Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Friday, January 09, 2009

Good Guys win

Now that was fun.

Now in the big picture it doesn't mean all that much. But without Big Z, the Cavs whupped the Celtics. The Cavs held serve. Over the last two years, the home team has won each time. Come May and June this game won't mean anything but it was a lot of fun.

Yet to completely contradict myself maybe there is something to take from this game.

While I don't think all would have been lost if the Cavs lost, this game proved what the Cavs have felt all long. They are among the NBA's elite. When the bright lights were turned on they answered the bell. This game can only help the Cavs growing confidence.

As for Boston, this game isn't the end of the world. But there has to be some tension in the locker room. Boston was on top on the NBA world on Christmas Eve. There was talk of 70 wins. Then the Lakers burst their bubble and Boston has lost six of eight coming into the game. Yet there were some that said Boston would come out and try to prove something. And what they proved is right now they are not a very good basketball team. Will they turn it around, most likely but panic started to set in during this game.

How can I say that?

Doc Rivers started to Hack a Ben with 5:18 left. And then soon after looked into the eyes of his Boston Three party and pulled the plug. The Celtics gave up in the fourth quarter. They are a beaten team. Last year they talked about their will and desire. Tonight they learned, they can't coast and just turn it on when they want. They gave their best shot and the Cavs kicked their ass. Will they respond and turn things around? I would imagine so. But this type of performance could lead to the Celtics making a panic move and adding someone like Stephon Marbury. Either way Boston will have to do something. I can't see them staying pat. They know the Cavs are much better then they were last year and they want no part of a game seven at the Q.

Come playoff time what happened tonight will have no real effect on any game, but enjoy tonight. It was a lot fun and adds fuel to the hope that this year is next year.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A coach is hired

Haven't we seen this movie?

Former New England Defensive coordinator hired as head coach with the thought one of Ozzie Newsome's assistants will soon be hired as the general manager.

I know it is easy to pile on Randy Lerner. His daddy paved the way for our team to leave town so he could buy us a new one three years later. Randy didn't ask to be an NFL owner. He had no experience at running a franchise before one was thrust upon him. His first set of hires didn't work out so well. Romeo was a life-long assistant. He had never been the head man before. He struggled at the managing of the clock and the egos in a locker room. The players all liked RAC but it didn't translate into respect on the field. The Browns had one good year helped by a very weak schedule. They were unable to grow from that experience into real winners. Phil was evaluator of talent. His previous boss sifted through his work and made the picks. Before Phil could scout and scout and scout some more. He was unable to work with other people. He was not a leader of me. He just wanted to be in charge. After his first year, he clashed with the other top front office man hired by Randy. Phil only survived because the fans came screaming to his defense. Randy listened to the fans.

It looks like we the fans were wrong. Phil wasn't the right guy. He threw his coach under the bus. He didn't see eye to eye with his coach and just did what he wanted. It cost both of them their jobs.

I give Randy credit. I don't know if Mangini is the right guy. But it would be easy to say I can't hire Mangini because the fans will think I am making the same mistake. Randy has to go with his gut. It is his call and he has to trust his instincts.

There is a lot to like about Mangini. He is young and bright. He is well organized and he has a plan. I like he has been humbled in New York. He should have a chip on his shoulder to prove himself. While one can say Romeo came from Bill Belichick's tree of coaching, Romeo was a staff member. Mangini was Belichick's pupil. He raised the kid from Browns ball ball to defensive coordinator. That is why having Mangini leave after just one year as coordinator to a division rival hurt so much. His "son" became his enemy instead of just a fellow coach anywhere else in the NFL. And it is most likely why Scott Pioli isn't the Browns new GM, if he went to work with Mangini, his friendship with Belichick is in jepordy. Now I know Mangini has his critics from what he did in New York and rightfully he should. This crap that he had Farve shoved down his throat is crap. He named his son after Farve. And if it is true, then Mangini should have learned a valuable lesson. He has to do it his way. Randy Lerner is the perfect owner if you are a coach. He is going to get out of the way and let you work. He will only step in when you embarrass the franchise and frankly that he is what Phil Savage did.

