Nov 14, 2012

Browns Head Coaching Search: Part I

As we head into Week 11 of the 2012 NFL season, it's about time we begin our biennial search for a new Browns head coach. I heard an interesting question raised on 850 today: what if the Shurmurator rips off 7 straight wins to end the year? I have two points to make regarding this question. 1) Never going to happen. Absolutely not. Might as well not even raise the question. and 2) I'd still fire his ass.

I've seen posts on Dawgs By Nature talking about names of potential candidates for the Browns after Shurmurs inevitable release. I've seen them on Bleacher Report, on Yahoo, on, etc. The big names like Chip Kelly and Bruce Arians are always there, and I think they are absolutely worth mention. Then there are the names that have no business being mentioned such as Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, and Butch Davis. All that being said, I'm going to sit down every few days (this is being optimistic) and write up a bio about a head coaching candidate I think the Browns either should consider or will consider after they do everyone who proudly wears Brown and Orange a favor and fire Pat Shurmur.

The one name that always comes back in my head, though, is Gus Bradley. For those of you who are like 95% of NFL fans and don't give a damn about west coast football, Bradley is the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks. Since Bradley got to Seattle with Jim Mora Jr., the defense has steadily improved. As of right now, the 'Hawks rank #4 in scoring defense, #4 in pass defense, #4 total yards defensively, and #12 in rush defense. They have arguably the best secondary in the NFL. Their pass rush is ranked 2nd in the league and I'd be willing to bet most casual fans can't name one defensive lineman on the squad. I attribute this to Bradley. If you get to watch Seattle this year, watch how hard their defense plays. Really. In Cleveland it seems like we're so used to watching a team line up and run a set play. Watching Seattle play defensively you see a group of 11 guys running around wreaking havoc on the football field.

When Mora took the Seattle job after the departure of now-Cleveland-legend Mike Holmgren, this is the call he got from a long-time friend of his father.

'Hey, J.L., J.L., I got to talk to you about this guy...J.L., listen to me. I have got a guy here in Tampa that is one of, if not, the finest football coaches I have ever worked with. He's an A-plus. He's a once-in-a-lifetime coach. You need to talk to him. J.L., this guy is special. You have to bring him in. You have to talk to him.'

That guy, of course, is my man-crush Gus Bradley. The long-time friend of the elder Jim Mora that 'J.L.' (Jim Lawrence Mora aka Jim Mora Jr.) spoke to was former Buc's defensive coordinator and grandfather of the Tampa-2 defense, Monte Kiffin. When one of the greatest defensive minds of our generation is calling a young coach a "once-in-a-lifetime-coach," people ought heed notice. 

A defense inspired
So don't just take it from me that Bradley is the real-deal. Take it from Monte Kiffin. Take it from your own eyes if you get a chance to see Seattle play this season. And you probably will, because if Seattle makes the playoffs, as I'm willing to bet they do, it's gonna be almost primarily the work of Gus Bradley that got them there. 

One final note. I'll mention Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, and Pat Shurmur. Passion doesn't always make a great coach, just ask Rex Ryan. But after seeing those stoics pacing the sidelines since 1999, how much more would you rather have a guy with passion

As always, comment away. 

Nov 8, 2012

Mid-Season All AFC North Team, and Browns Awards

Since everyone on the internet is putting together mid-season All-Pro/All-Division Teams, I figured I'd get in on the action. Analysis and explanation is included when 1) I felt like it and 2) I thought it was necessary.

First for the All-AFC North Team:

QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
RB: Ray Rice, Ravens: Going over the stats it was a surprisingly close call between Rice and Trent Richardson, and I attribute that to Cam Cameron not utilizing Ray Rice properly. However, Rice has to get the call here with most rushing td's and yards.
FB: Vonte Leach, Ravens: Sure as hell wasn't going to be Owen Marecic.
TE: Heath Miller, Steelers
WR 1: AJ Green, Bengals
WR 2: Mike Wallace, Steelers
LT: Joe Thomas, Browns: It seems like every year we say Thomas isn't playing up to his exceptionally high standards, but every year he's a top tackle.
LG: Clint Bolling, Bengals
C: Alex Mack, Browns: Is Maurkice Pouncy overrated? I think so. He's solid, but if you need further proof that Mack is the real deal, check out what Haloti Ngata said about him last week.
RG: Marshal Yanda, Ravens
RT: Kelechi Osemele Ravens: No real clue here, but I saw on that the Ravens ranked 1st in yards off the right tackle. Good enough for me.

DE: Michael Johnson, Bengals
DT: Geno Atkins, Bengals
DT: Haloti Ngata, Ravens
DE: Brett Kiesel, Steelers
OLB: Lamar Woodley, Steelers
ILB: D'Qwell Jackson, Browns: In the midst of another great season in Dick Jauron's 43 defense.
OLB: Vontaze Burfict, Bengals: Having a great season since falling out of the draft last April.
CB: Joe Haden, Browns: Yes, he missed 4 games for Adderall. Yes, he's that good, even after a down week against the Ravens last week.
FS: Ed Reed, Ravens
SS: TJ Ward, Browns: Boss Ward is having his best season yet.
CB:  Sheldon Brown, Browns: He's not as bad as people tend to say he is, and he's putting together a solid 2012 campaign.

Now for the Browns Mid-Season Awards.

MVP: D'Qwell Jackson: Defensive leader is responsible for a unit that has over-achieved to amazing lengths at times this year.
Offensive Player: Trent Richardson: Imagine how effective he'll be when he gets to 100%
Defensive Player: TJ Ward: See above.
Breakout Player: Josh Gordon: Anyone see the kind of deep threat he's emerged as coming so soon?
Unheralded Player: Frostee Rucker: He's been a stabilizing and steady force on the d-line. 

Now, let's start talking about head coaching candidates and potential first-round picks!


Sep 14, 2012

Week 2: Browns/Bengals Preview

I'm going to start trying to do both a "preview" and "not-so-rapid-reaction" blogs before and after Browns games from here on out. Here's my preview of the Browns' week 2 matchup with the Bengals:

