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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Browns @ Pittsburgh – Game #16

Browns @ Pittsburgh – Game #16

The Last Game of the Season – Cleveland Browns

Well, the Browns finally broke though and pulled out a win last week; thankfully there will not be a parade to celebrate losing.  Their game at Pittsburgh marks the last contest this campaign but not one where the team in orange and brown is expected to win.   Nonetheless, let’s review a few key aspects of this matchup.

Little to Gain

Once again, the Steelers have already clinched a playoff berth and are locked in their spot as a divisional winner.  Thus, there is not a ton to play for in this matchup (as they cannot obtain a first round bye) – at least on their end.  I would expect Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell (to name a few) to participate in this matchup but not for the entire contest.  Will their backups be able to overtake the Browns’ starters?  Outside of Landry Jones – I would not be surprised to see other reserves still making plays.

Any Sort of Confidence?

The Browns are coming off a victory; something that was over a year in the making.  That said, will the taste of a win carry over into this contest?  It is unlikely as they are facing a sound football team; however the Browns have not been in this spot under Hue Jackson.  I am interested to see how the athletes respond and come out on Sunday.  I feel this could be a close contest at Heinz Field.

Kessler Under Center

The concussion of Robert Griffin in last week’s contest paved the way for Cody Kessler to return to the lineup.  The rookie will more than likely get the nod in this contest.  In my estimation, he is the only signal caller on the roster who will be returning onto the 2017 squad.  To what capacity might be determined by how he fares in this game.  I expect Cody to revert back to his conservative style, in order to limit his potential mistakes.  Perhaps he can come out throwing and hitting his targets in stride.

Conclusion:  For the first time all season, the Browns were winners while I predicted them to lose.  I would love for a repeat scenario on Sunday, but still expect the black and yellow to propel to victory.  They appear to be an organization that wants to have positive momentum for the playoffs.  Meanwhile, the Browns’ draft (and free agency) talk will continue to heat up in the coming months.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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The Browns Win!!!

The Browns Win!!!

The Cleveland Browns Pulled out a Tough One

As expected, this was a close contest and came down to the last play of the game.  The special teams frankly got it done in the fourth quarter and survived a pair of Josh Lambo field goal attempts late in the contest.  I’m not going overboard, but I am extremely relieved that the team was finally able to pull out a win in this treacherous season.  What can be taken away from this victory?

A Little Bit of Each

The Browns’ offense was not stellar, but was gritty enough to move the football and (more importantly) put points on the scoreboard.  Likewise, the defense did not shut down the Chargers – however, they prevented the opponent from finding the end zone on a few occasions (which was the difference in the outcome).  Obviously, the special teams were good enough as well in this game.  The Browns got it done in all three phases in this matchup.  I would like to think that with improved talent, and complementary football – the Browns will win games with more regularity this season.

What this Means

If anyone has seen the video from the locker room after the victory, it is easy to see why this was a critical win.  The locker room got a bit tighter and the players showed their continued support for coach Hue Jackson.  I hope this is a turning point for the franchise, but we can not have this argument until they had their first victory of the season.  I am pulling for this being a rally cry for the changed culture which will improve with more talented athletes and wins.

Protection Remains Alarming

The Chargers sacked the Browns quarterbacks nine times, meanwhile the home squad did not put up a single sack on Saturday afternoon.  If the Browns ever want to be a consistent winner, they need to level the playing field in this department.  I believe they will bolster their pass rush in the draft, but the offense still has work to do.  The signal caller must get the ball out quickly, and the offensive line must hold up their end of the bargain.

Conclusion:  The Browns won a game and still maintained their overall first draft pick status – not a bad day for the Cleveland Browns organization.  I am eager for their building in the offseason, but clearly making the right choices (by personnel department) is what is important.

 

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2016 in Cleveland Browns Fans, NFL Season, Players

 

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Browns Vs. Chargers

San Diego at Cleveland 

Well the Browns will trot out on the field yet again this week.  However, they will be playing on a Saturday (and Christmas Eve).  I am fortunate there are other things going on except watching the putrid team.  Nonetheless, what is going on in this game?

Hunting the Browns

Rookie tight end Hunter Henry figures to have a solid outing against the Browns.  Philip Rivers should find the weapon multiple times, including in the red zone.  The Browns will not be able to limit the tight end.

The Running Back Spot

It will likely be Kenneth Farrow, but there’s a chance that Melvin Gordon could return from injury in this matchup.  At this point, it doesn’t really matter who is in the back field – he will be successful against the orange and brown.

