Home » Browns » Browns punt 2013 » The Banner Plan.

The Banner Plan.

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The floggings will continue until morale improves.

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I wrote a post Thursday/Friday that was triggered by the Trent Richardson trade.  It was emotional, hot, angry, pleading, salty.  But yet it seems its point was not made effectively.  I’ve read several responses to it where the reaction centers on the trading Trent Richardson (and what value the Browns got for him).  That not just misses the primary point it ignores a whole section with a boldface heading that says, “Richardson trade *is* good value.  But that’s not the problem here.”  So let me try again and do better this time.

Joe Banner’s plan is a figurative keelhauling of Browns fans.  You have been harnessed and thrown over the bow of the smokey oil slick of a 18th century whaling ship that is 2013 Berea.  You will be pulled up from the stern after a long salt-water immersion-waterboarding and scoured by the thousands of barnicles on the vessel’s hull under water level.  You will emerge in 2018 proven worthy and absolved of past misdeeds.  If you aren’t dismembered or drowned by the process.

Still too allegorical?  Ok.

Joe Banner is writing off the next three/four years on a 50-50 bet that the team will be better then; on the much smaller chance that the Browns-with-Joe-Banner’s-guys will show up in the playoffs in 2018.

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OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.

You think Trent Richardson is the start?  You think Teddy “My-God-Teddy-Bridgewater” Bridgewater is the end game?

Smarten up and grow up, you foolish child Browns fan.

Trent Richardson heralds the midpoint of the first step in the process:  be just good enough to be competitive but just bad enough to lose.  Bad enough to lose every game, that is.  The Trent Richardson trade is the part where the strategy is non-verbally, formally announced to Browns fans.  “Hey Browns fans, this is Vegas.  Yeah, you’re not gonna be favored in a game until December and even that Jets game is looking iffy.  Just thought you’d want to know.”

Fans are waking up to the reality of a tanked season and that is why they are pissed.

Fans are not pissed because (the possibly/probably overrated) Trent Richardson was traded for a first round pick in 2014.  They’re pissed this transaction crystallized several vague thoughts for them:

  1. We’re really not trying?  Damn Kanick was right:  we’re REALLY not trying.  TRich may not be all he’s hyped, but he is our best offensive weapon or so we’ve been programmed for the last two years and if he’s not our weapon then who the fuck is?

    20090915-232002-pic-660470346_t607

    If you think Joe Banner holds on to Reggie Wayne after the Peyton Manning trade, you’re simply not paying attention.

  2. The Colts organization embodies all the Browns are not.  You say they got lucky with Andrew Luck.  No doubt.  But they’re supposed to be a crap team this year, just ask anyone at Grantland.  This is the team that brought “regress to mean” into the football fan’s lexicon.  In the face of the staggering analytical analyses of joyless stat nerds masquerading as football people, the Colts say:  “Eff that, we ain’t regressing, we would we?”  Colts have $3M in cap space which is also approximately their 2012 rollover amount.  The Colts just acquired the third pick in last year’s draft to go with their #1 pick.  The Colts are doing all they can to win.  And as to the trade itself, who’s to say TRich doesn’t turn into Steven Jackson playing for a playoff team… Marshawn Lynch seemed to improve after he left Buffalo.
    • Sidebar to all who believe Banner’s cap horseshit and think not competing and spending this year is sound financial planning and to do otherwise will condemn the Browns into a morass of cap hell:  Colts 2014 cap is 30th in the league, $82M
  3. And finally, they’re pissed because it’s dawning on them that this is just the start of the gutting.

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Just the start of the gutting.

It was Kolonich who got me thinking about the idea that this is just starting.

Richardson was probably only the beginning of this new reboot.  I can’t imagine Gordon, Little, Schwartz, Weeden (obvious), Lauvao, Pinkston, etc. survive into 2014 and beyond.  Not to mention Mack, Rubin, Ward and possibly even Haden.

For those who didn’t figure this out way back in January, we’re in the beginning stages of a total reset.  Just like Savage wiped out Davis and Mangini wiped out Savage and Heckert wiped out Mangini, and so on and so on.

Kolonich chess, Kanick checkers.

I mean sure, I’ve noticed that Alex Mack’s extension has been ignored in spite of heaps of cap space and I’ve noticed the smear campaign on Mack ‘needing to be more physical.’  In April, I noticed the redundancy at Ahtyba Rubin’s position and connected the dots that he signed a contract with Heckert/Holmgren which bodes ill for his Browns future.  Never mind he’s been the greatest unsung warrior an unsung franchise… Rubin’s thanks will to be traded for a 3rd/4th round pick.

That’s just two.  Go through the list like Kolonich does and you’ll see that the six holes that needed to be patched in this offseason will double next year.

  • Offseason 2013 needs:  OG, ILB, FS, TE, FB, CB.  (Addressed:  zero.)
  • Offseason 2014 losses (predicted):  RB (Richardson), C (Mack), SS (Ward), DE (Rubin), QB (Weeden), ILB (Jackson).  … Gordon? Little??  Joe Thomas???

That’s twelve to fifteen positions in need of Banner’s fabulous magic genius.

You think that gets fixed in next year’s draft?  In free agency?

josh-freeman-story

Is he the QB of the future? Isn’t he? Not sure? Need more time? Josh Freeman, developmental QB: more the rule, than exception.

No Mr. Browns fan, that won’t happen.  Here’s what happens.

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Developmental QB gotta developmental.

The 2013 punting, unwatchable as it is for us, doesn’t represent the low point.  If we Browns fans know anything, we know the conventional wisdom on the developmental timeline for rookie QBs.  God do we know.  So let’s say we wind up with Teddy OMG Bridgewater in 2014.  He is granted a three year bogey until you can start deciding whether he’s the guy.  Sanchez/Jets anyone?  Freeman/Bucs ring a bell?

