12/22/09

Laundry List

Mike Holmgren is the new Browns President and he’s got a lot of work to do. The question is where should he start?

Eric Mangini – Fire him, he took over a crappy team and completely restructured the roster. A roster that was hurting for leadership and passionate players. He got rid of selfish players and slackers and added depth. He also managed to collect 11 draft picks for the 2010 draft, and that is way to many, you can’t build a team through the draft can you? Phil Savage?

Most coaches that don’t perform in their first season with a new team will probably never work out in the NFL. Forget about the Belichick, Bill Walsh, Tuna, and Andy Reid’s of the world, everybody already knows Eric Mangini will never reach that level. Psychic abbilities i assume.

The Browns should hire a new coach every year until they win the super bowl.

Josh Cribbs – Don’t pay the man. This is a new regime, I don’t care what the last GM said about restructuring a deal for him. It only makes sense to see what he can do with the new regime in town before we go tossing money around at a special teams player. Seriously, he shouldn’t have signed that stupid extension in the first place. I would tell Josh to fire his agent, don’t blame the Browns. It’s not like he’s the best player on the team or the fans love him.

Brady Quinn/Derek Anderson - Both of these guys need to be retained, one of them has got to be the future. The Browns organization has invested so much into both of them. If they’re each given another shot in the pre-season and training camp one of them has got to emerge as a franchise QB.

Jim Brown – I know he’s an advisor to Mr. Lerner but with Randy giving Mike Holmgren full control and having Bernie Kosar on hand he wont need Jim Brown as an advisor now.

The Browns should make Jim Brown the team spokesman. Hey, he likes to here himself talk and he never says anything dumb or controversial! The Browns organization could really benefit from this, he would take so much focus off the team.

Jamal Lewis – Re-sign the man. He has produced so much since his last contract extension (1-100 yard game and 4 touchdowns) we would be fools to let him retire like this, we owe him so much more. He is obviously a great leader as well, seeing how the Browns have won 2 games since he’s been out and had their two biggest rushing games of the year. I kind of like listening to Jamal throw his teammates under the bus, it's good for the team, it brings them together.

Will Mangini's "Process" fit in the U-HAUL?

For the past year the Browns and their fans have been pounded with Eric Mangini's "process". Early in the season as the losses piled up we were told that "this is a process and it's not going to happen overnight". When the Browns beat arch rival Pittsburgh on a frigid Thursday night we were told that "the process is coming together".

The "process" might be leaving on a U-HAUL soon.

He's not Santa Claus but Mike Holmgren is coming to town and he's making a list and you can bet your dawgbones that he will check it at least twice.

Browns owner Randy Lerner did what he said he was going to do and hired a "serious, credible leader" to finally bring the Cleveland Browns back to respectability. Call it a year too late or better late than never but Randy Lerner has used the resources around him to figure this thing out. You can't build a font office by first hiring a head coach and then letting said coach hand pick the GM.

Unless Eric Mangini can sell Mike Holmgren on his "process" there's going to be a new leadership and a new vision for the Cleveland Browns in 2010 and its got nothing to do with $1,200 water bottle fines or not naming a starting QB.

There are people out there trying to make a case that Holmgren should absolutely keep Eric Mangini. These are the same people that have been making excuses for Mangini all season so this comes as no surprise. Mangini made his bed in Cleveland and now he will have to sleep in it for two more weeks.

A legend like Mike Holmgren doesn't come out of retirement to become the President of the Cleveland Browns so he can move out of the way and let Eric Mangini's "process" continue to play out after one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

Call me crazy, but don't call me late for dinner.

11/24/09

Browns Big Board

Well the Browns have all but locked up the first pick in the draft after the loss in Detroit Sunday. It is sad to say but I’ve been thinking a lot about the draft the last couple days and a top 5 pick scares me to death.

The front of this draft is loaded with defensive players that don’t really fit out system. Where the Browns really need to be picking is between 7 and 15 where they could draft somebody that would fill a huge need. Such as a MLB like Brandon Spikes or a RB like C.J. Spiller. But that’s not going to happen so we will take what we can get.

Assuming the Browns stay in the top 3, here are my favorites.

1 - Ndamukong Suh. DT/Nebraska. A 6’4” 300 pound beast. Suh is the consensus #1 prospect this year. He is the most dominant defensive lineman in college football and would look very good next to Shaun Rogers. Suh has the perfect size and skill to play the DE in a 3-4 defense.



