- Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Working as the color analyst for Cleveland’s preseason television broadcast, former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar did not hold back with his observations and opinions during Thursday night’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
Through the course of the broadcast, Kosar was regularly critical of the Rams, focusing much of his ire on the team’s wide receivers and backup quarterback Kellen Clemens.
Asked about it on Saturday, Rams coach Jeff Fisher first noted that he believes the Browns to be a “first-class organization” before making it clear he was none too pleased with Kosar’s idea of color commentary.
“I guess I’m a little disappointed,” Fisher said. “I feel bad for them that they had someone doing the broadcast who would feel the need to speak that way about players, specifically on our team, and coaches for that matter. I’m just surprised that Bernie has such a lack of respect for players and for this game. So I lost a lot of respect for him."
Kosar didn’t waste much time in trashing the Rams, and did so repeatedly throughout the evening.
After an incomplete pass intended for Tavon Austin: “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 Nick Johnson dropped a pass: “This is actually not a bad throw. These St. Louis receivers are horrible. That’s a drop there.”
When play-by-play man Jim Donovan asked Kosar what he’d think if he knew that some of the Rams receivers' parents were watching, Kosar said he “would be embarrassed.”
Kosar then turned his attention from to receivers coach Ray Sherman.
“I’m checking through the itinerary here of guys and coaches to see who the receivers coach is to make sure I don’t know who this guy is because he’s not doing very good either,” Kosar said.
Kosar did offer praise to Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, but he didn’t feel the same way about Clemens. In fact, many of Kosar’s comments came off as though he held a personal vendetta of some sort against Clemens. When Donovan told Kosar, who had been asking for the use of a telestrator throughout the evening, that he might get one if he were on his best behavior, Kosar responded with a seemingly out-of-nowhere shot at Clemens.
“I must not be because the next quarterback in, me and him haven’t done too well with each other, too,” Kosar said.
Clemens wasn’t in the game at the time.
Later, when Clemens entered the game, Donovan relayed a story about Clemens giving an autograph to Pope Benedict XVI. Kosar said he didn’t think he’d ever want it, and then took another shot at Clemens.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” Kosar said. “I have to watch him the whole fourth quarter.”
On Saturday, Fisher said he didn’t believe Kosar had studied the Rams well enough to be making such sweeping generalizations.
“I didn’t think they were justified,” Fisher said.
Some notes from practice:
As expected, Joe Barksdale got the bulk of the reps with the first team at right tackle in place of Rodger Saffold. Barksdale held up well against defensive end Chris Long in one-on-one pass-rush drills and again during the team period. Saffold watched practice from the sideline but was out of the sling he was wearing at the end of Thursday’s game.
With Sean Hooey not practicing because of an ankle injury, rookie Barrett Jones moved over to right tackle after spending the first couple of weeks working exclusively on the interior. Jones handled reps at right tackle in one-on-ones as well as team drills. Chris Williams, who has spent most of his time at left guard, also took some reps at right tackle during one-on-ones.
Fisher said defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo (foot) is out of his boot and closer to a return.