BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 24: Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens eludes the tackle of Jayme Mitchell #92 of the Cleveland Browns for a first down during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Sounds a little strange to use the words "Browns" and "Flacco" in the same sentence, but that's what Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer did in a story on Cleveland.com. He put down his thoughts prior to the game this past weekend where the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Cleveland Browns 20-14.
Pluto listed a plethora of reasons, including Flacco's durability as well as his mastery of the Browns (7-0) in his seven previous (make it 8-0 now) meetings. He mentions how Flacco has quarterbacked the Ravens to the post season all four years that he's been in the league and notes the difficulty of doing that in the always tough AFC North.
Pluto also looks at the genius that is Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, recalling how many Pro Bowl players are and have been on the Ravens compared to basically just one legitimate perennial one (LT Joe Thomas) on the Browns. He specifically mentions the 2006 deal where the Ravens traded up with the Browns to take Haloti Ngata while the Browns willingly too Kamerion Wimbley.
It's a good read and a fair assessment of both what Baltimore has been able to do consistently over the years and likewise, what Cleveland has repeatedly failed to accomplish in that same span. For perhaps once, it's nice to see someone from Cleveland being open-minded and posting their honest opinion of a franchise (Cleveland) with a long history whose recent struggles should not be blamed on Baltimore "taking" their team 16 years ago.