Browns Big Board

Well the Browns have all but locked up the first pick in the draft after the loss in Detroit Sunday. It is sad to say but I’ve been thinking a lot about the draft the last couple days and a top 5 pick scares me to death.

The front of this draft is loaded with defensive players that don’t really fit out system. Where the Browns really need to be picking is between 7 and 15 where they could draft somebody that would fill a huge need. Such as a MLB like Brandon Spikes or a RB like C.J. Spiller. But that’s not going to happen so we will take what we can get.

Assuming the Browns stay in the top 3, here are my favorites.

1 - Ndamukong Suh. DT/Nebraska. A 6’4” 300 pound beast. Suh is the consensus #1 prospect this year. He is the most dominant defensive lineman in college football and would look very good next to Shaun Rogers. Suh has the perfect size and skill to play the DE in a 3-4 defense.

2 - Eric Berry. S/Tennessee. I really hate to put a safety this high on my board specifically because the Browns have much bigger needs. Abe Elam and Brodney Pool have done a good job this year but we’ve all seen what a Troy Palamalu or Ed Reed can do for a teams defense and Eric Berry has that kind of ability. This kid is a defensive playmaker and the Browns are in serious need of one.

3 – Dez Bryant. WR/Oaklahoma St. He will have been out of football for almost a year after being suspended but no matter how you look at it Dez is the #1 receiver entering the draft this year. In a relatively weak WR draft class Dez would be a reach in the top 5 but WR is a top need for the Browns.


The Real Czar

Book it, Bill Parcells will be the next President of the Cleveland Browns. I actually think he is secretly making the decisions already. I also think this has been in place since last season when the Miami Dolphins owner sold the team and gave Parcells the option to walk away from his contract and still get paid.

Eric Mangini is Parcells boy. Which could be the reason that Randy Lerner immediately jumped on him when he became available last season. It could also mean that Eric Mangini wont be going anywhere for quite some time and I know that bothers a lot of people, but it makes sense.

Think about it. If Parcells is the President and he brings in a GM and he wants to keep his boy Mangini as the coach who would second-guess him. This man has won and turned teams around every place he’s been. There is nobody I would rather see hired than Parcells, nobody.

Who else would you rather give 11 draft picks to?

I know almost everything I’m saying if far fetched but I could see this happening. I’m sure Parcells enjoys being in Miami but that project is over and we all know he doesn’t stay anywhere for to long. Besides who wouldn’t take free money?


Jim Brown! Why?

I need to get a couple things off my chest.

Most people who follow The Cleveland Sports Flow already know that I think Eric Mangini can be a good coach. I have stuck up for him and pointed out numerous facts and opinions on why I feel the way I do. With that said, I do believe he will be fired, but not just yet.

Chris Mortensen reported on ESPN news last night that if the Browns lose to Detroit, Eric Mangini will be fired next week. Well I can almost guarantee that won’t happen. Who would run this team? Randy Lerner and Rob Ryan? I don’t think so. The point is, until a president and/or a GM is hired don’t plan on Eric being fired. Even if Casserly or Holmgren were hired today they would need at least a couple weeks to evaluate the staff and players before any major decisions were made.

Right now there are a couple of rumors out there about the Browns next leader. One of them says that Charley Casserly, former Houston Texans and Washington Redskins GM has been hired by the Browns as the next President and GM, and will be announced in the next 72 hours.

I don’t buy it but anything is possible with Randy Lerner.

Would Casserly be a good hire? Hard to say. He has definitely had his ups and downs but the one thing that stands out the most to me after reading the good and bad is the draft he put together in 2006. He drafted Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans and Owen Daniels. That’s 3 pro bowlers in one draft. A draft like that could easily turn a 3 or 4 win team into an 8 or 9 win team.

Which would be great for Cleveland.

The one thing I don’t like about the rumor of Casserly is that he’d be president and GM. This team needs to get with the program and do things the right way and install a chain of command and get Lerner completely out of the picture.

Now to my melt and the point of this whole post.

On Tuesday it was reported that Randy Lerner was interviewing Mike Holmgren, and that’s great, I’m glad to see him being active and trying to get something done. The thing that bothers me is that it was Jim Brown who opened his mouth when obviously Lerner is trying to keep things hush hush.

My question is why is Jim Brown still part of this organization?

I appreciate what Jim did for this organization as a player. I respect his accomplishments and the joy he brought Browns fans but I have no idea why he is on the Browns payroll.

