Week 1 Browns Summary

It is no secret the offense struggled mightily on Sunday. The weather conditions were horrible and the pass-heavy play calling didn’t make a lot of sense all things considered. I call the Browns’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s Comet because a good play shows up about once every 75 snaps with him.

That one good play happened to go to Josh Gordon Ramsey who caught a tip toeing touchdown while telling Pittsburgh that if they can’t stand the heat, stay out of his f&#%ing kitchen. And that is saying something because his kitchen was about as hot as his last 5 piss tests.

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The big discussion this week has been on who the quarterback should be. Many people are calling for Baker Mayfield after Tyrod TaylorMade played below par and made sure the Browns had a very low scoring round. If he can’t get some good drives going, the rookie may not have to wait long for his chance.

In Tyrod’s defense, Cleveland’s offensive line didn’t play very well. Joel Osteen Bitonio was praying for help on the left side all game but he didn’t get it as penalties and a strong Steeler defensive front seven pressured the Browns all game.

On the defensive side of the ball, Myles “Davis” Garrett produced hit after hit while providing the Browns with plenty of sax. Number 95 was disruptive all day, hurrying the Steeler QB and forcing fumbles. It was about time that Big Ben was the one getting stripped without his consent.

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Ben Roethlisberger finally had to face the Ward(en) who continuously busted the Steelers and kept Antonio Brown locked up all afternoon. The only thing that would’ve made this pun more fitting is if Pittsburgh would’ve worn those stupid striped uniforms.

In overtime, Genard Avery was the Ernie to Joe’s SchoBert as the two teamed up for a sack/fumble return putting the Browns in position to win the game. Unfortunately J.J. Watt’s brother blocked the field goal attempt ending the game in a tie.

Bruce Arians ’19

Bruce Arians wants to coach the Cleveland Browns. The old coach has made it clear on multiple occasions that the one coaching opportunity he really wanted was the Cleveland job. He expressed interest in the job every time it has opened up since his time as offensive coordinator for the Browns (2001-2003).

When talking about the Cleveland position Arians said, “That was the job I always wanted. I felt like Cleveland deserved a winner. They have the most loyal fans in the world. I just thought it was a goal of mine. Every time that job came open I tried to get it.”

Instead of taking a flier on a veteran coach with extensive offensive knowledge and a proven track record of turning around a franchise, the Browns’ front office went with a… different approach. Since Arians’ time as OC, Randy Lerner and Jimmy Haslam have brought in a murderers row of big name coaches like:

Brian Robiskie’s Dad, Terry

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Donatos Spokesperson, Romeo Crennel

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A Man-Genius, Eric Mangini

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It’s confusing to me that somebody who was so willing to take on the challenge of rebuilding this struggling franchise, and is as respected as Arians is, was never given the chance to do it. I guess we will never know if he could have been the great coach that Cleveland has desperately been searching for since their 1999 return….or will we?

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During Sunday’s broadcast, Arians made multiple comments about how much talent the Browns have and he seemed to take subtle jabs as Hue Jackson throughout the game. He called one of the Browns’ timeouts in the 4th quarter “different” and said that the talented Browns just needed to get confidence, which I took as a shot to the coaching staff not having them prepared.

At the start of the 2nd half, he was asked what the Browns need to do to get the offense going and he responded by saying they need to get the ball to all their playmakers. The tone in which he said it made it sound as if he was baffled that Todd Haley and Hue Jackson didn’t think of that earlier.

Personally, I really like Coach Arians and his brash style of coaching. He’s a little rough around the edges, but that could be what this team and city needs. If the Browns could keep defensive coordinator Gregg Williams through a coaching change, he and Arians could form the most “offensive” coaching staff in the NFL history.

 

Browns Predictions

Here is a breakdown of the Browns by things I have read or heard on twitter or the radio over the past few weeks. The optimistic views are separated from the pessimistic views then I will write my own expectations from a more realist point of view at the end.

Glass Half Full on the Offense

The Browns have so many weapons that they should be able to score 40 today, even in a torrential rainstorm. Jarvis Landry is the leader this team has been missing and is going to have a huge game to show the young guys that hard work pays off. There is no way the Steelers will be able to contain Carlos Hyde, Nick Chubb, and Duke Johnson. They should be able to rush for 250 yards today. I’m very high on Josh Gordon (and Antonio Callaway for that matter) and expect him to have a huge day against Joe Haden. Cleveland has Todd Haley calling plays now and he knows the Steelers better than anybody. He is going to be able to pick them apart.

