“Hurry Up and Draft Me Because I Want to Be There.”

“I want to wreck this league together.”

Manziel-green-roomThose are the words that Johnny Manziel texted to QB coach Dowell Loggains on draft day that sparked the trade up to select Johnny Football.

Damn. Those are nice words to hear from a quarterback, aren’t they?

Going back well into last season, we all heard that the whispers that the Browns were enamored with Johnny Manziel. Of course, that was with a CEO and GM who are no longer here, so when this draft rolled around, the average fan had no idea which QB was on the team’s radar.

It was Johnny all along.

I’m finding it harder and harder to not like him. He’s smart, he’s competitive, he has leadership skills, and he has what no Browns quarterback has had since Bernie Kosar – swagger. Well, Charlie Frye had the swagger, but not the talent to back it up.

I am excited to see him play, aren’t you? If he can light up the field like he did in college, then this team could make a huge leap this season.

Manziel’s presence is so strong that I can even foresee something I previously thought impossible: well-attended preseason games!

10 Fearless Predictions for This Coming Browns Season

I wanted to make some predictions for the upcoming season, but realized that I didn’t have a crystal ball. Instead, I used a clean glass filled with Great Lakes Dortmunder. Both produce the same results, right?

So, after gazing into my crystal clear glass of Dortmunder, here are my 10 fearless picks for this season.

Cleveland Browns 2014 Predictions1)      Johnny Manziel is named starting QB at some point in the season, either due to injury or winning the QB competition outright, and the NFL flexes at least one Browns game into Sunday Prime Time.

2)      The 2014 draft will produce four starters by season’s end: Joel Bitonio (who will start Game 1), Justin Gilbert, Terrance West and Johnny Manziel. And maybe even Christian Kirksey.

3)      Leon McFadden does not make the team, just a year after being taken in the third round. McFadden struggled mightily in 2013 and never seemed to be able to adapt to the speed of the game. If he makes the roster, I’ll be stunned.

4)      Three of these undrafted free agents will make the roster: QB Connor Shaw from South Carolina, RB Isaiah Crowell from Alabama State, WR Willie Snead from Ball State, WR Chandler Jones from San Jose State, or WR Jonathan Krause from Vanderbilt.

5)      And with the inevitable addition of one or more WRs that get cut by other teams or the Browns trade for, Greg Little gets dropped. Pun intended.

6)      Two players that were signed injured and never played, S Jamoris Slaughter and WR Charles Johnson, will finally take to the field in training camp. And then get hurt. And then get cut.

7)      This will be Jordan Cameron’s last year in the Brown and Orange. Enjoy it.

8)      Neither Ray Farmer nor Mike Pettine will be fired at the end of the season. Whoa! Now that IS a fearless prediction!

9)      The losses will not enter into the double digits this season. Double whoa! Even fearless-er!

10)   Josh Gordon will receive a suspension, but not for the entire 16-game season. I just can’t imagine the league banning the guy who led all receivers the previous season. (In receiving yards, not joints smoked.)

And there you have it – 10 fearless predictions from an average guy and rabid Browns fan who bleeds Brown and Orange.

We’ll revisit this topic around December 28th after the last game and see how well, or how poorly, our predictions turned out.

Which Is More Powerful? Hope or Reality?

Every year during the draft, I am filled with hope because every pick seems like a can’t-miss prospect. I can just imagine that every draftee will make the roster, and make an impact, right away.

And then reality sets in.

tim-couch-1999Because the reality is, not all of these guys will make the roster, and those that do might not make an immediate impact. In fact, the odds are good that most of them will never achieve the success they had in college. To prove this, all we need to do is set the wayback machine for a few past Browns draft classes.

Let’s look at the 2001 Draft. Jeremiah Pharms was selected in the 5th round. Pharms never made the team, or training camp, because he was charged with a first-degree robbery charge in the pistol-whipping and shooting of an alleged drug dealer in Seattle. That draft also featured mega-bust Gerard Warren and Quincy “Dropsie” Morgan.