2 - Eric Berry. S/Tennessee. I really hate to put a safety this high on my board specifically because the Browns have much bigger needs. Abe Elam and Brodney Pool have done a good job this year but we’ve all seen what a Troy Palamalu or Ed Reed can do for a teams defense and Eric Berry has that kind of ability. This kid is a defensive playmaker and the Browns are in serious need of one.


3 – Dez Bryant. WR/Oaklahoma St. He will have been out of football for almost a year after being suspended but no matter how you look at it Dez is the #1 receiver entering the draft this year. In a relatively weak WR draft class Dez would be a reach in the top 5 but WR is a top need for the Browns.

11/23/09

The Real Czar

Book it, Bill Parcells will be the next President of the Cleveland Browns. I actually think he is secretly making the decisions already. I also think this has been in place since last season when the Miami Dolphins owner sold the team and gave Parcells the option to walk away from his contract and still get paid.

Eric Mangini is Parcells boy. Which could be the reason that Randy Lerner immediately jumped on him when he became available last season. It could also mean that Eric Mangini wont be going anywhere for quite some time and I know that bothers a lot of people, but it makes sense.

Think about it. If Parcells is the President and he brings in a GM and he wants to keep his boy Mangini as the coach who would second-guess him. This man has won and turned teams around every place he’s been. There is nobody I would rather see hired than Parcells, nobody.

Who else would you rather give 11 draft picks to?

I know almost everything I’m saying if far fetched but I could see this happening. I’m sure Parcells enjoys being in Miami but that project is over and we all know he doesn’t stay anywhere for to long. Besides who wouldn’t take free money?

11/19/09

Jim Brown! Why?

I need to get a couple things off my chest.

Most people who follow The Cleveland Sports Flow already know that I think Eric Mangini can be a good coach. I have stuck up for him and pointed out numerous facts and opinions on why I feel the way I do. With that said, I do believe he will be fired, but not just yet.

Chris Mortensen reported on ESPN news last night that if the Browns lose to Detroit, Eric Mangini will be fired next week. Well I can almost guarantee that won’t happen. Who would run this team? Randy Lerner and Rob Ryan? I don’t think so. The point is, until a president and/or a GM is hired don’t plan on Eric being fired. Even if Casserly or Holmgren were hired today they would need at least a couple weeks to evaluate the staff and players before any major decisions were made.

Right now there are a couple of rumors out there about the Browns next leader. One of them says that Charley Casserly, former Houston Texans and Washington Redskins GM has been hired by the Browns as the next President and GM, and will be announced in the next 72 hours.

I don’t buy it but anything is possible with Randy Lerner.

Would Casserly be a good hire? Hard to say. He has definitely had his ups and downs but the one thing that stands out the most to me after reading the good and bad is the draft he put together in 2006. He drafted Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans and Owen Daniels. That’s 3 pro bowlers in one draft. A draft like that could easily turn a 3 or 4 win team into an 8 or 9 win team.

Which would be great for Cleveland.

The one thing I don’t like about the rumor of Casserly is that he’d be president and GM. This team needs to get with the program and do things the right way and install a chain of command and get Lerner completely out of the picture.

Now to my melt and the point of this whole post.

On Tuesday it was reported that Randy Lerner was interviewing Mike Holmgren, and that’s great, I’m glad to see him being active and trying to get something done. The thing that bothers me is that it was Jim Brown who opened his mouth when obviously Lerner is trying to keep things hush hush.

My question is why is Jim Brown still part of this organization?


I appreciate what Jim did for this organization as a player. I respect his accomplishments and the joy he brought Browns fans but I have no idea why he is on the Browns payroll.

It’s obvious that Jim Brown doesn’t know how to think before he speaks or keep his mouth shut. He is constantly bringing more negative attention to this already depressing organization. From him talking about who Randy is interviewing to calling the NCAA “the most ridiculous organization in the country” or calling out Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan about their lack of effort in social activism. There are so many more examples, i just don't have that much time.

Give it a rest Jim, you’re a wife beater and a black eye to the Browns organization.

Whom ever takes control of this organization, I hope they make getting rid of Jim Brown one of their first priorities. What this organization needs is solid stand up individuals that lead by example and hand out good advice. Not people who constantly bring bad press to this town.

If I were a superstitious person, I would blame him for the curse of Cleveland.

BTW. Congratulations DPM on your failed brown out. You can thank yourself when you get treated like Art Modell in Cleveland Browns Stadium for the rest of your life.

If you were wondering, that yellow sign says Duck Fawg Pound Mike. Classic.