Joe Banner has got 2018 circled on his calendar.

Who knows who will be the defensive coordinator or whether the new guy will need his own system with his own personnel set.  Who knows what offense the new HC will run in 2016 after Banner fires Chud for going 6-26* this year and next?

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Circle of life for Browns fans.

Don’t worry though Mr. Browns fan.  While you’re waiting Banner will fix the uniforms and of course the cellphone service will be better though that will have the unintended consequence of hundreds of vines and instagrams of empty seats in the stadium at which point Jason Lloyd and Tom Withers will spring into action and the sport of Cleveland fan-shaming begins anew as surely as your crocus bulbs will bloom in March.

Oh and by the way…

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Derek Carr, top QB of the 2014 draft.  And available in the second round, maybe third.

You KNOW how this plays out my friends.  After punting needlessly the season of 2013 so that Joe Banner can bring in his guys and get his QB… this will happen:

  • Marcus Mariota, returns to school;
  • Jags win coin flip and take Bridgewater;
  • Browns lose coin flip and take Boyd.
  • Bengals take a flyer on Derek Carr late in the second round.

Bridgewater is turns out to be Terry Bradshaw to Tajh Boyd’s Mike Phipps.  Mariota will be Elway in this imperfect metaphor.  And in the third round comes the 2014 Joe Montana in the person of Derek Carr, who will lead CIncy to multiple Super Bowls.

And the great Browns tanking of 2013 on the promise of good things in 2018 will be discovered to be just more magic beans.

And I’ll be 57.

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* Holmgren was right in his comments.  Chud is going to be left holding the bag for the mess that are these two years.  6-26 head coaches neither keep their current job nor get hired to new HC jobs.


66 Comments

  1. Joe Banner says:

    Anyone watchtower he game today.?

    • jimkanicki says:

      lol.. hey man.. i’ve got my plate ready and prepared to dive into the buffet of shit and promise to eat mine when it’s time. but for today’s win, just not sure where good browns defense stops and where horrible andy dalton starts.

  2. Alex says:

    Hey Kanick,

    You seem to be implying that Banner has no interest in making this team contend, ever. I get that everything points to that, in the short term. But are you also saying you don’t think he’s honestly trying to build this team in what he sees as the “right way?” I obviously get you disagree with everything he’s doing, but want to know you’re answer to that specifc question. Thanks

    • clevelandfrowns says:

      This is a great question, especially under the circumstances. It’s really interesting that a guy who takes his opinions about what’s good for the Browns as seriously as our host does here can’t bother to even try to answer it.

      • Joe Banner says:

        Cut Kanicki some slack, we all have real life issues to deal with and occasionally watch an Indians game or something.

        This was a good win, good for the town, the team and the front office. Sure, it’s not beating the Patriots, but dumbass Tony actually took the time in his blog to answer the question of what would happen if the Browns and Jacksonville both finished 0-15-1.

        The patient may not have recovered, but there was a pulse where we were expecting to see a cold, dead wrist.

        I can’t say that my rushing to my iPad and finger point was the most mature thing, either.

        We may not agree about the Banbardzinski plan, I personally think that the reasons they didn’t sign these free agents is that they weren’t appreciably better than the dross we has swirling around the bottom of our depth chart (Oneil cousins was meant to be the 4th tackle, not a starter), and why piss away a couple of million dollars signing the Brett Myers do safeties? 31 other teams passed on all those guys still out there.

        I want to see the Browns win every game. I want hoyer to be great just like I wanted every other name above him on that jersey to be great. I’ll keep hoping, whether my hopeless are founded or not.

  3. mgbode says:

    Hmmm…..this post has made me think what is really needed is a list of who we care about the Browns keeping long-term (this season + 2 more — NFL version of long).

    Don’t have time today, but I’ll try to remember to concoct a list tomorrow and put it here. This comment is my reminder.

    • mgbode says:

      Ok, let’s give this a try.

      Players that would be unforgiveable to trade:
      Joe Thomas

      Players that would have me upset to trade:
      Joe Haden
      TJ Ward & Alex Mack (this includes letting leave in FA)
      Josh Gordon
      Jordan Cameron
      Phil Taylor
      Desmond Bryant
      Mingo
      Sheard
      McFadden

      Players that would have me upset, but I’d understand:
      *Richardson* (just showing where he was before the trade)
      DQ
      Rubin
      Kruger
      Schwartz
      Bess

      Players that I wouldn’t mind trading as long as we got good value:
      Winn
      Hughes
      Greco
      Robertson
      Skrine
      Gipson
      Ogbonnaya

      Players that I’d be happy to get value back in draft picks:
      Weeden/Campbell/Hoyer
      Benjamin
      Little
      Lauvao/Pinkston
      Owens

      Everybody else
      noone is trading for the rest

  4. […] Joe Banner has got 2018 circled on his calendar. Who knows who will be the defensive coordinator or whether the new guy will need his own system with his own personnel set. Who knows what offense the new HC will run in 2016 after Banner fires Chud for going 6-26* this year and next?” [Kanicki] […]

