Taylor's Tales From A Notebook

It's hard for me, your OBR Webdork, to write intros that do "Tales from a Notebook" justice. I guess all I can say is that it's John Freakin' Taylor. This is what he does.

-- Never has anything that butt freaking ugly looked that damn good.  And I ain't talking about the brown pants.

-- After ten games spanning parts of two seasons, Cleveland's long regional nightmare has ended.  It wasn't pretty.  It wasn't an instant classic.  It was an absolute necessity, and the Browns stumbled their way through the litter of yellow laundry and one horrible call for the first win of the Eric Mangini Era.

-- That was an interesting game, in the same way that a good visit to a proctologist is intriguing.  Yeah, it hurt a little bit and was very uncomfortable, butt, in the end – yes, both intentional – all the tests came back clean and you can go home with your head held high even as it's hard to sit down for awhile.

-- However, never has the old axiom of "a win is a win is a win" come into play more than this one did, ugly or not.  By any means necessary, indeed.  That locker room, this fan base, needed a "W" in the worst way possible.  And they got it in the worst way possible.

-- How exactly do you win a National Football League game when your starting quarterback completes only two of 17 passes for 23 yards, no touchdowns and an interception?  Has anything even remotely resembling that ever happened before?  In a game where there were no monsoons or blizzards, I mean.

-- Derek Anderson was bad.  Historically inept if you want to attach that label to his performance.  Yes, he did nothing to help this team win today.  But you know what?  He did nothing that helped to lose this game either.  And that, to me, is a huge stride for whatever development DA is going through right now.  The "old" DA would've tried to force things and make chicken salad out of chicken shit.  The "new" DA didn't.  Can an interception machine change his spots?  I dunno, but DA revealed more to me in this abysmal performance than he did during his "Pro Bowl" season.

-- I know the above won't make a lot of sense to people, but it does to me.  At least I think it does.

-- It's good to see that you can take the Braylon out of Cleveland, but he can't take the drops with him.  When your QB is struggling, you can't compound it by dropping a ball that's somewhat near the mark.  Unacceptable, those drops are.  Or so Yoda tells me.

-- That drop by Robert Royal of a perfectly-thrown DA pass deserves a note by itself.  Dude, I know you are mostly known as a blocking tight end, but, dude.  Dude.

-- Here is one thing no one can refute, but is debatable as to how much it actually means: the Browns four losses have come to a pair of 5-0 teams, a 4-1 team, and a 3-2 team that just lost to the 4-1 team.  I hate crutches, but damn that's a meat grinder right there.

-- Personally, I had the Browns at 2-3 at this point in the season, with wins over the Bills and Broncos propping up losses to the Vikings, Rats and Bengals.  So, at 1-4, I'm really not all that verklempt.  Not at all, actually.

-- It seemed with every extra yard he churned out, with every lowered helmet planted into the chest of a defender, Jamal Lewis was quietly giving the one-finger salute to those who feel he should be put out to pasture.

-- 171 yards on the ground with dicey wind conditions will go a long way in helping a team overcome no production at all from the QB position.  Especially when it comes against a team even more inept than the Browns.  Speaking of running the football…

-- Alex Mack, you are turning into a very solid football player.  Joe Thomas is a Pro Bowl appearance waiting to happen yet again, and his left-side brother Eric Steinbach is having a see-ya-in-Hawaii-in-February type of season.

-- Who would've thought that Hank Fraley would help solidify the right side of the offensive line?  And anyone who raised their hand after reading that is a straight-up liar.

-- If it weren't for both punt units, this may have been yet another loss for the Browns.  No, actually, it would've been yet another loss.  And people scoff at The Vest for saying the punt is the most important play in football.  Don't question the wisdom of The Vest.

-- Yeah, this was a horrid Bills offense.  Yeah, said offense had to overcome 72 accepted penalties.  But the performance of the defense was something that I would describe as making me giddy if I thought using the word giddy would make me more, not less, heterosexual.

-- Dammit, though, I'm getting giddy over this defense.  A defense that has no game changers, no consistent playmakers at this point in time.  What I see is a scheme, a system, being implemented that will bear fruit once players at key positions – outside linebacker and safety, in particular – are acquired, plugged in and replaced by more talent than could be acquired in Year One.  Mangini and Rob Ryan have a helluva scheme that they are tweaking to compensate for the dearth of talent currently residing at certain positions.  David Bowens and Abe Elam are caretakers, not long-term solutions.

-- The elephant in the room is not how the New York Jets are performing in the early portion of the season.  The pachyderm taking mountainous dumps on the rug, on the furniture, is Josh McDaniels and his unbeaten Broncos.  With Kyle "Freaking" Orton as his quarterback.  Randy Lerner "interviewed" the NE Ohio native for the coaching vacancy.  He passed.  What the Canton native does in the Rockies has more import in viewing the Mangini hire than anything that happens in the Big Apple.  Right or wrong – and the fact that he inherited a more talented roster notwithstanding – McDaniels will be the measuring stick for Lerner's final hire as an owner.

-- Put skirts on the quarterbacks.  Put ‘em on ‘em right now.  This is no longer tackle football if you are going to call roughing the passer on Corey Williams for a legitimate, clean hit.  Nothing vicious or malicious in the hit.  Nothing.  The pussification of the game of American football continues.

-- What in the name of Lester Hayes was going through Eric Wright's head late in the first half?  The football is coming right at him, and instead of, you know, playing the football, he decides to take an early shot the Bills' receiver.  Instead of fourth down, Wright handed Buffalo an extra set of downs, which of course led to the Bills' first score of the game.

-- And then, late in the third quarter, Wright turns around and totally redeems himself.  Such is life on the corner island.

-- And what exactly was that clusterf-ck at the end of the first half?  If you are going to run out the clock, why would you call a timeout with 1:42 left when Buffalo had the ball?  Why, when you get the ball up to your own 46-yard line, and have one timeout remaining, do you throw one pass and then squat on the ball?  I don't get that philosophy in the least. 

-- That personal foul on Williams is still pissing me off.

-- Mike Zimmer, my heart goes out to you and your family.  I have never, ever rooted for the Cincinnati Bengals.  Until today.  And if that postgame locker room scene didn't illicit some type of response from anyone that viewed it, then someone has no humanity or soul.

-- Found it very interesting, and perhaps telling, that the ball that was in play at the very end of the game was given to Mangini as he was walking off the field.  Dare we say there's some detente going on between the coach and the players?  Or it's not nearly as bad as some would like to suggest?  Either way, it was very interesting to see that spur-of-the-moment show of support.

-- One of the questions from last Tuesday's OBR radio show that has stuck with me over the past few days was whether the OT loss to the ‘Nati last Sunday was a turning point in the season.  There is still no way to accurately portray that game one way or the other, but it's beginning to look like a tangible sign that the buying-in required by a team with a new staff may have started to happen.

-- That penalty on Williams is still bugging the shiite out of me.

-- Don't know if anyone really learned a lot about this football team this afternoon.  What is known is that the Browns earned their first win of the 2009 season against an inferior opponent, and it tastes a whole helluva better than a close loss to a superior opponent did just seven days ago.

-- So, it's onward and upward to that Big Ketchup Bottle stuck in the middle of The Deliverance.  You want to ingratiate yourself, Mangini?  Kick the Hilljacks right in the tooth. Repeatedly.


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