Browns’ fans wal­low in swamp of mis­ery

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - SPORTS NFL - By Bob Glauber

I

FJets fans think they have it bad, try be­ing a Browns fan. Since the mid- 1990s, it has been noth­ing but heartache. From los­ing the fran­chise out­right in 1995, when Art Modell moved the team to Bal­ti­more, to suf­fer­ing through what has hap­pened since the Browns came back as an ex­pan­sion team in 1999, there has been pre­cious lit­tle to cel­e­brate.

And now, it’s an­other case of wait- till- next year — this time only two games into the sea­son. The Browns pulled off a stun­ning trade, send­ing run­ning back Trent Richard­son, the third over­all pick in last year’s draft, to the In­di­anapo­lis Colts for a 2014 first- round pick.

Talk about cash­ing in the rest of the sea­son. Not that the Browns were thought to be a jug­ger­naut this year, but when you deal away your best of­fen­sive player 18 games into his ca­reer, what does that tell you?

It tells you that the brain trust of team pres­i­dent Joe Ban­ner and gen­eral man­ager Mike Lom­bardi are all about what hap­pens in 2014, when they pre­sum­ably will draft an­other quar­ter­back high in the first round.

Teddy Bridge­wa­ter? Johnny Manziel? Brett Hund­ley? Or will Cleve­land look to a de­fen­sive star such as Jade­veon Clowney, who al­ready is be­ing called a once- in- a- gen­er­a­tion player?

Ei­ther way, Browns fans have been down this road be­fore. Again and again and again. Since re­turn­ing to Cleve­land in 1999, the Browns have had seven head coaches, 19 start­ing quar­ter­backs... and one play­off game.

Af­ter see­ing their star run­ning back dealt away Wed­nes­day, it’s more of the same. Ba­si­cally the Browns are a year away from be­ing a year away from start­ing all over again.

Feel any bet­ter, Jets fans?

Reid’s mas­ter­piece: 2- 14 to 3- 0

IT isn’t of­ten a 2- 14 team makes the play­offs the fol­low­ing sea­son, but it sure looks like the Chiefs are headed in that di­rec­tion. Thanks to the ar­rival of new coach Andy Reid and new quar­ter­back Alex Smith, as well as a rein­vig­o­rated de­fence us­ing mostly the same play­ers that were there last year, the Chiefs are 3- 0 and the sur­prise team of the sea­son so far.

Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be sur­prised. We had Kansas City as an AFC wild­card team this year, in large part be­cause Reid knows what he’s do­ing when he has the right ros­ter. Af­ter flam­ing out in Philly last year, Reid in­her­ited a sit­u­a­tion in which he got a ter­rific game man­ager as his quar­ter­back, a fran­chise run­ning back in Ja­maal Charles and a de­fence that has per­formed ex­cep­tion­ally well un­der new co- or­di­na­tor Bob Sut­ton, the for­mer Jets’ lineback­ers coach.

It’s a ter­rific com­bi­na­tion, and it gave Reid a mem­o­rable trip back to Philadel­phia on Thurs­day night, when he beat his old team in con­vinc­ing fash­ion.

Chip doesn’t have time for that

MOST NFL coaches will tell you it’s im­por­tant to make sure you have a rea­son­ably bal­anced time of pos­ses­sion dur­ing games, lest the de­fense stay on the field too long and get tired as the game goes on. Not Chip Kelly. “Time of pos­ses­sion means noth­ing,” he said. “It’s ( the num­ber of) plays run.”

The Ea­gles are next- to- last in time of pos­ses­sion, av­er­ag­ing only 24: 25 per game. Which means the de­fence has been on the field more than 35 min­utes a game, putting plenty of pres­sure on that side of the ball.

It’s an is­sue that Kelly’s crit­ics pointed to be­fore the start of the sea­son, and the Ea­gles’ 1- 2 start makes you won­der whether they can keep this up much longer.

Kelly has never been one to pay at­ten­tion to con­ven­tional wis­dom, but if he finds his de­fence con­tin­ues to strug­gle the way it has the last 10 quar­ters, he might have to make some changes.

— News­day

MICHAEL CONROY / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Is it pos­si­ble new Colts run­ning back Trent Richard­son was happy to es­cape Cleve­land?

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