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Hogan’s Heroes?

Hogan’s Heroes?

New Starter and the Meaning

Following the mild success of quarterback Kevin Hogan (over Deshone Kizer’s ouput), coach Hue Jackson gave him the nod against the Houston Texans.  The second year pro is good for a touchdown and an interception each game – but is he good for a win this Sunday?  The Browns are double-digit underdogs during their matchup down south, and frankly I don’t expect a close outcome.  However, are there a few areas on the gridiron that give the team hope?

Defensive Injuries

Unless you have been living under a rock inside of a cave, you have heard of the unfortunate injury to defensive stalwart J.J. Watt, which occurred last contest.  He, defensive end Whitney Mercilus, and a starting defensive back to two might be out for the home squad.  I got to figure that will the help the Browns’ offense a bit in this game.  Hogan already has a quick release in the pocket, but having more time to throw should only help.  The running attack should benefit as well – provided Hue Jackson chooses to dial it up the way he did last contest.

Long to Release

Many have gotten on quarterback Deshone Kizer’s lengthy delivery of the football (as it is greater than Kevin Hogan) – but let’s not forget the Deshaun Watson is also getting the football out in over two-and-a-half seconds.  That just means the Browns defense has to blow by their guys and get to the rookie signal caller.  I envision Myles Garret to be a benfactor of this, but it would be nice if a few teammates could join him.  If the Browns can find a way to limit Watson’s threat to run the football – they might actually be successful in attacking the opposing offense.

Conclusion:  I would not be surprised to witness a blowout in this this contest.  However, the Browns could actually could make it a game if a few things break their way (forcing turnovers, winning the special teams matchup, etc).  As the past two seasons have gone, the breaks will go to the home team and the Texans will more than likely come out comfortably ahead in this contest.  When will the Browns win a game this year?

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Posted by on October 12, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Where to Turn Now?

Where to Turn Now?

Bummin’ After a Bad Loss

The Browns are coming off a pathetic first half but managed to keep it close last week (however it’s debatable as to whether the Colts were loosening up their defense).  The constant mistakes are maddening and who knows if they finally curb this beginning Sunday.  Additionally, the play calling for this offense is a bit head scratching – especially with personnel at wide out.  What can be done for win number one?

Hope for a Healed Garrett

Rookie defensive end Myles Garrett practiced today but his status remains uncertain as he is still fighting off a high ankle sprain.  The fact that this front four has been so underwhelming in getting to the quarterback leads me to believe that Myles might finally see the field in the limited role.  However, the staff will be careful with the first overall draft selection – to prevent further injury.  If Garrett finally plays for the Browns, I would not be surprised to see him make a big play or two.

Switch up the Routes

The Browns are running the most downfield routes (fades, streaks, fly patterns, etc.) in the NFL by a wide margin.  It is nearly double the next franchise – I understand doing this if you have Randy Moss, Terrelle Owens, or another tremendous receiver who could help an offense.  Sadly, Rashard Higgins, Kenny Britt, and Ricardo Louis have nowhere near this ability to create separation during longer routes.  Meanwhile, DeShone Kizer has to hold the ball longer – putting him in the spot to take shots from defenders.  The offensive line must maintain their blocks for several additional seconds, which could be asking a lot after several attempts.  A simple adjustment is the finally utilize shorter routes – in theory is should help the the three facets of the offense (listed earlier in this section).  This will also set up the deep passing attempts.

Don’t Put Jamar Taylor on an Island

Prior to the beginning of the season, many felt that Jamar Taylor was the de facto top cornerback for the team (with the release of veteran Joe Haden).  The result is that Taylor has had his issues against Antonio Brown and T.Y. Hilton, two of the better wide outs in the league.  I’m not saying that Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Jason McCourty are definitely better – but they have not been exposed on film in recent weeks.  Also, the Browns might be able to use safety help with coverage of A.J. Green.

Final Word:  I expect yet another loss by the Browns this Sunday, but I’ll still watch and be hopeful.  Who knows, maybe Hue Jackson actually calls a game that allows his players to produce yards, first downs, then points.  I worry about this defense, but perhaps either the addition of a player or the change in scheme can seal a win.

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2017 in NFL Season

 

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Can We Get a Win?

Can We Get a Win?

Browns vs. Colts – Smells Like 2011

No, this is not Kerry Collins vs. Colt McCoy (it is close, however) – but Sunday’s matchup is between two poor teams playing in Indianapolis.  The Browns might have to call Peyton Hillis for some nice runs (the way he did six years ago), as this part of the franchise has been largely underwhelming.  What can the Browns do to finally win?

