April 19, 2014

WFNY Podcast – 2013-01-25 – Cleveland Frowns in a two-part podcast

WFNY Podcast LogoPeter Pattakos is a guy that many at WFNY have come to know over the years in person. He never shies away from controversy and he serves a rabid, loyal fanbase at his site Cleveland Frowns. There’s so much backdrop to Peter and his site that it makes what he does at his site somewhat stark for newcomers. Jim Rome has inside jokes that his “clones” all are aware of kind of like junior historians of the program. Frowns has a trail of perspectives and causes that serve as a basis for his website and I thought it would be interesting to explore it a bit in a long-form manner. Perfect for a podcast.

Peter insisted on doing it in person, which was cool by me. He showed up with a bottle of wine that we crushed as we did a two-part podcast talking about Peter’s website, the Browns, Mangini, Modell, Grossi, Wahoo, the Cleveland media and even his recommendations for what he might do to change this very website. I didn’t anticipate taking them to heart, but he likes our site, so I was curious what he might say.

Hopefully this is the first of many podcasts with the Frowner. Also, he had one plug. Make sure you go to his Super Bowl party at the Map Room in Cleveland. And of course you can also follow him on twitter.

Part 1
Part 2

Listen at Stitcher

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Subscribe on iTunes

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  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    Was a true pleasure, Craig. Thanks again for having me. If I have any regrets about the experience they’re that are that I didn’t bring a second bottle of wine, and also that I was too shy about how right I was about Holmgren from the beginning. Looking forward to doing it again, soon. Also looking forward to the sure-to-be-epic Kanicki cast.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

    Were you guys drinking MD 20/20 or Two Buck Chuck?

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

    yey yey!!

  • WFNY_DP

    The Eagles had Brian Westbrook, smart guy.

  • rodofdisaster

    Nice job guys. I would offer an observation. We could call any coach “good” or “bad” based on their won-loss record but when speaking of Ron Rivera, I would offer that “effective” or “ineffective” are a better discriminatory point. You may qualify as “good head coach” vs “good coordinator” but remember that sometimes the deck is stacked against the head coach. You are what your record says you are but there is nuance there. There are some coaches who are ahead of the game and outscheme the other guys regularly but most coaches aren’t that.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    Yes, Twitter unleashed a mighty roar about this today. Still, though, that was McNabb, Westbrook, and who else? Anyone even as good as Greg Little? I dunno. I know they had one big mean offensive lineman whose name escapes me, but I’m not remembering any HOFers there either. For a team that played in that many playoff games. I just think that a lot of coaches and front office types have gone a long way on underrated work by McNabb.

    He made a throw when he was at Syracuse, v. BC I think but I might have that wrong, that ranks as one of the best throws (cross-body, running toward sideline away from pressure, clear across the field at goal line to the only spot where the receiver (Shelby Hill?) was going to catch it) I’ve ever seen any QB make ever.

  • mgbode

    one thing hurt McNabb’s perception almost as much as not winning a Superbowl and that was the run of backup QBs in Philly who did well there and fell flat on their face elsewhere. Alot of credit went to Reid/coaches for the offense due to that factor as well.

    also, yes, the Eagles had Brian Westbrook and he was a dynamic receiving RB. but, he only broke the 1000yd barrier rushing twice. he only broke the 1500yds/scrimmage 3 times. and, 2004 was the only time he achieved either (1500yds/scrimmage in that year) for an Eagles team that made the NFC-Champ game.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    This is a good observation. Thanks.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    Yeah, you heard the same thing about Matt Flynn re: Aaron Rodgers v. Mike McCarthy/Joe Philbin, but I think what people underestimate in situations like this is what an impact the QB can have on the whole operation such that it becomes easier for a successor to step in his shoes. Temporarily, anyway, because none of these Philly backups you speak of (nor Flynn) ever really enjoy any sustained success with the Eagles (or Packers) either.

  • mgbode

    yes, I agree, but I just remember that was a fallback media talking point on McNabb.

