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Monthly Archives: February 2016

What’s New for the Browns?

What’s New for the Browns?

Latest Browns News and Notes

This is pretty much the slowest time of year in the NFL offseason. However, the Cleveland Browns are still making news – albeit nothing earth shattering.  Let’s take an in-depth peek into a few happenings with the professional franchise located in northeast Ohio.

Josh McCown Mentorship

Recently the veteran quarterback for the Browns said he is excited for an opportunity to mentor a young quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. This is refreshing, as it is more than likely that a signal caller will be selected with the second overall choice in this year’s draft.

It’s a shame, as McCown was more than ready to take this role last year – but the young guy (in position to start) had too many demons that overshadowed his playing and led to his impending departure from the franchise.  While McCown is not a Hall-of-Fame quarterback; he is still a brilliant guy who has been in the league for many years.  Although he does not possess everything required to be a franchise quarterback, he knows what it takes to become one.  I anticipate he will convey wisdom with the newcomer, and I hope that the rookie can develop exponentially from the veteran as well as Hue Jackson (who knows his way around quarterbacks).

Mack Still Undecided

It’s pretty interesting to hear that the possible free agent-to-be continues to push back his deadline to make a decision whether he will opt out of his current contract with Cleveland Browns.  I still have the belief that he will not be donning orange and brown one way or another, but perhaps Hue Jackson can work his magic to keep the center.  Despite being one of the best centers in the NFL, he will seek nearly nine million dollars per season going forward; the Browns need to utilize their assets on more at positions that can affect the game as opposed to a guy snapping the football.

Guys to Lock Up

There are several members of the 2015 Browns whose contracts will expire next month.  However there are only two who I feel it is vital the team keeps around for several years; Mitchell Schwartz and Travis Benjamin.

With Mack likely gone, it is important that the Browns not create another hole along their offensive line.  I understand that the unit underwhelmed last season but have confidence that they will bounce back this fall (even with Cameron Erving at center).  The new coaching staff alone should help getting more out of the players than what their predecessors were able to do.

If Josh Gordon can come back to this roster, and the team drafts a Josh Doctson or Michael Thomas early in the NFL Draft – then Travis Benjamin would make a solid third receiving option.  The status of Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel with the team is up in the air, as both were injured and underproductive last season.  There will no doubt be turnover with the wide receiving corps, but they must retain a veteran or two (including Brian Hartline) – especially with Gordon being a bad decision away from exiting the league.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2016 in Offseason, Players

 

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Possible Ramifications from the Super Bowl to the Browns

Possible Ramifications from the Super Bowl to the Browns

Did Super Bowl Change Browns’ Philosophy?

Everyone knows, by and large, that the NFL is an offense-based league that focuses squarely on the guy under centers.  However after witnessing the biggest game of the season, which was recently completed – some could wonder whether that is still the case.  Can the Browns build a winner as many have done in the league, or is there another way to go?

Discussion for Quarterbacks:  Looking at the Super Bowl from a year ago (and many others in history), teams like the Patriots continue to thrive in the league.  Having a franchise quarterback is vital for success and can turn the tables in tight contests.  Personally, I want the Browns to have the best signal caller possible – and to keep trying to find that guy each and every season.  The final four quarterbacks in this year’s postseason were Tom Brady and three first overall draft selections.

Therefore it only makes sense that they choose the top quarterback with the second overall pick.  The Browns can obtain excellent pass rushers, linebackers, as well as secondary members throughout the draft (provided the team actually chooses the right guys).

Reason for a Defense:  Let me start by saying that this point does not include having a less-than-average signal caller with the franchise. Sure the quarterback might not be a Hall of Famer or even exceptional, however the team would require at least a game manager and one who can make the most of his opportunities.  It’s not easy, but if the Browns’ defense can be the best in the league (in terms of yards and points allowed) – then they will be in line for a championship.

The problem with building franchises this way is that there are so many more moving parts involved than just the quarterback.  I
understand that finding great defenders is easier than a franchise signal caller – but the Browns would have to hit on many choices via the draft and free agency.  Also, they would need to drastically change the poor defensive culture and mindset.

