Modern Times – Sports Commentary
By Scott “The Unlicensed Taxi Driver”
I am not, nor will I ever pretend to be a fan of the Cleveland Browns. That being said, I am rooting for you, Dawg Pound lovin’, Art Modell hating (unjustly) and Bernie Kosar worshipping Browns fan.
The NFL is better when you are good. It means more to the league when Steelers-Browns and Bengals-Browns game have meaning on the outcome of the season. It’s true.
It’s also true that because you suck so bad – those games haven’t mattered in a LONG time.
The thing is I respect Browns fan. Actually I love him/her. Why?
Loyalty in sports should be rewarded. My Steelers went through some tough years at the end of the Noll era with the transition into the Cowher era. We stuck through the bloody blister (did I say that out loud – ahem, Bubby Brister) and even worse to be rewarded with Super Bowls, excellence and more to the point here – relevance.
Browns fan – you too deserve a return to relevance.
So here’s the unlicensed taxi drivers short term, 5 point plan for your return to relevance.
Forget the quarterback position
That’s right, you Hanford Dixon lovin’ fool; forget the damned quarterback position.
You aren’t ready for a franchise quarterback yet. All you would do is screw him up.
Even if the second coming of Joe Montana and Tom Brady’s mutually conceived spawn were available – you don’t have the offensive line, offensive weapons or semblance of a system to merit a top notch quarterback, let alone a franchise quarterback.
By the way, none are available either by draft or by free agency.
Here’s where you can call me crazy – I say you stick with RG3. Don’t trade for Jimmy Galapogos Islands. He isn’t and won’t ever be the answer. He would be just the latest installation in the parade of failed quarterbacks – 27 now since the return of the franchise to the NFL.
Don’t get me going on the head coach list in that same period of time.
Here’s the thing: Jimmy G is just the flavor of the week and likely won’t even become Matt Cassel. He is a decent enough looking back-up that plays for the greatest head coach and team based system ever. I’ll say it, he doesn’t have the arm strength that he is purported to have – I came away unimpressed by him to say the least. Three 2017 starts for the Super Bowl champs – so what? That’s all you got? Compare that to RG3’s playoff achievin’ rookie season.
Odd fact: Garoppolo’s college head coach was the Baylor wide receivers coach during RGIIIs college days.
Do I have faith in the Browns player personnel group to make the right decision here? Nope. Baseball metrics guy now in charge of choosing NFL personnel, novel idea but will it work? Doesn’t work for me. I’ll give Sacha Brown credit – their last draft wasn’t anywhere near as bad as say your previous 90 or 100 drafts.
It still wasn’t great, it’s just you suck at drafting. Period.
So keep the first round picks. Don’t trade for the Galapogos island kid.
Don’t buy into the Watson hype either; but if I were a gambling man I would take $100 wagers that your pick goes on Watson (who bypassed your staff and their supposed request to participate in the Senior Bowl) and is…….wasted.
Use your first overall pick in the draft wisely……
…..and by wisely, I mean take the freakish, fast-twitch muscle Myles Garrett, the defensive end from Texas A&M.
He will be a generational talent and remaining fortunate to be healthy, a star for many years to come.
Garrett won’t need a system, or even talent around him to make an impact. He will simply be disruptive and an immediate match-up nightmare.
Double teams will be demanded, protections slid his way and game plans will be developed to stop his penetration. That will happen, believe me.
If he reaches his full potential, he will be the thing of opposition player and coaching nightmares.
It’s not just that he is a sure thing; he can be great just on natural ability and no other draft eligible player has his upside to where he can play, and what he can become.
Think J.J. Watt running a sub 4.5 40 while also having a forty inch vertical jump.
….and with their second pick of the first round, the Cleveland Browns…..
…..take the best overall player available on their board.
They don’t reach for the local kid Trubisky from Carolina.
I personally like the Williams kid from Clemson but chances are he’ll be gone. Another playmaker with size is the Western Michigan kid, wide receiver Corey Davis. If somehow, Florida State’s Delvin Cook, slides to you at twelve – NIRVANA!
Regardless, these three all have big play ability and yet are solid, physical performers. Let me translate: they can make plays at the next level and will have the strength, speed and skill to impact games with yardage after the catch and/or yardage after contact. They will be players in this league.
If available get one of them at #12 overall.
If you can’t get one of my trio of game breaking offensive players, Alabama’s interior defensive lineman, Jonathan Allen and Washington’s speedy wideout, John Ross aren’t bad either.
Now for something completely different
From the ADD world that resides inside my coconut, don’t do any of the above, swap picks to load up with more 2nd and 3rd rounders. Let’s just say, my three aforementioned players aren’t available and Sacha, “the baseball number magician guy” doesn’t see any value added players left on the board as the tenth pick is made , and the Saints at eleven are on the clock.
Hopefully, Metrics man Mr Brown has foreseen these events and had a plan to fleece, say the Jets (or insert some other dumb team that thinks Watson is the second coming,) of a meaningful asset and more draft picks, even a future number one.
I say do it.
Leverage your second pick at twelve into an immediate asset (O-lineman perhaps?), a future number one or two and/or some later picks in this draft.
You need to integrate something into your roster, well actually two things, that successful NFL franchises value, talent and depth. You are oh for two in those categories, Browns fan.
Adding an under contract starting offensive lineman, getting a future #1 or # 2 and further lower round picks (used wisely – I’m hoping for you, told you that earlier!) in this draft allow you to improve across the board.
Contrast that leveraging of assets with taking a player that you just don’t value with the #12 pick, or reaching with twelve for a lesser talented player.
I like this stockpiling of picks strategy if you can’t get an explosive offensive weapon or another stud impact defensive lineman.
My fifth and last point: stability
Develop some organizational stability by keeping your coach, his staff and the front office when you lose double figure games, again, in the upcoming season.
This isn’t going to turn around for you in 2017. You ARE going to be bad.
Here’s what you are lacking: an offensive line, a pass rush, a defensive scheme that causes problems for your opponent, weapons on offense and a franchise quarterback. You won’t and cannot realistically resolve even half those issues between now and the beginning of the 2017 season.
So when you lose and you will lose, don’t go clamoring for Hue Jackson’s head on a platter. Don’t lose your mind if Sacha the baseball guy doesn’t draft local hometown Tar Heel (this isn’t basketball and he isn’t some Michael Jordan football equivalent) and takes the best available talent.
Stay calm – follow my plan for you.
Can’t be worse than what’s been going on these last few, well, uhm, decades.
Scott the Unlicensed Taxi Driver