RSS

Tag Archives: Cleveland

Ready to Roll with Kizer

Ready to Roll with Kizer

Looking Forward to the Rookie Quarterback

DeShone Kizer made some solid plays in yesterday’s game against Tampa Bay.  The signal caller was backed up (to begin drives) a majority of his drives and was not helped out by others around him – including his teammates and the officials.  Nonetheless the offensive unit moved the sticks a handful of times on third down, which historically has not been the case for the orange and brown.

As rookies generally do, Kizer locked in on just a few targets, especially Corey Coleman.  The second year wide out hauled in some nice grabs to continue drives for the team.  I would have liked to have seen the tight end position utilized more, but Randall Telfair dropped another catchable pass and the other two players did not make an impact.  The running backs did not stand out terribly well, as Isaiah Crowell was (hopefully) getting back into game shape.  Duke Johnson certainly did not help his case by fumbling the ball in the red zone – killing a potential touchdown drive.

I would like to believe that the Browns’ defense will play as well as they have in the exhibition season, as they have been stout.  However, there could be stretches during this season when the team will have to rely on their offense to win games.  I’m starting to believe that this unit is able to make plays but I worry about their consistency.  Mistakes are going to occur but I know that Hue Jackson and his staff will try their hardest to limit these.

Having said all of that, DeShone Kizer is the only quarterback on the roster who shows touch, accuracy, and an ability to move the offense towards the end zone.  It was night and day after Kizer exited the contest and Cody Kessler got under center.  The offense became stagnant, and the team was put into difficult situations to succeed.  I am confident that DeShone can win games in this league; while it might not be many in 2017 – there will be more in 2018 and beyond.  It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff divvies up playing time for the fourth preseason contest next Thursday.

 

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 27, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Cleveland Browns and the Senior Bowl

Cleveland Browns and the Senior Bowl

The 2017 Senior Bowl 

For the first time since 1993, the Cleveland Browns’ coaching staff is manning the sideline during the Senior Bowl. I hope this is to the advantage of the franchise, as more time up close and personal is an important thing prior to the NFL draft. I would like to think that Hue Jackson and company know what they are doing, but let’s take a deeper look.

Different Mentality

Several media members have been upset at the Cleveland Browns’ mentality as to how they are running Senior Bowl practices. Instead of the traditional “live” participation where it’s man against man each play – the coaches are instructing the guys on the correct techniques and working on individual drills. Granted, this is only going on for a week – but the Browns will find out which players will accept coaching and which want to do their own thing. I would like to believe that the Browns could potentially have an advantage here during the draft, where they find out a few extra details about potential draft selections.

Understand Positions

There is a stereotype that playmakers have usually come from collegiate Juniors (and redshirt Sophomores), thus the Senior Bowl is here to primarily display lineman and middle of the round selections. With a few exceptions, I subscribe to this thinking – the Browns will likely take a pair of non-Seniors in the first round. Therefore, they should utilize this time in Mobile to determine who makes sense in rounds three through six. 

Potential Options

Seeing as to what the Browns need, I would be content with several members of the Senior Bowl joining the team next fall. Ryan Switzer and Cooper Kupp have been impressive in practice, but I cannot see them as franchise wide receivers. Meanwhile, the quarterbacks appear to be prospects at this point; where they could possibly become respectable veterans at some point in their career.

Pass catchers have really jumped out to me. Outside of the aforementioned duo, O.J. Howard, Josh Reynolds, and Evan Engram each had their moments as well. I would more than welcome the Browns saddling up with these athletes in the second to fourth rounds. I understand Hue Jackson loves quarterbacks (and why not), so if he does not take a signal caller early in April’s draft – he could opt for a Josh Dobbs or Davis Webb later in the process.

