Rich's Rant: News & Views

The OBR's resident curmudgeon hits on the new DC's misguided boast, Old Willie's return, Donte's mess and JJ's new "suit".

News and views . . .

News: New Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan promises the Browns will stop the run this season. "My whole life I've stopped the run and you can look that up," he told the media. "We'll get it done here."

Views: Well, we looked it up and we didn't like what we saw. At least during the last five seasons.

During that period, Ryan coordinated the Oakland Raiders' defense. It was his first stint as a defensive coordinator since being responsible for Oklahoma State University's defense for three seasons in the late 1990s.

In those five seasons with Oakland (2004-2008), the Raiders' defense ranked 22nd, 25th, 25th, 31st and 31st, respectively, against the run in the 32-team National Football League. The Browns, meanwhile, ranked 32nd, 25th, 25th, 27th and 28th. The Raiders permitted 138.7 yards a game in that span. The Browns yielded 141.6 a contest.

If that's stopping the run, let's redefine the term.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Pittsburgh Steelers ranked first, third, third, third and second in rushing defense during those five seasons, yielding an average of 85.1 yards a game.

The Raiders surrendered 101 touchdowns via the run under Ryan's tutelage. The Browns gave up a more respectable 71 TDs on the ground. The Steelers permitted a meager 40 touchdowns.

So if this is Ryan's idea of shutting down the running game, I'll take Dick LeBeau's approach in Pittsburgh over the bloviating Ryan.

Next time Ryan thinks about bragging, he might consider backing it up with facts. Either that or don't challenge anyone to look it up because they will.

News: Veteran linebacker Willie McGinest tells The Sporting News he wants to play one more season before retiring.

Views: He must need the money. What other explanation can there be for yet another professional athlete who refuses to believe his playing days are over?

McGinest finished his three-year stint with the Browns well on the downside of what had been a very productive career. He was a shell of the All-Pro linebacker who helped the New England Patriots win three Super Bowls.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick knew McGinest was low on fuel when he chose not to re-sign him following the 2005 season. He knew there were younger, hungrier players who could do just as good a job. So he did what any smart coach would do.

The Browns took the bait after McGinest's release and signed him to a three-year deal, reuniting him with Romeo Crennel. And following a troika of drab seasons, Eric Mangini and George Kokinis wisely decided to not invite him back

And now, McGinest has an itch to play again. Says he wants to get the bad taste of last season out of his system. "I don't like the way I ended last year, going 4-12," he said, forgetting momentarily that football is a team game before correcting himself. "It just wasn't good. I was disappointed in what we did. I don't want to go out like that."

Can't blame him for feeling like that. Who wants to retire on such a sour note? Then again, how unreasonable would it be to assume at the same time that McGinest can be held at least partly responsible for the team finishing 4-12?

He thinks the Patriots or Miami Dolphins would be a good fit. Funny, that's what Browns fans thought in 2006 when he signed with Cleveland.

News: Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth declares on the tape of a 911 call that the man he struck and killed in Miami in March came from out of nowhere.

Views: The tape after the tragic accident reveals Stallworth said the victim "just ran in front of my car."

Wait a minute. If I recall correctly, Stallworth in earlier stories said he honked his horn and flashed his lights at the victim before striking him. If the man "just ran in front of my car," there's no way he had time to honk his horn or flash his lights.

Bottom line remains that Stallworth climbed behind the wheel of his car in an inebriated state in the wee hours of the morning and there's no reason to believe his reflexes were anything but impaired at the time of the accident.

Now comes word that Stallworth had traces of marijuana in his blood at the time. Despite what his attorneys say, Stallworth is in deeper trouble than some of us had imagined.

If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't come down hard on Stallworth for violating the personal conduct and substance abuse codes of the NFL, then there is no such thing as justice on the league level.

At first, I thought Stallworth would be hit with a year's suspension with the right to appeal and reduce it to something like eight or 12 games with good behavior. Now with the latest charge, I'd be stunned if Goodell doesn't spank Stallworth with a two-year suspension. And who could blame him?

Stallworth is not worthy of putting on a Browns uniform ever again.

News: Former Browns wide receiver Joe Jurevicius sues the Browns, their medical team and the Cleveland Clinic Hospital for negligence and fraud stemming from a staph infection that most likely has ended his NFL career.

Views: Can you say class-action lawsuit? Considering all the former Browns who have contracted staph infections in the past several years, it's only a matter of time before the likes of LeCharles Bentley, Kellen Winslow Jr. and Brian Russell join in on the fun, although Winslow and Russell are still around.

There are numerous other players in the NFL who have suffered a similar fate who could attach their names to the lawsuit. Between 2003 and 2008, the NFL has recorded 93 cases of MRSA, the medicine-resistant staph that has plagued the league.

In the end, however, look for this to go away quietly and be settled out of court. The Browns and Cleveland Clinic do not want this to go public in any way, shape or form. Bad for business.

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