  • Passing Game
    • Andy Dalton fits Jay Gruden's offense to a "T." He checks it down well, does a great job showing touch on those screen passes that pissed me off both times we played Cincy last year, and he even has an arm capable of winging it downfield to....
    • A.J. Green is a beast. He's great. I hate him. He single-handedly beat the Browns twice last year on the defensive breakdown in Week 1 and with his massive catch-and-run at the end of the game the second time the Browns and Bengals met up. He honestly does remind me of a young Randy Moss, from his speed to his vert to the fact that he looks like he's 120 lbs. and gonna get split in half every hit. I'll be honest and admit that I'm terrified about the thought of Green matching up against Sheldon Brown this week. This is the week that Joe Haden is going to be missed the most, and it's because A.J. Green gives the Browns a hard enough time with Haden on the field.
    • The Bengals gave up 4.0 sacks to Baltimore on Monday night, and judging how many times Dalton got rid of the ball and still go hit, the Browns should be in a relatively favorable position, especially considering the injuries that have decimated Cincinnati's interior line.
  • Running Game
    • BenJarvus Green-Ellis did much better than I envisioned he would last week against an always stingy Ravens defense. He isn't flashy but he runs with a very physical style and got better as the night wore on. The offensive line played reasonably well being able to open up those lanes for Green-Ellis.
  • Passing Defense
    • The Browns defense as a whole played well last week against the Eagles with the exception of the last few minutes of both the first and second half. But there's no Joe Haden in this matchup, boys and girls. Sheldon Brown and Dimitri Patterson will be holding down the fort for the next four weeks, with Buster Skrine playing nickel. That scares me. It's not that I think that Brown, Patterson, and Skrine are bad, but it's just that fact that A.J. Green is an animal.
    • I'm interested to see the defensive line play for the first time (I caught most of the Week 1 game on the radio in the car) on Sunday. If Sheard plays like he showed he could all of last year and Rubin/Hughes/Winn step up like they did last week (or so I read) it could spell big things for the Browns defense, taking away the time needed for Green to get deep downfield against the secondary.
  • Run Defense
    • The Browns run defense gave up too many rushing yards last week. Again. It seems like it's been a constant thing for the Browns ever since they got back in '99. Luckily, Andy Reid kept letting Mike Vick drop back over and over, negating that facet of the game. Cincy will not do that as much. They brought in The Law Firm for a reason and use his physical style to set up Andy Dalton's short passing game nicely. Here's to hoping the Browns are able to shut it down and these young linebackers play as well against the run this week as they did against the pass last week.
  • Passing Game
    • We all know how much of a disaster that last week's passing game was, and it started with Brandon Weeden. I'm probably naive, but I think Weeden shapes up a little bit this week. If he can get back on target with his throws and learn to utilize the size of Flash Gordon and the speed of Travis Benjamin I think the Browns can do enough to actually pull this game out.
    • The offensive line needs to do a better job of protecting Weeden as well. Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins are no scrubs when it comes to rushing the passer. Mitchell Schwartz had a tough time containing Jason Babin last week, and Brandon Weeden was pressured 11 times, up near the top of list for most in the league last week. The offensive line will have their hands full this week, but I think they fare a lot better than they did last week given the fact that Philly's front 4 is one of the best in the league.  
  • Running Game
    • The offensive line was first and foremost underwhelming in the running game last week. Schwartz and the offensive line as a whole MUST do a better job of opening up running lanes for Trent on Sunday. People kept wondering why Richardson didn't try to bust to the outside as much last week, but the Eagles "Wide-9" defense makes that tough. I could see the tackles having a better shot of sealing off the edge for T-Rich this week.
    • I covered this in my "not-so-rapid reaction" the other day, but T-Rich was rusty on Sunday. Really rusty. I know it, you know it, he knows it. He hadn't played in a game since the National Championship in January. This week Richardson has a chance to show off his potential a little bit more against a tough, but not as tough as Philly, defense. 
  • Pass Defense
    • The Bengals secondary is littered with former first round picks in PacMan Jones, Leon Hall, Reggie Nelson, Nate Clements, Dre' Kirkpatrick, Taylor Mays and Terrance Newman. But that doesn't mean that they always play like first rounders. Newman and Clements are old as hell, and PacMan Jones isn't the player he was drafted to be. Nelson has revived his career in Cincy, and has done a pretty good job solidifying the safety spot. Leon Hall is a shutdown corner, but the Browns don't really have to worry about him because it's not like they have a stud wideout they're going consistently force the ball to, ala an A.J. Green.
    • Cincy's defensive line does a good job of getting to the passer. The matchups to watch here are Carlos Dunlap vs. Mitchell Schwartz (if Dunlap is lined up on the right side) and Geno Atkins vs. either Jason Pinkston or Shawn Lauvao. To be completely honest, I'm not very confident in either of those matchups. 
  • Run Defense
    • Making headlines all week was Rey Maualuga's comment that T-Rich was nothing special last week. I love him giving Richardson bulletin board material, but I can't help but agree with what Maualuga said. Richardson needs to step up and take it straight to Maualuga and take advantage of a linebacking corp that just lost Thomas Howard for the season. I like his odds this week if he can get warmed up.
    • I'm not going to harp on the concerns I have about Dunlap and Atkins this week, but I'll add one more piece that has more to do with the run defense. Domata Peko is a force on the interior and hopefully one of the most underrated centers in the league, Alex Mack, can do a good job of keeping him under wraps on those interior running plays

Verdict: I actually like the Browns in this game if the offense can get even a little bit going. If Patterson and Hagg can contain AJ Green deep, I think the Browns defense keeps the game close and puts the offense in a position to steal one, and Trent Rich makes sure it happens

BROWNS: 20-13

Sep 10, 2012

Week One Not-So-Rapid-Reaction

So here's my week one analysis. FUCK. I should have known it was coming after being a Browns fan all my life. I should have seen it coming. I should have known it was too good to be true. But. But. BUT...we aren't as bad off as people say. Driving home listening to 850 after the game was possibly the most infuriating thing in my life. I'll go through the arguments and claims by callers and Greg "I-Have-No-Business-Hosting-A-Football-Radio-Show" Brenda. Here are my week one thoughts:

    • I was secretly terrified of a defense without Phil Taylor and Chris Gocong. I was worried about an atrocious run defense losing a massive (literally) piece in the front four. And while I'm not a huge Gocong fan he's usually solid. With that in mind, the defense stepped up and played out of their mind. From what I heard (I was listening in the car), Rubin was blasting Vick, along with everyone else in the front seven and Boss Ward. LJ Fort and Chris Robertson played above and beyond expectations of undrafted rookies. And let's be honest, Joe Hade, D'Qwell, and Boss Ward are studs. If the youngsters in the linebacking core keep developing and the secondary can survive without Haden for the next month, look the fuck out for this defense.
    • Keep this in mind as you play Monday Morning QB from ass on the couch: the Eagles are a good damn team. They have a great defense. They have two of the best corners in the NFL. They have one of, if not the best d-line in the NFL. Keep this in mind.
    • So on Brenda's post-game show yesterday, he went so far as to say Weeden played so bad he should go back to baseball. No really, he said it. He said he didn't look like a 28 year old, he looked like an 18 year old. People called in and said they couldn't believe Colt didn't come into the game. Let me ask you this, all you Weeden crucifiers out there: what did you expect? Honestly. I'm not saying I expected Weeden to shit the bed like he did. And I'm not defending his awful play in the least. But to be shocked he struggled in his first NFL start against two of the best corners in the league after only playing 5 preseason quarters is ridiculous. Unbelievable. He should quit football??? And the argument that he's 28 so he should play like it is the most blind logic I've ever heard. So I should be able to grab the oldest players in college football and they should be able to perform better than the younger ones? Really? Do people with this argument think before they speak? Give Weeden a chance. The guy's played one game. ONE GAME. And I'm not going to even talk about the people saying Colt should have been playing. They must not have seen any football last season. 
    • As far as Trent Richardson, who hasn't been ridiculed as much as Weeden, just keep in mind that yesterday was his first game since the National Championship. Think about that. Nine months since he saw in-game action on a football field. The kid was rusty, it was evident, but don't pretend you didn't get a lil' chub like I did when you saw him run Kurt Coleman the hell over
    • With no expectations for yesterday's game, Browns fans should be ecstatic at yesterday's showing. Have a little patience with this incredibly young group and have a little faith that one of the league's most experienced coaching staffs (do people realize they have four [former] head coaches on the staff?) can coach this young offense up (Weeden, Richardson, Schwartz, Gordon, Benjamin, Little, Pinkston...1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 first or second year players with big offensive roles). 
I'll leave you with two thoughts to help you sleep tonight. 

Sep 8, 2012

A Word on the Passing of Art Modell

I'm not gonna beat a damn dead horse about Art Modell dying. Everything to be said has been said by the local guys at the PD, on 850, and on 1100. Hell, it's been covered by all the national outlets like ESPN and SI. But I'll say just a bit about Modell. I never celebrate an individual's death (except for Osama and all those other sons of bitches we slay over there in the Middle East--but that's the Marine in me) but there's a difference in being happy for someone dies and feeling little or no sympathy or emotion for someone's death. Modell falls into that category for me. By all accounts he was a great guy, always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed it. But what he did to Cleveland was heartbreaking. I've read about how many people have forgotten and moved on from The Move but not me. I wasn't even 6 years old when The Move happened and I had no idea what it meant then. Hell, I barely even remember it. All I remember about The Move was the countdown clock in Tower City before the Browns came back. When it all comes down to it though, there is more than one person to blame for The Move. Al Lerner was Modell's right hand man during the whole process, for example. But when the dust settled, it was Modell's call to up and move the team to Baltimore. It's part of his legacy in the NFL. And while I don't think we should do backflips over his death, I also don't think we should act like the assholes in Baltimore either (see below). I'll finish with this: rest in piece, Art. You were an innovative owner and the NFL is forever marked by those innovations, but you're still a son of a bitch.

PS: I'm glad to hear that the Browns aren't going to recognize Modell's death tomorrow, even if it is only because of the family's wishes. There is just too fine of a line to try to tightrope with an issue like this, and it opens up a massive opportunity for a few assholes to make Cleveland look like shit (again, see below for Baltimore's example).

Aug 25, 2012

Projecting the Browns Final 53 Man Roster

So I've been down buried in the depths of Camp Lejuene all summer, so excuse the lack of productivity on the blog/twitter this summer. As Browns season gets in full swing so will these blogs and our tweets. Anyways, here is my attempt at projecting the Brownies' final 53 man roster. Take this with a grain of salt, coming from a guy who has yet to see any Browns games down here and is basing all his projections on the write-ups he finds on the Internet. But to hell with it, here we go.

I need this outfit and I needed it yesterday

#3 Brandon Weeden
#12 Colt McCoy
#9 Thad Lewis

Analysis: I would not be surprised at all if Seneca Wallace is one of the final 3 qb's come week 1, but barring a trade I think Heckert and Shurmur stick with the better, less expensive, younger option in McCoy. From what I've read, it sounds as if Lewis is a decent bet to stick around as a developmental third QB.

