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Getting Down to 53

Getting Down to 53

Cleveland Browns Trim their Roster

Though it’s not finalized, the Browns have pared down their active participants to the maximum required by the league.  While there were some controversial cuts (Joe Haden, John Greco, Jordan Leslie, and Rannell Hall come to mind) – overall I am content with their roster moves.  Let’s take a deeper look into some guys who are on the roster – at least for now.

Trevon Coley – Defensive Tackle

A month ago, many fans knew very little (if anything at all) about the defensive lineman who was fighting for a spot on the orange and brown.  Throughout training camp and four preseason games, Coley has looked solid and been a part of a couple of forced turnovers against the opposing offenses.  The team released veterans Desmond Bryant and Xavier Cooper over the past few weeks, providing an opportunity for Coley to prove he belongs.  I hope to see him continue to make plays in the regular season, but it will not come easy.

Backup Quarterbacks

Out goes Brock Osweiler, while Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan are the reserve signal callers.  It’s a bit alarming that the Browns currently have three quarterbacks on the roster who have not won an NFL regular season contest – but that will change soon.  I am not sure whether it was the perceived attitude, or he did not live up to the “stabilizing” status of a veteran signal caller – but the team chose to let Osweiler go.  I could see his touch on passes being less than great, but would have been ok with him over Kessler.  I really hope all of these backups don’t see the field in 2017, as Kizer has a successful rookie campaign.

Sammie Coates – Wide Receiver

In a bit of a surprising move, the Browns traded within their division and acquired a speedy wide out from the same alma mater as Ricardo Louis.  Coates brings something that none of his counterparts possess, the ability to stretch the field.  However, he must work on hauling on the passes once thrown his way.  At this level, it will be rather difficult to correct a quality like that.  I would like to believe he can turn it around here; but my guess is that the Browns will look for another burner (with solid catching ability) in the 2018 draft.

Conclusion:  For all intents and purposes, the hay is in the barn and the team is ready to go for the 2017 season.  I am buying into the new culture change, but now the wins must follow.  Stay tuned, Browns fans.

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Posted by on September 3, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Thoughts Before Monday Night’s Contest

Thoughts Before Monday Night’s Contest

Cleveland Browns:  What is Going on Prior to their Next Game

Last contest was not pretty, but it was a victory for the Browns nonetheless.  Having said that, in addition to some solid plays made by the team – the first half of the contest was less than stellar.  Can this be blamed on poor play by one guy?  Certainly that is not the case, but a handful of guys should be concerned heading into next Monday’s game against the Giants.

Cam’s Gotta Go

Former first round draft pick Cameron Erving simply is not cutting it; no matter which position he is playing on the offensive line – the athlete has been largely underwhelming.  Committing Penalties, allowing defenders to make plays, and not blocking effectively are three areas of Erving’s game that are alarming and will be the reason why he does not make the 2017 roster.  The sooner, the better (in my opinion) would be a good time to let the guy go and provide an opportunity for another youngster along the line.

Wideouts are a Problem

Kenny Britt could not haul in a touchdown grab on three occasions in the first half of last week.  In addition to that, none of the guys were able to get a reasonable amount of separation from the Saints’ defenders.  I was glad to see Ricardo Louis and company get past the sticks and secure a first down grab on a few occasions, but my hopes are not tremendously high for this group.  I hope that Corey Coleman can turn this group around – but they are currently miles from a solid bunch.  The NFL requires more than chain movers.

Kizer Conundrum

It was just one game, but I have all the faith in the world that rookie DeShone Kizer is the best signal caller on the squad.  I still expect that Brock Osweiler (as Kizer’s inexperience will be the reason) will begin the regular season under center – but how long is the huge question.  The first four regular season contests are far from easy, so the change at quarterback to the rookie could still come rather early.  Ideally, Kizer will dominate the remainder of training camp to force Hue Jackson into giving him the nod on September 10th.  As it stands, Jackson has a tough decision on his hands though.