It’s obvious that Jim Brown doesn’t know how to think before he speaks or keep his mouth shut. He is constantly bringing more negative attention to this already depressing organization. From him talking about who Randy is interviewing to calling the NCAA “the most ridiculous organization in the country” or calling out Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan about their lack of effort in social activism. There are so many more examples, i just don't have that much time.

Give it a rest Jim, you’re a wife beater and a black eye to the Browns organization.

Whom ever takes control of this organization, I hope they make getting rid of Jim Brown one of their first priorities. What this organization needs is solid stand up individuals that lead by example and hand out good advice. Not people who constantly bring bad press to this town.

If I were a superstitious person, I would blame him for the curse of Cleveland.

BTW. Congratulations DPM on your failed brown out. You can thank yourself when you get treated like Art Modell in Cleveland Browns Stadium for the rest of your life.

If you were wondering, that yellow sign says Duck Fawg Pound Mike. Classic.


King of Changing the Subject

Just because LeBron is done talking about his impending free agency doesn't mean he's done talking.

In what may or may not be his intended strategy, LeBron has managed to both change the subject and keep his name in the headlines.

First it was LeBron's announcement that he was thinking about changing his number after this season and his proposed plan to launch a campaign to get the NBA to retire MJ's number permanently.

Good one, LeBron, they bit on it. Next thing you know, those same talking heads who haven't shut up about LeFree Agency are now pondering whether or not the NBA should actually go through with LeBron's idea and honor MJ by retiring his number. Those headlines lasted for about a week.

So what's next?

Now LeBron's talking about playing football again. He told some members of the Cleveland media that if he really worked hard he could be a good NFL player. Now the national media is pondering LeBron's potential as a two sport athlete. They are going as far as to dig up video of LBJ's playing days back at Akron St. Vincent St. Mary and comparing his physical gifts with current NFL players.

Good job, LeBron, you got 'em again!

Here is my guess for LeBron's next "write about this instead of 2010 topic":

LeBron James Ponders a Career in Hollywood

Good one, LeBron. (Wink, Wink)


Brady Quinn Will Start

Hey Eric Mangini, I’m more smarter than you is. Hey I can think out of the box and get inside the head of a mad man, it’s not that far of a reach for me. I know your starting Brady Quinn this week and I’m going to tell people why.

It’s simple, you have to put people in the stands this week. The Browns are facing a black out on TV and a brown out in the stands, by people who call themselves fans.

You think, best-case scenario for everyone is Brady plays a good game and the Browns win. Hey, it will quiet the fans down for a week and they'll stop hating everyone. You can show everyone that your starting to turn this team around and you actually pulled Quinn after 2 1/2 games to make him a better player.

But lets say Brady falls right on his face, perfect, you can tell the fans to shut up, you know what your doing and he is not the best QB on this team. He is a career back up at best.

You see coach, in your mind you think this is a win win situation but its not. What you don't understand is that 75% of the Cleveland Browns fans have given up on you and will turn anything positive that happens against you.

If Brady wins and plays a good game, the immediate fan reaction will be its your fault that the Browns lost the last 4 games. If you wouldn't of given up on Brady and pulled him after only 2 1/2 games we could of won more games.

If he falls on his face, it'll be because of the play calling and because he's only played against teams with great defenses. You haven't given him a fair shot and your not capable of coaching in the NFL.

Well coach, I can tell you that any decision you make from here on out is lose lose. No matter what you do the fans will make you out to be the enemy, unless you can win, your only option is to win. There are 8 games left, if you can win four then maybe you can get some of the fans back.

The fans have a fever and its only cure is not more cowbell, it's victories.


Browns Delivering Apathy to Die-Hard Fans

I can honestly say I've had a lot of fun following the Browns since they came back in 1999. Even though I knew they were probably going to lose I was always excited to wake up on Sunday mornings to throw my Browns jersey on and wait for the pre-game shows to start. The team wasn't always good but it didn't matter to me because they were the Browns. My Browns.

I rearranged my entire weekends to guarantee Sunday afternoons would be free to watch the team that I love. At first that was met with a little resistance but eventually my wife grew to enjoy our Sunday routine of watching the Browns game followed by a home cooked dinner and usually a movie of her choice.

While watching the games I would often find myself loudly cheering when anything positive would happen. I couldn't control it, I had to stand up and cheer as if I was at the stadium watching the game in person. Sometimes I actually was at the stadium and sometimes it felt somewhat like a religious experience entering the stadium and seeing the greenest grass I've ever laid my eyes on.