Jacoby Brisset

The Browns are facing a mobile signal caller, who does not have a track record of success.  In addition, he will be with this franchise for three weeks now – far be it from an entrenched franchise quarterback.  The Browns have been extremely disappointing in getting pressure on the opposing signal caller – though they are coming off facing a pair of Super Bowl Champions.  Something tells me that things will be different this week, as Gregg Williams will put together a game plan to finally impact the opposing passing game.  Who will emerge for the orange and brown defensive line?

RUN THE BALL!!!!

Sorry for the all caps, but the Browns must not rely so much on the passing attack by DeShone Kizer (and Kevin Hogan).  This is more hope than anything else, but the team must utilize both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson for more than twenty carries this weekend – and the occasional swing pass or two would not be a bad thing.  If the Browns cannot generate a run game in this contest, then I have lost all hope for their offensive output.

Who Steps Up at Wide Receiver

Rashard Higgins had a solid outing last game, now without Corey Coleman – what is next for the Browns’ wide receivers?  Will Duke Johnson go back into the slot role?  Should we anticipate more from Sammie Coates and Kasen Williams?  I’m a little apprehensive about this spot, but Kizer has to throw it to someone.  I can see the team shortening their routes while still generating a bit of success.

Conclusion:  Call me crazy, but I think the Browns get it done on Sunday.  They will bounce back (from last week’s debacle) after the Colts take the Browns lightly.  It will once again be a rough, low scoring contest – but Kizer will top his counterpart and the defense will allow the visitors to leave with a “big” win.  I expect the linebackers to get back on track and Jabril Peppers is overdue for either a turnover recovery or a game-changing return on special teams.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2017 in NFL Season

 

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Thoughts on the Loss

Thoughts on the Loss

Browns Lose Again

Unfortunately, the Cleveland Browns were defeated once again in the season opener (who has head of that one before – everyone in the last 13 years).  However, there were some positives in this contest played against their rivals wearing black and yellow.

Kizer

Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer was far from perfect, but showed a performance that I have not seen from a Browns’ quarterback in quite some time.  Kizer moved the chains and made some plays against one of the best teams in the NFL.  I am eager to see him play going forward and want to see how he improves.

Running Game

Unfortunately, the best plays that I saw Isaiah Crowell make during the game was walling off defenders in the passing game.  That is a great quality to have, but I would like to have him make plays running the football.  I have a feeling that will come in the next few contests.

Wideouts

Kesean Williams burned Joe Haden but ran an improper route, leading to an incompletion.  I have all the faith in the world that Kizer will elevate the play for his targets, which will lead to further developments.  I want to see a guy or two step up (especially with Kenny Britts’ huge drop – which could limit his time going forward) and be a reliable weapon in this offense.

Secondary

The announcers made a big deal about the safeties playing very deep each and every play – the end result was not allowing a long passing play for the other team.  The Browns did collect an interception, and that should be a regular occurrence going forward.  I expected Jabril Peppers and company to switch up their coverage next week – and therefore to be more active in the contest.

Conclusion:  I will never be happy with a Browns loss, but I was encouraged after this matchup.  They competed well against an outstanding opponent and want to see how they perform on the road next week.  I envision a bunch of wins in the coming weeks, but the team has to put it together.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Getting Down to 53

Getting Down to 53

Cleveland Browns Trim their Roster

Though it’s not finalized, the Browns have pared down their active participants to the maximum required by the league.  While there were some controversial cuts (Joe Haden, John Greco, Jordan Leslie, and Rannell Hall come to mind) – overall I am content with their roster moves.  Let’s take a deeper look into some guys who are on the roster – at least for now.

Trevon Coley – Defensive Tackle

A month ago, many fans knew very little (if anything at all) about the defensive lineman who was fighting for a spot on the orange and brown.  Throughout training camp and four preseason games, Coley has looked solid and been a part of a couple of forced turnovers against the opposing offenses.  The team released veterans Desmond Bryant and Xavier Cooper over the past few weeks, providing an opportunity for Coley to prove he belongs.  I hope to see him continue to make plays in the regular season, but it will not come easy.

Backup Quarterbacks

Out goes Brock Osweiler, while Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan are the reserve signal callers.  It’s a bit alarming that the Browns currently have three quarterbacks on the roster who have not won an NFL regular season contest – but that will change soon.  I am not sure whether it was the perceived attitude, or he did not live up to the “stabilizing” status of a veteran signal caller – but the team chose to let Osweiler go.  I could see his touch on passes being less than great, but would have been ok with him over Kessler.  I really hope all of these backups don’t see the field in 2017, as Kizer has a successful rookie campaign.

