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Looking Back at Another Defeat

Looking Back at Another Defeat

The Browns Lost to Dallas – What Does it Mean?

This contest between the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys was a brutal one (which was to be expected).  The home squad got physically dominated at the point of attack all game long.  The orange and brown were in no way competitive in this matchup, outside of two respectable drives.  Let’s delve a little bit further into the takeaways.

#1 – Another Strike for Erving

Outside of not playing too terrifically well, there is not a whole lot that can be said about second year veteran Cameron Erving.  He got ejected during the first offensive drive in this contest – surely that will not help his standing on the team with coach Jackson (who does not take kindly to those sort of actions).  I am not sure where he goes from here, but unless he performs magnificently the rest of the campaign – the Browns might be shipping him out of town next spring.

#2 – Awful Defense

I understand that Ray Horton’s defense got walled off and could not stop Ezekiel Elliot – as that appears to be the norm against the rookie of the year candidate.  However, witnessing defenders lining offsides on multiple occasions is unacceptable in the NFL.  I don’t have a reasonable excuse as to why these issues are present, but they still remain.  It would be nice if they can somewhat turn it around, but I do not see that happening any time soon.

#3 – What’s so Special?

I’m pretty sure the Browns committed a penalty on each and every return in this contest.  With an offense that is vertically challenged, they can ill afford to start deep in their own territory for most of contests.  It should be easy to not block an opponent in the back or hold during a run back, however the home squad still fell into pitfalls.  Like the defense, this must be cleaned up as soon as possible – but I am realistic.

#4 – Leaning about Kessler

Right now, Cody Kessler is a better signal caller than Josh McCown; he is refraining from making the big mistakes during contests.  However, he is not finding his targets on deeper tosses – which was a knock against him coming out of college.  Kessler is staring to show signs that he might not be the franchise quarterback many had hoped.  I’m not ready to give up hope just yet, but a signal caller might be chosen by the team early in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Conclusion:  This was just another pathetic output by a downtrodden football team.  I’m not seeing the weekly improvement that coach Jackson has been mentioning; maybe they can put it all together in the near future.  Now, it’s time for a short week and a trip to Baltimore.

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Posted by on November 6, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Latest Happenings for the Cleveland Browns

Latest Happenings for the Cleveland Browns

Browns’ Offseason Notes

The news surrounding the NFL and Cleveland Browns is ever evolving and continues to emerge over the entire calendar year. Despite the lack of on-the-field action by the orange and brown, there continues to be two talking points about the franchise this time of year. The first is a deadline for spectators, while the second is another milestone for the 2016 draft.

Season Tickets

Last week included the final day for Cleveland Browns’ fans to determine whether they wanted to purchase season tickets for the 2016 season. Along those lines, multiple stories are arising of fed up fans that are no longer renewing. The expenses of parking, tailgating, game ticket, and amenities are extremely difficult to justify for several Clevelanders (and surrounding areas). Many don’t believe the Browns will be Super Bowl contenders next campaign; but routine defeats are arduous to sit through. Nonetheless, I give season ticket holders all my respect – it’s a badge of honor I only had once (in 2014).

Jared Goff’s Pro Day

The California quarterback was on display in Berkeley, in front of many NFL front offices and executives. He was lauded for doing a solid job – nothing great and not terribly disappointing either. His “small” hands even grew by an eighth of an inch! I am glad it was not completely hyped like one guy’s Pro Day happened earlier (Texas A&M in 2014). He did not have to hit it out of the park, but it was calming seeing Goff excel in the tasks that he was asked to accomplish. Hue Jackson and Pep Hamilton were notably present at his Pro Day. The latter was spotted soaking a football with water and asking the quarterback to continue the throwing drill. This is a obvious sign that he has a sense of interest and is curious to see how he performs in adverse situations. Again, he is my top choice at number two – hopefully Hue Jackson, Sashi Brown, and company agrees with me.