Conclusion: The key about this week is to determine what to look for in athletes as well as translating this into the scouting combine and senior pro days. The Browns need tremendous athletes who are hungry for football and have a tremendous desire for the sport. I’m sick and tired of misses during the draft for one reason or another – it is finally time to get it right this April.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 29, 2017 in NFL Draft, Players

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

NFL News: Browns and Beyond

The Latest in the League

The day after the Browns’ season ended, pretty much everyone involved with the franchise was ready to turn the page and look forward to the 2017 campaign.  This past week, there were several debating points verbalized extensively by the media and fans of the Browns.  Two of these relate to April’s draft and where the Browns should focus their early picks.  Meanwhile, yet another move will occur in the NFL and a franchise will be playing home games in a different city beginning next fall.

DeShaun Watson Chatter

The Clemson quarterback navigated a game winning draft in the National Championship game in the NCAA this past week.  It was an incredible performance, which prompted talk about the signal caller’s future.  A season ago many felt Watson was a top-five draft pick.  His 2016 season overall was not tremendous (filled primarily with interceptions and passes which missed their targets) and his draft stock fell.  Did his late push allow him to get back into the early part of the first round?  Personally, I am hesitant to trust this type of signal caller in the NFL – a run-first guy who is not exceptionally big while not displaying touch or accuracy.  However, that could change over time but one thing is for certain; DeShaun Watson will be talked about in detail prior to the NFL Draft.

Chargers Heading North

Reading that the San Diego Chargers will now become the Los Angeles Chargers irked me to a degree.  Los Angeles is not a football town and does not deserve one professional football team (let alone two).  It appears that the league is forcing something that simply is not there.  Why not tap into another market that would more than likely support their team?  I could think of five off the top of my head, but since they are smaller markets, they were not options.

The all-mighty dollar still rules and a new stadium, another opportunity for new branding/merchandising, and an opportunity for the second largest city in the nation to be on the big stage were too big to pass up.  It will be sad to see away teams running the Chargers’ stadium and support for the LA team to be minimal.  Perhaps victories could change this, but I have my reservations.

Defensive Options in the Draft

Many have stated that there are several tremendous options on the defensive side of the football, who could come in as rookies and improve franchises immediately.  That begs the question, will the Browns agree with this opinion (and more importantly – who will they choose)?  With the top selection overall, the Browns could opt for an excellent pass rusher or a stalwart interior defensive lineman.  With their second choice, they could focus again on their front seven or secure one of the better safety prospects seen in quite some time.  Personally, getting the quarterback right should be the team’s priority.  If the Browns do this via free agency/trade, then by all means – draft the best player available and bolster the unit for Gregg Williams.

Conclusion:  Many unknowns still remain as we head into this offseason in the NFL.  The Browns should be formulating their plan to vastly improve their roster.  I do not care how the front office does it, but they must get it right for a change.  Also, the Chargers will be playing the Browns in Los Angeles next season.  Depending on how the Browns’ offseason and regular season are at that point, the stadium (of only 30,000) could be mostly donning orange and brown or it could be nearly empty.

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 15, 2017 in Free Agency, NFL Draft, Offseason

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Browns Game #8 vs. Jets – Breakdown

Browns Game #8 vs. Jets – Breakdown

Browns vs. Jets – Game #8 Preview

Well, for the first time in several weeks the Browns actually have a chance at winning a game on Sunday. Despite winning their last contest, the Jets come to town as an underwhelming bunch with quarterback issues. That being said, the Browns obviously have an bleak outlook at multiple positions on their roster. This game is likely to be a boring one…let’s have a look see.

Offense: 

Quarterback: I’m going to assume that Kevin Hogan will get a majority of snaps in this contest for the Browns (until he gets hurt). At that point, the Browns will have to yield to gimmicks and trick plays – their “traditional” quarterback position has not been spectacular at this point. I actually think that they can win this game without great play from this spot however.

Running Back: Despite being out gained by the backup quarterback, Isaiah Crowell did a solid job of gaining rushing yards. He will continue to get the lion’s share of carries this season, and depending on who is behind center – Crowell can get back to the level he was in the first few games. My weekly rant of getting Duke Johnson more involved continues; the reserve runner has been making the most of his opportunities. It would be nice to see him get an increased workload.

