You’ve heard the news by now. And since this has never been a breaking news site, allow me to just say that the Browns have taken a bold step into this century by hiring perhaps college football’s most innovative Head Coach in Chip Kelly.
While clearly there are still many details that must unfold over the coming months – personnel, schemes, etc. – the macroscopic view of what the Browns just did is monumental, especially when compared to the hires of everyone else during the expansion era. Instead of fruitlessly throwing money in some half-hearted attempt to emulate another team (49ers, Cowboys, Ravens, Patriots, Packers, Eagles), the Browns have finally found what could be a unique vision – something that is possibly ahead of the curve.
And again, we’re dealing very much in the ideal at the moment. There are layers to be revealed regarding Kelly and his eventual transition into a league where speed advantages are negated and the value of draft picks is not comparable with the number of scholarships. And as the mouthbreathers and others who are missing the point will again drudge up a Post Modern McCoy vs. Weeden, there are certainly concerns with Kelly adapting the current Browns’ roster – just like there would be with any team he took over.
However, all of these items will be addressed in time.
Although I can’t help to toss just one thought out – one belonging to Smart Football’s Chris Brown:
The important thing is that today – at least when it becomes official – the Browns have targeted a talented Head Coach and went and got him. Not allowing Kelly to interview with any other team shows the change in how the new Browns’ front office – a seemingly competent, willing and decisive body – now operates. Beyond Kelly, gone are the days of Randy Lerner’s middling attempts to prove he was anything more than a disinterested caretaker.
And again, who knows what Kelly will actually deliver. But in terms of sheer action, the new Browns have already proven to be a badly needed departure from the malaise of the prior decade-plus. In fact – and if you can bear with my occasional idealistic leaps – it’s quite possible that in some figurative manner, the Browns’ expansion era has officially ended.
None of us know where all of this will lead, but finally it appears that the Browns are at least back in the game. At least now this team actually has a chance.
That is, at least IF the Browns actually sign Kelly. According to late Friday reports, Kelly will still meet with both the Bills and Eagles. However, if the crunch of time and Kelly’s prior comments about moving quickly are any indication, there is a still a strong sense that Haslam and Banner have landed their man.
And with all this Kelly excitement, who knew that there was actually football to be played today?
For the record, I wrapped up Week Seventeen with a strong 10-6 showing, which brings my overall season record to 132-121.
And how about some playoff picks?
At Houston (-4.5) over Cincinnati
I was reading something on how part of Jay Gruden’s Bengals’ success lies in only making Andy Dalton read half of the field. And then I remembered that Marvin Lewis has never won a playoff game. Despite the Texans’ reeling of late, I like a win here.
At Green Bay (-7.5) over Minnesota
Minnesota has been a great story this year and truly is some manifestation of what an Eric Mangini-led Browns’ team could have become. However, the Packers are the league’s best team when given a good matchup and among the most pedestrian when not. Here, the Packers come alive.
Indianapolis (+7) over At Baltimore
On one hand, you have the feel good story of the year in Chuck Pagano returning to lead his young Colts. On the other, a very fortunate not to be in jail Ray Lewis plays his last home game. I like the karma of the former, at least enough to cover – which I’m sure is what most cancer survivors really care about.
At Washington (+3) over Seattle
To maintain tradition, I will yet again pick against the Seahawks, who I still see as overrated away from their Northwest home. Despite a sometimes sloppy effort against the Cowboys last week, the Redskins are still playing excellent physical team football. Look for a low-scoring win.