Big Lead Sports Bar

11/08/2006

It's Always Worse in Cleveland

As bad as football matters are in Pittsburgh, we can always take solace in the fact that things are just as bad, if not worse, in Cleveland. If you're frustrated this season, just imagine being the fan of the only team to never appear in or host a Super Bowl. They haven't won anything since the NFL Championship in 1964, and the drought doesn't look to end anytime soon. So here is a reader submission piece from loyal Mondesi reader and frustrated Browns fan TJ from Cleveland.
**DISCLAIMER** I am NOT a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I am quite the opposite - I am a Cleveland Browns fan, born and raised in what many call “The Mistake by the Lake”. So, at first glance, that pretty much makes me anti-all things Mondesi, I know. However, having lived in both cities during my short life, I do share a frustration that many here have expressed about “yinz Stillers”: the unexplainable haste to crucify the QB when things go wrong. (That, and having know Raul for several years doesn't hurt either!)
Get Rid of Frye? Get A Life…For Now
It appears that after going 4-9 after only 13 career games behind a horrible offensive line, the Cleveland media and antsy Browns fans apparently have already placed Charlie Frye in the same "HE IS NOT THE ANSWER" basket as his oft-maligned predecessors (Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, and Trent Dilfer). Yes, this is the same Cleveland media and group of fans that just 19 months ago hailed Charlie Frye as "a great steal" in the draft and "the next Bernie Kosar", in reference to his local ties and underrated talent. They applauded his ability to “make something out of nothing”, his intelligence on the field, and his mobility, saying that he could become the franchise QB that the Browns haven't had since they returned in 1999. When critics questioned his arm strength, they defensively pointed to another QB that had a "suspect" arm - Joe Montana.
What a difference a year and a half makes. Now, these “reporters” and “fans” (both terms I use loosely) have played the flip-flop game. “Tries to make something out nothing” has become “tries to force a play” and “holds onto the ball too long”. “Awareness on the field” has become “locks onto receivers” and “misses opportunities”. And “mobility” has become “running for his life”.
“Running for his life” is the only criticism that I agree with, although when you think about it, that’s not entirely his fault. The root of the problem is what has plagued this franchise since ’99 (among other things, but that’s for another time), and has started the carousel of QBs as a result: the offensive line. Frye “tries to force a play” because the defensive line is in the backfield 2 seconds after the snap. He “misses opportunities” because he has a 280-pound DE in his face in the blink of an eye. He’s “running for his life” because 4-man defensive fronts achieve penetration, allowing 7 defenders to drop back in coverage, giving him few options.
The offense begins and ends with its line, as any football coach will tell you. The QBs success is largely dependent on the line’s ability to 1) establish the running game, and 2) protect the QB in the pocket. If you don’t think so, you need to look no further than our own division. Ask Carson Palmer and Ben Roethlisberger how important the O-line is to their success.
Palmer had an MVP-type season last year, and was expected to put up Peyton Manning numbers this year. Injuries to Levi Jones, Eric Steinbach, and Willie Anderson have stalled the running game, and put Palmer on his back more times than Jenna Jameson. The lack of pass protection has caused him to force throws, tossing INTs in key situations. Moreover, through 8 games, he’s already been sacked more times than all of last season combined!
Roethlisberger can certainly tell you what the lack on consistency on the OL can give you. He was 27-4 at the beginning of this season, thanks in part to a stellar OL that allowed him to hand off the ball 30+ times a game. When he did pass, he only did so 15-18 times a game, very often with great success. If the pocket did eventually collapse, it always seemed like he got the ball off a split-second before he got hit. (As a Cleveland fan, this drove me nuts, b/c it almost always came in a 3rd down situation). Why, you ask? Because his line enabled him to have that extra second or two to make a quick read and get rid of the ball. This season, the injury to Jeff Hartings, along with poor play from Alan Faneca and Marvel Smith have caused Ben to take sacks and make poor throws.
The thing that gets me is that fans will clamor for a QB change, and if they get it, the new QB is the savior. However, if he isn’t Dan Marino by week 8, they want a QB drafted in the 1st round, or they’re scouring the Free Agent list after the season. Here in Cleveland, I’ve heard fans call for Brady Quinn, Troy Smith, Matt Schaub, Tim Rattay, and even Seneca Wallace!!! Please. You just can’t plug and chug QBs year after year – have we learned nothing from the Butch Davis skill position carousel?
So, to the Cleveland media and the itchy-trigger finger fans: shut up and get a life. The last thing Cleveland needs is a QB change. Drafting a QB would set the Browns back another 3 years. Frye hasn’t even played 1 full season in the NFL. He’s young and inexperienced; he’s going to make bad reads, he’s going to hold onto the ball too long, and, as long as he has no OL, he’s going to run for his life. Do you honestly think that Carson Palmer or Ben Roethlisberger would be any better behind this line? Heck, if lurpy Bernie Kosar was behind this line back in the ‘80s, he’d be in the morgue of failed Quarterbacks, nestled comfortably next to Mike Phipps and Vinny Testaverde.
Frye needs time to develop and mature as a player, so the Browns will be able to make a better call on what kind of QB he is. Remember, Terry Bradshaw threw 6 TD and 24 INT his rookie year. Troy Aikman flat out sucked his first 3 years. I’m sure people were saying the same things about them as they are about Frye, but look how they turned out. Can Frye turn out like them? Maybe yes, maybe no. But without time, a good O-line, and some friggin’ patience, we will never know for sure. Just ask Tim Couch.

