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Tag Archives: Hue Jackson

What Have I Missed?

What Have I Missed?

Latest Happenings from the Browns

It’s been a bit since I have shared my feelings regarding the multiple situations surrounding the Cleveland Browns since the end of September.  In that time, the Browns have dropped a few contests, the head coach and offensive coordinator were fired, and a handful of players went down via injury.  Also, it’s never too early to discuss the 2019 NFL Draft – let’s break it down:

The Losing Continues

In competing with the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the past few games – the orange and brown were matching up with one of the best passing attacks in the league.  They went 0-4 in that stretch (though the Bucs game was very winnable for a multitude of reasons).  Alas, that was not the case and the team is now 2-6-1 and is staring down another ten loss season plus in 2018.  It appears that there will not be much of a let up in the coming weeks, as the team faces the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Carolina Panthers in the near future.  Maybe I should just focus on the development by the younger players as opposed to wins and losses in 2018.  The new coaches are appearing to putting the team in a spot to win, however.

Bye Hue

I cannot buy into the argument that Hue Jackson did not have the players to win games in his two-and-a-half years as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.  The Dolphins won games with Brock Osweiler and Nick Mullens is winning in San Francisco this year.  I liked the Jackson hire in 2016, but his time was an unmitigated disaster with apparent infighting with both Sashi Brown and Todd Haley.  This is not the first time this has occurred within the organization and I am looking for the next guy to be on the same page as both John Dorsey as well as his coaching staff (I cannot believe that the bar is so low at coach that this is the hope).

Unfortunate Injuries

Linebacker Joe Schobert missed multiple weeks, safety Demarious Randle has been in and out of the lineup via injury, cornerback Terrance Mitchell went on injured reserve in week four, and linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines joined the injured reserve last week.  If you had not noticed, all of these players are on the defensive side of the football – where the team’s lack of depth is rearing its head.  At full strength this is a solid unit that forces many turnovers each contests.  Now at the midway point, the defense is featuring reserve players and guys recently picked up off the waiver wire.  It will be tough sledding against some of the league’s best offenses going forward.

Filling Holes

Where should the Browns focus their resources in next April’s draft?  It would appear that they are ok in a few position groups (quarterback, running back, and tight end) – but they could always be supplemented.  Continuing to bolster the front seven should be a priority; a rotational defensive lineman would be welcomed to spell Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah in games.  The linebackers’ depth is not great and the Browns could use one or two speedy guys who could chase down quarterbacks and receivers cutting across the field.  Despite some solid play opposite Denzel Ward, I would not be upset if the Browns found another lockdown cornerback in the draft as well.

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Posted by on November 10, 2018 in NFL Draft, Players, NFL Season

 

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Pre-Season Takeaways

Pre-Season Takeaways

What We Have Learned through Week Three

The Cleveland Browns have now gone through three exhibition games and they have not been the same kind of embarrassment that fans have been accustomed to over the past few seasons.  Whether it was the efficient passing attack against the Giants, or the pounding running game over the past two weeks – the offense has displayed an ability to execute.  Defensively, the team looks a lot more physical than they were a season ago.  Let’s look further into what the Browns are showing.

Running Attack Looks Solid

Both Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb are making the most of their opportunities on the ground.  The duo has been getting chunks of yards in each of the last two outings – which is a great thing to see.  Unfortunately there have been multiple zero yards or negative plays, but those will happen in the NFL.  The goal will be to minimize these once the regular season begins.  I expect a healthy dose of rushing attempts this fall; something that has been only a rumor since Hue Jackson took over.  Additionally, Duke Johnson has not received ample opportunities with this offense.  The wildcard on offense will be utilized in the coming weeks, especially in the passing game – which can always use another target.

Waiting on Reinforcements

The wide receiver group has not stood out thus far in the preseason.  Jarvis Landry made a fine sideline catch early on, but has become a blocker ever since (I am not worried about him however).  With Josh Gordon and Antonio Callaway inactive on Friday night, there wasn’t  a guy making big plays.  The only two of note to haul in passes were C.J. Board and Derrick Willies; one of the two might make the team over the disappointing Jeff Janis.  Will rookie Damion Ratley find his way on to the team with a big role?  It is trending that way, but the team still needs some reliability in this part of the roster.

