Hang a banner with Joe Thomas’s No. 10,363, and other Week Seven thoughts

AP

The Cleveland Browns have retired five numbers in franchise history, but they’re all for players from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, players from the proud early days of the franchise that later moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. The new Browns have been a dreadful franchise, with just one player worthy of a retired number: Joe Thomas.

Thomas, the future Hall of Fame left tackle, has been a great player on a terrible team, and the Browns will surely hang up his No. 73 jersey some day. But after Thomas suffered a triceps injury on Sunday, I’d like to see the Browns hang a banner for him right now, rather than wait until he retires.

I think the Browns should hang a banner now with the number 10,363 on it. That’s the number of consecutive snaps that Thomas played in the Browns’ offense before he got hurt yesterday. That number, 10,363, represents as impressive a streak as there has ever been in sports. To play every single play, game after game after game, never taking a snap off, never needing a breather, never exiting a game early, is extraordinary.

Thomas probably wouldn’t want that kind of fuss made over his extraordinary streak. He’s never liked a fuss, dating to 2007, when the Browns chose him with the third overall pick in the NFL draft and he chose to go fishing with his dad instead of going to the draft.

But it’s an honor he warrants. And it would be a rare instance of the Browns having something to celebrate, as I’ll get to now on my other thoughts about Week Seven.

The Browns are a mess. I fully understand that the Browns are in the midst of a long-term rebuilding process, and that they have a boatload of draft picks next year, and we can’t really judge them until we see what they do with those picks. But. Shouldn’t we be seeing some progress by now? I’m seeing none. After the Browns went 1-15 last year, they’re 0-7 this year. Coach Hue Jackson cannot make up his mind at quarterback, first starting DeShone Kizer, then benching him for Kevin Hogan, then going back to Kizer, then benching him for Cody Kessler yesterday. It’s a little unfair to play 20/20 hindsight on draft picks, but the fact is the Browns traded away the pick that became Carson Wentz last year, and traded away the pick that became Deshaun Watson this year, and they look like two of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks. The Browns’ big acquisition in free agency, Kenny Britt, is woefully underperforming his four-year, $32.5 million contract. The Browns are a long way away. And yesterday’s injury was a reminder that they won’t have a Hall of Fame left tackle forever.

We’ve seen some ugly offense this season. In addition to the Titans and Browns scoring nothing but field goals in Tennessee’s 12-9 overtime win, there were three shutouts on Sunday, with the Jaguars beating the Colts 27-0, the Rams beating the Cardinals 33-0 and the Chargers beating the Broncos 21-0. There have already been five shutouts this season, and the three shutouts yesterday matched the total number of shutouts for the entire 2016 season.

Jimmy Graham looks terrible. Entering yesterday’s game, Graham, the Seahawks’ former All-Pro tight end, was already having the worst year of his career, averaging just 8.5 yards a catch. Yesterday he was worse than ever, dropping a pass in the end zone and dropping another perfect pass when he was wide open and Russell Wilson hit him in the hands. Graham did score a late touchdown, but he didn’t play as well as his 51 yards and a touchdown might suggest. Graham, who will turn 31 next month, appears to have his best football behind him.

Adrian Peterson is not good. I know, I know, Peterson exceeded expectations last week in his Cardinals debut. But yesterday’s game, in which he gained just 21 yards on 11 carries, was what I expect to see from Peterson going forward. He’s way past his prime and just not a good player anymore. Last week was probably the last good game we’ll ever see Peterson play.

Does Mike McCarthy really have faith in Brett Hundley? McCarthy insisted after Aaron Rodgers went down that the Packers are very confident in Hundley as their starter as long as Rodgers is out. But if that’s the case, why did McCarthy implement such a conservative game plan for Hundley’s first start yesterday? Hundley showed that he can run, but he didn’t do much of anything, nor was he asked to do much of anything, with his arm. He finished with 12 completions in 25 attempts for 87 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. That’s not going to get it done.

The Bears aren’t bad, except at quarterback. Chicago poured enormous resources into the quarterback position this offseason, guaranteeing Mike Glennon $18.5 million for 2017 and then trading up to the second overall pick for Mitch Trubisky. Glennon opened the year as the starter and was absolutely awful, and Trubisky took over and hasn’t been much better. But the Bears managed to win one game with Glennon starting, and they’re now 2-1 with Trubisky after beating the Panthers yesterday despite Trubisky completing just four passes. The reason is that the Bears actually have a solid team, other than the quarterback position. Both the offensive and defensive lines are good, and there’s no team with a better pair of young running backs than Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Put a decent quarterback on this team, and they’re in the playoffs. Maybe Trubisky will develop into that decent quarterback next year. Maybe.

