The screen might flicker. White noise might be audible in the distance. Do not be alarmed. Do not attempt to figure out the strange occurences. It is merely Team Conspiracy Captain, aka Garry_Owen, who is here to dissect the state of the 2016 Cleveland Browns. None of what you are about to read is confirmed to be true. However, none of what you are about to read is confirmed to be untrue either. Think about it.
Thanks for this invitation and opportunity. I realize that there is enormous risk in letting the class clown and academic anchor lead the class in a discussion on important things. I have been accused (on more than one occasion, and not unfairly – indeed, it’s a point of pride) of being the guy in the WFNY comments section that only has snarky comments of no substance. So, while I will try not to scuff the furniture too much, I will [MILLENNIAL TRIGGER WARNING!] caution those (of the Borg persuasion) looking for critical substance that you may have come to the wrong place this morning.
Essentially, what you’re about to get is a long-form version of the stuff I normally provide in comments. Don’t like that? Think that’s unfair? Well, start greasing the skids with greenbacks the way I did. Anyway, it may be prudent for you to turn around (but not too quickly) and back out the way you came. Feel free (even obligated) to return later in the day, after the swirling dust of GIFs has subsided and when we begin eating our own in the inevitable, bitter, angry Indians threads.
But, before I get too far into this thing, a further rabbit trail on the topic of Team Conspiracy is warranted. At first, when Bode carelessly lumped me into this Team Conspiracy cabal, I was slightly offended. As noted above, I pride myself on snark, but also imagine that my ruminations are rational, valid, erudite, and wise – indeed, of a whole different stripe of “wisdom” as to make sage Solomon seem like the long lost stooge (or passed-over Browns offensive coordinator – but let’s not be redundant). Gradually, however, after first realizing that I’m not a millennial and therefore not prone from conception to being offended, it occurred to me that Team Conspiracy is really equal parts snark (undeniably) and rational (at least for those of us on the team). Thus, I have now embraced my team membership and captaincy. (Yes, you heard that correctly, minions. Now bow. And get to work.)
Question 1: Who was the actual best roster signing this offseason and why?
That’s an EASY question – a pre-coffee conspiracy softball.
It’s Steven Paea.
Allow me to explain. Story time!
Admittedly, I’m about to speak about another culture of which I know very little [MILLENNIAL TRIGGER WARNING #2], but this is important. Back in my prior career, I spent a significant period of time (epic, if not an epoch) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where I learned of an interesting cultural phenomenon. Apparently, in the “Polynesian”1 culture, there is a very strict, and very strictly observed, hierarchy that may (or may not)2 be immediately obvious to those within the culture when they come into contact with someone of a higher cultural rank. In fact, I personally know a Polynesian3 Staff Sergeant (look it up if you don’t know what that rank means, people, because I’m not explaining it) that was often called into Army units of all sorts, to, ahem, “counsel”4 other Polynesian soldiers, of various military ranks, both below and above his military rank, when the command elements of those units were unable to get these soldiers under control. Apparently,5 this SSG held a cultural rank that was well understood by these soldiers, and this SSG had a 100% effectiveness rate in getting these Joes (or whatever the Polynesian equivalent of “Joe” is) back into line.
Steven Paea was signed because Danny Shelton has underperformed. This is a fact.6 The actual cultural hierarchy that exists between them is for someone else to reveal. I just point you in the right direction, and that direction is cold, hard truth.7
Question 2: Was the RG3 signing merely a ploy to get Browns fans distracted from the pitiful team being assembled ala Dwayne Bowe and Terrelle Pryor in 2015? Or was there something else at work here?
Numbers are at work here. Dwayne Bowe was #80. Terrelle Pryor is #11. Subtract 11 from 80 and you get 69. After you extract . . . your mind from the gutter, it is obvious that the number 69 is also an effective representation of the [MILLENNIAL TRIGGER WARNING #3] Asian concept of Yin and Yang. Think about it: A QB that plays WR and a WR that doesn’t play WR. Isn’t it obvious? If not, assume a yoga pose and think about the cosmos for a few minutes.
I have no idea what that has to do with Robert Griffin the Third, but his signing was no ploy at distracting us. As an expert in misdirection, subterfuge, and general jackassery,8 I know this to be true. Robert’s (I can call him that because I knew him when he was 8 – have you heard that story?) signing was simply an honest attempt to resolve the QB problem without having to invest in a first round QB draft pick in 2016, and hopefully in the following years. Sadly, it didn’t work out (though the Browns will still keep RG3 next year – see my response to Question 4, below).
Question 3: Hue Jackson has stated that he convinced Terrelle Pryor to switch to wide receiver. He did next to nothing as a wideout in his first year there, but he is looking like a legitimate weapon now that Jackson is his head coach. Anything beneath the surface here?
Huge Action is lying.
Here is some real, bona fide misdirection. Despite what we have been told, and think we might have seen, Terrelle Pryor never actually converted to wide receiver. He has always been Huge Action’s QB of choice, and this is just part of the “Corporate” plan:9
Step 1: Establish RG3 as a starting QB in the NFL.
Step 2: Immediately trade RG3 for draft picks. Lots and lots of draft picks.