Running Back

#33 Trent Richardson
#20 Montario Hardesty
#29 Brandon Jackson
#25 Chris Ogbonnaya

Analysis: Four running backs?! Yes. Four running backs. Look at the injury history (albeit minor...hopefully) Richardson already since the BCS Championship. Look at Hardesty's injury history. He's like the Courtney Brown of under-productive, second round running backs. I feel like if Brandon Jackson was kept around after his injury last year, he's a good bet to make it. Also, I just think Shurmur and Heckert like Ogbonnaya as a quality reserve. He had one of our two 100 yard rushing games last year against Jacksonville.

Your helmet's too small! Your going to concuss yourself!
Full Back

#48 Owen Marecic
#47 Brad Smelly

Analysis: The Browns have to keep a fullback I guess, so insert Owen Marecic and his concussion-riddled, play dough mass of a brain. I also think they keep around Smelly because of his versatility.

Tight End

#82 Ben Watson
#89 Evan Moore
#84 Jordan Cameron

Analysis: Speaking of severe head trauma, Ben Watson is a lock to stay at the starting tight end position. As much hoopla has been made around Evan Moore, I don't see our most reliable (yeah I said it) pass catcher, at least when Shurmur fucking put him in the game, from last year who just got a two-year contract extension about a year ago getting cut. Jordan Cameron has been making noise in practice  and the pre-season, and his crazy athleticism makes him an intriguing development player. Oh, by the way, tamper the "Jordan-Cameron-Is-This-Year's-Antonio-Gates/Tony-Gonzalez/Jimmy-Graham-Because-He-Is-Athletic-And-Played-Basketball-In-College" argument. I'm not saying he's gonna be a James Davis type that falls off the football map after a few decent pre-season showings, but he's young, raw, and has a few other tight ends on the depth chart to compete with. Oh, and I omitted Alex Smith because of Smelly's versatility.

Wide Receiver

#15 Greg Little
#11 Mo Massaquoi
#86 Josh Gordon
#16 Josh Cribbs
#80 Travis Benjamin
#10 Jordan Norwood

Analysis: I expect a decent-sized jump in production from Greg Little this year, and possibly MoMass making the seemingly unfathomable come true---40 or more receptions. But I'm not getting my hopes up. I haven't gotten a chance to see Gordon play but I hear he's coming along relatively well considering the short amount of time he's had with the team thus far. Josh Cribbs is a special teams lock, obviously, and supposedly Travis Benjamin is looking impressive for a 4th rounder. We'll see how Jordan Norwood holds up in a suddenly crowded receiving corps, but he's a decent reserve slot man.

Offensive Line

#73 Joe Thomas
#62 Jason Pinkston
#55 Alex Mack
#66 Shawn Lauvao
#72 Mitchell Schwartz
#77 John Greco
#60 Ryan Miller
#75 Oniel Cousins

Analysis: I think we all know this starting unit is set in stone for Week 1. I hope Schwartz lives up to his draft position and Lauvao stops doing his best Alexis Texas impression (he sucks, get it?). Greco's been a versatile reserve throughout his career and Miller seems to get high marks from the coaching staff. Oniel Cousins sticks as well for the very fact that every year the Browns seem to want to keep around seemingly the worst lineman in the league as one of their top reserves.

Defensive Line

#97 Jabaal Sheard
#71 Ahtyba Rubin
#93 John Hughes
#92 Frostee Rucker
#79 Billy Winn
#58 Marcus Benard
#95 Juqua Parker
#69 Scott Paxon
#96 Emmanuel Stephens

Analysis: I opted to project the Browns keeping more defensive linemen than not, considering the injuries thus far in the pre-season, notably Phil Taylor (PUP list most likely) and now Marcus Benard, who I heard hurt his shoulder or arm somehow tonight against the Eagles. Depth is a huge thing in the 4-3 line. Sheard, Rubin, and Rucker are obvious starters. Hughes and Winn have been solid from everything I've read. Parker will stick around as a situational pass rusher and Scott Paxon as the quality, do-it-all reserve. I think Emmanuel Stephens may stick around as another safety valve at the end position. The one name I wrestled with here is Brian Schaefering. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he made the team, but I left him out for the very fact that there are only so many spots on the roster allotted to linemen, and Schaefering's tackle position is more crowded than Stephens'.


#52 D'Qwell Jackson
#56 Kaluka Maiava
#99 Scott Fujita
#50 James Michael-Johnson
#40 L.J. Fort
#47 Craig Robertson

Analysis: D'Qwell is the defensive leader of this team, and while I'll admit I wasn't a huge fan of him in the 3-4 defense, he is a beast in the 4-3. Scott Fujita blows, but locks up a roster spot regardless. Am I the only one looking forward to his suspension? Kaluka Maiava is a very dependable reserve and special teamer, but I can't wait to see if he can keep James Michael-Johnson off the field. I doubt it. Fort and Robertson, two undrafted rookies have been making a ton of noise on the practice field and during the preseason. I have them sticking and ex-Longhorn Emmanuel Acho hitting the road. Chris Gocong will be on IR, of course.

Give us a couple more of these, T.J.
Defensive Back

#23 Joe Haden
#24 Sheldon Brown
#43 T.J. Ward
#27 Eric Hagg
#21 Dimitri Patterson
#22 Buster Skrine
#26 Trevin Wade
#28 Usama Young
#36 David Sims

Analysis: Joe Hade is a stud and I'm trying not to accept the fact that he'll be out the first four contests for taking Adderall in the offseason. Fucking Roger Goodell. I know what happens stays in Vegas. It's a man-law, douche. As much as I wish Patterson would start alongside Haden, Sheldon Brown will be out there. I love the speed of Buster Skrine and think he could emerge as a decent nickel back. Trevin Wade has gotten rave reviews thus far and appears to be a lock to make the team and possibly see the field sooner rather than later, especially with Haden's looming suspension and Patterson being banged up. Here's to hoping that Boss Ward has a bust out year. I also like Eric Hagg. I thought he was a scrappy, underrated player last year who took advantage of the opportunity he was given. Young will stick around in case Hagg falters. I fucking love David Sims. I have him over Ray Ventrone because Ventrone has little to no value as an actual defensive back, and Sims flashed ball hawking abilities all preseason with picks in each of the first three contests (the one against Philly being called back for roughing the passer though).

Special Teamers
#4 Phil Dawson
#2 Reggie Hodges
#57 Christian Yount

Analysis: No surprises here. Phil is Mr. Consistency, Hodges has looked good since coming back from the achilles injury, and Yount's job is safe unless he implodes like Ryan Pontbriand did last year.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I just wrote this up without counting the number of players I was projecting to stick around and BOOM nailed 53 on the head. Hey Mr. Haslam, I know you're reading this, so go ahead and gimme a call if you're looking to replace Heckert. 

Jul 28, 2012

Randy Lerner Selling the Browns to "Steelers Fan" (Fuck you ESPN)

So unless you've been living under a goddam rock you've heard the news that Randy Lerner, Cleveland's second most liked sports owner is selling the Browns to Tennessee investor Jimmy Haslam III. Let me say this first: I never disliked Randy Lerner. I never understood people who disliked Randy Lerner. The man inhereted a football team from his father and opened up his checkbook for the organization, relocated his family to Cleveland, and made--what people thought at the time--logical hires. Who complained when Lerner brought in Romeo Crennel coming off a Superbowl winning strech in New England? What about the Director of Player Personell for the rock-solid Ravens organization, Phil Savage? How about hounding Bill Cowher to come back to the sidelines to coach the Browns? Sure, Mangini wasn't many people's first choice to replace Romeo, but I know many people that were cautiously optimistic and argue that if Brett Favre wouldn't have gotten hurt at the tail-end of the 2008 season Mangini wouldn't have gotten fired in the first place from New York. As if that wasn't enough, I wasn't the biggest fan of bringing in Mike Holmgren to run the front office of the Browns but I understand why he did. How many people do you know that complained about that hire? I don't know many. All I'm saying, as I've said before on this site, is that Lerner made choices that made sense to a lot of people at the time and wasn't afraid to cut his losses and move on, even if it meant continuing to pay multiple people after the fact.

Alright, enough about Randy Lerner, onto our soon-to-be new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III, or, as ESPN calls him, a "Steelers fan." Shut the fuck up ESPN. If anyone is legitamitly upset by the fact that a Steelers minority owner is trying to buy the Browns, they're retarded. And to say that Haslam is a Steelers fan because he claimed to be a "1000% Steelers fan" or some shit on the Steelers website is retarded too. Haslam also said he used to be a Cowboys and Colts fan before buying stake in the Steelers. Let me ask you this: if someone came up to you and was like, "I'll sell you the Broncos [or Patriots or Detroit Pistons or Detroit Tigers or any other pro team]" and you could afford it would you? I would say FUCK yes. And then guess what? I'd prolly start rooting for the team that I just freaking bought.

