A defensive coach from one of the Browns’ 2012 opponents told us:
- “I like the Browns roster.”
- “We thought the Browns’ offensive line was fantastic. Joe Thomas is good, obviously, but he struggles a little bit against power.”
- “Trent Richardson had some struggles, but he runs hard. When he hits you, you know you’ve been hit.”
- “Weeden played like a rookie. He’s got an arm. It was hard to tell whether he’ll make it.”
• • •
This comes to us from an old friend and longtime Browns fan who lives in Arizona now. He was a Stark County athlete a couple of decades ago.
“All right, I think I'm done with the Browns. Another head coach uses the word ‘process’ and decides he's bringing in a guy that will switch us from a 4-3 to a 3-4. I don't think these ‘geniuses’ could have made it in high school because they can't tailor their system to the personnel.
“Three years building a line for a 4-3 and we have another process AND fired a good GM. What's the word about this in Ohio? I'm slowly dying in AZ.”
Chudzinski strikes me as a smart, decent man. He wouldn't have been my first choice as head coach, but I'll give him a chance because I think he has a chance.
He lacks the fire I have seen over the years from the coaches I have liked best, whether it's at the high school, college or pro level, in assorted sports.
That'll be a problem he must solve.
Using the word "process" is a problem. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Chris Palmer used the word ALL the time in 1999 and 2000. So has everyone since.
What is the result of a process well executed? Velveeta?
Advice to the new coach: Never use the word process again in public ... even if that’s what it is.
It is the least inspirational word on turf.
• • •
• The Replacements, you may recall, was filmed in the stadium where the Baltimore Ravens play.
We were in Baltimore for a Browns game not long after some of the filming had been rapped up. A stadium employee told us Gene Hackman, who played the head coach character, was a heck of a nice guy. Keanu Reeves, we were told, was not.
Yet, the rent-a-quarterback Reeves played, down-on-his luck Ohio State alum Shane Falco, was a semi-memorable character.
It was somewhat amusing years later when a quarterback named Flacco, not Falco, emerged as the quarterback on the field where Flacco once walked. On Flacco’s bad days, of which there were enough to run the Ravens into a few windows, I thought of him as Falco.
Just for grins, we checked on a popular Internet shopping site and discovered that an authentic Falco jersey is available for $109.95. A Flacco jersey of similar quality can be had for $99.99.
The price of a Flacco jersey is going up.
Flacco is getting older, having turned 27 last month. Still, he is two years younger than Brandon Weeden.
Flacco’s passer rating as a 23-year-old rookie in 2008 was 80.3 (257-of-428 (60 percent), 2,971 yards, 14 TDs, 12 picks, 32 sacks). His team went 11-5 then won two playoff games.
Weeden’s passer rating as a 29-year-old rookie was 72.6 (297-of-517 (57.4 percent) for 3,385 yards, 14 TDs, 17 picks, 28 sacks).
There were parallels in the starts of their NFL careers.
- Flacco was under the cloud of having played at a small school, Delaware. Weeden was under the cloud of being at such an odd age for a rookie.
- Flacco was the 18th pick in the 2008 draft. Weeden the 22nd pick in 2012.
- Fired NFL head coaches Cam Cameron and Brad Childress were in their first years as offensive coordinators with Flacco and Weeden in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
• Head coaches John Harbaugh and Pat Shurmur were unproven after building credentials as fellow assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Flacco has his flaws, but at this point there is no evidence to suggest Weeden’s career is headed for the semi-very good level — or whatever you want to call it — as Flacco’s.
• • •
A coach who has worked with Michael Lombardi told us, “He’s one of the smartest football guys I’ve been around. He sees things other people don’t see ... things I don’t see. His retention of detail is something else. It might be Friday, and he’ll remember that you were clean-shaven on Tuesday but weren’t on Monday.”