A few days ago, Joe Posnanski wrote an excellent piece on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He touted their ability to win despite the fact that they do not change their ways when facing certain pitchers. The case in point was that Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said that the team does not plan on taking pitches against Dice-K Matsuzaka, despite the fact that he walked a TON of players this season. Stubborn, yes. But it got them this far. But were they winning in spite of themselves?
Joe called this inner battle “Diloneism.” I found this quite interesting, that not only was Miguel Dilone a one-time .341-hitting member of the Cleveland Indians, but he was also one of the weakest arms to ever grace Municipal Stadium while playing for one of the worst teams in the history of the franchise. In my interview with Terry Pluto, he dropped a quick jab at David Dellucci when comparing his outfield prowess to that of Dilone. But while you can read Joe’s piece that focuses on the baseball frame of thought, I couldn’t help but compare what he was saying to the Cleveland Browns of the last 12 months.
Diloneism (Dee-lo-NAY-izm) noun. The misguided belief that your success is directly attributable to what is actually your biggest weakness.
With the Browns, their biggest weakness last season was their defense. But while the team would allow 30 points per game, the quicker these scores happened – the better. Get that defense off of the field, and get the offense on. The offense was unstoppable at the mid-point of the season, as Derek Anderson could find any of his receivers on any given play. Jamal Lewis could pound the ball, crossing the goal line at a career-resurrecting rate. But while the defense continued to be awful, any time that the offense would sputter (at Oakland, at Cincinnati…), the team was in serious, serious trouble. But in the same, the team won 10 games. They were winning in spite of themselves. And this season, they come to the table with a similar scenario, and the winning has stopped.
Sure, Phil Savage made some key moves to the defense. He added two premier defensive tackles, albeit those that are comfortable with a 4-3 defense. But in the same, he assumed that the offense would continue to put up world beating numbers. He assumed back-to-back seasons of double digit touchdowns from Braylon Edwards. He assumed 4,000 yards from Derek Anderson. And now that the bottom has fallen out against every team not named the Bengals thus far, now what?
Despite these struggles, Romeo Crennel continues to manage this Cleveland Browns team as if it is the same team that featured Joe Jurevicius in the slot. He continues to manage this team as if the offensive line is the same one that gave Derek Anderson a name in the NFL. And he continues to abandon the run at the first sign of the opposition pulling away. It worked last season, so why can’t it work this time around?
Press conference after press conference, we hear the same song and dance from the front office: sticking with Derek Anderson, sticking with the 3-4 despite the inability to get to an opposing quarterback. It worked last year, right?
At some point, this team will need to reevaluate what ‘works’ and what doesn’t. And as a fan of this football franchise, I have a feeling that that point in time will be when it is too late. Just ask Miguel Dilone, who then went on to play for five teams in the next five seasons…
I think this quote about sums it up.
And yet you hear it here and elsewhere: “Heck no, we’re not going to change our approach.”
You know what? Your approach sucks.
Amen, Joe. Amen.
Diloneism [Joe Posnanski]