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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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Where to Turn Now?

Where to Turn Now?

Bummin’ After a Bad Loss

The Browns are coming off a pathetic first half but managed to keep it close last week (however it’s debatable as to whether the Colts were loosening up their defense).  The constant mistakes are maddening and who knows if they finally curb this beginning Sunday.  Additionally, the play calling for this offense is a bit head scratching – especially with personnel at wide out.  What can be done for win number one?

Hope for a Healed Garrett

Rookie defensive end Myles Garrett practiced today but his status remains uncertain as he is still fighting off a high ankle sprain.  The fact that this front four has been so underwhelming in getting to the quarterback leads me to believe that Myles might finally see the field in the limited role.  However, the staff will be careful with the first overall draft selection – to prevent further injury.  If Garrett finally plays for the Browns, I would not be surprised to see him make a big play or two.

Switch up the Routes

The Browns are running the most downfield routes (fades, streaks, fly patterns, etc.) in the NFL by a wide margin.  It is nearly double the next franchise – I understand doing this if you have Randy Moss, Terrelle Owens, or another tremendous receiver who could help an offense.  Sadly, Rashard Higgins, Kenny Britt, and Ricardo Louis have nowhere near this ability to create separation during longer routes.  Meanwhile, DeShone Kizer has to hold the ball longer – putting him in the spot to take shots from defenders.  The offensive line must maintain their blocks for several additional seconds, which could be asking a lot after several attempts.  A simple adjustment is the finally utilize shorter routes – in theory is should help the the three facets of the offense (listed earlier in this section).  This will also set up the deep passing attempts.

Don’t Put Jamar Taylor on an Island

Prior to the beginning of the season, many felt that Jamar Taylor was the de facto top cornerback for the team (with the release of veteran Joe Haden).  The result is that Taylor has had his issues against Antonio Brown and T.Y. Hilton, two of the better wide outs in the league.  I’m not saying that Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Jason McCourty are definitely better – but they have not been exposed on film in recent weeks.  Also, the Browns might be able to use safety help with coverage of A.J. Green.

Final Word:  I expect yet another loss by the Browns this Sunday, but I’ll still watch and be hopeful.  Who knows, maybe Hue Jackson actually calls a game that allows his players to produce yards, first downs, then points.  I worry about this defense, but perhaps either the addition of a player or the change in scheme can seal a win.

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2017 in NFL Season

 

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Intriguing Battles for the Roster – Offense

Intriguing Battles for the Roster – Offense

Guys to Keep an Eye on Next Month

Well, the Cleveland Browns are not full of Joe Thomases and Joel Bitionios – therefore several positions are up for grabs as the team gets back on the field in Berea in July.  Outside of the obvious (and annual) quarterback derby that has already been underway, there are a few key spots where one guy who can separate himself from the rest of the pack.  Let’s look further into those position groups.

Right Tackle

It appears that Shon Coleman will have the first crack at the starting lineup for the orange and brown.  He is big, mean, and has a solid track record in college; however the second-year athlete has yet to prove he can make it work (consistently) in the NFL.  I have faith that coach Bob Wylie will work his “magic” (pun intended) with the former Auburn star.  Meanwhile Spencer Drango and Cameron Erving are waiting in the wings for their opportunity.  I have mixed feelings about Erving, who has been rather underwhelming since joining the team.  Drango had an up-and-down rookie campaign, but getting another training camp under his belt should help his progress.

Tight End

The release of veteran Gary Barnidge opens the door completely for a guy or two to secure the starting position.  The frontrunners are rookie David Njoku and Seth DeValve, who have been impressing the coaching staff up to this point.  Both are receiving threats but could use some work attempting to develop as a run blocker.  Randall Telfair and maybe a wildcard could earn some playing time; however, I would be surprised if the aforementioned duo does not get the lion’s share of snaps.  The question might be, can DeValve hold off the first round rookie?

Wide Receiver

Under the assumption that Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt remain healthy and play up to their capabilities, the Browns will have their top two wide out options.  That still leaves another athlete or two who the team will be counting on to haul in passes for the franchise.  Rashard Higgins, Ricardo Louis, and Rannell Hall are three options to fill a void that was missing in 2016.  Like some of the tight ends, a young athlete (Louis) has been garnering solid reviews from his supervisors.  However, I am intrigued to see how Hall bounces back from a promising 2016 exhibition season prior to missing the entire year due to a broken leg.

Conclusion:  There is a long way to go until the regular season kicks off in just over two months.  However, the roster must be settled prior to that point in time.  This would include several competitions at position groups, hopefully with the best man winning the gig.  I would like to believe that these include guys who can play in the NFL and not roles just needing to be filled.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in NFL Season, Players, Training Camp

 

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The Aftermath from the Browns/Titans Game

The Aftermath from the Browns/Titans Game

What this Game Told Me about the Browns

An early deficit, several mistakes, and another defeat occurred on Sunday afternoon – what is new for the Cleveland Browns? I still content that the orange and brown are not awful; they are simply young and inexperienced. However, I want to see them win a game and soon. What did the game in Tennessee tell me about the Browns? 

#1 – Their Safeties Might be the Worst

Jordan Poyer (before his injury) and Derrick Kindred were once again invisible in this contest – with a few exceptions. The duo allowed Kendall Wright and Rishard Matthews to get behind them for long gains in the contest. Watching a hurt Tashaun Gipson and ineffective Donte Whitner last season was bad, but what the Browns are putting out now is even worse. It should come to no surprise that this position will be improved upon this offseason. 

#2 – They are Prone to Errors 

The numerous penalties were inexcusable, as well as commonplace, for the Cleveland Browns. Be it the offense, defense, or special teams – the Browns committed infractions which sorely hurt the team. I’ve said it before, but am not afraid to reiterate this, the Browns are simply not good enough to overcome these errors and still expect to win. I don’t know what it’s going to take for the Browns to play within the rules, but until they learn this lesson the losses will follow.

#3 – No Depth at Offensive Line 

Clearly Joel Bitonio was the lynch pin for this team’s running attack. Without the services of the third year pro; the five guys upfront struggled mightily to pave running lanes for Isaiah Crowell. The bad news is that Bitionio might be out for the rest of the season, so the Browns might not be churning out running yards in contests. 

#4 – A Tale of Two Second Year Guys

Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving are going their separate ways. The former is rapidly improving and even notched a sack on Sunday. If he can continue to do this, then this could validate his early draft status. Meanwhile, Erving looked abysmal once again in the middle of the offensive line. His opportunities should be scrutinized and if poor play continues, the Browns might have to think about his replacement in the spring. 

#5 – Liking What I am Seeing at QB 

Rookie Cody Kessler is going out there and making plays. I really like seeing him stepping up in the pocket and delivering the ball to a wide-open option. His growth is apparent and I never would have expected it. I still am not ready to call him a franchise quarterback, but I want to see him play on Sundays (and I have not said that about a Browns’ quarterback in quite some time).

Conclusion: It does not get any easier, as the Browns have another difficult one in Cincinnati next Sunday. These defeats are not fun but that’s pretty much what the franchise signed up for.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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