Browns keeping some dubious company at 0-10
The Cleveland Browns are keeping some dubious company, though they aren't as hapless as the 1983 and `84 Houston Oilers.
At 0-10, they are the 17th team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to reach that low level, according to Pro Football Reference. They have joined the 2014 Raiders, 1997 Colts, 1993 Bengals, 1971 Bills and those back-to-back losers in Houston with 10 losses to begin a season.
Those Oilers finished 1983 at 2-14, then went 3-13 the next year.
Should the Browns lose to the Steelers on Sunday, they would join the 1975 Chargers, 1984 Bills and 2000 Chargers with 0-11 records. San Diego wound up 2-12 in `75 and 1-15 in 2000, while Buffalo was 2-14 in `84.
Next up – make that down – the ladder are the 0-12 squads, Tampa Bay in 1977 and Detroit in 2001. The Bucs wound up 2-12 in their second season of life, while the Lions went 2-14 in `01.
Should the Browns get to 0-13, they will have equaled the futility of the 2007 Dolphins and 2011 Colts. Miami wound up 1-15 and Indianapolis went 2-14.
The 1976 expansion Bucs lost all 14 of their games. Four years later, the Saints went 0-14 before winding up 1-15.
No NFL team has lost its first 15 games in a season and then won. Indeed, the only club to drop the first 15, the 2008 Lions, fell into infamy by also losing its finale.
The folks in Cleveland don't want to hear anything about 0-16.
COACH BEARING GIFTS: Jack Del Rio is bringing gifts when the Oakland Raiders travel to Mexico City to take on the Houston Texans.
Del Rio's foundation will donate backpacks, school supplies and playground balls to needy kids on Sunday, a day before the Raiders play the first regular-season game in Mexico since 2005.
''I was inspired by the Sport in the Service of Humanity Conference in Rome,'' says Del Rio's wife, Linda. ''After speaking with my fellow delegates, who all do amazing charitable work in the world of sport globally and in Third World countries on a daily basis, I believed that this would be a fantastic opportunity to give something sustainable back to Mexico City within the world of sport.''
The foundation and NFL Mexico will also give $10,000 to the charitable organization Mano Amiga, and the foundation will give $8,000 to Mano Amiga for the purchase of athletic uniforms.
Students in Mano Amiga will also participate in a free football clinic facilitated by the Raiders on Sunday.
GRIESE REMEMBERS: Bob Griese will be reacquainted with an old friend on Sunday when the Dolphins play the Rams: the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
''I haven't seen that place in a long time and I've got some great memories,'' says Griese, a member of the Dolphins' broadcasting crew.
Griese was Miami's quarterback when the Dolphins capped the only perfect season in NFL history in L.A. by defeating the Redskins, 14-7, in Super Bowl 7.
''We never talked about going undefeated,'' Griese says of that 1972 team. ''We talked about winning the Super Bowl in L.A. versus the Washington Redskins. There was nothing in the locker room after the game like, `Hey, we're undefeated!' It was, `Hey, we finally won the Super Bowl.' Because we had lost the year before to Dallas.
''It's going to be nice to go back. There is going to be a flood of memories going back to the Coliseum.''
Griese says he'll reflect on that game, but also teammates that are no longer alive.
''I'm going to walk around the field a little bit and that will be nice because I will remember all the guys and coach (Don) Shula,'' Griese says. ''Some of the guys are passing away. It's going to be nice to remember those guys, and especially Garo Yepremian – remember that play?''
Yepremian, who died in 2015, nearly cost the Dolphins the game when he attempted a pass after having his field goal blocked. Washington's Mike Bass grabbed the wobbly heave and returned it 49 yards to pull the Redskins within 14-7.
''We never went through that in practice,'' Griese says with a laugh. ''We never went through the scenario that, `OK, Garo, if you ever get the ball in your hands, don't try to throw it. Just fall down, you know. Or throw it into the ground.'
''The other thing was when they were running down the sideline, (Garo) had a chance to throw his body and knock (Bass) out of bounds and he just kind of waved at him. We kidded Garo about that for a long time. ''There was a few (teammates) that were pretty upset with him. But we won the game so everything was fine.''
And no team has been perfect since.
GETTING READY FOR RODGERS: There are two particular tricks that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers loves to use: hard counts that draw a defender offside to allow for a free play, and quick snaps that catch a defense with 12 men on the field.
Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry is well aware of those moves, of course, and spent time preparing his players for them before Washington (5-3-1) hosts Green Bay (4-5) on Sunday night.
''It's something that you preach, you prepare for, you talk about,'' Barry said.
To avoid getting caught on the hard count, Barry said, defensive linemen need to worry about watching for when the ball is hiked, rather than listening to Rodgers' voice.
And as for avoiding penalties for too many men, he said, ''You've got to sub with urgency. And it's not only the guy running onto the field subbing. It's, more importantly, the guy running off the field, because (Rodgers) looks for it. And I don't know if it's truly just him looking for it or if the coaches on the sideline see it and give him the green light through the headset. But he's outstanding at it.''
AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Howard Fendrich, Sports Writer Josh Dubow and freelance writer Jay Paris contributed.
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