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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Games 9 – 16: Cleveland Browns’ Schedule Analysis

Games 9 – 16:  Cleveland Browns’ Schedule Analysis

Cleveland Browns’ 2016 Schedule: Second Half Breakdown

The second portion of the campaign for the Cleveland Browns features much more AFC North foes on it. Everyone knows that will lead to hard-nosed battles, with possible scuffles and injuries. I would not be surprised if they came away with some victories in these contests. Meanwhile, some traditional powerhouse teams could stumble if they overlook Hue Jackson’s club.

Away Contests: Week 10 @ Baltimore, Week 15 @ Buffalo, and Week 17 @ Pittsburgh 

I’m not going to sugarcoat this; the away stretch of the second half of the regular season will be difficult. All three venues are tough places to play, and the Browns have had little success at each of these stadiums. Honestly, one win out of these three contests should be welcomed (but that is still unlikely). If somehow the Browns can win more than one, it will be a miracle. I suppose the greatest possibility would be at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. 

Home Contests: Week 9 vs. Dallas, Week 11 vs. Pittsburgh, Week 12 vs. New York (Giants), Week 14 vs. Cincinnati, and Week 16 vs. San Diego

On the other side of the coin, this home slate is not as terrible as it could have been a few seasons ago. The Chargers are aging and far from a complete team, while the Giants will not be as tough as they have been under Tom Coughlin. This can tip the scales to the home squad, who needs to prove they are no longer pushovers.

Meanwhile, Dallas is a crapshoot – and I have no idea what to expect from them (especially looking at who their signal caller might be for the matchup). I still have faith the Browns can win divisional games at home. That said, another two or three wins should be anticipated by the orange and brown in these meetings.

Conclusion: Looking back at the schedule and putting realistic expectations on outcomes – five to seven wins feels about right. I would be content with this; the Browns will have greatly improved upon their record in 2015 and will be building towards the future. Finishing the campaign relatively healthy and on an uptick, and I would be finally happy at the end of a Cleveland Browns’ season.

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Posted by on May 26, 2016 in NFL Season

 

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Breakdown of Believeland

Breakdown of Believeland

Believeland Review

Cleveland finally got their airtime a week ago, as ESPN continued its series known as 30 for 30. It chronicled the city’s rise and fall in the past fifty two years or so, as well as the performance (or lack thereof) by its professional sports franchises. I came away with three main points after sitting down and watching this film.

Feeling for Earnest Byner 

The seminal moment for the program was around the 1987 AFC Championship Game and the fumble that prevented the Browns an opportunity to win over the Broncos. This was by running back Earnest Byner, who appeared as a man who is remorseful and still not over his mistake. I speak for all Browns’ fans when I say – Ernest gave 100% effort each and every play. It sucks what happened, but it’s just a game (nearly thirty years ago) and one play should not define a career (nor a man). Clearly, a championship will help erase the negative feelings – but he should not be the face of “not getting it done”.

No Change for Modell

David Modell, the son of the deceased former owner of the Browns, appeared on the program. And as expected – he came across as an ignorant moron. The man said we did not “lose the team” but it was more of a “pause without a team”. Obviously, the ill-informed guy is forgetting the coaches (like Bill Belichick), players, and executives (like Ozzie Newsome) who went to new places and found success elsewhere. Clearly the likes of Chris Palmer, Dwight Clark, and Carmen Policy are the same as the guys they replaced. And the long, sustained success of the past seventeen years is apparent – right David?

Exercised the Demons? 

I really hope this document got everything bad that happened (in the past fifty years plus) out in the open and is part of the healing process for fans, players, and management alike. I obviously forgive Ernest Byner, heck I’ll even forgive LeBron James for his decision. The last part of the story is to get that title and collectively move forward. I would not be surprised if Believeland is the beginning of good things to come for this sports town. 

Conclusion: I really enjoyed watching the film from ESPN last week. Sure it had its high and low points – but it was accurate and emotional. Outsiders should understand where Cleveland fans are coming from (and if not, I frankly don’t care). Meanwhile, the raw emotions from former athletes and fans alike – makes you feel more of a tight-knit group as a supporter of the Cavs, Indians, and Browns. Good things are on their way, and sooner than some might expect.