Andrew Luck should not play this year. Luck, who had shoulder surgery in January, still hasn’t been cleared to return. At this point, he shouldn’t return until 2018. The Colts are 2-5 and going nowhere, and by the time Luck is healthy enough to play the Colts are going to be out of playoff contention. It would be foolish to risk another injury to Luck in meaningless late-season games. If there’s one thing this NFL season has reminded us, it’s the physical toll the game can take on its players. Let Luck rest up for next year.

36 responses to “Hang a banner with Joe Thomas’s No. 10,363, and other Week Seven thoughts

  1. Brissett has shown he can play. Luck needs to show he’s healthy so the Colts can get a bounty of draft picks for him in trade and let someone else eat that $100 million contract.

  2. Not sure you can deduce a QB isn’t good when he only attempts 7 passes in a game. The Bears receiving corps are a cobbled together collection of practice squad castoffs.

  3. The Bears are bad at wide receiver, it isn’t just the QB. The QB’s would probably be better if they had good receivers to throw to.

  4. Wondering if Larry Fitz will update his count this week of SBs he would have won if AP would have becoming a Cardinal sooner.

  5. Mike McCarthy has no choice. His QB is out so he is saved for 1 more season at least.

    If Hundley can’t do it it will be because Rodgers was injured.

    No one will care that he didn’t sign the next best option QB with a big arm that ran the same offense as Rogers in his best days.

  6. GB is the best team to sign Kap, based on the system they run.

    I’ve bled purple since birth but if I were a Packer fan i’d sign the devil to a 1 year deal if he could run a pure WC offense.

  7. I honestly think Andrew Luck is done. Meaning: not only should he not return this season but when he eventually does, he will be a shadow of his former self. The injury will be nagging him the rest of his career and if the Colts continue to fail at upgrading his supporting cast he’ll get new or recurring injuries on top of that.

    I feel for the guy. (But not for Jim Irsay)

  8. If the Browns don’t fire everyone and put ME in charge next year they will stink.

    If the Browns keep going as is, the will stink.

    Is there any chance there’s anyone in London that doesn’t know the Browns suck?

    The Browns suck.

    I would bet Browns fans wish ANY gm in the league were their gm intead of the one they have

  9. “The reason is that the Bears actually have a solid team, other than the quarterback position.”

    You’re kidding, right? Take one look at their wide receiver depth chart. They’re starting practice squad players who are unable to get any separation whatsoever.

    When your best receiver is your second string running back, you’re going to have QB issues, it doesn’t matter who’s taking the snaps. That, and Fox running the show with Loggans calling a game so predictable Stevie Wonder could game plan for it.

    Guess who the last coach to win a game with 7 or fewer pass attempts? Fox in Carolina. Last team to win a game with 5 or fewer completions? Fox in Denver. Hmm….

    I love me some Bears football, but I fear this coaching staff is going to stunt the growth of a QB who everyone knew was going to be coached up big time coming out of college.

  10. AP only had a great game last week, and Cards only won it, because Bucs were missing 2 key star LBs, Ward and 2 other starting D. And with Bucs’ QB leaving the game injured Cards still could only win by 5 points. Of course, when I pointed this out AND said AP was otherwise on a 20yd average this year, all the homies thumbed it down (see Florio’s “Get ready for more Adrian Peterson” Oct 22). And now Rams destroyed the Cards and Palmer gone too. Fork that team.

  11. Injuries have been bad this year but there are maybe three that have been devastating to teams. Rodgers for Green Bay, that offense just can’t be the same. Berry for KC, the pass defense is horrid and run defense way below par. And Watt for Houston, while not a total loss on defense he is the heart and soul of that team.

  12. .
    ”  It’s a little unfair to play 20/20 hindsight on draft picks,”

    ___

    You’re being too kind to the inept Browns. Everyone knows that the NFL is a quarterback driven league. Each year the playoff races are dominated by teams with top shelf QBs. At some point the moneyball people have to come to grips with the fact that QB is a premium position and you have to pay market rate irregardless of your own preconceived ideas..

    In the past two years the Browns have passed on Wentz, Goff, Trubiski, and Watson in the draft and Jimmy Garopollo via a trade. Apparently none of the five were good enough to impress the moneyballers.
    .

