Taylor's Pregame 12-Pack

There is nothing on the entire interwebs like John Taylor's pre-game 12-pack. It's the digital cardboard box full of ice-cold refreshing takes that you just gotta chug. Especially today.

Thoughts, notes, questions, suggestions and random snottiness as the Cleveland Browns prepare to get their asses handed to them by prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • I had one person tell me that last week's win over the Buffalo Bills set the game of football back 70 years.  My first thought?  What the hell did the kind of football played 70 years ago do to that person to make him compare it to the tipped-over port-o'-potty display this past Sunday?  We are exactly seven days and almost 168 hours past the win, and I still have not been able to fully wrap my head around the fact that the winning quarterback completed 2-of-17 passes for 23 yards.  Of course, it feels a whole helluva lot better than seeing a 22-of-27, 320-yard stat line in a loss.  After ten years in the NFL desert, thirsty beggars can't be choosy vulture entrées, right?

  • Now, we come to Pittsburgh.  In a past life, the seconds would've ticked away like hours in the week leading up to a game against the despised rival.  Now?  Uhhh, cool, it's Steeler week.  Yawn.  Scratch.  And that just might be one of the saddest things I've ever written.  Of course, when you get your asses handed to you by a team as many times as this new edition of the Browns have, it's kind of hard not to approach yet another meeting with the same anticipation as an appointment with a back-alley proctologist would induce.


  • Believe it or not, all of the trade winds swirling around Brady Quinn and Josh Cribbs – and the requisite national and local negativity in the media -- has had little or no negative impact on the team this week.  In fact, according to a couple of players who spoke off the record, it was the best week of practice hands down of the young season.  "There was a focus, a purpose there that's not really been there," one player said, while another added that "the attitude this week, coming off that win, it was good to see.  That [win over Buffalo] couldn't have come at a better time."  Of course, all of that is simply lip service, especially when you are about to face an opponent very pissed off and embarrassed over how they've started the season.  And playing in their house.


  • Speaking of Cribbs, there needs to be one thing made perfectly, crystal clear about his contract situation: there are a lot of players who say they aren't thinking about a contract squabble, then play like it's the one and only thing on their mind.  Cribbs says it's not on his mind, and will play like it's not on his mind for those sixty minutes each and every Sunday.  Regardless of what's transpiring on the business side of the equation.  He has too much respect for himself, this team, this game and these fans to do it any other way but professionally.


  • In 2004, the Browns were 2-3 after five games.  In 2005, 2-3.  In 2006, 1-4.  In 2007, 2-3.  In 2008, 2-3.  In 2009, 1-4.  The point?  Just that I'm tired of watching miserable football at the start of the season.  And I'm tired of the miserable football in the middle third of the season.  And the miserable football at the end of each and every season.  (See a pattern emerging?)  In short, I'm just plum tired (see a hillbilly emerging?) and at the end of my rope when it comes to watching miserable football week-in and week-out.


  • This 1-4 is different, though.  (And I know what you're thinking, and the answer to your question is yes, this was written without the aid of illegal narcotics, prescription medication or alcoholic beverages of any kind.)  (Although my liver could likely be legally designated as a working distillery, I don't count that for my argument of being stone sober right now.)  While I'm still watching miserable football, I think I know there's a plan in place.  Agree or disagree that it's the right plan, the right course of action, at least there is indeed a course this organization is on, where all members of the front office and coaching staff are pointing in the same direction.  Of course, lemmings headed for a vacation on the cliffs are headed in the same direction as well…


  • I just typed all of the above and kept a straight face throughout the entire process.  And I actually believe every word of that last note.  For now.  That actually took a lot out of me, typing and believing the words that were being typed.  I need a beer.  And a shot.  And a Vicodin.  And some tar heroin.


  • I've always wanted to punch Troy Palomalu square in his face simply because, one, he was/is a mega-talented Pittsburgh Steeler, and, two, for the fact that his hair reminds me of Reason No. 1,847 why women should never be allowed to play tackle football.  Now, I want to simultaneously punch him in the face for the above-stated reasons and kick him in his American Samoans for those inane Head & Shoulders commercials.  And does it not figure that he would return from injury for this game?  Would absolutely kill to have him on my football team, though.


  • In looking for a glimmer of hope for the Browns in the game this afternoon, I've stumbled across an area where, in the past, it would've been inconceivable to think the Browns might be able to get an edge against the Steelers.  In the running game.  Four of the past five years, the Steelers have been in the top five in yards per rushing attempt against.  In two of the years – including last year – they were tops in the league.  This season, the Steelers are 11th in YPA against.  If you haven't noticed, the Browns have rushed the ball rather well the past two weeks.  So, could the Browns actually make some headway in this series on the ground?  Probably not, especially with the return of Palomalu, but it's something to keep an eye on and something that the Browns may attempt to exploit.  Attempt.  Especially given the expected weather conditions, this looks like it will have an old AFC Central slugfest feel to it.


  • Successfully run the football, win the turnover margin by a pretty healthy margin, avoid the critical turnover – yeah, I'm lookin' right at you, DA -- keep the penalties to a bare minimum, and you have the recipe for a huge upset.  Yeah, that's a lot of things that have to happen, a lot of things that have to break the right way, but there's still a chance.  A razor-thin chance, but a chance nonetheless.


  • Of course, if all else fails, the Browns always have The Greatest…  Punter…  Ever…  to fall back on.  Field position them to death, and hope something breaks down on Pittsburgh's special teams.  More specifically, hope Cribbs breaks something down on special teams.


  • In the end, I don't think the Browns will win today.  However, I do think they can win today, provided nearly every single bounce of the ball falls their way.  And the Steelers play the way they did against Detroit last Sunday.  And enough Browns fans have knocked on enough wood and crossed the right combination of fingers, toes and other appendages.


  • Bonus Beer: Bernie Kosar has as much right to be the official eyes and the ears of the owner as I do.  And let me repeat that for those who didn't read it right the first time: Bernie Kosar has as much right to be the official eyes and ears of the owner as I do.  This is not sitting well with Mangini, and this has a very good chance of not ending well at all.  This "hiring" of a "consultant" is a desperation move by the owner.  Nothing more, nothing less than to appease the fan base.  And that's just sad as it relates to Bernie Kosar.  The former Hurricane quarterback is set up to be a victim of yet another Hail Mary.  Only this time, it won't be Flutie hitting Phelan to end his dreams. 



LAST CALL: Steelers 27, Browns 17.  I dunno.  The score just seems appropriate.  And whimsical.  And… feh, it doesn't matter.  It is what it is.


The OBR Top Stories