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Browns vs. Jacksonville Headlines

Browns vs. Jacksonville Headlines

Latest News Surrounding the Browns and the Jags

The defeated Browns face a (surprisingly) decent team from North Florida who has a record 6 – 3.  The annoying thing is that, some within that organization feel that is enough to validate trashing their former employers.  I don’t recall Brian Hoyer giving his former employer grief that he moved on to Cleveland and led the team to a 6 – 3 record.  To see what I am referring to – just look to the next paragraph.

Disgruntled Veteran

In case you have not heard about it, former (and mediocre) defensive back Tashaun Gipson let his thoughts be known about the Cleveland Browns.  The athlete is disgruntled after Sashi Brown and company did not sign him to a lucrative deal (though he was offered more money by the Browns during the season than he agreed to with the Jaguars).  Gipson said he feels for the fan base and they deserve a winner – to which I agree.  However the shots at the franchise are low hanging fruit, and I am not sure of his end game – so I am moving on.

Back in the Lineup

Wide receiver Corey Coleman has been elevated to the active roster and figures to have a key role in this offense on Sunday.  I would appreciate if he could get separation from defenders, secure the football, and make plays for this offense.  It might take time, but some great flashes would be ideal for the Browns.  If the team actually wants to have a respectable unit – having a solid first round draft choice in the lineup would be a good start.  Maintaining health for multiple contests would be refreshing for a change, otherwise the Browns ought to be looking for another #1 wideout next April.

Conclusion:  The Jaguars are the better team and have a tremendous defense.  I give the Browns a slim chance to win, but an upset here would be very nice.  Not only has Jacksonville been just as putrid of a franchise as the Browns over the past few years – shutting up Gipson would be great.  Perhaps the Browns can finally get it done in this contest – but the running game and Deshone Kizer must continue to build upon their performances over the past few weeks.  I am not concerned about their passing attack, but rookie Leonard Fournette is a solid runner would could get the Browns’ defense winded.  Getting Blake Bortles to turn the football over should be imperative.

 

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Posted by on November 16, 2017 in NFL Season, Players

 

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A Preview for Browns @ Chiefs – Game #15

A Preview for Browns @ Chiefs – Game #15

Looking into #15 – Browns @ Chiefs

Outside of an incredible opening offensive drive, the Cleveland Browns looked miserable on the road last week. They now face the playoff-hopeful and red-hot Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. In another difficult venue, I (once again) give the Browns little hope that they can come in and earn the victory. Regardless I will take a peek into this match up.

Offense:

Quarterback – The light is starting to come on for Johnny Manziel. He is being smarter in the pocket, getting the ball out quickly, and throwing passes where he needs to. While he is not facing a great defense like the Seahawks – the Browns will go against an opportunistic unit who turns teams over and puts points on the board. Manziel should be able to get at least one score on Sunday; hopefully he avoids giving the ball away to their defense.

Running Back – Being able to utilize Duke Johnson out of the backfield was something to watch last game. I anticipate this will be the norm in this contest; as well as giving the ball to the rookie between the tackles. Isaiah Crowell should have fresh legs against the Chiefs – (he was not used to a great extent last game) and she should still churn out yards. Maybe the threat of Manziel running is actually opening lanes for these backs – why not keep using it (until they get shut down)?

Wide Receiver – The injuries are piling up and apparent – the guys left are doing their best but not scaring any secondary units. Travis Benjamin made a couple nice catches but can still be a downfield threat. Marlon Moore is definitely a special teamer playing offense – he is blocking and running routes as hard as possible, but this position needs athletic guys who can make big plays.  Dwayne Bowe even make some catches last week, maybe he can be inspired to have a big day against his former team.

Tight End – Despite being bottled up for most of the game, veteran tight end Gary Barnidge found the end zone last meeting. I would not be surprised to see him surpass the franchise single season record for touchdowns by a tight end – hopefully he can accomplish this on Sunday. I guess we should not anticipate seeing E.J. Bibbs in action once again. Other than a couple of opportunities for Jim Dray, this position group is a one-man wrecking crew. 

Offensive Line – Cameron Erving is not having a stellar rookie season. A pair of injuries to guards has forced the Florida State alum into the starting lineup. I would like to think that he can get his act together and help out his teammates, but more than likely Manziel will have to evade defenders rather quickly in the “A and B” gaps. I’m not sure he can overcome this for a majority of the matchup and can see at least three or four sacks for the opponent.

