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Browns vs. Jacksonville Headlines

Browns vs. Jacksonville Headlines

Latest News Surrounding the Browns and the Jags

The defeated Browns face a (surprisingly) decent team from North Florida who has a record 6 – 3.  The annoying thing is that, some within that organization feel that is enough to validate trashing their former employers.  I don’t recall Brian Hoyer giving his former employer grief that he moved on to Cleveland and led the team to a 6 – 3 record.  To see what I am referring to – just look to the next paragraph.

Disgruntled Veteran

In case you have not heard about it, former (and mediocre) defensive back Tashaun Gipson let his thoughts be known about the Cleveland Browns.  The athlete is disgruntled after Sashi Brown and company did not sign him to a lucrative deal (though he was offered more money by the Browns during the season than he agreed to with the Jaguars).  Gipson said he feels for the fan base and they deserve a winner – to which I agree.  However the shots at the franchise are low hanging fruit, and I am not sure of his end game – so I am moving on.

Back in the Lineup

Wide receiver Corey Coleman has been elevated to the active roster and figures to have a key role in this offense on Sunday.  I would appreciate if he could get separation from defenders, secure the football, and make plays for this offense.  It might take time, but some great flashes would be ideal for the Browns.  If the team actually wants to have a respectable unit – having a solid first round draft choice in the lineup would be a good start.  Maintaining health for multiple contests would be refreshing for a change, otherwise the Browns ought to be looking for another #1 wideout next April.

Conclusion:  The Jaguars are the better team and have a tremendous defense.  I give the Browns a slim chance to win, but an upset here would be very nice.  Not only has Jacksonville been just as putrid of a franchise as the Browns over the past few years – shutting up Gipson would be great.  Perhaps the Browns can finally get it done in this contest – but the running game and Deshone Kizer must continue to build upon their performances over the past few weeks.  I am not concerned about their passing attack, but rookie Leonard Fournette is a solid runner would could get the Browns’ defense winded.  Getting Blake Bortles to turn the football over should be imperative.

 

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Posted by on November 16, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Blueprint for that First Win

Blueprint for that First Win

What’s it Going to Take to Finally Win?

Well, it does not get much easier for the Browns as they head east to play on Thursday night against the Ravens.  They are not expected to win, but that does not mean that an upset is impossible.  It will not be an easy contest, but if a few things break their way – who knows?  Let’s take a deeper look into what it will take:

#1 – Do You Job

This refers on the defense as a whole.  Sometimes they are keen on stopping the run, while at other times the unit is selling out to get to the quarterback.  Meanwhile, the opposing offense is gashing the Browns via the opposite way of moving the football.  The defense has got to get out of that mindset and refrain from beating itself.  Do I think they can be an excellent defense in this league?  No but perhaps they can be somewhat respectable for one night – which might be enough to win this matchup.

#2 – Be Smart, Play Smart

The Browns cannot afford to make mental mistakes and still anticipate a victory.  Whether it is critical penalties or simply not executing is costing this team severely.  The special teams are being penalized nearly every play, and the Browns’ offense is starting out in a hole.  The tables must be turned this week and the Browns must be the franchise putting their opponent in difficult positions.

#3 – Work in the Rookie

Corey Coleman had his only productive contest of the season last time they faced the Ravens.  He then hurt himself and is still working his way back into the swing of things.  I would like to see him featured in this offense, to both see if he can handle the workload and to also watch Terrelle Pryor and Gary Barnidge find openings in the defense.  A touchdown (or two, or more) by Coleman surely wouldn’t be a bad thing for the Browns’ offense.

#4 – Steal the Ball

I certainly do not see this one happening, but if the Browns can actually force turnovers by the Ravens’ offense – they will have a good shot at winning.  Not being at the right place at the right time would certainly not be a good recipe for the defense, but maybe Jamie Collins or Briean Boddy-Calhoun can swing the momentum by making a play for this defense.

Conclusion:  I will once again pick against the Browns in this contest, but feel they might not get blown out this time.  They are only a few players away from being decent – but that is not helping with the win-loss record.  I’m hoping for a miracle but we will find out shortly.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Browns @ Eagles – Game #1 Preview

Browns @ Eagles – Game #1 Preview

Browns Game #1 Preview – @ Philadelphia Eagles

Well, here we are – the Cleveland Browns’ 2016 season is finally underway!  Yes, this is the season opener and we know how unkind this has been for this franchise.  But the team will hit the road in a very winnable game against another franchise that has a new coach, an unproven quarterback, and lowered expectations.  Where have I heard this before?  I figure there will be some big plays in this contest; but it might come down to not committing the big mistake.  Let’s get to some analyzing:

Offense:

Quarterback:  Robert Griffin had a decent exhibition season, but how will things change when the regular season begins?  I figure Hue will put his signal caller in situations to avoid sacks and possible injuries when being flushed from the pocket.  Hitting the underneath routes in stride has not been his forte, but he must get this down to help with the “long ball” – which was his bread and butter in August.  I could see a few short runs and a touchdown or two from the quarterback.  Not committing a turnover is vital if the Browns want to win this game.