11/18/09

King of Changing the Subject

Just because LeBron is done talking about his impending free agency doesn't mean he's done talking.

In what may or may not be his intended strategy, LeBron has managed to both change the subject and keep his name in the headlines.

First it was LeBron's announcement that he was thinking about changing his number after this season and his proposed plan to launch a campaign to get the NBA to retire MJ's number permanently.

Good one, LeBron, they bit on it. Next thing you know, those same talking heads who haven't shut up about LeFree Agency are now pondering whether or not the NBA should actually go through with LeBron's idea and honor MJ by retiring his number. Those headlines lasted for about a week.

So what's next?

Now LeBron's talking about playing football again. He told some members of the Cleveland media that if he really worked hard he could be a good NFL player. Now the national media is pondering LeBron's potential as a two sport athlete. They are going as far as to dig up video of LBJ's playing days back at Akron St. Vincent St. Mary and comparing his physical gifts with current NFL players.

Good job, LeBron, you got 'em again!

Here is my guess for LeBron's next "write about this instead of 2010 topic":

LeBron James Ponders a Career in Hollywood

Good one, LeBron. (Wink, Wink)

11/10/09

Brady Quinn Will Start

Hey Eric Mangini, I’m more smarter than you is. Hey I can think out of the box and get inside the head of a mad man, it’s not that far of a reach for me. I know your starting Brady Quinn this week and I’m going to tell people why.

It’s simple, you have to put people in the stands this week. The Browns are facing a black out on TV and a brown out in the stands, by people who call themselves fans.

You think, best-case scenario for everyone is Brady plays a good game and the Browns win. Hey, it will quiet the fans down for a week and they'll stop hating everyone. You can show everyone that your starting to turn this team around and you actually pulled Quinn after 2 1/2 games to make him a better player.

But lets say Brady falls right on his face, perfect, you can tell the fans to shut up, you know what your doing and he is not the best QB on this team. He is a career back up at best.

You see coach, in your mind you think this is a win win situation but its not. What you don't understand is that 75% of the Cleveland Browns fans have given up on you and will turn anything positive that happens against you.

If Brady wins and plays a good game, the immediate fan reaction will be its your fault that the Browns lost the last 4 games. If you wouldn't of given up on Brady and pulled him after only 2 1/2 games we could of won more games.

If he falls on his face, it'll be because of the play calling and because he's only played against teams with great defenses. You haven't given him a fair shot and your not capable of coaching in the NFL.

Well coach, I can tell you that any decision you make from here on out is lose lose. No matter what you do the fans will make you out to be the enemy, unless you can win, your only option is to win. There are 8 games left, if you can win four then maybe you can get some of the fans back.

The fans have a fever and its only cure is not more cowbell, it's victories.

11/5/09

Browns Delivering Apathy to Die-Hard Fans

I can honestly say I've had a lot of fun following the Browns since they came back in 1999. Even though I knew they were probably going to lose I was always excited to wake up on Sunday mornings to throw my Browns jersey on and wait for the pre-game shows to start. The team wasn't always good but it didn't matter to me because they were the Browns. My Browns.

I rearranged my entire weekends to guarantee Sunday afternoons would be free to watch the team that I love. At first that was met with a little resistance but eventually my wife grew to enjoy our Sunday routine of watching the Browns game followed by a home cooked dinner and usually a movie of her choice.

While watching the games I would often find myself loudly cheering when anything positive would happen. I couldn't control it, I had to stand up and cheer as if I was at the stadium watching the game in person. Sometimes I actually was at the stadium and sometimes it felt somewhat like a religious experience entering the stadium and seeing the greenest grass I've ever laid my eyes on.

As Browns fans we've all been through some really tough times and endured a lot of pain and disappointment. Many of us have grown numb to the constant losing but have found some solace in the fact that the future looked bright as young players with loads of potential were sure to break out and become superstars.

Some of those young players eventually did live up to their potential and made us proud but the majority of them are gone for whatever reasons and that hopeful feeling has seemingly disappeared in their wake. The future of this team has evaporated into the negativity that has now surrounded the present situation. The "we'll be better next year" mentality that Browns fans for so long claimed ownership of has been traded in for a new attitude of "things are going to get much worse before they even start to get better".

It's hard to imagine this team getting much worse than it is today but we all know that it's coming. Teams like the Browns that lack players with raw talent and God-given ability will only be successful if they are unified under a strong, passionate leader who pushes them to believe not only in themselves but also in each other. Teams like that play with an "us against the world" mentality that doesn't require raw talent but instead guts and the willingness to sacrifice their own bodies for the sake of their teammates and their leader.