Turnover in the NFL can be very dangerous. When you tear up everything it takes a while to rebuild. If you believe the Browns weren't as good as they looked in 2007 and not as bad as they looked in 2008, having guys who are like the guys you had before isn't all bad. If George Constaza err Kokinis is the hire for GM. One would think he will know many of the same guys Phil Savage knew and maybe the entire department doesn't need to be torn up. I would argue Phil the man was found wanting more than Phil the scout. Where Romeo the man was beloved but Romeo the coach was found lacking.

I know it is easy to say Randy Lerner doesn't know what he is doing. But I am not so sure. While I wasn't a Romeo fan before he got here, I can understand the appeal. Maybe if Romeo ever got another chance, he will learn from his mistakes. Maybe he wouldn't have let himself be pushed around by Phil. Maybe he would have clamped down on Braylon's antics his rookie year. Maybe he would have known better who to hire as his coordinators. Who knows if he will ever get another chance. This is Mangini's next chance. The world of NFL seemed to think three years ago Mangini was destined to be a great coach. Hopefully he is better prepared this time. I believe he is worth the chance.

I read somewhere that this is Randy Lerner's last chance. And that's bullshit. Like Browns fans could force him to sell the team. People are hurting right now. They will forgive 90 percent of that hate by August. This town loves this team and all it will take is one win over the Steelers to forgive almost everything. But fans aren't going to quit and if you do-- good we don't need you anyway. But the idea the fans could force Lerner to sell, hogwash. Just ask Lions fans or Bengals fans and how hard they have pushed to get rid of their owners.

I have no idea if Mangini will turn the Browns around. But I like the hire better hiring Pioli and man who has never been a NFL head coach or then a 70-year old man or a rival who has nothing left to prove. Would I have waited for Bill Parcells, maybe? But something tells me we would have the same coach.

Either way what most fans forget is despite the fact Randy Lerner doesn't like interviews, despite the fact he is a rich man who inherited the team, he is in fact a successful businessman and he grew up one of us. He was there for Red Right 88, for the fumble, for the drive and for everyone one of the losses to Pittsburgh. He was embarrassed this year by his front office and by his team. He wants to make this right. The man hires people to run his businesses and he has a proven track record except in his most visible business. He was wrong last time. Last time he listened to others and trusted them. It ended up being a mistake. We can only hope this time he listened to his gut. If he believes Mangini is the man to right this ship. I am on board.

Not that I have any other choice.

Someone asked me why I was watching the last game of the year. We were down by 17 and time was running out. We had no chance.

Well what else would I do? A punt return and interception return for a touchdown and we are right back in this game.

I hope you are joking this person said.

Not unfortunately I wasn't. Go Browns.

Monday, January 05, 2009



Sunday, January 04, 2009

Who put the game on at 1pm?

The two things I took from today's Cavs game were:
1. If the Wizards played as hard as they do against the Cavs every night, they would not be the worst team in the Eastern Conference. It is amazing how players can just not care and then turn it on for certain teams.
2. The Cavs are not the same team without Z.

Both were obvious and did not take any deep insight on my part. God Bless Andy and what he is doing offensively but without Z the offense stalls. I am all for getting the kids minutes but the Cavs are going to have to explore if there is a big man out there available who fits the following criteria:

1. A veteran post player who has been through the battles.
2. Can hit an open jumper.
3. Is not a huge liability on defense.

I am not too worried about the overall best record. Would I love to have home court and avoid the Orlando Magic, of course. But I believe this team can win on the road in the playoffs and play with anyone. Our frontline health worries me more. I sort expect us to drop as many games this month as we did the first two months of the season but it won't mean the roof is caving in. Z sitting out could be a blessing. It gets the kids minutes and it might push Ferry to bolster the frontline. And in the end, the less wear and tear on Z might be good too.

As for the game itself, when did they start calling travelling in the NBA? I loved the Mike Brown freak out. But I say boo to early afternoon games on a Sunday. I wanted to watch the NFL all afternoon and save my NBA for the evening. Now what I am going to do this evening.