21 comments:

Cleveland Sucks said...

My name says it all!

Steelersnumberone said...

Cleveland sucks, they always have sucked, they always will suck. The Browns suck, the Indians suck, the Cavs suck, and Drew Carey sucks. Your football team has no logo and ugly colors. Your fans get bodyslammed by James Harrison. The Browns are so bad, even Bill Belichick lost there. Jose Mesa still wants to kill Omar Vizquel. Albert Belle is still a lunatic who follows his girlfriend with tracking devices. Good job letting Manny Ramirez walk. Carlos Boozer ripped off the blind guy who owned the Cavs. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is boring. And thanks for giving the world George Steinbrenner.

Steeltown Mike said...

It's hard for me to have sympathy for the Browns. If the Steelers don't win both games this year against the Browns, the Cleveland franchise will still have a winning record all-time vs. the Black and Gold.

But, objectively, I agree that a good deal of QB success stems from his ability (or lack thereof) to make good decisions and have time to execute. Off-hand, and I'm not thinking very hard, I can't remember the last time a team with a terrible offensive line even smelled the Superbowl.

I also hate the quick trigger finger. In this town, Ike Taylor, after a pretty damn good first year as a starter, is just missing a cross and three nails. Getting beat on fade patterns repeatedly will do that. But he's only a part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

this is intended for "steelersnumberone"...

1. the steelers are NOT number one. see standings, AFC North.

2. it saddens me to see such disdain a fan has for a city much like his own. having also lived in both Cleveland and Pittsburgh, i can attest to the fact that both are working-class, rather blue-collar cities whose fans are all passionate about their various sports teams.

3. cleveland does not, as you say, "suck." ...at least on the whole. the browns may be awful, that's admitted. but by comparison, how much better are the 2006 steelers? the answer is, not at all. the indians are a superior franchise to the pirates, which is beyond intelligent debate. the cavs don't suck - by my recollection, they have the best franchise player in the NBA and advanced in the playoffs last season - but then again, what can they be compared to in pittsburgh, without an NBA franchise? drew carey ... ok, he generally sucks. HOWEVER, let me retort with a musing about pittsburgh:

pittsburgh has yinzers. yinzers are to intelligent citizens of pittsburgh what uzbekistanis are to Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat": a pestilence. they give the city a bad name. seeing, hearing, and smelling loud, grammatically naive morons rant about the steelers in May or any other offseason month absolutely raises my ire. they butcher the english language and refer to perfectly normal objects such as rubber bands, shopping bags, and grocery carts by some unintelligible nomenclature, and they get confused by polysyllabics. they embrace douchebags such as joey porter. they have horrible accents and make little sense when communicating verbally. see Cope, Myron. i would like nothing more than to take every yinzer's terrible towel and use it as a mouth gag, that way he could sport his team pride while not offending my ears. well that's not true, i'd like joey porter to get shot again. maybe he should hang out at touch or matrix more often.

TJ said...

I will say this...Cleveland does have their own version of Yinzers, there just isn't a name for them. Horrible grammar, belligerent, trash, etc. Anonymous, have you taken a drive through some of the suburbs on the Cuyahoga River, such as Newburgh Hts, West Park, Slavic Village, Brook Park, or Parma? "Good lord" is my only response. There has to be some correlation between rivers, small towns, and morons. Let's get Ed Greb on this one.

Bern1 said...

Hey, anonymous: Way to hide behind "anonymous."

worstavid said...

A couple comments on TJ's post...

Despite him being a flaming homo, this was actually a very well produced reader submission. (OK, I was only kidding about the flaming homo comment).

I too know TJ very well, in fact we worked together a couple years ago. We even once spent a night in a hotel room in New York City!

Here's a funny story: I got up in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom and noticed that TJ's bed was empty. My immediate thought was that he must be down at the hotel lounge or something.