Conclusion: It has definitely become a “wait and see” approach for this team’s fan base. Prior to the upcoming draft, many pundits are anticipating doom and gloom (and rightly so). The futility of last year’s three wins is something that the 2016 club aspires to achieve ought to temper expectation. But that also limits excitement and enthusiasm by Browns’ fans as well. Perhaps an exceptional draft will help change some minds in the coming months, but that type of action has eluded the franchise for many years.

 
 

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Can’t Get Excited This Time Around

Can’t Get Excited This Time Around

Struggling to Find Hope in the Cleveland Browns

Historically, I have been excited about the prospect of a new head coach and general manager search for the Cleveland Browns.  The optimism that the new hires will “get it right” and have the franchise was typically apparent for me – no matter if it was Romeo Crennel/Phil Savage, Ray Farmer/Mike Pettine, heck even Eric Mangini/George Kokinis.  However, yesterday’s firings and Haslam’s press conference led me to a poor understanding that the right guys will likely never come along.  I have finally come to terms to accept this.

There’s no hope on the horizon for the Cleveland Browns.  In a matter of days or weeks – there will be a new guy hired to be the general manager and another for the head-coaching gig.  Both will hold a press conference – while they will appear likeable and know what they are doing.  Positive stories will be written in the media about how Jimmy
Haslam may have struck gold.  I hate feeling like an utter pessimist, but I just cannot get on board this time.  For beginners, the new regime will have to prove some semblance of knowledge, including drafting the right guys (most notably a franchise quarterback) in the spring.

Meanwhile, it would be a good thing if we could acquire a coach that has experience and can actually provide us with an edge in tight competitions. I understand that coaches have to cut their team somewhere, but I infuriated with settling for guys who frankly don’t deserve the opportunity.

However, the likely scenario is that one or both of these guys will be unknown (or unwanted) by most teams in the league.  The Browns (and their media) will spin it as a great job by the hiring consultants and Haslam and that the team is revolutionary and trend setting.

As far as the power structure goes; with the coach reporting directly to the owner and Sashi Brown having final say with personnel decisions, I cannot laud nor laugh at this setup.  The Browns are more than welcome to set up their chain of command as they see fit.  I can only go on the past however, and remember that men in the same roles have
failed to execute.  At this point, I do not want to lie to myself and say that it can change in the near future.

I (obviously) hope that I am wrong and the team actually can secure guys who can make this a successful franchise.  Clearly I am still a fan of the team and am intrigued by their each and every move – however it’s past the point where I can trust that any personnel move made was a wise one.  I am not putting down the new hires and am willing to give them a chance, as they have not black marks.  I simply need to see some positive results before I get some faith.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2016 in NFL Season

 

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Don’t Bring Me Down: Which Brown Should You Pin Your Hopes On (Offense Edition)?

Hope, like rust-based puns, springs eternal in Cleveland. We’re getting close to the real season, which means that fans everywhere must decide who their favorite players will be. Who can you really count on, week after week? Who will you enjoy watching, and who will make you feel like you’re getting your time and money’s worth? Could there actually be a jersey worth purchasing out there? Let’s break it down by position group, starting with the offense.

First, it doesn’t matter if you support Johnny or the Destroyer. They’re both too risky. If you’ve been a Browns fan for more than six weeks, you know why. Quarterbacks don’t just come to Cleveland to die—they come to develop a gross, debilitating illness that requires years of care. That’s the rub of having the Clinic in town. That said, Johnny is the off-the-board favorite to be the most entertaining Brown all season long, on- and off-field. It wouldn’t matter if his left leg fell off tomorrow—I would still watch a 24-hour live feed of his life over any other Brown’s, and it’s not even close. The best-case scenario for the Browns’ actual season would see one of these two becoming a star. But again, if you’ve been a Browns fan for more than six weeks, you know not to hold out too much hope for the best-case scenario. Onward!