  13. DugoutDirtbag says:
    October 23, 2017 at 6:53 am

    I would bet Browns fans wish ANY gm in the league were their gm intead of the one they have

    We don’t have a GM, or an OC, and I think that is part of the problem. There is no one between the brain trust and the HC, no football people, and that has caused a disconnect between analytics and performance on the fieidl.

    I am a Browns fan and this team does suck. And it sucks pretty bad, maybe the worst I have seen since they returned in 1999. They are that bad. But I also understand what they are trying to do. And I understand that isn’t going to translate into wins any time soon. No I don’t wish we had “anyone” at the GM position; I want a football someone. No I don’t look back and say “Why not Wentz?” or “Why not Watson?” (although I am starting to wonder “Why Kizer?” have to admit) because neither of them would have been who they are on this team with no receiving corps and a running game that is struggling for consistency. It’s easy to play armchair general, it’s harder to actually be a general.

  14. Regarding Hundley and MM – What coach wouldn’t implement a conservative game plan for Hundley’s first start? Anyone who thought Hundley was ready to throw the ball all around the field is an idiot. Also, GB has a bye this week. That will allow more time for Hundley to settle into the starting role. Look for the Packers to push the ball down the field more in two weeks.

  15. Trubisky has only played 3 games and all against really good defenses. He looked good in the preseason. Kinda early to write him off.

    Fox and Loggains have been very conservative in the play calling after the Minnesota game. Not sure what you expect from a rookie qb where the play calling is such that he is only getting chances to throw in known passing situations – normally 3rd and long.

  16. “I fully understand that the Browns are in the midst of a long-term rebuilding process, and that they have a boatload of draft picks next year, and we can’t really judge them until we see what they do with those picks”

    Why are you defending that con man owner MDS? 41 mil under the cap last year, a whopping 63 mil under this year, how can that team possibly compete? Its all a scam on the Cleveland fans and just because they have a bunch of cheap draft picks next year won’t change that Haslam is conning Browns fans and laughing all the way to the bank just like he did with Pilot FlyingJ

  17. Trubisky has only played 3 games and all against really good defenses. He looked good in the preseason. Kinda early to write him off.

    ——————————————————–

    What kind of a moron gets excited about a guy because “he looks good in the preseason?” Lol. There are guys that have looked good for an entire SEASON of REAL NFL games that turned out to be hot garbage. That said, I wish Trubisky well.

  18. Either Hue Jackson needs to give up his head coaching position or his offensive coordinator duties because it is clear he cannot do both. I was at the game and the lack of clock management at the end of regulation was just unacceptable. They let like 20 seconds burn off the clock before the two min warning WITH 3 TIME OUTS LEFT. Constant clock blunders during games are the norm now. This coaching situation is obviously not working. Look at their record.

  19. Hue Jackson does not seem to be on the same page as the analytics guys. It’s really too early to see if the front office approach is going to work yet or not, but it’s obvious already that Hue is a bad coach. They never should have went with Kizer and they certainly shouldn’t be yo-yoing around now. They should have went with a guy like McCown or even Kessler as their QB if they wanted to show progress.

    But the fact is the Browns were not ready to start developing a QB. They wanted to put some pieces together and they throw a rookie QB into a good situation rather than throwing him into the fire. But they botched their own plan with Kizer.

    Also the Browns just don’t need an “offensive genius” running trick plays with inexperienced QBs. They just don’t have the persononnel for it. The Browns aren’t the 2015 Bengals on offense for Christ’s sake. They need simple concepts that that players can be told to execute. But no one would be praising Hue Jackson as genius for running the ball and taking pressure of his QB.

    My prediction is that Hue Jackson is OC for the Ravens next year. Guy is just not HC material.

  20. Trubisky is doing fine. The Bears wouldn’t have beaten the Ravens without him. The way the Bears defense was dominating the Panthers yesterday, all the Bears needed was for the offense to take care of the ball, which it did. In his first 3 games in the NFL, Trubisky has thrown 1 interception and his team is 2-1. He’s shown he has talent. That’s a good start.

  21. The Bears defense is way underrated. They are young, hungry, slowly healing, and seem to be getting better with each game. Except for those few times early in the season times when the Glennon-led offense turned the ball over and put their back against the wall inside their own 20, they’ve otherwise not given up squat and shut down opposing offenses.

    They past two games they’ve shut down the run game, and only surrendered a few field goals. (The Ravens TDs came on ST plays, where the Bears were without their ST’s ace/captain Sherrick McManis).