Defense:

Defensive Line – I fully expect Charcandrick West to breeze through the Cleveland Browns front seven this Sunday. Danny Shelton and Xavier Cooper have both made plays here and there against the run, but neither are consistent enough to shut down the opposition. Randy Starks was at least in the screen a few times last week, but I expect the veteran to disappoint in the game. I would predict that the Browns surrender over 150 yards on the ground. 

Linebacker – Armonty Bryant might be playing the best on the outside for the Browns right now. He is doing a moderate job at setting the edge and has been getting to the quarterback at times. Other than that and a few plays by Paul Kruger, the outside linebackers are not playing up to expectations. Chris Kirksey and Karlos Dansby have been asked to make open field tackles, which occur on a frequent basis. However, the duo needs to make “impactful plays” (i.e. forcing fumbles) each game. 

Secondary – At this point, it doesn’t really matter who is in a cornerback – the Browns cannot cover their opponent during passing plays. Charles Gaines is at least promising, as the rookie has had a few deflections. But by and large, it’s pitch and catch for the opposition. The safeties have been invisible all season long; I have been really down on Tashaun Gipson and wonder how his play could have fallen off this badly. Jeremy Maclin should have a big game for the Chiefs.

Special Teams: I suppose the Browns somewhat had a respectable game in this department last week. The kick returning game was vastly improved, and if the offense can capitalize with the improved field position – then they might not get blown out. The Browns need to force a turnover by the home team. 

Coaching: There’s not really a ton of changes needed for this offense. John DeFlippo has been making he most with his guys and is putting them in spots to succeed. I have to throw my hands up with this defense; I don’t think anything can be done for them to improve. Jim O’Neil is not doing a good job but the same can be said for the play of the guys on the field.

Prediction (My Record: 9 – 5): After the 49ers win, I thought the Browns had a chance to win in Kansas City. However, I’ve come back to my senses and realized that a victory is not possible. The Chiefs win this game 34 – 17.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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The Browns lose another opener – call me not surprised

The Browns lose another opener – call me not surprised

Review of Browns @ Jets – Game #1 

Another opening game for the Browns and yet another loss for the orange and brown. It was a gruesome performance, and being there I wish I did not have to witness that performance. Let’s remember the debauchery that ensued in New Jersey.

Offense:

Quarterback – Ever since Josh McCown decided to be a hero and dive like a helicopter – across the goal line, the offense was not the same. The signal caller got hurt (leading to a concussion) and then Johnny Manziel came into to toss a touchdown, an interception, and fumbled twice. This type of performance was not the kind of winning way that is needed by signal callers. Thirteen of twenty-four is not bad passing statistics, but turning the ball over is unacceptable.

Running Back – Well Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson combined for forty-two yards, and both quarterbacks led the team in rushing. This part of the roster really needed to step up and that was simply not the case in this contest. Hopefully the Browns can get back on track next week, but time will tell.

Wide Receiver – One long grab and run for Travis Benjamin was pretty much it for this wide receiving unit. His long touchdown (fifty-four yards) was a thing of beauty, but that was it for the team. Brian Hartline secured two nice grabs, I would have liked to see more plays by the veteran – but that was not in the cards for the team.

Tight End – I suppose Gary Barnidge played well at tight end. He had three receptions for thirty-eight yards, but had a key drop on third down (leading to a punt). I thought the Browns had the edge going into this contest – in regards to the tight end matchup. However, the away squad could not muster any more than one reception for thirteen yards, and the Browns lost this battle once again.

Offensive Line – Multiple false start penalties, issues with pass blocking, and not opening alleys for Crowell and Johnson – that was the summary for the Cleveland Browns’ offensive line. I don’t expect them to be completely dominant in this contest – however there was much more they could have done to excel in this game.

Defense:

Defensive Line – The guys upfront did not really do anything spectacular against the Jets. They surrendered 154 yards on the ground and could not win at the point of attack. Hopefully Randy Starks and Desmond Bryant will do a better job at funneling the action towards the middle of the field. I liked what rookie Danny Shelton did, perhaps he can continue this going forward.

Linebacker – The guys on the outside were expected to make their mark for the Browns. Yet Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo were pretty much invisible in this game, unfortunately for the Browns. They could not get to Ryan Fitzpatrick at all, and that was their Achilles heel. The trio in the middle was not much better either, which was a bit surprising by this unit. I expect them to pick it up next week – but they were miles away from where I wanted them to play.