Here's what I think about the sale of the team. I'm cautiously optimistic. I love that Haslam spent time working with the Rooney family in Pittsburgh the past few years, hopefully learning the proper way to run a sports organization. I hope he doesn't turn out to be an Al Davis/Daniel Snyder type of owner, but I don't get the feeling that he will be. I never had a problem with Lerner not being as open to the public as some people may have liked, but I also won't have a problem with Haslam being out in the spotlight more, so long as he doesn't try to get so involved in the football side of operations that it hinders the team.

All I ask from Mr. Haslam is to give us stability. Give us a sense of respect around the league. Something the fans of this city long for maybe more than anything else. And it starts with the owner and works its way down.

Lastly, don't worry about Haslam trying to relocate the team, it's really a non-issue.* And if you really aren't that excited about this sale, look at how mad it's making Steeler fans, that should cheer you up.

*I swear to God Haslam if you try to move this team...and you better not fuck with our logo (or lack thereof) either. Aside from that, welcome to Cleveland!

Jun 27, 2012

Why Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Isn't The Right Fit

When watching the national championship Wildcats it was hard to ignore the impact that Michael Kidd-Girlchrist made during most every game.  His hustle, rebounding, defensive activity, and finishing on the fast break all jump off of the screen.  His 6'7" frame along with his 6'10" wingspan are all more than adequate measurements for the small forward position in the NBA and he is ready to contribute right away. With all this said, is he the best fit for the Cavaliers at the #4 spot? I say no, and here's why.

The Cavs leading scorer on the wing this season was Alonzo Gee who averaged just a hair over 10ppg while only starting about half of the season.  Gee has similar measureables and offensive game as MKG, but his jump shot is further along and more mechanically sound at this point.  The other highest points per game from the wing belonged to Boobie Gibson and Anthony Parker where they both shared the paltry number of 7.  Point being, why bring another wing that will struggle to score in the half court? 

MKG scored most of his points in the transition game, and those aren't points that you can count on night in and night out.  Many of these fast break opportunities come from the #1 overall pick Anthony Davis patrolling the middle of the lane on defense.  Great shot blockers and rebounders (Davis, Terrence Jones) generate fast breaks, and while Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao are competent defenders, neither are going to dominate in the type of way that Anthony Davis did in the lackluster SEC.  Another telling statistic from Kentucky's national championship team was that MKG was used only 18% of the time on offense, ranking seventh on the team.  While there were upperclassmen around him that were gone to more, you would want to see a little more action in the half court from a guy that you are depending on being your 4th pick in the draft.  

There is little doubt that MKG will be a good defensive player in the league. He is his 18 years old with room to grow into a better offensive player, but there are more pressing needs on this team. The Cavs were 25th in the league in scoring and shot the second worse percentage from the field last year.  This team needs players that can put the ball in the basket, preferably without Kyrie Irving having to put him in a perfect spot every play.  Players like Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb, and Terrence Ross (if they trade back to get Lamb/Ross) all seem to be more natural fits next to Irving, who will be the only natural scorer on the floor with MKG in our projected 5.  Will it be the end of the world if the Cavaliers take Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at #4? No, but it wouldn't address the team's two biggest needs, a wing scorer and a legitimate center, both of which can be had at picks 4-11.  

Jun 15, 2012

Cavalier's Draft Scenarios

When the Cavs were left out of the top 3 of the draft people started to sour on the type of player that could be drafted at this position.  What people are now realizing, is that after Anthony Davis there is no player that has separated himself from the pack to be the clear-cut second pick as Derrick Williams did last year.  In the next few scenarios I will break down what the Cavaliers should do in each instance.  I will be leaving Thomas Robinson out of the discussion because of Tristan Thompson. If Robinson is picked by the Cavs that will almost guarantee Thompson to be traded and I am not willing to speculate that far.   

1. Anthony Davis- NO 2. Andre Drummond- CHA 3. Bradley Beal- WAS

This is the scenario that I think will end up playing out once the draft rolls around, and this will leave the Cavaliers with a good amount of options at the 4th pick.  The short list that I could see here is Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and a few dark horses in Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Ross.  I believe the Cavaliers would take Harrison Barnes with this pick and I am not sure it would even take them that long to hand in the card with the sweet shooting Tar Heel on it.  Barnes, who is great friends with Kyrie Irving, would be the perfect second option in Byron Scott's offense.  Barnes is a great shooter from the 3 point line averaging nearly 36% on attempts taken from deep and he is a fantastic mid-range player.  Barnes won't dominate the ball and won't take shots away from Irving.  There will be enough ball to go around for these two and you won't be seeing the kind of "I'm gonna get mine" attitudes that we are seeing in the Finals between Westbrook and Durant.  Barnes' maligned athleticism was also put to rest as his 6'8" frame was able to register one of the best standing verticals (38 inches) that the NBA Combine had ever measured.  He is also a willing defender and rebounder with a large chiseled NBA frame.  This would be a win scenario.

1. Anthony Davis- NO 2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist- CHA 3. Thomas Robinson- WAS

If the 2nd and 3rd picks end up being safer selections, leaving the Cavs with Drummond, Beal, and Barnes, I believe things will start to get rather interesting.  The much anticipated head to head match up that will be going down in Cleveland tomorrow between Beal and Barnes will be interesting to say the least.  Barnes has about 4 inches on Beal so I'm a bit confused as to the competition.  Will they be shooting drills? Races? Athleticism?  I couldn't imagine that they would just start playing one on one against one another because it really wouldn't be a fair test for the smaller Beal.  While many think that this workout will determine who the Cavaliers will take at 4, I believe that Drummond will throw a large wrench into this logic.  If Drummond falls to 4 I believe the Cavaliers have to take him.  You don't draft in the top 5 very often in the NBA and when you are there you have to swing for the fences.  Whoever the Cavaliers take at 4, chances are that they won't be in the top 5 again next year (and if they are then expect changes, once again) so they must swing for the fences here in my opinion.  Having picks 24/33/34 also makes this pick less risky as they do have the ammo to move up and take one of the wings that falls in this draft.  Drummond is the type of player that will either get Chris Grant fired or applauded in 2 years.  Drummond has the size, athleticism, and defensive ability that will make the 18 year old playable right away.  He needs to develop his back to the basket game but with Kyrie Irving at point he could get 8 points a game easily on just Irving's penetration.  If Drummond realizes his potential you could be looking at the next Dwight Howard/Amar'e Stoudamire.  I think that alone is worth the risk, if he's there.

1. Anthony Davis- NO 2. Andre Drummond- CHA 3. Michael Kidd-Girlchrist- WAS

This would then come down to Barnes vs. Beal, and while I think that there is going to be a lot of stock put into their Saturday workout, I don't think that this is going to end up as the be all end all.  Beal is bigger than many thought, measuring out to 6'4" with shoes on (who cares what he measures without them on? Who is playing with out shoes on anyways?) so that problem can be put to rest. His wingspan is very long, stretching to 6'7". He rebounds very well for a guard and has shown play making ability as well.  He was touted as a shooter in the same breath as Ray Allen, but only shot 34% from deep.  That isn't a bad percentage but we were all expecting a little bit more from such a highly respected shooter. His mechanics are sound however, and hopefully that was just an aberration.  He can also get to rim at a successful rate and really showed his full array of offensive skills in the NCCAs where he shot 58.5% from the field.  Basically, this will come down to which of these two players, Barnes or Beal, will become more of an impact franchise type player.  Beal is going to be 19 on draft day while Barnes is already 20.  I really think that if this scenario plays out it will be a tough one for Christ Grant and company but I am still leaning towards the larger, more mature Barnes.  It will be easier to find a quality 2-guard at 24/33/34 than a scoring three, but that is just my opinion. 

May 30, 2012

Top 5 Fan Bases I Love to Hate

In honor of the Eastern Conference Finals, in which two of my most despised teams are currently battling for a trip to the NBA Finals, I began to wrestle with the argument of which fan base is worse: the Miami Heat's or the Boston Celtic's.I tweeted this and got the expected, "What's-a-Miami-Heat-fan" jokes, but I still think it's an interesting debate. Rather than just debate between these two, however, I'm going to do a countdown of my 5 most annoying fan bases in sports--professional or college. Naturally, being from Cleveland and living in Ohio my entire life my rankings are going to be pretty biased due to geography, but it's my list so if you don't like it too goddamn bad.