  5. Zarathustra says:

    As I have stated before I greatly appreciate your sharp analysis and have every reason to believe you are pretty darn good bloke, but a lot of this fallacious reasoning. I understand that you are fearful of the direction of a franchise that you have devoted your life to, but your emotion is clouding your judgment. The Browns made decisions in the offseason and this past week which you feel are counterproductive to fielding a competitive team. You disagree and explain why. Fair enough. This leads to: “they are tanking.” This is possible I suppose. I think the team is improved from last year and in all honesty as a pretty fierce Holmgren/Heckert critic I don’t believe they deliberately tanked last season. I very much understand that your criticism is that they failed to adequately harness their given resources to improve the team enough, but there are other possible(maybe wrong) reasons that they chose not to do so other than tanking. It is hardly an unprecedented move for a first year front office/coaching staff to want to see what they have in the first year. This does not necessarily mean they would like to see the team deliberately lose. In fact, I don’t think it too unreasonable to assume that they would like to see a competitive team as that would mean less holes that need filled and hopefully the beginning of a culture change. In my opinion, your anger is clouding your ability to even entertain other possibilities and forcing you to view things in only a binary manner—either they expend all of their cap space or they are tanking. And if they are tanking they don’t care about winning until 2018. There is absolutely zero basis for this claim, but it feeds your anger and that feels quite good at this point. Now that reason has pledged total fealty to emotion let’s get infuriated about moves they have not even made, but you just know they will because the binary thinking dictates that they must. Those rotten fucking bastards. And what you just know is these assholes secret plan to get a quarterback isn’t even going to work and a division rival is going to make out in the end. Just because….
    But, just for a minute, let’s entertain the possibility that they are not tanking. As I stated above, maybe they are putting some pieces in place in some areas and waiting and seeing in others. Maybe this was because of their evaluation of the free agent market. Maybe it was because there were certain players already on the roster they wanted to take a look at before closing the door on them. And yes, likely wait until next year before spending any more cap space. Maybe they think it possible that this team will be competitive and a positive culture will develop in the locker room and those extra draft picks will provide a turbo burst to a playoff run in 2014. I’ve stated this several times before, but I will here again here: It would be unprecedented for a successful first year front office/coaching staff to spend cap space the way you proposed. You cannot provide one example otherwise. Yet, still the binary. Still tanking. 2018. Grrrr.
    Your anger is justified as a long suffering Browns fan so you don’t need to entertain any other possible explanations and anybody who does is a damned fool.
    The Browns won today. And I would wager anything you didn’t enjoy it. That’s fine. It’s only one game and probably meaningless come January. But how many more are you willing sit out? What if there are more than you expect this year? Or next year? A Sunday spent enjoying a Browns win is a helluva lot better than a Sunday spent worrying about who drafted whom and gritting your teeth at the celebrating mouth-breathers and their ignorance.

    • jpftribe says:

      Really like this post, jealous I was not capable of writing it myself.

      In corporate politics, we would call it assume good intent.

      It does come on the back of a rare Browns win, and an even more unobtainium like 31 point effort. But you are correct, it was a thoroughly watchable and even enjoyable game.

      But I too am running out of patience. Not quite as old as our host, but close enough to become tired of the cycle.

    • Joe Banner says:

      What is about our hubris, our sense of pride, that one would rather be proven right than have a mutually beneficial result? Wouldn’t we rather see signs of life, and competent leadership in Berea, than being able to point a finger as the orange Titanic swirls around a toilet drain for the remaining 13 games? Jk has been saying that Trent was wildly over drafted, and his performance in SF proved him right there. Good job. But we turn to these blogs for an objectivity that the lame stream media lacks. Please entertain the possibility that I might see franchise success while anyone still cares.

      • NeedsFoodBadly says:

        Why are you pretending to be Joe Banner? It’s creepy.

        And if you really were Joe Banner, I’d hope you’d understand that one road game at SF after one day of practice has little bearing on proving whether or not Richardson will find success with the Colts.

    • clevelandfrowns says:

      To Zara’s point, here’s what Banner said in April after the draft:

      (On if the plan all along was to improve the defense in free agency and the draft)- “Yeah, to a degree. We were trying to focus on making sure we got players that we thought made us better. I think the difference is on offense we think we have a lot of young guys who are not quite sure what they are going to be over time. So we were inclined to give them some time and see how they develop and then we’ll be able to identify where we’re at. On defense, we felt it was clear to identify what talent was out there, what talent we had, match it up with the philosophy we’ve been talking about and make some moves that will make the team better. It was a little bit of both.”

      Makes sense to me.

      • jimkanicki says:

        “We were trying to focus on making sure we got players that we thought made us better.”

        “Oh shit,” says dwightclarkbutchdavisphilsavageericmanginitomheckert, “if only we’d remembered to focus on ‘making sure to get players we thought made us better,’ everything would have worked out differently!”

        Seriously Frowns? You buying that jive?

        Lookit, I get that we don’t have a choice other than to bag your fandom. 50 years investment is not easily cast aside.

        • bupalos says:

          I don’t think that’s the part he’s emphasizing. It’s that they felt they had a better handle on the D and could complete that side of the ball more effectively, whereas they were openly saying the offense was too much of an unknown quantity to confidently build out. Translation: “We THINK Weeden and Richardson are total worthless busts and that Dranky-boy may run himself out of the league, but we should see if it’s maybe just Shurmur-smell on them before we go breaking eggs to make the omlette.”

          • clevelandfrowns says:

            Exactly.

            Make a surface evaluation of what you know and what you don’t about the assets you’ve inherited. Act on what’s easy to know on the surface (like for instance that you have little to no useful talent in the front seven, and that you almost certainly don’t have a legitimate starting quarterback), then give your coaching staff a reasonable amount of time to assess the rest, until the unknown becomes more known (like that you definitely definitely don’t have a legitimate starting quarterback, and that your predecessors probably overpaid for last year’s first round running back). Then act on what’s newly knowable the best way you can, like when a team like the Colts potentially overreacts to a perceived need at running back, and wants to give you something (like a first round draft pick … those are good to have!) for a running back that you’d be glad to get.