Wide Receiver: It’s extremely hard to evaluate a position group that is primarily based on the quarterback – especially when the team is on its sixth man under center. However, last game saw Andrew Hawkins, Terrelle Pryor, Rashard Higgins, and Ricardo Louis all get involved in the passing game. Pryor was not completely healthy, but he did his best to still make plays on the field. I want to see Higgins and Louis excel (while Corey Coleman is out), but the constant injuries to the quarterback makes it a little difficult for that to occur.

Tight End: Surprisingly, Gary Barnidge saw his most targets in quite some time last contest. The veteran did admirably, though his receptions did not produce a tremendous output (in terms of yardage). He can be a security blanket for a young quarterback, I would just prefer that guy under center be Cody Kessler and not Kevin Hogan. Another target outside of Barnidge would be nice, but the Browns can’t seem to find one.

Offensive Line: It appears that Cam Erving will miss more time going forward, thus John Greco will more than likely be the center for a bit. It will be interesting if Jonathan Cooper breaks through and finds an opportunity with this unit, or if Spencer Drango and Shon Coleman will continue to get the repetitions with the offensive line. It’s obvious that this part of the team is the reason why the quarterbacks are getting killed – hopefully the coaching staff can finally find a combination that can prevent a rush and a rash of injuries.

Defense: 

Defensive Line: As mentioned before, (against the Bengals) the run defense for the Browns was good in spurts but surrendered several long runs. I have faith in Danny Shelton, Jamie Meder, and Xavier Cooper, but they need to be more consistent in stuffing the run for the opposition. Matt Forte is not nearly as great as Jeremy Hill (at least at this point in his career), but nonetheless the Browns will have a large challenge on their hands. One would expect the Jets to rely heavily on their ground game – the home team must prepare and shut this unit down.

Outside Linebacker: While Emmanuel Ogbah has been getting better and making plays, Joe Schobert has regressed a bit as an outside linebacker. I understand he is a middle round draft pick rookie, but he has not been tremendously involved in the Browns’ defensive highlights. I would like to think that his position group can get to the signal caller on a bad team like the Jets – but the Browns have not proved that they can do that up to this point. 

Inside Linebacker: I thought Chris Kirksey actually made some solid plays in last contest. It would be nice to see this continue, as the defense could use more consistency up the middle. Demario Davis ought to be active in the middle of the defense as well in this game. I’m still waiting on the big play to come from this unit, but that appears to be wishing for too much.

Safety: Tracy Howard is trying his best at the safety spot, but is playing just as well as his predecessors. The undrafted rookie has been invisible in coverage and when trying to stop the run. Not surprisingly, Derrick Kindred has not been any better either. The Jets feature one of the worst tight end situations in the NFL – but that is not any reason for Browns’ fans to breathe a sigh of relief.   All I ask is that this unit does not get burned on multiple occasions. 

Cornerback: I thought Briean Boddy-Calhoun was the best cornerback for the Browns last contest. While he has been ok, an undrafted rookie should not be leading a position group (especially this  early in the campaign). Brandon Marshall is the key option for the opposing team – he could make the Browns pay, given an opportunity. However, I have faith that the Browns will bounce back from last week – as A.J. Green is not on their roster. 

Special Teams: It appears that the special teams for Cleveland has somewhat settled down. They are not great, but also not the reason why they are losing ball games. I would really like to see the orange and brown do something to put the Jets in a bind – though recent history is not on their side.

Coaching: Hue Jackson continues to make play calls based on who he has available to play in contests. I haven’t found reason to second-guess the head coach, but there is a great deal of games remaining. I would like to see him put the offense in spots to beat the visiting team, but executing this is of the utmost importance.

Prediction (My Record: 7 – 0): I think the Browns can actually win this game, but until I see more I am not ready to pick them to succeed. The Jets come away with a 27 – 17 win at First Energy Stadium.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 26, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Browns Game #5 Preview – vs. New England

Browns Game #5 Preview – vs. New England

Browns vs. Patriots – A Look at Game #5

This is the game I truly do not look forward to watch; the Browns have played the Patriots tough the last two times they squared off, but this time is different.  Tom Brady is coming off a suspension and will take his frustration out on our beloved Cleveland Browns.  At least there will a playoff baseball game on later that day – where Cleveland has a great shot to beat a Massachusetts team.  Let’s analyze:

Offense:

Quarterback:  Did Cody Kessler make a rookie mistake last week?  Yes, but overall I would say that he improved from his first start the week prior.  The questions still exist about his arm strength, but I am not ready to make a declarative statement as “he doesn’t have the physical traits to make it in the NFL”.  I look for him to spread the ball around early, so Terrelle Pryor can find his spots later in the game (by avoiding double coverage).  A turnover-free game by Kessler would be exceptional, even if the team is defeated soundly.

