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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Latest Happenings for the Cleveland Browns

Latest Happenings for the Cleveland Browns

Browns’ Offseason Notes

The news surrounding the NFL and Cleveland Browns is ever evolving and continues to emerge over the entire calendar year. Despite the lack of on-the-field action by the orange and brown, there continues to be two talking points about the franchise this time of year. The first is a deadline for spectators, while the second is another milestone for the 2016 draft.

Season Tickets

Last week included the final day for Cleveland Browns’ fans to determine whether they wanted to purchase season tickets for the 2016 season. Along those lines, multiple stories are arising of fed up fans that are no longer renewing. The expenses of parking, tailgating, game ticket, and amenities are extremely difficult to justify for several Clevelanders (and surrounding areas). Many don’t believe the Browns will be Super Bowl contenders next campaign; but routine defeats are arduous to sit through. Nonetheless, I give season ticket holders all my respect – it’s a badge of honor I only had once (in 2014).

Jared Goff’s Pro Day

The California quarterback was on display in Berkeley, in front of many NFL front offices and executives. He was lauded for doing a solid job – nothing great and not terribly disappointing either. His “small” hands even grew by an eighth of an inch! I am glad it was not completely hyped like one guy’s Pro Day happened earlier (Texas A&M in 2014). He did not have to hit it out of the park, but it was calming seeing Goff excel in the tasks that he was asked to accomplish. Hue Jackson and Pep Hamilton were notably present at his Pro Day. The latter was spotted soaking a football with water and asking the quarterback to continue the throwing drill. This is a obvious sign that he has a sense of interest and is curious to see how he performs in adverse situations. Again, he is my top choice at number two – hopefully Hue Jackson, Sashi Brown, and company agrees with me.

Conclusion: It has definitely become a “wait and see” approach for this team’s fan base. Prior to the upcoming draft, many pundits are anticipating doom and gloom (and rightly so). The futility of last year’s three wins is something that the 2016 club aspires to achieve ought to temper expectation. But that also limits excitement and enthusiasm by Browns’ fans as well. Perhaps an exceptional draft will help change some minds in the coming months, but that type of action has eluded the franchise for many years.

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Goodbye and Hello – Browns Roster Changes

Goodbye and Hello – Browns Roster Changes

Recent Happenings for the Cleveland Browns

Well, the Browns made some more news this past week. They continued to be criticized by the national media – some of it rightly so, while others was “a bit much”. People continue to forget that championships are not won in free agency, but let’s not get in the way of a narrative to disparage a franchise that has been putrid for over a decade and a half. However it was not all about the subtractions, as the team first signed a pair of guys.

Letting the Free Agents Walk

While the Browns might have negotiated with all their top four free agents, each left to play elsewhere in 2016 and going forward. Alex Mack flew the coop to Atlanta, Mitchell Schwartz is the main chief in Kansas City, Travis Benjamin bolted to San Diego, and Tashaun Gipson is another “jag” in Jacksonville. It was a bummer as a fan to see this occur, as the team definitely got weakened as a result. However, I am in the camp supporting the decision to move on from guys who always lose. Will their replacements be winners? Who knows, but I’m not shedding any tears by these losses – but (after listening yo some) you would have thought the team lost four Hall of Famers.

Bye Bye Johnny

In a move that surprised no one, the team jettisoned their troubled signal caller. The previous regime went for the sizzle instead of the steak, and it ultimately cost them their job. I wish him the best personally, but would not be amazed to see that his professional career concluded. The page has been turned and I am ready to move forward as well.

Two New Signings

The team finally secured a pair of athletes during the free agency period.   One is Alvin Bailey, an offensive lineman who previously was with the Seattle Seahawks. It would appear to be a move for depth; a reserve player who could play special teams or spots in the starting role. Bailey had eight starts in three seasons – he is young but still rather inexperienced.

Secondly, Justin Tuggle was acquired from the Houston Texans. The outside linebacker is also youthful and green, garnering just eleven starts in three seasons. I envision him for more of special teams, unless he can shock everyone and become a tremendous pass rusher. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it seems like yesterday that his father Jesse was roaming the sidelines of the Georgia Dome.

Conclusion: The roster purge appears to be on for the Cleveland Browns. The got rid of overpriced guys who were not elite athletes that could impact the game (the way a quarterback or wide receiver could). The draft simply becomes that more important – this is a scary premise as the team has a lousy record at doing this. I will give the new guys a break though.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2016 in Free Agency, Offseason, Players

 

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Zeroing in Team Needs – Cleveland Browns

Zeroing in Team Needs – Cleveland Browns

Top Three Priorities for the Cleveland Browns

As we are underway in the free agency period, there are a couple of positional groups that are in dire need of upgrading for the Cleveland Browns.  Some of these will be addressed by acquiring free agents (from other squads), while other positions will be improved upon (hopefully) via the draft.  Which are the most vital areas of the team that the front office should supplement with better athletes?  Let’s break it down below…

Quarterback

This is an obvious no-brainer, as Josh McCown is the only signal caller currently on the roster who could even have a shot at winning an NFL game.  It should be apparent that the team will select their next guy under center in April’s draft.  I would like to see the team secure their new athlete with the second overall pick, insert him in the lineup to play immediately, and see what happens from there. Unlike much of the fan base, I understand developing a franchise quarterback takes time – so the wins might not be there in 2016 but that could change down the road.

