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Monday, April 19, 2004

The upcoming NFL season 

As a man whose main political, philosophical and religious tenet is "Every day that isn't NFL season is a day I'm waiting for NFL season," it's important to keep track of the off-season developments of our favorite teams (if we don't, I believe the terrorists will have won). That said, a friend emails me the following from ESPN.com:
Cleveland coach Butch Davis is insistent that he seeks out all viewpoints on personnel decisions, but people who have been in the Browns draft room indicate that in two of the past two lotteries, the voice that he heeded most was the one whispering inside his own cranium. The choice of Notre Dame center Jeff Faine in the first round last year, they say, was especially surprising, given some internal concerns about past injuries. But whatever really transpired in the past is incidental now that Davis has annexed considerable control of the franchise. Team president Carmen Policy is gone, off to grow grapes and make wine in Napa, and wait for 49ers ownership to decide if it wants to sell the franchise. The team's director of business operations, Kofi Bonner, is also exiting. Personnel "consultant" Ron Wolf, angered by Davis' flippant remarks at the recent NFL meetings, followed Policy out the door. In the past two offseasons, Davis jettisoned his defensive coordinator first, then his offensive coordinator. There is a new quarterback. And there is, in essence, a new owner, with Randy Lerner having supplanted his late father. Despite a 22-27 record in three seasons, including a 6-10 mark in 2003, Davis got a phat, two-year contract extension. But in becoming the fulcrum of the organization, Davis also becomes the focus for the Browns, the man most responsible now for every move that is made. On paper, Cleveland is a bad situation, a modest roster and cap-limited team, one that didn't gain much wiggle room even by restructuring the deals of several veteran players. As pointed out last Sunday by ESPN.com, the reworking of defensive end Courtney Brown's deal saved the team less than $1 million on the cap. The bottom line: Davis might face an even more daunting challenge now with the Browns than when he took over a University of Miami program ravaged by scandal in 1995. This is a franchise in transition, some would suggest in a mess, and it is on Davis to get things righted.
This is right except where it is wrong--it doesn't really mention how Butch Davis sucks, which he does. I was going to write a long and brilliant piece comparing Davis to Czar Nicholas right around 1914, but then realized that that wouldn't be brilliant, it'd be stupid. So I spare you the pain of reading that. One also could compare him to Stalin in the 1930s, consolidated power and killing getting rid of his rivals, but that also would be stupid.

I guess the Browns could end up 10-6 next year and in the playoffs, but I think another 6-10 year is more likely.
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