Taylor's Pregame 12-Pack

In his wide-ranging magnum opus in support of chronicling the feeble Browns-Bengals contest, John Taylor somehow manages to work in the Midway Mall, Chief Wahoo, Bhopal, Red Right 88, Adam Dunn, "Coming to America", Braylon Edwards, Mike Lupica and... there's more, but my head's spinning.

Thoughts, notes, questions, suggestions and random snottiness as the Cleveland Browns continue to stumble aimlessly and drunkenly toward the end of the 2008 season with a "Battle of Ohio" (chuckle) "clash" (guffaw) with the Cincinnati Bengals.

  • This past Tuesday, the family and I went out for a holiday shopping trip to Elyria's Midway Mall – that's not the name now, but it's the name I grew up with so that's what I'm going with. Kind of like the barber in "Coming to America" when they were all arguing about Muhammad Ali and his name. "His mama called him Clay, I'mma call him Clay." But I digress…

  • As I approached the entrance to the food court area, the door was being held open by a very courteous, youngish male. Dressed in Steeler gear. Holding back the urge to simultaneously vomit and take a swing, I proceeded inside and, over the course of the next nearly two hours, counted 17 additional variations of Appalachian inbred hilljacks sporting the Urine & Black colors. There were seven people wearing the Wine & Gold, and one with Chief Wahoo across her chest – not that I was looking at another woman's chest, I swear, for anyone reading this who may care about me looking at another woman's breasts… errr… chests… errr… crap.

  • So, anyway, how many people do you suppose were wearing the colors of this website on my little Christmas shopping excursion to the Lorain County mall? Not counting myself, there were exactly none. Zero. Zip. Nada. And this is in the heart of Browns country, a good barometer for the state of this franchise and this fan base. Randy Lerner, there's your sign. If you don't get this offseason right, the future of this organization as far as the next few generations of Browns fans are concerned could be in serious jeopardy.

  • (BTW, did you like how I took one meaningless story that is, in all likelihood, a statistical anomaly and turned it into three beers? And, look, I just did it again! You just can't teach this kind of sheer genius; it's simply a trait you are born with. My God do I hate covering/following a crappy team…)

  • 4+ games, 17 quarters, 255 minutes, 46 possessions, 262 plays from scrimmage, 0 offensive touchdowns. To put that into perspective, Spergon Wynn started three NFL games, and threw one TD pass. Or, put another way: SPERGON WYNN HAS MORE CAREER TD PASSES THAN THE ENTIRE BROWNS OFFENSE HAS SCORED THE LAST FOUR GAMES. Somewhere, while on break from bussing tables, Mr. Wynn is smiling slightly and nodding his head in a "take that, bitches" kinda way.

  • The Browns are 1-6 at home; the Bengals are 0-7 on the road. Talk about your resistible force awkwardly stumbling headfirst into your moveable object. This could be kind of like the tortoise and the hare story, provided the tortoise was dead and the hare was like the one post-hammer in "Roger and Me".

  • In a related story, Ken Dorsey is still the starting quarterback. Isn't that somewhat akin to dressing up your season in a Klan outfit – replete with a sign hanging from its neck that details the top-ten racial epithets of all-time directed at African Americans – and parachuting it into downtown Harlem during Black History Month? Writers all across the league step onto their soapbox and rail against fans having to pay regular-season prices for meaningless exhibition games. Where's the indignant outrage over the Browns having two full preseason slates sandwiching 12 "real" games? Mike Lupica, I'm waiting for you to scoot up to the edge of your booster seat, look somberly into the ESPN cameras, and broach this very subject on the next edition of "The Sports Reporters".

  • Your "WTF???" Stat of the Day: the Browns trail only the Miami Dolphins (9-5, plus-twelve) and the Tennessee Titans (12-2, plus ten) in the turnover differential department. The Browns, at 4-10, are a plus-nine on the season. That sound you just heard? It's yet another football axiom getting blown all to hell by this organization. Or Paul Brown rolling over in his grave. One of the two.

  • "I have a job, and my job is to catch the football." – Braylon Edwards
    "I have a job, and my job is to get this ship to the next port safely and in one piece." – Captain Joseph Hazelwood
    "I have a job, and my job is to stick to Michael Jordan like glue." – Craig Ehlo
    "I have a job, and my job is to perform a safety test." – the lead engineer at Chernobyl
    "I have a job, and my job is to secure the football." – Earnest Byner
    "I have a job, and my job is to not release 40 tons of methyl isocyanate into the air." – random Union Carbide worker
    "I have a job, and my job is to remain a well-grounded individual both physically and mentally." – the Jackson Five's Michael Jackson
    "I have a job, and my job is to land this airship." – Captain Max Pruss
    "I have a job, and my job is to be a successful play call." – Red Right 88

  • Poor Braylon. Much like a pass, he can't catch a break in this town. I feel sorry for him, though. How could you not? After all, he's been coddled and pampered his entire life. Now, people are (gasp!) being mean to him??? How's a privileged man who's had his ass kissed his entire life supposed to react to such atrocities laid on him by the fans of this football team? Lay off him people; it's not his fault he has no use for a urinal when he has to take a leak.

  • There is one team in the NFL that has a worse winning percentage than the Browns since their return in 1999. One. And it's not the so-called sorry excuse for an organization that will take the field opposite the Browns this afternoon. No, it's the woebegone Detroit Lions – organizational motto: "If at first you don't succeed, well, we don't know what to tell you." – with a winning percentage of .304 (48-110) over the past ten seasons. The Browns check in at a pedestrian clip – if the pedestrian is a ninety-year-old legless woman carrying a seventy-pound rucksack and an oxygen tank across the beach – of .342 (54-104). So, just where do the lowly Bengals stand over the same time period? The fifth-worst winning percentage at .383 (56-85-1). Just let that sink in for a moment…

  • Look, I'm trying to find something positive to dredge out of this season, out of this "new and improved" regime, but, short of being able to say "nobody died on the field during their watch", I just can't find anything. Oh, wait, I think I might have found something positive. Hold on, here it comes… wait for it… wait for it… nope, just gas.

LAST CALL: Cincinnati 2, Cleveland 0 – Adam Dunn's two-run, tape-measure blast in the fifth is the difference in this pitcher's duel.

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