Keep hope alive! The North Coast Posse tackles your questions as the Browns head into a week 4 match-up with Washington.
Q: The Browns are 0-3, have played four QBs in three games and lost their 1st round draft pick to injury, yet I am still enjoying the season immensely. Did I smoke some of Josh Gordon’s weed? What gives?
K-Dubs, the Soldier: During the fourth-quarter of last week’s game, I definitely could have used some of Flash’s ganj to take the edge off. You are right, though. This season has been exciting and heartbreaking so far. If not for poor special teams, the Browns could easily be 2-1. Going into this season, we said that the record might still be ugly, but that the team will keep you watching all year. That is because—despite the facts that they are down to a rookie, third-string quarterback, have lost their starting center and two rookie starters to injury, and their best offensive weapon just checked himself into rehab—this is not the “same ol’ Browns.” There has been a lot of turn-over on the roster, which is now teeming with young and hungry players. Also, the coaching staff has shown creativity on both sides of the ball, which has leverage the strengths of the players that they do have. No, my friend, this truly is a new era for the Browns. They still kind of suck, but it is a team with pride, and it is on the rise.
Big $: I’m right with you, mainly because we’re getting to see ex-Buckeye Terrelle Pryor transform into an NFL tour de force. However, I’m also impressed by the effort shown by the young players and coaching staff. It would have been real easy to fold after Kessler’s 1st couple series last week (see Johnny Manziel’s 1st start). But adjustments were made and they battled (forgive the Pettine-ism) on.
Q: Speaking of Josh Gordon, breaking news is that he is headed to rehab. Couldn’t he have done this anytime in the LAST TWO years while he was suspended instead of right before he is actually able to finally play again?
Big $: I’m concerned that our fan base learned nothing from Johnny, and are again willing to apply martyrdom to a guy who refuses to get his life together, even with all the supports he has in place. This guy has serious issues that expand beyond weed, and I hope they are identified and replaced before he hurts others.
K-Dubs, the Soldier: Dude apparently hasn’t hit his bottom yet. Cris Carter has said a million times that the best thing that happened to him was his release from the Eagles. That was when he realized the real impact his substance abuse was having on his life and those around him. I was very excited for Gordon to return, but the Browns just need to send his ass packing now. If not for his own sake, then because the fans can’t take this anymore. When I heard the news that he was entering rehab, I looked to the heavens and wailed, “Why do the righteous suffer?” just like Job.
Q: Hugh Jackson’s game plan against the Dolphins was inspired. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons. What do you think of the new coach so far?
Big $: I’m head over heels for this staff. The vision and creativity they have shown will start to pay serious dividends as the young players gain experience and more talent is acquired.
Q: Meanwhile, Terrelle Pryor couldn’t make the team last year, now he is the best player on the field for either side against Miami. Is that Paul Depodesta finding value where the previous regime couldn’t see it?
Big $: I’ll say this, watching what Theo Epstein is doing in Chi town, makes me believe this is a good time to have ivy leaguer analytic freaks run your organization.
K-Dubs, the Soldier: I don’t know if it takes a genius to see that Pryor is one of the most physically gifted athletes in the league (let alone that you could pick him up for a song). I think the emergence of T.P. says more about his new-found maturity and the work he has put in to become a legitimate receiving threat, than it does about the front office.
Q: As crazy as it sounds, should the Browns lock down T.P. with a contract extension ASAP?
Big $: I tried to find the “hell yes” font, but caps will have to suffice HELL YES. As a full offensive weapon, he has only scratched the surface.
Q: The defense has improved every week. What is up?
Big $: It’s documented that I am no fan of defensive tackle Danny Shelton, but he’s playing like a pro lately. Dude is steppin’ up. It’s a good time to 2 be a Huskie.
K-Dubs, the Soldier: I agree that the defensive line has played much better than expected, but they are getting solid production from everyone. The run defense, which has ranked at the bottom of the barrel the last couple of years, is currently ranked in the middle of the pack, and the defensive backfield has really improved.
Q: Who on offense impresses?
K-Dubs, the Soldier: Cody Kessler played surprisingly well last week once he got settled. He showed good-decision making, and I think he will continue to improve with more practice reps, as well as game action. There are questions about his arm strength, but he throws an accurate ball and keeps a cool head. I think they need to keep starting him even after Josh McCown is ready to return.
Big $: Obviously I love T.P., but I’m also impressed with The Crow’s burst through the line. Feed him more.
Q: Who should LeBron start for this week?
Big $: You know what, I feel good for once. Let LBJ focus on the preseason and developing chemistry with Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (aka the most underrated off season acquisition in the NBA).
K-Dubs, the Soldier: I want LBJ to take over as Josh Gordon’s drug counselor. LeBron is easily the most upstanding sports megastar since Wayne Gretzky. I mean even Peyton Manning is accused of giving a female athletic trainer a Roman helmet when he was in college. Flash could use LeBron’s positive influence and solid advice in his life.
Q: What games suddenly look like we might have a shot to win?
K-Dubs, the Soldier: I think they get over the hump this week against Washington. The Browns should be competitive in most of the rest of the games, with the best chances to win in road games against Tennessee, Baltimore, and Buffalo, and in the home finale against San Diego.