I was hopeful heading into this season that Eric Mangini was going to be the kind of leader who would inspire the players to play for each other and to leave everything they had on the field each week. I knew he didn't have the best record of success in his previous employment but I was confident that the players would at least respond positively to his disciplined approach. Clearly that has not been the case and what has ensued this season has become unwatchable and gut wrenching at the same time.

I have never been a season ticket holder so the value of my investment in the Browns can only be measured in the time I've spent in front of my TV, listening to the radio, attending training camp, attending random games when tickets fell into my lap, purchasing apparel and wearing it proudly and spending an entire month last summer hand-painting a corn hole set with an animated Dawg Pound theme.

All of this brought me joy as I often went to great lengths to express my "fan hood" for the Browns. Unfortunately that joy has quickly evaporated and I've become somewhat apathetic towards my beloved Browns. For the sake of accuracy, I looked up the word "apathetic" in the dictionary to make sure that's how I was feeling and I found the definition to be very, very accurate:

ap⋅a⋅thet⋅ic, [ap-uh-thet-ik]
1. having or showing little or no emotion: apathetic behavior.
2. not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive: an apathetic audience.

Bingo. That's exactly how I feel about this team when I watch them play and I know that I'm not alone. Eric Mangini has succeeded in making a once passionate, loyal and die-hard fan lose interest and have little or no emotion while watching the Browns.

There are some people who believe that Eric Mangini may still be successful as the head coach in Cleveland but I'm just not a believer. I want to be supportive and passionate about this team again but I simply cannot do it while he is still employed as the Head Coach. It is remarkable how quickly Eric Mangini was able to suck the life out of this entire organization and how after only 8 games into his tenure there is absolutely nothing fun about being a Browns fan anymore and nothing to look forward to on Sundays.

It pains me beyond belief to write this but if Eric Mangini is still the head coach on opening day in 2010 I will not watch a single snap of Cleveland Browns football for the entire season.

11/4/09

Eric Manginis Second Chance

There is a reason that George Kokinis was fired and not Eric Mangini and that’s because Randy Lerner and his newly hired consultant Bernie Kosar still buy into his plan but they don’t think he can achieve the goal if he can’t put forth a 100% effort into coaching.

When Eric Mangini was hired he was given complete control over this team. From player movement to game planning to trades to final say of the 53 man roster to what color socks the team wore on off days and it was too much for one person to handle.

What Randy Lerner hopes to accomplish is to get a GM in Cleveland that can handle that side of the business. The Browns need someone to work on contracts, especially for Josh Cribbs and Phil Dawson. The Browns need someone to make player personnel decisions after Mangini gives his opinions. This will free up time for Eric to game plan, coach his team and get more involved with his cordinators because if there isn’t improvement the rest of the season, he will be out of a job too.

Mangini is a very hard worker and dedicated to what he does and despite what people say, he is a very knowledgeable football mind.

If he doesn’t take offense to the changes that are being made and he can dedicate himself solely to coaching this team I think he can make this team competitive by the end of the season. Of course there is option 2, that says if he can't have full control he doesn't want to be part of the team and he'll quit. I know thats what a lot of you want but i don't think its going to happen. If Eric runs out on this team he won't see another coaching job in the NFL.

Would you believe that George Kokinis wasn’t aware of the Braylon Edwards trade until he saw it on tv? This goes to show how little Kokinis was involved in this organization, he was a name and that was it.

11/3/09

(Good)Bye Week in Berea: Kokinis Fired

When Eric Mangini was hired he hand-picked George Kokinis to be the new GM and essentially his own boss. Randy Lerner took Mangini's word that Kokinis would be the best choice for GM. Now that Kokinis has been fired, things are starting to become more visible in Eric Mangini's world of secrecy.

Mangini knew that Kokinis would allow him to do whatever he wanted to do with the roster, including bringing in several backups who played for him in New York. Kokinis stayed quiet and toed the company line while Mangini put his stamp all over the 53-man roster by trading away disgruntled talent for backups and draft picks.

Sadly, it took bringing in a special consultant before Randy Lerner finally realized what was going on in Berea. Lerner bought what Mangini was selling and he trusted that Mangini's "process" would bring the Browns back to respectability. This week might be the end of Mangini's "process" as he knows it. It appears that there is a different process underway in Berea now and the facts are starting to become more and more clear as each hour passes.

11/2/09

Jamal Lewis, Shut Up

It takes a lot of nerve for an underachieving line dancer to call somebody out. Yet Jamal Lewis feels compelled to make a fool out of himself and walk down that road, yet again.

