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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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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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Another Loss for the Browns – Game #4 @ Chargers

Another Loss for the Browns – Game #4 @ Chargers

Review of Game #4 – Browns @ Chargers 

It was good, then bad, then good, then bad for the Cleveland Browns. The offense did their part, but the defense let the team down greatly in the second half. The fans’ hopes were dashed late on a offside penalty – giving the Chargers another shot to win. Let’s review the defeat.

Offense:

Quarterback – Was he perfect? No, but did he play good enough to earn a victory? Absolutely, and my faith has somewhat been restored in Josh McCown. The veteran spread the ball around nicely to many targets on a consistent basis. He took a bad sack late, but made up for it in the forth quarter. Hopefully he can continue to play this way all season long – he simply needs some help on the other side of the ball.   356 yards is simply nothing to sneeze at. 

Running Back – This was easily the best game of the year for both Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell. Each had a couple nice receptions and rushes, while the rookie found the end zone early in the matchup. They had a winning performance, and that should be remembered this contest. Getting over 200 yards total by the duo of backs is a necessity in the NFL. I don’t know if we will witness this consistently, but the potential is a positive sign.

Wide Receiver – Brian Hartline’s early injury definitely shuffled things around for the wide receiving units. As a result, Travis Benjamin, Taylor Gabriel, and Andrew Hawkins were the beneficiaries. Each had some nice catches – including the game-tying two-point conversion. Dwayne Bowe was his usual disappointing self; not notching a single statistic. This group needs at least one to two more guys next year, someone who can perform up to his potential.

Tight End – Jordan Cameron who? Gary Barnidge is playing just as well, if not better than the departed free agent. The tight end made some excellent grabs, including the overturned incompletion that led to a touchdown. I got to say I am surprised to see him have back-to-back stellar games, but am not sad to see it happen. I’d still like to see E.J. Bibbs finally get some playing time over Rob Housler, but that will not happen just yet.

Offensive Line – The unit finally played like a respectable unit. I understand there were some sacks surrendered – but they were not all the fault of the guys upfront. More importantly, the gang paved holes for Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell on running plays. I believe this is what the fans should expect going forward. Sure there were a breakdown or two; but they were competent enough to be a reliable unit in the NFL.

Defense:

Defensive Line – The rookie duo of Danny Shelton and Xavier Cooper played admirably in this contest. They finally did not allow a rusher of over 100 yards, but did make Danny Woodhead look like a great receiver. I got to admit that Randy Starks looked very slow at times, I am not sure what he can still bring to the table but my concerns grow. Jamie Meder was not great, but not terrible either – he is proving to be a dependable rotational guy. 

Linebacker – Karlos Dansby and Chris Kirksey each made a few nice stops in this contest. I was really surprised by the coverage abilities by Dansby – especially at this point in his career. On the outside, the guys were less than impressive. Paul Kruger was a second away from a sack on multiple occasions; while the only time I saw Barkevious Mingo he was chasing a receiver fifty yards down the field. The team has got to take a look at Nate Orchard sooner rather than later, but the rookie has got to earn his opportunity as well.

Secondary – Without the services of Joe Haden and K’Waun Williams, Phillip Rivers feasted on the Browns’ secondary. Pierre Desir and Tramon Williams each surrendered passes consistently and were the demise of the defense. I would have thought this part of the team would be solid as a rock – but I would then be incorrect. Tashaun Gipson left with an injury and Donte Whitner was ineffective in the second half, the safety spots need to reevaluated and soon.

Special Teams: No win or loss here for the Cleveland Browns. Travis Coons and Andy Lee were solid as usual, as the return units were solid in their production as well. Not a whole lot could be said for the special teams, I wish Tramon Williams would not have jumped offside but he did and the Browns lost.

Coaching: Some will blame coaching on the penalties, but Mike Pettine did not tell his guys to commit infractions. Both the offensive and defensive game plans appeared to be what the team needed. Offensively, the Browns executed and did so rather well. Defensively, they stopped the run and tried to put pressure on Rivers. That was not always the case, and the veteran made them pay. Now it’s a 1 – 3 team who is heading to Baltimore.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Browns vs. Chargers – Game #4 Breakdown

Browns vs. Chargers – Game #4 Breakdown

Browns @ Chargers – A Preview of Game #4

A bad loss, poor play, and a report that players want a different quarterback under center than the guy who is currently there – all is right in the NFL world for the Cleveland Browns.  It usually takes the franchise many weeks (or at least well into October) before the wheels fall off, yet they might have set a new record in 2015.  Nonetheless, the team still has to go out there and play an away game versus a better team.  What can we expect from them?

