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Tag Archives: A.J. McCarron

What’s the Latest from Berea?

What’s the Latest from Berea?

Pre-Combine News and Notes: Cleveland Browns

In just over a week, the Browns will be sending representatives to Indianapolis at the Scouting Combine.  That is a crucial part of the NFL season for two reasons.  Outside of the obvious that front offices can get up close looks at potential new members of their clubs, recent history has shown that this has been an outlet for trade and free agency discussion amongst franchises.  However, before that begins let’s look back at what has gone down for the Cleveland football team.

McCloughan on Board

The former General Manager of the Redskins, Scot McCloughan has joined up with the Browns in a consulting role for the upcoming league year.  It’s been reported that the executive has shared his feelings regarding some possible quarterbacks for the Browns.  First, is that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback – but not a great, franchise signal caller (you can win championships with).  Secondly, McCloughan has made mention that he is supportive of the former University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.  Granted, the former Redskin will be employed in a part-time advisory role, but one would have to believe his thoughts and beliefs will have to be considered strongly.  Personally, I would be ok with either – assuming the Browns secure both a veteran and a top-end rookie, they should vastly improve that position.

A.J. is Unrestricted

In an unusual set of circumstances, Bengals’ quarterback (for the time being) has been granted unrestricted free agency with the team who drafted him, following a grievance hearing.  I’ve always envisioned him with the dreaded label “game manager”, but it would appear that he might get his shot to be a full-time starter in 2018.  After nearly trading for McCarron last fall, the Browns might take another shot to secure the athlete.  The big difference between 2017 and 2018 is that the team has replaced Sashi Brown with John Dorsey (and Eliot Wolf and Alonzso Highsmith).  One would have to believe that the influx of football knowledge would overrule Hue Jackson if they did not share the same feelings towards the signal caller.  McCarron wouldn’t be my first choice as a Browns’ quarterback but the team could do worse.

Canton/Cleveland Draft?

It was recently announced that Canton and Cleveland (in a joint weekend) is a possible destination for either the 2019 or 2020 NFL Draft.  I would be happy that the local economy would see another spike over a couple of days, as well as northeast Ohio being the center of the professional football world.  I might even attend some part of the event – provided they win the right to host.  There are other worthy candidates like Kansas City and Denver (to name a few).  Either way, I will be watching from somewhere and hope the Browns pick last in the first round instead of first.

Conclusion:  In the first slow period after the Super Bowl, the Browns will receive bits of information regarding potential new  members of the 2018 squad.  First, Scot McCloughan will put in his two cents about the team’s direction going forward.  It will be very interesting to see how it aligns with the rest of the front office.  Also, A.J. McCarron will be on the market next month, with no compensation required to sign him.  Will signing him be a sound decision, or was Hue Jackson (and company) panicking last year when they nearly traded for the Bengals’ backup quarterback?

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Cleveland Browns – Bye Week

Cleveland Browns – Bye Week

The Bye Week Blues:  Cleveland Browns

Another midseason break and the Browns do not have a win to their name – just like the 2016 squad.  Despite not playing a contest this weekend, negative news continued to trickle out around Berea.  Both local and national media continue to pile on the orange and brown (and probably rightly so).  The train has gone off the rails (or further from the rails, depending on who you ask) and the dissension within the ranks is becoming more apparent.  Now, let’s take a look at some of the recent happenings for the team.

Trade that Didn’t Occur

A second and a third round selection for a backup quarterback (who is not named Steve Young)?  That was the apparent asking price for A.J. McCarron by the Cincinnati Bengals – and the Browns were inches from pulling the trigger on the deal.  There have been conflicting reports of who supported the swap and who didn’t, but I am glad the team did not approve the trade.  Honestly I don’t care who did what – but I am concerned that ONCE AGAIN the front office and the coaches appear to not be on the same page.  I am glad the team did not throw away a pair of selections for a mediocre signal caller, but more of the same for this franchise.

Josh Gordon Reinstatement

The second bit of news to hit the news is the suspension being lifted for troubled wide out Josh Gordon.  The Browns’ star had a tremendous campaign in 2013, but has largely been held out of games in his professional career – due to drug and other substance abuse infractions.  Personally, I anticipate he will not play a snap for the orange and brown (and a release might be granted in the near future).  Having said that, my expectations are low if he does appear in a contest for the Browns.  I understand he is only twenty-six years old, but all those games off will keep him ill-prepared for the rigors of the NFL.  Stay tuned, Browns fans.

Where We Go from Here?

The Browns are staring down the barrel of a defeated season with the coach stating that they have to play perfectly to win a game.  Other than that, all is well in Browns town.  I don’t know what the team is planning on doing for the rest of the season or this offseason, but I would just love to witness several wins (more than two is probably asking too much).  Avoiding an 0-16 season would be ideal.

Conclusion:  I’m not going to lie, these past three and a half seasons have taken a toll on me as a Browns’ fan and blogger.  They used to play poor football and would still win a few games – making those Sundays enjoyable.  Now, it’s sheer misery each and every week with this team.  I try not to pile on (like everyone else), but they are making it extremely difficult.  When will things finally improve?