Wide receiver? Yikes. If Josh Gordon isn’t suspended, he’s obviously the most exciting pass catcher. But if you decide that he is going to be your guy for the season? Then you have to avoid reading the newspaper internet every morning, because the odds of something awful happening are just too great. Having Josh as your favorite is a bit like having unprotected sex that way. Miles Austin and Nate Burleson are nice enough people, but they’re 30-plus and aren’t worth getting into too much of a froth about. If there is a non-Gordon receiver worth latching on to, it’s Andrew Hawkins. He’s an NFL player who is seriously the size of a middle school student, and he runs a 4.34 40. Dudes look like they’re log rolling when they try to catch that little guy.

Offensive line? God bless Joe Thomas and the gang, but o-line play just isn’t that interesting unless you played it yourself. It’s important, of course, and I love a good block, especially when a pulling lineman gets a shot on a DB. But it probably isn’t something you want to watch every play. Unless Joel Bitonio plays left guard like a feral rhinoceros, you should look elsewhere. This is all coming from the proud owner of a slightly bootleg Joe Thomas jersey.

The running backs are interesting, sort of. Ben Tate could break out and become Arian Foster, north coast edition. Terrance West rushed for 1.42 miles at Towson last year. These two are worth keeping an eye on, but football’s evolution toward the passing game—and the belief that running backs are only slightly less replaceable than flathead screws—limits their potential. Still, Cleveland is Jim Brown territory, and running back play is held in high esteem. This is coming from someone who has the “RUN WILLIAM RUN” YouTube video favorited.

How about tight end? Jordan Cameron was a Pro Bowler last year, and he was in that video with Blake Griffin, so it would seem that he has some juice. Tight end has become a modish position, and Cameron has the size and skills to be the next Antonio Gates or Jimmy Graham. Remember, however, the last Browns tight end with this much potential. [Mildly sexist note: If you’re a woman, odds are he’s already your favorite player. And rightly so—he’s a hot dude. Nothing wrong with that.]

There’s one other category to explore: Players with fun or funny names. Think guys like Ben Gay, Chad Mustard, Foswhitt “Fozzy” Whittaker, and Syndric Steptoe. We all like to be hipster fans to some degree, and embracing a lesser-known player can earn you some street cred. On the offensive side of the ball, sadly, there aren’t too many great names to choose from. Mitchell Schwartz opens up a wealth of Spaceballs jokes. Chris Ogbonnaya’s name is unusual, but not really ha-ha material. Kyle Auffray sounds like Pig Latin, but he’s not likely to make the team. Where have you gone, Adimchenobe Echemandu?! Thank heavens for Barkevious Mingo and Ishmaa’ily Kitchen on defense.

So who should be your favorite when the Browns have the ball? It depends on your taste. Here is a TL;DR version for those on the go. Choose wisely, and good luck.

If You Like...(Offense)

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Cleveland Browns Fans, Players

 

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From June to July in the NFL – What Happens?

From June to July in the NFL – What Happens?

That Slow Time:  In Between Minicamp and Training Camp

Another portion of the NFL season is upon us; a six-week period that occurs in between minicamp (a time that features players dressed in shirts and shorts) and training camp (when padded practices occur and the depth chart takes shape).  As is obvious, much will occur within this time period.  Along those lines, Browns’ fans should anticipate a few things from now until late July.

Josh Gordon Ruling:

I’m rather surprised the suspension of the top wide out has not been handed down as of this point.  In 2013, Gordon’s two-game ban had already been announced at this point for ingesting codeine without the necessary prescription.  Could we be surprised by a loophole and expect little to no punishment?  That is highly unlikely (as many fans are accustomed to the worst), but the timing of this situation is rather peculiar.  By the time the team takes the field in Berea in July – Gordon’s 2014 role should be known though.

Getting to Know the Staff a Bit More:

This has occurred already, to a certain extent.  Doylestown, Pennsylvania has been mentioned in a few articles – as the city where most of the Cleveland Browns’ coaches hailed from.  Having Mike Pettine Senior at minicamp further cemented this topic, as he is the lynchpin between his son, Jim O’Neil, and Chuck Driesbach (their coach at the high school level).  You should expect many outlets to delve further into this group – as Pettine and his staff are in their first season with the orange and brown and are still relatively unknown in these parts.

