What’s up everybody? Thanks for stopping in to read my WWW today. I’m writing from (mostly) sunny Orlando where we are theme-parking our faces off this week while the kids are out of school for the holiday break. And that’s what I want to talk about today.
As we were leaving Hollywood Studios this week, I got stopped by a family wearing Oklahoma gear. “How are the Browns doing? Are they up?” I told them that the Browns were currently down 10-7, but there was plenty of time left. They said, “Go Browns!” and we both kept on our way. In addition to this, consider that I was walking to the parking lot with local Orlando TV service via YouTube TV and the Browns were not the blacked out game nationally. I was wearing my Browns hat and my son Will was wearing his Christmas-new Baker Mayfield jersey. We were proud and so were all the people who commented on the gear.
In the past, I wore Browns gear to spite opposing fans. I wanted to plant my flag against the ubiquitous Steelers garb you see basically everywhere you go. You don’t see Ravens or Bengals paraphernalia often, but I always wanted to represent my city even if my football team was an embarrassment. I had taken to wearing my #SellTheBrowns t-shirt over the past year since the team went 0-16. As they say, the real risk is apathy not anger.
Thanks to Baker Mayfield, this time it feels real. I don’t want to take anything away from Myles Garrett or the rest of the Browns that have made a huge difference. Demarious Randall, Larry Ogunjobi, Nick Chubb, Njoku, Peppers, and Landry and and and… This is the first time in a long time there was a need for additional ands at the end of the last sentence.
It’s been good for me to travel and see just how big of an impact the Browns made this season even if they did miss the playoffs and failed to keep Baltimore out.
Gregg Williams did a great job and so did Freddie Kitchens. I think it probably speaks mostly to how bad the infighting had become between Todd Haley and Hue Jackson, but I don’t want to take too much away from Williams and Kitchens. At the same time, let’s pretend like this same coaching staff was here last year when the team went 0-16. What are Gregg and Freddie able to accomplish with DeShone Kizer and Cody Kessler and without Demarious Randall and the rest? Remember that Gregg Williams was the one who helped waste Jabrill Peppers’ rookie season having him play off the TV screen most of the time.
That’s not to crush Gregg Williams as much as it is to remember that it’s about the players first. This fanbase crushed Hue Jackson for not developing Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer as rookies and making them Pro Bowlers. We needed to blame someone because the team was awful, but even if they could have been better coached, the ceiling was low because of the players we were talking about. Now that we have the players, the coaches are coaching them up, but Baker Mayfield is changing plays at the line. Nick Chubb is taking five-yard gains and turning them into 50-yard touchdowns. Denzel Ward is making plays on the ball, Myles Garrett is not only running where he’s supposed to, but he’s swiping the ball for fumbles. Coaches can’t do that stuff by scheming.
I’m not particularly worried about who John Dorsey hires as coach as long as he finds some people with good chemistry that can hold up their end of the bargain. Players execute and the Browns have those players now. So, just don’t allow another Hue vs. Haley chemical explosion to happen and the Browns will be just fine.
I liked but never loved R.E.M. but it’s recently occurred to me just how many phenomenal songs they have. We’ve been listening to a lot of it and my wife pointed out just how great Strange Currencies is and I admit that I’d completely forgotten. I only cared about What’s the Frequency Kenneth? from Monster. Strange Currencies is probably the strongest song on that album.