As Browns fans we've all been through some really tough times and endured a lot of pain and disappointment. Many of us have grown numb to the constant losing but have found some solace in the fact that the future looked bright as young players with loads of potential were sure to break out and become superstars.

Some of those young players eventually did live up to their potential and made us proud but the majority of them are gone for whatever reasons and that hopeful feeling has seemingly disappeared in their wake. The future of this team has evaporated into the negativity that has now surrounded the present situation. The "we'll be better next year" mentality that Browns fans for so long claimed ownership of has been traded in for a new attitude of "things are going to get much worse before they even start to get better".

It's hard to imagine this team getting much worse than it is today but we all know that it's coming. Teams like the Browns that lack players with raw talent and God-given ability will only be successful if they are unified under a strong, passionate leader who pushes them to believe not only in themselves but also in each other. Teams like that play with an "us against the world" mentality that doesn't require raw talent but instead guts and the willingness to sacrifice their own bodies for the sake of their teammates and their leader.

I was hopeful heading into this season that Eric Mangini was going to be the kind of leader who would inspire the players to play for each other and to leave everything they had on the field each week. I knew he didn't have the best record of success in his previous employment but I was confident that the players would at least respond positively to his disciplined approach. Clearly that has not been the case and what has ensued this season has become unwatchable and gut wrenching at the same time.

I have never been a season ticket holder so the value of my investment in the Browns can only be measured in the time I've spent in front of my TV, listening to the radio, attending training camp, attending random games when tickets fell into my lap, purchasing apparel and wearing it proudly and spending an entire month last summer hand-painting a corn hole set with an animated Dawg Pound theme.

All of this brought me joy as I often went to great lengths to express my "fan hood" for the Browns. Unfortunately that joy has quickly evaporated and I've become somewhat apathetic towards my beloved Browns. For the sake of accuracy, I looked up the word "apathetic" in the dictionary to make sure that's how I was feeling and I found the definition to be very, very accurate:

ap⋅a⋅thet⋅ic, [ap-uh-thet-ik]
1. having or showing little or no emotion: apathetic behavior.
2. not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive: an apathetic audience.

Bingo. That's exactly how I feel about this team when I watch them play and I know that I'm not alone. Eric Mangini has succeeded in making a once passionate, loyal and die-hard fan lose interest and have little or no emotion while watching the Browns.

There are some people who believe that Eric Mangini may still be successful as the head coach in Cleveland but I'm just not a believer. I want to be supportive and passionate about this team again but I simply cannot do it while he is still employed as the Head Coach. It is remarkable how quickly Eric Mangini was able to suck the life out of this entire organization and how after only 8 games into his tenure there is absolutely nothing fun about being a Browns fan anymore and nothing to look forward to on Sundays.

It pains me beyond belief to write this but if Eric Mangini is still the head coach on opening day in 2010 I will not watch a single snap of Cleveland Browns football for the entire season.


Eric Manginis Second Chance

There is a reason that George Kokinis was fired and not Eric Mangini and that’s because Randy Lerner and his newly hired consultant Bernie Kosar still buy into his plan but they don’t think he can achieve the goal if he can’t put forth a 100% effort into coaching.

When Eric Mangini was hired he was given complete control over this team. From player movement to game planning to trades to final say of the 53 man roster to what color socks the team wore on off days and it was too much for one person to handle.

What Randy Lerner hopes to accomplish is to get a GM in Cleveland that can handle that side of the business. The Browns need someone to work on contracts, especially for Josh Cribbs and Phil Dawson. The Browns need someone to make player personnel decisions after Mangini gives his opinions. This will free up time for Eric to game plan, coach his team and get more involved with his cordinators because if there isn’t improvement the rest of the season, he will be out of a job too.

Mangini is a very hard worker and dedicated to what he does and despite what people say, he is a very knowledgeable football mind.

If he doesn’t take offense to the changes that are being made and he can dedicate himself solely to coaching this team I think he can make this team competitive by the end of the season. Of course there is option 2, that says if he can't have full control he doesn't want to be part of the team and he'll quit. I know thats what a lot of you want but i don't think its going to happen. If Eric runs out on this team he won't see another coaching job in the NFL.

Would you believe that George Kokinis wasn’t aware of the Braylon Edwards trade until he saw it on tv? This goes to show how little Kokinis was involved in this organization, he was a name and that was it.


(Good)Bye Week in Berea: Kokinis Fired

When Eric Mangini was hired he hand-picked George Kokinis to be the new GM and essentially his own boss. Randy Lerner took Mangini's word that Kokinis would be the best choice for GM. Now that Kokinis has been fired, things are starting to become more visible in Eric Mangini's world of secrecy.

