Ah, it’s that time of year again. Pumpkins are beginning to grow faces, Red Wagon Farms is running haunted hayrides around the clock, the Metroparks have turned into a snaking line of orange and browns, Josh Gordon has bowed out of the remainder of the season, and most especially, fingers are flying in Berea. It’s a spooky time of year, filled with creepy costumes and horror movie marathons, but aside from the paper-mâché body parts your neighbor has so artfully spread across his front lawn, the scariest thing in all of Ohiodum is the state of the Cleveland Browns, specifically their in-game execution.
After drinking the cider flavored Kool-Aid, we as Browns fans get to treat ourselves to the sight of Freddie Kitchens bobbing for apples, and…my goodness…the man’s bitten off more than he can chew! Questionable game management and personnel decisions have produced more living room screams than HalloWeekends in Sandusky. Parents are forbidding their children to trick-or-treat in lieu of the constant threat of yellow projectiles falling out of the sky. It’s chaos in Brownstown and as we batten down the hatches, we continue to perform our seasonal rituals and competitions. As a regional favorite, today we will take part in our most cherished: the blame game.
Before we begin, I’d like to take a moment of silence for last season’s winner. Please join hands and reflect on our beloved Hue. Lost but not forgotten. One full year is not enough for us to forget the three beautiful Sundays you gave us over the course of two and a half seasons. We’d be remised not to also cherish the memory of his co-champion, Todd Haley. Thank you for your support.
In a stunning twist of irony, the former Alabama quarterback has caused a crimson tide to wash over northeast Ohio, but don’t worry, he will explain to you why it was necessary during his next post-game press conference. Although he might look like a giant pumpkin on the sideline, Freddie is determined to bring us pain all year round. The first time head coach once again proved his offensive genius when he intentionally induced a penalty to give his team a shot at converting on fourth down, because as every football expert knows, much like having a thirteenth floor at your hotel, fourth and eleven is the most dangerous distance in football. Like all competent strategists would do, he rid his team of this negativity by transitioning to fourth and sixteen, providing a much more realistic opportunity.
In addition, Freddie took the time to remind us that the international symbol for danger is a red flag, which followed after each time he threw one on the field in New England. He’s also done an impeccable job keeping his promise, stating again and again that the Browns would not practice penalties, but instead save them for Sundays. Unsure if he was a good hire? Just ask your local staffing agency. They’ll assure you that the ideal candidate is also the least qualified one, which explains why the surgeon who performed my recent appendectomy received his diploma from the ghost of Strongsville’s Allen Elementary and spent his mid-twenties in Mansfield Correctional Institute.
The man with the plan. John Dorsey fulfilled his promise of awakening the sleeping giant just before stuffing it with melatonin and lighting it on fire. The lauded GM took his time crafting a formidable coaching staff racked top to bottom with two or three proven coaches and some guys that wouldn’t piss off his franchise quarterback. The innovative talent evaluator is looking to cash in on his bold strategy of building a house from the roof down, carefully choosing to ignore the offensive line in place of the players they would be blocking for.
His smooth and quiet style has enticed fans into asking all sorts of interesting questions. How did you learn to make such amazing draft picks? What flavor is the wad of gum you’ve been chomping on since 2016? Who else knows about all the secrets you store under your felt-lined sweater? Most recently the toast of Cleveland, Mr. Dorsey has taken his time and crafted a powerful 53 man weapon, passing it along to his chosen head coach like one might pass a thermonuclear rocket’s controls to a four-year-old. Don’t worry John, the trade deadline is overrated anyway.
The darlings of ProFootball Focus are back, and they’ve continued their commitment to learning good footwork by playing a never-ending game of musical chairs. I for one was inspired by their bold decision to abandon kicking butt in favor of kicking the football out of the hands of their running back. In a case of the doubles, they’ve learned to jump the gun on a double snap count and block incoming pass rushers as if they’re experiencing double vision. Taking part in what can only be described as a touching tribute to Joe Thomas, the o-line has retired being competitive, allowing Baker to experience a bigger rush of mass than Johnstown on the morning of May 31st, 1889.
I’m looking forward to this week’s trip to Denver, as it will be a fitting location for a group of players that have the blocking capability of a Colorado saloon door. We can only hope that Gandalf will enter the 2020 draft, as he will be the only man capable of playing left tackle, finally announcing to incoming defensive ends that they shall not pass.
Last but not least…
We’re to blame. We bought into the dream of smooth sailing only to find ourselves on the decks of the Titanic. We have the skill players, the defensive capability, so what are we missing? A winner, and after seeing nothing but the opposite for half a lifetime, we should know a stinker when we see one. We spend massive chunks of our weekend watching a product that at certain points looks like a different sport. Time and time again we’ve been let down, only to find hope somewhere in the giant pile of number two this franchise lays on the shores of Lake Erie. Will the second half of the season bring about change? I guess we’ll have to watch and find out. But in the meantime, these fingers have some pointing to do.