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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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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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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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Lamenting this Loss for the Browns

Lamenting this Loss for the Browns

What I Learned from this Defeat: Cleveland Browns

I really thought the orange and brown would secure their first victory in the season this afternoon. It wasn’t meant to be and another clunker was the outcome for the Cleveland Browns. The team led early in this contest but they could not hold on and their furious rally came short. There are a few things I took from this game:

#1 – Second Half Adjustments

This point is rather simple, the Browns took a 20 – 7 lead into the second half and was beaten up pretty well in the second half. Matt Forte was running up and down the field with ease. Meanwhile, the Browns’ offense was stagnant (which is generous to say) after intermission. They scored a meaningless touchdown late but that was not enough to help with this comeback. I am scratching my head about this one, as this comes down to coaching – I would have thought that the Browns were better than this.

#2 – Too Young for Pressure

Every single time the Jets were facing a third down and a sizable amount to gain, Ryan Fitzpatrick dropped back and had time to complete a pass long enough to move the chains. Carl Nassib had three passes deflected, but other than him – no one was able to make it difficult on the veteran signal caller. The team desperately needs a guy who can knife through the defense and disrupt the opposing quarterback’s timing.

#3 – McCown’s Opportunity and Kessler 

I felt that Josh McCown would have gotten some kind of spark for this offense. The veteran signal caller has actually gotten the most from this unit, but he was the cause of this lethargic output that came out in the second half. I’m ready to move on to Cody Kessler, once the rookie clears the concussion protocol. Perhaps he will be able to actually win a game for this franchise. 

#4 – No Heart or Passion

I did not see any fiery emotions or excitement coming from this team. Maybe it is their record or the fact that about half of the stadium is full, but the Browns look like a defeated bunch. I honestly don’t know how they will rally to get their first win of the season – they are clearly fighting an uphill battle.

Conclusion: Halfway through the season and the Browns still have not produced a victory. I am very sad and disappointed in this bunch, but I did not have high hopes to begin with. Hopefully they can get on the winning track next week, but I would not expect that to occur.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Browns Game #8 vs. Jets – Breakdown

Browns Game #8 vs. Jets – Breakdown

Browns vs. Jets – Game #8 Preview

Well, for the first time in several weeks the Browns actually have a chance at winning a game on Sunday. Despite winning their last contest, the Jets come to town as an underwhelming bunch with quarterback issues. That being said, the Browns obviously have an bleak outlook at multiple positions on their roster. This game is likely to be a boring one…let’s have a look see.

Offense: 

Quarterback: I’m going to assume that Kevin Hogan will get a majority of snaps in this contest for the Browns (until he gets hurt). At that point, the Browns will have to yield to gimmicks and trick plays – their “traditional” quarterback position has not been spectacular at this point. I actually think that they can win this game without great play from this spot however.

Running Back: Despite being out gained by the backup quarterback, Isaiah Crowell did a solid job of gaining rushing yards. He will continue to get the lion’s share of carries this season, and depending on who is behind center – Crowell can get back to the level he was in the first few games. My weekly rant of getting Duke Johnson more involved continues; the reserve runner has been making the most of his opportunities. It would be nice to see him get an increased workload.

Wide Receiver: It’s extremely hard to evaluate a position group that is primarily based on the quarterback – especially when the team is on its sixth man under center. However, last game saw Andrew Hawkins, Terrelle Pryor, Rashard Higgins, and Ricardo Louis all get involved in the passing game. Pryor was not completely healthy, but he did his best to still make plays on the field. I want to see Higgins and Louis excel (while Corey Coleman is out), but the constant injuries to the quarterback makes it a little difficult for that to occur.

Tight End: Surprisingly, Gary Barnidge saw his most targets in quite some time last contest. The veteran did admirably, though his receptions did not produce a tremendous output (in terms of yardage). He can be a security blanket for a young quarterback, I would just prefer that guy under center be Cody Kessler and not Kevin Hogan. Another target outside of Barnidge would be nice, but the Browns can’t seem to find one.

Offensive Line: It appears that Cam Erving will miss more time going forward, thus John Greco will more than likely be the center for a bit. It will be interesting if Jonathan Cooper breaks through and finds an opportunity with this unit, or if Spencer Drango and Shon Coleman will continue to get the repetitions with the offensive line. It’s obvious that this part of the team is the reason why the quarterbacks are getting killed – hopefully the coaching staff can finally find a combination that can prevent a rush and a rash of injuries.