This isn’t about whether Eric Mangini is a good coach or not, this is about Jamal Lewis throwing somebody else under the bus again. This is about Jamal Lewis not taking responsibility for his lack of production. This is about Jamal Lewis pretending to be some one that he is not. How dare you call yourself a leader? How dare you blame anybody else for not producing when you haven’t produced for 2 years. How dare you?

Yesterday in an interview Jamal asked the question "Where are we trying to go and what are we trying to accomplish?" Well Jamal, I asked myself the same question when the Browns signed you to a contract extension 2 years ago. (Yet another great decision by Phil Savage) He then went on to say, “I think this is my last year. I think this is it. Honestly, the way this looks, you know, I had a good run. Period. Point blank. I've done what I needed to do." All that I can say is thank god, 2 years to late, but thank god.

So what has Jamal Lewis done for the Browns since his contract extension other than throw his teammates under the bus? Not much. He has played in 22 games and only produced 1 - 100 yard rushing game and a total of 4 touchdowns. If you ask me I’d say we wouldn’t be missing him too much. With numbers like that it would seem as if he retired when he signed that extension.

So I ask you Jamal, do you promise you’ll retire after this season? Do you promise to free the Browns of the $3.9 million that you’re due next year? That is $3.9 million the Browns can use on somebody that will contribute to this team. For 2 years you have danced around in the Browns backfield like you were a member of the Village People. Besides, once you’ve decided your going to retire, chances are you already have so please feel free to retire now, why wait. You can get right back to doing what you love, trafficking cocaine.

Please Eric Mangini, don’t let this worthless bum touch the field again. I’d rather see Jerome Harrison and Chris Jennings out there. I guarantee when they fumble the ball they won’t blame it on the direction of the team or call players out for quitting and I guarantee you they won’t retire.

Browns need a "Serious, Credible Leader"

As the disaster that we call the Cleveland Browns continues to get worse by the day, the only good news that could be coming out of Berea this week is the possible hiring of a "serious, credible leader" by owner Randy Lerner. I'm using the term "good news" as loosely as I possibly can here, folks. The fact that Randy Lerner obviously doesn't consider Eric Mangini to be a "serious, credible leader" speaks volumes. Hey Randy, your "serious, credible leader" needed to be hired before your head coach and probably not in the middle of the season but I appreciate your passion for finding somebody with credibility. I just wish you would have done that back in January.

Jamal Lewis opened more than a few eyes with his comments after yesterday's game, as noted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Running back Jamal Lewis questioned the direction of the team, saying,

"Where are we trying to go and what are we trying to accomplish?"

The future Hall of Famer said he is so distraught with the way this season has gone south after "everybody bought in" in training camp that this would be his last season of playing.

"Period. Point blank. I've done what I needed to do," Lewis said.

Was that just frustration talking?

"When I talk, I mean what I say," Lewis shot back.


The retirement announcement wasn't the eyebrow raiser, it was Jamal's public questioning of the overall direction of the team that says it all. Lewis is frustrated and his mentioning of how "everybody bought in" and it hasn't payed off clearly reflects that. Lewis is a guy that the players respect and look up to so I have to wonder how many other players in that locker room share his views. Whatever Mangini is selling, the players just aren't buying it and the fans aren't buying it either. You could argue that Mangini deserves more time, but assuming that he'll use that time to straighten this thing out is not something that I'm ready to do.

It's the bye week and this team is a complete disaster. Randy Lerner seems to realize something has to happen but hopefully it won't take him the rest of the season to realize that Eric Mangini has this team heading in the wrong direction and hiring him may have been his biggest mistake yet.

10/30/09

Mangini Deserves His Shot

When coaches take over teams as crappy as this team Mangini took over, things don’t turn around immediately. In fact, if you can find me an example of long-term success from a first year turn around maybe i'll listen to why people think Mangini should be fired. I am in the minority and I know it but I want to give Eric Mangini his due time to turn this team around, and by the way it can’t be done over night.

When Belichick took over the Patriots he won 5 games his first year, hell Chuck Knoll only won 1 game his first year in Pittsburgh. You want more? Jimmy Johnson won 1 game in Dallas his first year, what about Bill Walsh in SF, 2 games. Parcells, 3 wins his first year. I could go on but I don’t see the point.

