Monday, September 10, 2007

Random Thoughts from the Weekend

1. Ohio State hasn't impressed me... Yes, they're 2-0, so they're doing better than some teams, but damn a 3-2 first half versus Akron? Not good. They weren't exactly impressive against Youngstown State either. I'm not feeling particularly good about facing Washington next weekend.

2. I'm also not excited for some other games. Mainly the night games at Minnesota, Purdue and Penn State. Ohio State teams haven't exactly played well at night under Tressel and the team doesn't look that strong this year.

3. Their ranking confuses me too. Right now, they're 10 in both polls, which seems high to me (some people have them ranked 3rd. 3?!?! are you kidding me? I love me some Buckeyes, but God damn).

4. I was expecting more from Beanie Wells. Bill Livingston isn't impressed and says Wells needs to step up (though some of the problem has been play calling). I'm not too worried (yet) but I was hoping he'd run all over Youngstown State and Akron and he's been average thus far.

5. What's better than Michigan starting the season 0-2? Michigan AND Notre Dame starting the season 0-2. The Battle of Suck is next Saturday. Can both teams lose? Can Lloyd Carr be fired at halftime (Charlie Frye style)? What do I root for? A 0-3 Michigan or a 0-3 Charlie Weiss? Or do I simply root for injuries? So many questions...

6. Antonio Pittman got cut. That's not good. But he got picked up by St. Louis. Kinda surprising.

7. The Browns suck. This shouldn't exactly shock anyone, but I'm sure it will (though I didn't expect them to play that poorly against Pittsburgh, my lord).

8. That didn't work. Maybe they should've eased Eric Steinbach into the starting lineup eh?

9. When did we start referring to Romeo Crennel as RAC? This was all over the message boards yesterday and even in a teaser link for a Bud Shaw column.

10. Peter King has some Browns tidbits in his MMQB column:

Quote of the Week II

"BRAY-dee! BRAY-dee! BRAY-dee!''

-- The Cleveland Browns Stadium crowd, four minutes and 23 seconds into the new season. Literally. That's how long it took them to call for coach Romeo Crennel to make Brady Quinn his starting quarterback. But Crennel did not listen. He replaced Charlie Frye, all right, in the second quarter -- but with Derek Anderson, not the 22nd pick in April's draft.


f. Teams that have to feel ridiculously depressed after Sunday: St. Louis, Buffalo, Kansas City, the Jets and Cleveland.

g. Wait -- give me a separate category for Cleveland. What I wonder after watching chunks of that game is, how can you work for an entire training camp and look like that? "If the gamut runs from A to Z,'' GM Phil Savage said last night, "that was a Z.'' Maybe a letter doesn't exist for what that was.


3. I think the most overplayed story of Week 1 was the subterfuge angle of former players spilling the beans to the enemy. Just like Jason David's information on the Indy offense meant nothing to New Orleans' defense in the Colts' 41-10 beatdown of the Saints, the importation of former Patriot Reche Caldwell for a look-see and the Patriots bringing in ex-Jets Tim Dwight and Bobby Hamilton (on the QT Friday) meant nothing to the outcome of the Patriots' win over the Jets. Maybe the Jets learned a scintilla about the physical condition of Randy Moss -- maybe -- but as far as strategy or signals or audible signs ... fiction.

"It's the most overrated thing in sports,'' said Peyton Manning, who went on to give me a great example of how a foreign agent can actually hurt a team's preparation. "The classic was when we're playing Cleveland and they got [former Colts backup quarterback and offensive assistant] Kelly Holcomb and Bruce Arians. It's Tony Dungy's first year, maybe 2002. So the Browns grill Holcomb all week, 'You got to give us something' and he says, 'I'm telling you, Peyton's going to change it up. He knows I'm here, he's going to give you a dummy audible early. I'm telling you, he's not stupid. So, just play your keys.'

"They're up 16-3, I think, at the half," said Manning. "Second half, we get a good drive going and it's fourth-and-three. So we run our bread and butter play, a little five-yard under route. Well, I signal the play and Holcomb -- it's the same signal -- so he says, 'Ah, now I'm going to help them.' So he says, 'They're running the five-yard under play! Five-yard under play!"

"And so you can see it on the film -- they're going, 'Watch the slants, watch the slants.' So they load up, all inside technique, and they go into a man defense. Well, I see this and I see the defenders all change up -- that's the thing about the no-huddle, I can see this -- and I kept the receivers doing the same thing and I checked to a zone running play and it's only six guys who gotta know -- the linemen and the back [James Mungro]. And he goes 29 yards untouched for a touchdown. And so their guys go to Holcomb, all pissed off, 'So, they're running a slant, huh? Thanks a freaking lot, Holcomb.'

So, maybe that sums it up right there, be careful of what you think you know.''

