In one of my first posts here, I shared that I’m not a Bernie fan.
… Love my Browns fans but Kosar is your Herpes flare-up. Your bad sweater. Your eighth Jim Beam. Really sometimes makes it hard to co-exist.
But one thing I have said and will always say about Bernie: he was as good at reading defenses and playcalling as any QB ever. He truly knows the game. He probably offers more from an offensive perspective than any commentator I’ve ever heard. His pre-occupation with telling us the defense’s scheme after each play is probably a turn-off for some. I love it. The fact that he’s not doing network play-by-play or coaching has everything to do with non-football idiosyncrasies; nothing to do with the fact of his football knowledge.
In other words, his form is too unpleasant for our PC world to overcome the fact of his substance. Sportscasting requires cold truths be couched diplomatically or better yet not said out loud but alluded to. And certainly without a Yompton accent. What I’m saying is: when was the last time a national announcer spoke truthfully in a critical way? Or more simply, an announcer who says pretty much what you’re thinking?
Sadly and ironically, Peter King has decided to pick this as his rare moment to speak critically — although with seemingly no review of Bernie’s actual broadcast — and has decided the Browns/WKYC must fire* Bernie.
It is sad and absurd and a fact of the world we’re living in.
Setting it up.
Bernie called the Thursday night Browns/Rams game and since the Browns were at home, their announcers were shown nationally via NFL.com’s Pre-season Live package. So if you’re a Rams fan not watching on St. Louis local team, you were hearing Jim Donovan and Bernie Kosar call the game.
In the course of the fourth quarter Bernie took shots at the Rams’ third string QB, Kellen Clemens and their receiving corps.
Jeff Fisher reacted strongly to the criticism of his players by a Cleveland personality broadcasting on a Cleveland local station. That’s fine, coach has players’ backs. Fine.
[It has now been reported by Tony Grossi that Fisher asked reporters to ask him about Kosar. In other words, this was a set-up by Fisher. (Go to 2:50 mark here.) This allows his WRs to hear criticism and simultaneously establishes Fisher as a coach who has his players' back. Bernie is collateral damage here. And that's leaving out Fisher's needless comment about Bernie's past 'issues.']
But now Peter King has decided to pile on and wants Bernie fired. See tweets, right.
You are a horse’s ass, Peter King.
Today we’re going to review Bernie’s work on its substance. Let’s see if by criticizing Bernie’s “judgement,” King is actually uncomfortable with Bernie’s lack of obfuscation. Oh sorry, see what I just did there almost by reflex? I prettied up a statement when I meant to say simply: King can’t handle truth if it’s not wrapped in package without soft edges lest someone poke an eye out.
For the rest of us, it’s refreshing to have a commenter who is not a slave to maintenance of future access for either new sports websites (King) or film-room one-on-ones (Gruden).
Not needing to kiss everyone’s ass leads to interesting commentary.
What Bernie said… about Sam Bradford.
Missed in the kerfuffle is Kosar’s honest praise of Sam Bradford. Sam Bradford looks good, Bernie says he looks good. Sam Bradford’s line looks bad, Bernie says his line looks bad. Sam Bradford’s receivers drop passes, Bernie says his receivers aren’t good. This isn’t hard. Here’s a transcript of the second quarter where Bernie talks Bradford.
2Q/14:14 Bradford dropped pass by Pettis.
Just rushing three, horrible job by the offensive line, and beautiful throw by Sam Bradford under pressure. He’s at the crossroads of career and needs to take the next step to get where his athleticism says he should be.
2Q/14:09 Bradford dropped pass by Austin.
Again nice job by Bradford standing in against pressure. It wasn’t overthrown, Austin has to make that catch in the NFL. I can see why Sam’s been struggling watching how bad these receivers are. Those are two outstanding throws those last two.
I.e., the Rams are punting due to two dropped passes on perfect throws under pressure. Peter King translation: ”Were you drinking?” Frankly, I hope Bernie sues King. The intent to injure is there as is the record. If King hasn’t libeled Kosar, the word has no meaning.
2Q/12:51 Bradford long completion to Givens.
There’s gonna be a lot of grumpy defensive coaches here. That’s just base cover 3. There should be a weak safety in the middle of the field there. Beautiful throw by Sam Bradford, that’s awesome.
2Q/10:59 Bradford TD pass to Givens.
Sam had the guy open in the flat for the easy touchdown. He purposely throws this high to get it over the linebackers. This is perfect accuracy. I love watching him throw the ball. That was a fantastic series.
If Bernie’s a punch-drunk fool when talking about Kellen Clemens, then his statements about Bradford must also be dismissed, no? Yes? PK? Starwood-Frequent-Traveller? Comment?
The Clemens stuff.
I’m going skip the Austin Davis series’ although Bernie does mention this about the Rams’ backup QB battle at 3:35 in the second quarter:
I’m not sure either one is good enough to actually play in the league consistently. So they’re probably looking for outside help.
That sounds correct from here and sorry if that hurt anyone’s feelings. The Rams have second year undrafted free agent pickup Austin Davis and the 62.2 career QB rating of 30-yr-old Kellen Clemens in this dogfight. When the Rams cut Clemens and sign someone from outside, will Peter King be there to compliment Bernie for getting it right? That was rhetorical.
On to the Clemens stuff. We have to move to the seven minute mark in the fourth quarter of the first pre-season game for Kellen Clemens to see the field. By his actions, Jeff Fisher signals a like assessment of Clemens’ skill set as will Bernie.
