Browns vs Titans: What Just Happened?
This Browns team is one of the most confusing football teams I have ever seen. They have played two of the worst halves of football in NFL history with the matching first half debacles of Pittsburgh and Tennessee. They have also looked completely dominant in the second halves of those same two games. Has the real team gotten to the stadium late and forced people culled from the parking lot to play the first half? “You! Over by the grill! Yes! You! I see you tossing that ball around… You want to take a shot in a real game? The rest of the guys won’t be here until 2:30, so I need you to cover Kendall Wright. Just do the best you can, OK? Here… Put on these pads…”
Is the team not interested in playing until they are getting their ass kicked? Are they unprepared when they first hit the field? Does this mean that the coaching staff has no idea how to prepare a game plan heading into a game? And if that’s the case, does that mean these same guys are complete geniuses at adjusting on the fly? I really don’t have a clue, and I don’t think anyone else does either. All I know is that no matter what kind of unholy asskicking I see the Browns take in the first half of any game, I’m sticking around for the second half this season.
A few things to note from the game yesterday…
1. Titan QB Charlie Whitehurst looks suspiciously like a mainstream country music artist. Maybe he has spent too much time around Lower Broadway’s tourist trap bars, but that ponytail/beard combination he is rocking is only acceptable in the Douchebag South. I half expected to see him wander over to a cooler by the Titans bench and pop open a 16 oz. Coors Light while an impossibly big haired blonde chick named “Misty” or “Kayla” drove up in a tricked out pickup truck. With that look of his, does that mean he will be on tour with Jason Aldean singing songs about America, mama, and drinking beer with the fellas after work on non-gamedays? What makes a guy say to himself, “You know what would have people take me seriously as a potential starting QB? If I looked like Kenny Rogers circa 1984.”?
2. Mike Pettine always looks like a slightly pissed off father that has to watch his 12 year old daughter’s soccer match from the sideline instead of doing what he really wants to be doing. He looks like he is having some sort of internal struggle to keep his temper in check and to appear like he is engaged in the field. I have seen this same look before. “Mike! Before you go to Home Depot to get the wood for the deck, remember that Kendra has a game at the middle school… You know how she looks forward to seeing you there…” In an effort to be The Good Father, he stands dutifully at the sideline, yet is pissed off enough about having to do it that he refuses to engage in any conversation with the other parents. He stands just out of the immediate area of the others, and offers only head nods and curt greetings between glances at his watch.
3. Hoyer is clearly not an elite NFL QB, but he is playing well enough to keep Manziel on the sideline, and I suspect that is a good thing. It’s too bad he can’t throw a long ball worth a damn. If he could, this is a guy that could win a playoff game or two. Sooner or later opposing defensive coordinators are going to realize that everything happens for the Browns offense within 15 yards of scrimmage. It will be interesting to see what happens at that point. It’s not like Manziel has the arm strength either. Those guys are both capable of throwing wobbly ducks on windy days in November on the Lakefront.
4. The Browns have appeared to have bungled their #1 pick(s) again. It’s truly amazing that with the advantage of being able to pick almost anyone coming out of college in the last few years they have been able to add a pass coverage linebacker, two backup QBs, a backup RB, and a really shaky CB (This is noting Weeden in Dallas as backup QB and Richardson as the Colts secondary ball carrier). If only two of those five players had been able to produce up to their pedigree, this team would be in the mix to win the fairly weak division. I’m not saying that Sammy Watkins would look pretty good out there, but umm….
5. Jake Locker must have been excited to break his thumb or whatever the hell he did. He was getting murdered out there. That cheap shot he took in the first half should have resulted in criminal charges. The forearm was bad, but that added bonus of being kicked in the head was just rude. The best part about these types of hits are wildly different fan reactions based on which team is your rooting interest. They will be upset about this in Nashville for years. Meanwhile here in Cleveland the fan base will love his “aggressive attitude”. Browns linebacker Chris Kirksey… new NE Ohio fan favorite.
The Browns have the Steelers at home this week. This is traditionally a game where Pittsburgh comes in and crushes dreams. This year with Pittsburgh looking oddly vulnerable, maybe the tides have turned. Or maybe the Browns will spot the Steelers a 24-0 halftime lead. Who knows? But I’m watching…
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