If you have ever read anything I’ve written, either here or anywhere else, you are probably aware that I say dumb things. I try to justify them and I try to make them seem not dumb enough for you to think “Yeah, okay, I get what he’s trying to say.”
With that preface, I think I’m annoyed that the Cleveland Browns beat the Green Bay Packers so handily last Thursday.
The initial Twitter reaction to the game (which is obviously where I get all of my news) seemed to be that of elation. The day after featured more of a lukewarm vibe, and I feel compelled to say that that’s where I sit at this point. I tried not to get wrapped up in the reactions of others for one main reason: I hate the preseason.
I don’t mean that I hate the preseason in the same way I hate watching the Browns struggle. I mean I hate it in the way of it being a non-indicator, a non-factor, and a non-issue as far as the stuff that fans actually care about. I don’t need to see Brandon Weeden hit nice slants or throw screen passes to linebackers, because they don’t matter until the regular season. Furthermore, he’s the starter. I just want him to get his work in and be prepared come September.
If you think this past game and its score had any basis in reality, please remember that the Browns offense in the first half was what I referred to as “year 14 of the Phil Dawson show.” Additionally, Aaron Rodgers played roughly 18 minutes.
I know people are injured, teams are feeling things out, and nothing is really quite what it seems at this point. But that’s exactly it – things aren’t quite what they seem at this point. The Browns are playing mediocre on offense with flashes of goodness on both sides of the ball, but they’re without a lot of starters.
What have we seen from those starters (save Phil Taylor and Chris Gocong, basically) that makes us think the team will be significantly better once they come back? Are we sure fans want the starters back from that team of last season? We’re simply crossing our fingers and hoping that Trent Richardson is healthy by the regular season opener because, you know, all future superstar running backs have their knee operated on four weeks before their NFL debut.
Yes, I’m a curmudgeon. Yes, I’m going on 90 years old. But yes, I watch every game intently in the regular season. Preseason? Not so much. Honestly, the only reason I’m watching preseason games is so I have something to write about. They don’t matter. The top 35-40 players on the roster are already in place. The remaining position battles are interesting, but if I wanted to watch high-level college football (which is essentially what players 50-90 on the depth chart are representing), I would simply watch that and enjoy it. But when it’s parading around as if it’s NFL football, I’m not as interested.
It doesn’t matter. My opinion probably doesn’t matter because the NFL makes its money either way.
But I can’t be happy about more field goals. I can’t pretend. You’re reading me getting angry in front of your eyes. Phil Dawson is a stud, but I don’t want him to be the only person on the entire team who scores points. I don’t want a team that can get to the 25-yard line reliably. Even if it doesn’t make sense, I’d rather have three touchdowns a game than seven field goals. It shouldn’t matter, but that’s just more interesting.
At least be a threat to put the ball in the end zone. I know, there was at least one. The quick pass to Greg Little in a wide-open zone to get down to the goal line putting the Browns in position for the easy score. But that was it. Possession after possession started on the Packers side of the field and they almost all ended in field goals.
Hopefully I’m overreacting – that happens a lot. Hopefully this was not an aberration. Hopefully Trent Richardson runs people over in a few weeks and stays healthy forever and ever and ever. And above all, I hope I can accept what I see without dissecting it angrily, even if it was a good thing.
But that’s not likely.