Running Back:  The Browns have one of the best stable of running backs in the league.  Isaiah Crowell seems to earn yards in chunks, while Duke Johnson is catching and running (despite getting worked over by poor officiating).  One would imagine that they would continue to utilize this part of the team for two reasons – they are successful at it and puts Kessler in more manageable spots against the opposing defense.  I predict a touchdown or two from this group on Sunday.

Wide Receiver:  This is a contest where I would really like to see Ricado Louis step up and display his speed.  The Browns need another option while Corey Coleman is sidelined – and Louis has been adequate (but could improve).  I understand that is a tall order, but I trust coach Jackson and his staff can assist with this task.  Pryor will be a marked man but still expect him to haul in several grabs.  Meanwhile, Andrew Hawkins has been a chain mover and a first down option.  I anticipate more of the same this week.

Tight End:  The injuries to Seth DeValve and Randall Telfair have all but depleted any depth behind Gary Barnidge.  Nonetheless, the veteran has produced in games – albeit at a lesser level than he did in 2015. That said, he should garner four or five grabs for a modest fifty yards in this matchup.  A touchdown for Barnidge would be excellent, but should not be counted on.

Offensive Line:  Speaking of injuries, the Browns will more than likely return to John Greco at center in this game.  I hope Alvin
Bailey has a chip on his shoulder, as the veteran was held out of last game due to his arrest.  As a whole, the offensive line played much better last week than the game before that.  However, the lineup used in Miami will be on display against the Patriots.  I have a bit of more faith in them against this defensive front – but Kessler needs to be smart when dropping back to pass.

Defense:

Defensive Line:  I have been rather impressed by the guys up front for the Cleveland Browns’ defense, as they have been much better against the run.  However, they could be the beginning of the rush defense that has underwhelmed at this point.  The Browns will have their hands full with LeGarrette Blount running the football.  I would venture to say that this will be a good measuring stick for Danny Shelton and Stephen Paea to see if they continue to progress or if they have been taking advantage of lesser offensive units.

Outside Linebacker:  It was interesting to see the Browns part ways with Armonty Bryant, who recently came off his four-game suspension.  This was due to the fact that pass rusher Nate Orchard was put on IR a few days earlier.  It stands to reason that this coaching staff likes what they see from Joe Schobert, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Corey Lemonier at outside linebacker.  Yes, those guys are young but are still relentless each and every play.  Tom Brady knows what he is doing under center, so it would be unwise to project one of the Browns’ edge rushers finish the game with a forced turnover.

Inside Linebacker:  Chris Kirksey and DeMario Davis have both done a respectable job on the field.  However, tight end Jordan Reed made them look foolish in pass coverage – as he hauled in two early touchdowns last game.  The Patriots have a pretty good tight end themselves, and I am fearful he will have a gigantic day against the orange and brown.  It’s hope at this point, but maybe Kirksey or Davis can make a huge play or two.

Safety:  There is a chance that Ibraheim Campbell returns for this contest, but he is not the weak spot in the safety positions.  The Browns either need to get better coverage from Jordan Poyer or should think about getting someone who can play “center field” at a higher level.  I would imagine that the Patriots will expose this continually – as it should be apparent on film.

Cornerback:  Outside of a handful of plays, Joe Haden is not playing well in 2016.  Meanwhile, the Browns are using Briean Boddy-Calhoun (an undrafted rookie signed last month) is seeing more playing time, following the injury to Tramon Williams.  I give the cornerbacks little chance versus the passing attack from New England – but look forward to being surprised.

