John Taylor's 'Tales From A Notebook'

You can't get rid of him that easily. Well, you could, but copious amounts of money and/or beer would need to be involved. Anyway, The Notebook returns, just in time for the sprint toward the playoffs. Browns??? Playoffs??? Oh, the humanity...

Notes, thoughts and random bits of randomness—presented in Analvision2000—on today's festering-with-playoff-implications tilt with the Texans, straight from The Official Notebook of The Orange & Brown Report, available in book stores and office supply outlets nowhere.

---So, lemme get this straight.  The Browns have completed Week 12 of the 2007 NFL season.  As of right now, they stand at 7-4 and are 5-1 at home.  After not winning back-to-back games since 2003, they already own one three-game winning streak this season and are riding another two-gamer.  They've won five of their last six.  Most importantly, as of 8:00 EST this evening, they are in sole possession of the second wild card spot in the AFC. 

---Ummm, yeah, I saw that coming.  Who didn't?  To anyone that knows and follows the game of football closely, the signs were there for a Brown & Orange resurgence.  I mean, look at how... there was the... if you take the way that... remember that one time...

---BTW, thank you Cincinnati.  At least yer good for something this year.  Besides being an embarrassment to the league, I mean.

---This is no mirage, people.  This is not being done with smoke and mirrors.  This is a top-ten--minimum--offense and a defense that, while lacking talent up front, is opportunistic enough to keep the offense in the game.  This is a solidly talented football team that wins in spite of their (defensive) faults.

---If there's one thing I've learned in the 30+ years I've watched football, it's this: I really, really like beer.

---Two words: Brandon McDonald.  More on that later.

---Another word: Resilient.

---Two additional words: This team is in a zone right now and, save for the blown Pittsburgh game, does not know how to lose and has a confidence toeing the cocky line that says "you will not beat me".  They seemingly spit in the general direction of adversity, whether it comes in the form of a third and long or a double-digit deficit.  They are Maximus, the rest of their schedule consists of assorted Praetorians.

---That, though, would make their projected first-round opponent the whiney, sniveling, stiletto-stabbing, cameras-on-the-Colosseum-sidelines Commodus, right?

---I salute LeBron for his choice of baby names.

---Anyway, quite a change from the previous eight seasons when not only did they not know how to win, they found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory whenever they actually stumbled upon the fleeting opportunity.

---Now, as to McDonald: I don't know if he's the football equivalent of Deee-Lite or Digable Planets, nor do I really care at this point in time; what I do know is that the rookie out of Memphis was a huge reason why the Browns came away with a "W".  At least three passes defensed--two, I believe, coming against Andre Johnson--one huge special teams tackle and the game-clinching interception.  Given the absence of solid rookie Eric Wright, what McDonald did on that CBS turf cannot and should not be understated.

---Coming soon, from the diabolical mind of Robert Louis Stevenson IV: "Strange Case of Dr. Derek and Mr. Anderson".

---For the love of God, is the Scapoose Slinger--Brian Kinchen: "that's kinda gay"--utterly maddening or what?  Put a minimum of two DBs around his intended receiver, and he has laser-like accuracy.  Give him a wide-open target, and more times than not he's like the drunk at 2 a.m. trying to hit the broadside of a bar stool for last call.

---His play has been above and beyond what anyone inside or outside of the organization ever imagined; however, the brain farts and accuracy issues make this offseason more complex than it would seem on the surface.

---That being said, when DA is on, he is sheer QB poetry.  The TD pass to Braylon Edwards is a throw that only a handful of QB's playing today could make.  The TD pass to Kellen Winslow was pinpoint in its simplicity.

---But, that being said II, the soon-to-be restricted free agent has caused my 20-month-old daughter to learn the proper timing and context of f-bombs a good two years before Dr. Spock ever recommended.

---Winslow may or may not have the best hands of any TE in NFL history--Steve Tasker bestowed the Allstate "Best Hands" moniker on him at one point in the game--but right now there is not a single man at his position that I would take in exchange.  None.  "The U" product was right: at 80% or 90%, there's nobody better.   And I believe the gap is very much measurable versus the rest of the field.

---I'd love to sit here and bitch and moan about the defense, but I might as well go outside, unzip, and piss into a stiff breeze.  It's pointless; it truly is what it is.  At least until the upcoming off-season.

---And don't talk to me about upgrading the linebackers or improving the scheme or whatever.  Until the defensive line is addressed--and addressed in a big way--you will have a defense that gets gashed up the middle on the run while simultaneously allowing the opposing quarterback approximately 8.7 seconds per pass attempt to survey the field, make a five-course meal, file his taxes, whatever.

---And don't get me started on blitzing, lookin' like my 15-year-old daughter learning to drive a stick: hits everything in sight and rarely finds the unabated pavement.

---So much for not bitching and moaning, eh?  Now pardon me while I go and dry off my pant legs...

---Yeah, it was vs. the tight end, but Kamerion Wimbley absolutely destroyed his blocker on the way to Matt Schaub in the first quarter.  Too bad that's been the exception rather than the rule in the former first-round pick's sophomore season.  Then again, when you are the only pass rusher with the ability to... ummm... rush the passer, I guess a season-long slump should be somewhat expected.

---Memo to Steve Tasker: Romeo Crennel is in his third year as the Browns' head coach.  Who helps you with your game prep?  Emmitt Smith?

---What was that I saw in my living room, a Browns game in HD on The Eye?  Be still my pickled heart.  How corporately white of you, CBS.

---"The Orgasm Diet"?  Continue to stay classy, 19 Action News.

---Honest. Fair. Everywhere. And If You Don't Believe Us, We'll Say It Louder And Louder Until You Are Tone Deaf And Don't Care That You Are Watching Tabloid Gutter Journalism.

---Isn't it funny how a QB not associated with a MickeyD's side order, who is quick and decisive in his reads, will make an offense and its offensive line look like it not only belongs in the NFL, but belongs in the upper echelon?  Funny how that works, that whole "better play from the QB" thang.

---Got a feeling that Browns fans had better enjoy Rob Chudzinski while they can.  He's not long for a mere coordinator position.

---At one point during the game, right after the McDonald INT that closely followed the submarine tackle on special teams, I swear I heard two of Gus Johnson's vocal chords burst and three of his neck veins pop.  

---No broadcaster better than Gus.  Nobody. 

---Playoffs?  Really?  Seriously?  This is beyond the wildest of any homer's expectations.  Now, pardon me while I take my leave. Before somebody wakes me up...


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