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Hogan’s Heroes?

Hogan’s Heroes?

New Starter and the Meaning

Following the mild success of quarterback Kevin Hogan (over Deshone Kizer’s ouput), coach Hue Jackson gave him the nod against the Houston Texans.  The second year pro is good for a touchdown and an interception each game – but is he good for a win this Sunday?  The Browns are double-digit underdogs during their matchup down south, and frankly I don’t expect a close outcome.  However, are there a few areas on the gridiron that give the team hope?

Defensive Injuries

Unless you have been living under a rock inside of a cave, you have heard of the unfortunate injury to defensive stalwart J.J. Watt, which occurred last contest.  He, defensive end Whitney Mercilus, and a starting defensive back to two might be out for the home squad.  I got to figure that will the help the Browns’ offense a bit in this game.  Hogan already has a quick release in the pocket, but having more time to throw should only help.  The running attack should benefit as well – provided Hue Jackson chooses to dial it up the way he did last contest.

Long to Release

Many have gotten on quarterback Deshone Kizer’s lengthy delivery of the football (as it is greater than Kevin Hogan) – but let’s not forget the Deshaun Watson is also getting the football out in over two-and-a-half seconds.  That just means the Browns defense has to blow by their guys and get to the rookie signal caller.  I envision Myles Garret to be a benfactor of this, but it would be nice if a few teammates could join him.  If the Browns can find a way to limit Watson’s threat to run the football – they might actually be successful in attacking the opposing offense.

Conclusion:  I would not be surprised to witness a blowout in this this contest.  However, the Browns could actually could make it a game if a few things break their way (forcing turnovers, winning the special teams matchup, etc).  As the past two seasons have gone, the breaks will go to the home team and the Texans will more than likely come out comfortably ahead in this contest.  When will the Browns win a game this year?

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Posted by on October 12, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Getting Down to 53

Getting Down to 53

Cleveland Browns Trim their Roster

Though it’s not finalized, the Browns have pared down their active participants to the maximum required by the league.  While there were some controversial cuts (Joe Haden, John Greco, Jordan Leslie, and Rannell Hall come to mind) – overall I am content with their roster moves.  Let’s take a deeper look into some guys who are on the roster – at least for now.

Trevon Coley – Defensive Tackle

A month ago, many fans knew very little (if anything at all) about the defensive lineman who was fighting for a spot on the orange and brown.  Throughout training camp and four preseason games, Coley has looked solid and been a part of a couple of forced turnovers against the opposing offenses.  The team released veterans Desmond Bryant and Xavier Cooper over the past few weeks, providing an opportunity for Coley to prove he belongs.  I hope to see him continue to make plays in the regular season, but it will not come easy.

Backup Quarterbacks

Out goes Brock Osweiler, while Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan are the reserve signal callers.  It’s a bit alarming that the Browns currently have three quarterbacks on the roster who have not won an NFL regular season contest – but that will change soon.  I am not sure whether it was the perceived attitude, or he did not live up to the “stabilizing” status of a veteran signal caller – but the team chose to let Osweiler go.  I could see his touch on passes being less than great, but would have been ok with him over Kessler.  I really hope all of these backups don’t see the field in 2017, as Kizer has a successful rookie campaign.

Sammie Coates – Wide Receiver

In a bit of a surprising move, the Browns traded within their division and acquired a speedy wide out from the same alma mater as Ricardo Louis.  Coates brings something that none of his counterparts possess, the ability to stretch the field.  However, he must work on hauling on the passes once thrown his way.  At this level, it will be rather difficult to correct a quality like that.  I would like to believe he can turn it around here; but my guess is that the Browns will look for another burner (with solid catching ability) in the 2018 draft.

Conclusion:  For all intents and purposes, the hay is in the barn and the team is ready to go for the 2017 season.  I am buying into the new culture change, but now the wins must follow.  Stay tuned, Browns fans.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2017 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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More Games, More Problems

More Games, More Problems

Looking Back at the Browns’ Loss 

It was yet another defeat for the Browns, and the starting quarterback left the game – go figure! This miserable season is not even halfway over and it’s felt like three years since the Browns won their last contest. What should the supporters of the orange and brown think about after this contest?

#1 – Their Run Defense is a Work in Progress 

For a majority of the contest, the defensive front won at the point of attack for the Cleveland Browns. However, Jeremy Hill took advantage of an off-tackle carry (with two guys pulling his way) for a long touchdown. He also tallied a touchdown later in the contest. I applaud how the run defense works hard but they are still surrendering a big play or two. Obviously they are not there but hopefully that can change in the near future.

#2 – These Quarterback Injuries Must Stop 

I’m getting sick and tired of a Browns’ quarterback lying on the field and then being helped to the locker room. Whether it is dirty play by the opposing defense or a porous offensive line, this lack of protection for the guy under center has got to come to an end. I loved seeing Kevin Hogan run the read option well (for the most part), but the Browns will have no shot to win with him as quarterback.

#3 – Some are Improving

I am primarily referring to Emmanuel Ogbah, who notched two sacks on the afternoon. While some were ready do write off the rookie, he has steadily getting better on the field. If Carl Nassib can improve as well (I will cut him some slack due to the hand injury), then the Browns might have the makings of a solid pass rush in 2017.

#4 – The Secondary is Helpless

As many of you are aware, I’ve all but written off the Browns’ secondary. They cannot cover opposing receiving threats and are not too helpful against the run. The Joe Haden absence surely does not help – but it’s not like anyone is standing out on the roster. Sweeping changes are likely (in the position group) this upcoming spring.

Conclusion: I’m frustrated, Jimmy Haslam is frustrated, Hue Jackson is frustrated…etc. Who knows when this team will get their first win of the season (I’m certain they will not go 0 – 16), but I would not be upset it was to happen next Sunday. The losing appears to taking it’s toll on the franchise, but the injuries are not allowing the Browns to even be competitive in games.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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