We conclude the regular season 5 Questions series with another run at Chris Pokorny of Dawgs By Nature, perhaps the most insightful and interesting subject we've had all year. Working around the holidays, Chris gave us some great answers.
1. It's a cheesy cliche, but the opportunity to knock the Steelers completely out of the playoffs...maybe 'pull the plug' is the better term...does that make this game a Super Bowl of sorts for the Browns?
It would be upsetting if the Browns contributed to the Steelers making the playoffs, but this is one of the least buzz-worthy Browns-Steelers games I've seen in awhile on our end. We've seen our team blow lead after lead this season, and with the disarray at the quarterback position again, we're just ready to move on to next season to hopefully finish this dreadful nightmare of losing seasons once and for all.
With the Chiefs having locked up the No. 5 seed, I think they will rest their starters and the Chargers will be the team that ultimately eliminates the Steelers this weekend (but that wouldn't be until after the Browns-Steelers game).
2. Blake Bortles is rumored to be the quarterback the Browns covet the most in the upcoming draft. Planted rumor or legit option?
I don't believe in draft rumors at this point, and there are so many quarterback options this year for all of these teams to consider. I admittedly haven't scouted all of the top quarterbacks yet, but my impression of Bortles is that the fact that he's big and fairly mobile within the pocket would kind of fit with the AFC North moniker of quarterbacks.
3. What letter grade would you give Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi and Rob Chudzinski after Year 1?
Losing these past six games have obviously put a damper on things, but it really is hard to say. All we got out of this year's draft was basically OLB Barkevious Mingo, as the front office acquired picks for 2014. With that mentality, I always kind of had that understanding in the back of my mind that I needed to wait another year before I could fairly assess the front office, so we could see what they really had in mind for the big picture.
On the business side of things, I think Joe Banner has really done a great job putting the right people in place to help with these like stadium renovations, marketing, etc. From a personnel standpoint, I thought the team was aggressive in free agency to improve the defensive front seven, and for the first time in a long time, our run defense improved greatly. They said they wanted to evaluate the young offense for one season, which they did. Now, in 2014, they can keep the positives (Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron) and eliminate the players who didn't deliver as well. Rob Chudzinski was an aggressive coach on offense, but I can't explain why our defense struggled so much on third down and in the red zone.
4. What's the one move the Cleveland Browns absolutely must make this offseason?
Figure out the quarterback position. It won't be Brandon Weeden, and it shouldn't be Jason Campbell. In his two starts, Brian Hoyer had this whole city buzzing, though, and the players in the locker room really seemed to respond to him. Are those two games good enough to make him the starter in 2014, coming off of an ACL injury? Can we risk banking on Hoyer and passing up on all of the quarterback prospects in this year's draft? It's a big decision that the front office will have to make, and the reason that so many regimes before them have failed is because they have not found the right quarterback. Everything might ride on what they decide at that position this coming offseason.
5. What do you think the average Browns fan would say to Mike Holmgren if they saw him walking down the street today?
"So, you're the coach who said you would have quit the next day if your front office traded Trent Richardson, right? I think that shows how much credibility you have at this point, including how delusional Randy Lerner must have been to put you in the cushy team president role that you were in."
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