4Q/6:49 Rams false start from their own one yard line.
I’ve been waiting for this one all day. The last time I was a bad boy and had to watch (Clemens) play was the day the NY Jets traded for Brett Favre. Kellen Clemens was supposed to be their starting QB and I saw why they traded for Brett Favre.
And? Is there an inaccuracy here? No. Is there network-speak window-dressing? No. More of this please; less of Peter King log-rolling. Bernie is quite simply amazed that Clemens is still in the league and it is, in fact, amazing. I recall thinking the same things when Ken Dorsey was our third stringer. I surely would not have been offended if a Rams TV broadcaster would have made such an observation at the time; on the contrary, I would have thanked him.
4Q/6:14 Next play.
He’s been in the league now quite a few years; I hope he’s progressed because then he was with the first stringers against the first stringers. Now as a veteran QB playing against third/fourth stringers (Clemens) should have an opportunity to steal completions like the Browns QBs have.
[after run play is stuffed.]
You can see the eighth man up in the box, obvious press coverage, he hasn’t learned much to run that play. God.
I mean… right? Bernie was a QB who knew what to do with press cover and eight in the box. He knew this at the U. Clemens is in eighth year, he’s 30 years old. What is the problem with Bernie’s call here??
4Q/5:30 Next play.
He’s got press cover again. Geez. PLEASE throw the ball up the field.
[completes four yard underneath pass for first down.]
Even though the pass is complete, you see all that traffic in there (where Clemens threw). There’s freed up linebackers and double coverage and in and out on all that underneath stuff… and there’s two single WRs both on the outside and he throws the ball in the middle. You can’t make a living doing that.
QB Bernie is figuratively coming out of his skin to exploit that press cover; he sees Webster Slaughter for an 80 yd TD. He can’t help it; it’s how he’s wired.
4Q/ Next play. Clemens under pressure throws duck.
[in response to a meaningless Pope factoid Donovan has painfully been trying to wedge into this play-by-play]
Bless me father for I have sinned, I have to watch Kellen Clemens in the fourth quarter.
Hey Donovan… the pope thing wasn’t worth the effort. Appreciate the research but they’re not all homeruns. But Donovan perseveres with the Pope story into the next play.
4Q/4:32 Clemens picked.
God you’re killing me now. My catholic guilt. I’m talking about how I can’t stand watching him play and he does such a nice thing like that. That’s great but he still can’t play QB.
[Clemens throws pass into a defensive tackle's hands, it deflects, is intercepted.]
You tell me where Bernie was wrong? You tell me where he was drunk or addled?
Is there any reason to bring up concussions? Tax problems (ahem, Yahoo)? Have him fired?
I don’t see how King’s tweets are not legally actionable but that’s Bernie’s call to make.
But if Bernie gets canned over this, it’s the blackest of eyes for the new Browns front office.
THREE POSTS TO CHECK REGARDING THIS TOPIC: Pokorny’s piece at DBN offers a most exhaustive review of Bernie’s Thursday analysis. (The deeper you look at Bernie’s takes, the better he looks.) Kolonich at Reboot and Titus at RR88 get closer to capturing some of the collateral problems we have this episode.
* King doesn’t actually say Bernie should be fired. Instead he resorts to sleazy code: the Browns should be “heavily criticized.” Ok Peter, message received.
** Shutdown Corner used this controversy to remind its readership of many of Bernie’s past problems none of which seem relevant to the subject at hand:
There have been tax issues, a very public divorce, financial issues and Kosar has dealt with medical issues, including some related to brain trauma he sustained during his career. However, none of those issues excuse Kosar’s comments on Friday night.
Yes Brian McIntyre, those issues neither excuse his comments and nor do they have anything to do with them.
Footnote: King has been a Clemens honk since Mangini drafted him in 2006.
I found some King/Clemens info in this search. King has has been pumping Clemens’ tires from early on. Maybe that’s his problem?
July 2006: Which of the high-drafted rookie quarterbacks will impress his coach enough to play early in the season? While first-rounders Vince Young (Titans), Matt Leinart ( Cardinals) and Jay Cutler ( Broncos) made the news on draft day, Kellen Clemens, the second-round pick of the Jets, has a better shot than any of them to play early. Of the four passers vying for the New York starting job in full-squad mini-camps during the spring ( Clemens, Pennington, fourth-year man Brooks Bollinger and fifth-year vet Patrick Ramsey), the rookie out of Oregon showed the quickest delivery and the strongest arm. New Jets coach Eric Mangini praised Clemens‘s leadership ability, and incoming offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said Clemens was one of the brightest quarterbacks he’d ever worked with. While it would be an upset if Clemens started the season opener, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him playing by October if Mangini and Schottenheimer–who are starting with a clean slate and installing a new system–think he’s the best man for their offense.
Jan. 2007: I think Eric Mangini would not have used a second-round pick on someone he was not planning to give a fair chance. Pennington is a splendid field general, but he has the weakest deep arm of any decent-or-better quarterback in the NFL. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer came back after scouting all the quarterbacks in the draft last year and raved about Clemens’ smarts, field sense and arm strength. Oh, he’ll get his chance to play sometime. You can be sure of that.
Aug. 2007: Jets backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, who’s playing like he’s going to challenge for the starting job by Halloween — and I’m serious about that.
And finally in 2009, he’s humping a trade for the un-tradeable Clemens.