Six Points on the Cleveland Browns (Dec. 30)

Christopher MaherCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 28: Head coach Mike Holmgren of the Seattle Seahawks greets well wishers before the game with the Arizona Cardinals on December 28, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Last Sunday, before an “official” crowd of 67,000 and change, the Cleveland Browns equaled their win total of the 2008 Implosion with a victory over the Oakland Raiders, who were once called the “Hell’s Angels of Football."

In the tradition of chain wallets and biker levels of applied stupidity, the Raiders committed not to excellence, but to 126 yards in penalties and two player ejections, contributing in large part to Cleveland’s 23-9 victory.

Oh, yeah. Charlie Frye threw three interceptions. You are who we thought you were.

As the world of drama turns, Six Points has a few takes, as usual.

1. The Big Picture Show:

Newly appointed Grand Poohbah of Football Operations, Mike Holmgren, is also known as “The Big Show.”

As informed by a family member of Six Points who makes Thanksgiving less of a pleasure, there is also a professional wrestler known as “The Big Show.”

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Somehow, that’s fitting, because since the inception of Browns v 2.0, the franchise has been run with all the integrity of WWE.

Digressions aside, what would Six Points do?

If handed the reins to a company, Six Points would be far more concerned with quarterly statements and annual reports than the brand of paper towels in the washroom.

It has to be more about the structure than the minutiae.

Six Points is a Mac man. Quite simply, it’s a better computer, and one can do almost everything one can do on a PC on a Mac, and do it better.

Through his experience in business, the best salespeople Six Points has dealt with have not been high-pressure and upselling people, but relationship builders.

Now, let’s apply this to the Big Show dealing with the Big Picture.

Concerned more with results than the minutiae, Six Points would not immediately replace all the PCs in the company with Macs, but sit down with the IT guru and have he or she explain how the company is running on PCs and why.

The focus, after all, is on getting the job done, and if the PCs work for now, so be it.

Think of the PCs as the 3-4 defense when you’ve run a 4-3, but started in a 3-4, as Holmgren ran his first year in Green Bay. Not a major priority.

Now, in terms of sales, if the sales manager was running a high-pressure boiler room Six Points had observed to be self-defeating while it alienated clients, and the sales manager only knew that approach, someone’s head may have rolled yesterday.

Think of Brian Daboll versus the West Coast Offense.

While tea leaves from a teleconference are almost impossible to read, Six Points believes Eric Mangini has another year to continue with his process, but Brian Daboll and both quarterbacks are toast.

2. Culture Change

Ever see a team quit on their coach and quit on themselves?

Six Points has seen that happen on the high school level, on the college level, and in 2008, with the Browns under Romeo Crennel.

This Browns squad that headed into their recent winning streak at 1-11 has not quit.

The talent of an elite team may not be there, but the execution is.

Case in point: a punt in the third quarter of the Raiders game where Josh Cribbs ran into the end zone, swatted the ball out, and another special teams player downed it inside the Oakland one yard line.

As much of a special teams beast as Cribbs is, that play does not happen without excellent coaching.

That play does not happen without precision and discipline.

That play would not have happened under Romeo Crennel.

That play, in and of itself, is why Eric Mangini and Brad Seeley deserve another year to build on what they started.

As much as the national media has maligned Eric Mangini, the culture has changed in Berea, Ohio.

And, that change has been for the better.

3. Surfing and Coasting:

After watching the Browns game, Six Points turned to the Philadelphia vs. Denver game to see the West Coast Offense in action.

After all, most people believe the Walrus will impose the West Coast Offense on Cleveland, right?

Philadelphia runs the West Coast, and during the first half, it worked well.

Donovan McNabb was throwing lasers Brayden Tyler Quinn has neither the slightest dream nor the physical capability of completing.

But some of Quinn’s acolytes insist that their man would be great in the West Coast Offense.

If Quinn's devotees had their DVRs or TIVOs working, they should pay attention to that game. Quinn CANNOT MAKE THOSE THROWS!


Quinn might do well as a Toronto Argonaut. Holmgren might give him a reference.

4. Return on Investment:

Salary cap or no salary cap, Derek Anderson costs too much money.

For 2010, Anderson is slated to make $7 million in salary plus a $2 million roster bonus. Nine million dollars is chump change for Peyton Manning, but Anderson is no Peyton Manning.

That contract also makes Anderson virtually untradeable.

Unless the Walrus sees something Six Points does not, expect Anderson to be given his outright release this offseason.

Don’t be surprised if he becomes a Raider.

5. Figures Can’t Lie, but Liars Can Figure:

Or, as Mark Twain once said, “There are lies, there are damned lies, and then there are statistics.”

Six Points recently uncovered the formula for calculating NFL quarterback ratings, and while you have to get the numbers from somewhere, the ratings are almost misleading by design.

Not to worry, all three readers, it’s not time to make your eyes glaze over. If one must know the formula, that’s what Google is for.

But the quarterback ratings do not take into account crucial versus meaningless interceptions, nor padding stats against prevent defenses full of second-team personnel when a game is already out of reach.

A quarterback who efficiently moves his team downfield, only to let the running backs get the touchdowns, can finish with a lower rating than a stat-padder.

The formula also favors systems like the West Coast Offense that are designed for YAC (yards after catch), as it treats one 25-yard completion the same as another, even though a fade route is more difficult to throw than a screen pass.

So, in the perpetual Cleveland fan quarterback debate of “Oh yeah? Your quarterback sucks worse than mine!” forget the QB ratings.

Keep in mind that the 2009 Browns’ highest QB rating of 133.1 was posted by Brayden Tyler Quinn against Detroit. The Browns lost.

The worst QB rating was an abysmal 15.1 posted by Derek Anderson against Buffalo. The Browns won.

6. Tuning Out The Noise:

On the CBS broadcast of the Browns vs. Oakland game, announcer Randy Cross voiced the most accurate take from the broadcast booth heard maybe this entire season.

He recommended Holmgren “tune out the noise” when building a better Browns by basically ignoring the fan base and the Northeast Ohio media.

Six Points could not agree more.

From the hiring of Carmen Policy in 1999 to the drafting of Brayden Tyler Quinn in 2007, Browns v. 2.0 has concentrated at least as much on placating the fan base as putting a worthy product on the field.

Maybe more. The record speaks for itself.

Thus, tuning out the noise is the only way this franchise will move forward.

Extra Point: Good Riddance to the Aughts:

While that’s the official name for this decade that deserves its place in the dustbin, Six Points must give props to Leonard Pitts, Jr. of the Miami Herald for putting a more apropos name for the decade in print.

The Uh-ohs.

Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Saab, and Pontiac gone? Uh-oh.

Near-record unemployment with record foreclosure rates and the first decline in home values since the Great Depression? Uh-oh.

More privacy when experiencing a colorectal exam than when taking a commercial airline flight while the nuts are still trying to blow our planes out of the sky? Uh-oh.

Over four years later, a major American city still devastated by a disaster whose name, Katrina, not only evokes human suffering but stands as an indelible reminder of governmental incompetence? Uh-oh.

The first Federal budget surplus since the 1960s turned into a record-breaking deficit? Uh-oh.

A broadcast media reaching unprecedented levels of Hardcore Suck while newspapers and magazines are biting the dust? Uh-oh.

Health care reform becoming, instead, unprecedented corporate welfare? Uh-oh.

Tomorrow evening, forget the champagne. If we can still pay the water bill and fill a glass, we’re better off than far too many of our fellow Americans who deserve better.

And let’s raise that Lake Erie Highball to flushing the uh-ohs down the drain.

Happy New Year, and Happy New Decade!


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