Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope everyone enjoys their cookouts, parties, fireworks displays, or whatever else you'll be doing today. It's been awhile since we've had an Around the Pound, so let's get to it as the DBN Dawg celebrates the holidays as well.
In this week's Sunday column, Terry Pluto discusses 15 things that he thinks will happen this season. He always seems to speak to the commonsense fan, because I pretty much agreed with everything he had to say. In fact, many of Pluto's predictions are things that I have brought up in the offseason:
- CB Joe Haden will begin the season as a nickel back.
- TE Ben Watson will be a huge improvement over last year and will also play a very important role for QB Jake Delhomme.
- Any way you put it, the right side of our offensive line is still the weak link.
- DL Shaun Rogers will be unhappy about something, such as a move to defensive end, but the staff will get him to come around. I'm not sure if I mentioned it in the DL preview piece I wrote, but I've been wondering how willing Rogers would accept the move to DE.
In Pluto's column, he also brings up the fact that fans are buying season tickets less and less. The Browns are looking for constructive suggestions on how to improve your game day atmosphere and ticket packages:
The Browns want to hear from fans about what they can do better on game days, with tickets, etc. Please, don't write, "Win more games." Don't send suggestions about coaching, quarterbacks, etc. This is an attempt to connect with fans about how the Browns can improve on the business side. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pluto will also be speaking on the subject of fans at Brook Park Public Library this Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
I believe the trip occurred in March, but the New York Times has a story on several NFL players going overseas for various reasons. Of the players featured is Joe Thomas, who you can see a picture of in Afghanistan at the link provided. Thomas continued to stay in touch with one of the men (Sgt. Eric Harder) he met over there, going out of his way to send the guy's mother an email:
"I am sure he had no idea what an impact it would have on me, but it was huge," said Harder's mother. "There are those in the spotlight that make sure that no act of kindness goes unnoticed. Not Joe. He wrote me an e-mail with absolutely no expectation to bring glory back to himself. He actually seemed uncomfortable with any praise coming his way."
For Thomas, who has invited Harder to a Browns game this season, it was the least he — or any N.F.L. player — could do.
"There’s no doubt that so many guys in the N.F.L. are giving back," Thomas said. "It’s so much a part of what we do and who we are. And we get just as much satisfaction of giving back in any little way we can, whether it’s Afghanistan, Uganda, Cape Town or maybe it’s just in Berea, Ohio."
- I've been checking out a few DVD's lately. One of those was Up, which featured the awesome talking dog, "Dug." Such a great movie despite some of the oddities, such as talking dogs or being able to fly a house in-tact with balloons. I also saw Funny People and was surprised how long the film lasted. It definitely had a different tone than a lot of Sandler's movies, but he and Seth Rogen teamed up for enough laughs to make it enjoyable. It was nice to see two people from the cast of Parks & Recreation, another TV show that I still need to catch up on.
- Big Brother 12 begins this Thursday, and the twist this year is that one of the contestants will be a saboteur. It kind of sounds like the same twist as America's Player a few years back, but I'm guessing there will be something slightly different about the role besides the title (like more input from the fans).
- I watched Brock Lesnar from his days with the WWE. I've only watched two UFC matches over the past two years, both of them being Lesnar's title matches. I was taken aback by the beating he received in round one yesterday, but the turnaround in round two was amazing. For more coverage on UFC events, we have a great SB Nation blog that covers that at BloodyElbow.com.
- Robin Williams has been begging to play a role in Batman 3, possibly as the Riddler. But, he said even if he just made a cameo as a crazy inmate, he'd live with it -- he just wants to be in the film. Several actors have made their public pleas to be in the next Batman; it'll be interesting to see if any of them actually get their wish.