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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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Latest News with the Browns

Latest News with the Browns

Newsworthy Browns Notes

The stories are not as enticing as they were during the NFL Draft, but the Browns are still grabbing headlines. First they added a new man to bring in talent for the franchise; meanwhile there has been some backlash by the media regarding both veterans and rookies alike.

Another Addition to the Front Office

A few days ago, the Browns announced that Ryan Grigson was added to the staff with the title of Senior Personnel Executive. I must admit that I have mixed emotions regarding this decision. On one hand, the franchise added a solid scout who has had a respectable track record in that department. However, Grigson is coming off of a stint as a general manager of the Indianapolis Colts that left much to be desired. The draft misses, trading for Trent Richardson, and inability to surround quarterback Andrew Luck with a reputable supporting cast come first to mind. I guess I will give the new hire a break, but do not to expect that he will do anything of significance while being with the orange and brown.

Brock Osweiler Banter

The veteran quarterback was peppered with questions following the recent OTAs practice sessions – a majority of these were of negative tone imitating that the signal caller will not be the “guy” for the Browns. Regardless of what last year’s film says – Osweiler will get his shot with the team to prove he can handle the duties on Sunday. Personally, I don’t know what was gained by a reporter being combative at this point of the year. Perhaps this will be a driving force for the newly acquired quarterback?

Early Injuries?

Of course fans and media alike are making gigantic deals of Myles Garrett and Jabril Peppers not practicing due to minor injuries in May. The pair of first round draft selections will be made or broken in the fall, not whether they are 100% full go four months prior to the regular season beginning. If Howard Wilson’s injury should have taught us anything, it’s that people can be sidelined at any point in the season. Therefore, I am ok with Hue Jackson taking precautions during spring practices.

Conclusion: Unfortunately, there was not a bunch of positive news for the Cleveland Browns these last few days (unless you think the Grigson hire was a home run). The doldrums of the NFL calendar march on, and we have just under two months until the team hits training camp in stride. In the meantime, we should expect less than ideal stories surrounding the team.

 

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Presser and Analysis

Presser and Analysis

Three Takeaways

There was a press conference today in Berea with Browns’ front office personnel Sashi Brown and Andrew Berry – which is typical for a team to do with just over a week until the impending NFL Draft. What can be gained from listening to these men converse with the media? As expected, not a ton but there was at least three things I picked up on.

1 – Standing Pat (at Least Early)

When asked whether a similar philosophy to 2016 (where they traded down multiple times) would be in place this year, Sashi Brown said he would be surprised if this occurred. He obviously left the door open for this scenario to occur, but the Browns need playmakers not extra picks after tearing down their roster following the 2015 campaign.  Andrew Berry mentioned that the team doesn’t want to get into a habit of turning two picks into one.

Therefore, I anticipate the team going forward with the first and twelfth selections in the draft (barring something wildly unforeseen).  However, the second round choices and beyond could be moved one way or the other.

2 – Targeting their Signal Caller

In regards to the position of quarterback, Sashi referenced a scarcity of these proficient athletes and Berry mentioned that are so few who can play quarterback in the NFL. What I garner from this is they believe that the most important position in sports must be filled with an exceptional player. Whether it is a trade for Jimmy Garappolo or a move up for a third choice in the first round – the Browns would give up a lot if it resulted in a franchise quarterback.

3 – Not Responding to Rumors

This was obvious yet refreshing to hear to the guys in charge of the press conference. There was no upside to answer questions about guys who the team may or may not choose. Brown and Berry have their draft board in place and changes during the draft could allow them to modify things. I’m frankly sick of all the rumors myself and am looking forward to draft weekend.

