Puskas: Irate Rams fans should lighten up

Bernie Kosar is still a beloved figure in these parts, but the former Cleveland Browns quarterback isn’t getting the key to the city of St. Louis any time soon.

Kosar and Browns radio play-by-man man Jim Donovan have teamed up on WKYC’s telecasts of the team’s preseason games for years. They did so again on Thursday night, when the Browns beat the St. Louis Rams, 27-19.

Kosar made some pointed remarks about the Rams. He was particularly critical of backup quarterback Kellen Clemens and the St. Louis receivers.

At one point, Kosar said of Clemens: “I can’t stand watching him play.”

Donovan mentioned that Clemens met Pope Benedict XVI a few years ago and Kosar joked: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I have to watch him the whole fourth quarter.”

After an incompletion intended for rookie wide receiver Tavon Auston, Kosar said: “I really think that he didn’t overthrow him and that Austin has to make that catch in the NFL. I see why Sam [Bradford] has been struggling watching how bad these receivers have been for him.”

After a drop by wideout Nick Johnson: “This is actually not a bad throw. These St. Louis receivers are horrible. That’s a drop there.”

As is typical in The Age of Manufactured Outrage, the St. Louis message boards exploded on cue. You’d have thought Bernie ripped Stan Musial and spraypainted the Gateway Arch.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who should have better things to do, responded Saturday:

“I’m just surprised that Bernie has such a lack of respect for players and this game,” Fisher said. “To be honest with you, I lost a lot of respect for him.”

Kosar never had the smoothest delivery as a quarterback, but always produced. The same is true of his work on TV.

Kosar revealed in January that he has undergone treatment for brain injuries. He had a dozen documented concussions during a 13-year NFL career with the Browns, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.

Despite an awkward delivery, Kosar makes salient points about what happens on the field.

Bernie knows football — both good and bad — and isn’t afraid to be critical. We often complain about people who are afraid to take a stand, but we’re quick to rip those who do. Give me a color analyst who calls it the way he sees it over a shill who is afraid to be critical of anyone.

We’ve become too thin-skinned. Why should anyone in St. Louis care what an opposing team’s broadcast team says about their players during an exhibition game in August?

Cleveland fans couldn’t care less what other teams’ broadcasters have to say about their teams. Their own criticism of the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers is plenty pointed.

Clemens and the rest of the Rams are NFL players — at least for now. They’re not in high school anymore. They don’t need St. Louis message-board nerds — or even Fisher — to defend them against legitimate criticism.

Ed Puskas is sports editor at The Vindicator. Email him at epuskas@vindy.com and follow him on Twitter, @edpuskas85.

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