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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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What the Trade Means

What the Trade Means

Rams and Titans Trade:  What Does it Mean for the Browns?

In case you haven’t heard (or have been living under a rock), but the Los Angeles Rams traded up from the fifteenth pick to the top selection in the 2016 NFL Draft.  This will have a huge ripple effect on the entire draft weekend, but (let’s face it) we only care about the orange and brown.  Speaking of which, the Browns have the second pick (at this point).  What should they do now?  Below are a few options.

Draft Wentz

I’m under the assumption that the Rams will take quarterback Jared Goff.  What’s the next best thing to do?  Well, if the Browns believe that Carson Wentz is a franchise quarterback as well – he is a worthy consolation prize from the other top signal caller.  The tangibles are there, the question then becomes can Hue Jackson take the athlete from a solid quarterback hailing from a small college to a franchise changer?

Trade Down

This appears to be the prevailing opinion for many fans of the Cleveland Browns.  They saw the haul that the Titans scooped up, and want their team to secure a handful of picks as well.  Trading down could net a star wideout, a reliable pass rusher, a replacement for Mitch Schwartz, and a quarterback.  The only scenario I could see this occurring is if the analytics justify this type of move.  Otherwise this should still remain a rumor.

Draft a Non-Quarterback

I am extremely opposed to this possible outcome.  Are Jalen Ramsey, Deforest Buckner, Joey Bosa, or Laremy Tunsil great football players?  Absolutely, but they cannot transcend a game the way a franchise quarterback can.  A team that has an established signal caller needs these players more than the Browns do.  Can the orange and brown use a phenomenal athlete?  You better believe it, but that’s not what Hue Jackson is building.

Conclusion:  The trade by the Rams to the number one selection appears to put the Browns in a spot to do one of two things.  First is that is draft Carson Wentz, assuming the team feels he is a franchise quarterback and is not taken with the first overall choice.  Secondly, the team could trade down and acquire additional assets to help boost the rebuild.  The new front office just saw their first curveball come their way; will they handle it well or pull a Pedro Cerrano?

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2016 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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News from the Senior Bowl – Cleveland Browns

News from the Senior Bowl – Cleveland Browns

Senior Bowl Notes

The annual Senior Bowl from Mobile Alabama just concluded last week, and like every season there are a few things to take away from the ever-important period.  There were several members who improved their draft stock, and others less than impressive on the practice field. However, in addition to the athletes participating – there has actually been some conversation regarding the Cleveland Browns.  Let’s look into both areas.

What to Make of Carson Wentz

The tall (six-foot, five inches) signal caller from North Dakota State was definitely the man on display in front of hundreds of NFL scouts. He is similar to Paxton Lynch in both stature as well as level of collegiate competition he has faced.  The latter is a reason why many feel he might be more of a project than Jared Goff (to which I agree).  I like what he can do as a quarterback, but would prefer the Browns go in another direction at quarterback (especially with their first round choice).

Braxton Miller at Wide Receiver

Another athlete who garnered a fair amount of praise was former quarterback (turned wide out) Braxton Miller.  In addition to playing his collegiate games in this state, many remember some shifty moves that accompany the playmaker.  I feel he would be a viable addition to a wide receiving corps, but like Wentz could take time to develop into his role in the NFL.  Even with the possibility of getting Josh Gordon back, I would prefer more of a dynamic, experienced, and large wide out who can intimidate defenses.  Miller would be a superb third receiving option, but I envision someone reaching for him in the
upcoming draft and hoping he will be their main attraction on the outside.

The Rise of Noah Spence

The former Ohio State defensive lineman has been dominating in drills during his time in Mobile.  However, the substance abuse issues (leading to his dismissal from Columbus) are enough reason for teams to bypass the phenomenal defender.  The Browns should be one of those organizations to not gloss over red flags; they simply don’t have to culture to overcome these characters.

A Reason to Believe?

For the first time in what seems like an eternity, the Cleveland Browns actually sent representatives to the Senior Bowl to watch and interact with the draft eligible players.  In addition to the many scouts, head coach Hue Jackson owner and Jimmy Haslam were busy delving into athletes as well as holding many interviews.  One could hope that they are doing it the right way; this is the opposite of what they have previously done and that did not work.

Conclusion:  This is an exciting time for almost every team in the NFL (at least the thirty not currently preparing for the Super Bowl). However, people must temper enthusiasm with these seniors – sure some look good now but the level of competition will increase significantly over the course of the next few months.  Optimistically, I am pulling for the Browns uncovering multiple late round gems in the draft. There’s a good chance that these guys could have been participating in the Senior Bowl festivities.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Offseason, Players

 

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