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Can We Get a Win?

Can We Get a Win?

Browns vs. Colts – Smells Like 2011

No, this is not Kerry Collins vs. Colt McCoy (it is close, however) – but Sunday’s matchup is between two poor teams playing in Indianapolis.  The Browns might have to call Peyton Hillis for some nice runs (the way he did six years ago), as this part of the franchise has been largely underwhelming.  What can the Browns do to finally win?

Jacoby Brisset

The Browns are facing a mobile signal caller, who does not have a track record of success.  In addition, he will be with this franchise for three weeks now – far be it from an entrenched franchise quarterback.  The Browns have been extremely disappointing in getting pressure on the opposing signal caller – though they are coming off facing a pair of Super Bowl Champions.  Something tells me that things will be different this week, as Gregg Williams will put together a game plan to finally impact the opposing passing game.  Who will emerge for the orange and brown defensive line?

RUN THE BALL!!!!

Sorry for the all caps, but the Browns must not rely so much on the passing attack by DeShone Kizer (and Kevin Hogan).  This is more hope than anything else, but the team must utilize both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson for more than twenty carries this weekend – and the occasional swing pass or two would not be a bad thing.  If the Browns cannot generate a run game in this contest, then I have lost all hope for their offensive output.

Who Steps Up at Wide Receiver

Rashard Higgins had a solid outing last game, now without Corey Coleman – what is next for the Browns’ wide receivers?  Will Duke Johnson go back into the slot role?  Should we anticipate more from Sammie Coates and Kasen Williams?  I’m a little apprehensive about this spot, but Kizer has to throw it to someone.  I can see the team shortening their routes while still generating a bit of success.

Conclusion:  Call me crazy, but I think the Browns get it done on Sunday.  They will bounce back (from last week’s debacle) after the Colts take the Browns lightly.  It will once again be a rough, low scoring contest – but Kizer will top his counterpart and the defense will allow the visitors to leave with a “big” win.  I expect the linebackers to get back on track and Jabril Peppers is overdue for either a turnover recovery or a game-changing return on special teams.

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Posted by on September 19, 2017 in NFL Season

 

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Updating the Cleveland Browns

Updating the Cleveland Browns

The Latest News Coming from Cleveland

Well, there are other things going on in the world of sports – outside of the NBA Finals.  The Browns are making moves both by acquisition and departure, hopefully they were the correct ones.  Meanwhile, a possible issue could be looming for one of the team’s better players.

The Trade (Heard Round the World?)

I am being a tad facetious when I mention the swapping of underachieving athletes between the Browns and the Jets.  The Browns sent linebacker Demario Davis to his former club and agreed to take Calvin Pryor (the former first round safety from the University of Louisville).  I am hoping that Pryor can fill in at the strong safety role for the orange and brown – while rookie Jabril Peppers plays a hybrid linebacker/safety role.  It’s a boom or bust proposition made by the Brown; a gamble I would prefer over Demario Davis.

Potential Contract Dispute?

It will be interesting to determine whether running back Isaiah Crowell will be on the roster for several more years or just though the 2017 campaign.  The veteran signed a restricted free agent tender a couple months ago, guaranteeing his spot on the club this year.  What will happen after this occurs?  The Browns have Duke Johnson and newly acquired Matthew Dayes to compete at the running back position.  I would venture that the team would add another talented runner to this group if they wanted to get rid of Crowell.  I would prefer the team keeps the veteran on this team, but that is the nature of the business – anywhere the team can upgrade, they should do it.

Latest Release

Before he could even put the pads on and get ready for training camp, Tyvis Powell was let go by the orange and brown.  Personally, I would have liked for him to compete on the gridiron to see what will be the best combination of safeties for this franchise.  However, the team did not agree with me and they will go the other direction.  I sincerely hope that Derrick Kindred and Ed Reynolds step up and provide solid play at that position.  Anything similar to what we saw in 2016 and the Browns are in trouble this fall.

Conclusion:  There were some under the radar rumblings for the Cleveland NFL franchise at this point in the season.  I firmly believe they will be improved from a year ago – but am far from confident that they are making all the correct decisions.  Hopefully the team has taken to the new leadership (especially on defense) and fans will see an up close difference during next month’s practices.

 

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Officially the Worst – The Cleveland Browns

Officially the Worst – The Cleveland Browns

Finishing Dead Last

Congratulations Cleveland Browns, you did it!  They completed their horrific campaign not only ending with the worst record in all of the NFL (first time since 1999 in doing that), but also ending with the worst regular season record in franchise history.  It wasn’t easy, but the Browns managed to lose a contest that was easily winnable.  Let’s look at a few reasons why the Browns blew it.

Fumblerooski in the Fourth

Driving for the go ahead score in this contest (tied game with just over one minute to play), the Browns gave the ball to Isaiah Crowell inside the five yard line.  The running back coughed it up and the Steelers avoided a defeat.  It’s hard to fault the play call, as Crowell had a long gainer earlier in the contest and was doing exceptionally all game.  Nonetheless, the back put the ball on the ground and a game winning field goal never materialized.