Defense: 

Defensive Line: As mentioned before, (against the Bengals) the run defense for the Browns was good in spurts but surrendered several long runs. I have faith in Danny Shelton, Jamie Meder, and Xavier Cooper, but they need to be more consistent in stuffing the run for the opposition. Matt Forte is not nearly as great as Jeremy Hill (at least at this point in his career), but nonetheless the Browns will have a large challenge on their hands. One would expect the Jets to rely heavily on their ground game – the home team must prepare and shut this unit down.

Outside Linebacker: While Emmanuel Ogbah has been getting better and making plays, Joe Schobert has regressed a bit as an outside linebacker. I understand he is a middle round draft pick rookie, but he has not been tremendously involved in the Browns’ defensive highlights. I would like to think that his position group can get to the signal caller on a bad team like the Jets – but the Browns have not proved that they can do that up to this point. 

Inside Linebacker: I thought Chris Kirksey actually made some solid plays in last contest. It would be nice to see this continue, as the defense could use more consistency up the middle. Demario Davis ought to be active in the middle of the defense as well in this game. I’m still waiting on the big play to come from this unit, but that appears to be wishing for too much.

Safety: Tracy Howard is trying his best at the safety spot, but is playing just as well as his predecessors. The undrafted rookie has been invisible in coverage and when trying to stop the run. Not surprisingly, Derrick Kindred has not been any better either. The Jets feature one of the worst tight end situations in the NFL – but that is not any reason for Browns’ fans to breathe a sigh of relief.   All I ask is that this unit does not get burned on multiple occasions. 

Cornerback: I thought Briean Boddy-Calhoun was the best cornerback for the Browns last contest. While he has been ok, an undrafted rookie should not be leading a position group (especially this  early in the campaign). Brandon Marshall is the key option for the opposing team – he could make the Browns pay, given an opportunity. However, I have faith that the Browns will bounce back from last week – as A.J. Green is not on their roster. 

Special Teams: It appears that the special teams for Cleveland has somewhat settled down. They are not great, but also not the reason why they are losing ball games. I would really like to see the orange and brown do something to put the Jets in a bind – though recent history is not on their side.

Coaching: Hue Jackson continues to make play calls based on who he has available to play in contests. I haven’t found reason to second-guess the head coach, but there is a great deal of games remaining. I would like to see him put the offense in spots to beat the visiting team, but executing this is of the utmost importance.

Prediction (My Record: 7 – 0): I think the Browns can actually win this game, but until I see more I am not ready to pick them to succeed. The Jets come away with a 27 – 17 win at First Energy Stadium.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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What Happened? Browns vs. Bills – Game #2 Review

What Happened?  Browns vs. Bills – Game #2 Review

Analyzing Browns vs. Bills Preseason Game #2

Well this game was what I was expecting. A sloppy, physical contest that featured two defenses that shut down inept offenses. There were some penalties and mistakes made by both teams, which is to be expected at this time of year. It’s now time to break down the final preseason game played at First Energy Stadium in 2015.

Offense:

Quarterback – Well, unfortunately the Josh McCown that many had come to expect this season was on display at First Energy Stadium. His first two drives ended with poor decisions when tossing the ball – leading to interceptions. Overall, the quarterback made some nice plays, but turnovers are killer. Also this offense is not good enough to overcome multiple interceptions and still win games. Hopefully he can get back on track in Tampa.  As a backup, Manziel led a nice touchdown drive – I love seeing his progression, but I’ll wait to excited about his future.

Running Back – There was nowhere to go but up for the Browns’ running attack. Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell did not have tremendous performances, but they at least had some nice gainers not seen since about ten months ago. Those eight-yard-and-over rushes should be expected on a regular basis (we just needed to see them first). My faith has increased in this group, but let’s face it – they still have plenty of room to improve until September 13th.

Wide Receivers – This was not a stat-stuffing contest for the Cleveland Browns’ wide receiving corps. Brian Hartline secured a couple of fine grabs, while Andrew Hawkins was targeted on a few occasions. Other than that, the first team unit did not overwhelm by any means. Travis Benjamin and Taylor Gabriel did not get involved until Manziel came in the game. I would like to see what Terrelle Pryor and Dwayne Bowe add to this offense, but that looks like I will still have to wait.

Tight End – All three veteran tight ends got into the receiving game for the home team. Gary Barnidge made a nice grab early, but tipped up a McCown pass leading to an interception (while leaving the contest with a possible concussion). In his absence, Jim Dray and Rob Housler were able to snare a few tosses as well. None in this unit will ever have a large yardage or reception output, but I just want them to come down with important grabs.

