Taylor's 'Tales From a Notebook'

His lifetime goal of seeing a game quarterbacked by Brett Ratliff and Richard Bartel completed, John Taylor tries to divine the mysterious purpose behind Eric Mangini's plan...

PUBLISHERS'S NOTE: Mr. Taylor's article contains what one might refer to as "adult language" and analogies which are not for the squeamish. This is a direct result of a certain level of befuddlement combined with a Richard Bartel overdose. PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU DON'T LIKE THAT SORT OF THING! We're serious. Now, on with the Notebook...


- There are certain things in life that I've found to be just absolutely and utterly inane.  And wholly unnecessary.  The Jonas Brothers.  Tweeter.  Rich Rodriguez.  Yo Gabba Gabba.  TMZ.  Four preseason games.  A notebook chronicling the fourth preseason game.

- The best thing the NFL could do would be to go 18-2.  Or 16-2.  Four fake games at real-game prices is the biggest bending over of football fans since.. well... ever.

- Yeah, I'm excluding the gang fisting performed by the NFL back in 1995.  That's a fetish category all to itself.

- I think Eric Mangini sitting both Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn was one of the most singularly funny moments I've had in covering the Browns specifically and the NFL in general over the last 12 years.  It was on one hand sublime in its sublety, and appreciated for its middle finger on the other. 

- If this were a plotline in Pineapple Express, I'd dismiss it as, "oh, the writers were bongin' it.  Not remotely plausible."  Then I'd take a hit and try to understand what exactly the screenwriter was going for.

- "Love 'em or hate 'em, Mangini is doing this his way, with his plan, and 'f--- you' if you don't like it."

- That's what I came up with.  After taking a long -- lllooonnnggg -- draw, that's what I came up with.  And you know what?  I think he might have a clue as to what he's trying to do.

- That's quite a shock to the system from the last four years of verified week-in, week-out wandering and wondering which RAC face or what sideline body language that screamed "Huh???  What???" would make an appearance.

- True story: for my pregame Six-Pack, one of the items was Mangini sitting both of the main combatants for the job and starting Bret Ratliff.  I scrubbed it very shortly after I wrote it, based solely on the fact that there was no way in hell that Mangini would do that.

- This Mangini, he's cagey.

- OK, so what does all of this QB BS mean?  Mangini knows who his starter is, and he is willing to deal the other if it helps the club.  The competition is over.  Quinn, keep your playbook.  Anderson?  We'll get back to ya, but keep our encrypted data close to your person.

- Then again, I thought it was just as likely for me to turn down a free beer as it was to sit both, so WTF do I know?

- Under Mangini, nothing it appears.  And, right now, I like that.  I like that there's a plan the media and fans can't see coming from a few miles down the road.  Or that there is a plan at all coming from the sidelines.  Whether that proves to be the right and successful tack remains to be seen.  Until then, though, I'll withhold any type of judgment on the new regime.

- Just based on the first throw of the game, I think it's safe to officially rule Ratliff out of the QB competition.  Call it a hunch.

- Just a thought: based on preseason performance, would you even want to entertain the thought of trading either Quinn or Anderson, given Ratliff's positively Dorsey-esque performance in the fake games?  Would anyone really want the only thing standing between Ratliff and meaningful playing time be an injury to one person?  I'd prefer to have a human buffer, but that's just me.

- Congratulations, Josh Cribbs, on being a starting receiver to begin the season.

- James Davis will play a very big role for the Cleveland Browns... this season.  His talent and his production will not allow anything less than that to happen.

- Ditto Alex Hall. He's going to make it very hard for the coaching staff to keep him off the field.

- If you are looking for one of the reasons why Rod Hood was released -- besides, ya know, he kinda really sucked in the first three preseason games -- just hit "rewind" and watch Coye Francies.  He's No. 25 on your scorecard, and No. 3/4 in your nickel/dime heart.

- Given the fact that Mike Adams was in the game and intercepted a pass at around the 13:56 mark of the second quarter, I'm going to assume that Brodney Pool will be good to go for the season opener.

- I just witnessed a 60-minute NFL game that had Bret Ratliff and Richard Bartel under center for roughly 30 minutes each.  A game that real, live people actually paid real, live money.  Thank God.  I can cross that one off my bucket list.

- Next up on the bucket to-do?  Blow out both of my ACLs, then do the whole running-of-the-bulls thing before surgery.

- And, again, I'll go back to, "why trade one of the two?"

- Nice to see both Quinn and DA coming out onto the field to congratulate the offense on the touchdown that was overturned.  However that QB situation turns out, they have been class the whole way.

- Chris Jennings deserves a long look for the practice squad, no?  It's against guys who might be wearing brown shorts while seated in a brown truck a week from now, but he is... intriguing.

- Yeah, I'm reaching here, and it's not even halftime yet when the above note was typed.

- At this point, I really don't know what to say.  What, you wanna hear that Brian Robiskie doesn't look good?  That David Veikune does?  That kicking a field goal with 2:21 left in a six-point game when you were inside the 20 was a good decision?

- Again, I don't know if the Mangini Way is the right way.  But I do know that I am going to be absolutely fascinated by whatever ride it is he takes this organization on.

 


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