Cleveland Browns’ musings after Tampa Bay’s rout: Bill Livingston (photos)


Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden dives to stop the run of Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Charles Sims in the first half of preseason action. Joshua Gunter, Friday, August 26, 2016. Tampa

CLEVELAND, Ohio – If the third exhibition game is the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season, there must be some joke out there about the emperor’s new clothes or the Browns’ new unis, or something.

(Note to my jaunty band of Twitter followers: Some of the following were Tweets during the game, with credit given if they were not mine).

* There were two big plays by wide receiver Josh Gordon, back from exile for a cameo appearance before serving another suspension, this of four games, for marijuana use when the regular season begins.


* The defense is a theoretical concept at the moment. They haven’t been able to stop the run since most of the Dawg Pound patrons were pups.

* It was just another Wake Forest game to Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston, who won a Heisman Trophy at Florida State and who had over 200 yards passing in the first half. It was the only one he played and the only way the Browns were going to put out the dumpster fire.

* Mike Evans was the favorite receiver of the quarterback formerly known as Johnny Football at Texas A&M. Evans repeatedly beat cornerback Justin Gilbert, who is numerically a bigger flop of a draft choice than Manziel, because he was taken 14 spots higher in the first round.

* On the Bucs’ special team’s touchdown, Long John Silver, peg leg and all — just to observe Tampa Bay’s pirate theme — would’ve been closer to making the tackle than lollygagging Browns’ punter Andy Lee.

And now on the “what took them so long?” front:

* All sports value tweeners higher than ever. In baseball, they once were called utility men. In football and basketball these days, they are called hybrids, blessed with multiple skills and able to play more than one position.

Which makes it a surprise that Barkevious Mingo did not work out at any place the Browns tried him. He was too light to be effective as a speed rushing defensive end; he was injured and unable to produce at what seemed like a better fit at outside linebacker; he was too small to stuff the run at inside linebacker.

He is gone now, to Belichick Land for a fifth-round pick before he was cut, just another in a string of first-round draft picks who went bust under just about every regime that’s been in charge of the Browns.

Ah, Barkevious, you seemed such a natural for Dawg Pound fans. You could’ve been the first “Bingo!” cry around town since Joe Tait and Bobby Smith: “Bingo! Mingo sack!”

Bingo might not have been his name-o but, in any lingo, Mingo was no dingo.

* Sports Illustrated’s NFL preview issue picks the Browns to beat the New York Giants on the lakefront on Nov. 27 and … no … one … else. This led to aggrieved reaction from readers when I posted it on my Facebook page.

Comments ranged from Dennis Heber — obviously counting on a tie, which is counted as a half-win, half-loss — who said, “That’s twice as many wins as I think they’ll get,” to Robert D. Cobb’s prediction of seven to nine wins, to Shayna Sharpe’s observation that “No way are the Giants that bad.”

For my part, I believe all this will just lead to bulletin board material for the Giants!

But the funniest take was from Jim Tellep: “I love it … It’s the opposite of having your team on the cover. This ensures the Browns will make the playoffs.”

* Probably not, though. But keep your dobbers up, Browns fans.

When the game ended, I tweeted: As Bogey said to Bergman of Paris, so I say to Cleveland fans: We’ll always have Oakland. #Game7