Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Following Up

It's probably just a coincidence, but we couldn't help notice how much Bud Shaw's column in this morning's Plain Dealer sounded like the same points we made just yesterday.

In particular we noted two key conclusions Bud makes, which we share since we made them first. The first is that as long as Crennel judges Carthon by whether or not a play works, there is no hope that the situation will improve. As Bud noted: "As long as Crennel defines a bad play-call as one that doesn't work, there's no hope of the Browns' offensive philosophy matching the talents of the team's playmakers. Ever. Never." Exactly. Carthon seems more interested in finding that magic play then in putting together a philosophy that tries to actually make full use of the limited resources available to him. Kellen Winslow, Jr. still is on the sidelines in too many third down situations. Simply put, there is no reason he should ever come off the field. He's a tight end that can play as a 4th or 5th receiver in a spread formation, particularly since we have no other viable options. Joe Jurevicius, easily the most sure handed receiver we have, is too often on the sidelines in favor of the clearly less accomplished Dennis Northcutt. Conversely, fullback Lawrence Vickers is on the field more often then his limited skills would suggest. In short, Carthon's offense isn't about players but about plays.

Bud's second point is that Crennel either fix the problem or be part of it. As we've said before, Crennel is a lifelong assistant who probably got his chance at head coach too late. As a result, he's over protective of his assistants, adopting a sort of "there but for the grace of God", toward the issue. If Crennel doesn't take this bye week to fix this problem, he should pick up the phone and start canvassing for jobs now. We have a suggestion on that score as well. Call Charlie Weiss. The Notre Dame defense is pitiful and Weiss seems about as clueless as how to fix that as Crennel seems to be about the offense in Cleveland. Reunited might be the only hope for Notre Dame to actually be a top tier team.


We noticed with great interest an item in the Plain Dealer's business section and wondered why it escaped the notice of the PD's super terrific and talented sports staff. As was reported widely yesterday, the Dolan family has made a renewed, multi-billion dollar offer to take Cablevision Systems private. The Dolan family, which controls 75 percent of Cablevision, not only control a key cable TV asset in New York City, but also Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers.

The more pertinent item, as reported by the PD business staff, is the local connection. Indians cheapskate owner Larry Dolan, his ineffective and equally cheap son Paul and another son, Ohio Rep. Matthew Dolan, have a huge stake in this transaction. How this may impact the Indians isn't certain, of course, but we are surprised that the sports staff hasn't attempted to even analyze the situation.

The cheapskate owners have about $500 million tied up in Cablevision, or about a third of the total Dolan interest in the company. Presumably, then, they are in for a third of the purchase of the additional shares as well. Buying the additional shares, while certainly increasing their wealth on paper, will also increase their debt liabilities, which isn't on paper. Will this impact the Indians? We submit it already has. Remember, this is the second time the Dolans have taken a run at taking the company private. For the last two years, there has been significant internal turmoil at Cablevision, turmoil that was occurring, coincidentally enough, during the Tribe's last off season.

Did all of this have an impact on the Dolans strange refusal to not spend last off-season, despite numerous previous pledges to do just that? Did any of this impact on the dumping of salary this past year? Will any of this impact on the off-season decisions this year, such as the budget? Undoubtedly if you ask either owner they'll disavow any connection. But they are fair questions to ask and fair questions to monitor. We have no beef with the Dolans and their business interests at Cablevision, except when those collide with their interest in the Tribe. And given how poorly they've treated the franchise, it seems fair to us to suggest that this latest intrigue at Cablevision can't be good for the Indians.

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