Conclusion: From the meeting with the media, it is apparent that theBrowns will not be trading down early on in the draft. Once they determine who their franchise signal caller will be (if applicable in this year’s draft) – they will stop short of nothing to secure him.  If there are no guys to fill the bill, I expect a repeat of last year’s draft. There are many ways the team can go next week in Philadelphia – and for once they might actually do it correctly.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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PSA Reminder

PSA Reminder

PSA:  Don’t Forget it’s Silly Season

Now there are reports of the Browns drafting Leonard Fournette or Mitchell Trubisky with the first overall pick.  There are also musings of the team putting a trade down “in play”.  This is a friendly reminder that this is not the truthful season.

It is not time to overthink this Browns’ fans.  When the Browns have made monumental moves historically – they were not announced in the media two weeks before the draft.  The same could have been said about other teams.

I fully expect the Browns to make move during the draft weekend; however it will not be the type of trade being announced in the media.

I am ready and eager about this pending draft, but I am not concerned about what the team may or might not do.

Expect other news to come out over the coming weeks regarding the Browns.  Remember, however, don’t believe everything report you hear.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2017 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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Cleveland Browns and the Senior Bowl

Cleveland Browns and the Senior Bowl

The 2017 Senior Bowl 

For the first time since 1993, the Cleveland Browns’ coaching staff is manning the sideline during the Senior Bowl. I hope this is to the advantage of the franchise, as more time up close and personal is an important thing prior to the NFL draft. I would like to think that Hue Jackson and company know what they are doing, but let’s take a deeper look.

Different Mentality

Several media members have been upset at the Cleveland Browns’ mentality as to how they are running Senior Bowl practices. Instead of the traditional “live” participation where it’s man against man each play – the coaches are instructing the guys on the correct techniques and working on individual drills. Granted, this is only going on for a week – but the Browns will find out which players will accept coaching and which want to do their own thing. I would like to believe that the Browns could potentially have an advantage here during the draft, where they find out a few extra details about potential draft selections.

Understand Positions

There is a stereotype that playmakers have usually come from collegiate Juniors (and redshirt Sophomores), thus the Senior Bowl is here to primarily display lineman and middle of the round selections. With a few exceptions, I subscribe to this thinking – the Browns will likely take a pair of non-Seniors in the first round. Therefore, they should utilize this time in Mobile to determine who makes sense in rounds three through six. 

Potential Options

Seeing as to what the Browns need, I would be content with several members of the Senior Bowl joining the team next fall. Ryan Switzer and Cooper Kupp have been impressive in practice, but I cannot see them as franchise wide receivers. Meanwhile, the quarterbacks appear to be prospects at this point; where they could possibly become respectable veterans at some point in their career.

Pass catchers have really jumped out to me. Outside of the aforementioned duo, O.J. Howard, Josh Reynolds, and Evan Engram each had their moments as well. I would more than welcome the Browns saddling up with these athletes in the second to fourth rounds. I understand Hue Jackson loves quarterbacks (and why not), so if he does not take a signal caller early in April’s draft – he could opt for a Josh Dobbs or Davis Webb later in the process.

Conclusion: The key about this week is to determine what to look for in athletes as well as translating this into the scouting combine and senior pro days. The Browns need tremendous athletes who are hungry for football and have a tremendous desire for the sport. I’m sick and tired of misses during the draft for one reason or another – it is finally time to get it right this April.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2017 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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New Coach? Bad Post. Latest from the Browns

New Coach?  Bad Post.  Latest from the Browns

Latest Browns News and Notes

After an extremely quiet and positive offseason, the Browns went back into the negative light in a big way this week.  There has been tension, anger, and hatred that has gone on in the past two weeks (relating to the recent shootings) – however continuing to perpetuate this solves nothing.  Meanwhile, it appears that a former rival wants to join the Browns in a different capacity this season.

Ocho Cinco’s Arrival

He was never my favorite player in the NFL, but I will admit that he sure is entertaining.  Chad Johnson will be on the field for the Cleveland Browns’ 2016 training camp – as he is a huge fan of head coach Hue Jackson.  I would like to believe that Johnson could help the wide outs more with route running and getting separation than touchdown celebrations.  This should be viewed as a wise move by the orange and brown, as more knowledge to be given to these athletes the better.  However, the Browns have miles to go until they are one of the best wide receiving corps.  Perhaps this rookie class will help expedite this improvement.

