Monday, September 29, 2008

One season officially ends, another lives on (barely)

Well, the Tribe officially ended their 2008 season at .500, but more on that later. First order of business, how to feel after the Browns' 20-12 win in Cincinnati? (highlights here) On one hand it's definitely nice to be back in the win column. But on the other hand, this was a sloppy victory over an 0-3 Bengals team playing without starting quarterback Carson Palmer. Of course the Browns are a little banged up themselves, but I honestly just can't feel good about this win. It took 17 fourth quarter points from the Browns to pull this one out. And that's after the Bengals turned the ball over 5 times. They were practically begging the Browns to take this one and they still seemed reluctant to do so for much of the game.

Braylon found his way into the end zone on Sunday and celebrated with some air guitar

Derek Anderson was again very shaky and tentative on his way to 15-of-24 for just 124 yards, 1 TD, and another interception. If you're scoring at home, that's six picks in four games this year and sixteen in his last eleven games going back to last season. His interception just two minutes into the third quarter probably had every Browns fan expecting #10 to strap on his helmet and take the field on the Browns' next drive, but RAC again stuck with Anderson. I thought Paul Warfield summed it up nicely on "Sports Sunday" late last night on Channel 5 by saying, "If Romeo was the coach when I was playing, my 13-year career may have lasted 20."
"I decided to give him another chance," said coach Romeo Crennel, who considered replacing Anderson. "He went ahead and took advantage of it and finished on a good note."

Honestly, I really don't know what to take from this game. The Bengals are not a very good team. They had some guy named Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. But we did enough to get a road win and keep both coach Crennel on the sidelines and Derek Anderson under center for the time being. Only time will tell if that's good or bad for this franchise. They now have two full weeks to design a game plan to try to take down the defending Super Bowl champs at home. That may even be enough time for Donte Stallworth to stop stealing Randy Lerner's money...

More Browns Notes: Tony Grossi says it wasn't pretty, but the Browns will take it. And don't forget Grossi's always entertaining chat at noon today at (or just download the podcast later, which I always do)... Terry Pluto says the win should calm the nerves and quiet the Cowher rumors for now... Braylon is happy to be back in the end zone again... Hey, at least we're not the Bengals.

Tribe Update: The Indians finished the year at .500 with their 5-1 loss in Sunday's season finale. Going into this season, if you would have told me that they would end up 81-81 and in third place in the AL Central it would have been a massive disappointment. But at the time I didn't know that CC Sabathia would end up taking the Brewers to the postseason, Jake Westbrook would spend almost the entire year on the DL, Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez would also be shelved for much of the year, out bats would be lost for the first few months of the season, our bullpen would be a complete disaster until after the All-Star break, Casey Blake would be going to the playoffs as a Dodger, etc., etc. My point is that we need to put everything in perspective as Tribe fans. I couldn't be more proud with how this team finished the final three months of the season. Coming from 16 games under .500 to finish where they did is pretty remarkable.

They also helped themselves for the future through their mid-season trades that netted some serious talent for now and the future. There is still work to be done to be ready for next year - namely filling the huge holes at second base and bullpen closer - but the groundwork has been laid for 2009. There's no reason the Indians can't finish ahead of the Twins and White Sox next year. Hell, they may have pulled it off this year if the season was a few weeks longer.

More Tribe Notes: Eric Wedge plans on giving Grady Sizemore more rest next season... And Sheldon Ocker has one last look back at Cliff Lee's incredible season... I'll be back with a more comprehensive look at the Tribe's roster and what I expect next year later this week.

Cavs Update: Only 29 days until the Cavaliers season officially starts. Training camp does open up today and will give you a live look at media day starting at 3pm today. I also added a new poll to the right to gauge fans' expectations for this season. So go ahead and exercise your right as a Cleveland fan duty and vote today...