CLEVELAND

A Week One Cleveland Browns Preseason Mailbag

We’ve seen the 2019 Cleveland Browns in action. I share my opinions on some early preseason questions.

Photo courtesy of cleveland.com

The Cleveland Browns have been on a mission of redemption after years of bottom dwelling in the NFL. Gone are the days of dread leading into September by the Browns faithful. Today I will bravely answer some questions from a newly invigorated Dawg Pound

Mike Polk’s dubbing of First Energy Stadium as the “Factory of Sadness” was a joke that had some legs. Unfortunately it might have been the one actual joke that Polk wished would have died years ago. Fortunately I do believe that it is finally time for a brand new moniker to be applied to the stadium. While it is my hope that First Energy Stadium will still manufacture sadness, I want the sadness to be absorbed by a whole new batch of clients. In particularly clients from Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati. With that in mind we could stay within the realm of the original nickname and simply call it the “Distribution Center of Sadness,” but I’m not sure that will quite catch on the way Polk’s name did. “Freddie’s Funhouse” sounds a bit too much like a poorly conceptualized Nightmare on Elm Street sequel. “The Bake Shop” might attract non-football fans to the gates looking to buy bread and pastries. “The Dawg House” sound more like a place that I would end up when in trouble with my wife. Personally I would like to call it “The Dawg Bowl,” because I hope that this team is going to feast on their opponents this season.

This is an interesting question because I do believe that as football continues to evolve the linebacker has become a position that has been devalued. While the Browns officially boast a 4-3 base defense, with the league becoming more pass-oriented the team will likely feature a 4-2-5 nickel formation on most downs. A couple of issues face Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert this preseason. First John Dorsey has shown that he is interested in building the Browns in his own image. Second Mack Wilson might be he coverage linebacker that the Browns have been waiting for years. Sione Takitaki may be a bit green to displace someone in the starting lineup, but I think that he will certainly make the final roster. While the status of Kirksey and Schobert ultimately comes down to how many linebackers the team is intending to keep on the roster. I don’t think that either player can afford to coast through camp. I don’t see both players being cut, but if one of these players are elsewhere come September it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to me.

One thing that I have had to come to understand over the past few years is that the Browns will never be run by people with the same passion for our history as the fans. I think the improvement of alumni relationship in recent years has been a result of owner Jimmy Haslam coming to understand this fan base better. We must remember that when Haslam purchased the team he wanted to be an NFL owner, not necessarily the Browns owner. The Browns just happened to be the first team to come available when he was ready to buy. Bernie Kosar was actually under the employment of the Browns until Haslam’s first year as majority owner. It was Haslam’s first front office hire in Joe Banner who ultimately fired Kosar as the team’s preseason color analyst. Since then I believe that Haslam has developed a better understanding of what makes a true Browns fan tick and has done a much better job of celebrating a history that he was likely not aware of when he first became the owner.

As far as Kosar as concerned I am afraid that I don’t expect to see him rejoining the Browns in any official capacity. It has always been shocking to me that Kosar has never tried his hand in the realm of coaching. Kosar’s success in his career was in large part due to his understanding of the game. As one of the most cerebral quarterbacks in football history, it is my firm belief that Kosar could have been a tremendous mentor for younger players trying to learn the position. In the end, he never went that route. At this point in his life, I think Kosar is content giving sideline content for a network and enjoying retirement. I think the next stop for Kosar and the Browns will be the Ring of Honor.

The position of fullback has become the football equivalent of a landline telephone. Some people still have one, but they just don’t use them all that often. Another issue is that to have a legit fullback there have to be legit fullbacks available. Very few colleges continue to run any offense that resembles a traditional pro-style. At this point, I don’t foresee the Browns using a roster spot on a position that they can use their tight end depth to fill on the rare times that they use an extra backfield blocker.

I am a bit torn on this question. After years of watching the Browns show up to games only to get physically dominated from the opening kickoff, I want this team showing up ready to flip that script. I am a firm believer in iron sharpens iron and I want this team to be ready for anything their opponents have in store for them. However, minutes after this question was submitted came the news that Chad Thomas had received a significant neck injury which required him to be carted off the field. Whether this was a result of an intense camp or just a freak accident will probably never be able to be truthfully answered. If players start dropping like flies over the next few weeks I do believe Coach Freddie Kitchens will have to deal with his first legitimate criticisms from the fan base. In the meantime, I am going to place my trust in our coach and hope that he is preparing our team in the right way. Expect full pads as many times as the rules allow.

Here is an example of the hard-hitting questions that Tony Grossi is not equipped to answer. This is relevant because you cannot watch a Cleveland sporting event on television without seeing commercials for both Elk and Elk and Tim Misny. As a professional wrestling fan, I will admit this battle would be an intriguing one. One issue is a match-up between personal injury lawyers means that the only thing the victor will win is a lawsuit. Regardless let’s look at the competitors.

In this corner Tim Misny. photo courtesy of Yelp.com

Tim Misny has a couple of things going for him in this fantasy wrestling match. Misny would have the size and strength advantage that would serve him well in this battle. Perhaps more importantly like most successful pro wrestlers, Misny has a built-in catchphrase that will serve him well in the pre-match promo.

In this corner Art and Dave Elk. photo courtesy of HG.org

Like any good wrestling faction, the team of Elk and Elk will have the numbers advantage. Normally being lawyers would give them a slight advantage as you would expect them to fight a bit dirty, the matchup with Misny erases that advantage altogether.

As far as the match goes I would expect it to start with all competitors trying to gain the advantage by getting a handful of their opponent’s hair. This will not go well and end with Misny left holding Art Elk’s hairpiece. At that point, I would expect Dave Elk to sneak behind Misny as Art comically attempts a superkick causing Misny to fall over the elder Elk. As the Elks drop elbows on Misny the tide will turn. Much like Hulk Hogan in the 1980’s I would expect Misny to, “Hulk up.” After a bellowing out, “I’ll make them pay!” I expect Misny to make short work of the Elk boys claiming superiority in the local personal injury lawyer scene.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Justin

    August 13, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    I am probably one of the few Browns fans who is perfectly ok never hearing Bernie talk Browns.

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