It’s not like the new regime is setting this team back. In order to be set back you had to of been going somewhere. What would set this team back is bringing in another coach that wants his own players and installs a new system. We’ve done that enough. This team needs continuity, that’s right continuity, you know, the same coaches and the same system for more than 2 years in a row. The Browns have to stop switching coaches every 4 years and coordinators every 2.

My goal is not to blame the previous regimes’ or make excuses but lets be honest, Mangini walked into a bad situation. Phil Savage mortgaged the Browns future in 07’ when he gave away all the Browns draft picks, and he failed, miserably. Mangini inherited a team that was full of talentless and diva’ish ball players that were cashing in on a free paycheck, thanks to the Romeo Crennell country club that had been taking place here in Cleveland the previous 4 years.

Mangini’s system is very complex, every play has a sub play and a decoy. A lot of these players are young or if they’ve been with the Browns for the last 4 years they’ve have had to deal with a different coordinator every year. The point is it’s going to take some time to completely understand and be able to execute the plays correctly. This is why you haven’t seen a lot of rookies out there yet, they are still learning, but once they get it they will benefit from it significantly.

I don’t know how anybody can complain about the moves Mangini has made. Maybe the way he does things is questionable but not the moves he’s made. Winslow and Edwards were both divas. Not to mention Braylon couldn't catch and Winslow has missed more games than he’s played because of injuries.

We moved down in the draft and got the guy we wanted while we picked up extra draft picks. Say what you want but Eric Mack looks like he is going to be a staple on the Browns offensive line for a long time. We won’t know about the other draft picks for a couple of years, but don’t count them out before they get a chance, even though that’s what every body is doing with Mangini, counting him out before he gets a chance. I will guarantee that 8 out of 10 people trying to run Eric Mangini out of Cleveland after only 7 games are the same people that say 7 games isn’t enough time to judge Brady Quinn. Whatever.

Bernie was brought in to let Lerner know if Mangini was making progress and if his plan is moving in the right direction. If Bernie tells Lerner that Eric is not the man I think you’ll see another change at the end of the season, but I don’t expect that to happen. The man deserves the chance to prove he can win and build a team. It makes no sense to fire him before he get’s a fair shake. He was hired to do a job, so let him do it.

10/29/09

Frustrated Fan Responds to Randy Lerner's Email

Dawg Pound Mike, formerly of "Charlie Frye-Guys" fame is organizing what is being called a "Brown Out" for the nationally televised Monday Night Football home game on November 16 against the Ravens. The plan is to keep the stadium as empty as possible for the opening kickoff and then to have the fans take their seats immediately following. This is not meant to be a show of disrespect to the Browns but rather a reminder that we're still supporting them but we deserve much better than what we're getting.

I love this idea. The current regime needs to know that the fans are no longer going to sit by quietly as this franchise continues to embarrass us and get worse on an almost daily basis. In Washington they are trying to silence the fans by taking away their right to hold signs that contain negative comments about the team and management. I dare Randy Lerner or Eric Mangini to try that here in Cleveland. The fans of this franchise have already proven that their voices will be heard and things will get done when they unite for one cause. Ten years of backlash and frustration has been quietly building on the shores of Lake Erie and this might just be the year that the fans have finally had enough.

Instead of holding a press conference today and facing us frustrated fans, Browns owner
Randy Lerner chose email (of course) as his means to responding to the fans and our frustration with the Browns.

Here is the message that Randy Lerner has sent to us Browns fans, in it's entirety:



''On the grounds of frustration and irritation with performance, then that's the medicine I [we] are going to take, and I accept that. The goal this year was to rebuild the culture at the Browns. We felt at the end of last year that we lacked any overall philosophy, approach or direction regarding recruiting, drafting, coaching, preparation or training. As a result, each season was feeling like starting over and 4-12 following 10-6 felt painfully not all that surprising.

''It's been way too long since the Browns have had anything to feel good about or invest in, and it's clear that the doubt and negativity are taking on a life of their own.

''What I can say is that we, and I, have remained open to new and fresh ideas and thinking and people with passion for the Browns and football experience getting involved and with hope and luck and support, making a difference. We won't become entrenched or stubborn and despite my allergy to be more conspicuous, I do remain eager to seek help and guidance from any and all corners.''

As a frustrated fan who wants some answers, I decided it was important to respond to Mr. Lerner's message with a few thoughts and questions of my own. My responses can be found below in red.

''On the grounds of frustration and irritation with performance, then that's the medicine I [we] are going to take, and I accept that. The goal this year was to rebuild the culture at the Browns."

It's already halfway through this season and the Browns currently have less of an identity than they did all of last season. At what point does it become apparent that the culture of the Browns is actually becoming more damaged by Eric Mangini than improved?