Defense:

Defensive Line – First, the positives for the group. Danny Shelton and Randy Starks each made a couple of nice plays while forcing the action behind the line of scrimmage. Other than that, there were missed tackles and assignments by the gang upfront. I really hope something can click with this group (and soon) so the line can be a much improved unit. Looking at their counterparts, the Browns still have a way to go until they can replicate the type of performance that the Bills’ defensive line has been displaying.

Linebackers – Paul Kruger was the only visible linebacker – outside or inside – for the Browns in the first half of this contest. He had a sack, a hit on Tyrod Taylor, and a great tackle for loss. Scott Solomon whiffed on a Taylor run and was rather disappointing. I hope some guy can step up soon; the Browns cannot afford to only have one reliable athlete on the outside (Orchard played nicely in the third quarter). It was a quiet evening for the trio in the middle – none really stood out but they were not poor either. I’m content with moving on and reevaluating these guys next week.

Secondary – About a billion injuries to the secondary did not provide a realistic gauge when looking at the back four. Johnson Bademosi is a fine special teams member, but should not be starting in the NFL (at least at this point). Fortunately, he held his own against Buffalo. I hope Jordan Poyer did not have a concussion, but if he did – I look for a quick recovery and for him to be ready to go for the regular season. That, and for Joe Haden, Pierre Desir, K’Waun Williams, Tashaun Gipson, and even Justin Gilbert to be healthy as well.

Special Teams: It would appear that Travis Coons might be the front-runner for the kicking job. He made a nice field goal last week and repeated that performance this contest. I just hope he can continue this all year long. Trading for Andy Lee was a great move by this front office – the Browns need to win the field position battle on a weekly basis, and he certainly helps with that.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Cleveland Browns Training Camp – Offense – Competitions

Cleveland Browns Training Camp – Offense – Competitions

Top Training Camp Battles – Offense

Well, let’s face it – while all on the same roster, not everyone will play nice with other guys in their position group.  The NFL is a job and everyone is fighting for a gig, thus making for intriguing competitions in training camp.  Let’s review a few that will occur with the offense, which will amp up intensity this summer in Berea.

Quarterback:  Johnny Manziel vs. All Quarterbacks not Named Josh McCown

According to the media, it’s a foregone conclusion that Josh McCown is the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in 2015.  That could be debated, but his play in minicamp and OTAs has reinforced this. While Manziel is still vying for a shot at the starting role, he must make sure he can hold off the likes of Connor Shaw (who had a decent start to close the 2014 campaign) and Thaddeus Lewis (who had a couple nice starts in the league).  Nothing is given in the NFL, but I would be disappointed to see Manziel struggle mightily in training camp while one of the other signal callers steals the backup job.

Running Back:  Terrance West vs. Duke Johnson

Is Isaiah Crowell the leader for a majority of carries with the Cleveland Browns?  He arguably played the best of the bunch in 2014 and was not called out onto the carpet the way West was by coach Pettine.  Therefore, the second-year pro from Towson will be tested against highly touted Duke Johnson to see who will shoulder the load when Crowell is not.  Their styles are a little bit different, but whoever can hit the lane quicker and can display catch-and-run ability better will have a leg up.

Wide Receiver:  Terrelle Pryor vs. Travis Benjamin vs. Vincent Mayle

The fifth and sixth spots at wide receiver appear to be up for grabs among this trio.  A year ago, Travis Benjamin was coming off an excellent year as a returner and a deep threat at wide out.  However, a tumultuous year returning punts and a quiet year as a receiver (sans the Titans victory) leaves his position with the team in doubt.  In comes rookie Vincent Mayle and former NFL quarterback Terrelle Pryor; there’s a chance that either two of these guys make the roster or none of them do. I am eager to find out which guy stands out and gets that opportunity to perform in the fall.

Offensive Line:  Right side of the Offensive Line

In looking at John Greco, Mitchell Schwartz, Cameron Erving, and Michael Bowie – this is likely the least exciting offensive competition for two reasons.  One, all four (barring something wildly unexpected) will make the roster.  Two, not a ton of people will focus on the blocking upfront this July and August.  Nonetheless, two of these guys will likely start on the right side of the offensive line – while the others will be primary reserves.  Speed, athleticism, and versatility will be scrutinized to ensure the best five athletes are on the field a majority of the regular season for the Browns.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2015 in Players, Training Camp

 

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