discover a link between testosterone and hearing (i.e. the more posturing, the less one can hear another viewpoint). The Cooler seems the more suitable place to wash frilly laundry in public. Not that there's anything wrong with THAT... whatever, uh, THAT is.

So there's no point in sending a boy to do a man's job. If you want to have something done, do it yourself.

And I will... answer my own questions.

1) Did the Browns draft Courtney Brown for leadership? Did they expect him to be a firebrand among the troops?

Whoever would have drafted Courtney Brown would not have done so out of some belief that he would quickly establish himself as a vocal leader. One of Brown's many qualities is his work ethic, and it was believed that he wouldn't need prodding to get into shape or spend more time on the practice field or in the tape room. If anything, teams saw him as a good role model:  hard working, studious, mature, etc. , and that perhaps his stellar play could "lead by example."

But one can't seriously have thought that any teams expected this introvert to all of a sudden be backslapping teammates on the sidelines. No one envisioned him keeping things loose on the flight out with his dead-on impersonnations of Doctor Dre and Dick Cheney.

If the Browns didn't draft Courtney Brown, the Redskins might have, and if not, the Bengals surely would have. Whatever his overall contract-- be it $50 mill... 40... 30... teams would have expected a sack machine and a public relations gem: a soft spoken nice guy who would lead by example and not get pulled over for a "27" (9 pounds of weed in the trunk, a 9mm under the seat and a 9 year old girl on his lap). What teams, including the Browns, would not have expected is a rah rah leader.

Now whether BD would have picked CB, or if CB was the type of player we needed at the time is fair speculation. But were there expectations we were acquiring a born leader? Get real.

2) If a Pro Bowl selection is validation of a player's greatness, and THE gold standard by which to measure their worth... and if it is the bare minimum by which we would measure THE #1 pick in the draft... then why does that not seem to be a priority for fans vis a vis Tim Couch?

Maybe fans feel it simply takes longer for a quarterback to hit that level. Maybe it's more difficult for a QB since they're far more dependant upon supporting players. A great defensive end can make their presence felt on the worst of teams, but a qb is a bit more dependent upon a decent OL, running game, or some legit receivers.

2a) How come no one is pressing Warren to make the Pro Bowl this year, or else we'll be second guessing that pick?

The extent to which Warren has been questioned up to now is his work ethic in camp: he shows up a little heavy, doesn't go all out in practice or pre-season games, and apparently most fans are accepting of the rationale that he doesn't "bring it" until there's live ammo. What other rookies or second year players would get that kind of a dispensation? It sure wouldn't be Marcus Spriggs.

3) Why are the expectations for THE number one pick in the entire draft so much loftier than those for THE number three pick in the entire draft, or the number fifteenth pick?

Certainly we can expect more from a first rounder than a third rounder, or a top 10 pick more than a late first rounder. But let's face it, we're a bit out of skew on the proportions of our expectations. Much of it, I think, is tied to player contracts. Just as the signing bonus drops precipitously from the first pick to the second, third, and so on, so do some expectations. We normally expect a first rounder to start his rookie year, take off his second, and be pro-bowl caliber by the third (your mileage may vary). But we're not talking your typical first rounder here-- but a man armed with a $50 million contract. What could he possibly do to make us think he's worth all that? 

Of all the #1 picks in the NFL draft, how many put forth such sterling performances after their first year or two that the hometown fans thought they and their $40- 50 million contracts were truly worth it?

The NBA draft this isn't.

4) Why don't we hear the same dissatisfaction with Warren's play?

Sure, he came on late in the year, but we didn't see Courtney get benched in the middle of his rookie season. Because it's a little harder to judge the play of interior linemen? Or the answer is the next question...

5) If Warren hadn't rung Brunnell's bell with that one play, would we think differently of his overall play? Did it not earn him a certain notoriety with fans who therupon gave him a free pass for the rest of the year?

Cheap shot equals free pass. To some fans, "sending a message" turned that game in our favor. Wonder where Warren's lackluster play in the middle of last season helped turn other games in the other direction. It's a fair question with no easy answer.

6) At least one rookie defensive end probably had a better year than Courtney in his first year. Warren had at least TWO rookie DT's have better years (Seymour & Rogers). So why all this anxiety over Courtney but not Warren?

Because Warren is a big guy like many of us, so we don't put big expectations on him since we don't place them on ourselves. 

But Brown has astounding physical skills, much like the star who preceded him (Kearse) and who unfortunately raised the bar to a ridiculous extreme. We expect such a superb physical specimen to blow up everything in his path. When he doesn't do it from day one, we're disappointed.

7) Do we expect more from a $50 million player when he's injured than a sixth round draft pick who's injured?

Absolutely. Do you realize that Brown hasn't had a sack in more than eight months? I mean-- WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS GUY?

Couch, KJ, Cutt & Courtney: all had sophomore campaigns sunk by injury. KJ came back big. Couch came back to look encouraging in the first half before team injuries reduced him to a replay of his rookie year. Cutt has given us pause to consider why he was drafted in the first place, even if a slight reach. Courtney?

Gee, maybe Warren's influence has rubbed off on him and he's waiting for live ammo.

8) What take-no-prisoners badass still holds the Browns record for sacks in a season?

Bill Glass, a man who could separate qb from football with the best of them, then stand over them and utter an appropriate prayer on their behalf.

9) Who were arguably the Browns best defensive tackle

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