Now I don’t want to get all crazy and overhyped here with the Browns less than a week into training camp, but things are already looking good for the upcoming season, at least in the division, with the other three AFC North teams suffering relative setbacks during week one of training camp. Let’s go team-by-team.
Casey Hampton is so old and fat… HOW OLD AND FAT IS HE? Casey Hampton is so old and fat that he could not pass his training camp running test (something that Troy Polamalu and his injured hamstring had no problem with). Mike Tomlin was so pissed at “Big Snack” that he banished the Pro Bowl nose tackle to the PUP list until he could get in better shape. With myriad questions facing the highly suspect Pittsburgh lines, having their A-1 All-Pro NT benched for being old and fat is probably not what the Stillers were looking for. This is obviously good news for the Browns because with a week 2 matchup looming with The Team They Cannot Beat and center still the relatively weak link on the O-Line, not seeing Hank Fraley have to line up against Casey Hampton means more time for DA and better holes for Jamal.
Carson Palmer is so douchey… well, you get the idea. Distractions are fun when they aren’t happening to your team, and they seem to be a dime a dozen in the biggest city in Kentucky. Is Chris Henry coming back? What’s Chad Johnson going to say next? Will Carson’s OSU diatribe cause a fan backlash? Can the defense hold opponents under 600 total yards per game? What in God’s name does “Who Dey” mean? So many questions, so few answers. We saw last year that Marvin Lewis can only keep so many plates spinning at once, so the more distractions the Bungles have, the better it is for the Browns (and the rest of the division). On a personal note, someone should probably tell Carson Palmer that he shouldn’t go out of his way to take shots at other teams, pro or collegiate, until he himself has won something. Oh, you say you won a Heisman, Carson? You know who else won the Heisman? Jason White, Eric Crouch, Gino Torretta and Andre Ware. Maybe even just lead your team to their second over-.500 season in 18 years? Just a thought.
I was planning on mentioning the Antwan Odom injury, but now that appears to just be a foot sprain.
Troy Smith is the current favorite to be the Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback. I’m going to repeat that, as it bears repeating: Troy Smith is the current favorite to be the Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback. Unless the Ravens somehow manage to sign Ted Ginn Jr. and Santonio Holmes, and manage to replace all of their opponents’ secondary players with Michigan DBs (hello, Leon Hall!), that will likely turn out poorly for the Jailbirds. This is obviously great news for the Browns because the Ravens’ blatant disregard for the passing game will cover up any potential shortcomings the Brownies will have at corner. Just a thought: if you combined the Ravens’ defense and the Bengals’ offense, that team would win 13 games… which is kinda funny because I’m not sure if those two teams will combine for 13 wins this year.
As far as the Browns go, I’m liking a relatively quiet start to training camp in Berea. As far as I’m concerned, no news is good news in training camp and there hasn’t been anything crazy (yet). If the Browns can keep a low profile heading into September, things look good for the 2008 season, tough schedule be damned.
Also, you probably already know this but James Walker’s AFC North blog on ESPN.com is quite fantastic. If you haven’t taken the time yet, you ought to.