When I got into the bathroom, I turned on the light and voila! There's TJ sleeping in the bathtub with his blanket lining the tub! He lifted up his head in the glare of the fluorescent light and rubbed his eyes. I said, "What the heck are you doing in here?" He said that, "My snoring was killing him."

Shortly thereafter I was fitted with the now "en vogue" sleep apnea equipment because my wife was about ready to assasinate me by this time too. So can a Steeler and Browns fan cohabitate in the same hotel room? Obviously not!!!


Getting back to the subject, I agree with every word TJ wrote. In fact, because of my business, I now find myself traveling constantly all over Ohio and it is one great state. In fact, just today I drove through the Alliance, Ohio area and I was amazed at how many HOMES were decorated over their high school football teams and yes, I even saw a Browns banner hanging proudly from one home. I don't know, for as big as high school football is around here, I don't recall seeing homes decorated for high school teams.

As much as I always "disliked" the Browns, after they lost their team for a few years, I felt really bad for their very loyal fans because of what that lowlife Art Modell pulled on them. Face it, these people love their team as much as Steeler fans do. How would we feel if the Steelers moved to L.A. in the dead of night? That team has still not regained its' equilibrium since being reinstated into the NFL.

I also agreed with "Anonymous" who hit the nail on the head in describing the actions of many, many "yinzers".

Nice submission TJ. It was good to get an "outsider's" perspective. Be sure to write another Mondesi's House Reader's Submission after the first Cleveland-Pittsburgh game. I'm sure even this edition of the Steelers will beat your team's asses (although we did lose to the vaunted Raiders recently).

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

Dear TJ From Cleveland:

I admire your courage to open yourself up to the criticism you no doubt knew you'd receive on this message board. My only jab will be that I agree with steelersnumberone on his thoughts about Drew Carey - he's a total putz.

I feel required to note that Troy Aikman only sucked for his first TWO seasons - 3rd season had a comp. % of 65.3 with a passer rating of 86.7. The Cowboys even made the playoffs that year (1991).

However, I most impressed with your use of the adjective "lurpy." That was a nickname I had for one of my roommates at Pitt. I used to call him that name all the time.

Of course, I thought it was funnier than Lurpy did.

TJ said...

Thanks for the kudos Worstavid...and for those out there, that business trip story is 100% true. His snoring was among the most loud, horrible noises I've ever heard. It's up there with that 80s-style MIDI-produced "Pittsburgh's Goin To the Super Bowl" song. Almost...

It was a privilege to work for Worstavid, and he was a great boss. I not only learned a lot about what it takes to run a business, but I learned the importance of treating your employees well - something he certainly did. Oh yeah, and I also had a lot of fun, too. I apply all three principles to my work today.

Next time you're up this way, give me a shout - we'll meet up for a beer - they don't serve Iron City around here, so you'll have to settle for a Great Lakes instead!

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

And a brief comment for Mr. Anonymous:

Stop trying to impress people by using a word like "nomenclature."

That term that is solely reserved for the editorial page of the NY Times. It looks foolish anywhere else.

As for your comments on the whole, who knew that the Steelers winning a 5th Super Bowl could drive a man to the brink of insanity?

Did you type your comments while standing atop....uhh....whatever that one tall building in Cleveland is called?


P.S. No one anywhere cares about the NBA. Look at the attendance numbers league-wide.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I like when fans from Football Team A say that not only does Football Team B suck, but that it's fans are all morons and just about everything else in their city is crap.

All cities have plenty of morons per capita, and all cities have things that suck.

But, steelersnumberone's response was funnier than "anonymous"'s pretentious response... so I declare him the winner!

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

By the way, the whole quick trigger finger thing has gotten way out of control.

Ike Taylor has shut down the league's top receivers, but as we know he had a bad week this week and now people are ready to run him out of town.

AND NOW I just heard that Cowher is starting Mcfadden over him on Sunday!!!

Megatron said...

DOWN WITH TONY KORNHEISER!!! I'M SICK OF THIS PUNK!!!

Anonymous said...

Go back to your home planet, Megatron

Anonymous said...

I hate to nitpick, however, I have noticed, that Jenna Jameson is frequently either on top, on all fours, or on her knees, so consequently on her back much less than you state. I encourage you to research my findings further and let me know if you agree.

steelersnumberone said...

Dear "Anonymous" (Comment #4).

To retort:

1. If you think the Steelers suck so bad, check out that big ring on their finger from the 2005 season. Sorry, I don't see one on Kellen Winslow's hand just yet.

2. The only similarity between Cleveland and Pittsburgh is that they both hate Baltimore.

3. When you talk about Lebron James, is that the same Lebron James who walked off the court with 7 seconds left in the game?

4. Refresh my memory...what place is the Cleveland NHL team in?

5. Where is Cleveland State ranked in the college basketball top 25? Or are you going to try and leach off of Ohio State, which is in Columbus?