Offense

Quarterback:  My faith in Josh McCown as the Browns’ quarterback was never really high to begin with; two losses under center help to lower my belief that he is a viable option.  I understand that he moved the ball and made some plays last week – but it was when the team was multiple scores down (and the defense was in the prevent mode).  I have been advocating putting in Johnny Manziel to both give this offense a spark and, more importantly, to see whether he appears to be the signal caller of the future.  Alas, that will not be the case – and fans will be treated to likely a touchdown or two as well as a couple costly turnovers.

Running Back:  What is going on with the running backs?  Isaiah Crowell cannot find open holes to run, while Duke Johnson gets blown up trying to block defenders.  Maybe the Robert Turbin signing was not a bad idea for this franchise – however it will be still a few weeks until he hits the field.  The coaching staff has got to find a way to get this part of the team going.  The Browns cannot have their quarterback heaving the ball nearly fifty times a game (regardless of who it is).  I will continue to be skeptical until they prove me wrong, but I do not envision Crowell and Johnson combining to eclipse the century mark yardage-wise.

Wide Receiver:  One positive from last week’s debacle was that other targets not named Travis Benjamin got involved.  Brian Hartline is a security blanket and the signal caller should be keying in on the veteran in situations where a reception is vital (mostly third downs). I would like to see Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins get more involved; the coach’s mantra (words into actions) applies to this occurring though.  I figure to see at least one score from this group – consistently beating their secondary would be nice to see as well.

Tight End:  Gary Barnidge is attempting to emulate Jordan Cameron – a dependable receiving tight end who is allergic to blocking.  He displayed both last week, and should be put more in situations to catch the ball.  It’s time to take Rob Housler off the field and put in rookie E.J. Bibbs – the former Cyclone might not be the next Rob Gronkowski, but I believe he can be an improvement over the veteran who was acquired a few months ago.  Overall this unit is playing slightly better than expected; perhaps Bibbs can alter that to well above expectations.

Offensive Line:  I have seen some horrible offensive lines in my day, and most have been donning the orange and brown.  However, this year is different in that the outlook was through the roof for this unit. There is no push, holes are hard to come by, and they have been only adequate in pass protection.  Just as depressing, I do not believe rookie first-round draft pick Cameron Erving can make much of a difference either.  My hope in the guys upfront is wavering – the staff must fix this deficiency or the team should not anticipate winning more than a couple more games this campaign.

Defense

Defensive Line:  The definition of insanity applies to the defensive line of the Cleveland Browns.  They are continuing to try to stop the run and it is not working.  I’m not going to place all of the blame on the three guys up front, as there are four more capable men behind them who can make tackles.  However, the margin for error is rather small for this group – and mistakes like the one Xavier Cooper made last week are killer (jumping offside and allowing a giant hole for Latavius Murray to run through).  Another one hundred yard rusher for the opponent is expected.

Linebacker:  Losing Craig Robertson to an injury makes it vital that Chris Kirksey steps up this week.  He surrendered a touchdown against the Raiders; hopefully he can get back on track on Sunday.  No other linebacker looked even decent last week (I understand Karlos Dansby is playing through an injury).  I really would like to see if Nate Orchard could oust Barkevious Mingo in the rotation off the edge; the coaches must feel otherwise.  It’s been proven that this team needs to pressure signal callers to win contests – how that happens appears to be a mystery.

Secondary:  Here is yet another underperforming area for the Browns; the three returning Pro Bowlers have looked lost on the gridiron.  I give credit to Tramon Williams – his play has prevented the secondary from being the worst in the league.  Maybe K’Waun Williams can return this week and give the unit a boost that is sorely needed.  One thing to keep in mind is that almost any NFL quarterback can embarrass a defense; all he needs is time to throw and zero pressure.  Being at the right place at the right time would be a good start for Joe Haden and the guys, though.

Special Teams:  Following weeks of solid play, it all was bad last game.  The Browns cannot surrender turnovers or commit penalties (giving additional possessions to the opponent) during special teams and expect to win.  I predict that Chris Tabor will get this cleaned up this week, but that will likely not enough to earn a victory.  All phases must excel to defeat the Chargers.

Coaching:  If the team cannot run or stop the run, there’s not a lot the coaches can do.  Hopefully they put McCown in spots to complete passes and move the offense.  Defensively, they should try to flood gaps and overwhelm offensive linemen – en route to a stable pass rush.

Prediction (My Record: 0 – 3):  From my slant in a few position groups, people should know where I stand with this outcome.  I feel the Browns will keep it close to the end, only to witness Phillip Rivers pulling out a victory – by the score of 24 – 14.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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