            I don’t see how anyone could have a legitimate problem with this so early into the new regime’s tenure.

            • jimkanicki says:

              there is no way any surface evaluation doesn’t include, ‘damn, i’m not sure about the guards.’ ‘yikes, we’re rolling the dice with skrine and gipson as starters and dang we’re like a full inch shorter in the secondary than all the other teams.’ on the other hand, the same surface evaluation looked at rubin, taylor, sheard, winn, hughes, kitchen and said those guys need help.

              like, wtf?

              can’t hate the idea of ‘surface eval’ then act but there is no way, no way a competent surface eval leads to the conclusions on where to spend resources.

              haslam imo (more than banner) wanted a cool blitzy defense with lots of sacks cos that’s what the steelers had. and banner went out and got him that. i actually hope that that’s what happened because if banner actually looked at the roster and decided ‘must upgrade d-front’ he’s more stupid than he is arrogant. i’d rather our ceo be arrogant, i guess.

              • bupalos says:

                Jim I think the the heart of disagreement here is just you being sure that finding weaknesses and patching them is the only way to proceed. “Where do we suck– let’s try to stop sucking there.” There’s another way to go about it, which they’ve been very open about, which is “create a decisive win in one area, and let that serve as cover for other areas.” You really should acknowledge that BOTH of these approaches are valid. You kind of have to, generally so because the league is replete with examples, and particularly so because the very things you are harping on– switching to a 3-4 creative blitz defense and overstocking the rush– are the very things that have the Browns’ d at the tippy top of the league right now.

                The other disconnect is the idea that they should have confidently stocked up an offense that had too many unknowns. When you have suspicions that a system and coaching may have been holding guys back, you have to go in and find out what’s really in the cupboard before going to the grocery.

    • jimkanicki says:

      I simply disagree with the regime’s tack and am at a loss as to why they should received goodwill or benefit of the doubt from me. Their actions –actions– speak to unprecedented arrogance coupled with incompetence. From being unable to get along with Chip Kelly, to passing on cornerback in favor of pass rushers, to trading away picks… they and you want me to trust them.

      I don’t.

      The team they inherited was on year three of a three year re-build, was looking at a Shurmur-effect bump of two/three wins, had a good draft position thanks having had Shurmur (a la the Chiefs/injuries/first-pick), and the most cap space entering into the first year of a new CBA where a remarkable number of teams forced sellers due to their cap hell. He inherited a superb young corps of a front four complete with three solid rotation players (Winn, Hughes, Kitchen) behind them. Second year players typically improve over the rookie season so Gordon, Schwartz, Weeden should show improvement.

      And all that gets tossed out the window because Banner wants HIS GUYS and HIS SYSTEM.

      Tossed out the window to meek reporting and baffled, tepid applause from fans. Because -shit- what are fans supposed to do, what to Browns fans excel at? No fanbase has more experience in denial and the application of lipstick to suidae than ours.

      Taking your angle, should you be upset that Mack and Gordon and Rubin are still on the team? Joe Thomas.. I mean the picks!! And Zara, couldn’t we take our two firsts in 2014 and swap them for three of four firsts in 2016 and 2017?? Ain’t that the smart value play? You know since patience is a childish character trait of mine and not to be worked around. I mean when you just extend your timetable to infinity it is liberating. Trade the whole damn team and we’ll all hope for the best in 2020, why not, it’s GOOD VALUE.

      PS, the idea that using cap on one year players is shortsighted/evil is a Banner thing that you’re buying but not me. eg, sign say Kerry Rhodes for one year as a bridge until you draft a free safety next year. Very do-able especially with the 2012 rollover cap monies that are set to expire. Not in any way handcuffing or at odds with the sacred long-term plan. whatever that is.

      • zarathustra says:

        I’m very open the possibility that chip kelly was turned off by banner. I also think that maybe he thought shady mccoy was better than trent richardsonand that brandon weeden ccouldn’t run his offense. And maybe he just didn’t share your evaluation of the browns roster.
        The browns spent money on defense this offseason, but they didn’t spend it to your exact liking. Through the first three games the defense looks noticably better, but that cannot be aknowledged because it doesn’t fit your narrative. If you weren’t so worked up into anger you might see that their could be some grey here.
        Trading away picks is an unforgivable offense…unless it is heckert passing out picks like they are party favors at the owners meeting.
        The team they inherited had not won more five games in several years. They lost five games by ten or more. Three of the wins came against bottom 13 teams–two against bottom five. Another was against a charlie batch-led steelers team. Maybe they were wrong to believe that wasn’t the foundation of a 2013 playoff team, but is that unreasonable for them to maybe have had some doubts?
        You chide banner from wanting his guys–which he surely does–but ignore that pretty much every player you liked last year is still on the team.
        From there you again feed the anger by getting infuriated about moves that they haven’t made. And anyone who isn’t outraged by these imaginary moves is a hopeless knave waiting patiently until 2020.
        Re: kerry rhodes. Do you know that his own teammate spit on him in a game last year because it was perceived he quit and was sulking?
        You again state that your plan for the cap space would not debilitate the long term prospects of the team. I will reply yet again by asking for examples of successful front offices/coaching staffs that have implemented anything close to it in year one.
        Cheer up. The browns won. And just maybe they will win more than you expect.

      • jpftribe says:

        I have always thought your observations are extremely insightful, well thought out and researched. Also think they have usually been objective to going against the grain, which is really what I enjoy most about the blog. But I think you are losing some objectivity here with the vitriol against Banardi.

        You’re well documented in this space on things they haven’t addressed and I agree more often than not. It is really criminal to have that cap space and do nothing at guard. Their plan to fill the cb space with Owens and McFadden is a bust, although it cost them little, and FA contract and a 3rd. Safety has been a bust as well with Slaughter.