Glass Half Empty on Offense

Tyrod sucks. He can’t throw the ball down field and Baker Mayfield should be in. Actually, the Browns shouldn’t have even drafted Mayfield, Josh Allen should be their starter today. Carlos Hyde always gets hurt and he’s too slow. Dorsey should’ve got Saquon Barkley when he had the chance. Duke Johnson is decent, but Hue is such an idiot he won’t let him get more than 5 touches in the game. Josh Gordon is going to be rusty and Jarvis Landry is just going to catch 3 yard screens all day. The biggest thing is that the offensive line is a mess. Who starts an undrafted free agent at left tackle? Taylor is going to get hammered all day.

My View of the Offense

This team does have some weapons, which is a big deal because in previous seasons Browns fans have had to get excited for Greg Little, Mohamed Massoquoi and Dwayne Bowe. I don’t expect them to light it up early in the season, but you never know. If Gordon is as good as he was 5 years ago and the running backs can get it going, this could be a good unit. I think Tyrod and the boys will put together a few good drives today which might be all they need considering the weather conditions.

Glass Half Full on Defense

This might be the greatest defense ever assembled. The Browns have great pass rushers, awesome linebackers and a solid secondary. Heck, the Ravens defense won them a Super Bowl a few years ago and they were nothing compared to Garrett, Ogbah, and Kirksey. Gregg Williams is a defensive mastermind and really knows how to confuse the opponent. Cleveland is going to sack Roethlisberger at least 7 times today. The Steelers don’t even have their best player, Le’Veon Bell. They honestly might not even score today.

Glass Half Empty on Defense

The preseason doesn’t matter. Myles Garrett is still young and he is the only guy the Steelers have to worry about. They are just going to double team him and pick apart the rest of the guys. Gregg Williams is an idiot. It’s never good when your defensive coordinator is the most offensive guy on the field. Ward and Garrett are both injury prone and all of the Browns’ rotational players are new to the team this week. I expect a lot of mistakes and miscommunications. Look for Antonio Brown to put up huge numbers.

My View of the Defense

I am a believer in this Browns’ defense. I think they have the talent to be a top ten defense this year and I truly hope that they are. My biggest concern is depth and cohesion. Any time a team brings in this many new players and coaches, it takes a while for guys to gel. They are one or two injuries away from having a very pedestrian defense in my opinion. With all that being said, I expect them to look good today against Big Ben and the Steelers. The sloppy conditions can make this an ugly game which plays into the Browns favor.

Final Predictions

Glass Half Full: Browns 42, Steelers 12

Glass Half Empty: Steelers 28, Browns 10

Me: Browns 20, Steelers 16

 

 

 

Browns to Watch Week One

This has been a very interesting offseason for the Cleveland Browns. They have hired a new general manager, completely overhauled the roster, brought in Todd Haley to run the offense, and starred in a very popular HBO series, Hard Knocks. All the exposure they have received from the show has created buzz around the city, and nation, that this could be the year the Browns are finally relevant. The Hard Knocks bump is very real. However, as all Clevelanders know, having high expectations in the preseason does not necessarily equate to regular season success. An injury here or there, a drug suspension or a little insider trading is all it takes to derail a young team with grand aspirations. All that being said, there are a few people that I am very eager to watch this Sunday.

Myles Garrett

Myles Garrett has been waiting over a year to finally meet Ben Roesthlisberger. He gets his shot on Sunday, and I am very much looking forward to seeing what he does with the opportunity. Finally, Big Ben could be on the receiving end of unwanted advances. Garrett has looked like an elite pass rusher all offseason, destroying the Eagles and Bills’ offensive lines. Pittsburgh’s line should be a more formidable foe for the second year man. Sacks aren’t the end all be all for the young defensive end though. If he is able to disrupt enough to free up Emmanuel Ogbah, it might be all it takes to stifle the Steelers. Roethlisberger could be in for a long day, especially once he sees the Browns QB RV and starts daydreaming about all the things he could do in it.

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Josh Gordon

Browns fans have been waiting 5 years to see Josh Gordon really get to play in an offense that he has practiced with. If he can stay sober for three more days, they should finally get to see it. The guy is an absolute freak athletically and has the physical traits to be the best wide receiver in the NFL. He might need some time to get back in the swing of things since he missed all of training camp, but hopefully he can show glimpses of his former self against the Steelers. If he does that, it could make Joe Haden look like former self as well.