Secondary – Tashaun Gipson committed the best and worst play of the game. His interception and strip by Brandon Marshall was a huge momentum changer – which cost the Browns greatly in this contest. Neither cornerback stood out, and Donte Whitner was far from great as well. I want to see the Browns’ secondary be exceptional going forward – but I am a bit concerned that will occur.

Special Teams: Andy Lee is good – so there’s that. Having two punts averaging over sixty yards is exceptional, but he’s just a cog in the Browns’ big wheel. Travis Coons belted a field goal and a long extra point; I suppose that is a bonus for the team.

Coaching: It’s hard to say whether Mike Pettine made good coaching decisions in this contest. The lack of execution by the offense and defense really made it hard for him to look smart. Oh well, this game is over and it’s on to the next game.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Prior to Training Camp – Defensive Outlook

Prior to Training Camp – Defensive Outlook

Part II of Where We Stand – the Cleveland Browns

In continuing our look of position groups prior to the commencement of training camp, we turn to the defensive side of the football. I understand there is a bit of speculation when breaking down players at this point of a campaign, but until the athletes are putting themselves on game film – that’s all we got at this point. Let’s take a gander at the guys on defense.

Defensive Line: Depth, depth, and more depth – all the Browns need is to keep away from disastrous injuries. Phil Taylor, Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, and Danny Shelton man the interior of the group. I figure they should put up more of a resistance against running backs than their counterparts did a year ago. Meanwhile the outside linemen include Desmond Bryant, Randy Starks, John Hughes, Billy Winn, and Xavier Cooper. Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil stated he might employ more four-men fronts as he has an arsenal of talent at that position. That appears to be a wise move, especially if Cooper shows his first-step burst he displayed in college. At that point, it’s as almost as if there’s an outside linebacker (speed-wise) playing on the defensive line. 

Outside Linebackers: Here is an interesting group for the Cleveland Browns. Barkevious Mingo will be fighting for his job, while Armonty Bryant will do his best to transition from his defensive end spot from a year ago. What should the Browns expect from Nate Orchard? That remains to be seen, but if he can compile tackles and sacks, and either Mingo or Bryant can shine – then Paul Kruger will finally have the company he was hoping for when he signed his free agent deal a few years ago.

Inside Linebackers: This needs to be the year where the Browns go from having a group of serviceable inside linebackers to one where they possess relentless ones who alter game plans. Should the team expect Chris Kirksey, Craig Robertson, and Karlos Dansby to make tackles, excel in coverage, and instill fear? The two youngsters must add to their repertoire beginning in training camp, if they want to become an elite unit. Robertson bettered his coverage skills tremendously in 2014, now he ought to focus on getting to the quarterback and disrupting offenses. I would like to see a fourth member step up in the summer months, will it be veteran Tank Carder or an unsuspecting rookie (i.e. Hayes Pullard)?

Safeties: Not a ton of concern in this group, as the position featured a duo that went to the Pro Bowl. Toss in an improving Jordan Poyer and promising rookie Ibraheim Campbell, and that’s one exceptional gang of safeties. I understand that Donte Whitner is getting long in the tooth and expect to see Poyer (and possibly Campbell) more in passing situations, but the veteran still remains capable on every play. In camp, I will keep an eye on the non-starters to see how they push Whitner and Tashaun Gipson.

Cornerbacks: Another area where the Browns appear to have a dearth of talent. Losing Buster Skrine might have hurt, until they grabbed Tramon Williams in free agency. The group should prevent the big play, but I desire to see what Justin Gilbert, K’Waun Williams, and Pierre Desir can do against Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins (to name a few). If the youngsters appear to pick up this defense, coach O’Neil might have some difficult decisions to make. The talent at cornerback is a plenty, and for the first time in awhile – I think the Browns can actually slow down opposing wide receiving units.

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2015 in Players, Training Camp

 

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Sneakin’ an Early Peek – Raiders @ Browns

Sneakin’ an Early Peek – Raiders @ Browns

Previewing Game #7 – Raiders @ Browns

What better way for the Browns to get over last week’s dismal performance?  The answer is to go out there and play exceptionally against the Oakland Raiders.  They have their only late afternoon
contest of the season, so hopefully the team’s body clocks are not out of synch.  Win or lose, however, that will not be an acceptable excuse for the fan base.  They expect the Browns to get back on track and dominate the rookie-led franchise with an interim coach.  Let’s look deeper into this matchup.

