Taylor's Pregame Six-Pack

Sure, you're getting ready for the game, but what's missing? Something... something... oh yeah! It's thoughts, notes, questions, suggestions and random snottiness! JT is here to provide all that, and his keen insight prior to gametime...

Thoughts, notes, questions, suggestions and random snottiness as the Cleveland Browns continue the fake part of their slate with one of the greatest marketing tools in the history of exhibition football, the Great Lakes Classic -- honest to God, WTF was Carmen Policy thinking? -- versus the Detroit Lions.

  • The Browns offensive quest -- yeah, take it both ways -- continues tonight, and one question sticks out above all others: Why exactly do they treat the end zone as if it's been colonized by HIV-positive lepers?

    Fans and pundits can rail on and on and on about the defense --- and God knows I will below -- but until the offense can find some consistency, and consistently find the end zone more than once every nine months, it doesn't make a spit bit of difference what happens on the other side of the ball.  OK, it does a little bit, but you get the point.

    With so few starting jobs decided on offense, there's precious little time spent gaining any type of continuity as the lion's share of the effort is going toward personnel evaluation.  A starting unit needs to be chosen and focused on in the aftermath of whatever happens tonight.

    Although, obviously, more consistency from one position in particular would help greatly in establishing an identity on offense that doesn't require DNA mapping to find, which leads us too...
     
  • Attention, Derek Anderson.  You have one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted.  One moment.  Are you gonna capture it, or let it slip?  Just a piece of advice: don't go mom's spaghetti all over your sweater.

    I have what I can consider to be a pretty good idea what the coaching staff wants to do at the position.  The door is still open, but you're running out of opportunities to sway and change some minds in Berea.

    Bottom line?  A solid performance tonight, and you will remain in the running for the starting quarterback job.  If not...
     
  • Brady Quinn, on the other hand, you can all but lock up the starting job tonight.  It's well within your reach, and there are more than a few individuals in the organization who want you to reach out, grab the starting job, and run with it like you stole it.  Another performance like the one in Green Bay - albeit with, ya know, points on the scoreboard -- would go a long, long way toward identifying just who will be under center come Sept. 13 against the Minnesota Vikings.

    While it's highly, highly doubtful that Eric Mangini would publicly name a starter -- which might be the trigger that makes Sam Rutigliano's head literally explode -- regardless of what happens tonight or what the perception of the state of the contest is, it can be all but sewn up tonight by one of the combatants.

    The other, though, could live to fight another day.
     
  • (I used this one before the second game of the preseason last year and, sadly, it's still appropriate.)

    (knock knock) Hello, Corey Williams, you in there? (knock knock) Corey, hello, you home? (KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK) Dammit, Corey, answer the friggin' door!!!

    I was one of Williams' most staunch -- and perhaps only -- supporters last season.  He was never close to being 100 percent healthy during the regular season, and the fact that he was struggling to adjust to the 3-4 defense just added to his miseries.  The benefit of the doubt was given to him, at least by now.

    This season, that rope that some gave him last year is gone.  He's healthy, he's had nearly two complete training camps in the defense.  The time for excuses has lapsed.

    The esteemed Lane Adkins seems to think that Williams is starting to come around and might be turning the proverbial corner, at least based on his reports from Berea.  That's all well and good, but that progress needs to be shown under the lights when it (somewhat) counts instead of just under the sun and clouds of Berea.

  • Even if it doesn't mean anything, even if it won't matter in the W/L column at the end of the year, could we at least see some semblance of run-stopping ability from the defense tonight?

    Just some glimmer that the front seven is no longer the French when it comes to the enemy encroaching on their territory?

    It would seem as if that's not exactly asking for a lot, but, ten years into this, maybe it is.
     
  • Why am I really not the least bit concerned about what happens tonight, good or bad?  Well, one, it's fake football and too much, by and large, is made out of good performances, while waaay too much is made out of craptastic ones as well.

    And, two?  For whatever reason, I am quietly confident that Mangini & Company will turn this thing around sooner rather than later.  I can't pinpoint the exact reason why, can't quite put my finger on it, but there's just something about the way he's gone about the first seven months of his regime that has caused me to think, "damn, maybe this guy does get it."

    Or, could it just be the fact that Mangini isn't RAC, and that has me feeling all warm and fuzzy at the moment?  You make the call.

    Either way, I'm not getting worked up about anything.  Yet.

    Check back about Week Ten, though.  Nothing's set in stone, especially when someone as unstable as myself is involved.

LAST CALL: Browns 38, Lions 17.  To answer your question, no, I hadn't started drinking when I wrote this.  As to why I would predict a team that hasn't scored a touchdown in seven full games to hang damn-near 40 in a single contest?  I dunno.  They're due?

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