(We don't have focus groups. Love News-o-rama? Hate it? Let us know)LINKS OF JOY
GUARDS HURTING: Both Eric Steinbach (back) and Seth McKinney (shoulder) are hurting, just in time for the Browns to play their toughest game of the year. If both are out, we'll see Lennie Friedman at left guard and Ryan Tucker at right guard. Behind them are Isaac Sowells, Nat Dorsey, and a plank of wood borrowed from Home Depot. The plank of wood is higher on the depth chart.
Akron Beacon-Journal Plain Dealer Lorain Morning-Journal Columbus Dispatch Official Site
Steinbach and McKinney Possibly Out This Weekend
CHEAP SHOT WONDERLAND: Smilin' Hines took the opportunity during the first Brown-Steelers game to offer up a late hit on Daven Holly that gave the Browns DB a concussion. The NFL thought so much of it that they told Ward that it was worth $5,000 of his hard-earned money. Ward has a history of this.
NETWORK THIS: What happens when you take two huge monopolistic businesses which are used to saying "Suck This" to the little guy, and then pit 'em against each other? Well, you might get hit with flying hypocrisy shrapnel, or you might just get left out in the cold.
It's the NFL vs. the cable operators, and the fans get screwed as the big cable companies and the NFL spend their time showing each other their middle fingers.
Part of the NFL's strategy is to move key games (like the Cowboys-Packers on 11/29 or Pats-Giants on 12/29) to the NFL Network and then sit back while fans blame cable companies. The NFL is trying to get fans so riled up that they can't watch key games that they complain or, better yet, switch to satellite.
What's funny is watching listening to Jerry Jones try to paint the NFL as victim and complain about the big bad cable monopolies "stonewalling us".
Of course, we would have audio of Jones sounding like a hypocritical nitwit, but we're not allowed to use audio on our independent web site. Or video. Or sideline photos. We're being stonewalled by the NFL, you see.
Go Time Warner. Show 'em what it's like.
POINTLESS PREVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS
Here's the latest of the standard "game preview" and prediction stories, which fill with the needed Friday morning column inches without a lot of heavy lifting.
- Noted Browns expert Michael Rushton of The Sports Network offers the following: "The Browns enter this weekend on their first three-game winning streak since 2001. Cleveland hasn't posted four straight victories since 1994, when the club ripped off five consecutive wins." If nothing else, this proves that Wikipedia is still working this morning. Worthless prediction: Steelers 31, Browns 20.
- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says "A November game against Cleveland that means something? That's as unthinkable as a three-game winning streak by the Browns". That crazy Pittsburgh humor. Next up: Making fun of of the disabled. Worthless prediction: Steelers 31, Browns 20 (stop copying from Michael Rushton, freak).
- Check it. The USA Today actually says the following: "The Steelers prefer to use the run to set up the pass, but they might adjust that plan against a Browns defense allowing a league-high 276.6 passing yards a game while recording a league-low 7.0 sacks." Apparently whoever wrote this hasn't seen the Browns run defense in action. Here's a tip: Steven Jackson didn't get injured against the Browns... he just just decided it wasn't fair. Worthless prediction: Steelers by 10
- A couple of Browns employees say that the Browns are playing the Steelers next Sunday and that stuff will happen. Worthless prediction: None, but the article calls Randy Lerner a "middle-aged twat" part way through. Not sure what that was about. Whoa.
- Just kidding. But I was taken aback when the Official Site said that Todd Grantham had "better get his fat ass to the gym" because "he'll be lifting crates at the UPS warehouse in 2008 if we don't stop Willie Parker on Sunday". Man. Hard-core.
- Just kidding. They didn't say that, either. We lapse into funny little fantasies, like on Scrubs, when we get bored. Just as funny, too.
- MSNBC contributor Steve Silverman predicts that the Browns will go to the playoffs. Worthless prediction: See above. If we don't get to the play-offs, let's blame Steve.
POWER RANKINGS AND STUFF!
Does anyone care about how NFL Writer #214971 randomly stacks up NFL clubs? Me, either. But here goes:
- The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the Browns are the 14th-best team. Snark: "Someone tell them they're the Browns." Anti-Snark: Someone tell Tom Silverstein that he lives in Milwaukee.
- Washington Times: Browns are ranked 8th. Snark: "Is Kosar back at QB?" Anti-Snark: Listen, grandpa, these crazy blogging kids with their Spacebook and their interwebs aren't going to think you're hip if you drop references from the 1980s. Get with the program and GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN.
- Greg Bedard of the Journal-Sentinel says that Joe Thomas is an "Honorable Mention" for "Offensive Rookie of the Year". Congratulations, Joe! You're never going to have pay full price for a Sausage McMuffin ever again.