        I really liked Warmack or Cooper with our 1st, and would not have complained if they traded down. Their draft essentially turned into one player, Mingo. That is not good, and would be consistent with Lombardi’s track record.

        Lets look at the things they did address:
        QB – there was nothing they could do to get THE GUY, unless you want to put Manuel or Geno in that bucket, and I wouldn’t. Signing Campbell as a No 2 was a solid move. Probably one of the better choices for a No 2. They waited for Hoyer to come to them. Lombardi is on record as not liking Weeden and stating Hoyer is a starting QB in the NFL. Yesterday, we got the answer on Weeden. Hoyer throws for 3 TD’s, something Weeden has never done, and three INTs, something Weeden has proved capable of on multiple occasions. Game winning drive in Q4? Pah leeze. So far Lombardi is spot on, again consistent with his rep, spotting league players well. Now they at least have the option of loading up for a high pick. Maybe Derek Carr is there in the third, or maybe he becomes the next RGIII and jumps to the top three this year. I’d rather have the option to get that pick and McGhee running up the middle for two yards than not have the option and TRich running up the middle for three.

        RB – they signed Lewis and nursed TRich. Lewisnand Hardisty went down. They cut Jackson after giving him much preseason playing time, he is still unsigned I believe. They kept Oby, when they could’ve easily cut him loose. Finally they trade TRich for a 1st and sign McGhee. See above. I think only some guard are going to solve this issue. Until they can run block and pull, it doesn’t matter who is back there.

        Bryant and Kruger – excellent signings, even better with Rubin, Winn and Sheard banged up, in week 3.

        Mingo- too early to call, but looks like a no 6 rookie who missed preseason time and doesn’t yet know the scheme.

        Cameron – under this staff and scheme, this guy is a stud in just three games.

        Gordon – it wouldn’t surprise me that Banner wants him out. The odds of him staying clean and out of trouble are close to zero if you look at it by the numbers. This guy has Randy Moss written all over him, which is a better problem than TO or Ochocinco, but a big problem none the less.

        Little – they moved him to second string. I didn’t see any dancing or first down taunting yesterday, even when he had his weekly first down catch.

        So they had a high risk draft with a few busts. Consistent with their record.
        They made some great signing for big money and some bad ones for little. Consistent with their record.
        They all but ignored some glaring issues , I would again contend consistent with their record (how many years was McNabb throwing to James Thrash).

        They have their answer on Weeden, and Lombardi was right. I’m sure they are going to get their answer on Hoyer now.

        They have their answer on TRich. You can agree or disagree, but they have certainly answered it.

        They are handling the existing roster pretty well. No one has left for bigger success, cept maybe Dawson.

        I think if you are going to play the H&H card than you have to play out year 4 of their three year plan, and that ain’t pretty.

  6. BilliardsBum says:

    This blog has been on a steady decline in my opinion. Your takes have devolved into the realm of petulance and are loosely based in reality. The players Banner and company have acquired in the offseason (Mingo, Bess, Kruger, Bryant, Groves, Hoyer) have all made significant impacts so far this year. Defensively, the much maligned run defense has been shored up and overall is ranked among the best in the league. Conveniently, none of this surfaces in your review of the team. Offensively, the team has been struggling, but missing the top two Guards, and best offensive player- Gordon not Richardson (who has been ordinary just as Jim Brown called)- were big setbacks in the first two games. Not surprisingly, these obstacles get no mention either. Instead, sensationalist quotes and suppositions about a complete gutting including most of the talent on this team are on offer. It casts you into the realm of yellow journalism, and screams laziness. I am not saying that this team does not leave something to be desired, but things are not nearly as bad as you are coloring them to be. Please give your future posts more thought and level headed analysis as I used to enjoy this blog.

    • jimkanicki says:

      you say the offense has struggled because they’re missing they’re two guards. i say (and said in april) that the browns are thin at guard, that it is a hole, that it should be addressed in free agency (optimal) or draft. you give banner a pass on this as though — “OMG we’re thin at guard” — was a shocker and the guard situation isn’t his fault. IT IS SPECIFICALLY HIS FAULT.

      you don’t care i guess that he’s scrimping on players to save a billionaire ten million dollars. me? i don’t appreciate that. call me petulant if you like, but i’m reporting facts. if you don’t like facts and if you prefer more browns PR, cle-dot-com and MKC are always options.

      i don’t do this for a living, i have no agenda, i don’t need player access, i’m not selling advertising, i don’t care who i piss off. i suggest that that model is more pure and leads to more bias-free reporting than any you’ll find from the chainstore blogs or radio stations or newspaper-cum-web outlets.

      thanks for stopping by i appreciate it, but quite frankly, i thought my post today was one of my best. if you didn’t like it; if you think a soft win changes anything i wrote or have written; then we simply disagree.

      as i mentioned in the post: i’m 52 now. the banner timetable would be make 58 before a playoff game. the end is approaching and i am done with patience. DONE. that’s over twenty years with one playoff game. if you’re not pissed off about that, then perhaps it’s you who need to ramp up on your petulance.

      • acto says:

        There you have it jk! It really is all your fault.
        This word should mean something to you “Rosebud”.

      • Jim Novak says:

        I think you should just become a fan of a new team, Jim. Or actually, maybe you should just give up on football all together. Your rants about Banner being some demonic force remind me of something I’d hear on FOX News or the Drudge Report. Fear-mongering. You stir up these insane theories that this front office is here to only dismantle the Browns into a laughing stock. News flash: we already are. There is no place to go but up, and your thin football analysis mixed with over-the-top whining won’t do anything to move this team forward.

