Do yourself a huge favor and follow @northcoastposse during all Browns games.
The NCP returns, and we’re saltier than ever! So without further adieu, here’s Big $’s initial thoughts on your 2015 Cleveland Browns:
Q: Not to start on a downer, but is it possible this collection on QBs has the lowest combined career QBR rating of any preseason team in NFL history?
Big $: It’s no secret that I think Ole Johnny Football is one of the most embarrassing Q.B. experiments in NFL history. You add journeyman Josh McCown to the mix and suddenly Holcomb/Couch looks like Montana/Young. The only area in which McCown is superior to Brian Hoyer is in his ability to acquiesce to Trader Ray‘s desire to have him serve as JFF’s mentor. There is a lot of national negativity surrounding the Browns, and the genesis of most of these low expectations is the lack of talent at quarterback. As for QBR, its almost unfair to lump Josh McCown and his pedestrian, yet manageable career number of 76.1 in with Johnny’s robust 5.08. It does, however, allow Johnny the right to state that he is one of few QB’s in league history with a jersey number which is less than half of his career QBR.
Q: Is it possible that the best quarterback on the Browns is WR Terrelle Pryor? Is it possible the best QB in Ohio plays for Ohio State?
Up until Monday, I would have had a hard time not awarding top Q.B. honors to T.P. Since that time though, the Browns have signed the steadily mediocre Austin Davis. On this team “steady mediocrity” shoots you right to the top of the Q.B. chain. Congrats A.D.! The NCP welcomes you with open arms.
As for OSU Q.B.’s, I’ll try not to completely derail this Browns-centered passage by going on a tangent about Cardale. (Hyperbole alert) He has Big Ben’s intimidating elusiveness coupled with Aaron Rodgers’ ability to keep his eyes and shoulders downfield smothered with Kapernick’s arm strength (Hyperbole Alert). In short, I fully envision a worthless last second game 17 victory will keep Cardale from becoming a Brown.
(editor's note: Pryor was cut just after this went to press so the Browns could sign an injured running back. Big $ could not be reached for comment as he was out shopping for Brian Hoyer Houston Texans jersey.)
(copy-editor's note: after this transaction, I fully expect the next Browns trade to be their next two first-round draft picks for an aggie, two cat's eyes and a sackful of magic beans.)
Q: The only offensive positive we heard all off-season was that the Browns should be able to run the ball. Suddenly, the Browns are fishing for a washed-up girl smasher like Ray Rice. What the hell is going on?
I began the pre-season enthusiastic about The Browns ability to run the ball. Then I witnessed the Bills’ Marcell Dareus treat Alex Mack like the 5th grader who gets forced into O Line play because he can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. I’m going to chalk that up to rust accumulated from last year’s injury, especially since Mack has to play big this year if he wants to collect on the open market. I’m also hoping that the West trade is as much a nod to the team’s confidence in Crow and Duke as it was about West’s immaturity. I’ll be keeping a close eye on Crow’s ball security, if he can remedy his fumbling yips, a 1,300 to 1,400 yard season is not out of the question.
Q: It's hard to imagine any coach getting more than 5 wins from a team with this collection of talent. Is it possible the Browns will again blame the head coach and start over or be patient and maybe look for another scapegoat for this decade-long embarrassment?
The NFL is a game of match-ups and exploiting mismatches. Surprisingly, I think week to week the Browns will maintain match-up advantages in the secondary, on the left side of the O line and in D line depth. However, I believe said mismatches will be overshadowed by an alarming lack of playmakers on O, a porous right side of the line and issues at L.B. (specifically setting the edge in the run game). How much of this will be Pettine’s fault? Well, I’m not ready to lay down cash on the Vegas dismissal odds, but it is his job to develop game plans that utilize the roster handed to him. There is very little chance that Coach Pett improves on the 7 (Hoyer-led) miracles of last year, so improvement will have to be gauged by other metrics. I have not been impressed with Haslam’s integrity or decision-making to this point, so it’s safe to say regardless of the owner’s pre-season statements on his job security, Pettine will need to continue looking over his shoulder.
Q: What players on offense are you keeping an eye on?
I truly believe that T.P, is going to create problems for NFL defenses. He looks mammoth when he lines up against NFL CB’s and us Buckeye fans know he has the feet and speed to make life miserable for a Safety or L.B. I’m not sure when he’ll get his opportunity to crack the lineup, but I don’t see any of the current W.R. corps performing to a level that will make T.P. obsolete. If Braxton can do it, I’m fully convinced T.P. can make the transition as well.
Q: And on defense, is Gilbert really this bad? Who is looking good?
I’m concerned that the Browns did not complete their due scouting diligence as it relates to Gilbert’s football I.Q. He simply looks lost when trying to engage in an NFL pass defense scheme. I don’t foresee him contributing at CB at all this year.
I was pumped to see Armonty’s move to OLB, however that experiment ended with his depth chart move back to D.L.
I think Kruger and Desmond Bryant looked like world beaters in the pre-season and I’m also enthused about Stark’s potential. I expect big things from the D-line.
I do not however share the general optimism about Danny Shelton to this point. He at times struggled with instinct off the ball and was also moved at will on several occasions this August. With that said, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and believe he does have the potential to be a solid contributor this year based on his motor alone.
Q: Browns fans have lots to complain about, but I never heard one complain about the uniforms. Why change now? Do you like the look?
I’m simply shocked by the fan response to the absolute disgrace that I find these uniforms to be. It’s not bad enough that the Browns perform like a 2nd tier MAC team, but now they are dressed like one as well. In 3 words, I find the look to be unprofessional, nauseating and ridiculous. On second thought, they may suit this organization to a tee.