"We felt at the end of last year that we lacked any overall philosophy, approach or direction regarding recruiting, drafting, coaching, preparation or training. As a result, each season was feeling like starting over and 4-12 following 10-6 felt painfully not all that surprising."

If that was how you felt at the end of last year then how do you feel at the halfway point this year with the overall philosophy, approach in recruiting, drafting, coaching, preparation and training of Eric Mangini? These facets were all intended to be improved and they clearly are not. Do you have faith that they will eventually be improved under the current coaching staff?

''It's been way too long since the Browns have had anything to feel good about or invest in, and it's clear that the doubt and negativity are taking on a life of their own."

By "Browns" I really hope you meant to say "Browns fans". If that's the case then I agree. It really has been way too long since we've had anything to get excited about and invest in. Isn't it fair to say that your "investment" in the Browns has been the one consistent element throughout all of the coaching changes that have yet to yield any real success? I also believe it's fair to say that your head coach is responsible for much of the "doubt and negativity" that is now surrounding this franchise. Do you agree?

''What I can say is that we, and I, have remained open to new and fresh ideas and thinking and people with passion for the Browns and football experience getting involved and with hope and luck and support, making a difference."

Randy, we like the idea that you are open to new and fresh ideas but you shouldn't need to rely on "luck" to find somebody that can make a difference with this franchise. I don't think many employers rely on luck to find quality employees who can step in and make a difference. I believe they rely instead on their own ability to identify good candidates who can contribute to the overall success of the organization. Is it time to admit that you made a mistake in hiring Eric Mangini? Or did you just not get lucky, again?

"We won't become entrenched or stubborn and despite my allergy to be more conspicuous, I do remain eager to seek help and guidance from any and all corners.''

Ok, so you won't become "entrenched or stubborn". That's a curious statement especially considering the fact that your current head coach is both "entrenched and stubborn" regarding the current Quarterback situation surrounding the Cleveland Browns. You also claim that you have an "allergy to be more conspicuous". We've come accept that but what we won't accept is an owner who is unwilling to admit he made a mistake and not taking any action with the current state of this franchise. It's good to hear that you are eager to seek help and guidance for any any and all corners. Don't you think that's what you should have done last year while identifying candidates for the vacated head coaching position? I like the fact that you brought in Bernie Kosar to help you as a personal consultant. Hopefully he will be in the corner that you seek guidance from when you start the process of identifying your next head coach. Sooner rather than later, if you don't mind.

10/28/09

Suffering Browns Fans Won't Wait For Mangini

With the 5th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns traded any chance of competing this season.

On Draft day last April when a desperately needed talent upgrade was there for the taking Eric Mangini decided it was worth it to cash in all of 2008's losses - and there were plenty - for even more losses in 2009. Trading down again and again, all the way down to pick 22 only to take a center? Wouldn't there be a talented center available sometime after the first round?

I didn't want to have to remind myself about the Browns 2009 Draft but I think it's important to realize that the Draft was actually the beginning of this self-funded tank job that has become the 2009-2010 Browns season.

This brings us to today: October 28, 2009.

The fact that the Eric Mangini Cleveland Browns are worse statistically than the Chris Palmer 1999 expansion Cleveland Browns completely defies all sensible logic and blows my mind. If you recall, the Browns were screwed by the NFL in 1998 when they were given a fraction of the time needed to put together a respectable NFL roster heading into the 1999 season. So a team that was mostly made up of rag-tag castoffs that nobody else wanted played with more heart and determination than a team of supposedly legitimate NFL-caliber players making millions more than those 1999 expansion players? Hate to say it, but yes.

It's not hard to realize that much of the 2009 Browns roster is made up of players who were hand-picked by Mangini because they either played for him in New York and bought into his "system" or are guys who he believes will buy into his system eventually. Throughout all of the dismantling of an already talent starved roster, Mangini seems to have already forgotten what makes the Cleveland Browns a semi-relevant NFL franchise in the first place:

The fans.

We've been dragged through the mud for the better part of the last decade and it's safe to say that many of us have become completely numb to most things Browns. Randy Lerner had a golden opportunity to hire somebody with the vision and passion to turn this thing around and give the fans a renewed hope that respectability would be restored and the sun would once again shine on this struggling franchise.

Instead he picked Mangini.

