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Signings and Trades, Heading Towards the Draft

Signings and Trades, Heading Towards the Draft

Latest from Berea:  What the Browns are Doing

The NFL offseason is in full swing, as free agency kicked off last week.  Guys are signing with new teams and franchises and swapping picks in the NFL Draft.  Let’s review a few things that pertain to the orange and brown.

More Acquisitions

Following the four trades that occurred last weekend, the Browns signed seven (you read that right) free agents.  Some are expected to be starters, while other will simply provide depth and experience on the roster.  Looking at the seven guys, Chris Smith, Terrance Mitchell, and Donald Stephenson are not going to make headlines during contests – perhaps they can overachieve here though.  Darren Fells will be doing the dirty work along the offensive line; the blocking tight end might help the unit move past the Joe Thomas era.  The Browns will more than likely be tipping their hand when he is in games versus David Njoku, but it won’t matter if the offense can perform (regardless of who is in there).

As of now, T.J. Carrie, Chris Hubbard, and Carlos Hyde are slated as game one starters for the Cleveland Browns.  Obviously things can change following the draft, but I see all three as solid selections for the team.  Carrie and Hyde appear to be upgrades from their predecessors and improvement is vital for this franchise.  Hubbard will likely be the starting right tackle, pushing Shon Coleman to take over on the left side.  There will definitely be a drop-off from the past eleven seasons at that position, but you can bet that the players, coaching staff, and management will try to minimize it.

Big Trade Early

The New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts traded picks yesterday; in surrendering three second round picks in the future, the Jets moved up to secure the number three selection.  It goes without saying that this type of move signals a choice for a quarterback early in the draft.  To reset, the Browns are likely to take a quarterback with the first overall selection and now the Jets are all but guaranteed to do the same thing two spots later.  That leaves all eyes on the New York Giants with the second pick – they could take Saquon Barkley (the top running back), the second quarterback of the draft, or trade back with a handful of teams who will likely take a signal caller.

Regardless of what occurs, the Browns will be in a pretty good position with the fourth selection (provided they do not trade away the choice).  I am tired of seeing the team forgo talent in order to get future draft picks, which don’t always pan out.  Therefore, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Denzel Ward, and Bradley Chubb are my early three frontrunners for the Browns’ second draft selection.  The only trade down that I could get behind is one for a spot or two – where they can still have the aforementioned trio to choose from.  I would be hesitant to trade the fourth pick to the Bills.  I understand the value of multiple draft picks but I agree with John Dorsey’s assessment that the team needs “real football players”.

Conclusion:  The excitement for the 2018 Cleveland Browns continues to increase as they are completely overhauling a roster that went winless a season ago.  Also, the trade for the third pick makes puts the Browns’ choices more in the spotlight.

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News About the Browns

News About the Browns

Latest Details Surrounding the Cleveland Browns

Instead of getting ready for the Super Bowl (like all other fifty-one times), the Browns are in the midst of their offseason.  We are already aware of the hiring of the new general manager, and a few members who have recently joined his staff.  However, the team recently added a guy to a role that has not been separate from the head coach (since Hue Jackson has been hired).  Meanwhile, a very important week just concluded for the front office – which included an opportunity to get a closer look at possible new members of the club.  Finally, a longtime veteran has been doing the rounds in the media; prompting the question – what does this mean?

A New Play Caller

Following his six seasons as offensive coordinator to a team east of the Browns (who wear black and yellow), Todd Haley’s contract was not renewed with that team.  Just a few days later, the Cleveland Browns spoke to him to fill the same role with the orange and brown.  Not a short while longer he accepted and for the first time since the Mike Pettine era, the Browns will have a head coach and an offensive coordinator who are two different people.  There have been multiple rumblings that Haley is a difficult guy to work with and can get under players and other coaches’ skin.  However, at this point I am not concerned about that; he seems like he knows what he is doing and that is good enough to feel that the Browns have made a solid hire.