Crow’s Photo

News has traveled far and wide about the Instagram photo that Isaiah Crowell posted last Wednesday; this occurred after the killing of the two young men by police officers and prior to the killings (of police) in Dallas two days later.  Crowell’s decision to post a policeman being slashed was in extremely poor taste and there are many within the organization who are unsure of what to do next.  Should the athlete be released, suspended, or will a few apologies and speaking out (to make amends) do the trick?

I wish I had an easy answer for this, but it is not that simple. Everyone who comes across this story is looking at it from a different situation and will therefore react accordingly.  Personally, this reaction from the media reminds me of the Riley Cooper outburst a few years ago (granted the two situations are completely different).  In the end, today’s society can forgive but they will not soon forget. Crowell will likely remain on the team this year and could get pushed out the door by 2017.

Conclusion:  The on-the-field discussions are just around the corner. In the meantime we hear the best and the worst about the team prior to them taking the field.  In one instance, the team can be galvanized by the addition of a fun-loving former athlete.  On the other hand, one player’s actions could divide a locker room and continue to drive a horrific situation.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Latest Tidbits from Indy – Browns and the Combine

Latest Tidbits from Indy – Browns and the Combine

NFL Scouting Combine

Well it was the combine that went down last week in Indianapolis for all thirty-two professional franchises.  Once again, many topics were discussed, dissected, and overblown both by the local and national media alike.  Only concerning myself with the Cleveland Browns, let’s review a few of the stories of what occurred for the orange and brown.

Don’t Repeat Past Mistakes

Remember two years ago when many were worried about quarterback Teddy Bridgewater due to his slender frame and smaller hand size?  It would appear that the Browns were concerned, as they took a guy who had larger hands (despite being shorter).  The team must realize there is much more to the puzzle than a few attributes.

Flash forward to this year; it is looking early on that Jared Goff is barking up the same tree.  His hands are a full inch smaller than Carson Wentz’s and he is tipping the scales at not much north of two-hundred pounds.  I will repeat my stance on this, as it has not changed from 2014.  Can the guy play quarterback in the NFL?  By which I mean, can the athlete process information quickly, make correct decisions, and perform at a professional level?  My answer to this regarding Goff still remains at yes; I hope the Browns are not afraid to take the University of California product.

Great Words to Hear

During his press conference, Hue Jackson said two things I enjoyed hearing.  The reason why I found them refreshing, it that is was a stark contrast from his predecessors (who ultimately failed).

First, the Browns’ coach will be heading to multiple pro days in the coming weeks.  He will get an up-close look at the prospects at all the important positions – including quarterback.  What a noble concept, actually scouting potential employees prior to working with them!  This was not the norm for several years prior.

Also of importance, Jackson stated that he will not put a tremendous amount of stock into the scouting combine.  Of course it will be important, especially with the personal interviews – but one workout or measurement will not define an athlete’s value.

Sashi Brown Ridding Misinformation

Many media outlets are dismissing the possibility of the Browns retaining any of their four top free agents.  However, Sashi Brown stated at his press conference that they have been having updated conversations with each guy (Alex Mack, Mitchell Schwartz, Tashaun Gipson, and Travis Benjamin).  Will they re-sign any or all of these guys?  Time will tell, but I am not ready to say they definitely will not.

Conclusion:  The week in Indianapolis is vital for all NFL teams; they must use their time wisely to get the required information from the young athletes.  However, this is also a chance for front offices to meet to agents to discuss future contracts.  It appears that the Browns are doing both currently (and in depth).  I am not certain that was the case under past regimes – so I guess that is a positive heading into the 2016 free agency period.

 

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2016 in NFL Combine

 

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