5. Miami Fans (Dolphins, Heat, Marlins)

I'll say this about Miami fans, you don't often hear them refuting the fact that they're fair-weather. Sure, they never show up until the game is halfway over. Sure they probably have no fucking idea who is on their team or what sporting event their even attending, but they won't deny it. Even Sir Charles says that Miami has the worst fans in professional sports. Sure, the Heat are #5 in the NBA in attendance, but it helps having two mega-stars and one Bostrich roaming the court every night. I would argue it's a disappointment they aren't one or two. The Dolphins, on the other hand, boast the league's 31st spot in attendance (for the record, I went by "home percentage," which I'm assuming is the percentage of seats filled throughout a given season). And then there are the Marlins, who have a beautiful brand-new stadium, sit only 1.5 games back of the NL East with a 28-22 record and still rank only in the middle of the MLB attendance ratings.

No one is going to refute that Miami fans are horrendous, but they sit at number 5 for that very reason--even they don't deny it.
Oops, sorry. It's 1-9 now. OSU beat Ryan Mallett in '10!

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (Football, Basketball, Womens Tennis, Soccer, Fencing, Etc.)

I'm not an Ohio State hater. I'm really not. I give credit where credit is due. If Ohio State blows, I'll say they blow. If they are a good fucking team, I'll say they are a good fucking team. Sure, I give my Buckeye friends a little shit just to rile them up, but who doesn't give their friends a hard time just for the sake of giving them a hard time? My contempt for Ohio St. fans stems back from this. Young high school Buck used to be a casual Ohio St. fan. I'll be the first to admit I wasn't the greatest, most involved or passionate Buckeye fan growing up. I was a Browns kid. I'm still a Browns kid. I'll always be a Browns kid. When going to college, I had a lot of high school friends come out of the woodwork and declared themselves Ohio St. super-fans. The type of fans who [pretend to] know everything about everything Ohio St. related. Ohio St. "fans" who I'd known for years who literally told me, "I've always liked Ohio St. women's soccer!" Honest to God. Look, I don't have a problem with 'adopting' a team, especially a collegiate one once you establish a legitimate connection with the school. But don't pull the I'm-not-going-to-talk-to-you-for-months-because-you-made-a-joke-about-that-Penn-State-loss card. That shit's weak and stupid as fuck. Obviously not all Ohio St. fans are like this, but I know way too many that are to let it slide as some sort of anomaly.

PS: Buckeye/Wolverine fans that think you own the biggest rivalry in college football, go down to Alabama and tell that to Auburn/Bama fans and wait till they pull a shotgun out of their '84 Ford pickup and shoot you in the dick.
Whoa! Sellout!

3. Bengals Fans

I went to Miami University for about a year and a half. For those of you that don't know, Oxford is only about 45 minutes or an hour to Cincy. That being said, I was surrounded by Bengals fans. Every where. Well, if you want to call them Bengals fans. Or you could just call them people walking around in Bengals jerseys. That's the thing about Bengals fans, they don't understand that knowing Carson Palmer throws the football doesn't make them a good fan. And hey, Bengals fans! Carson Palmer doesn't throw the football anymore. I went to multiple Browns/Bengals games with fellow blogger JP during my time at Miami, and every time we sat about 6 or 7 rows back of the end zone, directly behind the goal post. If we were in Browns Stadium, we would have been in the Dawg Pound. Needless to say we were expecting (dare I say hoping?) to get heckled by throwing ourselves right into "The Jungle." Jesus, were we underwhelmed. Probably 1/3 of the people sitting around us were Browns fans, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I felt like I was at a high school football game back home in Cleveland. That was the atmosphere of the game. No cheering, to emotion, pretty much nothing. Look, I'm not saying you need to know every player on the roster/practice squad like I do to be a good fan, nor am I saying you need to be jumping up and down and screaming and shit all game. But don't pretend. Don't walk around in your '04 TJ Houshmandzadeh jersey and pretend you're a goddamn mega-fan. Fuck you, Bengals. You'll always be Paul Brown's bastard child to us in Cleveland.

2. The Yankee-Cowboys-Lakers etc. Band-wagoners

Is there anything worse than the typical, "I started rooting for them when I was little and they were good" argument? You know, the argument like the douche bag above follows. It pretty much says, I'm too weak to  stick up for my hometown team if they weren't good when I was growing up. Obviously not all people are privy to this. Some people may not have had a hometown team or stuff like that. But the frustrating thing is when fans that do say "fuck you" to their home town and go hop on the who's-good-now bandwagon. That's part of the thrill--and agony--of sports: suffering through growing-pains, endless rebuilding periods, and torturous defeats with your fellow fans. As far as I'm concerned, those who skip those steps lose out on the true meaning of sports and should be embarrassed to call themselves fans.

1. Boston Fans (All of them)

Ahhh yes, the Kingpin of sports shitbags. Baahhston fans. Whether it be griping about how the city is cursed,  blaming every Celtic loss on David Stern rigging the NBA playoffs, or treating Bill Belichick as God himself, Boston fans are by far the most obnoxious and ass hole fans in all of sports. First thing's first. The Sox. Fucking Red Sox. The classic example of the Yankees-are-only-good-because-of-their-massive-payroll argument, except, the Red Sox just turn around and do the same thing. There is not much that's more refreshing in sports than to see the Red Sox bringing up the rear in the AL East, as they are now.

And the damn Celtics. I once had a friend originally from New England who was a big Pats fan during their (now oh-so-distant Super Bowl wins). We used to ask him about the C's and he'd just turn and say, "dude I don't give a shit about basketball." Typical Boston fan. 'I don't give a shit unless the team is doing awesome.' Lo-and-behold, the Big Three come of Boston and my friend, (we'll call him Maggie) turns into a big Celtics fan. One night we're watching the Celtics-Cavs series and say, "Maggie, when did you turn into a big Celtics fan? You hate basketball." and he responded by telling us that we're crazy, he's always been a big Celtics fan. Again, typical. And while we're at it, is is just me, or is every Celtic playoff win a fairly officiated game and every loss blamed on inept officiating or, like I said earlier, Heir Stern rigging the playoffs. Get over it, Boston, the refs don't make Ray Allen shoot 1-7.

Finally, the Pats. Ohhh the Patriots. Led by Jesus Christ Belichick himself. The Greatest of All Time. Unless you look at his 51-62 record without Tom Brady. The defensive mastermind. Unless you consider the fact that he's had a top-10 defense 5 times in 26 years of being a head coach. Sure, talk about Tom Brady. The dude is good. He's even great. But go ahead and keep knocking down Peyton Manning like he's not the greatest QB of his generation. Go ahead and knock Eli Manning. He'll just knock you out of the building when you meet in the Super Bowl. If there is a more blind following of an individual (Belichick) and team (Pats), I'd love to see it.

PS, New England: This is your most well known fan that represents you when people think of Boston sports:

Should Pure Rage Calm It Down? Hell No

A closer has one of the most thankless jobs in professional sports.  He is counted on to come into high pressure situations in close games and to shut the door.  There is no love for a closer that cannot do his job.  You won’t be the closer long if you don’t get 25, 26, and 27.  There is always another young flame thrower or two just biting at the chance to be the ninth inning man.  You need the “closer’s mentality,” the innate ability to look at the heart of the other team’s lineup and say, “here I am, come and get me.”

The Indians have Chris “Pure Rage” Perez in the back of the bullpen to slam that door shut.  Perez has long crazy hair, a beard, and a fiery attitude on the mound that seems to get under the skin of just about every team he faces, most recently the Royals.  After striking out Royals Jarrod Dyson, Perez pulled out a WWE John Cena move by waving his hand in front of his face to say “U Can’t C Me.” Perez claims that this motion was done to his teammates and that he has also been doing it as far back as college.  After covering first for the last out on grounder to Kotchman, Perez did a celebratory spiking motion that almost had him on his behind.  This isn’t the first time that Perez has been making waves this season.  He called out the fans for not coming to the ballpark and watching their first place team.  .  Are these antics too much or should Perez be able to act like himself after leading the AL with 17 saves? 

It is much harder to get someone excited for something than it is to calm them down.  This goes back to the closer’s mentality.  If Perez is making hitters think about something other than the pitch count, the moment in the game, or whether he’s going to throw a piping fastball on the corner of the plate, good.  Any distraction that these batters are going to have to face while they aren’t paying attention to their at bat is a good thing.  Perez is clearly intimidating and rustling other people’s feathers, but the key is that he is still being effective.  After Opening Day people were concerned about Perez but he has been nothing short of brilliant since then.  Perez, keep talking, keep fist pumping, and keep closing games, because as long as that continues , I am all for the Pure Rage.  



