That's a lose
The best football analyst around sat on a bench in Public Square with a Browns pocket schedule in hand, reading off his predictions for the upcoming season.
"Then they got Baltimore -- that's a lose," he said as his audience slowly crept away. "Then New England. A lose.
"Now Miami. They might win that."
And this was hours BEFORE the latest wake by the lake in Cleveland Browns Stadium. Final score: Steelers 34, Browns 7. If you measure yourself against your rival, the Browns are getting worse and worse. During the Steelers' eight-game winning streak against the Browns, Cleveland has come within two touchdowns just twice. Pittsburgh has scored 24 or more the last seven times.
Hammer, meet nail. The new rivalry.
Remember when Brady Quinn joined the team late because of his holdout? Every minute away was time Quinn was falling behind in learning the offense.
"He's pretty far behind," said Crennel once Quinn missed his eighth day of training camp. "We have a lot of offense and we're putting it in every day. It takes a while to get this down and get caught up on it."
Well, here's what the guys who DIDN'T miss any training camp gave the Browns: six sacks, six penalties, three turnovers, and one quarterback change. And that was just in the first half. Charlie Frye was 4-of-10 for 34 yards and an interception, Derek Anderson was 3-of-10 for 34 yards with a lost fumble, and Crennel was tripping over the wire on his headset.
If all three of them had left Cleveland Browns Stadium at halftime and joined the Peace Corps, no one would have missed them.
And to think, all of this might just have started because the Browns were being cheap in signing a replacement punter for Dave Zastudil. When Paul Ernster simply dropped the snap on his first punt attempt from inside his 10, it set into motion a Rube Goldbergian series of events that had the Browns staring at a 17-0 deficit before Big Dawg was back from his first beer run.
First, the Browns kept hoping that the injured Zastudil would be able to play. When it became apparent Saturday morning that Zastudil's back wouldn't allow it, the Browns picked up Paul Ernster off the scrap heap. ProFootballTalk.com's rumor mill said the Browns may have chosen Ernster over more experienced punters such as Scott Player and Josh Miller because the latter two are vested veterans who would receive their entire first-year salary if cut after the first week. That doesn't apply to Ernster, who had only played one season. Aren't the Dolans supposed to be the cheap ones?
Back to the schedule, and the Public Square expert ...
... next week vs. the Bengals? "A lose."
... then at the Radiers. "Probably a lose."
... Ravens? Patriots? "Lose."
... the Dolphins at home. "They might win."
Then there's the bye week. And Brady Quinn. Which won't matter, because the next three games are a the Rams, at home against the Seahawks, and on the road in Pittsburgh. Then there's a trip to Baltimore.
Somewhere the Dallas Cowboys are smiling.