Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “hoopleheads”

Should Browns tackle the defensive line?

The Browns need help on the defensive line – that’s no secret – and, for once, luck may be on their side as this year’s draft class is deep in defensive line talent.

If the Browns decide to pick a defensive linemen with the No. 6 pick Thursday night in the opening round of the NFL Draft, the question then becomes: do they go for a defensive end or a tackle to pair with Ahtyba Rubin inside? If they go inside, the top two tackles are Alabama’s Marcell Dareus and Auburn’s Nick Fairley.

We’d be cool with the Browns taking Dareus, who has been described as someone who “can be the backbone of an elite defensive line, and his run defense is the key. Takes momentum blocking – especially slide protection – very well. Strong enough to go against the grain and split gaps. Agile enough to redirect in space and extends the play to the sideline. Blows up piles and can be dominant in power situations.”

Unfortunately, Dareus is expected to be one of the first players off the board.

Less certain is Fairley, who makes us uneasy: “In addition to the late hits, Fairley can be drawn offside and this could be a bigger problem in the NFL when he’s dealing with quarterbacks who have great cadences and can trip up defenders with their snap counts. Concerns about his work ethic have dogged Fairley for a long time; not known to be a gym rat or an exceptionally interested student of the game.”

Does that really sound like someone we want the Browns to take a chance on?

No, it does not.*

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“Potential major violations”

“failed to deport himself … [with] honesty and integrity”

“violated ethical-conduct legislation”

Not the kinds of things you generally want to hear about your football coach, but that’s what Ohio State is hearing about Jim Tressel after the NCAA presented its notice of allegations to the school about Tressel lying to cover up violations of seven players.

The NCAA also warned that it could treat Ohio State as a repeat offender stemming from the violations involving former quarterback Troy Smith, who took $500 from a booster and former men’s basketball coach Jim O’Brien, who gave $6,000 to a recruit.

Repeat offenders face post-season bans, the entire coaching staff could be suspended and the school could lose scholarships, according to NCAA rules.

Uh-oh, somebody is in big trouble.

Former Ohio State quarterback and current ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who had to move out of state because the hoopleheads in Columbus couldn’t handle him telling the truth, summed up the current situation perfectly.

“The Ohio State fan base blindly is supporting Ohio State and Jim Tressel. It’s almost gotten to the point that he beats Michigan, he wins 10 games, he goes to BCS bowl games, they’ll support him no matter what he does as far as the fan base,” Herbstreit told ESPN. “If this would have happened to John Cooper [Herbstreit’s coach], not only would they have fired him, they would have actually lined it up and had a firing squad and fired him.”

Hmmm, you’d think someone who wraps themselves in the cloak of Christianity, like Tressel repeatedly does, would have known right from wrong.

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Reason No. 152 why we are so very glad the Browns didn’t make the mistake of hiring Jon Gruden as head coach comes from Peter King, writing in his Monday Morning QB column.

King tries to answer the question that has puzzle many of us: why does everyone treat Gruden as some kind of quarterback guru?

I think in the wake of Jon Gruden sitting with quarterbacks and working out quarterbacks and examining their mental and physical games, this has been the common question: If Gruden is so good with young quarterbacks, why didn’t he ever develop a great one himself?

In his second year as Raider coach in 1999, he got the kind of quarterback he felt was best to win with immediately, Rich Gannon. Early in his Buc tenure, he duplicated that with Brad Johnson. Two veteran quarterbacks, both of whom Gruden used to take those teams deep into the playoffs; he won a Super Bowl, obviously, with Johnson. So that became the way he thought best to win big. Later in his Tampa term, it stopped working, and he suffered for it. Gruden’s not going to be one of the patient guys who says, “Let’s take our lumps with the young kids.” He’s going to be a win-now guy.

I also think Gruden likes to be known as the fixer, the guy who wins quicker than the other coaches. He fixed the Raiders, then got the Bucs a championship Tony Dungy never got. Gruden’s not going to be the guy who you want coaching your team for 12 years, but he’s going to be the guy who takes over a pretty good team, gives it shock therapy and a sense of urgency, and has a chance to win quickly.

The last thing the Browns need is a quick-fix guy. They need someone who will build the team in the right way. Gruden is obviously not that guy.

***

*If the Browns do end up drafting Fairley, we are 100 percent behind the pick. If the player is wearing a jersey that says Cleveland on it then we want them to succeed. We just won’t be disappointed if the Browns pass on him.

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Beware the Hands-on Owner

This one is for all the hoopleheads who think the Browns would have more on-field success if owner Randy Lerner was sitting at a desk in Berea on a daily basis. You know, be more of a “hands-on” owner.

Dan Snyder is the hands-on owner for the Washington Redskins. Dave McKenna of the Washington City Paper published an A-Z list of all the ways Snyder has worked to ruin the team.