May 23, 2012

Awesome Indians Promotional Ideas

Don’t get me wrong, I'm as sick of these Chris Perez comments as the next person. But the fact is, the Indians are in first place and we need to get to the stadium to support them.  I’m not talking about a Tuesday night game or a Wednesday afternoon game, but the majority of our home games should be packed. As I wrote about this time last year, there are plenty of reasons why we should go to a Tribe game. There is also a big new reason why you should head downtown for an Indians game. A fucking Casino! Cleveland finally has something to offer, so might as well make a night of it and win back your ticket costs.
While I'm at it, I've brainstormed a couple really-freaking-cool-never-going-to-happen promotions that would all but guarantee a sellout.
Really-Freaking-Cool-Never-Going-To-Happen-Promotion #1:
A casino-beer promotion is a great idea!
For every beer that is sold, give a $1 chip in return to the Horseshoe Casino. I'm sure the Horseshoe Casino would be all for the promotion and the Indians could easily afford to cut $1 off their $12 beers. I could only assume beer sales would triple. This can’t end badly can it? Okay, okay, so our streets might be filled with drunken idiots going to blow their life savings. But you get the picture. Have some sort of promotion with the casino. There is no reason the Indians shouldn’t jump on that opportunity to gets fans to the stadium. 
Really-Freaking-Cool-Never-Going-To-Happen-Promotion #2:
Get a contract with Fresh Brewed Tees and give away some damn shirts! We all know that Fresh Brewed Tees has badass Cleveland shirts and I'm sure they’ll be all for the extra business. I’m sick of the normal franchise t-shirt give-a-way days. They all suck. The shirts are always XL, made by some 7 year-old in China, and have about 10 K-Mart logos plastered all over it. I remember always wearing my Albert Belle shirt that came down to my feet and was proudly brought to me by Giant Eagle. Enough of that shit! We demand good shirts! Fresh Brewed Tees are well made, plus they donate portions of profits to the City Mission. You can’t beat that. Sure this may cost the Tribe a bit more to pull off, but I'm sure a sellout would make them money. Plus, how badass would it be to have 43,000 Cleveland Swag shirts?
In reality, none of those will happen. But as a Clevelander, we need to continue this grass roots campaign to get fans there. The support on Facebook and Twitter is great. But you can't just tweet “Go Tribe”. You actually have to go. The worst thing we can do is stoop to the level of Bengals fans. We’re better than that. Cleveland is popping this time of year. We actually have stuff to do there. Did I mention we have a casino?
I know many fans hate the Dolan’s and want to boycott the Indians. As much as I hate the ownership, that won't help anything. The only thing we can hope for is Dan Gilbert buys the Indians with all his dirty casino money. A man can dream right?

May 21, 2012

Tom Heckert Says Phil Taylor is to be Back by October/November

So a lot of people have been talking about Tom Heckert saying tonight that Phil Taylor will "100%" be back this season, most likely by the end of October. The issue isn't 'can/will Phil Taylor make an impact after coming back,' because if he continues to develop like he did last year, that should have an obvious answer. The real question also isn't 'who's going to replace Phil Taylor.' With the drafting of two defensive tackles and already having Brian Schaefering and Scott Paxon on the squad, it should be clear that a committee of DTs will rotate in and out, just like the plan was before Taylor got hurt.

The real question in my mind is, 'how does the Browns run defense hold up through the first half of the season without Taylor?' Let's say Taylor misses the entire month of October. Here's the Browns' schedule up to that point and their opponents respective ranks rushing next to them.

WEEK 1: Philly #3
WEEK 2: Bengals #26
WEEK 3: Buffalo #8
WEEK 4: Ravens #9
WEEK 5: Giants #20
WEEK 6: Bengals #26
WEEK 7: Colts #23
WEEK 8: Chargers #12

Looking at that lineup, the only concerning games that jump off at me are Week 1 against Philly, who have one of the most electric backs in the NFL, and Week 4 against Baltimore, where Ray Rice seems to always carve up our defense. Obviously don't sleep on Buffalo, but I'm just not the biggest Ryan Fitzpatrick believer and if he beats us then so be it, but we should 100% focus on shutting down Fred Jackson there. Sure, the Bengals got the Law Firm in BGE, but I think he was more of a product of the wide-open New England system than a full time back.

In all, I don't think it will be easy and our rushing defense is undoubtedly going to go through rough spells, especially if the rookies get significant playing time, but it's not a dire situation. If Phil comes back strong in Week 9 or even after the bye for Week 11 (at the latest), the Browns should be able to make some noise defensively. Remember, our run D was atrocious last year but we also had two rookies, a young pro playing his first season in the 4-3 and the fucking invisible man playing right-end.

All's not lost Browns fans. Either way, it's Cleveland, we might as well be optimistic now cause God knows once the season starts it'll all go out the window.

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Chris Perez and "Pure Rage"

Everybody saw Chris Perez's quotes from this weekend about Tribe fans, the city, and the ownership. I'll be the first to say I'm not an enormous baseball fan, and while I agree with some of what Perez said, I have to say it kind of pissed me off to hear it from him. Yes, more fans should be at these games. As you may recall we called for more fans to get down to games last Spring when the Tribe was hot. Sure, Perez has been great this season and didn't deserve the boos thrown his way. But as paying fans, we can boo whoever the fuck we want.

 I'm sure many people agree with Perez, as I do, that this team deserves more support from the fans in the form of asses in the seats. However, there's a way to go about that kind of stuff. It's called playing fucking ball. Just play. As Terrance Mann once told us, 'people will come.'

The biggest thing that upset me in this whole ordeal was Perez's blaming the fans for personnel moves. People in Cleveland don't give a fuck for people like Perez calling them out and implying that free agents stay away from Cleveland because of our fan base. Honestly, has there been a more offensive or ridiculous argument aimed at fans in recent memory? Perez talked about how Carlos Beltran turned down an offer from the Tribe ($24 million for 2 years) to play for the World Series Champion Cardinals ($26 millions for 2 years) because of the fans. Wait, because of the fans? Really Chris Perez? Not because of the financials or because the Cards just won the fucking World Series? Sure, we here in Cleveland know it's not the most desirable place to play. But look at Detroit. They get players. And why? Because of the money. So Chris Perez, if you're going to go on record and whine about being booed when you're a professional athlete and then point a finger at me and my fellow Tribe fans as the reasons why players like Beltran didn't sign with Cleveland, you can get the fuck out of my city.

May 14, 2012

Rate This Indians Fever Video

So I hopped on Twitter today and was tweeted by @RockmanHalo who sent me this gem of a video for Indians Fever. I wanted to give it at least a 8.5 or 9 out of 10, but I figured I'd blog it and see what everyone else thinks. Leave a comment below, since as of right now I don't know how the hell to embed a poll into a blog post.

May 6, 2012

Rewind: Grading the Browns 2007 Draft

With all this post-draft analysis bullshit, I'm going to pass on "grading" the Browns draft picks. Yeah, I'm being hypocritical as hell since I graded the Browns' first round selections after round one. Too bad. I will try to write up a little bit on each of the players the Browns selected hopefully this week, but I'll refrain on grading a bunch of players who have never played in the No Fun League before from here on out.

With that in mind, something I feel like I can look back to and "grade" is the Browns 2007 draft, seeing as it has been 5 years since then. Flashback to 2007 for a second. I was a Junior in high school, I had my whole life ahead of me. Boatloads of potential, just like the Browns '07 draft class. Umbrella and Buy U a Drank were fucking fire songs. Superbad was the shit to kids my age. Seth Rogan was funny. Joseph Addai not only looked like he deserved to be on an NFL roster, but he actually looked like he might be good. No, I'm not making this stuff up.

Now jump ahead to today. I'm a degenerate college alcoholic. Brady Quinn and pretty much all of the Browns draft picks are going to see about as much playing time as you and I will this upcoming season. If you listen to fucking T-Pain you're a douche bag. Superbad is old news, and watching it just makes me feel even older. Seth Rogan is anything but funny. Joe Addai will be lucky to beat out the trifecta of Vereen, Ridley, and Danny Woodhead in New England's backfield.

Now let's go pick-by-pick for the Browns and their heralded (at least at the time) 2007 draft class.

