Some miscellaneous stuff filling up my brain’s limited RAM space:
– Sean McClelland writes this morning about how Browns fans are everywhere, with only the moribund 1970s stopping them from taking the “America’s Team” moniker away from the Dallas Cowboys.
As someone who ran a Cleveland Browns website and magazine for ten years, I can tell you firsthand that the Browns widely-dispersed fan base is dying off or walking away. Fans made during the 40s, 50s, and 60s aren’t being replaced by expansion-era fans. After sixteen years of no football or (often) comically-bad football, one can’t assume that Browns Backers will be the world’s largest NFL fan club anymore.
As publisher of the Orange and Brown Report, can’t tell you how many customers wrote me long letters sadly admitting that they had given up on the Browns. “I love the site and magazine, but I just can’t deal with the Browns anymore”, they would write. I had to move on to greener pastures as a result. The Browns are still first in my heart, but the last two decades has decimated what was once the top fan base of any pro sports team in the United States. I can relate that to you first-hand. It’s just the sad truth.
– Pete Fiutak’s take on Ryan Tannehill fills me with deep concern: “The scouts want him to be good because he looks the part and has most of the tools. … Throws way too many interceptions and isn’t nearly accurate enough. He might never be consistent enough to be a winning NFL starting quarterback. He can be a starter, but he won’t win a Super Bowl.” This sounds like a lot of other quarterbacks who have worn the Cleveland Browns jersey since 1999. It’s been nearly 20 years since Bernie Kosar wore a Cleveland Browns jersey. I think we’ve waited long enough for a stud quarterback and dealt with serviceable “bargains” drafted outside of the top picks like Brady Quinn, Charlie Frye, and Colt McCoy. The Browns need to invest in Matt Flynn or RG3 to get the fan base engaged again.
– The third-round-or-so developmental quarterback I’m personally most interested in is Brock Osweiler. More on this obsession at a later point.
– The combine cranks into gear tomorrow with offensive linemen, kickers, punters (yeah!), long snappers and tight ends. Friday will be a very busy day on FOX Sports Ohio and the OBR as quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers take center stage. Scout has a half-dozen people there, Pat McManamon is representing FOX Sports Ohio, and FOXSports.com is blanketing the Combine as well. Expect a LOT of coverage on these pages.
– Pro Football Talk has some speculation that Steve Hutchinson could wind up at left guard for the Cleveland Browns. Hutchinson is 35. If the Browns want a top-flight but aging left guard to play between Mack and Thomas, they already have one. His name is Eric Steinbach. It should probably be pointed out that the incumbent left guard is only 32 and, like Hutchinson, there’s some speculation that he could also be a cap casualty. I think the Browns would be better off focusing on the right side of their line, eh?
– Some local publications are trying to blow Brady Quinn’s comments about Tim Tebow into a side-show, but neglect to mention that his comments were made three months ago and Quinn argues they’ve been taken out of context. GQ is not exactly a sports magazine, and I’m inclined to believe Quinn’s disclaimers: “The comments attributed to me in a recent magazine article are in NO WAY reflective of my opinion of Tim and the Broncos. Tim deserves a lot of credit for our success and I’m happy for him and what he accomplished. Most importantly, he is a great teammate. That interview was conducted three months ago, and the resulting story was a completely inaccurate portrayal of my comments. I have addressed my disappointment with the writer and have reached out to Tim to clear this up. I apologize to anyone who feels I was trying to take anything away from our Team’s or Tim’s success this season.” Quinn couldn’t be blamed for a bit of bitterness, and I want to cut him some slack here. Hopefully, the Tebow-obsessed media will leave him be.