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Because Your Phil Dawson Jersey is Depressing: An Argument for Manziel to Cleveland

May 3, 2014

Amnesia-inducing binge drinking notwithstanding, there isn’t a more highly anticipated post-season event for Cleveland Browns fans than the NFL draft.

It just so happens there isn’t a more disappointing one, either.

No matter what the front office du jour is for the Browns, the draft rollercoaster hits all the familiar beats: Picks are made, fans try to convince themselves that the newly drafted players will drag the Browns out of the “worst team in all of sports” conversation, then the season starts, the Browns implode, fans start having an inner dialogue wondering what they did in a previous life to deserve being born beholden to such a thankless team. And then everyone looks towards the upcoming draft once again.

While the team occasionally hits pay dirt with a Joe Thomas or a Joe Haden in the draft, the game’s most important position is always left unfulfilled, and thus, the win/loss column remains depressingly static year after year.

If the Browns can’t find their franchise quarterback with the newly appointed Ray Farmer at GM and a league-most 10 picks (including picks No. 4, No. 26 and No. 35) in one of the deepest drafts in recent years, they might as well give up trying and convert Cleveland Browns Stadium into a parking garage.

Brian Hoyer looked solid in his two games at quarterback last year before tearing his ACL, but putting the entire weight of the organization on an unproven quarterback’s surgically repaired knee isn’t a viable team strategy. The organization needs to look towards the future.

That’s why the Browns need Johnny Manziel.

The city isn’t just looking for new life at quarterback, it’s searching for a franchise resurrection.

The Browns were outdrawn by most second-tier LPGA events last season, and one can’t help but feel the sales pitch, “Can I interest you in another 4-12 season?” probably isn’t helping drive ticket sales this offseason, either.

Acquiring the draft’s biggest draw would instantly give the Browns an identity, a recognizable face who would bring in fans, and someone who, you know, might actually make the game not excruciating to watch.

On the field, the fact that Manziel dominated the NFL feeder system known as the SEC–including compiling the two highest total-offense seasons in league history–would make him a welcomed addition to a Browns offense accustomed to making opposing defenses look like the 2000 Baltimore Ravens.

And despite the Browns 29-678 record since coming back in ‘99 (numbers approximate), Cleveland should be Manziel’s desired destination on May 8.

Johnny Football would find himself in a position to excel right off the bat with Pro Bowlers Joe Thomas, Alex Mack, Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon coming back on offense, in addition to the newly acquired Ben Tate at running back.

Also, coming to the league’s hungriest fanbase would have to be attractive to Manziel, a player who, despite his best pre-draft PR attempts to rebrand himself as low-key, small-town personality, has courted more attention than Miley Cyrus over the past year.

Browns fans are still deifying the last respectable QB to play in Cleveland, and that was during the Reagan Era. It is safe to say that if Manziel were to lead the Browns to the playoffs, he’d have a statue built outside the stadium before the opening round game began.

Drafting Manziel wouldn’t come without risk for the team’s new front office. He’s the size of most NFL punters, and he’s not a pure pocket passer, which is the type of quarterback that always seems to find the most success in the pros.

He’s not likely to be the Best Player Available on many analysts boards when the Browns pick at No. 4, and he certainly won’t be the “safe” pick, but if All-Pros Joe Thomas and Josh Gordon couldn’t change the trajectory of the franchise, chances are Greg Robinson and Sammy Watkins won’t either.

And while fellow top QB prospect Blake Bortles might have a more prototypical NFL frame than Manziel, the Browns have already tried bringing in a trick-shot artist, the world’s oldest marksman and an amateur bodybuilder in recent years; they owe it to the fans to finally just go after the best quarterback.

—Adam Redling

First Amendment Rights Mad Lib!

April 29, 2014

It seems like we have this conversation every other month or so.  So instead of updating it with new names and facts, I have decided to create a generalized template for these situations.