Griffins Last Chance?

For some odd reason, Hue Jackson is sticking with Robert Griffin as his quarterback in this game.  The veteran has no business playing, as rookie Cody Kessler looks like an upgrade at this point. I do not have high hopes for the Browns’ offense.

Conclusion:  Outside of a mammoth outing by Isaiah Crowell and a turnover-filled day by the Chargers’ offense, there are few scenarios where I could witness a Browns victory.  The team will fall at home and will be one defeat from embarrassment.  If those idiots actually do put on a parade, then that would be a bigger embarrassment.  Go Browns!

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2016 in Cleveland Browns Fans, NFL Season

 

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Another Team’s Practice

Another Team’s Practice

Browns Physically Dominated on Sunday

Once again, the Cleveland Browns were beaten up at the line of scrimmage, as LeSean McCoy, Mike Gillislee, and Tyrod Taylor ran up and down the field against the orange and brown.  I understand the Bill have the best rushing offense in the league, but they showed why in this contest.  What else can be taken away from this outing?

Not a Protective Unit

Robert Griffin was taken down five times in the pocket, it has become obvious that the line is failing to keep the signal caller clean.  It continues to be obvious that this part of the Browns’ team must be upgraded this offseason.  I know that there have been multiple injuries to key guys (i.e. Joel Bitonio and John Greco) but the guys filling in have nowhere replicated the performance of an adequate unit.

Defending the Tight End?

The defense (early in the season) had a problem defending the opposing tight end in coverage.  Unfortunately, that reared its ugly head once again in this matchup as Charles Clay hauled in seven receptions and was the leading receiver (while also securing a touchdown).  It’s rather frustrating and disappointing trying to watch this unit, but the other two aspects of the team are not much better.

Let’s Talk about the Run Again

I know I touched on it earlier, but that performance by the Browns’ defense against the run was embarrassing and unacceptable.  The Bills amassed 280 yards on the ground and were picking up five to seven yards easily on each carry.  Changes must also be made in the offseason to rectify this porous part of the franchise.

Conclusion:  And then there were two – this refers to the number of games remaining in the season to finally earn a victory.  If the Browns play the way they did today then they will be defeated soundly.  At least the Browns will not lose next Sunday, as they play on a Saturday.

 

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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A Glance into Browns @ Bills

A Glance into Browns @ Bills

Browns @ Buffalo:  Game Number Fourteen

I cannot sugar coat this season, it was been painful to watch and the positives are few and far between.  However, this is another contest I feel the Browns will have a slight opportunity to secure a victory.  The odds are stacked against them as they travel east and face a rather solid football team – who is expected to win by double digits.  There are four reasons why the orange and brown could still strike the upset, let’s take a further look into these.

Distention in the Ranks

There have been rumors surrounding the future of Bills’ coach Rex Ryan as he navigates his way to another losing season.  Have there been talks between management and the coaching staff?  Will this affect the way the coaches call this game plan on Sunday?  It might be all for naught, as Ryan was in a similar situation in 2013 (with the Jets) and defeated the Browns in a contest late in the season – en route to saving his job that year.

(Actually) Scouting the Opponent

Le’Veon Bell is undoubtedly one of the best running backs in the NFL and plays like it week in and week out.  He had a historic performance last week in Buffalo; I would have to imagine that coach Jackson and the Browns will attempt to stick the run themselves.  I know Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson are nowhere near the level of Bell, but maybe they can find holes in the defense and can make things much easier for the offense.

Quarterback Question Mark

Along the lines of the head coach, the guy under center has come under much scrutiny and could be replaced in the near future.  However, Tyrod Taylor will be the starting quarterback for the opposition in this matchup.  I have never understood what the Bills saw in him and felt he was mediocre at best.  One way the Browns could win this game, is due to Taylor succumbing to the pressure of being benched and trying to make plays that simply aren’t there.  Forcing turnovers and getting points is something the Browns’ defense desperately needs.

Negative Momentum

Losing five of its last seven meetings, the team in Buffalo is getting antsy.  (I understand that it is not as bad as it is here, but our front office is ok with losing this year).  This is further pressure placed on the organization and everyone who is responsible for their success.  It will be interesting to see how the home team responds to this; hopefully they are not up to the challenge.

