Thoughts, notes, questions, suggestions and random snottiness as the Cleveland Browns continue the fake part of their slate with a game against a Tennessee Titans team that is qualified to give the organization a rectal thermometer-accurate reading of the state of the team.
- There's one thing and one thing only I want to see coming out of tonight's game: someone to pull away and run with that freaking hot potato of a quarterback job. While I have my preference, could the real QB please stand up, please stand up and end this dramedy once and for all and put one of those fingers on each hand up at the other, regardless of who it is?
It won't bite. Don't be scared, don't be yella.
Take it. Please.
- And, speaking of please, stop it with this crap that Eric Mangini doesn't want to tip his hand and cost himself or his team some competitive edge in the opener as the reason for the delay. It has nothing to do with that and everything to do with the fact that neither QB has separated himself from the other.
If his QB is injured, and he wants to keep the opposition guessing, then fine. But he would be doing his team a disservice, at this point in time, in keeping the QB decision under wraps just so he could gain some type of edge in a game that won't be played for two weeks. This line of thinking has spiraled so far out of control that's it's boomeranged back to being a Wiki-fact in the minds of some people.
Fortunately for all involved, Mangini's not that dumb.
(For those wondering, yes, I did type the above sentence with all available appendages crossed.)
- In an odd, sadistic, "yes, more candle wax on the nipples, please" kinda way -- sincerely hope that wasn't typed out loud, or an editor catches it if it was -- I'm extremely pleased that the Browns had the Lions in Fake Week Two and have the Titans in Fake Week Three instead of vice versa.
This game in the faux-season schedule is usually the dress rehearsal and possibly the best barometer for how a team stands heading into the regular season.
In this case, the Browns will be up against one of the best teams in football last season. With the hard-hitting teams that reside at the top of the AFC North -- and hard-hitting on both sides of the ball -- facing a like opponent will be a tremendous learning tool for the staff to get a real handle on what's going within the roster.
And, indeed, this game will be a tremendous measuring stick as to how far the Browns have come during the seven months under Mangini & Kokinis. And, more importantly, how far they may have to go to compete with the North big boys.
- There are a few memos that need to be sent out to individual players, so bear with me for a minute while I do this bit of housekeeping...
John St. Clair: Your starting job is not yet locked down. Two more drive-killing penalties, and the key will be hid from you.
Me: Who am I kidding; yeah, the above does have it locked down. Just don't do it again, though. And I really mean it.
Martin Rucker: tick tick tick tick tick
Josh Cribbs: I know you see it. Grab it.
Eric Mangini: You know what the right decision is for this team. Make it.
Kamerion Wimbley: For the first time in your NFL career, you have a coaching staff that has confidence in your ability as a football player, not just as an athlete. Don't blow it.
Isaac Sowells: The next time I go to buy a lottery ticket, I'd really appreciate it if you were somehow involved in the purchasing process. Thanks in advance.
Brian Robiskie: Keep that chin up. You know you belong. Sometimes, though, you just need to stop thinking and start playing.
James Davis: Keep on keepin' on. There's a bigger-than-expected role for you on this team -- this year.
Phil Dawson, Ryan Pontbriand and Dave Zastudil: Thank you. Thank you for sparing us the special teams competitions that can literally rip a city and a fan base apart.
- Just a quick-hitter prediction before I go: Alex Mack should be the absolute least of Browns fans' worries. In very short order, he will become to the center position what Joe Thomas is to the left tackle position. Plug him in, then go along about your way worrying about somebody else at some other position. There'll be nothing to see there.
- (Please bear with me as this last one is very personal, very hard and very necessary...)
This one's for you, EK. RIP. Not as much as they should and deserve, but the wife will be OK, the kids will be OK. We'll make sure of it.
Miss you like hell already.