Running Back:  For some reason, I could see solid performances by this position group of the Browns.  Isaiah Crowell might not a tremendous amount of yardage, but he should find the end zone.  Meanwhile, Duke Johnson ought to hall in a couple of passes and find room to run on the ground.  Provided he can score a touchdown as well; this can be a great start for the running backs.  Eclipsing the 100 yard total is a must by this duo, although it will not come easy.

Wide Receiver:  On the flip side, I am not as confident in the wide receiving unit as I thought I would be entering the season.  The obvious reason for this is that Josh Gordon will not be participating in this matchup.  Additionally, Corey Coleman will more than likely not be up to speed and therefore rather mediocre in this game. Terrelle Pryor has been only been excelling at one aspect (fade routes) on the field – which begs the question, who will step up at wide out in this game?

Tight End:  Gary Barnidge could be the wildcard for this offense in this contest.   I do not anticipate on him being as productive as he was a year ago, but the veteran could make things easier for Griffin and company.  Some key grabs to move the chains is the minimum I would accept from the position group.  Anything above this would be icing on the cake.  I am eager to see if a second tight end option can (begin to) establish himself in this matchup.

Offensive Line:  For the first time since 2008, the Browns will not have Alex Mack snapping the football during the regular season.  The turnover upfront had led to a great deal of fear by fans and media alike.  Will Griffin come away from this game (relatively) unscathed after multiple drop backs?  Can the unit open holes for Crowell and Johnson?  I would not be surprised to see a guy or two struggle against the Eagles but hopefully they will be able to quickly recover.

Defense:

Defensive Line:  Will this be the game where the Browns escape their horrid run defense that has plagued them for many years?  Not trying to be too pessimistic just yet, but the Eagles will more than likely have their way on the ground (as they will lean on this to primarily move the ball).  I am not sure whether it will be Ryan Mathews, Wendell Smallwood, or Darren Sproles who will be doing the damage – but the trio might make the Browns pay.  It’s simply hope (at this time) to believe that Danny Shelton and Jamie Meder can win at the point of attack and allow the guys behind them to make plays in a matter of seconds.  Being proven wrong by the defensive line would be excellent.

Outside Linebackers:  The recent shuffling of this unit has put a sizable amount of pressure on Nate Orchard and Emmanuel Ogbah – as their roles have increased significantly as a result.  Frankly, I have no idea as to whether they will be able to get to the quarterback and affect the Eagles’ passing attack.  Can these two (along with Joe Schobert) cover Sproles out of the backfield?  I am a little fearful of that situation presenting itself, but hopefully the safeties will be able to assist their teammates in this department.

Inside Linebackers:  Chris Kirksey and Demario Davis have been underwhelming during the preseason – outside of a few respectable plays.  The Eagles will likely attack the middle of the field, via both the run and the pass.  I cringe at the thought of Zach Ertz (Wentz’s safety valve) running free with the football against little resistance by the defense.  Perhaps the linebackers can step their games up, especially when corralling opposing running backs.  I do not anticipate this part of the team to stand out via great plays, but if they cannot be a glaring weakness – then that might be a victory in itself.

Safeties:  Over the past few seasons, the safety positions have been able to make a few nice plays in games.  However, that has yet to be the case in 2016 and the Browns are waiting for that big hit or critical interception from this tandem.  I want to think that Jordan Poyer could lure the rookie quarterback into an errant pass and flip the field for the offense.  Perhaps an outstanding stop on a toss sweep is what this group needs to get rolling.

Cornerbacks:  I have little to no expectations for this position group – but perhaps going against a rookie can be a great starting point.  The best case scenario is that Joe Haden locks down on one side of the field, while the other corners hold their own with help (in coverage) over the top.  Jamar Taylor and Tramon Williams have not been exceptional in the preseason, but they should not be getting burnt by Jordan Matthews or Dorial Green-Beckham.  Whether it’s a dink-and-dunk game plan or longer tosses, I still worry that the Browns are simply a step too slow.

Special Teams:  A new kicker (who missed a chip shot in the preseason finale) and a brand new punter (who is not turning heads) are what the Browns currently have on their roster.  Hopefully the coverage units can manhandle their competition, or else the team will get thoroughly beaten in the special teams battle.  I predict the home squad will have a decided advantage in this phase of the contest.