Conclusion:  While Russell Wilson has been a good story of past seasons, and a thirty-nine year old Peyton Manning won a title with a fantastic defense – it is not time to over-think things.  The Cleveland Browns need to find their guy under center for years to come and surround him with talented playmakers.  This not only includes wide outs, but also defenders that can give the ball back to the offense.  Creating a new culture where the Browns are tenacious and believe they can win every single game would go a long way as well.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2016 in Offseason

 

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Out with the Old…

Out with the Old…

Closing the Book on another Horrible Draft Pick

Two seasons after the Cleveland Browns erroneously chose Johnny Manziel in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Browns are set to jettison the embattled signal caller.  Sashi Brown made the team’s feelings clear – stating they had no further comments about the player at this time and that his status will be addressed when league rules permit it.  Obviously if they were still planning on holding on to the athlete, surely they would have mentioned that.  The Former Texas A&M standout looked to take the league by storm – unfortunately (for him and his followers) he could not do anything right, on or off the field. Without diving too deep, I take a quick look back and a sneak peak forward into the quarterback possibilities for the Browns.

Wanted Teddy

In the 2014 NFL Draft, I was pulling for the Browns to choose Teddy Bridgewater as their next guy under center.  However that was not the case and the Browns took a guy who was overrated and undersized instead.  Will Teddy be the franchise savior for the Minnesota Vikings?  I would argue against that at this point, but he is in an advantageous situation where he can lead his team to wins despite low passing totals.  Therefore, I’m no longer looking back and am content at the 2016 NFL Draft.

Want Jared

It’s no secret that I hope that the brain trust of the team shapes up and secures the quarterback who not only has his head on his shoulders, but also can perform consistently at an excellent level.  I will go in depth further about options with the second overall pick, but for now I would like to see Jared Goff chosen with their first draft choice.  The team has faltered taking any quarterback from the late first round on, and had moderate success with Tim Couch.  Worst-case scenario is that they get a repeat of this if they take Goff at number two.

Conclusion:  While the gray cloud has not officially been lifted off the collective heads of the Cleveland pro football franchise, many are excited and content that the ridding of the wasted (pun intended) is all but a formality now (when the league year begins in March). Glaring mistakes like this cannot be made by the new regime; perhaps Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta, and company will make bright moves draft weekend and beyond.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2016 in Offseason, Players

 

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News from the Senior Bowl – Cleveland Browns

News from the Senior Bowl – Cleveland Browns

Senior Bowl Notes

The annual Senior Bowl from Mobile Alabama just concluded last week, and like every season there are a few things to take away from the ever-important period.  There were several members who improved their draft stock, and others less than impressive on the practice field. However, in addition to the athletes participating – there has actually been some conversation regarding the Cleveland Browns.  Let’s look into both areas.

What to Make of Carson Wentz

The tall (six-foot, five inches) signal caller from North Dakota State was definitely the man on display in front of hundreds of NFL scouts. He is similar to Paxton Lynch in both stature as well as level of collegiate competition he has faced.  The latter is a reason why many feel he might be more of a project than Jared Goff (to which I agree).  I like what he can do as a quarterback, but would prefer the Browns go in another direction at quarterback (especially with their first round choice).

Braxton Miller at Wide Receiver

Another athlete who garnered a fair amount of praise was former quarterback (turned wide out) Braxton Miller.  In addition to playing his collegiate games in this state, many remember some shifty moves that accompany the playmaker.  I feel he would be a viable addition to a wide receiving corps, but like Wentz could take time to develop into his role in the NFL.  Even with the possibility of getting Josh Gordon back, I would prefer more of a dynamic, experienced, and large wide out who can intimidate defenses.  Miller would be a superb third receiving option, but I envision someone reaching for him in the
upcoming draft and hoping he will be their main attraction on the outside.

The Rise of Noah Spence

The former Ohio State defensive lineman has been dominating in drills during his time in Mobile.  However, the substance abuse issues (leading to his dismissal from Columbus) are enough reason for teams to bypass the phenomenal defender.  The Browns should be one of those organizations to not gloss over red flags; they simply don’t have to culture to overcome these characters.

A Reason to Believe?

For the first time in what seems like an eternity, the Cleveland Browns actually sent representatives to the Senior Bowl to watch and interact with the draft eligible players.  In addition to the many scouts, head coach Hue Jackson owner and Jimmy Haslam were busy delving into athletes as well as holding many interviews.  One could hope that they are doing it the right way; this is the opposite of what they have previously done and that did not work.

Conclusion:  This is an exciting time for almost every team in the NFL (at least the thirty not currently preparing for the Super Bowl). However, people must temper enthusiasm with these seniors – sure some look good now but the level of competition will increase significantly over the course of the next few months.  Optimistically, I am pulling for the Browns uncovering multiple late round gems in the draft. There’s a good chance that these guys could have been participating in the Senior Bowl festivities.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Offseason, Players

 

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