Saturday, September 5, 2015

Berea bumbling

There are times in life where you just shake your head and wonder why people in high places make puzzling decisions.

Take, for example, the Browns’ decision Saturday to cut wide receiver Josh Lenz en route to trimming the final roster (loosely speaking) to 53 men. The club released 22 players and no one complained about 21 of them.

But by cutting Lenz, the Browns managed to do something that’s extremely hard to do in Cleveland. They upset a portion of their fan base if the reaction in the Twitterverse is any indication.

When Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle initially broke the news via Twitter that Lenz was history in Cleveland, that universe erupted angrily. And that’s putting it mildly. The heat was palpable.

For example:

From Mattfromthefactory: that’s the Browns we all love, always doing the opposite of what a good team would do!!!

Wow, three exclamation points!

Then there’s Rob Colon: lol clueless organization once again

Tweeted nate: Hahaha I knew they’d cut him. They are afraid that he might benefit the team and no one wants that.

There’s more from T. Graham, placing his tongue firmly in his cheek with this: I swear #Browns fans overreact to everything . . . he wasn’t going to see the field, he can only play WR!

steveohio contributed, citing Browns General Manager Ray Farmer: With Lenz cut, “play like a Brown” means nothing. Shame on Farmer (again).

Releasing Lenz and retaining the services of veteran Dwayne Bowe and rookie Vince Mayle ticked off Ed Smith, who tweeted: This organization is a nightmare. Cut productive players and keep mistakes like Bowe & Mayle. The Browns will never learn.

Added Brian Dagy: Yet they’ll keep Vince Mayle who couldn’t catch a cold. (Actually, they didn’t. Mayle was among the trims.)

Want more? OK, two more.

Mark Pinkerton contributed this: That’s why we are what we are. Sad stuff and #Pathetic

Daria Gay had some advice for Lenz, tweeting: Run, Josh, as fast as you can to get away. You are the lucky one and will land in a better place.

Apparently, Farmer and his minions do not listen to the players, either. One of Lenz’s biggest boosters was veteran Cleveland safety Donte Whitner, who tweeted the following only a day ago:

I give credit where credit is due and @Josh_Lenz deserves it!  Watched this guy come in from day 1 and flat out ball! & showed tons of heart

And: We talk about #PlayLikeABrown, right? Well, just take a look at him and he is the true definition of #PlayLikeABrown

All this for a wideout who caught seven passes in four games (tied for the team lead) for 108 yards (to lead the team), played safety for a few plays in the final exhibition game in Chicago Thursday night and did nothing to harm his chances of making the final roster.

Except, maybe, having the same skill set as Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins, veterans who made the final roster as expected. The guess here is too much of a good thing isn’t kosher in Berea.

In the meantime, motor mouth Dwayne Bowe is still around as Murphy’s Law continues to dog this franchise. He is one of seven wideouts on the roster. Why the Browns hold on to Marlon Moore is puzzling.

In five seasons with three teams, he has caught 19 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns. His contributions last season in 13 games with the Browns: Zero catches for zero yards and zero touchdowns. And for that, they cut Josh Lenz.

Lenz never got a chance to play with the 1s. He was never on the field with Josh McCown. He never really had a chance to make this team because he wasn’t given one.

All he did was make plays in training camp and in the exhibitions games when he had the opportunity. His coach spoke of him only in praiseworthy terms. And then contributed to his departure.

Lenz tweeted his thoughts Saturday morning in diplomatic fashion: Well, just done signing the release papers. Thanks to everyone for support this pre-season! It’s been real Cleveland! #DownNotOut

Unless I miss my guess, the 24-year-old Lenz will pop up somewhere else in the National Football League in the next day or two. Other teams had to have noticed his contributions and talent. If the Browns are hoping he clears waivers and they pick him back up and place him on the practice squad, they better do some heavy-duty praying.

At just a shade under six feet with good hands and the ability to get open, Lenz would be a perfect fit in New England, where Bill Belichick loves productive receivers (think Wes Welker and Julian Edelman) on the relatively small side for his Hall of Fame quarterback.

That’s not to say Lenz is another Edelman or Welker, but he sure fits the mold. He’s not that big, has decent speed, runs good routes and catches the ball. Not much else you can ask for in a receiver.

Lenz’s days of bouncing around the NFL – the Browns were his fourth team in two years – might very well be coming to an end. Too bad it won’t be in Cleveland as once again a dark cloud hovers over 76 Lou Groza Blvd. when important decisions need to be made. 

The Browns' front office unfortunately is full of contortionists who every now and then perform thought-to-be-impossible feats that involve their craniums and rear flanks. 

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