Senior Bowl

The ever important week that occurs in Mobile, Alabama is wrapping up this evening following the playing of the Senior Bowl.  The headliners were (at least that is what local media told me) Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen; a pair of signal callers who can still easily fall or climb in draft boards during the coming months.  I hope that John Dorsey keeps an eye on a couple late round guys (where Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt were selected in prior years) – who can vastly improve the team.  Should they take a senior in the early rounds?  I would be okay with that, as long that the value is worth the investment.

Joe Thomas Hitting the Circuit

In case you haven’t heard, but Joe Thomas has been a popular member of the media over the past several weeks.  In addition to having his own podcast with Andrew Hawkins, he has been on multiple radio stations and television segments.  A local radio guy even got worked into a fit that Joe (a former athlete) could actually excel in another industry.  Personally, I think Joe is funny and knowledgable about multiple subjects beyond football.  I would prefer he continue his professional career with the Browns for a few more seasons but completely understand him continuing his career off the field.  Is (at least) one playoff game for Joe Thomas and the Browns too much to ask?

Conclusion:  The Browns secured a solid offensive mind to their coaching staff, and are doing their due diligence with the upcoming draft class.  I would like to say the arrow is pointing up for the franchise, but a tremendous amount of work still has to occur prior to any sort of success still occurring.  Up next is the NFL Scouting Combine, where underclassmen will join the seniors in preparing themselves for the upcoming draft.

 

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Thoughts on the Loss

Thoughts on the Loss

Browns Lose Again

Unfortunately, the Cleveland Browns were defeated once again in the season opener (who has head of that one before – everyone in the last 13 years).  However, there were some positives in this contest played against their rivals wearing black and yellow.

Kizer

Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer was far from perfect, but showed a performance that I have not seen from a Browns’ quarterback in quite some time.  Kizer moved the chains and made some plays against one of the best teams in the NFL.  I am eager to see him play going forward and want to see how he improves.

Running Game

Unfortunately, the best plays that I saw Isaiah Crowell make during the game was walling off defenders in the passing game.  That is a great quality to have, but I would like to have him make plays running the football.  I have a feeling that will come in the next few contests.

Wideouts

Kesean Williams burned Joe Haden but ran an improper route, leading to an incompletion.  I have all the faith in the world that Kizer will elevate the play for his targets, which will lead to further developments.  I want to see a guy or two step up (especially with Kenny Britts’ huge drop – which could limit his time going forward) and be a reliable weapon in this offense.

Secondary

The announcers made a big deal about the safeties playing very deep each and every play – the end result was not allowing a long passing play for the other team.  The Browns did collect an interception, and that should be a regular occurrence going forward.  I expected Jabril Peppers and company to switch up their coverage next week – and therefore to be more active in the contest.

Conclusion:  I will never be happy with a Browns loss, but I was encouraged after this matchup.  They competed well against an outstanding opponent and want to see how they perform on the road next week.  I envision a bunch of wins in the coming weeks, but the team has to put it together.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Cleveland Browns Offseason

Cleveland Browns Offseason

The Undefeated 2017 Cleveland Browns

Now that the pesky Super Bowl is over, it is time to look ahead to the NFL offseason – a fan favorite for the Browns’ supporters.  There were several moves made and multiple words said about a former teammate.  I would like to think the Browns are improving in this time frame, but let’s review what has happened.

Signing a Safety

The orange and brown inked second year pro Tyvis Powell this week, and provided them another option at the safety position.  The former OSU star fell all the way out of last year’s draft class but made his mark on the Seattle Seahawks roster.  Powell eventually got caught in the numbers game and was released a few weeks ago.  I believe Tyvis can have a realistic shot at being at least a backup safety for the Browns.  Hopefully the team will continue to improve upon this position in April’s draft.

Joe Thomas:  Uncut

The future Hall of Famer let loose over the airwaves in the recent future.  The first was news that appears to be surprising, especially with the team’s recent history.  Thomas said he expects the Browns to be extremely active in free agency and figures they will acquire three to four big name free agents.  I am fine with philosophy, provided they are great players who can help the team – instead of expensive busts.

The left tackle also took a shot at first round bust Justin Gilbert, who was recently released from his second franchise in three seasons.  Thomas hinted that Gilbert did not love the game of football – which is very hard to argue against this.  The first round of the 2014 draft continues to be a demise for this franchise; hopefully Sashi Brown and company can pull several tremendous athletes this spring and boost the franchise out of this rut.

