Browns-Saints Preview (No Mention of Josh Gordon)

I’ve decided to write this Browns preview without mentioning Josh Gordon as a way to keep the attitude positive ahead of today’s game against the Saints.

I’m still high on the Browns and don’t believe that this whole season is going to pot. I’d actually be willing to wager some green on the game today as it should be a misdemeanor to set the line at 8 points in favor of the Saints. Personally, I’d make the spread an eighth of that. I’m trying to suspend all my emotions about this game to make a logical pick, but after watching Ryan Fitzpatrick roast the New Orleans’ D, I think Cleveland has a shot.

Drew Brees likes to get comfortable in the pocket, but I truly believe that Myles Garrett and Genard Avery can smoke him out. Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas are going to get rolling at some point, but the defense should be able to prevent them from lighting it up all afternoon. People in Cleveland are buzzing about Gregg Williams’ defensive unit and they will need to continue to show improvement this week in order to upset New Orleans.

I may have an ounce of optimism about Cleveland’s offense this week. I call their ground game Run THC (Tyrod, Hyde, Chubb). I expect Carlos Hyde to really pound the rock today. He is just going to keep hitting it and hitting it. If they can get it to Duke Johnson in space, he should be gone in a puff of smoke on that New Orleans turf. As a matter of fact, they should just do that repeatedly then pass. Todd Haley calls it the Puff, Puff, Pass offense.

To put in bluntly, it will take a joint effort from the entire team to pull off this road upset, but I think the Browns have the fire power to do it.

Cleveland 27, New Orleans 21

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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…