I don't think I've ever been more relieved to see the Browns bye week.
And they'd probably tell you the same thing. A week ago the team was basking in the glow of a last-minute win (albeit against the winless Dolphins), players were given awards and contract extensions.
But with all of this week's turmoil, all that good feeling was swept out like yesterday's trash.
This organization once again finds itself in the midst of a self-induced poop storm, starring a overwhelmed rookie head coach, an almost star running back and his intrepid agent. And once again the Browns, who have lead the NFL in dysfunction since returning in '99, look like the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight to the rest of the league.
And it all started with one of the most disappointing losses in recent vintage. The defense, lauded here just last week, gave up big plays, including an 80-yard touchdown to a tight end. The pass rush was non-existent and Tennessee's Chris Johnson, mired in an early-season slump, found his mojo again, going over a hundred yards for the first time this season.
On offense, Colt McCoy threw 61 passes. Let that sink in--61 passes. And at half of them seemed to go for five yards or less, as Browns receivers were once again unable to get open anywhere close to "downfield."
What about Peyton Hillis you may ask? He had 46 yards on 10 carries in the first half--and only had 2 carries in the second. He spent most of the second half, like the rest of us, watching his understudy Montario Hardesty drop passes and generally be ineffective.
This lead to many post-game questions, and some players questioning what their roles were in an offense that looks lost. Including Hillis.
And that's when the fun started.
A hand-grenade lobbed by ESPN's Adam Schefter claimed unamed "sources" said that Hillis purposely sat out the Dolphins game to protest the lack of progress in contract negotiations. Then came the denials, from running back and coach, as everyone tried to downplay this "overblown" situation.
Kennard McGuire obviously didn't get the memo. McGuire just happens to be Hillis' agent, and he said he advised Peyton not to play if he was sick (just as a matter of camparison, Center Alex Mack played with appendacitis against the Titans). Oh and he also just wanted to add that Peyton feels underappreciated, and hopes a new contract can get worked out soon. Meanwhile, a mixture of stubborness and ego on the part of the Brain Trust, who has handled this with its usual ham-fisted quality (remember the Josh Cribbs fiasco last year?)
So now the guy who recently said he wants to retire a Brown may be traded before the deadline this month. Everyone involved in this sorry spectacle has made sure this molehill has developed in a mountain of epic porportions.
Think this would've ever happened to Larry Csonka?
So the bye week could not come at a better time. What the Browns need now is a quiet, uneventful few days where a player, GM, coach or agent is tweeting something or saying something to the press. This offense is a mess than needs more than a few tweaks (Hey Shurmur, give the ball to Hillis at least 20 touches a game. At least. While you're at it, start Greg Little and get Evan Moore, well, more involved).
In other words, start making adjustments and stop making headlines.