The more I learn, the less I know. The more I watch the Browns, the less I know about where they're headed.
If perhaps you were out camping this past weekend and drove back late Sunday night to punch up the ESPN web page, you'd have read what sounded like a soul satisfying victory: 34-17, Green gets his first rushing td, Couch tosses a 25 yard TD to Morgan, Andre Davis, who up to this point had been as non-descript as Andre King returning kickoffs, duplicates his pre-season magic. And nine sacks! It all sounds great, you think, as you rewind the tape for some late night viewing. Then it all looks so different from the quick recap in print.
As a kid annoying my father with endless questions ("Why?" "Because." "Why?" Because."), I knew I hit his limit when he'd come back with "What is this: ‘20 Questions'?!" 20 QUESTIONS was a radio quiz show that made it to television in its infancy. Its only real claim to fame was to have a title invoked by exasperated fathers. But it is appropriate today. Some of these are questions for which I may have an intuitive answer. Some I honestly don't know. Feel free to answer those you know, or think you know.
1) Am I supposed to believe Dayton Daily News columnist Thomas Archdeacon (not a sportswriter BTW) when he writes "Couch got a victory in what was the most important game of his career"? Did the outcome of this game substantially affect how fans regard Couch's play and future?
2) Did Couch send us a message by launching a long pass on the first play? Was the message that he still under threw a receiver who wasn't open anyway?
Didn't he try that a few times? Did he not continue forcing short passes that, at best, were caught by receivers who immediately got drilled, or, at worst, were batted down by linebackers who could see the predictable throws coming?
3) Why am I supposed to believe that William Green is "turning the corner," "coming around," "picking it up," or even "buying a clue?" Any decent rb that close to the goal line would have done whatever it took to go over. Green not only was stopped in his tracks two feet short of the goal, but he fumbles. At best, he picks up four yards where the offensive line got him four yards. He has yet to make yards on his own. He can't elude, and he can't break tackles. If lowering his head and making another two feet on contact is "turning the corner," then by God William Green must be hanging a Louie.
4) I read some sportswriter favorably commenting on the Texans tight end Billy Miller, and how the Browns lack a receiver at that position. Wasn't that why Aaron Shea was put on God's green earth? Or is he the (suppress laughter)… H-Back? When he makes his one-a-day catch, do his teammates say, "Hey Aaron, thanks for coming in. We'll see you in the locker room."?
5) Was nine sacks indicative of a rejuvenated Browns pass rush, or a testament to the horror that is the Texans' offensive line? Do we think our defense can manage somewhere in the neighborhood of half that against the Jets?
6) Brent Jones called our top receivers "The Four Deuces." Is that because they were all picked in the second round, or is that their average yards per catch in the Arians/Couch attack? Take away Morgan's td reception, and the Four Deuces averaged a whopping 6.2 yards a catch. Note: Koren Robinson had 3 catches for 155 yards in a losing effort for the Seahawks.
7) Whatever happened to JJ Johnson? In TC he was hailed as our answer at fullback, or at least until he went down with an injury. Bruce Arians wanted us to believe that you don't know what you got ‘till it's gone. Maybe Bruce forgot, too. J3 was only supposed to be out for 4 weeks. That was 12 weeks ago.
8) Is there less to worry about with the Browns cornerbacks and more with their safeties? I realize Henry is having a sophomore slump (seemingly a Browns tradition) and Sanders is still learning on the job. But without Robert Griffith, our safeties look scary vulnerable. With him, they just look vulnerable. Devin Bush is no longer starting caliber for a strong safety. And he fits the role of free safety like I fit the role of neurosurgeon at the Cleveland Clinic.
9) Where did the NFL conspiracy theorists go who believed the league had it in for the Browns? Were the officials trying to make up for an alleged 3+ years of bad calls all in one game?
10) Where along the line did Tim Couch decide for himself that he was simply so bad at throwing on the run, even if it was a slow roll out and no one was near him, that he took a blood oath and swore on his mother's life that he would dare not attempt it?
11) Whatever happened to Dwayne Rudd?
12) Why is that when fans attack the play of the Browns' four #1 picks,
13) Is Ryan Tucker on some sort of personal mission to eclipse the record for most penalties by a right tackle in one season?
14) When Jamir Miller went out for the year, many fans believed that would be the last we'd ever see of him in a Browns uniform. Still believe it?
15) What does it tell you when Brant Boyer leads the team in tackles?
As Martha might ask, is that a good thing?
16) On some pass rushes, does Courtney Brown look like Wiley E. Coyote on his Acme Rocket Skates? When Carr steps up in the pocket, is he the Roadrunner stopping on a dime just mere inches from the cliff's edge, and Courtney is the Coyote zipping by uncontrollably out over the wild blue yonder?
17) If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If the quarterback fails to see it, does that mean we have no vertical game? Do you suppose Bruce Arians secretly wishes Kelly Holcomb were calling signals so that fans would get off his back?
18) If the Browns don't at least split their games before Bye week, is the handwriting on the wall for this year?
19) Would Butch Davis have used the E word last week had the Browns had one more win under our belt? Why would this lament have not been uttered last year when it was surely more appropriate? Have all our draft choices this year made as many contributions in their first year as last year's class in theirs? Year two? Year one?
20) Based on what you've seen so far this season, does it seem like a sign of defeat if the player most likely to win Browns Man of the Year would be Phil Dawson?
Like I say, there are questions that need answers, questions that need discussion if not answers, and questions for which they're probably already are answers. But hey, what do I know?