Here we thought the bye week would be a nice relaxing time to get away from Browns football. Instead all hell broke loose.
First, Browns owner Randy Lerner told Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer that his “highest priority … is a strong, credible, serious leader within the building to guide decisions in a far more conspicuous, open transparent way.” Twenty-four hours later the Browns were denying reports originating from Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk website that general manager George Kokinis was escorted out of the building by security.
By 7 p.m. Monday night, WKYC’s “Point After” television show, co-hosted by WKYC sports anchor Jim Donovan, Plain Dealer Browns beat writer Tony Grossi, WTAM analyst Doug Dieken, and former Browns coach Sam Rutigliano were announcing that Kokinis had indeed been fired. A few hours later, News-Herald and Morning Journal Browns beat reporter Jeff Schudel reported that former Browns GM Ernie Accorsi was coming back to hold that position. Soon after ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter denied that to be true.
Tuesday morning Grossi reported in The Plain Dealer that Accorsi denied that he would become the Browns’ general manager. Schudel changed his stance later Tuesday. By noon, Tony Rizzo and Aaron Goldhammer reported on WKNR’s Really Big Show that Accorsi wouldn’t comment on anything. Then Browns coach Eric Mangini held a press conference in which he was as forthcoming as a captured spy.
Meanwhile, Lerner was meeting with two really mad season-ticket holders instead of talking to all Browns fans via a press conference. Then the Browns fixed the team by cutting kicker Billy Cundiff and announcing that linebacker Eric Barton’s season was most likely finished due to injury.
And you thought the games were the most agonizing part of this Browns season.
Never fear, though. Not all is doom-and-gloom, woe-is-me on Cleveland’s sports scene. Who says God Hates Cleveland Sports is the go-to place to read about the dark cloud in front of the silver lining in this town? After spending hours pouring through the statistics and watching game film, GHCS is here to provide you with several nuggets that will spray some sunshine on these cloudy days. Consider:
- Heading into the bye week, the Browns lead the league in games played with eight.
- The Browns are fourth in the league in third-down attempts at 109. The teams ahead of the Browns? The Minnesota Vikings, the New York Jets, and the New York Giants — playoff contenders all!
- The Browns have one of the least tired offenses in the league as they are third from the bottom in time of possession.
- The Browns league-low 9.8 points per game is still more than any other team can score on any one play. Even the Saints. In fact, it would take the league’s top-scoring team, the New Orleans Saints, at least TWO plays to score more than 9.8 points.
- The Browns might lead the league in lost fumbles with 10, but two teams have actually fumbled the ball more times than the Browns have.
- The Browns may be allowing the fifth-most points per game in the league, but they are making their opponents work the hardest to score them. No team has allowed more total yards than the Browns. This despite all of them playing on the same size field as the Browns.
- Quarterbacks have compiled a passer rating of 90.6 against the Browns. This means the average quarterback performs most like Carson Palmer against the Browns, and not Peyton Manning.
- The Browns have recovered four of the five fumbles by opposing runners, the highest percentage in the league.
- Not scoring points has its benefits. Only Tampa Bay has allowed fewer kickoff return yards than the
- The Browns are second only to the Buffalo Bills in tackles made.
- The Browns are in good company on fourth-down attempts. They are tied with Green Bay and defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh for fewest fourth-down conversion attempts. Only the playoff-contending Dallas Cowboys have tried to make it less on fourth down than have the Browns.
- The Browns have two rushing touchdowns. That’s more than the Chiefs and Rams COMBINED!
- And don’t forget, the Browns are tied for the league lead in fewest deaths per game.
So no need to despair, Cleveland fans. There’s plenty of bright spots here for any new general manager to build on, no matter if it’s Bernie Kosar, Ernie Accorsi, the ghost of Dante Lavelli, David Modell, or Eric Mangini’s Magic 8-ball. If the Browns (and their fans) focus on the positives, everything’s going to be OK.