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Todd Haley

I really wanted to include Tyrod Taylor, Carlos Hyde, and David Njoku to this list but that would require extra work for me, and extra time reading for you. Instead, I’ll tie them all together under Todd Haley. After watching Hue Jackson make horrible calls with a talentless team the last two years, I am very excited to see what an offensive coordinator can do with the likes of Jarvis Landry, Hyde, Njoku, Gordon, and a serviceable quarterback. The Browns have shown they can run in the last 3 preseason games and they will need to do just that in order to get going against Pittsburgh. That will open up the passing game for some of their athletic pass catchers to shine.

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Denzel Ward (Or whoever is covering Antonio Brown)

The All-Pro wideout has torn up the entire NFL but he seems to play particularly well against the Browns. With Jabrill Peppers playing 35 yards off the line of scrimmage, Ward should be able to play Brown tight and know he has reinforcements behind him. I was impressed with the rookie cornerback all preseason. I just hope he can stay healthy and tackle smarter.

This may be a list of the people that I am most interested in watching this Sunday, but I am excited to see all the players and even coaches. Football is back and that is all that matters.

The Genius of Terry Francona

The Cleveland Indians have been a very interesting team this season. They have a couple of MVP candidates, some stud starting pitchers, and one of the best managers in baseball. Recently however, the Tribe has been slumping pretty hard. The offense is stalling out on a regular basis, the starting pitchers have been less efficient, and Jason Kipnis is still on the team.

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Many people are blaming Terry Francona for his loyalty to Kipnis, Cody Allen, and Josh Tomlin.  Those people couldn’t be any more wrong. I believe this is Tito’s finest managing yet. Last season, the Indians were the hottest team in baseball down the stretch, winning 22 in a row in September. What was their prize for this? A first round exit in the playoffs. Regular season hot steaks rarely equate to postseason success.

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This time around, Francona is ensuring that the Indians don’t get too full of themselves by allowing Kipnis to stay in the everyday batting order. Anytime the Tribe starts to make a run, the manager can rest easy knowing that Kip will be grabbing his batting helmet any minute. On the rare occasions that the plan has failed, the veteran manager has had the awareness to slip Allen or Tomlin into the contest to promptly give away the game.

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The theory is that if the Indians get all of their clumsy losing out of the way in September, they should be better prepared for October. In the playoffs, Francona will have the luxury of slipping newly acquired, Josh Donaldson into 3rd base and sliding Jose Ramirez to his natural position of 2nd. Josh Tomlin probably won’t be on the postseason roster and Cody Allen shouldn’t have to pitch in many high leverage situations. Brad Hand and (hopefully) Andrew Miller could carry the load for a couple weeks, much like Allen and Miller did in 2016.

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Regular season wins don’t matter this season, Cleveland isn’t going to catch the Red Sox for the #1 seed and the Twins aren’t going to catch the Tribe in the division. The only real concern I have is the slumping of Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor, but all stats and trends lead me to believe that they will return to form soon. The Wahoos are set and are definitely looking ahead to the playoffs rather than concerning themselves with September games. I don’t know if the Tribe will win it all this year, but baseball playoffs are so wacky and they have some major star power so nothing leads me to think that they can’t.

Hard Knocks Spin-Offs

The Browns training camp has provided HBO with some fantastic story lines. Here are some potential Hard Knocks shows that are “rumored” to be in the works.

Bro’in with Brogan– Brogan Roback travels the country in an old conversion van, periodically sleeping in various Wal-Mart parking lots, and going to Planet Fitness to shower. As he goes from town to town, he picks up other athletes and interviews them in his van while vaping. (He goes on to name the vehicle the Vape Van). Episode one includes a trip to Boston where he interviews Gronk and they share in-depth philosophies on life and whatnot*. This is also part nature show, where Brogan just eats a bunch of different flowers during his travels.

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The Wylie Old Historian– Offensive Line Coach, Bob Wylie, talks American history. The first episode is a more in-depth look into why stretching is unnecessary, as proven by soldiers during both World Wars. He also explains how vegetables are stupid because POW’s weren’t fed organic veggies and they were some of the toughest SOB’s around.

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Trade (de)Bate– Carl Nassib and Mychal Kendricks have a friendly debate show on the best practices for saving money and investing in the stock market. Kendricks is forced to do some episodes via Skype for obvious reasons. Special guest Bernie Kosar weighs in with his own investment tips.

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Here is a list of shows that were scrapped early in production:

Dawg Cussin’– Gregg Williams just sits in the Dawg Pound and heckles the players with obscenities. He is particularly fond of belittling Todd Haley and Hue Jackson. The pilot episode received a bounty of laughs, but unfortunately HBO is suspending it for a season.

