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Ingraham: Things I liked — and disliked — about Browns’ preseason opener

Likes and dislikes about the Browns, one preseason game into the first full year of The John Dorsey Era:

LIKED: Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield — Hey look! Professional quarterbacking! How refreshing!

I know this sounds crazy, but could this finally be the year in which the Browns’ quarterback situation doesn’t dominate the hearts and minds, hopes and dreams of every waking moment for every Browns fan everywhere (including those still in the womb), plus all those calls to sports talk radio, saloon arguments, water cooler discussions, TMZ, police radios, grocery store checkout lines and the Department of Motor Vehicles?

Are we finally going to be able to get on with our lives?

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Tyrod and Baker: a Dawg Pound turns its lonely eyes — and winless team — to you.

Granted, it’s only one game. But that beats “it’s only all the games,” which defines what we’ve seen out of that position for most of this century: a conga line of overmatched, undertalented NFL wannabes and, in one case, party boy train wreck.

But let’s not blame all those quarterbacks who helped create this dumpster fire. Let’s blame all those who drafted all those quarterbacks. They know who they are and so do we.

In Taylor and Mayfield, the Browns appear to have not one, but two quarterbacks who can actually play the position. Imagine that. In our lifetime!

This is an excellent start.

DISLIKED: Those stripe-less Browns helmets. (Sigh). Every time you think Hue Jackson might have turned the corner — or at least is approaching one he seems capable of safely turning — he does something like this.
The stripes are not on the helmets because the head coach wants the players to earn them.

So apparently, winning a spot on the roster or in the starting lineup is not enough of an incentive/reward?

With all due respect, this is so far off the Hokey Scale you’d have trouble finding it with the Hubble Telescope. This is a team in the National Football League. It’s not a Boy Scout troop.

How come whenever it comes to their uniforms, this Browns regime instinctively does the wrong thing?

LIKED: For the most part in the Giants game, when the ball was thrown to a Browns receiver, he — get this — caught it! Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Rashard Higgins (a forgotten stowaway from the unfortunate Sashi Brown administration), combined to catch eight of the 10 balls thrown their way.
This is an excellent start.

Even Antonio Callaway, who had a wayward first half, rebounded with a strong second half, showing the speed and skill that made Dorsey draft him in the fourth round, bravely ignoring his lengthy rap sheet in college.

DISLIKED: Not holding Callaway accountable. It didn’t take Callaway long to start his rap sheet in pro ball. When Strongsville police pulled him over for failing to yield to oncoming traffic — at 3 o’clock in the morning — they found marijuana, a gun part and ammunition in his car, which he was driving with a suspended license.

He was only cited for marijuana possession and the suspended license, but he failed to inform the team of the incident.

That Callaway started against the Giants, or even — one could argue — played at all, was a questionable decision, given his history, and the Browns’ desire to change the team culture. This was a chance to send a message to Callaway and all the players, by holding him accountable. But the Browns chose not to.

LIKED: The Corey Coleman trade. Sometimes in sports you’ve got to move a player not just because he can’t play, but because he’s a constant reminder of the organizational dysfunction that resulted in him even being on the team.
The Coleman trade was addition by subtraction, and a bite-the-bullet submission, yet again, to those who for years have criticized the Browns for not knowing what they’re doing.

DISLIKED: That it came to this. Don’t blame the current regime for only getting a seventh-round draft pick in the trade of Coleman to Buffalo. Blame the previous regime for wasting a first-round pick on him in the first place.

No team executes the compound blunder with more style than the Browns. In the Coleman case, it’s not only the decision to draft him, but the decision to pass on Carson Wentz, who if he hadn’t gotten hurt probably would have been the MVP in the league last year — for the Eagles.

The Browns could have had Wentz. Instead, they gifted him to the Eagles, and selected for themselves a first-round pick, Coleman, they would later trade for a seventh-round pick.

There are no words.

The Wentz/Coleman folly is only the latest example of the abhorrent scouting and player evaluation and acquisition failure that lies at the heart of professional sport’s most inept franchise.

That failure is this regime’s biggest challenge.

Jim Ingraham is a sports columnist for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Medina Gazette. Contact him at 329-7135 or [email protected] and follow him @Jim_Ingraham on Twitter

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