There’s not one topic I feel like talking about today as we endure a week of Super Bowl and Hall of Fame propoganda. The Browns introduced their defensive coordinator Ray Horton yesterday, but even that was putting a cap on old news. With that in mind, I thought I would just combine a bunch of things into one post today…
Alex Smith to the Browns?
So Brandon Weeden thought he dodged a bullet when the Browns failed to land Chip Kelly, I bet. I hope he didn’t spend too much time sighing with relief because the Browns quarterback rumors are flying fast as the Browns are being linked to the 49ers’ own displaced QB Alex Smith. It makes some sense because as we all know, new coaches tend to gravitate toward familiar players, and Google is full of pictures of Alex Smith sitting next to Norv Turner. That’s also why we were treated to a lot of Chud-fueled Derek Anderson news a few weeks back.
So, is it good or bad for Browns fans? I am not a quarterback expert, and I’ve heard plenty of people say that Alex Smith doesn’t have the prototypical skill set for the vertical passing game. Just from a game theory standpoint, I’m not unhappy that the Browns are rumored to be looking for a quarterback. I’m not ready to run Weeden out on a rail. He showed a few good things this season, and had a very rookie-like year overall. Still, would it be the end of the world to have someone come in and compete with him who happens to have a ton more experience and still is a year younger?
At least this leads me to be that the Browns aren’t going to sit back and “wait and see.” This could be the proof that Jimmy Haslam wasn’t just paying lip service when he said there were no two more impatient people than he and Joe Banner. Of course impatience can sometimes be a negative, but Browns fans know all too well that patience hasn’t delivered a top of the league quarterback to Cleveland yet.
Leroy Hoard and the future of the NFL
The Leroy Hoard story on ESPN’s Outside the Lines was gut-wrenching to see. There are always pangs of guilt when we see the cost of our entertainment spit out at the end of an NFL career. You can’t help but feel complicit, and I hate to tell you that this is just the beginning of the story. No, not every NFL player will end up with these kinds of symptoms, but the ones who show them are no longer going to languish in the shadows as we’re forced to deal with the reality of the game we all love so very much.
The NFL will continue to change. Tackling might continue to dissipate in the secondary where the closing speed and violence is at its maximum. The kickoff will continue to be mitigated over time too, I would bet. The game will change, but it might get better too.
How about this, for example? If they’re going to take away the hits in the secondary, maybe they’ll loosen up the contact restrictions between corners and receivers in the pattern. You’ve got to think that a lot of the violent hits that have scared us over the last four or five years are the result of defensive backs having to avoid contact before the ball is in the air. Instead of jamming and bumping in the pattern, safeties and corners sit back and deliver crazy hits a lot of the time. Encourage more bumping and hand fighting in the pattern and a lot of that could disappear. So, too will the more massive “knockout” types of blows, I’m guessing.
Ray Horton and the optimist viewpoint
Ray Horton really didn’t say much in his press conference. Despite the talk of the 4-3 and the 3-4, Horton continued to boil it all down to guys who can run and guys who can hit. While I sincerely hope that he was being simplistic for the media and fans’ sake, the one really positive thing that I take from that is that he’ll be using the best players he has regardless of scheme. Mixing fronts and personnel packages is going to be a positive for this crew considering another transition in base defense. Here’s hoping they can find the right combination of Dick Jauron’s ability to avoid the big play and also blitzing to create their own big plays. One thing that seems all but certain is that this defense will be fired up to play weekly.
Ozzie Newsome and Art Modell’s Hall of Fame candidacy
I love Ozzie Newsome from my childhood watching him play. I respect him greatly as a general manager of the Ravens even though I can’t stand that team. All that being said, his testimony on behalf of Art Modell in the Hall of Fame debate couldn’t be more meaningless. Ozzie’s opinion is predictable, obvious and speaks out of turn, repeating others’ facts in a lot of cases when it comes to history that preceded him. I mean we are all talking about history that preceded us, but in my opinion, Ozzie’s case had better be one that blows the roof off the house if it is to mean anything. He was just too close and benefited too much from Art Modell personally to have appropriate perspective on the Hall overall. Like asking a son to testify against his father without a cross-examination.
Of course as a spurned Browns fan, my perspective is only worth so much too. I know this, though. I would hope that Ozzie does too.
That’s the end of the Browns bits for today, but I’ll leave you with one final thought that I had watching TV on the treadmill this morning.
Imagine for just one second that the Browns were in the Super Bowl. Could you imagine the two week news cycle wondering how it was affecting the team and their eventual performance on Super Bowl Sunday? It would be absolutely maddening, but I love to even think about it. All our guys would be the talk of the league. It would be so amazing. This whole paragraph made me feel like a teenage girl talking about a show on the CW.