Mangini knew that Kokinis would allow him to do whatever he wanted to do with the roster, including bringing in several backups who played for him in New York. Kokinis stayed quiet and toed the company line while Mangini put his stamp all over the 53-man roster by trading away disgruntled talent for backups and draft picks.

Sadly, it took bringing in a special consultant before Randy Lerner finally realized what was going on in Berea. Lerner bought what Mangini was selling and he trusted that Mangini's "process" would bring the Browns back to respectability. This week might be the end of Mangini's "process" as he knows it. It appears that there is a different process underway in Berea now and the facts are starting to become more and more clear as each hour passes.


Jamal Lewis, Shut Up

It takes a lot of nerve for an underachieving line dancer to call somebody out. Yet Jamal Lewis feels compelled to make a fool out of himself and walk down that road, yet again.

This isn’t about whether Eric Mangini is a good coach or not, this is about Jamal Lewis throwing somebody else under the bus again. This is about Jamal Lewis not taking responsibility for his lack of production. This is about Jamal Lewis pretending to be some one that he is not. How dare you call yourself a leader? How dare you blame anybody else for not producing when you haven’t produced for 2 years. How dare you?

Yesterday in an interview Jamal asked the question "Where are we trying to go and what are we trying to accomplish?" Well Jamal, I asked myself the same question when the Browns signed you to a contract extension 2 years ago. (Yet another great decision by Phil Savage) He then went on to say, “I think this is my last year. I think this is it. Honestly, the way this looks, you know, I had a good run. Period. Point blank. I've done what I needed to do." All that I can say is thank god, 2 years to late, but thank god.

So what has Jamal Lewis done for the Browns since his contract extension other than throw his teammates under the bus? Not much. He has played in 22 games and only produced 1 - 100 yard rushing game and a total of 4 touchdowns. If you ask me I’d say we wouldn’t be missing him too much. With numbers like that it would seem as if he retired when he signed that extension.

So I ask you Jamal, do you promise you’ll retire after this season? Do you promise to free the Browns of the $3.9 million that you’re due next year? That is $3.9 million the Browns can use on somebody that will contribute to this team. For 2 years you have danced around in the Browns backfield like you were a member of the Village People. Besides, once you’ve decided your going to retire, chances are you already have so please feel free to retire now, why wait. You can get right back to doing what you love, trafficking cocaine.

Please Eric Mangini, don’t let this worthless bum touch the field again. I’d rather see Jerome Harrison and Chris Jennings out there. I guarantee when they fumble the ball they won’t blame it on the direction of the team or call players out for quitting and I guarantee you they won’t retire.

Browns need a "Serious, Credible Leader"

As the disaster that we call the Cleveland Browns continues to get worse by the day, the only good news that could be coming out of Berea this week is the possible hiring of a "serious, credible leader" by owner Randy Lerner. I'm using the term "good news" as loosely as I possibly can here, folks. The fact that Randy Lerner obviously doesn't consider Eric Mangini to be a "serious, credible leader" speaks volumes. Hey Randy, your "serious, credible leader" needed to be hired before your head coach and probably not in the middle of the season but I appreciate your passion for finding somebody with credibility. I just wish you would have done that back in January.

Jamal Lewis opened more than a few eyes with his comments after yesterday's game, as noted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Running back Jamal Lewis questioned the direction of the team, saying,

"Where are we trying to go and what are we trying to accomplish?"

The future Hall of Famer said he is so distraught with the way this season has gone south after "everybody bought in" in training camp that this would be his last season of playing.

"Period. Point blank. I've done what I needed to do," Lewis said.

Was that just frustration talking?

"When I talk, I mean what I say," Lewis shot back.

The retirement announcement wasn't the eyebrow raiser, it was Jamal's public questioning of the overall direction of the team that says it all. Lewis is frustrated and his mentioning of how "everybody bought in" and it hasn't payed off clearly reflects that. Lewis is a guy that the players respect and look up to so I have to wonder how many other players in that locker room share his views. Whatever Mangini is selling, the players just aren't buying it and the fans aren't buying it either. You could argue that Mangini deserves more time, but assuming that he'll use that time to straighten this thing out is not something that I'm ready to do.

It's the bye week and this team is a complete disaster. Randy Lerner seems to realize something has to happen but hopefully it won't take him the rest of the season to realize that Eric Mangini has this team heading in the wrong direction and hiring him may have been his biggest mistake yet.