 
 

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Part III – Breakdown of Potential 2014 QBs

A Sneak Peak into the Quarterback Class of 2014 – Part III

We now take a third (and final) look at a few more potential quarterbacks that the Browns can choose from in the upcoming draft.  Three different styles of quarterbacks are in this group; hopefully the Browns determine which they can win with going forward.  Continuing in chronological order – based on the team’s bowl game – the final three quarterbacks are Blake Bortles, A.J. McCarron, and Tahj Boyd

Blake Bortles (Fiesta Bowl):  20/31 passes (64.5% completion rate), 301 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interception, 93 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown.

Analysis:  The signal caller did a lot of things well in Glendale, Arizona.  Despite not rushing for a great deal of yardage in the regular season, Bortles carried out several nice read-option plays while moving the chains (and even found the end zone once).  Passing-wise, he was also able to put up over 300 yards and three touchdowns, en route to his team scoring 52 points.  Granted, the Baylor defense isn’t dominant but that was still an excellent outing.  The downside of Bortles’s performance was his turnovers – I have no doubt he can clean these up, but bad passes are not easily forgotten.  All that said, the quarterback can go anywhere in the draft (including #4 overall) and the next few opportunities to impress scouts are vital.

(2013 Season):  239/351 passes (68.1% completion rate), 3,280 yards, 22 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 179 rushing yards, and 5 rushing touchdowns.

Analysis:  Winning the American Conference, beating Teddy Bridgwater, and winning a BCS Bowl are three major accomplishments that garnered attention for Blake Bortles.  However, accuracy, yardage, and a solid touchdown-to-interception ratio did not hurt either.  Being six-feet four inches are roughly 230 pounds makes him a coveted prospect – considering a couple of his counterparts are deemed as “small” or “frail”.  What’s between his ears and how he interviews with definitely help or hurt his case, and I highly doubt that the UCF athlete will say anything to tarnish his image.  One thing that could be concerning is the perceived lesser level of talent that Bortles has faced this season (compared to Manziel’s and McCarron’s).  However, Bridgewater was a member of the same conference and it doesn’t appear to be a factor for him.

A.J. McCarron (Sugar Bowl):  19/30 passes (63.3% completion rate), 387 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and 1 fumble lost.

Analysis:  Just looking at the statistics, and one could assume that the Alabama quarterback did an adequate job of getting the ball downfield and to his receivers.  However, football is all about turnovers and three of them are not going to get it done at the NFL level.  The interceptions were poorly thrown and the Oklahoma defense gave their offense opportunities to score.  McCarron’s fumble was scooped up and returned for a touchdown – sealing the contest.  The quarterback’s outing was definitely an aberration, as he had not succumbed to three turnovers all season long.  Hopefully the signal caller can use this as motivation as he heads into the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine.  I believe his last performance will not affect his draft stock too dramatically, and some franchise will select him in the earlier rounds of the draft.

(2013 Season):  207/306 passes (67.6% completion rate), 2,676 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions.

Analysis:  The perceived “game manager” had another stellar season with minimized mistakes.  McCarron had a yards-per-attempt of 8.75, not exceptional but better than some of his highly touted counterparts.  What hurts the athlete’s stock is the lack of production by Alabama quarterbacks over the past few years, whether it’s unfair or not.  Transitioning to the NFL will put McCarron in situations where his offense will not be “head and shoulders” above his competitors, in terms of talent.  That’s not to say he still cannot make plays and be the leader of the offense.  I anticipate longer, complex plays (especially during Senior Bowl week) will be put upon him to see how he reacts to the challenge.

Tahj Boyd (Orange Bowl):  31/40 passes (77.5% completion rate), 378 yards, 5 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 127 rushing yards, and 1 touchdown.

Analysis:  Facing one of the poorest defenses in the nation, the quarterback had an exceptional game.  Granted, most of his big plays went to one player (top-draft option Sammy Watkins), but utilizing the offense’s strength is the name of the game.  With the great rate he completed passes and doing so forty times, his interceptions can be somewhat minimized.  However, Boyd cannot toss it directly to defenders at the next level – or his career will not be a long one.  I feel this performance can help move the quarterback up draft boards; provided he continues this trend over the next few months.

(2013 Season):  252/373 completions (67.6% completion rate), 3,473 yards, 29 touchdowns, 9 interceptions,  273 rushing yards, and 9 rushing touchdowns.

Analysis:  Glaring at the quarterback’s statistics, and one would deduce that he has had a remarkable season. While this is true, many feel that Boyd could not get it done when it mattered most.  In Clemson’s two biggest games (FSU and South Carolina), the signal caller struggled mightily and the team faltered as a result.  Despite this, the guy still possesses great speed and adequate size.  There will no doubt be NFL executives who will wonder “what went wrong” and Boyd will have to face the tough questions.  Despite the drop of the athlete’s stock since September, the quarterback can still prove himself and have a productive professional career.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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