Sharpening that Saw

I was rather unimpressed with the starting defense last Thursday; Garrett Grayson and Chase Daniels are two quarterbacks who should not have any success against your franchise.  Yet that was the case, and reserve running backs played solidly as well against the Browns.  Gregg Williams has got to wake this sleeping giant of a defensive unit (I will give him credit for building the start of a foundation for this), but so far a handful of good plays is all we have seen.  Hopefully they can improve every week as a whole.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2017 in NFL Season, Players, Training Camp

 

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Latest News with the Browns

Latest News with the Browns

Newsworthy Browns Notes

The stories are not as enticing as they were during the NFL Draft, but the Browns are still grabbing headlines. First they added a new man to bring in talent for the franchise; meanwhile there has been some backlash by the media regarding both veterans and rookies alike.

Another Addition to the Front Office

A few days ago, the Browns announced that Ryan Grigson was added to the staff with the title of Senior Personnel Executive. I must admit that I have mixed emotions regarding this decision. On one hand, the franchise added a solid scout who has had a respectable track record in that department. However, Grigson is coming off of a stint as a general manager of the Indianapolis Colts that left much to be desired. The draft misses, trading for Trent Richardson, and inability to surround quarterback Andrew Luck with a reputable supporting cast come first to mind. I guess I will give the new hire a break, but do not to expect that he will do anything of significance while being with the orange and brown.

Brock Osweiler Banter

The veteran quarterback was peppered with questions following the recent OTAs practice sessions – a majority of these were of negative tone imitating that the signal caller will not be the “guy” for the Browns. Regardless of what last year’s film says – Osweiler will get his shot with the team to prove he can handle the duties on Sunday. Personally, I don’t know what was gained by a reporter being combative at this point of the year. Perhaps this will be a driving force for the newly acquired quarterback?

Early Injuries?

Of course fans and media alike are making gigantic deals of Myles Garrett and Jabril Peppers not practicing due to minor injuries in May. The pair of first round draft selections will be made or broken in the fall, not whether they are 100% full go four months prior to the regular season beginning. If Howard Wilson’s injury should have taught us anything, it’s that people can be sidelined at any point in the season. Therefore, I am ok with Hue Jackson taking precautions during spring practices.

Conclusion: Unfortunately, there was not a bunch of positive news for the Cleveland Browns these last few days (unless you think the Grigson hire was a home run). The doldrums of the NFL calendar march on, and we have just under two months until the team hits training camp in stride. In the meantime, we should expect less than ideal stories surrounding the team.

 

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Thoughts about #12

Thoughts about #12

What I’m Thinking about Number Twelve

No, I’m not referring to the suspended wideout for the Cleveland Browns.  Instead, I am taking a deeper look at the second selection of the franchise – the twelfth overall selection.  It would only make sense that they choose Myles Garrett with the first overall choice – hopefully Sashi Brown and company pull the trigger on the defensive end.  That brings us to the huge question, what to do next?  Below are some options:

Best Offensive Weapon

This would likely be either tight end O.J. Howard or wide receiver Mike Williams.  Despite having Gary Barnidge, Seth DeValve, and Randall Telfair – the Browns could still use an improvement at the tight end spot.  Howard is gigantic (six foot, six inches – over 240 pounds), athletic, and could really help the Browns’ offense.  Underutilized in college – I have a sneaking suspicion that Hue Jackson would know how to best incorporate the athlete.

Seeing Terrelle Pryor depart in free agency, the Browns ought to look at an option to replace the wide receiver.  Williams appears to be the hands-down (save a few Corey Davis fans) best option in the draft.  The former Clemson wideout is rather tall (over six foot, three inches) and large (just under 220 pounds) but is not the fastest of athletes.  In the NFL, it is more about running proper routes and being at the right place at the right time.  The Browns could do a lot worse than Mike Williams with the twelfth choice.

