THE NORTHERN BITES

I will start with a simple, but staggering, measurable. Interim Head Coach GREGG WILLIAMS has won twice as many games, in three weeks, than HUE JACKSON did in two-plus years. Those metrics make Gregg Williams Pepsi and Hue Jackson Cragmont Cola. What is Cragmont Cola? It starts off with the same sound, tastes okay immediately, but by the end, you wish you had never even heard its name, let alone ingested it ……….

When watching JOE SCHOBERT, the Browns’ heart and soul linebacker, one can draw comparisons with former Browns safety JIM LEONHARD. If you took either player to the neighborhood ‘football chop shop’ and offered to sell their parts, one by one, you MIGHT go home with a few bucks. But, the sum of both players’ parts defies quantification. When the whistle blows, they just ball out. It’s also probably not a coincidence that when either player was out of the lineup (Leonhard retired in 2014), the team hit Defcon funk level almost immediately………

That brings to light another story that means a lot to Browns fans. CLAY MATTHEWS has been shortlisted for the Hall of Fame selection process. Arguably the greatest linebacker in Browns history, Matthews has been fighting against the team’s lack of Super Bowl success and his own lack of Pro Bowl accolades. The statistics are there. It will be close……….

One more linebacker blurb: JAMIE COLLINS is all world. He comes from a system where people do their own job and let their peers do theirs. Has he blurred the line in the effort area? Sure. But, it’s a production business and certain players just won’t run around to cover up mistakes. Do I wish he would? Sure. Was the discussion about him not playing well a complete joke? Totally. The guy is arguably the best football player on the team. So what if he isn’t Rudy? Rudy sucked as a player. Collins is a beast……..

BAKER MAYFIELD received resounding support from within the Browns fan base and media – regarding his comments and obvious hard feelings toward former coach HUE JACKSON. The national media appeared somewhat split. I remain torn in my assessment of the situation. As the first Browns fan to call for Jackson’s head, I could certainly feel vindicated to have this situation linger. However, I’m also a believer that when you win, there is no reason to open up wounds or fire anyone up. My experience is that it is rare that these types of things work out in favor of the one who is publicly criticizing another. We shall see……..

ANTONIO CALLAWAY  is a feel-good story. It would sure be nice to see him sustain his level of progress and professionalism. He’s a super likable young man – from the couch, at least……..As JOEL BITONIO continues to gain more and more accolades and recognition, one would be remiss to fail to acknowledge him as a great RAY FARMER pick. As was DUKE JOHNSON and CHRISTIAN KIRKSEY. Having said that, it’s important that Johnson continues to improve in the areas of mental toughness and play-by-play competing level. As for Kirksey – it can be argued that the Browns have been better without him this year. Regardless of warts on both players, their value and return on draft capital investment have been great and Farmer deserves credit………

Finally, my thoughts on BAKER MAYFIELD. Did I want a QB at number one? Never. I personally felt that the Browns had enough cache to come out of the draft with two elite position players and a solid QB (possibly Mayfield) without taking one in the first four picks. However, I was certain that if it needed to happen then Baker was my guy. I don’t regret that position or the pick. All along I felt he was the most pro ready and had the ability to jump out to a relatively fast start. I was, and remain, concerned about his ability to beat top teams and coordinators when both his many strengths and his weaknesses are revealed. Thus far, my opinion remains unchanged. I’m still not prepared to commit to calling him a franchise level QB prospect. His highs have been spectacular. His lows have been really low. The pattern appears to be that he can dissect low-level defenses (Atlanta, Kansas City and Cincinnati) but his game changes significantly against top teams. I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt that Baker’s issues under Hue Jackson were heavily infected by the toxicity of the environment. And, I’m hopeful that he is who the majority of the fanbase and media already believes he is. But, I need 15-20 more games before I settle on him as a long-term answer. Some will cuss me. Others may agree. But, no one can convince me that I’m off base in needing to see more…….

Finally Part Two: For those who argue that NEW ENGLAND was lurking in the weeds to draft Mayfield, I call BS. If BILL BELICHICK was genuine about procuring the QB, the meeting between Baker and JOSH McDANIELS would have had ‘If this leaks somebody’s mom and everyone’s puppy dies’ status. Belichick and/or Baker’s camp was toying with the universe on that one………

Finally Part Three: if the Browns knock the HOUSTON TEXANS out this weekend, the word ‘interim’ needs to be nuked from the vocabulary of all who follow, love, play for, work for and own the team……..Come Git Sum!

By Guest Writer: Cam From Canada

Image: Fox

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