Offense:  It was one of those days last week in Jacksonville.  Nothing went right for the Cleveland offense and most of the issues were due to the ineptitude of Brian Hoyer.  Will this type of output continue the rest of the 2014 campaign?  That is unlikely, and he should be completing the same types of throws he was just two weeks earlier against the Steelers.  A fumble and an interception were definitely out of character, but Hoyer will succeed in protecting the ball in this contest.  I also expect to see him to complete two touchdown passes, which isn’t much, but it positive momentum for the veteran.

Where does the running game go from here?  Will they continue go with three runners, the way they did last week (which was unsuccessful)?  I foresee a steady dose of Ben Tate primarily between the tackles, and several outside runs for Isaiah Crowell.  That has been the formula for proven efficiency and yardage for this offense.  Even if they have issues running early, I want to see them sticking to the run.  The only way play action passing can work is with the threat of a run; that was non-existent last week and thus they had troubles passing as well.

Andrew Hawkins came back with a fury of a game last week, but it was all for naught.  I loved seeing him record over 100 yards receiving, including a haul of sixty-five yards.  Hopefully he does it again as a part of a victory – he continues to show he can make all sorts of different plays.  Is Jordan Cameron’s injured shoulder still lingering?  Were the Jaguars scheming to take him out of the Browns’ game plan?  Whatever the reason, the tight end is not getting involved in contests.  Like Hawkins’ last outing, I would enjoy seeing an outburst of yards and scores by the free agent to-be this offseason.

Alex Mack is not walking through that door folks (at least as a healthy player).  The offensive line was horrendous last matchup, and Paul McQuistan and John Greco underwhelmed in their first full game starting in new positions.  It might be time to see whether Nick McDonald is ready to play center and slide Greco back to guard; the unit cannot keep getting stuffed up the middle.  My eyes will be focused on this group during the first offensive drive – it may be telling to see whether they can fuel a solid win or if it’s going to be another long day.

Defense:  Despite all the injuries, there is zero excuse (that is reasonable) to explain the Browns’ run defense.  They are still very porous and are letting opponents (both larger and smaller backs)
breeze through open holes.  Will Ahtyba Rubin and/or Billy Winn finally get back on the field this week?  I desperately hope so, as those veterans might be the difference between respectable and despicable.  Garnering an early lead will limit opposing running attempts as well, as Tony Sparano would be forced to utilize the pass to try to catch up.

The three outside linebackers were nowhere to be found – Paul Kruger, Barkevious Mingo, and Jabaal Sheard had a combined six stops and zero impactful plays.  The defense can get by if other athletes step up in their absence, but having little to no outside pressure has been
killing the Browns.  On the flip side, Chris Kirksey and Karlos Dansby tallied fifteen tackles, two sacks, and a pair of hits on Blake Bortles.  This week, the coaching staff must figure out a way to have the outside linebackers play more like the guys on the inside.  The linebackers have the potential to become a dominant unit, but it all has to come together (which is very easy to be said).

Right place, right time continues to be the motto for Tashaun Gipson. I would not be surprised to see him collect another interception this contest.  Buster Skrine has been inconsistent most of this year but I have confidence he can be solid against a James Jones or Denarius Moore.  Will Joe Haden be invisible once again?  Teams might think twice to pick on him, as the veteran is recovering well from his hip injury.  I hope K’Waun Williams returns this week as his play had added another dimension to this secondary.  The bottom line is, they must force rookie Derek Carr into mistakes – and more importantly capitalize on those with touchdowns.

Special Teams:  That’s now two returners who have mishandled punts for the Browns.  Will they use Jim Leonhard more in this role?  Should they go back to Travis Benjamin?  Chris Tabor’s only huge issue is this part of the game, but it is glaring.  The team is not good enough to overcome large mistakes like the one that occurred last week.

Coaching:  It seems like Mike Pettine has a very aggressive coaching style, some times to his detriment.  I’m always for attempting touchdowns over field goals but sometimes he has to read the situation better.  He’s got to get some of these tough decisions right – I know he has all the confidence in the world in this offense, but if they don’t execute it comes back to Pettine.

Prediction (My Record: 4-2):  Last week’s game was garbage, so let’s toss it out and forget about it.  I think the Browns play the way they should have in Jacksonville and win a game by a decent margin at home. They finish out ahead of the visitors by the score of 24 – 16.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in NFL Season

 

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