#3 Overall: Joe Thomas, OT Wisconsin 

Thomas was called one of the best left-tackle prospects to come out in some time, and he immediately lived up to the hype. More than that, he instantly became a fan-favorite for his skipping out on attending the draft in favor of going fishing with his dad on Lake Michigan. It's impossible to argue with anything about this pick, as Thomas is widely considered one of, if not the top left tackle in the game today.


#22 Overall: Brady Quinn, QB Notre Dame

Quinn was in the running for the #3 overall pick, but thank God Phil Savage pulled the trigger on Joe T instead. With this pick, Savage traded his 2007 second rounder and 2008 first rounder for the highly regarded Golden Domer. At the time it looked like a franchise-changing trade/pick. After limited action in his rookie campaign and a promising few games in 2008, Quinn was given the reigns in 2009. He responded with a dismal season. I remember watching Quinn and seeing a QB who was frantic in the pocket--with or without pressure, and one that seemed to check down on about 60% of his drop-backs. Quinn was then traded for Peyton Hillis, so at least he wasn't a complete waste of a pick. This pick would have been a lot easier to swallow if we didn't get rid of that 2008 first rounder. In essence, this pick doomed the following year's draft as well.


#53 Overall: Eric Wright, CB UNLV

Eric Wright was touted as having top talent, but fell because of character issues that led to his transfer from USC to UNLV. In my opinion, Wright was very solid at the corner position from 2007-2009. He took a major step back in 2010, however. Most Browns fans will remember his nightmare season mostly from his disastrous performance against Baltimore's Anquan Boldin. He left as a free agent in 2011 and headed to the Detroit Lions. Wright's cover skills have been mostly solid throughout his career, but his tackling and willingness to be physical when it came to the running game and more physical receivers hurt his game. Still, he wasn't a bad value as a mid-late second round selection.


#140 Overall: Brandon McDonald, CB Memphis

McDonald was not a bad fifth-round selection out of Conference USA Memphis. He showed flashes of potential as a nickle back in his first two seasons. In 2009, however, McDonald struggled and was eventually replaced by Mike Adams. As a fifth-round pick, McDonald was expected to hopefully contribute on special teams, but he was able to exceed those expectations for two seasons. He also enjoyed doing the Soulja Boy in pre-game warmups.


#200 Overall: Melila Purcell, DL Hawaii

Purcell spent his career on the practice squad for the Browns, with the exception of the 2007 season finale against San Francisco. Sure, he was a sixth-round pick, but ideally you want your draft picks to at least make the active roster. Purcell is currently a free agent.


#213 Overall: Chase Pittman, DL LSU

Pittman is another career practice squad player, except he only lasted one season in the NFL.


#234 Overall: Syndric Steptoe, WR Arizona

Steptoe was a tiny wideout (5'9" 170) out of Arizona, but also specialized in kick returns. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad, but was activated in 2008 as a kick returner behind Josh Cribbs. He was subsequently waived after suffering a knee injury in 2009 training camp and, according to Wikipedia, is currently a member of the Edmonton Eskimos. Even with limited playing time, it's nice to see a seventh-rounder not only make the team but also contribute, even if it was in limited playing time.


Overall, Phil Savage had a few worth-while picks, notably Eazy-E and Brandon McDonald. And, of course, the drafting of a consistent All-Pro tackle is an incredible addition to any franchise. However, the trading up for Brady Quinn and his subsequent failure took the Browns back in an enormous way. Thomas is without a doubt the best Browns pick since they returned in 1999, and one of the best Browns draft picks ever. Still, he can't entirely save this draft class. Like I said earlier, I like the value of Wright and McDonald, but they didn't stick around long enough to make a significant long-term impact. Thomas is the one pick that keeps this draft afloat.


Cleveland Sports: Where Do We Go From Here?

Here we are on May 6th, smack dab in the middle of one of the more interesting times for the three professional sports teams that inhabit Cleveland.  The Indians just took two out of three against arguably the best team in baseball and they sit at 15-11 and in first place.  The Browns just drafted what hopefully will be their starting running back and quarterback in Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden.  Whether or not you agree with the picks, they are moving towards an identity.  The Cavs mercifully finished another season of bottom dwelling, but unlike last year, flashes from possible franchise players in Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson have me looking forward to another high draft pick assimilating with these two.

First off, the Tribe, you know, the first place team that we have that is currently playing AND winning?  Ubaldo Jimenez turned in what was possibly his best start for the Wahoos and Vinne Pestano and Christ Perez saved me from driving to The Prog and slapping Tony Sipp.  Jason Kipnis is quickly posturing himself as a fan favorite in Cleveland, a position that he will adorn beautifully.  Chicks dig the long ball and he has shown the propensity to knock pitches to souvenir city ever since he has been in the major leagues.  If the pitching can keep it up, then the Tribe has a real shot at making this a special summer.

The Browns draft has gotten criticism but before you jump off the 4-80 bridge (or try to blow it up, you damn anarchists) remember that this organization and front office is consistent.  They will not reach or panic or draft a player just because they need someone at the position.  They will hold true to their board.  They will take who they feel is necessary at the right spot.  If Weeden was the 13th player on their board, then getting him at 22 is perfect.  If Tampa Bay was going to trade to 3 if we didn't, we made the correct move.  We have freaking Trent Richardson.  Do you remember him on the National Championship team? Straight beast.  Hughes is a defensive tackle.  We have two good ones, but how does three good ones sound on a team that can't stop the run? Good to me.  Linebacker depth also was addressed (Come on Goodell, why didn't you do me a favor and REALLY drop the hammer on Fujita? Jk, maybe) and between James Michael Johnson and Emanuel Acho I think we have a starting weak side linebacker.  Miavia will probably get the first shot though.  Point is, the Browns are establishing an identity and they will stick to it.  We will run the football and stop the run.  If Trent gets going Weeden will flick it on play action, that simple.  YouTube Travis Benjamin while you're at it.

The Cavaliers have 4 draft picks coming up.  Let's say they leave Radio City with three players.  One is going to be a top six pick and let me speculate how that could go worst case scenario.  Anthony Davis goes #1, MKG goes 2, Beal goes 3, and some collection of Barnes/PJ3/Drummond/Robinson go thereafter.  Are you not happy with one of those guys? Maybe you have worries about Perry Jones III, but I personally think his lack of a distributing point guard and defined role on the team made things tough on the talented perimeter player.  This team is one good draft away from being in the playoffs again.  Let's speculate again, shall we?  Kyrie, Beal, Gee, Varejao, Asik with TT and our other first round pick, Boobie, Samardo, Sloan and a MLE wing player coming off of the bench.  That sure sounds better.

Call me an optimist, that's fine, but I am confident that 2012 will be better than 2011.  It probably couldn't get a whole lot worst.  We have our franchise QB.  We have our franchise PG.  We are first in the AL Central.  Let's cross our fingers, crack a beer, and watch the three teams that we love.  May name is Luke and this is my first post for Cleveland's Rocks.  I love feedback and conversation.  You can find me @LakeEffectBro but I warn you, I'm rather pg-13.  Hit me up or just say hi.  You'll be seeing more of me.    

Apr 27, 2012

Grading the First Round and Looking Forward to Round 2

Well the Browns did it. They hopped up one pick (for less than a 2nd rounder, *ahem* Butch Davis *ahem*) and grabbed Trent Richardson at #3. I love the pick because I think TRich is gonna be a monster on the lakeshore. Jim Brown disagrees, but Barry Sanders agrees with me. We'll see how he does, but, like I tweeted last night: "Dear Trent Richardson, Please be fucking awesome. Sincerely, Browns Fans." I'm not always a fan of trading up, actually I never am, but I don't mind giving up a 4th, 5th, and 7th for Richardson. Think about it, would you trade Jordan Cameron, Owen Marecic, and Eric Hagg for Richardson? I fucking would in a heartbeat. Those are the respective players the Browns drafted last year with those picks. Richardson should give the Browns an immediate play maker on offense, someone that can tote the rock 25+ times a game and hopefully consistently get at least 85+ yards a game.


At #22, I have a little bit different of a feeling. I don't think that Brandon Weeden is going to suck, but I just would rather have seen him taken at #37 if he was available. That being said, supposedly he was #13 on the Browns big board, and if that was the case, they had to take him at #22. Everyone knows that Colt is not the answer, and if you're a Colt supporter, I'm sorry, but Weeden is going to be much much better than Colt. I would have loved to see DeCastro be the pick there at #22, but I understand QB is about a 12094336x more of a need than the interior line. We all know Heckert brought in Weeden to start NOW, so here's to hoping he pans out and doesn't take all that long to adjust.