        Hindsight is always 20/20. It’s shocking that you have all of these prophecies about being thin at guard, 2 guys go down, and suddenly you’re the best FO exec without a gig. Stick to your day job, which I hope is something other than writing this blog.

        For others who agree with me, we need to stay positive because really there is no other choice. If you choose to hate Haslem, Banner, Chud, or anyone else affiliated with our organization; quit. Quit being a fan, quit watching the NFL, and quit offering analysis that is little more than fear for fears sake. There is enough wrong with the city I love and I’ve endured enough heartache when it comes to being a fan of its sports teams. I have no room for this negativity.

        • jimkanicki says:

          This is the best, most Browns fan-boy comment perhaps ever.

          • Jim Novak says:

            I think I’d just rather not have anything in common with you Jim, other than our name, which is unfortunate that we even share this. You say Browns “fan-boy” like I’m some sort of spiky-haired tween who loves a glamorous team. That’s not the case at all. I’m simply giving this time to play out because I don’t have any choice. I’ve made a decision to follow this team and not whine my face off about it. I say like it or leave it because if you hate it enough, get out. Do something else with your Sundays or root for the Bengals.

            • jimkanicki says:

              no, fan-boy is in reference that if i’m not supportive of the regime and say so, that i am not ‘as good as fan’ or unworthy or whatever. i don’t see myself dropping the browns, but i can’t recall feeling as screwed by them. but not to worry jim, lots of ohioans have taken your advice and dropped the browns.

              • maxfnmloans says:

                it makes me sick to my stomach that my brother in law (grew up in Twinsburg) is a Steelers fan, and even worse, so too now are my nieces, with my nephew sure to follow suit.

        • bupalos says:

          I have to take exception with the “love it or leave it” aspect of this post. I’ll be the first to agree that Jim is carrying the fire a little far, especially for someone (like me) who sat fairly quietly through most of the Holmgren fraud. But there’s nothing wrong with showing a little angst and skepticism staring down the barrel of another disappointing season in the standings despite softness in the division. He’s 100% correct that the Browns deliberately did not put their best potential team on the field in 2013, and he definitely did call out shallowness on the line long before the injuries brought it to such glaring light. Some of the dressing on top of that (like the retrospective plan to have EJ Manual on the roster, or acting like Banner is “lying” when he pretty well said exactly what they were doing from the start) is a little fishy. But none of it is quite Foxy or Drudgey in it’s level of opportunistic unreality or carping hindsight.

          It’s a basic “win now” versus “win later” argument, even if he’s blowing that way out of proportion with the 2018 thing. My problem is simply that the “win now” side of the ledger comes with the not inconsiderable addition “with Weeden,” which salts it for me. And frankly, I’m happy enough with the Richardson trade as something that has close to 0 impact on us this year but provides the potential ammo to finally blow away the true sticking point for this franchise, the QB position, that I can’t even listen to the ridiculous assumptions of fire-sale trades of Haden and Thomas for 2018 picks. But more power to the loyal opposition, I have no problem with fire being applied to the feet here. “Love it or leave it” is just never helpful.

    • What’s laughable is that exactly NONE of these responses would have been posted had Brian Hoyer not pulled out that last drive. In the span of three days, most Browns’ fans have gone from:

      -I’m super bummed about how bad the Browns are.
      -I can’t believe they traded T-Rich.
      -We’re tanking the season.
      -Hooray Draft Picks!!
      -Hoyer’s Taking us to the Super Bowl (First Half of Vikes game)
      -Put in Jason Campbell (Second Half)
      -Hooray Hoyer! It’s 2007 again!!

      This is strikingly similar to how most Browns’ fans became loyal Shurmur supporters after the three-game win streak last season. It’s amazing what a win over a bad team will do for morale.

      Now, let’s see if that morale sustains itself for the next 3-4 years of this new mess.

      While I don’t 100% agree with Kanicki (Alex Mack = a bit overrated), he’s doing something that very few Browns’ fans can do – which is actually hold a real opinion that is not swayed by the garbage PR the media and front office pumps out in Cleveland (Remember how they conned you into season tickets and sold you T-Rich jerseys a month ago?)

      It seems like everyone else’s convictions sway dependent on the result of the last game.

      Doesn’t this get old? It’s been 15 expansion years now.

      Anyway…..Over/Under on how many days before Josh Gordon is traded? I’m in for Wednesday.

      • NeedsFoodBadly says:

        I’m more on your side of the fence than not, but saying that people who disagree with you have fake opinions is a bit excessive, no?

      • bupalos says:

        >>>What’s laughable is that exactly NONE of these responses would have been posted had Brian Hoyer not pulled out that last drive.>>>

        That’s amazing, since the longest and most central line of the dissent was posted before the game. But yeah, after watching Richardson’s absence have 0 effect on the worthless running game, I think it does get increasingly hard to keep track of exactly what is supposed to be the evidence for the FO screwing things up. I mean, is the specific charge really just this: not loading up on 1 year cap to try and win with Weeden in 2013, and then muddling on from there? Seriously, I just don’t get it. Does it get old? Sure. Are you just emoting?

        Also I have to say these sacks and this run defense does not get old. It’s a player or two from high-caliber playoff level. This starts to look like the kind of defense that could carry a competent rookie QB to the postseason.

        • supermadelf says:

          What’s laughable is the fact that these Terrible Twins have been expressing their opines in this vein for the last several months and all of it, All Of It, is playing out like the poorly written play they purported it to be. And, Dead On with that whole ” NONE of these responses would have been posted had Brian Hoyer not pulled out that last drive”. Other than the same ol’ Homers digging for Truffles in Horseshit.