First and Goal

In overtime, the Browns reached the two yard line following a facemask penalty on a pass play to Corey Coleman.  Instead of utilizing their workhorse to run for two yards (and win the game), the offense threw three passes and did not score a touchdown.  The end result was a missed block by Terrelle Pryor, a huge loss, and a field goal.  We all know what happened when the Steelers got the ball in overtime.

One Yard Away

Briean Boddy-Calhoun had a tough day in the cornerback position.  The rookie got torched a few times in this game (both in regulation and in overtime), but what hurt most was his costly mistake.  Boddy-Calhoun intercepted Landry Jones and retuned the football over sixty yards and was running it in for a touchdown.  Instead of getting tackled at the one yard line, the cornerback stretched the ball out for a touchdown – only to fumble it back to the opponent.  Instead of having a fourteen point lead, the Steelers would take advantage of the gift and score the game-tying touchdown.

Conclusion:  I have never been happier for a Browns season to conclude.  I cannot count how many times they got in their own way to avoid any sort of success.  At least they defeated one squad to avoid a winless season, but outside of that it was awful and embarrassing.  I hope the front office can make the right decisions and drastically improve over the next few months.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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The Browns Win!!!

The Browns Win!!!

The Cleveland Browns Pulled out a Tough One

As expected, this was a close contest and came down to the last play of the game.  The special teams frankly got it done in the fourth quarter and survived a pair of Josh Lambo field goal attempts late in the contest.  I’m not going overboard, but I am extremely relieved that the team was finally able to pull out a win in this treacherous season.  What can be taken away from this victory?

A Little Bit of Each

The Browns’ offense was not stellar, but was gritty enough to move the football and (more importantly) put points on the scoreboard.  Likewise, the defense did not shut down the Chargers – however, they prevented the opponent from finding the end zone on a few occasions (which was the difference in the outcome).  Obviously, the special teams were good enough as well in this game.  The Browns got it done in all three phases in this matchup.  I would like to think that with improved talent, and complementary football – the Browns will win games with more regularity this season.

What this Means

If anyone has seen the video from the locker room after the victory, it is easy to see why this was a critical win.  The locker room got a bit tighter and the players showed their continued support for coach Hue Jackson.  I hope this is a turning point for the franchise, but we can not have this argument until they had their first victory of the season.  I am pulling for this being a rally cry for the changed culture which will improve with more talented athletes and wins.

Protection Remains Alarming

The Chargers sacked the Browns quarterbacks nine times, meanwhile the home squad did not put up a single sack on Saturday afternoon.  If the Browns ever want to be a consistent winner, they need to level the playing field in this department.  I believe they will bolster their pass rush in the draft, but the offense still has work to do.  The signal caller must get the ball out quickly, and the offensive line must hold up their end of the bargain.

Conclusion:  The Browns won a game and still maintained their overall first draft pick status – not a bad day for the Cleveland Browns organization.  I am eager for their building in the offseason, but clearly making the right choices (by personnel department) is what is important.

 

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2016 in Cleveland Browns Fans, NFL Season, Players

 

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A Glance into Browns @ Bills

A Glance into Browns @ Bills

Browns @ Buffalo:  Game Number Fourteen

I cannot sugar coat this season, it was been painful to watch and the positives are few and far between.  However, this is another contest I feel the Browns will have a slight opportunity to secure a victory.  The odds are stacked against them as they travel east and face a rather solid football team – who is expected to win by double digits.  There are four reasons why the orange and brown could still strike the upset, let’s take a further look into these.

Distention in the Ranks

There have been rumors surrounding the future of Bills’ coach Rex Ryan as he navigates his way to another losing season.  Have there been talks between management and the coaching staff?  Will this affect the way the coaches call this game plan on Sunday?  It might be all for naught, as Ryan was in a similar situation in 2013 (with the Jets) and defeated the Browns in a contest late in the season – en route to saving his job that year.

(Actually) Scouting the Opponent

Le’Veon Bell is undoubtedly one of the best running backs in the NFL and plays like it week in and week out.  He had a historic performance last week in Buffalo; I would have to imagine that coach Jackson and the Browns will attempt to stick the run themselves.  I know Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson are nowhere near the level of Bell, but maybe they can find holes in the defense and can make things much easier for the offense.

Quarterback Question Mark

Along the lines of the head coach, the guy under center has come under much scrutiny and could be replaced in the near future.  However, Tyrod Taylor will be the starting quarterback for the opposition in this matchup.  I have never understood what the Bills saw in him and felt he was mediocre at best.  One way the Browns could win this game, is due to Taylor succumbing to the pressure of being benched and trying to make plays that simply aren’t there.  Forcing turnovers and getting points is something the Browns’ defense desperately needs.

Negative Momentum

Losing five of its last seven meetings, the team in Buffalo is getting antsy.  (I understand that it is not as bad as it is here, but our front office is ok with losing this year).  This is further pressure placed on the organization and everyone who is responsible for their success.  It will be interesting to see how the home team responds to this; hopefully they are not up to the challenge.