Pick a Falling Defender

Though a less likely scenario, this could still be an option.  It would likely be the result of a few quarterbacks being taken in the top ten picks of the draft – leading to others sliding down the draft board.  Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker are the two top safeties and many are anticipating on both going well before the Browns are on the clock at twelve.  It would be rather tempting for the orange and brown to snag one of that duo up (provided they are available).  Judging for the team’s free agency attempts to secure Tony Jefferson and Bradley McDougald – it would appear that they are not confident at the safety spot.  The Browns can still get a Budda Baker or Obi Melifonwu in the second round, who would be great additions.

Go for the Quarterback

Ahh, the five-hundred pound elephant in the room – what to do with the most important position in sports?  The Browns clearly need a franchise quarterback, but what is their plan?  Will all options be available in the twelfth choice, and if so do the Browns draft their signal caller?  Or will the choose a guy later to develop and compete with Cody Kessler and the other quarterback on the roster (be it Brock Osweiler or someone else).  Personally, I like Mitchell Trubisky the best, but would ok with either Davis Webb or Patrick Mahomes in the later rounds.  I am greedy though, and would rather have the Browns pick Trubisky with their third-first round pick (after trading up).

Conclusion:  Assuming there are no trades made by the franchise (which could be a huge leap) – I hope the Browns take option number one with their second choice.  The NFL is an offensive league and the team needs more playmakers, especially to help out their signal caller.  They are fortifying their defense with Garrett and can complement the standout with solid secondary choices in rounds two through seven.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2017 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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Cleveland Browns Free Agency Takeaways

Cleveland Browns Free Agency Takeaways

Browns and Free Agency

Well, the Cleveland Browns made several moves this offseason – and I feel they made their team much stronger.  Giving up the most sacks in the NFL last year was not acceptable and the front office responded.  I would like to believe the team will now be able to forget about departed Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz from 2016 and have a new cast upfront that can keep the pocket clean, as well as open holes for Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson.  Let’s look further into the acquisitions.

Kevin Zeitler

The highest paid guard in NFL history now resides in Cleveland.  The injury to John Greco at the end of last season might to have helped facilitate this move, as the veteran’s health status remains up in the air.  Zeitler should help the Browns’ running attack tremendously – which will benefit the guy under center (whoever it is).

JC Tretter

He’s had a bit of an injury history, but provided he remains healthy with the orange and brown – they might have found Cam Erving’s replacement.   I would expect Tretter to hold his own in the middle; being surrounded by Zeitler and Joel Bitonio will assist the new acquisition.  This is an under-the-radar pick up, but one I fully support.

Kenny Britt

The Cleveland Browns secured either a number two or three wide out on this roster with the signing of veteran Kenny Britt.  Like Terrelle Pryor, the former L.A. Ram hauled in over 1,000 yards in 2016.  While this is not a high-end signing (as he should average 750 yards and three touchdowns), the wideout should help improve the wide receiving unit more than Andrew Hawkins did.  Britt’s size of 6’3” is something that should not be taken lightly – a large target for a quarterback is a great thing.  More depth should be added at this position in the draft.  I understand he has had his person issues earlier in his career, but he appears now as a better locker room guy than they athlete who departed for Washington DC.

Osweiler Trade

Buying a second round draft pick for $16 Million (or about $8.5 Million after you remove Robert Griffin’s salary – due to his release) makes a ton of sense.  The Browns have a bit more flexibility when it comes to assets to trade and still have a possible guy to trade (in Brock) for additional selections.  It will be interesting to see what comes after this deal – but making this shrewd decision was brilliant.  The Browns are ahead of the curve and this type of transaction is foreign to the sport (but not the NBA).

Conclusion:  I like what the Browns have done to this point – they solidified their offensive line and acquired additional opportunities down the road.  The contract extension for Joe Bitonio was included in this – as he should be back to solid form once he becomes fully healthy.  The biggest question remains is where will they get their quarterback?

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2017 in Free Agency, NFL Season

 

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