Finally, I wasn't gonna get into his age, but if that concerns you just give me a fucking break. The dude is gonna be 29 come the start of the season. If you get 5-8 years of solid QB play out of a draft pick, you're satisfied right? When's the last time the Browns got more than 1 year of solid QB play out of a player? Give the dude a chance.



Keep an eye on:

Cordy Glenn, OL Georgia

He's one of the best prospects on the board. Many mockers had him projected as a first rounder, but he slipped to the second round. He has a ton of versatility, which he showcased at UGA by playing both inside and outside on the o-line. He's also massive at 6'5" 345.

Johnathon Martin, OT Stanford

Way back when people had Martin projected as a top-5 pick. Not so much anymore. He isn't an ideal fit for the left tackle position, but right tackle is something the Brownies desperately need. He'll be in consideration if he's on the board at #37.

Steven Hill, WR Georgia Tech

No secret that the Browns need wideout help, Hill is the best wideout on the board at this point. I'm always weary of players that shoot up draft boards after they are done actually playing football, but Hill's measurables are off the charts.

*Lavonte David, LB Nebraska*

This is my pick for the Browns at #37 if he's still there. I can't see the Browns completely ignoring the defense with their first three picks. David could be a great  fit in the 4-3 defense, and our run defense was awful last year. Almost as bad as our offense was.

Courtney Upshaw, DE Alabama

I'd have to think that Upshaw is under serious consideration if he's still on the board at #37. Sure we signed Rucker and Parker in the off season, but let's be honest, those guys aren't too much more than stop-gap players.

Apr 25, 2012

Chip's Mock (The Best Mock)

Since James took things into his own hands on Twitter and guaransheed three new mocks, here goes my Mock v. 4.0. [I think it's my fourth mock, right?]

I haven't seen JP's mock, and James' is pretty good, but he doesn't have all 32 picks projected correctly like I will in this mock. Prepare to be enlightened. 

1) Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB Stanford

Everyone except the down syndrome (jokes on me--it took me about 10 tries to spell that) community (jokes on me again I though community ended with "ee") has this pick locked in. 

2) Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor

As the Onion pointed out, there's a real possibility that Dan Snyder mistakenly trades this pick for a washed up veteran. 

3) Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT USC

As much as Jim Irsay likes to think he knows about football (sorry Jim Ryan Tannehill isn't the "hidden gem" in the draft), he doesn't. This pick will be the Vikings and it will be Kalil.

4) Cleveland Browns: Morris Claiborne, CB LSU

Trent is the popular pick here, but this running back class is deep. Shut-down corners don't grow on trees, but Isaiah Peads/Lamar Millers/LaMichael James/Doug Martins etc do.

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB Alabama

Tampa hasn't had a running back this good since the one whose jersey I wore this weekend. (Eric Rhett). Just kidding, Michael Pittman was incredible.

6) St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma St.

Jeff Fisher and whoever the Rams new GM is made that trade with the Skins for two reasons. 1) They knew they could rape the Redskins since they don't give a fuck about draft picks and 2) they knew that either Blackmon or Kalil will be here for the taking.

7) Jacksonville Jaguars: Stephon Gilmore, CB South Carolina

The Jags have a habit of over-drafting players (Alualu and Gabbert). Plus, a little birdie told me Jacksonville is high on Gilmore.

8) Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB Texas A&M

In the eyes of Todd McShay, the Fins get a franchise QB. In the eyes of everyone else who follows the NFL/college football, the Fins get Blaine Gabbert 2.0.

9) Carolina Panthers: Michael Brockers, DT LSU

Brockers is shooting up draft boards, much like another LSU lineman did a few years ago--Tyson Jackson. Also, just like Tyson Jackson, Brockers is a very talented college lineman who does nothing exceptionally well and will be very mediocre in the pros.

10) Buffalo Bills: Mark Barron, S Alabama

This is pretty high for Barron, but he's a great DB. Offensively the Bills are set at the skill positions but could use offensive line help after losing Demetress Bell to free agency. I think Riley Reiff is in play here, but he T-Rex arms will keep him from being a top-10 pick.

11) Kansas City Chiefs: Melvin Ingram, OLB Alabama

Romeo Crennel loves his pass-rushers (see Kam Wimbley over Heloti Ngata in 2006), so I have him and Scott Pioli taking Ingram over Reiff here as well.

12) Seattle Seahaws: Michael Floyd, WR

Pete Carroll goes with a wideout here to give new QB Matt Flynn some weapons to work with.

13) Arizona Cardinals: Dave DeCastro, OG Stanford

DeCastro is the best interior line prospect to come out in a long time, and Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm know the value of a strong interior line from their days with Allen Faneca in Pittsburgh. Fuck Pittsburgh.

14) Dallas Cowboys: Janoris Jenkins, CB N. Alabama

Jenkins has supposedly slipped down board lately due to character concerns. But if there is one personell guy who doesn't give a fuck about that it's Jerry Jones. Plus Rob Ryan needs a DB to get burned after his failed crazy blitzes every series.

15) Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox, DL Mississippi St

We'll see if Cox makes it down this far, but if he does, look for Andy Reid to jump on him like he would a Pepperoni Lover's pizza.

16) New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB/DE Alabama

Rex Ryan can't really think that Aaron Maybin is a legitimate solution at outside linebacker, can he?

17) Cincinnati Bengals: Quentin Coples, DE UNC

Cincinnati gets a supposedly top d-line prospect after losing out on the ever-dominant Frostee Rucker to our very own Brownies.

18) San Diego Chargers: Chandler Jones, DE/OLB Syracuse

Mike Mayock said recently that Jones will turn out to be the best defensive player in this draft. If this is true, scratch this pick. Remember, AJ Smith also drafted Larry English a few years ago.

19) Chicago Bears: Stephen Hill, WR Georgia Tech

Jay Cutler gets another deep threat to throw to with his rocket arm and rampant bitch-ness.

20) Tennessee Titans: Luke Kuechly, LB Boston College

Tennessee gets Kuechly here to replace Barrett Ruud. In other news Kuechly looks to me to be another one of those prospects who was very solid in college but I just can't see performing at a top-pick level in the pros. See Curry, Aaron.

21) Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller, RB Miami

No fucking way the Bengals rely solely on The Law Firm this year, right?

22) Cleveland Browns: Cordy Glenn, OL Georgia

Glenn is a beast. If the Browns think he can produce at right tackle he could very well be the pick. That being said, I would be surprised if they do actually pass on an offensive skill player with their first two picks.

23) Detroit Lions: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Alabama

Offensive line is a need here, but historically the Lions have passed on addressing it with first round picks. Kirkpatrick is a good value here, especially after losing Eazy E to the Bucs.

24) Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevin Zeitler, OL Wisconsin

I saw this in a few mocks and Pittsburgh needs offensive line help. Plus, "Zeitler" is just a name I could see on the back of a Steelers jersey. Fuck Pittsburgh again.

25) Denver Broncos: Doug Martin, RB Boise St

Three running backs in the first round is a lot, but Martin's versatility is something Peyton Manning always had in his RBs in Indy. Also, there's no fucking way Willis McGahee runs like it's 2001 again and Moreno sucks.

26) Houston Texans: Kendall Wright, WR Baylor

The defense is set, even with losing Mario Williams to Buffalo. Wright would give Matt Schaub a good compliment to work with across from Andre Johnson.

27) New England Patriots: Harrison Smith, S Notre Dame

Defensive back? Check. White? Check. Remember folks, we're talking about Boston here.

28) Green Bay Packers: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB Illinois

The Pack's defense was less than impressive last year. Since they cut Nick Collins maybe Smith is in play here, but I obviously have him off the board here. Mercilus led the nation in sacks last year and could provide a good compliment to Clay Matthews Jr. up in cheese country.

29) Baltimore Ravens: Dont'a Hightower, LB Alabama

Is this the year Baltimore finally finds a replacement for Ray Lewis?

30) San Francisco 49ers: Coby Fleener, TE Stanford

Jim Harbaugh always used two-tight end sets at Stanford, and obviously has a lot of familiarity with Fleener.

31) New England Patriots: Peter Konz, C Wisconsin

The Pats pick up another typical New England player here. Dan Koppen is old as shit anyways, a replacement isn't a bad idea.

32) New York Giants: Lavonte David, OLB Nebraska

The G-Men could use some linebacker help here. The offense is set and so is the defensive line. David could provide an upgrade to the front seven if he is the pick here.



No explanation needed here, except for the fact that I would be shocked if Weeden is a first round pick. He won't go in the top half of the draft, and most other teams in the late first don't need a QB.


The Browns have hosted Wagner and let's be honest, D'Qwell Jackson hasn't exactly been Mr. Reliable the past few years.