  • WFNY_DP

    In all honesty (I know we’ve had our spars, Frowns), I was directing this at Craig for his “they had someone else. I can’t think of his name. What was his name?” at which I was yelling “THEY HAD BRIAN WESTBROOK!”

    FWIW, the year they made the Super Bowl was with TO in his prime at wide receiver. In fairness, though, TO was out for the playoffs prior to the Super Bowl.

    I always thought those Philly teams were built for success more based on their defense. From 2000-2004, their scoring defenses were the following ranks: 4th, 2nd, 2nd, 7th, 2nd. Conversely, their scoring offenses were the following ranks: 12th, 9th, 4th, 11th, 8th. Their passing offenses were ranked: 20th, 20th, 4th, 20th, 7th.

    I would only argue that defense, and not Donovan McNabb, was their biggest strength overall during that run of NFC title-game appearances. Not saying Donovan McNabb wasn’t good; just that he didn’t single-handedly carry those teams to any glory. He had a great deal of help on the other side of the ball.

    You asked about defensive players, Frowns. Here’s the short list:

    Brian Dawkins (you noted)
    Hugh Douglass (40 sacks from 2000-2002, 2004; played in Jax in 03)
    Jeremiah Trotter (355 tackles from 1999-2001; played in Wash in 02 and 03, back in Philly in 04, though just 69 tackles)
    Corey Simon (a DT[!] with 32 sacks from 2000-2004)
    Troy Vincent (career in Philly overlapped with McNabb from 1999-2003; 20 INTs)

    Hall of Famers? Maybe not. But, that was a pretty solid core to build around defensively for most of that stretch of playoff runs for the Eagles.

  • WFNY_DP

    Well, they ran that WCO in which short passes to the RB are just like handoffs. In Westbrook’s five-year run in which he was at his best, he had catches numbering: 73, 61, 77, 90, 54.

    It’s impossible to go back and look at how many of those were short passes, but he averaged 1621.2 yards from scrimmage over a five-year span, leading the league once. During that time, when he ran, he ran well: 4.53 yards per carry.

    Overall, from 2004-2008, Westbrook had an AVERAGE of 287.8 touches for 1621.2 yards (5.63 yards-per-touch) and 10.6 TDs EVERY season. I would KILL for that kind of production from any skill player on the Browns right now for just a few seasons, let alone five straight.

    Yeah, obviously McNabb gets some credit for getting him the ball in the passing game–as does the WCO system, as well. But, McNabb only ever had a QB rating above 90 three times, and in three of his five highest QB rating seasons his team DIDN’T make the playoffs.

    My point isn’t to badmouth McNabb. He was a great player in Philly for a long, long time. But he’s not the SOLE reason they were a good team for a decade. They had a killer defense for the first half of his career, and a five year run with one of the better hybrid running backs in the league for the second half.

    He had some help. To dismiss Westbrook especially is short-sighted.

  • WFNY_DP

    The league annals are littered with backup QBs who had great runs, turned it into a big contract somewhere else, and fell flat on their faces. Tom Brady (and Aaron Rodgers, though it’s not apples-to-apples) is the only anomaly there.

  • WFNY_DP

    I think it’s also fair to note that a lot of first-time head coaches are thrust into tough situations because the teams that are hiring them were generally crappy the year (or two, or 10 in our case) before. The Mike Tomlins and John Harbaughs of the world get a little undue credit IMHO because they started their careers on a moving train.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    Good points. Dawkins is a sure HOF’er (first ballot?) and that’s a good core he was surrounded with. Simon, Trotter, Douglas and Vincent were beasts.

    If they’d have only gotten McNabb some damn receivers. I mean, Freddie Jackson. FRED EX.

  • WFNY_DP

    JAMES THRASH! HANK BASKETT! TODD PINKSTON!!