    It’s too bad the Bears brass were stubborn about starting the season with Glennon, and that hubris cost them a couple early games, but this team is 100% headed in the right direction. While I’ve been a critic of Fox for being too conservative – who cares how many passes Mitch makes – I’ll take ZERO if it means a Win. I’ve loved the trick plays, and the slower learning curve for Trubisky. What they need to do is get him a WR before the trade deadline to stretch the field a bit, but in the meantime – with a defense like that and a consistent ground game, the Bears should be able to compete with ANY team in the league.

  22. I think that the Bears are dong the right thing not putting the games on the back of their young QB. Trubisky has no real wide receivers, thanks Pace!!!!

  23. The Browns front office is only in year 2. Kinda early to be talking about that team being a failure especially a team that has 0 QB’s with a 1st round grade who (most importantly) didn’t draft any in the first round or spend big for them in free agency. Kiser is a second round pick who beat out Brock Osweiler for the job. They didn’t swing for the fences to get him so the front office nor the head coaches job should be hung on the success of ANYONE on that offense which outside of Thomas, Crowell and Duke Johnson are placeholders. I absolutely agree with the “build the team then insert the QB” mindset” and long term it should work if they’re given the time to develop it. Firing Hugh Jackson or the front office for this is in essence firing them for making a last place defense top 10 in the league by drafting smart.

    As for Joe Thomas being the only guy from the new team that deserves recognition I think Josh Cribbs is probably up there as well as one of the greatest return men in NFL history.

  24. firejerry says:
    October 23, 2017 at 12:58 pm
    I think that the Bears are dong the right thing not putting the games on the back of their young QB. Trubisky has no real wide receivers, thanks Pace!!!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    That works for now but I believe that it is simply a coincidence that it is prudent for the first few weeks of Trubisky’s career. I believe the real reason for the conservative play calls is because Fox is scared to death of relying on QBs…especially young ones. He has had several games with unreasonably low pass attempts from 3 different franchises. If the Bears keep Fox, I believe they MUST have a stud OC and/or QB coach to develop Trubisky.

  25. harrisonhits2 says:
    October 23, 2017 at 8:40 am
    “I fully understand that the Browns are in the midst of a long-term rebuilding process, and that they have a boatload of draft picks next year, and we can’t really judge them until we see what they do with those picks”

    Why are you defending that con man owner MDS? 41 mil under the cap last year, a whopping 63 mil under this year, how can that team possibly compete? Its all a scam on the Cleveland fans and just because they have a bunch of cheap draft picks next year won’t change that Haslam is conning Browns fans and laughing all the way to the bank just like he did with Pilot FlyingJ
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    They have to spend to meet the floor. With a good mix of young talent (assuming there are a few keepers) they can add a few vets and vault into contention with a decent QB. Personally, I do not believe the Hue J/Kizer combo will be any good. Hopefully they get things figured out. Those fans deserve better than rooting for a perennial doormat.

  26. cardinealsfan20 says:
    October 23, 2017 at 8:07 am
    Regarding Hundley and MM – What coach wouldn’t implement a conservative game plan for Hundley’s first start? Anyone who thought Hundley was ready to throw the ball all around the field is an idiot. Also, GB has a bye this week. That will allow more time for Hundley to settle into the starting role. Look for the Packers to push the ball down the field more in two weeks.

    ****************

    I agree to an extent – I think in the first half the conservative play calling probably helped Hundley adjust. But once we squandered the two turn overs and then lost the lead, a conservative game plan isn’t going to allow your team to climb out of a deficit. Especially when that game plan doesn’t allow your defense to get off the field.
    Once the fourth quarter hit and they were down, MM should’ve just let Brett go and see what he could do with the ball. I don’t think MM ever really had faith that they could come back. If he did, he wouldn’t have burned up the time outs so quickly in the second half.
    If you’ve already been to thinking the game is unwinnable, let’s see what decisions the kid makes to attempt a come back.

  27. As for Joe Thomas being the only guy from the new team that deserves recognition I think Josh Cribbs is probably up there as well as one of the greatest return men in NFL history.
    =====

    I’d take Alex Mack on my team any day.

    Phil Dawson is better than any Packer kicker I’ve seen in my lifetime.

    TJ Ward has had a solid career.

    .. and if he were reinstated, I think any fan of any of the 31 other teams would welcome a chance at Josh Gordon.

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