By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And Smarter Than The Av-er-age Bear
OK, let’s dispense with the rest of the discussion about the Browns loss in Seattle and focus on the only thing anyone believes matters: How did Johnny play?
Discussing Manziel is an entertaining activity. Last Sunday evening I was in a Twitter conversation where I defended Johnny’s play, noted the multiple drops by folks posing as Wide Receivers, and was accused of being a Manziel Fanboy. Then on Monday I was in another Twitter conversation where I stated my long-held belief that the Browns need to take a Quarterback with their #1 pick in April, and was accused of being a Manziel Hater. Just for the record: It’s theoretically possible (and legally permissible) to believe that Johnny Manziel is showing much improvement, AND that he may not be the answer. There’s also no law stating that the Browns can’t take Goff/Lynch in the draft AND keep Manziel. (No really, I went to the UCLA Law Library and checked.)(OK, I went to the UCLA Law Library and asked a guy who looked kind of lawyer-ish.)(OK, it was a Buffalo Wild Wings, the guy was my waiter, and we discussed boobs. Shut up.)
The point is, as much as I’ve been in Johnny’s corner since long before the draft, I firmly believe that the opportunity to take a Top-Of-The-Draft Quarterback comes around so rarely, you simply cannot pass it up. I was impressed with JFF in the pocket last week (where, by the way, the beleaguered offensive line gave him far more time than I had anticipated they would), his decision making, and the zip he put on the ball into some small windows. I thought he played far better than the final numbers indicated, and took another step forward in his development. All of that being stipulated, the question remains: Can he be “The Guy?” I don’t know, none of us do at this point, but having another QB on the roster who might also be “The Guy” cannot be a bad thing. At the very least, Johnny has played well enough that my preseason prediction of Jerry Jones going full-Jerry and trading a #1 pick for Manziel is back within the realm of possibility. (BTW, for the hard core Manzealots out there, if by some miracle Dallas offers the #5 pick, you take it in a heartbeat, and I will fight you with raid squirrels on sticks in the town square at high noon if you disagree.)(What? It’s a thing.)
So Kansas City…
I know, I know; the Chiefs are among the best rushing teams in the league, and the Browns couldn’t stop the run if the fate of the planet hinged on it. I know, I know; The Chiefs defense is top 10, and the Browns offense couldn’t score on Prom Night at a public high school. I know, I know; the Chiefs are surging, have everything to play for, and have been one of he hottest teams in the league for two months, and the Browns are … the Browns. So why am I going to pick this game a lot closer than most other people and just barely chicken out from picking a win for the Browns & Orange? Well, because …. I don’t know. Just a gut feeling, combined with the fact that Chiefs have a Browns-esque habit of playing down to lesser competition. The Browns will keep this game close, but will fall in the waning minutes. However, it will not be another OIC moment – as I’ve told you, OIC finally left and followed the original Browns franchise to Baltimore following the Kick Six. Mark my words: OIC IS OVER. No, the Browns won’t lose because of OIC, they will lose because they stink. Isn’t that much better? Things are looking up, Cleveland!
What will happen in Arrowhead?
-Johnny will play decent once again, and will have a long TD throw on a vintage College-Manziel play, one of those reverse pivots away from pressure where the defender looks like Wile E Coyote before he falls off of a cliff.. Final numbers: 325 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT.
-Isiah Crowell will score a rushing touchdown. Crowell is a guy who I thought would progress father than he has this year, but if he has a couple more decent games to round out the season, could find himself back on the roster next year in a more defined rotation with Duke Johnson.
-Terrelle Pryor will catch a pass, and the Buckeye Fanboy contingent of BrownsTwitter will be absolutely unbearable for the entire offseason.
-I will be on a plane, flying back to LA from Ohio during the game. Consequently, my in-game chicken wing consumption will drop to embarrassingly low levels. The TSA gets really cranky when you try to carry a bag of 150 wings through security. (Although that little room they have in the back of the airport is actually quite nice. Cold during the strip search, but nice.)
-Gipson will have an INT, reminding everyone that though he’s had a tough, tough contract year, the Browns would be stupid to let him get away in free agency.
-Gary Barnidge will finish with double digit catches, including another TD. He and Gip have had polar opposite contract years.
-Alex Smith will play like Alex Smith, causing portions of BrownsTwitter to start the “Think of how many win the Browns wold have if they just had Alex Smith level QB play.” This will show once again that they don’t understand football, as QB has been problem #27 on the list of Browns woes this year.
-Dansby will once again finish with 10 or more tackles.
-At least two healthy inactives that will cause major head scratching, and give the “Fire Pettine And Shoot Pettine And Cut Out Pettine’s Heart And Let’s Beat Up Pettine’s Neighbors” crowd more ammunition. Even though I think he’s coming back next year, some of the inactive decisions this year have indeed been odd, and seem to follow no pattern.
-I will love an avi bet to @TheFakeNed, and will curse his name more frequently than usual all week. Isn’t betting agains the Browns too easy? Vegas should make it illegal or something.
Browns lose 30-24.