Despite the Browns’ wretched performance in the exhibition season, there’s one compelling reason to long for the start of the regular season: I won’t have to watch another atrocious pre-season telecast from Channel 3.
At some point during my formative years, a local commentator suggested that WKYC was an acronym for “We Know You’re Comatose“. Saturday’s broadcast provided three object lessons in why the Browns couldn’t possibly do worse for a broadcast partner:
1. The absence of Kellen Clemens. Sam Bradford started the game. When he got injured, Shaun Hill went in and finished the first quarter (since they still had the ball, he played 1:55 of the second quarter). Austin Davis.played the remainder of the second quarter, the third and (again, finishing a drive) 2:13 of the fourth quarter. Sixth-round pick Garrett Gilbert finished the game.
Notice who didn’t play: Kellen Clemens. The reason he didn’t play is that St. Louis cut him. The reason St. Louis cut him is that he had to fill in for Sam Bradford a year ago and stunk out the joint.
Here’s what the St. Louis Post Dispatch had to say after Bradford’s injury:
[T]he offseason release of last year’s No. 2 QB Kellen Clemens, the acquisition of the 13-year veteran Hill and the surprising, rapid maturity of No. 3 passer Austin Davis have put this franchise in a decidedly better position to withstand Bradford’s absence than when he went down midway through last season.
Hill is simply and indisputably a better alternative to Clemens. The Rams won’t have to turn the offense back to the stone age to compete because unlike his predecessor, Hill can indeed throw the deep ball with some proven level of efficiency (he has a 61.9 percent career completion percentage). He is not a “game manager.” He is not a guy whose greatest offensive asset is his ability to hand the football off and not make mind-numbing mistakes.
Without Bradford, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will not be automatically forced to scale back the offense and abandon the vertical game that Bradford was clearly and impressively implementing this preseason. Hill does not have all of Bradford’s special quarterbacking gifts, but that doesn’t mean he will forget about the deep passes to Brian Quick and Kenny Britt that have suddenly become a valuable tool of this offense.
If you go back and look at what Bernie had to say about Clemens, his assessment was quite astute. You cant play quarterback the way Kellen Clemens does if you want to win games.
And We Know You’re Comatose fired him for saying that.
I was never as enamored of Bernard as many people. I certainly wouldn’t exalt his work the way Chris Pokorny of Dawgs By Nature did here. But I’ll tell you this– Pokorny’s hagiography was a lot closer to being accurate than Peter Queen’s hissy fit was.
Jeff Fisher’s standing to express concern for players’ welfare is best illustrated by his choice of defensive coordinators. It’s OK to hire Gregg Williams– a thug who paid players to injure opponents– but not OK for a broadcaster to criticize them.
2,. The presence of Solomon Wilcots. I’ve now run the tape of the game three times, and the guy is to color commentary what Clemens is to quarterbacking. The Browns got drilled 33-14, giving up 472 yards– an average of 6.4 per play– and to listen to Wilcots, you’d think you were watching the Monsters of the Midway.
With the score 26-14, he spent half a minute talking about the depth of talent on each unit. His only concession to reality was that the team would have to learn how to get off the field on third downs– as if it were some sort of abstract ability not connected to quality of play.
But that goes nicely with his comment about the offense, which has been repeated incessantly over the years: “They need to be able to avoid the third and long.”
What they need, Solomon, is called “skill”– the commodity of which you have a dearth. It’s why you began your NFL broadcasting career as the #5 team in 2001, managed to advance to #4 in 2009 and got demoted back to #5 in 2011.
And I realize that beating a life-threatening illness makes you appreciate the everyday things in life, but there is no way that Jim Donovan should get that excited over Johnny Flipbird’s 7-yard run.
3. The use of virtual signage. I raged about the practice of selling ads that get superimposed on the field before. Peter Queen can’t see any reason to object to it, but the NFL Network sure can. They told the teams not to do it if they wanted their games rebroadcast on the air. The ban wasn’t honored, so the games (to date) have been pulled.
I’m sure the NFL Network’s objection isn’t based on principle. More likely it’s the objection to giving Discount Drug Mart and Value City Furniture national airtime without compensation. But anything that gets the low-rent ads off the TV for any reason is to be applauded.