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Hue’s Jacked Son– Hue Jackson adopts Josh Gordon and gives him awkward code names while Josh works out. Josh periodically disappears for episodes at a time for mysterious health retreats, but always comes back in great shape, ready to go. To prove he doesn’t play favorites, Hue makes sure not to start his new son for the season opener.

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*Sneak Peek at Bro’in with Brogan Pilot Dialogue

Brogan: Sup Bro

Gronk: Bruh

Brogan: Bruuhhhh

Gronk: Sup

Brogan: So like, how’s it goin’

Gronk: Hahaha. yeah man, you?

Brogan: Brooooooo

Gronk: Hahahaha.

Brogan: Dandilion? (Offers Gronk a flower to eat)

Gronk: More like a Pansy. Hahahahaha

Brogan: Totally

To be continued…

 

Can Browns Steal Opener

The Cleveland Browns open the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday. A lot of Browns fans have high hopes for this year, some even predicting a division crown. While I don’t believe that Cleveland is a better team than Pittsburgh, I do believe that Hue and the boys can catch the Steelers sleeping in the opener.

Ben Roethlisberger (rightfully) doesn’t respect the Browns and why should he? Big Ben has the same number of career losses to the Browns (2) as he has sexual assault cases against him. This year seems different though. The Browns defense has looked formidable and has stayed oddly healthy throughout the preseason. If Roesthlisberger comes out lackadaisical he could take some big hits early and often. Plus, with Jabrill Peppers starting every play 30 yards from the line of scrimmage, Antonio Brown shouldn’t have too many receptions longer than 25 or so yards. Le’Veon Bell came out slow after skipping training camp last year and I would assume we can expect to see that again this season. If Bell can’t get going and Roethlisberger gets a little too cocky, this young Browns defense should be able to hold its own.

The real question is, can the offense put up enough points to help out the defense or at least sustain drives to keep Williams’ unit off the field. The first team offense put together some nice drives throughout the first 3 preseason games. It didn’t always result in points but I chalk that up to Todd Haley wanting to try some new things. If Hyde and Chubb can produce like they did in game 2 and 3 that should take some pressure off of Tyrod and allow him to make a few plays. I’m not expecting him to light it up but just putting together a nice drive here or there and not turning the ball over might be enough to get a win.

My opinion is that week one is the best possible time to face the Steelers this season and I think the Browns will take advantage of the opportunity. I predict that the defense catches Big Ben off guard and the offense does just enough, Browns 20-16.

Lazy Stereotypical Big Ten Preview

This is my 1st Annual Big Ten review strictly using stereotypes from an Ohio State fan’s point of view. Ohio State has more or less ruled the conference since Jim Tressel took over in 2002, winning 8 of the 16 league titles in that span. Along the way, I have created some (mostly unfair) biases and stereotypes towards the other B10 institutions. Here are some of the baseless claims I have made over the years.

Not Even Part of the Big Ten:

Maryland- I’m pretty sure Maryland is actually decent, but their uniforms are the only thing I think of when I see their name on the schedule which doesn’t bode well for them.

Rutgers– It’s bad enough that they joined the league so recently. What makes it worse is that they stink at every sport and probably would go under .500 in the MAC.

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The Scarlet Knights got bested by this guy last season.

Hot Garbage:

Indiana- The only positive thing that comes to mind when I think about Indiana football is Tevon Coleman rushing for over 300 yards against Rutgers. Indiana still lost that game.

Illinois- Illinois was average for awhile, even upsetting the Buckeyes a time or two but the first thing to pop my head was that they had a QB named Juice who was very good but I never heard of him doing anything after college.

Purdue- For some reason I always start to think that Purdue is decent but that is because I always remember back to when they had Drew Brees…almost 20 years ago.

Northwestern- Much like Purdue, I think much higher of the Wildcats than they deserve. It might be because I played with them in NCAA football a lot when they had Tyrell Sutton.

Minnesota- Due to my respect for P.J. Fleck and his affinity for rowing boats, I have a feeling they will change my perception of the program this season but every memory I have is of them not being very good.

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Eh:

Iowa– Iowa blasted Ohio State last season and probably deserve more than an eh, but Kirk Ferentz and the boys are just so inconsistent from one season to the next. They look awesome one year, then are barely average the next.

Nebraska– The Cornhuskers have been average for a long time. When I was little, they were a national powerhouse but that was a long time ago. I do believe Scott Frost is going to make them relevant again though.

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Have Some Sort of Shot at a Conference Title:

Michigan- Michigan has been “turning it around” almost as long as the Cleveland Browns, but I truly believe that Harbaugh will keep them sort of relevant.