Under Pressure

I have been excited to see not only that the Browns are putting heat on opposing quarterbacks, but they are doing it with multiple guys in different points on the field.  It hasn’t been as simple as Myles Garrett off the edge or Mychael Kendricks blitzing through the “A” gap.  Witnessing Carl Nassib, Genard Avery (prior to injury), and B.J. Bello find the backfield gives me faith that Gregg Williams has enough reliable players to accomplish what he wants to.  The end result is a nasty defense that makes it difficult for opponents to operate.

Improved Secondary

Last season was painful to watch the Browns try to cover opponents in the passing game.  The addition of Denzel Ward, Terrance Mitchell, and Demarious Randall are a few of the moves to bolster this  unit.  The Browns are both no longer getting burned nor allowing pitch and catches by the opposition.  Granted this is occurring in preseason, but it is still encouraging to witness.  I will feel better once E.J. Gaines comes back at cornerback to provide solid depth, but I am not terribly fearful of these guys.  At safety, Derrick Kindred and Jabril Peppers are co-existing pretty well at the strong safety spot.  It will be refreshing watching safeties being in the right place at the right time for a change.

Conclusion:  I continue to feel better about the 2018 Cleveland Browns; I still anticipate six wins by the club (at least at this point) – however they will be in most games and their physical play will be the reason for that.  Perhaps the quarterback spot improves to where they can win tight games via solid performances.  Looking forward to the opener on September 9th!

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2018 in Cleveland Browns Fans, NFL Season, Players

 

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Time Is Ticking

Time Is Ticking

Looking Forward to 2018

I cannot tell you how disappointed I am with the 2017 Cleveland Browns.  It’s debatable that there is any sort of improvement from the 2016 club – who was dreadful.  Poor offensive play calling, a turnover-prone quarterback, and a defensive unit who surrenders yards in bunches.  We are all familiar with their horrendous record since going 7 – 4 in the middle of the 2014 campaign, it was rather easy to bottom out since that point.  When will the upturn begin for the orange and brown?

Winnable Game on Sunday

The Browns host the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers this Sunday.  Brett Hundley appeared to have somewhat figured out the quarterback position a few weeks ago, before he had another underwhelming game.  A poor output again could tilt the odds towards the home squad.  The only way I can see the Browns pulling this one out is if Deshone Kizer plays like a dependable professional quarterback and keeps the ball in the offense’s hands.  Not straying away from Duke Johnson would be a novel concept yet again, but this coaching staff would apparently rather see Kizer heave up more incompletions and turnovers.

Three Contests After That

Provided the Browns hit the 0 – 13 mark, and that is more than likely, they will have just one more chance to prevent themselves from being winless.  A road game versus the Bears and rookie Mitchell Trubisky awaits the orange and brown.  Perhaps lightning could strike twice on Christmas Eve for this franchise.  My hope and faith are low, especially with the blueprint the Bears’ win for winning contest.  Being a ball-controlled offense and a team that relies on their defense to win explains exactly what the Titans, Jaguars, and Vikings did to down Cleveland.  Not having Jamie Collins, Jamie Meder, and Emmanuel Ogbah in this contest greatly hurts the Browns’ run defense, so others must step up.

Conclusion:  Thankfully this painful season is wrapping up.  Before the firings and hirings begin, the team has to determine who will continue to be on the roster and who will be replaced next spring.  I honestly don’t know what the team needs to do to finally improve; be it a new coach, general manager, or some other sort of “football guy”.  I would just like to see them get it right and actually win games next fall.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Cleveland Browns – Bye Week

Cleveland Browns – Bye Week

The Bye Week Blues:  Cleveland Browns

Another midseason break and the Browns do not have a win to their name – just like the 2016 squad.  Despite not playing a contest this weekend, negative news continued to trickle out around Berea.  Both local and national media continue to pile on the orange and brown (and probably rightly so).  The train has gone off the rails (or further from the rails, depending on who you ask) and the dissension within the ranks is becoming more apparent.  Now, let’s take a look at some of the recent happenings for the team.