The Breakdown of Multiple Training Camp Matchups:

Everyone knows about the two guys who will square off under center.  However, a few more starting jobs still need to be won before the season opener at Heinz Field.  Three areas on the offense would include offensive guard, running back, and wide receiver.  On the defensive side of the ball – guys will compete to see the field at the inside linebacker and cornerback (including nickel back) positions.   This is under the assumption that the roster will maintain its health throughout camp; history has told us that has not been the case.  So for the average fan, getting to know (or become reacquainted with) interior linemen as well as linebackers typically occurs this time of year.

Conclusion:  For the most part, the NFL has become a twelve-month event for those die-hards.  Fans not only care about the season, but also scouting, the draft, and the practices leading up to games.  From mid-June to late July, we get a tremendous opportunity to see the players and staff for who they are – people, like you and me.  It’s hard to remember that sometimes, when we expect our team to feature “robots” who are 100% perfect in what they do and repeat that type of performance on every play.  So, while some could be bored or annoyed at this slower time of the year, a good perspective will be cast upon those who support the NFL.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2014 in NFL Season, Offseason, Players

 

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Why Possibly Moving Training Camp is a Good Idea

Why Possibly Moving Training Camp is a Good Idea

Exiting Berea Would Be a Wise Decision:

It recently came out that Cleveland Browns’ fans would be required to “register” for training camp practices this July and August.  This is a free, online process – however it guarantees entrance when others will be denied.  The reason for this, is due to the higher demand to see the players (particularly one rookie quarterback) up close and in person.  Not being able to accommodate fans is unacceptable in today’s NFL – and the Browns’ front office knows this.  Searching for different venues is the likely next step in this process, and in my opinion, the smart thing to do.

Greater Attendance –  This goes beyond the obvious, as larger fields would be able to support more individuals to watch the orange and brown.  Should the Browns look for areas with seating (i.e. metal bleachers), they could implement a solid selling point.  For every die-hard fan that attends training camp, there are multiple supporters who would not mind “taking a load off” during sessions that span over two hours.  It appears relatively simple and straight-forward, but it could be a way to get more customers.

Increased Exposure – Being accepted into the national spotlight has been something foreign to this franchise over the past twenty-five years.  However, in the span of a few weeks – the opposite has been the norm.  Getting more into free events would only exacerbate this, especially when large media outlets would want to be a part of the action.  In addition to the headlines for the on-the-field product, you can bet that several vendors will supply hats, jerseys, and shirts for people to purchase.

For those who live further away from Berea, (now) having training camp closer could mean family trips to watch the Browns.  Again, die-hards will go no matter the locale – within reason.  The front office needs to determine where are the best venues that will produce spikes in attendance by the casual football fan.  Will getting this faction turn the next generation to the good side (instead of waving yellow toilet paper)?   The team can only hope; of course, winning in the fall can also work wonders for youngsters new to the game.

Changing the Culture – A repeating theme of the 2014 squad has been to shed itself of its previous losing mentality.  Since last season, there has been roster turnover, coaching and general manager changes, and discussion of new uniforms (to be implemented 2015).  Perhaps moving the team during summer camp can further along this process, as the Browns have seen little success in the approximate twenty years at the campus of Baldwin Wallace.  Sometimes a positive psyche can provide an advantage that translates to success during games.  I understand the culture change may not occur overnight, and not all shifts will be good ideas.  However, this owner has proven that he is willing to think outside the box and put his stamp on the Cleveland Browns.

Conclusion:  I am excited to hear the team could move summer practices to other areas in Ohio (and possibly multiple).  The fan base could be broadened, as well as the team getting more notoriety than in previous years.  I have faith the team can get it right; hopefully that time is just around the corner.

 

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