4. I think, still, that Romeo Crennel has to stand strong and not put Quinn on the field. Not yet, anyway. Four of the next five games, before Cleveland's bye, come against teams that finished in the NFL's top 10 in defensive rankings last year. "Our whole thought was Charlie [Frye] and Derek [Anderson] keeping us functional through the tough part of our schedule,'' Savage told me. And now? "If you ask 70,000 people in our stadium today, the process got accelerated. We'll meet [Monday morning] and discuss it. But I think you run into trouble if you change your plans after one game. Back in 1999, we lost to Pittsburgh 43-0 in the first game of the season with Ty Detmer playing and we threw Tim Couch in there. You saw how that turned out. Once Brady goes in, that's it; there's no turning back. To do it after the first week ...''

Look, the Browns know this season's a wash. Frye got sacked five times in the first 23 minutes against Pittsburgh. Do you want the kid shellshocked in September, or do you want him to play after he's had more than 92 snaps (the real number) with the first unit since he signed his contract?

11. I'm not sure where I'm at with Quinn. Obviously, Frye and Anderson both suck ass. This can't be denied. Sure, we may prefer one over the other, but neither is a good option. Quinn is going to get his shot this year, it's only a matter of time. So what's the point of sitting him? I mean, would anyone be worried about him if he had to face the 'vaunted' Cincinnati defense next week?

12. Well, Quinn has one point in his favor... He led the Browns into the Post-preseason.

13. That's some fine coaching there Lou. I'm glad we had that quarterback competition in the preseason so they could scrap the guy by halftime. Good times (with coin flips!). And I know Frye sucked ass. He was terrible (Terry Pluto tries to defend him by saying that the Steelers didn't blitz Anderson nearly as much). It's not the losses that piss me off so much, it's the terrible coaching; these don't look prepared at all. The whole offense was a mess (again) and this shit is getting old.

14. Har. Livingston would've started the coin.

15. But hey.... at least Romeo won't name his starter for next week. I'm sure that gives the team all the confidence they need.

16. I know the Browns are going to be the big talk of the day, but... we're all aware that the Indians kick major ass, right? They just split a four game series with the Angels. These guys are good, they have a bona fide number 1 starter in Sabathia and they should be able to make some noise in the playoffs.

17. Grady Sizemore is awesome. Last night in the fourth inning he bunted for a hit, stole second base and then scored on grounder that didn't leave the infield. Well done young sir.

18. This annoys me:

The Tribe knocked around Jered Weaver (11-7, 4.00) for six runs on nine hits in five innings. The man who delivered the big hit - a three-run homer in the five-run fourth inning - was the last position player to make the club out of spring training. Ryan Garko hit Weaver's first pitch over the bullpens in left field for a 4-2 lead.

It was Garko's second homer of the series. His parents, Michael and Elaine, were in the stands. So was most of his senior class from Servite High School in Walnut, Calif.

"Garko had to make the club out of spring training," said Wedge. "Then we weren't sure how much he was going to play. But Andy Marte got hurt, Casey Blake moved to third and Garko has played better than a lot of people thought at first base."

19. Honestly? Has Garko really played that much better than people would've thought? Cause he's about where I'd thought he'd be. And look, I know that he had to earn his job and all that, but the fact that the Tribe's brass was prepared to sit Garko for Casey Blake scares me.

20. Speaking of really surprising things. People can't actually be shocked that Randy Moss put up those numbers yesterday, right? I know he's a 'locker room' problem and he missed preseason games and blah blah blah... but come on. This guy made Jeff George into an MVP candidate, I think he'll be okay with Tom Brady.

21. Ha. Kenny Lofton thinks he's putting finishing touches on Hall of Fame career. And I know it's a humorous article and all... but say Kenny had stayed with Cleveland all these years and started every day (rather than jumping around and platooning). I'm not saying he'd be a HoF'er, but he'd be though of rather differently at least.

22. AL MVP... I know A-Rod is going to win it (and he probably should) but I'd be willing to bet that if Victor Martinez played in Boston or New York, he'd be higher than 'rest of our top 10'.

23. Troy Glaus, really? I, for one, am shocked! Shocked I say!

24. When can the Brett Boone reports come out? Come on, he went from 'scrappy second baseman' to '140 RBI machine'. I've been pissed about this for years.

25. Faaaantastic. Alan Houston is 95% sure he's going to return. If he ends up taking time away from Boobie Gibson, I will be one pissed blogger.

26. Big day today. Yup, yup and yup.

27. It's really happening... with a logo and every everything.

28. Humpy poopy, just watch it. I know this guy.

29. About time. Help! is being released on DVD with a deluxe treatment. Now if we could get Let it Be...

30. Sweet concert tomorrow night. I'm seeing the Arctic Monkeys and the Coral. The Arctic Monkeys are the headliner (not surprising) but I more excited to see the Coral. They've been one of my favorite bands for awhile now and I'm really excited to see them live. I can't really describe their sound, because they change things up from album to album, but the song writing and performance is always quality; they're kinda hard to pin down. Their new one, Roots and Echoes, is a more stripped down affair and it is quite good (I probably still love their self titled debut the most, but that was my introduction and I've played that thing a ton). They aren't very well known (I've never met someone else who's even aware of 'em- well, besides people who've heard of them through me) and I hope that they'll get some stateside exposure from this tour.

The Coral - Roots and Echoes - Jacquelin:

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