Trade that Didn’t Occur

A second and a third round selection for a backup quarterback (who is not named Steve Young)?  That was the apparent asking price for A.J. McCarron by the Cincinnati Bengals – and the Browns were inches from pulling the trigger on the deal.  There have been conflicting reports of who supported the swap and who didn’t, but I am glad the team did not approve the trade.  Honestly I don’t care who did what – but I am concerned that ONCE AGAIN the front office and the coaches appear to not be on the same page.  I am glad the team did not throw away a pair of selections for a mediocre signal caller, but more of the same for this franchise.

Josh Gordon Reinstatement

The second bit of news to hit the news is the suspension being lifted for troubled wide out Josh Gordon.  The Browns’ star had a tremendous campaign in 2013, but has largely been held out of games in his professional career – due to drug and other substance abuse infractions.  Personally, I anticipate he will not play a snap for the orange and brown (and a release might be granted in the near future).  Having said that, my expectations are low if he does appear in a contest for the Browns.  I understand he is only twenty-six years old, but all those games off will keep him ill-prepared for the rigors of the NFL.  Stay tuned, Browns fans.

Where We Go from Here?

The Browns are staring down the barrel of a defeated season with the coach stating that they have to play perfectly to win a game.  Other than that, all is well in Browns town.  I don’t know what the team is planning on doing for the rest of the season or this offseason, but I would just love to witness several wins (more than two is probably asking too much).  Avoiding an 0-16 season would be ideal.

Conclusion:  I’m not going to lie, these past three and a half seasons have taken a toll on me as a Browns’ fan and blogger.  They used to play poor football and would still win a few games – making those Sundays enjoyable.  Now, it’s sheer misery each and every week with this team.  I try not to pile on (like everyone else), but they are making it extremely difficult.  When will things finally improve?

 
 

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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.

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

 

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The New Guy – Gregg Williams

The New Guy – Gregg Williams

Gregg Williams Press Conference

The Browns have had a history of coaches with exemplary opening press conferences, only to be followed by disappointments on the field – leading to the coach being fired.  New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams recently had a tremendous opening conference; I understand this will mean little if the Browns start out 1 -10 next year but there were some solid takeaways from his time with the media.

Pulling Back the Curtain

Williams spoke about many parts of the job that his predecessors have not disclosed.  He mentioned (on several occasions) how others are willing to come in and steal an incumbent’s job on a daily basis – be it a player or coach.  Coach Williams also let us in to his psyche, that he is extremely organized (to the brink of O.C.D.) and each day is a brand new one.  By which, this means that evaluations will occur for players daily and no one is able to rest on past successes.  I believe his style of motivating will be a huge positive for this defense.  I anticipate a jump in performance, but there are many variables that can determine how large of rise from 2015.

Knowledge and Experience

The defensive coordinate mentioned all the stops that he has been to (in the NFL) over the past few decades.  He also referenced how he was able to turn our defensive units in as little as one year.  Personally, if Gregg can bring his usual tenacity his players play with – then he will have done his job.  No matter whether it was against the Tennessee Titans (in the early 2000s), the New Orleans Saints (in the late 2000s), or the Saint Louis/Los Angeles Rams (in the middle 2010s) it was always a long day against a Gregg Williams led defense.

Effort, Effort, Effort

There was a tremendous amount of references to players working hard each and every day for its entirety.  Fighting through pain or fatigue in the fourth quarter appears to be a foreign concept to the Cleveland Browns over the past few seasons.  Hopefully this mentality will be altered – as the coach noted that he wants all of his players to be in shape and ready to go in spring practices.  The Browns’ youth should surely help with this, as fresh legs late in contests appears to not be a problem.

Conclusion:  The ultra competitive coach sounds like a smart hire for the Cleveland Browns.  The defense (and the franchise as a whole) is in desperate need of an attitude adjustment; the Browns must be mean and nasty and not willing to put up with poor performances.  I am eager for the 2017 already but there are many more things that must occur prior to this.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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

 

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