      • Petefranklin says:

        Hooray! our defense looks good! What, they gave up the lead in three straight second halves??? Who would’ve thought? Hooray! our defense still looks great! How bout that Kruger, he’s my new hero!

  7. Joe Banner says:

    Hi, I’m Joe Banner, this is my buddy, Mike Lombardi. We get paid a crapload of money to do this. Why? Were better at it than you. At least I don’t have a blog bitching about the way you do your job. What was the line about shirt burger from Major League?

    • jimkanicki says:

      dear joe,

      understood you are paid to do this and well done on securing this gig when everyone hates you in philly. but the fact of your longevity and paycheck does not mean you’re especially good at what you do nor better at it than me or any other fan. given a ten year window for results, i could do exact same things. in fact, joe, you REALLY should parlay that colts pick in to two more picks in 2015 and 2016 because my god, talk about value!!

      congrats on beating chris ponder with two fake punt/FGs.. you’re right on pace for the sixth 4 or 5 win season in a row.

      love, kanick.

  8. bupalos says:

    It’s Dog Pound Jim!

    • jimkanicki says:

      what do you think bup: four wins or five this year?!! whoo-hoo!!

      • bupalos says:

        I feel like 6 is possible. I admit if we had gone ahead and capped out and gone with your plan to have a weaker run defense and pass rush and stronger corner and guard play, we might have had an outside shot at 7 or 8. Then of course we would have had to strip down from that for the 14 cap, but we would have had that glory year.

        You get very few “I told you so” points from me. You’re railing at the idea of patience, but its not because patience isn’t wise here, its just because you’re out of it. Patience. That’s why dog-pound Jim is apropos.

        I take little from this win other than the fact that this young team has opportunities to learn and grow and has the potential to be very entertaining doing it because they’ve actually built a strength. The offensive cupboard is close to bare, but the defense is right now perhaps two players and a year of games from being the best browns defense you or I have ever seen — and may already be the best front 7.

        I have absolutely no idea where your “5 year” thing comes from, nor your idea that trading Richardson–who is simply and plainly a bust and a bad idea at 3 or 23– signifies anything more than sharp analysis from our FO.

        You’re right that Rubin will be probably be gone. But that’s because as improbable as this seemed, we now have a better player at that position under a better contract. And yeah, we’re probably not dropping 8M on a center to stand next to our 10M tackle, and we may well trade a guy that may well be a drank fiend. None of these things are evidence of the kind of blind egotistical arrogance or fraud you are alleging.

        • jimkanicki says:

          Nope, nope, nope.
          I’m railing at the falsity that the only way to build a great team is to suck; after all, we are proof that being shitty is not panacea. There are countless examples of sub .500 teams making the playoffs and the proportion only increases for teams in ‘year 3 of a rebuild.’ That’s where we were. And Banner decided to say fuck the rebuild it wasn’t mine, I MUST DO MY OWN REBUILD. So we’re treated to cap hoarding and layaway draft picks.

          But I’m perhaps more set off that it’s being done for my/our benefit. You bet I’m cynical when I’m being sold another five year plan know the life expectancy of an NFL front office is probably three or four years.

          Not sure who the better line player is than Ahtyba Rubin. You can’t mean Back Spasms Bryant can you? And Phil Taylor.. well, opinionated non-Bannermen should rent in Cleveland, not buy.

          • bupalos says:

            Yeah from what I’ve been watching, Phil Taylor is turning into a beastly beast. He’s a big part of the reason the Browns are currently the top run defense in the NFL.

            Read that last sentence again please before offering up the defensive swap to 3-4 as some kind of evidence that we’re not planning on competing until 2029.

            I’m not sure where you get this assumption that anyone non-banner is gone. On what basis? Getting rid of Richardson and Weeden? How is it possible to separate this from the fact that Richardson and Weeden are both win-vampires? I’d love to see some scrap of evidence here, because to my eyes they are just making good solid football moves.

            • Petefranklin says:

              So where is the offense going to come from if Cameron gets hurt? Im shortsighted in that way though. I wanted them to sign a tight end. How dare me think that way when it is so obvious that we have the best defense in the planet after revamping the front seven

  9. NeedsFoodBadly says:

    I’ve come around to this viewpoint, and the rumors today that Little and Gordon are on the trading block really cement it.

    But what are we, as fans, to do? We can’t affect any of this. I myself haven’t bought any Browns gear in years, and I don’t live in Cleveland so I don’t attend any home games. I’m not going to stop rooting for them to be good, as much as I realize Browns football as a fandom is essentially a sunk emotional cost. I love the Browns more than I love football, so while it’s fun to watch teams that actually play the game well, it’s nowhere near as compelling nor do I make it appointment viewing.

    So what is there to do? Usually I spend too much money on food and alcohol at bars during the season, watching the Browns lose. I’m not doing that today, obviously, and I plan on maybe watching one, at most two, more games this season. I mean, since the brains behind this team have given up this season, why should I waste my time and money? I’ll read the recaps and follow the progress, but that’s probably it.

    But beyond that, what is there? It’s just depressing, man.

    • bupalos says:

      Gordon is obviously not someone you just want to pull the plug on, but I am definitely not counting on him being able to stay in the league. The drank thing is no joke. I’d take a high second I think, but I don’t want that happening in the middle of the year. Little I like, and don’t want to part with for less than a second, which I’m sure you can’t get. So I don’t love the talk much either.

      But this whole “giving up the season” thing is just bunk. I really don’t think people have any understanding of how unpromising weeden is. Watch replay and all-22. He makes consistently poor decisions. You can’t win with him. And Richardson is simply not a plus player right now. This just isn’t logically consistent to act like the removal of these guys is “tanking.”

