You people thought I got the swatter, didn't you?
I know you did.
I've been around for a good long time, and know exactly where to hide out when the pest removal jerks come wandering around Berea. There were staph germs hiding in my spot, but I hit them with the Lysol and hunkered down until I got the all clear.
I have these little feeler things on my feet that I can use to sense things. They're like whiskers and help me find the good stuff people leave in the meeting rooms. I can pounce on a chocolate donut the second you turn your back. And I can kind of hear with them. Humans don't have them because you wear shoes or something. I'm not sure.
They've been picking up all kinds of new things recently, both inside and outside the building. People are worried and maybe they should be. All I can do is give you the straight word.
And here it is:
ABOUT YOUR NEW HEAD COACH
Head coach Eric Mangini is his own man. if you can't tell by now, he doesn't coddle players.
When he was with the Jets, Mangini often would call players to the mat in team meetings and in front of other players… and he's going to do the same thing here. He told Randy Lerner straight up that "I would rather have a player with less talent giving me everything he has, than keep a player around who has all the talent in the world and no drive to be the best or succeed."
There are are a couple of players in the locker room that should really pay attention to that statement.
Mangini is getting the word out, and it's spreading around the league. Players are going to have come into camp in shape and ready to work hard. There's not going to be "special treatment" for players because of their name or their status. Those days are over.
The agents are also hearing that the days of the Browns setting the high bar for contract dollars and length is over.
Of course, teams aren't supposed to talk to free agents before the signing period starts. Oh no. Never. And the Browns certainly wouldn't tamper with another team's player. Nope.
Still, count on the Browns talking with representatives for three linebackers and no less than two wide receivers in the moments after free agency starts. Call it a hunch.
ABOUT SHAUN ROGERS BEING UNHAPPY
This is not a farce. Rogers is not a jolly fat man right now.
He's not happy with a lot of things: the head coach expecting his players to practice day-in and day-out, people in the organization being cast aside over the past couple of months, and not wanting to be held to a sterner practice and playing weight, as reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Sure, Rogers was a Pro Bowler last year, but Mangini is right to push him on his weight.
More Rogers does not necessarily mean a better Rogers. Last year's group was okay with him weighing 360+ pounds. Mangini has picked apart the film and sees that Rogers wore down as the season progressed, and he thinks the extra weight has a lot to do with it.
SAVAGE LEFT BEHIND KIND OF A MESS
The staff in Cleveland has gone through the contracts, and they have found a lot of them that they would rather not have to live with. If it wasn't for salary-cap ramifications, as many as 24 players could be jettisoned from the Browns roster.
George Kokinis' jaw dropped when he saw the contracts of Stallworth, Rogers and Corey Williams.
If they didn't need to keep the cap open and deal with the rolled-forward bonuses when you cut players, there would be some blood on the floor right now.
The brain trust wants to restructure a handful of deals to provide cap relief, so they can improve the roster. Donte Stallworth and Kevin Shaffer are on that list – they are paid in the upper-tier for their positions, but their results are not exactly where their salaries are.
Things are quiet on the Shaffer front, but they're working the Stallworth issue as I write this. It isn't that the organization does not want want these players. They just think they're paid too much.
The last guy in charge always gets bad spin, but it seems like Phil Savage felt the pressure last year and was in far over his head when dealing with player contracts. At least based on those deals.
GIMME A DONUT AND I'LL TELL YOU MORE
This stuff about the team not knowing who their quarterback is going to be, and who they want to draft is a bunch of flyspeck.
Aaron Curry is the top-rated player for this team, and Brady Quinn is looked on as the likely QB starter. If you listened, Quinn is nearly everything Kokinis said he wanted when talking about quarterback position while at the combine in Indianapolis last week.
Also, it looks like Jamal Lewis will stick with the team next season, but the Browns are going to be open-minded about the position. They'll be talking to available running backs starting…. now.