In the 2005 Draft, 6th rounder Eric Hoffman and 7th rounder Jon Dunn never made the team. Nick Speegle and Antonio Perkins stayed on the roster for one year, and David McMillan made it two seasons. The top of the draft, they guys you NEED to get right, were Braylon Edwards, Brodney Poole and Charlie Frye. D’oh.

In 2007, 6th and 7th round selections Melila Purcell and Chase Pittman didn’t make the roster, and 7th rounder Syndric Steptoe hung around for only a year. The first four picks of this draft include Joe Thomas, Brady Quinn, Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald. Aside from reliable #73, this draft is best labeled as a fail.

Even last year’s draft features several players we’ve heard about, but have hardly seen: Jamoris Slaughter and Garrett Gilkey. Of course last year’s draft was run by Moe and Curly. Or was it Shemp? Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

So I am trying hard to balance my hope that these six guys are all Pro-Bowlers with the reality that they might not even come close.

Which one will win out? Hope or Reality? I hope Hope does, but the reality is that Reality will.

Welcome to Cleveland, Johnny Football…Now Have a Seat.

We’ve been here before, haven’t we? A quarterback picked in the first (or second or third) round, and we’re back to “life is worth living” mode.

  • Manziel_Browns

So let’s not make the same mistakes we made before: thinking the backup QB was the second coming of Otto Graham, and rushing them into action before they were ready, proving that they were NOT the second coming of Otto Graham.

This responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the coaches, and – gasp! – us, the fans.

Yes, the fans.

Johnny Manziel is fiery player, full of confidence, bravado, and natural ability. But he’s also a 21-yeal old kid. He needs some time to learn how to play in the NFL, get his bearings playing against faster, stronger and better opponents, and LEARN!

Let’s let him.

Unless Manziel really, really, really lights it up in training camp, this season’s QB is Brian Hoyer. Let’s let Hoyer play so Manziel can learn. And that means not calling for Manziel after Hoyer’s first sack, or interception, or whatever. Seriously, let Johnny Football be Johnny Clipboard for a while.

So please, let’s keep the “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny…” chants on the shelf for a while, OK? Brian Hoyer can play, and Johnny Manziel can learn. Let’s make a break from the “throw ‘em to the wolves” strategy that we employed with Tim Couch, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden. How well did that work out? Let the kid learn.

And now, please join me in a prayer to the patron saint of quarterback high ankle sprains: please skip your Cleveland visit this year. Instead, how about you go 134 miles to the southeast? Ask for Ben.

Amen.

Browns Cheerleaders? Gimme an N! Gimme an O! Gimme a NOOOOOOOO!

I read the news today, oh boy.
About the stupid idea to add some skirts.
And though the news was quite the shock,
Well I just had to laugh.
(With sincere apologies to The Beatles)

cheerleadersFor the love of all that is holy, no! There are 7 NFL teams that do not have cheerleaders: the Giants, Stihlers, Jets, Lions, Bears, Packers and Browns. With the exception of the dome-playing Lions, notice that these are all really, really cold cities! These teams also have damn loyal fans and don’t need cheerleaders.

Listen, I am all for changing things up, like, you know, the constant losing and futility of watching Our Favorite Team (OFT) mathematically eliminated from respect after Week 4. The ever-changing faces wearing the Head Coach’s headset. The yearly raiding of the GM’s office for staplers and paper clips after he is shown the door.

But do we REALLY have to change the things that make this team, and this city, this team and this city?

Not having cheerleaders is something that most of us are proud of. Don’t care about them, don’t need them.

Let’s not forget the Buffalo Bills’ cheerleaders just suspended operation, and the Raiderettes and Ben-Gals are suing their teams for paying them paltry sums for a long season’s worth of work. Is this really the time to introduce cheerleaders?

Besides, what would they name the squad? I’d bet dollars to Dortmunders that they’d be called “The Brownies.” Ugh. How about the “Cleveland Rocks-ettes?” Nah, too much trademark infringement happening there. Maybe the “Dawg Pounders?” Oh my, no. “The Tight Ends?” Now this is just getting ugly.

I hope that this silly cheerleader rumor is just that – a rumor.