Michigan State- If I wasn’t an Ohio State fan, Michigan State would be my favorite Big 10 team in all sports (except gymnastics). They are so well coached and somehow always surprise people. The Spartans and Buckeyes have had quite the battles over the past few seasons.

Penn State- Another team who is well coached. I am interested to see how they do without Saquon Barkley, but from all reports their quarterback is supposed to be the real deal.

Wisconsin- I’m a throwback kind of guy so I truly appreciate Wisconsin’s 1960’s style of play. It is effective for the most part. They also have perhaps the toughest road atmosphere in the Big Ten.

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Teams that Will Win the Conference:

Ohio State- Who knows how the first few games will play out for the Buckeyes with Urban Meyer suspended, but when he comes back, look out. I wouldn’t be surprised the Ohio State drops 50 on every Big Ten team on their schedule this year.

 

Standings Predictions:

East- Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan, Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers

West- Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois

 

 

State of the Tribe

The Cleveland Indians have the biggest division lead in all of baseball, have 2 MVP candidates, and four starters ranging from really good to Cy Young caliber. Yet with all of this many media members and fans are all doom and gloom about the team’s postseason chances. The baseball playoffs typically are a crapshoot with the best regular season team’s rarely getting to the World Series. Last year, the Indians were cruising and expected by many to win the whole thing but got bounced in the first round. The year before that the Red Sox were the AL favorites and the Indians swept them in the opening series.

Flawed regular season teams can find ways to put together a couple series wins. If the Indians don’t win the World Series this year it won’t be because Jason Kipnis is batting .220. Every team has one or two weak links in their lineups. The Mighty Boston Red Sox have been starting a CF with a worse batting average than Kip and a platoon of catchers both hitting in the very low .200’s. The Indians saving grace is that Yan Gomes is one of the best hitting catchers in the game. He fills one hole that just about every other team has.

The one concern that I share with the naysayers is the whole bullpen situation. I trust in Terry Francona’s ability to manage the pitchers effectively in the postseason as he has for years, but the Tribe just doesn’t have a lot to work with this year. How many times can Andrew Miller and Brad Hand pitch in a 7 game series? I do like the fact that it sounds like Francona will make closing Hand’s job. It might be a little rough at first, but that is the best method of finishing in my opinion.

Hard Knocks Time Machine

 

Hard Knocks winding down has me thinking about what former Browns players and personnel would have been great to have on HBO so I compiled a list of my top 5 along with some that just missed the cut. I’m sure I have some glaring omissions but these are the ones that came to mind.

5. Dwayne Bowe– Can you imagine how electric Bowe would have been on Hard Knocks? Just shot after shot of him leisurely peddling his exercise bike for hours at a time, every so often cutting away to Ray Farmer hyping up how he is going to be worth every penny and lecturing the media about how its stupid to draft wide receivers.

4. Kellen Winslow, Jr.– HBO would’ve had an absolute field day after his infamous motorcycle crash. The 6th overall pick limping into Phil Savage’s office to explain he flipped over his handlebars doing sweet tricks like he was some kind of Starboy. Then days later, it turns out he was just going 35mph in a parking lot when he hit the curb. I can’t imagine he ever did anything worse than that.

3. Mike Holmgren– Nothing in particular stands out that makes me say, “Mike Holmgren seems like a fun dude”, but I would’ve loved to see his reaction coming from a team who regularly made playoff runs to an organization who gives you the runs. It also would’ve been neat to see what he tried to do to turn around the Browns during his tenure.

2. Joe Thomas– The Browns’ Ironman. Not only was Joe a great player, but the guy is absolutely hilarious. I think he would have stole the show, especially in his final few seasons when he really started to open up (not give a crap). His podcast with Andrew Hawkins is good and he is great on social media. Teaming him up with Bob Wylie would’ve been appointment television.

1. Johnny Manziel– This selection doesn’t need much explaining. Johnny went from a fun-loving little rascal to problematic team cancer real quick. Perhaps if Johnny had Hard Knocks cameras following him around he would’ve actually pretended to care and would have talked more to Jim Brown and less to Jim Bean.

Honorable Mentions:

Romeo Crennel’s pool parties. Romeo had to be a “shirt on in the pool” kind of guy, right?

William Green being stabbed by his fiancee, then saying he accidentally fell down the stairs and landed on a knife.

Braylon Edwards punching LeBron’s friend and promptly being traded.

Joe Haden just because he was Mr. Cleveland and would’ve been a great ambassador for the city on national television.