 

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Browns 2016 Schedule Breakdown: Games 1 – 8

Browns 2016 Schedule Breakdown: Games 1 – 8

Cleveland Browns’ 2016 Schedule: First Half Analysis

It’s never too soon to take a peek into the regular season schedule for the Browns, which begins just around four months from now. Some people are (already) predicting doom and gloom and noted that the Browns are underdogs in each contest. However, that was prior to the draft and many things can happen before September – including player development and injuries. Let’s take a gander at the team’s first eight games.

Away Contests: Week 1 @ Philadelphia, Week 3 @ Miami, Week 4 @ Washington, Week 6 @ Tennessee, and Week 7 @ Cincinnati

I have to admit that this stretch is not a murderer’s row as some people are making it out to be. All five contests are winnable; yes even the game against the Bengals. I admittedly am always a Browns optimist (until things crash and burn), but do not envision the type of drubbing that the Browns are accustomed to. Realistically I could see two or three wins coming against this group of foes. If they were against Philadelphia and Tennessee – that would be even sweeter (as the Browns will get their future draft picks, and losses will only help with draft positioning). The team will be turning heads by the way the play well on the road.

Home Contests: Week 2 vs. Baltimore, Week 5 vs. New England, and Week 8 vs. New York (Jets)

Many are in the camp that “the sky is falling”, when previewing the early schedule for games played at First Energy Stadium. The matchup against the Patriots, I will concede that as a loss. This only becomes solidified if Tom Brady’s suspension remains upheld and this is his first game in 2016. The other two contests can be had by the orange and brown though. The Ravens’ drafting has steadily been in decline, and I don’t see a tremendous roster. If this defense can put pressure on Joe Flacco, then a victory is likely for the home team. Who knows what will happen for gang green? Will Christian Hackenburg be their signal caller for this game? If that’s the case, I would feel comfortable penciling in a “W” for the Browns.

Conclusion: The first half of this season’s schedule is not as daunting as several people are leading us to believe. I firmly envision three to five victories during this stretch – any more would be excellent and any fewer would be a disappointment. Sorry, I refuse to believe that the team will go 1 – 15 and be the worst team in the league.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2016 in NFL Season

 

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The Rest of the Draft – What Can Come from these Guys?

The Rest of the Draft – What Can Come from these Guys?

Some Expectations for Rounds Four thru Seven 

Well, the Browns made many selections on the third day of the draft last week. What will come about will differ greatly from one guy to the next; hopefully most will be able to produce for the orange and brown. Let’s break down several of the athletes taken by the Browns after round three.

Joe Schobert and Scooby Wright III

There’s a good chance that this pair of linebackers will be on the field for special teams each and every game. Additionally, there is an outside shot that Wright can challenge Demario Davis and Christian Kirksey for playing time in the inside spots. Meanwhile, Schobert is versatile and might play some downs inside and could shuffle outside to help with the team’s pass rush. The odds of producing for these guys are great, however it appears to be 50/50 (or less) if they can appear with the defense.

Jordan Payton and Rashard Higgins

Initially, I believed that both wide outs that were taken in the fifth round were long-term projects with a slim chance of success. Then I watched some film and noted their production. If Payton can play the role that Miles Austin did two years ago, the reliable possession receiver who can move the sticks, then the Browns can classify this pick as a hit. Meanwhile, Higgins is a bit smaller in frame – but runs smoother routes and can turn and run with the football. I would like to think he could be the third or fourth option for this team (depending on how Ricardo Lewis develops). Both will be given a shot to play for the offense – it will come down to executing in their roles. I honestly feel that at least one can be a cog with this offense for years to come.

Derrick Kindred and Trey Caldwell

Caldwell was a “need pick” at cornerback, but will likely fall into the category of special teamer (at least to start out the 2016 campaign). The Browns would love to see him take over a starting spot in 2017 or 2018, but Caldwell will have a boatload of work prior to that occurring. I am hesitant to believe he can be a first-team cornerback down the road. Kindred is a safety and should compete with Ibraheim Campbell, Jordan Poyer, and Rahim Moore for playing time. Will he be tremendous in coverage, or is Kindred a physical safety who will stand out? Just excelling at one of those things can put the rookie on the fast track toward the starting lineup.

Conclusion: The Browns took multiple athletes who can contribute on the field immediately. Will they be a part of a unit that is one of the best in the league? The odds are against it, but (like many things Browns-related) I will hold out a bit of hope. However, if the front office actually hit on these picks (and found the diamonds in the rough) – then this might be the beginning of something great.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in NFL Draft

 

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