Rich's Rant: Yaaaawwnn!

An upset return guy? A new team doctor? An indoor football placekicker? It's all a snooze, according to veteran sportswriter (and curmudgeon-in-residence) Rich Passan.

Random thoughts floating around an addled mind . . .

You know it's slow season at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. when the biggest news (although it hasn't been released officially) is that the Browns have a new head team physician.

All that means is the next Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) scare, assuming there is one, will be handled by a different physician. And that's all you need to know.

What's that? The Browns have signed a placekicker, too? Stop the presses!

A little (5-8, 170 pounds) guy named Parker Douglass, an indoor specialist who most likely will share kicking chores with Phil Dawson in training camp so as to prevent Dawson's right leg from falling off due to being overworked.

Hey, this guy Douglass is a legend. A non-believer? Check this out: Already a Legend

This just in!! Joshua Cribbs threatens to skip the Browns' three-day minicamp this week in a contract snit. Yawn. Strictly a case of huffing and puffing. Cribbs isn't going anywhere. Not to worry. He'll get his money.

Let's see now . . . a new team doctor, placekicking relief and an unhappy return specialist with no leverage.

How exciting.

Normally, slow season begins shortly after the veterans' minicamp. But that minicamp doesn't begin until June 11.

The silence emanating from Berea lately is deafening as fans struggle to keep the fires burning while the offseason grinds on. They yearn for news. Any kind of news.

As a result, all kinds of stories, fabricated or otherwise, have popped up in the last couple of weeks in an effort to maintain the fans' interest.

Brady Quinn was almost traded to (fill in the blank). And the Browns queered a couple of draft-day deals involving Quinn that would have netted the club several high draft choices.

Slow season. Don'tcha just love it? . . .

It's understandable at this point of the football season that a majority of Browns fans eagerly look forward to the 2009 National Football League season.

When you stop and consider it, this is the best time of the season for Browns fans. The team is unbeaten and unscored upon. A new coach, a new approach, a new beginning. New hope.

The anticipation leading up the new season is just beginning to take hold now that the college draft and free-agent signings have ostensibly concluded.

So enjoy and discuss the current roster as it stands right now. This is what Browns Nation will live with for the next eight months. . . .

Peter King of Sports Illustrated recently gifted the Browns with the No. 32 hole in his initial pre-season power rankings. And that perceived slight has many Browns fans bent severely out of shape.

Why do fans take such matters so seriously? Why do fans, especially Browns fans, who should know better, take this as a personal affront?

This is harmless stuff King writes at this time of the season. It's nothing more than jocular filler and not to be taken seriously. Even he admits to slotting them 32nd purposefully since he did the same thing prior to the 2007 season and the Browns finished 10-6 that season. It's the lightning-strikes-twice theory. . . .

Why haven't Eric Mangini and George Kokinis addressed the Browns' main problem on defense? On the list of club weaknesses at this point, rushing the quarterback is clearly at the top by a wide margin.

One would think Mangini knows the importance of applying pressure to opposing quarterbacks. Yet, his lack of pro-active movement in that direction makes it look as though he appears satisfied with his current group.

With all the secrecy that permates the new regime, who knows? Maybe new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has been transformed into a mad scientist who has gone into seclusion in his secret laboratory and concocted wonderfully scary and inventive schemes. . . .

Still trying to figure out how Brian Daboll will structure the Browns' new offense. Will the rookie coordinator gear it toward the strengths of Quinn or Derek Anderson? Or will he follow his own philosophy and may the better man win?

One possibility we can rule out is Brett Ratliff beating out both for the starting job. That's just not going to happen, no matter how close he is to Mangini and Daboll.

The best anyone can say about Ratliff is that he'll be better as a third-stringer than Ken Dorsey was the last three seasons, which is not saying much at all. . . .

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