-- Blah… just… blah. What an uninspired, lame mess of a "game" that was. The bored crowd of the sparsely populated Cleveland Browns Stadium couldn't have been inspired to do more than stir listlessly as the action played out and a message thanking them for being ripped off displayed on the end zone screen. It wasn't much better for those of us watching on TV, as we slumbered through a painful affair of interest only to the hardest of hard-core fans. And not even of much interest to them. The reaction to the game on my Twitter feed (follow me at @BarryMcBride for incessant chatter during each game) was, well, muted, as Cleveland's knowledgable fans anticipated the farce they were about to see.
-- The markets have spoken. According to Stubhub, tickets for the Browns and Bears game were available for $2.80. Basically, this says that most people would trade their ticket for this game even-up for a Big Mac. When is the NFL going to make us at least feel a little better by reducing the cost of pre-season game tickets? Even compensating for that with a rise in regular season games would make us feel a little less like chumps. This was a waste of a game unless you were a member of the Adonis Thomas fan club.
-- The big buzz this week on talk radio was Pat Shurmur's decision to sit Brandon Weeden and start Colt McCoy in the final practice game. While many other teams played their starting QBs, they did so only briefly, allowing them to get between five and ten passes off against second-team competition. Weeden has already thrown 49 times in pre-season, putting him in the top third of the league. Giving Weeden some more reps won't make the Browns a 3-13 team rather than a 2-14 team. The "controversy" was the very definition of "Much Ado about Nothing".
-- The Colt McCoy we saw on August 30, 2012 sure looked an awful lot like the Colt McCoy of 2011. If nothing else, any vestige of a quarterback controversy has now died a painful death. And no, Gil Brandt, after seeing Colt McCoy, I still remember Joe Montana.
-- As someone who remembers Ross Verba getting injured playing just a series in a useless game some years back, and really hurting the offensive line as a result, I don't blame Shurmur one bit for sitting Weeden as well as most of his other starters. I blame the NFL for pretending that this scrimmage was worth the ticket price or the hours of television time,
-- Last night, we got to watch backup QB Jason Campbell stand on the sidelines for the Bears, who elected to play soon-to-be-cut QB Josh McCown throughout. Campbell was taken by the Washington Redskins immediately after Aaron Rodgers back in 2005, and was coveted by then-Browns GM Phil Savage as well, forcing the Redskins to trade up to get him. The Browns were left on the outside looking in as the Redskins grabbed their QB (again), and settled for Charlie Frye. With Frye serving as a high school offensive coordinator these days, and Campbell having long since departed the Redskins, we can effectively suggest that the winner of that particular Redskins-Browns tilt was the Green Bay Packers. Much like I suspect the winner of the Redskins-Browns quest for RG3 will be the Rams.
-- Oh, lawd almighty, the Cleveland Indians are horrible. It's going to be tough for the Browns to be worse, but injuries, youth, and the schedule give them a fighting chance. My official prediction for 2012 is "a long freaking year". I've suffered through too many player disappointments to be wildly excited about Brandon Weeden, Josh Gordon, and Mitchell Schwartz.
We've seen too many failed draft picks at the positions to assume the best. The Browns season is now mostly a case of hoping that Trent Richardson lives up to the hype and stays injury-free.
-- It's going to be tough to cut WR Rod Windsor, who has only shown well as a receiver and was aggressive last night on special teams. I'm still not sure how he makes the club, but he's made Shurmur’s decision more difficult.
-- Evan Moore, who looked like a burgeoning star not so long ago, didn't help himself as much as he needed to last night. The drafting of Jordan Cameron was likely the death knell for this ex-wide receiver who struggles with blocking assignments.
-- Was there a Bubba Ventrone sighting last night at safety? Take a picture to show your grand kids. I suspect Ventrone still has a decent shot at xmaking the team based on special teams play.
-- I hope you appreciate the return of the Dorkbook. If not, well, then just consider this a practice version, but feel free to pay me as if it were real.