Sammie Coates – Wide Receiver

In a bit of a surprising move, the Browns traded within their division and acquired a speedy wide out from the same alma mater as Ricardo Louis.  Coates brings something that none of his counterparts possess, the ability to stretch the field.  However, he must work on hauling on the passes once thrown his way.  At this level, it will be rather difficult to correct a quality like that.  I would like to believe he can turn it around here; but my guess is that the Browns will look for another burner (with solid catching ability) in the 2018 draft.

Conclusion:  For all intents and purposes, the hay is in the barn and the team is ready to go for the 2017 season.  I am buying into the new culture change, but now the wins must follow.  Stay tuned, Browns fans.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Ready to Roll with Kizer

Ready to Roll with Kizer

Looking Forward to the Rookie Quarterback

DeShone Kizer made some solid plays in yesterday’s game against Tampa Bay.  The signal caller was backed up (to begin drives) a majority of his drives and was not helped out by others around him – including his teammates and the officials.  Nonetheless the offensive unit moved the sticks a handful of times on third down, which historically has not been the case for the orange and brown.

As rookies generally do, Kizer locked in on just a few targets, especially Corey Coleman.  The second year wide out hauled in some nice grabs to continue drives for the team.  I would have liked to have seen the tight end position utilized more, but Randall Telfair dropped another catchable pass and the other two players did not make an impact.  The running backs did not stand out terribly well, as Isaiah Crowell was (hopefully) getting back into game shape.  Duke Johnson certainly did not help his case by fumbling the ball in the red zone – killing a potential touchdown drive.

I would like to believe that the Browns’ defense will play as well as they have in the exhibition season, as they have been stout.  However, there could be stretches during this season when the team will have to rely on their offense to win games.  I’m starting to believe that this unit is able to make plays but I worry about their consistency.  Mistakes are going to occur but I know that Hue Jackson and his staff will try their hardest to limit these.

Having said all of that, DeShone Kizer is the only quarterback on the roster who shows touch, accuracy, and an ability to move the offense towards the end zone.  It was night and day after Kizer exited the contest and Cody Kessler got under center.  The offense became stagnant, and the team was put into difficult situations to succeed.  I am confident that DeShone can win games in this league; while it might not be many in 2017 – there will be more in 2018 and beyond.  It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff divvies up playing time for the fourth preseason contest next Thursday.

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Thoughts Before Monday Night’s Contest

Thoughts Before Monday Night’s Contest

Cleveland Browns:  What is Going on Prior to their Next Game

Last contest was not pretty, but it was a victory for the Browns nonetheless.  Having said that, in addition to some solid plays made by the team – the first half of the contest was less than stellar.  Can this be blamed on poor play by one guy?  Certainly that is not the case, but a handful of guys should be concerned heading into next Monday’s game against the Giants.

Cam’s Gotta Go

Former first round draft pick Cameron Erving simply is not cutting it; no matter which position he is playing on the offensive line – the athlete has been largely underwhelming.  Committing Penalties, allowing defenders to make plays, and not blocking effectively are three areas of Erving’s game that are alarming and will be the reason why he does not make the 2017 roster.  The sooner, the better (in my opinion) would be a good time to let the guy go and provide an opportunity for another youngster along the line.

Wideouts are a Problem

Kenny Britt could not haul in a touchdown grab on three occasions in the first half of last week.  In addition to that, none of the guys were able to get a reasonable amount of separation from the Saints’ defenders.  I was glad to see Ricardo Louis and company get past the sticks and secure a first down grab on a few occasions, but my hopes are not tremendously high for this group.  I hope that Corey Coleman can turn this group around – but they are currently miles from a solid bunch.  The NFL requires more than chain movers.

Kizer Conundrum

It was just one game, but I have all the faith in the world that rookie DeShone Kizer is the best signal caller on the squad.  I still expect that Brock Osweiler (as Kizer’s inexperience will be the reason) will begin the regular season under center – but how long is the huge question.  The first four regular season contests are far from easy, so the change at quarterback to the rookie could still come rather early.  Ideally, Kizer will dominate the remainder of training camp to force Hue Jackson into giving him the nod on September 10th.  As it stands, Jackson has a tough decision on his hands though.

Sharpening that Saw

I was rather unimpressed with the starting defense last Thursday; Garrett Grayson and Chase Daniels are two quarterbacks who should not have any success against your franchise.  Yet that was the case, and reserve running backs played solidly as well against the Browns.  Gregg Williams has got to wake this sleeping giant of a defensive unit (I will give him credit for building the start of a foundation for this), but so far a handful of good plays is all we have seen.  Hopefully they can improve every week as a whole.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2017 in NFL Season, Players, Training Camp

 

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