Conclusion:  I really want to pick the Browns to win this contest, but I would rather be correct.  The Browns will not fall behind the way they did a week ago but might find themselves in a hole late in this game.  I anticipate a steady dose of LeSean McCoy early, leading to a play action touchdown or two.  Robert will try to rally the troops but come up just short as the Browns fall 27 – 20.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Any Signs of Life?

Any Signs of Life?

Browns vs. Bengals – Will there be a Way for Victory?

After the much needed bye week, the Browns host their division rival who also resides in the state of Ohio.  The first contest was not too kind to the orange and brown, but perhaps the second matchup will be different.  The lifeless organization is 0 -12 and it would appear that there is little hope.  Can this game be different?  Possibly, but let’s delve into why.

Back to the Starter at QB

While not official, it is possible that Robert Griffin will be back in the saddle for the Browns in this contest.  The quarterback has only participated in one regular season contest in 2016, but will now secure his opportunity to show the coaching staff that he can hold down the position going forward.  My hope for Griffin (and the offense) is that the threat of the deep ball opens up running lanes as well as the play book.  The key for any chance at a win is zero turnovers by the Browns’ quarterback.

Weapons Missing for Cincy

This relates to A.J. Green and Gio Bernard for the away squad – who will be out of action in this contest.  While that is fine and good for the Browns, but the opponent still has several other weapons.  Jeremy Hill and Rex Burkhead lead the running stable – and will more than likely see ample receiving opportunities.  On the outside, Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd have been stepping up at the wide receiver position.  Long story short, the some may feel the Browns will dodge a bullet on Sunday – but there are capable athletes waiting in the wings to make them pay.

Hope for another Jump

The Browns’ defense has taken steps forward (albeit not huge) the past few weeks, even with the young athletes on the field.  Guys like Danny Shelton and Chris Kirksey continue to improve upon their 2015 campaign.  Meanwhile, Emmanuel Ogbah and Briean Boddy-Calhoun are a pair of rookies who are getting better, despite making mistakes here and there.  At some point the unit has to put it all together, right?  That is my hope, as it is one thing to play well individually – however knowing each person’s responsibility and performing as one is something this franchise has not seen for quite some time.

Taking the Browns Lightly

The Bengals dispatched Carson Wentz and the Eagles rather easily (last Sunday) now travel to face a winless Browns team.  Many believe this will be another beat down for the guests, but will they buy into the hype?  Since this is a divisional contest, I anticipate Marvin Lewis having his club fully prepared and ready to play up to their capabilities.  For some reason, I could see the Bengals starting out a bit sluggish in this matchup.  It will be up to them whether they pick it up for succumb the rest of the way.

Conclusion:  While I feel this might be a close contest, I still cannot pick the Browns to win this game.  The Bengals are a better football team in all three phases of the game (well, kicker might be a toss up).  I would love to be wrong one of these times, because they cannot afford to end the season winless.

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

 

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What to Make of This One?

What to Make of This One?

Browns Fall to Giants on Sunday

In an ending that surprised no one, the Cleveland Browns dropped their twelfth contest of the season handily to the New York Giants.  The offense was stagnant and the defense could not force the critical turnover for most of the contest.  So, was it all bad for the orange and brown?  Or are there any sort of bright spots for this franchise which is now sitting at 0 – 12.

Hue Recognizing Tendencies

The Browns have not been running the football in contests; at least the coach is understanding this and is trying to incorporate this on Sunday.  Yes, the team only tried twenty-one attempts, but that is up from the past few contests.  The issue is that the backs are getting three yards then losing two – that type of inconsistency will kill an offense.  I will put the blame more on the guys upfront, but Crowell was not doing them any favors either.  The bottom line is that watching the Browns try to run is frustrating.

Need more Wide Outs

Terrelle Pryor was targeted early and often, and produced 131 yards on six grabs (via twelve passes intended for the receiver).  This was a solid outing for the veteran, but the Browns are not having anyone else step up to move the football down the field.  Corey Coleman made one decent play; the same could be said for Gary Barnidge.  I really hope this team re-signs Pryor and drafts another wide receiver early in next spring’s draft.  The NFL is all about offensive weapons and the Browns are in desperate need of them.

Defense Starting Up?

The Browns’ defense actually forced a turnover in this contest.  Meanwhile, the defenders were winning at the point of attack and were pushing back Rashad Jennings from time to time.  Granted, they are not one of the best defenses in the league – however I am finally seeing some sort of improvement (there was ample room to grow).  It will be interested to see if this trend will continue or if this was just a decent outing in a season filled will bad defense.

Conclusion:  The Cleveland Browns are now headed to their bye week, which is much needed for both the team as well as the fans.  My faith and enthusiasm might be at an all-time low, as nothing appears to be going right for this franchise.  At least the year is almost over and another chance to improve looms large.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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