Veterans Released

In a move that surprised nearly no one, the Cleveland Browns parted ways with quarterback Josh McCown and defensive back Tramon Williams.  Each were older,expensive players who were making too much money to justify their roster spots.  I wish the best for both but have a difficult time thinking that replacing this duo will be an arduous task.  Both are vital positions on this roster – but getting the elusive signal caller is desperately needed for this franchise.

Conclusion:  The Browns’ front office remains active in the weeks leading up to the Scouting Combine.  These little moves might not seem like much, but perhaps they can either impact the team in the fall or open up a roster spot for a guy who can.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Offseason, 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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Another Team’s Practice

Another Team’s Practice

Browns Physically Dominated on Sunday

Once again, the Cleveland Browns were beaten up at the line of scrimmage, as LeSean McCoy, Mike Gillislee, and Tyrod Taylor ran up and down the field against the orange and brown.  I understand the Bill have the best rushing offense in the league, but they showed why in this contest.  What else can be taken away from this outing?

Not a Protective Unit

Robert Griffin was taken down five times in the pocket, it has become obvious that the line is failing to keep the signal caller clean.  It continues to be obvious that this part of the Browns’ team must be upgraded this offseason.  I know that there have been multiple injuries to key guys (i.e. Joel Bitonio and John Greco) but the guys filling in have nowhere replicated the performance of an adequate unit.

Defending the Tight End?

The defense (early in the season) had a problem defending the opposing tight end in coverage.  Unfortunately, that reared its ugly head once again in this matchup as Charles Clay hauled in seven receptions and was the leading receiver (while also securing a touchdown).  It’s rather frustrating and disappointing trying to watch this unit, but the other two aspects of the team are not much better.

Let’s Talk about the Run Again

I know I touched on it earlier, but that performance by the Browns’ defense against the run was embarrassing and unacceptable.  The Bills amassed 280 yards on the ground and were picking up five to seven yards easily on each carry.  Changes must also be made in the offseason to rectify this porous part of the franchise.

Conclusion:  And then there were two – this refers to the number of games remaining in the season to finally earn a victory.  If the Browns play the way they did today then they will be defeated soundly.  At least the Browns will not lose next Sunday, as they play on a Saturday.

 

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Another Debacle for the Browns

Another Debacle for the Browns

The Cleveland Football Team Stumbles

It was the first and only time the orange and brown got to play in front of a national audience and the fared the way they have all season long – poorly.  Outside of collecting a pair of interceptions and witnessing a late touchdown, the Browns were completely embarrassing.  There were a few things I took away in this matchup.

#1 – QB Replacement

I was very surprised the Browns moved away from rookie signal caller Cody Kessler to veteran Josh McCown.  The starter managed the game well and did not make any mistakes, while the backup tossed a pair of interceptions in the second half.  To think that this move would have sparked a win is silly, but the performance was even worse.  The Browns must stick with Kessler the rest of the way – no matter the score.

#2 – What Collins Can Do

The insertion of Jamie Collins was apparent in this defensive performance.  Not only did the linebacker make plays both up the middle and from the edge (against both the run and pass), but he elevated the play of his teammates.  I thought Danny Shelton, Jamie Meder, Demario Davis, and Chris Kirksey all had their moments – they are far from great but I was glad to see them starting to get a bit more consistent in their play.

#3 – Offensive Line

The guys upfront did not do their jobs last night, especially when trying to protect Cody Kessler during drop backs.  The quarterback was hurried or sacked from blitzers blowing past Cameron Erving, Spencer Drango, Joe Thomas, etc.  This has pretty much been status quo for the season and the team must upgrade severely.  The Browns are not running the ball well, cannot protect the quarterback, and are not winning at the point of attack.

Conclusion:  Honestly, this game was what I expected – a bad outing by a young team.  The stride to 0 – 16 is very real and no victories seem to be on the horizon.  At least Browns’ fans have an open Sunday afternoon, enjoy it for once!

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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