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Bad Browns, BCS and the Ryder Cup

Cleveland in trouble; Boise will bust BCS again

September 22, 2008
By B.J. LISKO

What I expected to happen to Cleveland a season ago is happening right now, and as the Browns mull the switch to the Brady Quinn era Romeo Crennel will soon likely be looking for another job.

Cleveland is pathetic. Again.

I'll give the Browns the fact that they've got some starters on the shelf. I'll even give them the fact that they play a much tougher schedule from a season ago.

What I won't excuse, and what no Browns fan should, is the utter mismanagement of the team coming into the season.

The Browns ranked 30th in defense in 2007 on a squad that lit it up offensively and went 10-6.

Cleveland was eighth in total offense last season.

This year, the high-flying offense of Cleveland is dead last with a whopping 26 points through three games. That's 8.7 points per game for you math majors.

So what changed? Why aren't the Browns succeeding?

Because they did nothing with the roster and nothing with the playbook to fool anyone.

Last season was a fluke.

Derek Anderson had the year of his life by complete accident. They asked him to go out and throw. It didn't matter if he got picked off because honestly no one expected much from him. He was just the guy filling in so Brady Quinn could watch for a while.

Anderson had nothing to lose, and no one had a scouting report on him or really any of the Browns offense since Kellen Winslow was injured for so long, and Jamal Lewis was coming into an entirely new situation.

Now just blitz him and he'll either be sacked, or look foolish like he did in Baltimore.

What Cleveland did was catch everyone by surprise. That's not happening anymore.

Putting big time pressure on Anderson has thrown the ex-Oregon State star into a Kelly Holcomb-like funk.

When commentators and Browns fans watch in bewilderment, I don't get it.

It's the same team from a year ago except everyone has a scouting report on them now, and teams aren't falling by the wayside so fast like they did in 2007. You could look at the schedule last year and see when the Browns were likely to win.

This year, I don't see the wins. Not a one. Not even against Cincinnati this week. The Bengals, as in disarray as they are, still have a productive offense. They nearly knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Carson Palmer is going to eat Cleveland alive.

Cleveland is in danger of having its whole season slip away. General Manager Phil Savage can't even do anything about it yet. Can you imagine having an interim head coach for 12 games?

Savage and Crennel both got big contract extensions last year. Two more mistakes by the lake.

Neither Savage or Crennel has control over the team. Both have been in over their heads since they took their jobs. Last year's flash in the pan success bought them new contracts and a whole lot of guaranteed money that the Browns will have to pay him when they get canned.

Same deal with Anderson.

Why wasn't Anderson dealt in the off-season? Brady Quinn essentially would have done exactly the same thing last season had you asked him to -throw the ball. Now you couldn't trade Anderson for a pizza.

Once again, like so many other seasons, Cleveland is going to have to start from scratch.

The Browns aren't cursed. Just poorly managed.

They've done nothing, and in return, the team is producing next to nothing.

Cleveland has arguably the most passionate fans in all of football. It's a shame no one in the organization is doing squat to try to field a winner.

Sorry, Skip

East Carolina finally lost, thankfully. They beat West Virginia -a team I will lambaste in a second -and everyone thought they were the darlings of the country.

After escaping Tulane, the Pirates fell to N.C. State in overtime. I like Skip Holtz. So does my co-worker and Notre Dame maniac Justin Smolkovich who says "They're just grooming him to take over for Charlie Weis." But East Carolina is still East Carolina. If they can beat Cincinnati they've got a shot at the Conference USA title, but I'm not so sure that's going to happen.

Broncos are back

Boise State went into Oregon as an underdog and knocked off the Ducks to improve to 3-0. The Broncos have a solid defense, a maturing quarterback, and last but not least running back Ian Johnson.

Boise State's toughest game left is hosting Fresno State on Nov. 28. Fresno needed overtime to beat Toledo, and typically the Bulldogs are having a tough time with their season by the time they get to Boise. The Broncos will bust the BCS again this year.

Uncle Bill

West Virginia gave a six-year deal to new head coach Bill Stewart. Stewart looked like a deer in the headlights in his team's Thursday loss to Colorado. Hiring him was the equivalent of hiring your nice, not quite all there uncle. He might be a great guy, but it doesn't mean he should be head coach.

Still, the Mountaineers have Pat White and the talent to get to a bowl game. But don't expect miracles anytime soon from Stewart.

Doing the bull dance, feeling the flow, working it

Kudos to Paul Azinger for fielding a winner at this year's Ryder Cup. I, and many other members of the media blasted Azinger for his captain's picks. Azinger obviously knew something none of us did as his picks didn't lose once and the U.S. ended its shameful streak on Sunday.

Too bad Phil Mickelson was an automatic qualifier and they couldn't replace him with Rocco Mediate or Woody Austin. Lefty got trounced again. He's terrible in team golf, and by the time the majors are over, he puts his game on ice until the next season. Luckily for him it didn't matter.

What the U.S. needed - enthusiasm, passion, energy, fire -it got in guys like Boo Weekly (the Happy Gilmore impression will go down in history), Anthony Kim and dare I say it, Hunter Mahan.

I blasted Mahan, too, and said that for his remarks he should have been left out of the Ryder Cup all together. Mahan apologized, ate his words, and lit up Valhalla.

Personally, if it's not broke, don't fix it. Name Azinger the captain again for 2010.

E-mail B.J. Lisko at bjlisko@salemnews.net

 
 

 

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