      • acto says:

        I said it last year and I am still all in favor of moving Little to RB and making Oogie Boogie an RB.
        Ogbonnaya has terrific hands and he know how to get open, Little is a better RB. Why is this so hard to notice?

      • NeedsFoodBadly says:

        I get what you’re saying, and seeing as how Hoyer looks to be an improvement over Weeden, perhaps you are right.

        But:

        Is a McGahee/Rainey backfield a plus or a minus, compared to Richardson?

        If they do give up Little and Gordon before the off-season,would you still argue that they aren’t giving up?

        And do you view them as putting the best product possible on the field this season or do you think that they’re treading water in favor of a push next year?

        • bupalos says:

          >>>Is a McGahee/Rainey backfield a plus or a minus, compared to Richardson?>>> You forgot Obie. And the answer, according to the numbers so far, is that it is a plus. In reality I think it’s a perfect wash. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.

          >>>If they do give up Little and Gordon before the off-season,would you still argue that they aren’t giving up?>>>

          With Gordon, unless something significant came back this year, I think that would be highly questionable. I see no reason to bag Gordon now, nor do I think any team would be that interested in trying to parachute him into their lineup in week 4. Possibly SF. But in the offseason I’d be thinking about seeing what I could get, and wouldn’t say no to any first rounder in this stacked draft.

          Little is beside the point because I doubt he has that much value in the league right now. I really like him though, it’s hard to find guys out wide that are willing to mix it up like he does.

          >>>And do you view them as putting the best product possible on the field this season or do you think that they’re treading water in favor of a push next year?>>>

          There is no way to argue this is the one-year best product they could have put on the field. But there are only 5 or 6 teams that did do that, because your best one-year product comes at a price, and you want to get something well beyond 8-8 for that price. None of those teams were sub .500 last year. I do think this was the best product they could put out there within the context of a development plan for a very young team with some known unknowns. Kanick’s “just swing harder” plan to me is about as far from the no-brainer he makes it sound like as it could be. Good players in the NFL do not sign 1 year contracts. The FIRST thing they are looking for is a time commitment, and on offense that is the LAST thing a team that has yet to fill the preeminent offensive positions can afford for anything other than those positions. And there were no suitable QB’s or WR’s available.

  10. tmoore94 says:

    I think the only spot where you are off is with Chudzinski. Banner hired him and he can’t fire him at least for four years or else that would reflect poorly on Banner and Lombardi’s decision making. Don’t see them willing to admit they made a mistake (if it turns out Chud is a mistake) any time soon. They’re going to give him a long time before anything happens.

    The rest is pretty much right on. Plenty of current holes to fill and it’s looking like the team will spend the rest of the year creating more holes, if you believe that they are willing to move Greg Little and Josh Gordon. I get that it is easy to say “we are 4-12 with you, we can be 4-12 without you” but eventually you do need to have players in uniform that can take the field.

    Banner told/warned us in the off-season that you can’t fix every hole in one year. Looks like he is now working overtime to prove himself right by creating even more holes that will “take time” to fill.

  11. acto says:

    Please rejoice jk, this will be a Banner year for Browns fans.

    • jimkanicki says:

      the floggings will continue until morale improves.

      • supermadelf says:

        Get that whip a’crackin’, Kanicki! Still can’t believe how many mouth-breathing monkeys there are, STILL trying to convince the world (and/or themselves) that what is happening (started with the non-draft) now is a “good” thing, an “aggressive” thing, so “decisive”, etc, etc, etc, so on and such. And I’m just loving the “whiners” moniker they seem to cling to whenever anyone with a modicum of self awareness points out what a flawed bit of logic they are clinging to, like rats to the flotsam of a sinking ship. A ship that set sail to Fairyland with a cargo hold full of Horseshit.

        • bupalos says:

          I’ll cop to flawed logic as soon as you watch Weeden in the all-22 and tell me how your super-secret plan to blow every inch of cap and win this year with him was supposed to work. Watch him in the Ravens game last year, watch him stare at a wide open Gordon for 2 full seconds and then short-arm it to a dropping linebacker.

          Brian Hoyer just played a thoroughly mediocre-minus game of football and like quadrupled any production weeden ever showed. Sorry, but that Holmgren hail-mary of Weeden-Richardson-Gordon fell on it’s face and needed to be fixed. Maybe the Gordon part can be salvaged with the proper interventions, but otherwise, yeah, it needed to be fixed and fixed now.

          Likewise bagging on the team for building an actual strength instead of patching holes is nothing more than preference.

          • supermadelf says:

            Blah, Blah, Blah. Banner/Lombardi in May. Soooooo load up on draft picks whole my long straw drinks your misery milk shake alllllllllllllllllll up.

          • acto says:

            The wonders of the all 22, close-ups are for kids who do not understand football.
            I need the all 22 for Cheddar and for posterity, may I camp at your house until February?

            • bupalos says:

              Be delighted to help you find your way to the all-22 acto, especially if it will keep you away from my house as I have recently learned how dangerous big Slavs can be. I don’t believe the nfl has the right to say it has shown you a football game when that’s locked down. Doesn’t come available until Wednesdays. Do you have a Mac?

        • acto says:

          supermad, I take offense to that comment, those of you who have met me can attest to this, I am not a “mouth breathing monkey”.
          I am a great big ugly ape. So there….

          • supermadelf says:

            Noted, sir. Apologies to any and all I may have offended with my indelicate characterizations. Please accept this delicious banana and sanitary bib as a peace offering from this hairless monkey with a machine.

          • clevelandfrowns says:

            “those of you who have met me can attest to this, I am not a “mouth breathing monkey”.
            I am a great big ugly ape.”

            CONFIRMED.

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