Special Teams:  For the first time in weeks, the Browns’ special teams were not the reason why they lost last game.  I expect them not to revert to their erroneous ways and to hang in there in this category. Not surrendering a long return and being successful in field goal attempts is a good start for this unit.

Coaching:  I continue to believe in this coaching staff, despite the lack of talent on the field.  The Browns will not put themselves into positions to fail; hopefully the young players can execute.  It will be intriguing to see what type of game plan is formulated by Hue Jackson.

Prediction (My Record: 4 – 0):  The Browns will try their best in front of the home crowd, but the Patriots will beat them soundly.  The visitors will come away with a 38 – 17 victory and tally a fifth defeat for the orange and brown.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 5, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Next Game – Browns @ Washington

Next Game – Browns @ Washington

Browns @ Washington – Game #4 Preview

The Browns have another road contest against a Washington team that had a huge win against their division rivals.  Once again the orange and brown will be underdogs and are expected to come away with a defeat.  However, will this be a situation where the home team comes in overconfident and plays tight (leading towards a possible upset?) It’s unlikely, but let’s discuss this game anyways.

Offense:

Quarterback:  I thought the coaching job done with Cody Kessler was exceptional last week; Hue Jackson did not put him in any difficult situations and lightened his load with Terrelle Pryor taking several snaps behind center.  I anticipate that the rookie quarterback will have more snaps than he did a week ago – but the play calling should be rather similar (shorter crossing and under routes).  Hopefully this is where Kessler finds his first career passing touchdown in the NFL.

Running Back:  Are we starting to see the Browns actually utilize their two running backs correctly?  Let’s hope that this can continue on Sunday – as they will rely heavily on this with their rookie signal caller.  I am gaining confidence in this unit, despite the struggles with the offensive line.  The big thing missing from Crowell and Johnson last contest was a trip to the end zone (though that feat was accomplished by Pryor).  I would not be surprised to see their fortunes change as they get more comfortable with this offense.

Wide Receiver:  It’s hard to imagine that Terrelle Pryor will duplicate his performance from a week ago; if the Browns can just see an output similar to his receiving numbers that would be a good day.  However, the opposition will more than likely double cover the veteran with one guy preventing a deep pass.  That leaves Andrew Hawkins and a rookie or two to step in and make their mark.  Ricardo Louis is coming off a contest with three grabs for forty yards, which he can definitely build off of.  Rashard Higgins is the wild card; I don’t expect much but perhaps he can make that one “big play” for this offense.

Tight End:  Well Gary Barnidge is doing a yeoman’s work on the field.  The veteran is not showing off, but rather is playing well by securing passes and collecting first downs.  His big play ability has tapered off from 2015, but part of that could be the Browns actually have other good receiving options on their offense.  Rookie Seth DeValve finally saw some playing time last contest; he did not accumulate any statistics though.  Perhaps he can make his first mark against Washington.

Offensive Line:  That was an alarming performance last contest by Austin Pasztor; this might be his last opportunity to hold down his starting job at right tackle.  Rookies Spencer Drango and Shon Coleman ought to be practicing hard to get their shot at hitting the field. The OVI by Alvin Bailey surely did not help the right guard; I would not be surprised to see one of the rookies supplant him in the near future.  One thing is certain; the guys upfront must win consistently at the point of attack if they want to see their first win.

Defense:

Defensive Line:  Whether you want to admit it or not, Danny Shelton continues to be a force in the middle of this defensive line.  He is not tallying seven tackles for losses and three sacks, but the second year pro is making it difficult for opponents to run up the middle of the field.   I am not completely worried about shutting down Matt Jones this week but there’s always a possibility of a few long runs.  It would be nice to have Carl Nassib return for this contest, but his status remains undetermined as of this point.

Outside Linebacker:  Coach Jackson confirmed that Nate Orchard’s ankle injury will cause him to miss time at outside linebacker.  Thus Emmanuel Ogbah and Joe Schobert will continue to see nearly all of the snaps at the edge on Sunday.  There’s a shot that Corey Lemonier sees ample action as well; it would really be a boost if this unit could take down Kirk Cousins multiple times in this matchup.

