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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Offensive Outlook – Browns before Training Camp

Offensive Outlook – Browns before Training Camp

Where We Stand – the Cleveland Browns – Part I

Now come the multiple weeks in between the Browns holding minicamp and training camp, and our opportunity to analyze the many assets on the roster. Granted, fans have only been able to see the players participate in shorts, but that hasn’t stopped my breakdown before. Training camp and the preseason will be extremely telling for all members of the team – I am hopeful many can continue to improve during that period. First, we look at the offensive side of the ball and thoughts about those athletes.

Quarterbacks: Right now it appears that it is Josh McCown and then a bunch of other guys. I am happy to hear he is looking very well in practice, but he has not been facing pressure and complex defensive schemes. I am reluctant to completely buy in, I just want a quarterback who can keep the team in games and do what it takes to achieve victories. I have no expectations for Johnny Manziel, but if he is able to act like a pro and limit his mistakes this summer – maybe he will get his shot down the road.

Running Backs: I really want to see what this group can do in 2015. Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, and Terrance West each possess unique traits and abilities. The Browns were expected to have a solid running attack unit last year, but the wheels fell off mid-season what Ben Tate lost his mind (not literally). Throwing more to these guys will be a critical part of the offense, and welcomed by me as the Browns have strayed away from this aspect for many years. Each of these three bring something different to the table, and I anticipate weekly offensive game plans to revolve around the team grinding out many yards with the running backs.

Wide Receivers: The lightning rod of the offense, this group has been debated frequent by both local and nation media. Are they the worst group in the NFL, or are they underrated? Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline, while not flashy, will run proper routes and secure catches when given an opportunity. I am very excited to see the growth in Taylor Gabriel; he appears to “get it” and should improve upon a solid rookie campaign. Vincent Mayle might surprise us all and have a great rookie campaign, while if Andrew Hawkins performs up to expectations in the slot role – this gang can be a very good one. 

Tight Ends: Rob Housler, Gary Barnidge, Jim Dray, and maybe E.J. Bibb? That’s whom the Browns are trotting out at tight end this season. Expectations are far from high, but as long as this group does what is asked (hauling in occasional passes and can block consistently), I will not be disappointed. There will not be a Jimmy Graham type of performance from this unit, but making the most of their opportunities is all I ask.

Offensive Line: Here’s where the offense will hang their hat during the 2015 season. Whether it’s opening up holes for rushers or keeping the signal caller upright, the five men upfront should be performing exceptionally from summer to winter. Drafting Cameron Erving should provide depth that was lacking last year. My hopes are high for the line – why can’t the offense flourish with a tremendous front (it worked for the Cowboys in 2014)?

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Players, Training Camp

 

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Heading South and East for the Summer – Browns’ Style

Heading South and East for the Summer – Browns’ Style

Expanding the Brand 

Last year, I mentioned why the Browns ought to move practices out of Berea during the summer months (https://intentionalhounding.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/why-possibly-moving-training-camp-is-a-good-idea/). It sounds like the franchise has listened, and will sprinkle in a few new cities during the month of August. Obviously I fully support the team’s decision – let’s review what will go down in the coming weeks.

Orange and Brown Scrimmage

The team will head down Interstate 71 to the state capitol to practice at Ohio Stadium. This will occur on a Friday night (August seventh), so there will likely not be as many in attendance as there would be on a Saturday night. Nonetheless, I expect there to be a bump from last year’s scrimmage held in Infocision Stadium in Akron.

There’s a large fan base of Browns fans in Columbus, and I hope they are out in full force to support the orange and brown. This new tradition of moving the intrasquad scrimmage around, might lead to steady growth – no matter if the team heads to Toledo, Canton, or Dayton. Perhaps fans will get a glimpse of what can be expected from young veterans or the beginning of greatness from a pair of 2014 rookies who struggled mightily.

Browns vs. Bills 

On August seventeenth and eighteenth, the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills will hold joint practices in St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y., prior to their preseason matchup a few days later in First Energy Stadium. These are foreign to the orange and brown, but several clubs have been a part of these in the past few seasons (most notably the New England Patriots).

The Mike Pettine/Rex Ryan storyline should be intriguing during one week of the exhibition season. The former mentor and pupil will be butting heads (maybe literally) both in New York and Ohio. The coaches should excel at firing up their fans during this week – and onlookers should hear a fair amount of pads popping. I could not think of a better coupling for these NFL practices. Once again, if the teams can use this experience to get positive publicity, then it will have been deemed a success.

Conclusion: On paper, it would appear that the Cleveland Browns were wise in practicing in front of a few new crowds this summer. Whether it’s in the Buckeye state or not, some new eyeballs will gaze upon the roster. Will this convert onlookers to be new fans of the orange and brown? That remains to be seen, but if they can display toughness, attitude, and camaraderie – perhaps they will finally start to expand their brand name. (Victories in the fall will further this substantially).

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Wishing Upon a Star – How One Chose to Spend a Day with the Browns

Wishing Upon a Star – How One Chose to Spend a Day with the Browns

Hitting a Homerun – How the Browns Did it

It’s impossible at this point of the year when an NFL team can do great things and win on the field. However, the Cleveland Browns came pretty close to this recently – their franchise did their best to stand by a little boy who just had one wish. It’s a sad thing that the national media covered this very little, while Johnny’s tossing a water bottle garnered massive headlines. So what happened in Berea…

Positivity for the Browns

It was Dylan Sutcliffe’s Make-a-Wish (of Ohio) to spend a day with the Browns. Not only did the team do that, put they made it special for the child diagnosed with ataxia telangiectasia (a terrible disease that attacks the body’s nervous and immune systems). Dylan signed a one-day contract, toured the team’s facilities, and received a personalized jersey from the Cleveland Browns. He even got to be introduced by General Manager Ray Farmer (with his family present).

This was a great move made by the team. A way to help out Dylan and give him a daylong thrill should be commended. These types of stories cause all types of emotional reactions to those who read them. I am in fully support of the boy with his battle against the disease and hope his wish was everything he thought it would be.

Conclusion: Holdouts, arrests, and off-the-field disputes appear to be the only things that can be found from NFL media during June. It’s refreshing to hear about something not related to these topics during OTAs. I would not be surprised to hear more stories like Dylan’s down the road. Lets face it, the league should be reaching out and helping out the millions of fans. It is the most powerful league in the country; paying it forward should be the norm.

 
 

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