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What Now for the Browns?

What Now for the Browns?

Latest Updates from Berea

The news cycle continues to go on during this period of OTAs for the Cleveland Browns.  The transactions persist for the team, much to the chagrin of some veterans.  However, when a team laden with older players fails miserably – it should come to no surprise that younger athletes will likely be brought in as replacements the following season. Speaking of which, it would appear that getting to know their predecessors is a good thing for these young men. This is especially the case, as those elder athletes got to the playoffs and performed at a high level game in and game out.

Release of Hartline

Veteran wide receiver Brian Hartline was let go by the Cleveland Browns last week in a move that was not completely surprising. Looking at what the team has been doing over the past few months – youth has been a big factor (especially at skilled positions).  Brian simply did not fit that mold with this team, and the fact that the Browns drafted four wide outs did not help things either.  Could his veteran leadership have helped out the wide receiving unit?  Sure, but more production on the field was needed from the athlete as well.  Like many other guys who are moving on from the orange and brown – I wish him good luck and have no ill will towards the athlete.

Alumni on Hand

It was a solid move to have former players on hand during the OTAs for the Cleveland Browns. Hanford Dixon, Felix Wright, and (gasp) Bernie Kosar were in attendance talking to today’s team. For about thirty-one franchises, doing this is not a big deal and a typical thing done by squads in the NFL. However, it seems to be a problem for the Browns, especially with their frosty relationship with their former quarterback in the 1980s and 90s. Perhaps this is the olive branch that was needed to link the old teams (the ones who actually had success) to the current crop. Will it lead to future success for the orange and brown? Who knows, but I will take whatever positive karma is out there for this club.

Time off for Thomas

The veteran days off for Joe Thomas appear to be a hot button for the Cleveland media. I frankly do not have a problem with it, but I understand where it could cause problems within the locker room.  Face it, everyone would like some time off once in a while.  Maybe if the team is in a playoff push (I understand that’s unlikely, but I can dream) – perhaps Thomas can put on a good face and give his all each and every practice. At the end of the day, having Thomas available and reliable (each game) is what matters for this franchise, however.

Conclusion: It’s almost the down time for the Browns; that period between mini camps and training camps. Hopefully the team is getting up to speed and learning what Hue Jackson is all about. Rookies like Jordan Payton (still in classes) have been hurt by not practicing, but they can still make up for that in the coming months. Not hearing about idiots failing drug tests or going on benders in Las Vegas the next few months will be refreshing this season.

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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Offseason, Players, Training Camp

 

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The Rest of the Draft – What Can Come from these Guys?

The Rest of the Draft – What Can Come from these Guys?

Some Expectations for Rounds Four thru Seven 

Well, the Browns made many selections on the third day of the draft last week. What will come about will differ greatly from one guy to the next; hopefully most will be able to produce for the orange and brown. Let’s break down several of the athletes taken by the Browns after round three.

Joe Schobert and Scooby Wright III

There’s a good chance that this pair of linebackers will be on the field for special teams each and every game. Additionally, there is an outside shot that Wright can challenge Demario Davis and Christian Kirksey for playing time in the inside spots. Meanwhile, Schobert is versatile and might play some downs inside and could shuffle outside to help with the team’s pass rush. The odds of producing for these guys are great, however it appears to be 50/50 (or less) if they can appear with the defense.

Jordan Payton and Rashard Higgins

Initially, I believed that both wide outs that were taken in the fifth round were long-term projects with a slim chance of success. Then I watched some film and noted their production. If Payton can play the role that Miles Austin did two years ago, the reliable possession receiver who can move the sticks, then the Browns can classify this pick as a hit. Meanwhile, Higgins is a bit smaller in frame – but runs smoother routes and can turn and run with the football. I would like to think he could be the third or fourth option for this team (depending on how Ricardo Lewis develops). Both will be given a shot to play for the offense – it will come down to executing in their roles. I honestly feel that at least one can be a cog with this offense for years to come.

Derrick Kindred and Trey Caldwell

Caldwell was a “need pick” at cornerback, but will likely fall into the category of special teamer (at least to start out the 2016 campaign). The Browns would love to see him take over a starting spot in 2017 or 2018, but Caldwell will have a boatload of work prior to that occurring. I am hesitant to believe he can be a first-team cornerback down the road. Kindred is a safety and should compete with Ibraheim Campbell, Jordan Poyer, and Rahim Moore for playing time. Will he be tremendous in coverage, or is Kindred a physical safety who will stand out? Just excelling at one of those things can put the rookie on the fast track toward the starting lineup.

Conclusion: The Browns took multiple athletes who can contribute on the field immediately. Will they be a part of a unit that is one of the best in the league? The odds are against it, but (like many things Browns-related) I will hold out a bit of hope. However, if the front office actually hit on these picks (and found the diamonds in the rough) – then this might be the beginning of something great.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in NFL Draft

 

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