TJ said...

In response to steelersnumberone's last post...

-Yes, LeBron did walk off the court with 7 seconds remaining. It was a classless move, and I was quite surprised. However, if you look back to the 2003 Browns/Steelers game in Pgh, ESPN cut to a frustrated Hines Ward storming through the tunnel with :30 still on the clock and his team still on the field.

-Cleveland'S NHL team is as good as Pittsburgh's NBA team. Cleveland wants an NHL team as badly as Pittsburgh wants an NBA team. Apples and oranges- yawn. Moving on...

-CSU's bball team is awful, yes. But who said they weren't?? As for your comments about Ohio State being far away - get a life. After living in the Pgh area for 5 years, there are TONS of Penn State fans, which, last time I checked, is 2 1/2 hours away. Lame argument.

And why didn't you bring up the football team that CSU doesn't have? Being a football fan I thought you'd mention something...is that b/c Pitt's football team isn't ranked? Smells like a fairweather fan...

steelersnumberone said...

To respond to TJ's inane musings...

1. Hines Ward was never considered the be-all, end-all savior of the sport that Lebron James was anointed.

2. My point exactly. It's a moot argument, because Cleveland has no NHL team and Pgh has no NBA team (although they do have a sweet CBA team). So why did "Anonymous" even bring it up? Shouldn't your problem be with him?

3. The majority of Pittsburghers care more about Pitt than Penn State. Period. It's not our fault that your crappy CSU program drove poor Rollie Massimino into retirement.

leopold stotch said...

for purposes of clarification, i was the first "anonymous" to post on here and i figured since it looks like i'll have plenty to say now and in the future, i signed up for a name. as for "bern1's" assertion that i was hiding, that's baseless. lazy, yes...hiding, no.

moving on: "cecil," i'm sorry to have confused you with certain selections from my lexicon. oops, that's another SAT-level word. let me reiterate in yinzerese: "I shouldn'ta been usin dem big werdz n'at fer all yinz morahns!" I must have assumed that most people on this site were familiar with adult words, but if you'd like me to tone my words down for the lowest common denominator, ...well, just keep waiting. This is a public forum, so get used to my apparently undiscernable phrasings.

"Louis Lipps," i'm happy to defer to steelersnumberone with respect to the "most popular yinzer post" award. Thanks for volunteering to be the arbiter for this most esteemed award. Go choke on a "southside slopes" at Fat Head's for your insolence.

And last - and least - on to mr. steelers himself. When I said the steelers sucked, I was referring to the present, the here-and-now, the "steelers are 2-6 and done for the season" euphoria of November 10th, 2006. I'll grant you that the Steelers were impressive last year. But in the what have you done for me lately (hyphenation omitted) world of the no fun league, they're a doormat. At least the Browns didn't lose to the Raiders.

That is all.

TJ said...

OK, one more retort and I'm done with this, it's getting old...to Steelersnumberone:

1.) You completely side-stepped this one; I'm going to assume that by you making an excuse for Hines that you're kind of acknowledging he did it, but you don't want to say so. Understood.

Both are considered team players and team leaders; but by your logic, it's "not as bad" for Hines to act like a complete jackass b/c he's not a "savior" of his sport. Come on, man - this is your weakest arugment yet! Was it ok for Randy Moss to leave the sidelines as well? What about Sammy Sosa, when he walked out? Neither Moss nor Sosa are considered saviors of their sports either.

When is it EVER ok for ANY professional to do such a selfish, classless thing, regardless of his or her level of success??

2.) My response was aimed directly at your question - "what place is Cleveland's NHL team in?" You asked, and I answered.

As far as Anonymous's question, why don't you ask him why he brought it up, if it's eating at you so much? While we're on that, no, my problem isn't with him, b/c if you scroll back to his original post, you'll see that he, like you and I, even said that you can't even compare the two. Here's a snippet, if you're too lazy: "...but then again, what can they be compared to in pittsburgh, without an NBA franchise?"

3.) We can chalk this one up to poor reading comprehension as well. If you read my post, I never said that the majority of Pittsburghers liked Penn State - I merely stated that I noticed a lot of them while I lived there. Then you proceeded to make a lame insult and STILL avoided the Pitt football issue. Does a team have to be ranked/successful in order for you to like them? Does it still hurt when you jump off the bandwagon, or have you gotten better with practice?

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

Even you, sir, don't know the name of that one 34-story bldg in Cleveland?

Is that the Ernest Byner Bldg?

Jose Mesa Place?

Cleveland Lumberjacks Tower?

The fact that Cleveland hosted a minor league team to one of PGH's franchises is quite sad.

(Maybe that explains the Browns...)

How do you sleep at night, Mr. Lexicon?