Step 3: If Steps 1 and 2 fail, move directly to Step 4.
Step 4: Activate “Agent 13”, aka “Cown’s Son,” whose sole purpose is to feign injury, so that sleeper agent “Tattoo” can be activated.
Step 5: Trade Joe Thomas for draft picks. Lots and lots of draft picks.
Step 6: Activate sleeper agent “Tattoo.”
Step 7: Win Super Bowl.
Unnecessarily complicated? Yes, but most great conspiracies are. See, e.g., the 2000 and 2016 Presidential Elections; Apollos 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17; and, Philadelphia.
Question 4: The Browns have a league-leading cap space number at nearly $50m despite being 2nd in the NFL in dead money at $28m (to players no longer on the roster). What is the team doing with all the extra money?
(1) Signing RG3 to another contract in 2017;10 and (2) procuring a huge team bounce house for use by the players and staff.
I’m not actually sold on this theory (particularly the bounce house angle), so I think there might be the notion among the HBT of scoring a great 2017 draft and then spending that leftover cash on key free agents that could actually make the Browns “competitive” in 2017 and 2018.
At least I hope that’s the idea. But, as General Jackassery always said: [MILLENNIAL TRIGGER WARING #4] “Men, ‘hope’ is not a course of action.”
Question 5: The Browns also have the youngest team in the NFL despite Josh McCown’s placement on the roster (average age of 25.02 years old). Is there age-ist views at work here or something else?
As always, something else. Even when you think you’ve identified the “something else,” it’s still something else.
It seems to just be a clear, devoted strategy of actually building the team from the ground up.
But it’s probably something else.
Question 6: QB injuries – real or more than they seem? Three starting quarterbacks in three weeks seems likely. How many quarterbacks will the Browns start in 2016?
Real or more than they seem? I believe in curses, and the Browns are just cursed, Bode. It’s all real (with the caveat of “Agent 13” discussed above). From Ty Detmer to Danny McCoy to Mr. Hero to Robert the Third, and every other guy in between, the Browns are just plain, undeniably, uncontrollably, irreparably cursed.
How many starting QBs will there be in 2016? Seventeen. Huge Action will name a starting QB for the bye week (Jared Lorenzen), but he’ll fracture his non-throwing shoulder doing something. In case you haven’t been reading anything I say, the “thing” is not important (but it probably has something to do with chili dogs).
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “I thought the whole plan was to have Terrelle Pryor be the starting QB.” Of course, you would be a sheep for saying that. Remember, TP “converted to WR.” He is a “starting WR.” Wink, wink; nod, nod; grind chalk on the sidewalk.
Also, [MILLENNIAL TRIGGER WARNING #5] I made up all of that nonsense.
Or did I?
Question 7: The Pryor taunting penalty – explain.
If we learned nothing else from Kevin Costner, we at least learned that worlds made entirely of water are great concepts, but depictions of said worlds require herculean effort, a workable “script,” and are not guaranteed to result in Kenner action figure contracts.
If we learned nothing else from Oliver Stone, we at least learned that Vietnam really screwed some people up.11
If we learned nothing else from Kevin Costner and Oliver Stone working together, we at least learned that the best conspiracies run deep. I’m talking mafia, Russians, Keith Hernandez deep.
I’m still working through this one, and I have my “sources” well-placed and active, but as of yet I don’t know exactly what happened. I do know that someone – whether it’s the NFL, the Cleveland Browns, or RGB – did not want the Browns to win that game on Sunday, and there was a very real risk of that happening.
Honestly, if what TP did was worthy of a penalty, then Diego Costa is a sincere, fair-playing, non-flopping bloke.12 I have not gotten upset about much this season, but that truly was pretty upsetting. For about 2 minutes. And then I remembered that I “have a life,” and that the worst NFL team to ever grace the fair shores of Lake Erie should not impact that life. Is Team Apathy still taking applications?
I also have not ruled out the Ghost of Art Modell for that penalty. Or Ozzie Newsome. Though I have a working theory that these two beings are one and the same.
Gosh, I hope this was enlightening. Thanks again, Bode. I’ll now go back to my dark corner and confine myself to flinging comments.
- What’s the correct word? Yeah, I don’t care. Suck it up. [↩]
- Because I’m a white guy. [↩]
- See note 1, supra. [↩]
- Think: “wall to wall counseling.” [↩]
- Because, again, white guy talking, without the privilege to do so. See what I did there? [↩]
- All statements of fact should be interpreted by the reader as unqualified statements of conspiracy. [↩]
- See note 6, supra. [↩]
- A fine leader whom I had the pleasure to serve under in multiple theaters. [↩]
- Is Huge Action just a Manchurian Candidate head coach? You’ll not learn that answer here. I have to keep some knowledge to myself in order to both: (a) provide incentive for a return column; and (b) keep the feds in the black helicopters from torturing me to death. [↩]
- I actually believe this might be the case, particularly if none of the college guys thrill the HBT. [↩]
- Yeah, no trigger warning on that one. You know why? Because combat vets are hardcore people that CAN TAKE IT. That’s right. Shut up; suck it up; quit complaining; and drive on. [↩]
- Soccer Zen. Craig ain’t the only one with that mad skill. [↩]