Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “dispair”

Sleeping with the enemy

With the Cleveland Browns taking on a Baltimore Ravens team that is probably going to finish 13-3 with the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the AFC, the Browns need to play a perfect game to have a chance at winning on Sunday.

Now, while being perfect is probably unrealistic, you have to at least try.

Unfortunately the Browns were their own worst enemy on Sunday, falling to the Ravens for the seventh consecutive game.

This was a team loss in every way possible.

From the first play of the game – when Greg Little dropped another pass that hit him square in the hands, the receivers had a day to forget as Little had three catches for 18 yards, Jordon Norwood had three catches (and one weak penalty) and Mohamed Massaquoi had a lone catch.

Josh Cribbs earned the Brian Robiskie Memorial Blutarski Award this week for 0 receptions and 0 yards.

The tight ends did their part, with Ben Watson and Evan Moore both dropping passes that hit them square in the hands – Moore dropping a sure touchdown that would have cut the Ravens’ lead to 10-7.

Running game? How about 59 yards on 17 carries, with 24 of those yards coming on the opening drive.

Offensive line? Three sacks allowed and general lackluster play.

Quarterback Colt McCoy? For every play where his receivers betrayed him, he made just as many bad throws. A interception near the end of the first half set up a Baltimore field goal and McCoy finished with 192 yards on 17-of-35 passing.

McCoy may not throw many interceptions, but he knows how to make the ones he does throw count.

The defense got in on the act as well, giving up 204 yards rushing to Ray Rice and 290 on the ground overall.

After the Browns had to settle for a field goal because Moore dropped a sure touchdown in the third quarter, the defense gave up a 67-yard run to Rice on the first play, taking away what little momentum the Browns had.

The special teams clearly didn’t want to be left out of the fun as they gave up a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown to Lardarius Webb.

And so it goes for the Browns.

They haven’t beaten the Ravens since Phil Dawson’s field goal hit the support in Baltimore in 2007, they are most likely going to finish with 1 or fewer division wins for the fourth year in a row and, oh yeah, they’re heading to Pittsburgh on Thursday night to take on the Steelers.

And when we went to the team website after the game, we got the image you see at the top of this post. Is that what you really want to give someone for Christmas?

Bah Humbug, indeed.

(Photo by Cleveland Browns.com)

What’s the Next Move Dan?

“It’s a mess, ain’t it?

“If it ain’t, it will do until the mess gets here.

Now that Dan Gilbert has taken the easy path and fired Mike Brown, sacrificing him to appease the hoople heads, we’re left hoping that the next mess doesn’t arrive.

As we explained last week, firing a coach is the easy part. Terry Pluto made the same, correct point in today’s PD. Zydrunas and Mo Williams also agree.

Now Gilbert has to find the answer to the question: who are you going to hire? And if he can’t find someone who will produce better results than Brown, then what was the point, exactly? Brown was not only the most successful coach in franchise history, he was the sixth winningest coach in NBA history, percentage wise.

Read that sentence again. Only five other coaches in NBA history have had a better winning percentage than Brown. Think that will be easy to replace?

Brian Windhorst ran down a list of possible replacements in today’s PD: Other than Phil Jackson, who’s not coming to Cleveland, the list shouldn’t inspire confidence or excitement among the fan base. Consider the “accomplishments” of some of the names on that list:

  • Byron Scott, .498 winning percentage, only eight playoff wins in his last seven years as coach.
  • Dwayne Casey, .434, no playoff wins.
  • Maurice Cheeks, .498, five playoff wins.
  • Lawrence Frank, .483, no playoff wins in his last three years as coach.
  • Mike Fratello (please, no), 20-42 career playoff record, only two playoff wins in his last 10 years as a coach.
  • Sam Mitchell, .452, three playoff wins.
  • Terry Porter, .460, one playoff win.

You really want one of them running the team for the next three years – because, let’s face it, that’s about how long one of them would last if they were hired. Is there anyone on this list that gives fans any reason to hope that they will be the ones to lead the team to a championship?

And let’s not even go down the road that would end in disaster if the Cavs hired a college coach.

But I guess it’s not all bad. We still have Manny Acta (.385 career winning percentage) and Eric Mangini (.438) in the Cleveland coaching fraternity. That will put an extra hop in your step.

So now the search is on and Dan Gilbert faces the latest in a seemingly never-ending list of “most important decisions” facing the franchise.

“The expectations of this organization are very high,” Gilbert said Monday in published reports. “Although change always carries an element of risk, there are times when that risk must be taken in an attempt to break through to new, higher levels of accomplishment. This is one of those times.”

We have to all hope that Gilbert is correct. Who knows, maybe he is the owner that can break the championship drought that has hung over Cleveland for almost 46 years.

If not, there’s no telling what kind of mess the Cavs will find themselves in.

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