John Taylor's Pre-Game 12-Pack

Belly up to John's cyber bar for the first time in 2007. But bring your own beer. John doesn't share. That's just how he rolls.

    Thoughts, notes, questions and suggestions as the Browns pop the top on the unofficial start to their 2007 National Football League season. 

          Given that this is the first "preseason" game of the 2007 season, I'm giving serious consideration to drinking Bud Light for the first few series—possibly into the second quarter—then switching to Natural Light for the duration of the contest.  The former has had a good camp thus far and is the unquestioned starter, but the latter has been coming on lately and deserves some real-time reps.  I'm undecided right now as to the course I will take, so I may just flip a coin and be done with it.

    • First, there was the infamous "Bottlegate".  Then, the foul stench of "Collinsgate" that lingered longer than a CBS Kenny Chesney concert.  Now, we have… ummm… "Coin-Flipgate"?  I mean, c'mon people.  Is this really such an enormous deal that fans need to get their unmentionables all wadded up?  Provided both Derek Anderson and Charlie Frye get reps with the first-team offense versus Kansas City's starting defense, it really doesn't matter who opens the game under center.  It's the first fake game of the 2007 season.  To quote the great Sgt. Hulka, "lighten up, Francis's".  Or is that "Francii"? 
    • With the above being said, the plan to play Ken "Freakin'" Dorsey for the entire second half—save for a couple of handoffs from Brady Quinn—makes little sense.  Wait, check that.  It makes no sense.  Neither Frye nor Anderson have been head, shoulders or scalp above the other.  Both should be playing deep into the third quarter, with Dorsey—who will likely not even be on the roster for the start of the regular season—and Quinn mopping up against players who will be wearing brown shorts in the next couple of weeks as part future employer's dress code.
    • Besides the play of the two QBs, here's what I will be watching with a great deal of interest: can Brodney Pool take his quietly spectacular training camp play and translate it into "real" game success?  Pool has all of the tools to be both an above-average safety and the perfect complement to burgeoning Pro Bowler Sean Jones.  Being a second-round pick and entering his third season, it's time for him to make the leap from "prospect" to "player". 
    • What had been, at least on paper, a very solid NFL offensive line in the making has suddenly been reduced to a rookie, a journeyman, an unhappy player making a position change and two solid professionals.  My, how quickly times change, especially when the folks on Lou Groza Blvd. are brought into the equation.  Now, with Eric Steinbach out with an injury and Ryan Tucker suspended, what can the OL hope to gain from the preseason slate of games?  Avoid injuries and hope that Steinbach comes back sooner rather than later.  The free-agent acquisition is a critical component in Joe Thomas' development and, with no offense intended toward Lennie Friedman, the rookie needs a veteran like Steinbach next to him, especially during the AFC North Death March to start the season.
    • Jamal Lewis, your quest for one last big-money contract begins tonight, and I for one cannot wait to see the former Tennessee Volunteer carrying the mail in a Browns uniform.  I could care less that he is a former Ratbird; what I do care about is that Lewis is a talented and hungry running back who will prove all of the doubters and short-sighted haters wrong.  Beginning at about 7:30 ET time this evening. 
    • Two words: Kamerion Wimbley.  That young man is just a sheer joy to watch on a football field.  I think the seven-and-a-half month distance between the end of the 2006 season and now has caused some to forget how borderline spectacular Wimbley was during his rookie season.  He's a freak who will only get freakier.  In the football sense, of course.
    • Two more words: Kellen Winslow Jr.  His march to Hawaii at season's end begins tonight.  It's just a shame that he doesn't yet have a QB who can fully utilize his immense array of talents.  Some day soon, Kellen.  Some day soon. 
    • While everybody and their barber has handed the starting cornerback job opposite Leigh Bodden to Eric Wright, unsung CB Daven Holly may have a say in that matter.  At the very least, he's making some noise that, while the rookie second-rounder will likely land a starting job, the battle will be much closer than most think.
    • When asked for her keys to the game, here was my better half's response: "We have enough beer, right?  And I want to see Quinn play too."  It's that type of in-depth analysis which you can only get right here at The Orange & Brown Report.   
    • There is no truth to the rumor that fans will be charged an extra $75 on their way out of the game if Quinn makes an on-field appearance tonight.
    • All I know is, I haven't been this excited for a Browns preseason opener since 2006.  223 days is waaay too long of a time span between Browns games for my taste, although the liver is very much appreciative of the respite.  Of course, the Browns could cure that dilemma—and enrage various internal organs—by playing deep into January at some point in the preferably near future.  Right?  Right???  I know, I know, I'm just pissing into the wind, but they're my shoes and I can dream if I want to.


    LAST CALL: Cleveland Browns 12, Kansas City Chiefs 7.  And neither Frye nor Anderson pulls ahead in the QB race.  As a direct result, the U.S. Mint calls for additional overtime as head coach Romeo Crennel hedges on next weekend's starter.

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