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Bernie nailed it.

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On further review, Kosar’s commentary last Thursday was the best you’ll hear this year.

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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.

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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.

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PK’s twitter version of “have you stopped beating your wife?”
And no, he wasn’t drinking, we can tell by now.

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.

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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?

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The Clemens stuff. (more…)