Coaching:  A bright spot is that this coaching staff is miles ahead of their predecessors; the talent might not be great on the field – but those in charge will provide the athletes opportunities to succeed.  I only hope that Ray Horton can come up with a game plan to make the defense look respectable; if this is not the case, it could be a very long game (and season).

Prediction (My Record 0-0):  This is going to be an ugly second half for the Cleveland Browns; the guests should keep it early going into intermission but the Eagles will pull away late.  I figure this game will finish up 20 – 13, handing yet another opening game defeat for the orange and brown.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Browns @ Packers – Preseason Game #1 Preview

Browns @ Packers – Preseason Game #1 Preview

Looking into Preseason Game #1 – @ Green Bay

It’s hard to believe, but the Cleveland Browns are finally going to be hitting the field once again. Following a tumultuous 2015 campaign, the team had massive turnover and will see how their next season goes. Up first is a travel to Lambeau Field against a perennial Super Bowl contender in the Green Bay Packers. The same goes for this year as it does every other one – the preseason is more about not looking bad as it is looking good. Let’s look a bit more into this matchup.

Offense:

Quarterback – I don’t expect to see a great deal of Robert Griffin in this game. However, I would prefer to see him take a few chances when under center. This mainly refers to looking downfield and squeezing the ball in tight windows. As far as backups are concerned; will Josh McCown be the guy, or will he be traded away? I am eager to see what rookie Cody Kessler is able to do in a game. Granted, it will not make or break his career – but I need some sort of barometer.

Running Back – This matchup will likely feature the battle for the third option at running back between Terrell Watson and maybe Glenn Winston. Raheem Mostert is also listed at the position, but might only make the squad as a kick returner. An injury-free game for this bunch would be huge.

Wide Receiver – There are four rookie wide outs that were drafted by the Browns last April. I would venture to say that we should expect to see all of them in some capacity Friday night. Each player’s development will be interesting; Coleman appears to be head and shoulders above his counterparts. Meanwhile, there is little news of Jordan Payton and Ricardo Lewis.  Regardless, the team desperately needs some production from this unit.

Tight End – With Gary Barnidge seeing limited time in training camp, other tight ends will be given a chance to shine. Will Connor Hamlett, E.J. Bibbs, or Randall Telfel be that guy? That remains to be seen, especially that each athlete fills a unique role. Bibbs was a preseason standout in 2015; a repeat performance heightens his chances of making this team again in 2016.

Offensive Line – The right tackle battle and the backups at center will be my focal point for the offensive line in this matchup. Rookies Spencer Drango and Shon Coleman look to duke it out for the edge of the right side – perhaps one guy can see an opportunity for a great deal of playing time this fall. Meanwhile, will Mike Matthews make this team? In what capacity will he serve? Perhaps this game will be the beginning of something special for the undrafted rookie.

Defense:

Defensive Line – I’ll keep my eye on a pair of rookies during this contest. Carl Nassib and Emanuel Ogbah are expecting to begin as reserve defensive ends for this defense. The injury to Desmond Bryant will force some into action sooner than anticipated; however it will be exciting to see how the young guys respond. Will Danny Shelton transition from an underachieving rookie to a productive veteran? Friday’s game could be the beginning for the nose tackle. In the reserve role – Jamie Meder will attempt to lock up a spot on this team.

Linebackers – Will the Browns actually get to opposing quarterbacks this season? Let’s hope so, as it has not been their forte for the past few years. Joe Schobert and Barkevious Mingo are a tandum to keep an eye one. One is a rookie trying to break in with this team, while the other might be his last chance to be a member of the orange and brown. Will Scooby Wright be more than a special teams player? That is unlikely early, but some solid plays in the exhibition season surely would not hurt.

Secondary – The secondary is a huge question mark, especially without the services of Joe Haden. Someone has to step up on the outside, and it appears that Justin Gilbert will not be that guy. I hope he proves me wrong, but Charles Gaines (as an example) has proven more on the field than the former first round draft pick. What will Rahim Moore’s role be with this team? I would hope the veteran can prove he deserves with the starting unit – however he has been quiet up to this point.

Note: I will continue my tradition of not analyzing special teams or coaching during the preseason. There are a few reasons for this: the players vying for special teams roles in the regular season will be mainly on offense or defense (with exceptions) in the preseason, it will likely be Andy Lee and Travis Coons for the Browns at punter and kicker, and Hue Jackson and company will not be going all out when coaching this contest.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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2016 Training Camp: Competition Among Teammates – Offense

2016 Training Camp: Competition Among Teammates – Offense

Training Camp Battles: Offense

Well the calendar has flipped, and it is finally July – the same month that training camp starts for the Cleveland Browns!  Granted, it might not commence for several weeks – but it is never too soon to start looking at several position groups that need sorted out before the first regular season game in Philadelphia.  In the first of our two-part series, we take a look into the offensive side of the ball.