NEWS STORY:
[INSERT: NAME OF BIGOT] recently got [CHOOSE: FIRED/SUSPENDED/BANNED] from [INSERT: PRIVATE EMPLOYER] for saying [INSERT: DESCRIPTION OF BIGOTED SPEECH].

DUMB-DUMBS:
“Whatever happened to the First Amendment! I remember when [CHOOSE (AS MANY AS APPLY): YOU WERE GUARANTEED FREE SPEECH! /OUR RIGHTS WERE PROTECTED! /THIS WAS THE LAND OF THE FREE AND HOME OF THE BRAVE!] Thanks a lot, Obama.”

RESPONSE:
Yes, the First Amendment of the Constitution establishes your right to free speech.

No, that right does not entitle you to speak freely without any consequences. It only protects against government deprivation of liberty or property interests. In other words, you cannot get arrested or fired from government employment for what you say.

“Free speech” does nothing to protect you from private employers or public scrutiny. You are entitled to your opinions. But others are equally entitled to their opinions of your opinions.

RECAP:
So yes, [INSERT: NAME OF BIGOT] had every right to say [INSERT: DESCRIPTION OF BIGOTED SPEECH] in the sense that he would not get arrested.

But [INSERT: PRIVATE EMPLOYER] had every right to read those statements and (absent any contractual language to the contrary) [CHOOSE: FIRE/SUSPEND/BAN] [CHOOSE: HIM/HER] for it.  And the public—twitter, blogs, your facebook newsfeed, etc.—has every right to [CHOOSE: SKEWER/DEFEND] [CHOOSE: HIM/HER] for it.

The ABSOLUTE WORST and MOST ANNOYING Thing To Ever Happen In The History Of Writing

February 22, 2014

1) Titles written as authoritative superlatives.

Four Reasons Why Firing Chud Makes No Sense

December 30, 2013

Absent some untold story behind the scenes that evidences Rob Chudzinski’s ineptitude, the decision to fire the first-year head coach makes no sense. I cannot even wrap my head around the idiocy of it all.

Read more…

No, the Constitution does not protect you from an employer reacting to your opinions on homosexuality

December 19, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 4.44.53 PM

“Phil Robertson has been suspended from Duck Dynasty for speaking his mind. America was once the land of the free and the home of the brave. This land included free speech. You were protected by the United State Constitution. You were guaranteed free speech.

These days your speech isn’t free anymore, just ask Phil Robertson.”

If you’ve engaged in a Duck Dynasty debate and expressed thoughts similar to Sarah Palin’s or the quoted blog post, I have just one question for you: “You just don’t get it, do you?” That’s a rhetorical question, of course, because you clearly don’t understand what the constitutional right to free speech does or does not protect. So here is a quick primer:

Yes, the First Amendment of the Constitution establishes your right to free speech.

No, that right does not entitle you to speak freely without any consequences. It only protects against government deprivation of liberty or property interests. In other words, you cannot get arrested or fired from government employment for what you say.

“Free speech” does nothing to protect you from private employers or public scrutiny. You are entitled to your opinions. But others are equally entitled to their opinions of your opinions.

So, to recap: Phil Robertson had every right to publicly state his thoughts regarding homosexuality in the sense that he could not get arrested for it. But his employer, A&E, had every right to read those statements and (absent any contractual language to the contrary) suspend him for it. And the public—twitter, blogs, your facebook newsfeed, etc.—has every right to skewer (or defend) him for it.

Browns Draft Quickie Overview: First Round

February 26, 2013

[Note: This was for a short article for my school newspaper. So if it doesn't seem in-depth, it's because it's absolutely not. But I still stand by the points.]

Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” At least that’s what the Internet tells me.

By that definition, Browns fans are cuckoo for coco puffs.  Each year we get excited about the draft, only to be disappointed, only to look forward to the next draft.  Rinse, and repeat—with orange soda.

Read more…

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