Conclusion:  I really want to pick the Browns to win this contest, but I would rather be correct.  The Browns will not fall behind the way they did a week ago but might find themselves in a hole late in this game.  I anticipate a steady dose of LeSean McCoy early, leading to a play action touchdown or two.  Robert will try to rally the troops but come up just short as the Browns fall 27 – 20.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Three Losses Away – The Browns Did Not Win Today

Three Losses Away – The Browns Did Not Win Today

Browns Almost Win Again 

At a point early in the fourth quarter, I felt the Browns had an opportunity to come back and pull this one out. However, that was not the case and the orange and brown were defeated once again at home.

Can We See Some Improvement (at Center)?

He was far from perfect, but center Cameron Erving actually pushed back defenders a time or two on Sunday. Worst-case scenario is that he has shown an ability to play in this league. Hopefully, he will actually prove that he is worth of being a starter in the NFL. His remaining three contests will be huge for his future with this franchise; if he makes plays the way he did against the Bengals, perhaps the Browns will keep him.

How About a Pass Rusher?

Rookie Emmanuel Ogbah has had his issues this season, however the defender was solid at putting pressure on Andy Dalton – including notching several sacks. Everyone has been stating that the second round selection is improving, but it is finally showing on the field. I hope this production continues, as he can be a key figure for the Browns’ defense for years to come.

Rust is Obvious

It was glaringly apparent that Robert Griffin was out of synch in the first half of this contest. Looking at his timing and rhythm, he was unable to connect with his targets. Griffin improved in the second half, but it was not enough to garner a victory. I sure hope that he will be much better in the final three contests as the team has to make a decision about his future in the near future.

Still Can’t Stop the Run 

I will give the Brown credit, as they were not gashed the same way in the first meeting against the Bengals. However, the opponent ran whenever they needed to pick up easy yards on Sunday. Yes, the Browns appear to be better in this area but still cannot be a force in stopping the run. NFL teams will continue to exploit this until the Browns can change.

Conclusion: It was another defeat for the Cleveland Browns and no one was surprised. If they continue to improve, maybe they will actually win a game – but today was not that day.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Any Signs of Life?

Any Signs of Life?

Browns vs. Bengals – Will there be a Way for Victory?

After the much needed bye week, the Browns host their division rival who also resides in the state of Ohio.  The first contest was not too kind to the orange and brown, but perhaps the second matchup will be different.  The lifeless organization is 0 -12 and it would appear that there is little hope.  Can this game be different?  Possibly, but let’s delve into why.

Back to the Starter at QB

While not official, it is possible that Robert Griffin will be back in the saddle for the Browns in this contest.  The quarterback has only participated in one regular season contest in 2016, but will now secure his opportunity to show the coaching staff that he can hold down the position going forward.  My hope for Griffin (and the offense) is that the threat of the deep ball opens up running lanes as well as the play book.  The key for any chance at a win is zero turnovers by the Browns’ quarterback.

Weapons Missing for Cincy

This relates to A.J. Green and Gio Bernard for the away squad – who will be out of action in this contest.  While that is fine and good for the Browns, but the opponent still has several other weapons.  Jeremy Hill and Rex Burkhead lead the running stable – and will more than likely see ample receiving opportunities.  On the outside, Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd have been stepping up at the wide receiver position.  Long story short, the some may feel the Browns will dodge a bullet on Sunday – but there are capable athletes waiting in the wings to make them pay.

Hope for another Jump

The Browns’ defense has taken steps forward (albeit not huge) the past few weeks, even with the young athletes on the field.  Guys like Danny Shelton and Chris Kirksey continue to improve upon their 2015 campaign.  Meanwhile, Emmanuel Ogbah and Briean Boddy-Calhoun are a pair of rookies who are getting better, despite making mistakes here and there.  At some point the unit has to put it all together, right?  That is my hope, as it is one thing to play well individually – however knowing each person’s responsibility and performing as one is something this franchise has not seen for quite some time.

Taking the Browns Lightly

The Bengals dispatched Carson Wentz and the Eagles rather easily (last Sunday) now travel to face a winless Browns team.  Many believe this will be another beat down for the guests, but will they buy into the hype?  Since this is a divisional contest, I anticipate Marvin Lewis having his club fully prepared and ready to play up to their capabilities.  For some reason, I could see the Bengals starting out a bit sluggish in this matchup.  It will be up to them whether they pick it up for succumb the rest of the way.

Conclusion:  While I feel this might be a close contest, I still cannot pick the Browns to win this game.  The Bengals are a better football team in all three phases of the game (well, kicker might be a toss up).  I would love to be wrong one of these times, because they cannot afford to end the season winless.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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