Quarterback:  The most important position in football (and probably all of sports) is all but Robert Griffin’s to lose.  Though coach Jackson will not admit to it publicly, he will be the man under center to begin the regular season.  There have been conflicting media reports about Griffin play during minicamp, nonetheless training camp is his time to shine.  I would hope he can separate himself from Josh McCown and rookie Cody Kessler in these practice sessions.  Doing so would help give me a little bit more faith headed into the regular season campaign.  Cody’s time will come, but not in September 2016.

Right Tackle:  The departure of Mitchell Schwartz can either loom largely or not at all over the orange and brown this fall.  That is dependent on the play of his successor; which raises the question, whom will it be?  Alvin Bailey (a veteran) appears to have a leg up over rookies Spencer Drango and Shon Coleman.  However, the youngsters might get their opportunity to unseat Bailey in the starting lineup. One thing is certain – protecting the quarterback and walling off defenders is vital for this offense to have any type of success.

Wide Receiver:  Well, someone’s got to catch the football for this offense.  Veterans Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel will get first crack at fitting into the starting roles – however, their final roster spot is still not guaranteed.  A pair of rookies might be out on the field to start game one – possibly Corey Coleman and Rashard Higgins. Terrelle Pryor has been getting praise from his offensive coaches; it will be very interesting to see where he ends up on the depth chart.

X-Factor:  This can go a myriad of ways.  The first is utilizing Duke Johnson as a slot receiver, while Isaiah Crowell is lined up at running back – giving defenses something to think about.  The second is the capability of Corey Coleman and what kind of spark he can provide to this offense.  Finally, rookie Seth DeValve is a large receiving option and could present mismatches on the field – especially when paired up with Gary Barnidge at tight end.  I am eager to see what Hue has up his sleeve for this offense.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2016 in Offseason, Players, Training Camp

 

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Rounds 1 – 3 for the Cleveland Browns – Analysis

Rounds 1 – 3 for the Cleveland Browns – Analysis

Early Draft Analysis 

Well the NFL Draft went down again this weekend, and the Browns were in the spotlight. While some knock all of their moves, some love their decisions. They traded down twice before actually making a selection; hopefully the guys in charge made the right moves. Let’s break down the first three rounds by the orange and brown.

Corey Coleman – Wide Receiver

I loved the position selected by the Browns in the first round, however I am not sold one hundred percent on the athlete. Coleman was the reigning Biletnikoff winner (as top collegiate wide out) – but his smaller frame worries me. I was hoping the team took a larger receiver like Laquon Treadwell; as their roster is currently full of short guys. I hope Coleman can high point the ball the way Odell Beckham Junior can. Quick hitters and bubble screens might be on display a fair amount to the former Baylor athlete. 

Emmanuel Ogbah – Defensive End / Outside Linebacker

It’s no secret that the Browns have swung and missed when drafting former Oklahoma State stars over the past few seasons. Despite the whiffs on Brandon Weeden and Justin Gilbert, the team chose their pass rusher in Emmanuel Ogbah. He excelled tremendously at finding opposing signal callers. However, the rest of his game (primarily run defense) remains a question. I hope he can be a three down defender, but that remains to be seen whether he can but it together.

Carl Nassib – Defensive End

A lot of stereotypes have been coming out about the former Penn State athlete. The lunch pail guy, who has a high motor, should be an improvement for the defense. I believe he can help more in the run game than Ogbah – hopefully both can meet up in the backfield on third down. The Browns decided that tough athletes who can be tenacious (and actually care about football) are of great value – and I am ok with that.

Shon Coleman – Offensive Tackle

A former leukemia patient, the Auburn lineman was reliable when starting for the past two seasons. He is definitely a resilient athlete and can hopefully compete for the starting right tackle position. Worst-case scenario is that he is in the mix for a rotational spot on this offensive line. I am extremely intrigued to see how this selection pans out.

Cody Kessler – Quarterback

After their final trade of the night, the Browns took a signal caller with the final selection of the third round of the draft.  It was Cody Kessler with the ninety third overall selection.  I don’t love the pick, but at least it was not Connor Cook.  He will be a developmental player no doubt – and I do not seeing him being the franchise quarterback for the Browns down the road.  Oh well, on to the final day of the draft.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2016 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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