  • mgbode

    that is why I gave the yards from scrimmage number as well. yes, he was a very good player and he had 2 absolutely huge seasons.

    but, those were in 2006 and 2007. 2006 they did not make the NFC-C game (unlike many of the previous seasons) and they did not even make the playoffs in 2007.

    so, I think Westbrook having those 2 huge years (especially in PPR fantasy leagues) tilts the viewpoint on him despite the fact he wasn’t nearly as important during the run of NFC-C games (4 straight from 2001-2004).

    his average yds/scrimmage during that run is more important except that he wasn’t even a fulltime starter until 2004.

  • mgbode

    and neither of those are anomaly’s because they didn’t turn it into big contracts for another team. i think that is an important part for 2 reasons:

    1. Steve Young would have to be on your list as the most obvious example. Kaepernick could be joining that list. Do you add Rivers? Alot of drafted QBs are backups at first and become starters.

    2. I think it’s important that the original team let them go. That demonstrates that they were comfortable without them on their team.

    Ok, thinking of examples. Still thinking. I’m coming up short on this one. Holcomb, Reich, Hostetler, Beuerlein are the names that immediately jumped into my head, but none had success. Jim McMahon, Warren Moon, and Randall Cunningham all had last run success with the Vikings, but were all established previously.

    I don’t think Favre counts because he didn’t have a great run in ATL. Kurt Warner had too much success with the Rams to count after he moved on (so he was established). Drew Brees was the supplanted starter.

    The only two I could think of are Erik Kramer (success from backup with Lions – a couple seasons with Bears) and Scott Mitchell (some success with Dolphins landed him a big contract with the Lions and he had some big years). Neither ever became elite guys.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    as badly as it ultimately turned out, bringing in terrelle owens netted them their super bowl.

    (it’s all right here.)

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    Sweet feathery lord.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    tra thomas, john runyon.

  • mgbode

    great synopsys though I disagree with a bunch of points, but I think it’s impossible to agree with all of them on such a lengthy list. well done.

    (in particular the Irving Fryar one got stuck in my craw. he was coming off his best 3 years in his career and they struggled to replace his production until they signed TO. no way they could let him go then. agree on Watters though – he had the type of consistency that you just don’t normally get from a RB throughout his career)

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    it’s ok to disagree. i’ve had to revise several times. (like, i didn’t like the vick signing; but it allowed them to make the kolb deal..)

    on fryar, i was looking at them not re-signing 29 yo watters and keeping the old WR. that seemed binary to me, in particular when hoying/detmer were the qbs.

    BUT OVERALL.. was trying to get a read on banner’s work. i was surprised that it held up well. i gave him a B. 7.8. (did the same with lombardi and not so much.)

  • WFNY_DP

    Schaub popped into my head later; he played in ATL when Vick got hurt (blanking on the year), and the Texans traded a boat-load to get him and then re-signed him. He’s worked out pretty well, when healthy, for them, I’d say.

  • WFNY_DP

    Agree. I stated elsewhere that I thought defense was the bigger catalyst to the team’s success than McNabb. It says something that those teams later on had McNabb AND Westbrook and missed the playoffs a bunch. Once they started losing their defensive clout, they didn’t win nearly as much.

    My comment about Westbrook was more to the point made in the podcast that McNabb never had any weapons in his entire tenure in Philly. I didn’t think that was 100% accurate.

  • mgbode

    yeah, Vick also had that 1 good year. it’s tough though because both high profile offensive signes they had did well initially and then blew up in their faces.
    i’d love to know how much clout Banner had in those decisions. very mixed as to when he started losing his FO power.

  • mgbode

    fair enough. and defense was definitely their staple on those early 4 teams. funny that the year they had BOTH a RB and WR weapon they go to the Superbowl (though no TO in the playoffs till that game).
    i wish we could have seen young McNabb with DeSean, Maclin, Celek and McCoy

  • mgbode

    yeah, i thought about adding him, but man, houston fans do not like him. they were pretty mad the FO didn’t go after Peyton (rumored Houston was his first choice) but he’s about as good as Kramer/Mitchell.

    I guess when Schaub/Kramer/Mitchell are the examples of it working out, then you should stay away from that idea.

  • rodofdisaster

    Freddie Mitchell

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    The name is Fred Ex.