Some of the highlights:

  • 8-3: Record Marty Schottenheimer posted in the last 11 games of the 2001 season, his first as head coach of the Washington Redskins. Snyder fired him anyway.
  • Bankrupt Airline Peanuts: What Snyder was selling to fans at FedExField. During the 2006 season, vendors offered shelled nuts in royal blue and white 5 oz. bags adorned with the Independence Air logo. Problem: The airline had gone under about a year earlier. The supplier told Washington City Paper that it stopped shipping the airline’s nuts “before Independence Air went out of business.” A spokesman for the Peanut Council told City Paper that to prevent rancidity, the recommended shelf life of a foil bag of out-of-shell peanuts was “about three months.”
  • “Ewwwww!”: How Barbara Hyde, spokeswoman for the American Society for Microbiology, reacted to last year’s news that Snyder’s vendors were selling beer in the bathrooms. Fans had been alleging that the Redskins were hawking lager in the loo long before a YouTube video surfaced in October 2009. Hyde said that because microbiological bad actors like E. coli hang out in the men’s room, beer vendors shouldn’t.
  • Fan Appreciation Day: Gimmick used in 2006 by Snyder to draw people to FedExField, where he charged $25 to park to watch the team scrimmage and hear an address from Vinny Cerrato. The parking charge was not mentioned in the advertisements the team produced for the event.
  • Herzog, Frank: Beloved former Redskins play-by-play announcer. Herzog was best known for signature call, “Touchdown, Washington Redskins!” He was replaced in Snyder’s Redskins Broadcasting booth in 2004 by Larry Michael, best known for saying “Brought to you by Subway! If you love bacon come into Subway! Eat fresh!”
  • Pentagon Flag Hat: A Redskins cap sold for profit by Snyder to “commemorate September 11” in time for the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Ads boasted that the $23.99 caps, really just black Redskins hats with a red, white, and blue Pentagon sewn on the side, were “expected to be worn by the Redskins coaches.” No other NFL team put 9/11 commemorative products for sale during the 2006 season, for profit or otherwise. Snyder had previously added a $4 “security surcharge” to the ticket prices soon after the attacks.
  • Sponsored Sponsors: A technique created by the Redskins Broadcast Network in the Snyder era to cram in all the advertising sold on Redskins radio broadcasts. No segment of a Skins game goes unsponsored, leading to fabulous listening moments such as: “The GMRI scoreboard brought to you by McDonald’s.”

We think you get the point. Just remember this cautionary tale the next time you think Lerner’s presence in Berea has any bearing on the outcome of a Browns game.

Lerner has finally put together a management team with Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert and Eric Mangini that is turning the Browns in the right direction. It’s better for everyone involved if Lerner pays the bills and lets everyone do the job they were hired for.

Because it would not be much fun if we had an owner like Snyder in town.

Something Just Doesn’t Sound Right

We were a little shaken when we first heard the story of the 8-year-old who was allegedly tackled by a Browns fan in the Muni Lot after Sunday’s Browns game for wearing a Jets jersey.

But the more we thought about it, the more something just seemed off about the story. The Browns are making an effort this year to curb the hoopleheads; the city also works to keep things relatively under control in the city-owned lots.

Cleveland Frowns broke the story down really well here; no need for us to try and improve on his skeptical eye.

There is one thing we’d like to add: the boy’s family turned down an offer from the Jets to attend a Jets home game in the swamps of Jersey. That’s probably for the best as what parent would want to subject an 8-year-old to this kind of behavior: At Jets Game, a Halftime Ritual of Harassment.

Mike Holmgren vs. the Hoopleheads

Browns GM Mike Holmgren delivered an overdue message to a certain segment of Browns fans who frequent Cleveland Browns Stadium on game days:

Grow up.

In an interview with The Plain Dealer earlier this week, Holmgren said the team will work to eliminate the hoopleheads that try to turn parts of the Stadium into Thunderdome:

“In the Mike Holmgren Era, which officially began this weekend with the opening of Browns training camp, fans will be enthusiastic and supportive.

“Not aggressive or obscene. Not spilling beers or vehemently taunting opposing fans. Not being obnoxious or offensive.

“After hearing too many stories of longtime season-ticket holders not renewing seats because they were disgusted with the behavior of out-of-hand fans at Browns Stadium, Holmgren is taking his first steps in overhauling the culture of the Browns organization by making a simple request: Please behave, Browns fans.

“Make Browns Stadium a difficult place for opponents to play, but don’t make it a place where some of Cleveland’s own fans won’t attend games because of disgust with your behavior.”

Now I took Holmgren’s comments to mean the team will enforce the existing rules on fan conduct; they’re not looking to turn the Stadium into a Gestapo-like police state. But not everyone agrees.

Taking a look at various sites that picked up on the story, and from the comments on the PD’s site, there’s a segment of Browns fans who think Holmgren is off his rocker. The opposition can be boiled down to “that’s the way we’ve always acted,” “that’s what Browns fan do” and “it’s my right to act that way because I bought a ticket.”

Thankfully, I haven’t come across anyone saying “that’s how we do it in the 216.”

Reading those comments make it all the more clear that Holmgren is on the right path here. “It’s always been that way” isn’t a good excuse. Just because you want to act like a feral animal doesn’t mean the rest of us want to go along. And buying a ticket only gives you the right to attend the game, not do anything you want once you pass through the gate.

If fans can’t police themselves in their behavior, then someone has to act as the adult in the room and, under Holmgren, that someone is going to be team security.

After all, we don’t want to be confused with Jets fans, do we?

In some ways, it’s refreshing that Holmgren has the time to deal with this issue. No contract holdouts, no silly quarterback battles, no horrific training camp injuries, staph infections, controversial bus rides or any other of the various nonsenses that have plagued the Browns over the past decade are present this year, and that’s so nice.

For some other viewpoints on the subject, be sure to visit Waiting For Next Year and Cleveland Frowns.

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