Inside Linebacker:  In addition to corralling the opposing rushers, the duo of Chris Kirksey and Demario Davis will have their hands full with tight end Jordan Reed.  The veteran is reliable and can make teams pay who do not focus on him during their game plan.  Kirksey is coming off a game with nine stops – he has been relentless but is still searching for those big hits behind the line of scrimmage.

Safety:  I have been extremely impressed with both Derrick Kindred and Jordan Poyer’s play as of late.  The former was a late round draft pick who is making big hits on a regular basis.  Poyer has improved significantly against the pass from a year ago – I am holding out hope for an interception (or two) against Cousins.  A pair of safeties who can alter opposing game plans is something not seen by the Browns in quite some time.  They are not there yet but are inching ever closer each week.

Cornerback:  Getting Joe Haden back should be a boost for the cornerback spot, but the real question is about Briean Boddy-Calhoun.  Was the rookie simply in the right place at the right time (last game)?  Or can he be a staple in the Browns’ secondary.  The Browns are supporting the youth movement, so Boddy-Calhoun might be seeing more opportunities to collect interceptions.

Special Teams:  One could argue that special teams lost the Browns their last two contests (and that person would win that
argument).  Fans just have to hope and pray for the worst not to happen when attempting field goals.  Perhaps coach Jackson will be more aggressive and try for touchdowns  rather than kicking it on fourth down.

Coaching:  This is by far the best coaching staff the Browns have had for many years.  I know that is not saying a ton – but it is
refreshing to see talent finally being utilized.  The coaches are not perfect and are subject to mistakes – but I would rather have Jackson and company than Jay Gruden and his staff.  I am pulling for the home team to  commit a coaching blunder that proves costly.

Prediction (My Record: 3 – 0):  Until the Browns show they can win a game, I will not predict them to win.  They will come close again this week, but will fall for the fourth time this year by the score of 24 – 20.  At that point they will be accompanied by a couple suspendedplayers (provided they are activated).

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Cleveland is Titletown – Meaning for the Browns

Cleveland is Titletown – Meaning for the Browns

I Got that Championship Feeling

I understand this is a Cleveland Browns’ blog, but I am going to touch on another subject for this week’s post.  The Cleveland Cavaliers did what many (including myself at many points) thought they would not be able to do – win the NBA Championship.  It was monumental for the city and was a warm, joyful, incredible feeling that many possessed while walking down the streets.  One could feel the tension, frustration, and anger (of the past fifty-two years) simply melt away immediately. So Cleveland, where do we go from here?

Under Pressure

They say the first one is often the hardest – that could not have been any truer for the wine and gold this year.  All the scrutiny, all the bashing by media (national and local alike), and hearing daily talk about the greatness of the Golden State Warriors had to be maddening. Follow that up with an incredible run through the Eastern Conference, only to be told you had no business playing the champs in a series. This was a bunch of overcomers and truly epitomized Cleveland.

That said, the pressure to deliver a title to the city is all but gone (but we will still gladly accept multiple championships).  Thus, the Indians and Browns (and the Cavs again) will not be mocked nationally for not getting it done.  Losing in dramatic fashion will not come with “a name”.  Playing loose in sports is vital to success, the Cavs performed that way and it showed.  Not saying that this will ultimately lead to multiple titles – but I expect improved play by the other two franchises.

Positive Thinking

It’s been a part of us all, but it is finally time to shed the negativity each and every time it’s available.  The worst will not always happen.  People will not jinx this or that.  The team will not always find a way to lose.  I have never been more positive about a
Cleveland team than I was heading into game seven.  It was a different feeling, but it was genuine and I anticipate this to continue watching Cleveland teams.  I hope the exorcism of other fans’ psyche occurs as well.  The fact that the stupid jersey with all the quarterbacks’ names on it since 1999 will be retired should help with this positive mentality.

Conclusion:  The curse is broken, the streak is over, and Cleveland is king.  I love the city, the fans, the teams and everything else associated with northeast Ohio.  That parade was an incredible display of overall awesomeness by the city. There have been a lot of positive articles over the past few months about Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns.  It is time to take steps forward and fall in line with this city.

 

 

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,