Wide Receiver

Another apparent spot to upgrade is at wide out.  Unlike quarterback, I want to see the Browns sign a guy in free agency (Mohamed Sanu is a likely candidate) as well as draft one in the second round.  Drafting a young signal caller is a good start for this team, however finding large, fast targets to help him out is something that the Browns need to accomplish as well.  The Browns were riddled last season with small receivers who got hurt easily and were not physically gifted to match up with their opponents.   I’m tired of seeing the team not scoring touchdowns in the fall; great wide receivers should help with this problem.

Linebacker

Both inside and outside linebackers need to be substantially better in 2016 than they have been in prior seasons.  Karlos Dansby is not getting any younger and Craig Robertson is solid but might not remain with this team.  The Browns need to find a guy who can not only cover receivers up the middle, but also be fundamentally sound with his ability to tackle.  On the outside, at least one dominant pass rusher is needed for this defense.   Nate Orchard is the only young athlete who showed promise in 2015 – everyone else either underachieved or has an unknown status.  The Browns might be able to scoop up a diamond in the rough (at linebacker) in the middle rounds of the draft; hopefully they are able to utilize him effectively in Ray Horton’s defense.

Conclusion:  I am looking forward to the Browns finally being able to make this roster better than it was a season ago.  I understand that they actually have to make the correct decisions, but I would like to believe they will do a better job than their predecessors.  The team needs to improve their quarterback, wide receiver, and linebacker positions – whichever way possible.  If the Browns can successfully accomplish this, perhaps they could actually make a leap towards respectability one year after seventeen weeks of misery.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2016 in Free Agency, NFL Draft, Offseason

 

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Latest Tidbits from Indy – Browns and the Combine

Latest Tidbits from Indy – Browns and the Combine

NFL Scouting Combine

Well it was the combine that went down last week in Indianapolis for all thirty-two professional franchises.  Once again, many topics were discussed, dissected, and overblown both by the local and national media alike.  Only concerning myself with the Cleveland Browns, let’s review a few of the stories of what occurred for the orange and brown.

Don’t Repeat Past Mistakes

Remember two years ago when many were worried about quarterback Teddy Bridgewater due to his slender frame and smaller hand size?  It would appear that the Browns were concerned, as they took a guy who had larger hands (despite being shorter).  The team must realize there is much more to the puzzle than a few attributes.

Flash forward to this year; it is looking early on that Jared Goff is barking up the same tree.  His hands are a full inch smaller than Carson Wentz’s and he is tipping the scales at not much north of two-hundred pounds.  I will repeat my stance on this, as it has not changed from 2014.  Can the guy play quarterback in the NFL?  By which I mean, can the athlete process information quickly, make correct decisions, and perform at a professional level?  My answer to this regarding Goff still remains at yes; I hope the Browns are not afraid to take the University of California product.

Great Words to Hear

During his press conference, Hue Jackson said two things I enjoyed hearing.  The reason why I found them refreshing, it that is was a stark contrast from his predecessors (who ultimately failed).

First, the Browns’ coach will be heading to multiple pro days in the coming weeks.  He will get an up-close look at the prospects at all the important positions – including quarterback.  What a noble concept, actually scouting potential employees prior to working with them!  This was not the norm for several years prior.

Also of importance, Jackson stated that he will not put a tremendous amount of stock into the scouting combine.  Of course it will be important, especially with the personal interviews – but one workout or measurement will not define an athlete’s value.

Sashi Brown Ridding Misinformation

Many media outlets are dismissing the possibility of the Browns retaining any of their four top free agents.  However, Sashi Brown stated at his press conference that they have been having updated conversations with each guy (Alex Mack, Mitchell Schwartz, Tashaun Gipson, and Travis Benjamin).  Will they re-sign any or all of these guys?  Time will tell, but I am not ready to say they definitely will not.

Conclusion:  The week in Indianapolis is vital for all NFL teams; they must use their time wisely to get the required information from the young athletes.  However, this is also a chance for front offices to meet to agents to discuss future contracts.  It appears that the Browns are doing both currently (and in depth).  I am not certain that was the case under past regimes – so I guess that is a positive heading into the 2016 free agency period.

 

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2016 in NFL Combine

 

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