Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Berea insanity level reaches critical mass

Is there any question now that the Browns have every intention of tanking the 2013 season?

After dealing Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts Wednesday for a first-round draft pick next year, how could anyone reach any other conclusion?

This is crazy. It is an absurdity. It makes absolutely no sense at all. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, something like this comes along to destroy the notion that Murphy’s Law had finally departed Berea.

This baffling move now makes it official. The building at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. in Berea has been converted into an insane asylum. And the inmates, currently being fitted for straitjackets, are running the show.

Call them Joe, Mike and Ray, otherwise known as Banner, Lombardi and Farmer, the Three Unwise Men. You might as well add Rob to that list, although there probably wasn’t much Chudzinski could do to stop this incredibly stupefying move.

And now Rob is left with just two (maybe three) running backs, Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey, for ostensibly the rest of the season. One is marginal at best and the other is a virtual rookie. They’re going to take a hellacious beating running behind a less-than-mediocre offensive line.

It is now being reported the Browns will bring in Willis McGahee and sign him if he passes his physical. That’s the same Willis McGahee, a 10-year veteran with knees that resemble shredded wheat on the inside.

Three below-average running backs on a roster of 53 men. Insanity.

Of all the players who might have been considered trade bait on the roster, Richardson had to be near the bottom of the list. No way would the Browns trade him. Too much was invested in him. He was going to be the face of the franchise. He’s still learning how to play the game on the professional level. That’s what it makes it so stunning.

This incredibly bold move is clearly a blatant signal that the front office has every intention of drafting a quarterback next year. The earlier in the draft, the better chance of getting their man. That means bottom feeding once again.

Apparently, the resident of the Ivory Tower have seen enough from the position thus far to reach that decision. A bountiful class of quarterbacks is headed to the National Football League next year and the Browns hunger for one.

We don’t know all the details yet of how the stunning deal went down, but one can only imagine the astonished look on Colts owner Jim Irsay’s face when the trade was proposed.

He had to have an “are you kidding me?” look on his countenance. Imagine being offered the No. 3 pick in the 2012 draft for only a pick that most likely will be in the 20-25 range next year. He probably couldn’t say yes fast enough after being assured this was real. More like surreal.

The Colts are headed to the playoffs. All they needed was a stud running back and now they have one, gift-wrapped courtesy of the Lunacy Squad in Berea. And all Irsay had to surrender was one measly pick. Mortgaging your future for the likes of one of the best running backs to come out of college in the last half decade is a no-brainer.

You watch. It might take some time because running backs don’t fit in quickly with a different scheme, but Richardson will become an elite NFL running back now that he’s been set free by the Browns.

The shock of this deal most likely will linger for a while because of the timing. But it won’t match the shock of releasing Bernie Kosar a generation ago. That's in a class by itself. Richardson was a newcomer to the Cleveland sports scene. Kosar was an icon.

The cries of “Trent, we hardly knew ye” will soon die down. At the same time, one has to wonder just what kind of an effect this will have on the rest of the team. The trade of the club’s best offensive threat has to be demoralizing.

It’ll be curious to see if the Browns, at least on offense, just go through the motions in the remaining 14 games. Richardson’s departure significantly weakens a unit that isn’t strong to begin with.

Wonder what the new over/under for Browns victories is now. One? Two? That might be too optimistic. Zero?

That offense has been AWOL for the first two games and now that Brandon Weeden is down for who knows how long, this could be the worst attack (clearly an oxymoron in this case) in the NFL.

The next 14 games will present a stern test for Chudzinski in his rookie season as a head coach. He undoubtedly didn’t expect to be headed into the third game of the season minus his starting quarterback and saying goodbye to his top running back.

When all the chaos dies down, look for Banner to come out and ask for your trust. He’ll claim this is for the long-range betterment of the team and convince the dwindling number of sycophants that he’s right.

However, there comes a time when you push the fans – and Browns fans are among the most loyal in the NFL despite the awful football they’ve had to put up with since 1999 – just so far. Banner, relatively new to Cleveland, may have pushed a little too far this time.

He’ll be able to handle it, though. Surviving all those years in Philadelphia has broadened his shoulders. He’s going to receive a lot of flak for this move and probably lose some season ticketholders along the way.

And that’s when Jimmy Haslam The Third enters the picture. The billionaire owner, who has enough troubles off the field, hired Banner and trusts him. We think implicitly, but he has to at least wonder just what the hell is going on with his team.

“This was more about the moment presented itself,” explained Banner at a hastily called news conference Wednesday evening. He also revealed that initial talks took place Tuesday. “It wasn’t something where we could say, ‘Wait three weeks. . . . We had to make that decision now,” he said.

“ . . . as we look forward, this was good value and gave us the opportunity to accomplish what we want to accomplish going forward.” That’s two forwards and two accomplishes in the same sentence. “The value we were getting back . . . made this a thing we wanted to do.”

 What a bullroar artist.


  1. My wife just bought me the SundayTicket for my birthday on the 25th so we could enjoy watching our "team" at home (we live in Florida). What am I supposed to tell her? This was a big deal for her. I hate this team.

  2. But, then again, ripping people off is what a Haslam Organization is allllll about.

    1. Never thought of it in that way. But yes, there seems to be somewhat of a correlation.

  3. I'm not a marriage counselor, Elf. The only advice I can give is to go through the motions of appreciating what she did. Other than that, you're on your own.

    That's one reason I divorced myself from this team emotionally a long time ago. The stress level has never been better during football season. There are no highs and lows. It's even keel all the way.

    1. Was most of the way there with the apathy, but could've lived without the wedgie.

  4. If as Joe Banner said "Trent is a great player", then why trade him. Wasn't he supposed to be the "Bell Cow", the 300 carry running back, at least he was called that by Norvinski. BTW, watching the presser, it seemed to me that Chud did not seem happy at all and didn't say much. When asked who would run the ball, he did not look confident at all in saying Obie and Rainey. Of course this is a move pointed directly at packaging picks to move up to get a QB, but they were still going to wind up with a top ten pick anyway which will bring a top level QB that they could have paired up with T-Rich.....I'm calling BS on this one Rich.

  5. Of course, it's BS. It's becoming quite apparent they are going to do things Joe Banner's way in Berea and everyone else be damned. Fans were forewarned about him before his arrival and now we know why. It isn't going to get any better.

    The man has a grand plan and there is nothing the fans can do to change that. It'll be very interesting to see just how much of a fallout will take place in the next year or two. If there are no tangible results from Banner, this is going to get extremely ugly.