Taylor's Pregame 12-Pack

You think John Taylor can preview this contest without rolling out a soon-to-be-all-time-classic line from the team's general manager. Me, either. Me, either. Here's the only pre-game look at the Browns game that matters...

Thoughts, notes, questions, suggestions and random snottiness as the Cleveland Browns continue to amble aimlessly toward the end of the 2008 season with a less-than-intriguing matchup with the Houston Texans.

  • You didn't like my writing after the game Monday? You think I'm easily the worst writer in the NFL? You think I'm the worst writer since the Butch Davis regime? You think me and Barry and Lane should not have jobs covering the NFL? You know what? Go read the Cleveland Plain Dealer. F#@* you.

    (What, you thought I wasn't going to work in one of the most hilarious moments in Cleveland sports history at some point? Hey, at least I got it out of the way early.)

  • My, my, my, what an embarrassing lil' soap opera Randy Lerner has going on with his American football club. On-the-field disappointment, off-the-field embarrassment – or vice versa, depending on your mood. It's good that he's a hands-off owner; hell, it's a huge, huge, huge plus in my book. But, at some point, the man that pulls and owns the purse strings has to come out of his English lair and address a restless fandom, especially when the man at the top of the organizational football chain decides to communicate to the paying customers only through the team's radio mouthpiece… or via e-mail. It's long overdue for Al's son to address the peasants he lords over. Unless – unless – there's behind-the-scenes coaching chatter that he doesn't want to address…

  • The Golden Boy has an ouchie on his finger? No big deal. It's a non-issue, with all due respect to the esteemed Peter King. Does it "hurt"? Yes. Is it worse than what's been reported? No. I can almost guarantee he won't use the index as a crutch – win or lose – after the game. I can guarantee you one thing, though. You won't hear Brady Quinn say "at least I didn't have six broken bones in my fingers" when he greets the press afterwards.

  • Which is more lame: Jerome Harrison's hamstring, or Romeo A. Crennel's public explanations for not utilizing The Ghost more? I think there is as much doubt to the answer to that question as there was in the eventual outcome of the tOSU-scUM "game". Speaking of which, every single, solitary win over That Team is a sweet justification from The Good Lord Above, regardless of the record. And, as an aside, do you think Lloyd's pissed that Coach Sweatervest traded in his old Carr for a shiny new bitch? Just curious.

    (What, you thought I wasn't going to work in THE Game? Hey, at least I got it out of the way semi-early.)

  • Considering the linebackers currently dragging down this '08 defense, Steve Slaton scares the living RAC out of me. At 5-9, 201 pounds, he's carried the ball 138 times in his rookie season, and has averaged 5.1 yards per carry; he's also caught 32 balls for 198 yards. It's just too bad the Browns haven't figured out a way to get half of those Slaton touches for a 5-9, 205-pound, three-year veteran. Ummm… ooops… I'm breaking my promise. My bad. I'll cease and desist. Until after the game, where I'll bust the living dogspit out of said promise.

  • #1 overall pick in the 2006 draft versus the #3 overall pick in the 2007 draft. Mario Williams vs. Joe Thomas. Mano y mano. I'm thinking that, at some point during the 60-minute contest, SOBO will soil himself, especially if CBS flashes some type of isolation collage of the matchup across the screen at any point during the game. Honestly, though? I think I'm looking as forward to this head-to-head – sans the soiling – as the resident OBR draft guru is. And, how Thomas handles Williams could go a long way in determining the outcome of this game. Which helps the hype.

  • Hey, Kellen Winslow, remember that really prolific day you had thirteen days ago? I hope your shoulder is OK because, if you are active, you are in for a very busy afternoon. The Texans literally have no one to contain you. No. One. And I'm not just saying this because I have you as my starting tight end on The Slushing Cooters and they could move into a tie for first place with a win. FF has no bearing on this mug of beer. None. Check out the Texans' depth chart if you don't believe. It might be the only one – sans DeMeco Ryans – who could illicit laughs and guffaws from the corresponding Browns' unit.

  • If you think Bill Cowher doesn't have more than a passing interest in Romeo A. Crennel's job security, there is some oceanfront property in America's heartland you might be interested in. Some of the time, "where there's smoke, there's fire" is just a tired cliché; this ain't one of those times.

  • The benching of Brandon McDonald last week still baffles me. Your 2nd/3rd best player on the defensive side of the ball all season long, for one series – one play, as it turned out. Thanks, Kamerion Wimbley and Shaun Rogers – rides the pine. Then, he's right back in and Travis Daniels is back to where he's been all season – hardly seen and still buried behind the "esteemed" Terry Cousin. So, again, the point was? I'll let McDonald himself explain the situation better than I ever could: "He doesn't have to sit me on the bench to prove a point. I was motivated already from the performance I had last week." Amen. A-friggin'-men.

  • The Browns are third in the AFC in turnover differential. D'Qwell Jackson leads the league in total tackles. Jamal Lewis is ahead of his '07 rushing yardage pace. "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Now, I have no clue whether or not Mark Twain had played organized football when he hooked a wagon to Benjamin Disraeli's original words, but he couldn't have been anymore prescient. More times than not, the "eyes" have it.  Numbers be damned.

  • 77 days until the Pro Bowl. NFL, that's plenty of time to get that C-130 prepped and ready. Shaun's a comin', so be forewarned. For all his "faults", that was a stroke of genius on Phil Savage's part, giving up Leigh Bodden and a third for one of the best defensive linemen in all of football. I doubted giving the DL the money up front; I was wrong.

  • Damn-near ten years in, and the periphery is still the talk of the town. The on-the-field performance is simply a subplot to the "Days of Our Browns". Would it be even the slightest bit possible to bitch about a coaching call that cost the Browns a playoff win, as opposed to KII's genitalia? Or the general manager's potty mouth? Or runaway trains? Or an attempted coup by a non-football dude? Gimme bitching about Marty Schottenheimer's prevent defense any day of the week over this bullshit posing as MY Cleveland Browns.

LAST CALL: Browns 29, Texans 21 – I dunno.  First number that popped into my head, and it seemed like the thing to put on record.  Oh, and I'd recommend Jamey Johnson's "In Color".  You can thank me later.

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