I can't figure out why it made sense to standby and watch his own tenure with the Browns get off to such a bad start. Then again, maybe Eric Mangini didn't do this on purpose. Maybe he actually thought the moves he made during the draft and his antics leading up to the season opener would actually result in some kind of success. I just can't believe that. No way, no how. He never cared about this season or what it meant to the fans and he set the 2009 Browns up to fail with the sole intention of collecting draft picks and "system guys" while torturing the fans with a product that is not NFL caliber by any means.

The only thing more questionable than Eric Mangini's antics is the assumption in Berea that the fans would be willing to suffer through this any longer. We've suffered enough. Thanks, but no thanks.

10/23/09

"In The Flow" or "No Go"

Welcome to the first installment of “in the flow” or “no go”. This is my version of fantasy football’s start em or sit em. Each week there are players that either under achieve or over achieve and I’m here to tell you in advance who those players will be. Maybe!

It is kind of out of the true fashion of the Cleveland Sports Flow to post about something that isn't strictly about Cleveland sports but i don't care what you think. It's my blog and i'll do what i want.

In The Flow

QB - Jay Cutler. Cutler is averaging 240 yards per game and 2 TD’s and lucky for him and his owners he’s facing a Cincinnati defense this week that is ranked 28th against the pass and giving up an average of 255 yards per game. Plus the Bengals lost they’re top pass rusher Antwan Odom which is going to make those numbers even worse.

RB – Ryan Grant. He’s facing the Browns. You could pretty much start any Packer this week and be safe but Ryan Grant is going to be out to prove something. Green Bay just resigned Ahmad Green because the organization is slowly giving up on Grant.

RB - Frank Gore. He’s back and he’s healthy. He is going to want to prove that he is better than Glen Coffee and lucky for him, Houston has given up more rushing touchdowns than any other team in the league, 10.

WR - Greg Jennings. I know, I’m picking on the Browns but think about how bad they’re defense is. Another factor to add in to this is they’re best corner flipped his car 3 times on the way home from a Jay Z concert early Friday morning. He was released from the hospital but who knows if he’ll have any minor injuries that keep him out of the game. Oh, and by the way, half of the Browns team has the flu!

No Go

QB - Brett Favre. I know this sounds a little out there since the Steelers secondary is a little suspect but if the Steelers keep a tight grip on the run game and force Favre to “make something happen” you can plan on him turning the ball over more than a couple times.

RB - Brandon Jacobs. First of all Ahmad Bradshaw is out performing Jacobs so far this year. Second of all Arizona has the #1 rush defense in the league.

WR – DeSean Jackson. I have two words for you……Champ Bailey.

WR – Miles Austin. The kid’s stock is rising up faster than a 14 year old at a strip club. He’s getting the start this week against Atlanta but don’t start him. The pressure will get to him. Besides, before his week 5 coming out party the kid had 1 touchdown and 81 receiving yards in the previous 4 games.

10/16/09

Cribbs Leaving Cleveland?

Could it be possible that Josh Cribbs is on his way out of Cleveland? It’s been circulating that he’s asked for a trade, and that’s not hard to believe.

The Dolphins, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders, Jaguars and 49ers have all shown interest in the Browns special teams ace and fan favorite.

It is known that Josh wants a new contract and as far as anyone can tell, that’s not going to happen, at least not this season.

I think Josh deserves a new contract but he’s not going to get the “Devin Hester” money he wants here in Cleveland. Is Josh the best special teams player in the NFL? Yes he is, and on both sides of the ball, but what he isn’t is a reliable receiver and in order to get the money he wants he needs to make some kind of impact on the offense.

It’s pretty obvious that Josh will never be a threat as a WR. He’s a poor route runner and his hands are not reliable. Where he needs to make his impact is in the “flash package” and that hasn’t been accomplished yet, but I blame the coaches for lack of imagination in said formation.

I’d be very surprised if a deal is made for Cribbs. Somebody would have to step way out of the box with a crazy offer. Is it possible? Hell yes, Josh is a game changer. Could you imagine a team like the Colts starting at mid field or better on 75% of they’re drives? Scary.

If Josh gets traded, don’t be surprised to see a fan revolt in Cleveland. The fans have been on edge since the return in 99’ and trading Cribbs could push them over it. Josh is probably the most liked player in Cleveland since Bernie Kosar.

But remember who we're dealing with here, Eric Mangini, and he's capable of just about anything.

UPDATE: This could get ugly. Apparently Cribb's agent is pissed. He claims the Browns are being unfair, in the fact that they won't give Cribbs the money he deserves and they also won't let another team do it either.

I think his agent is trying to cover his arse because of the crappy contract he let Josh sign in 06'.

10/15/09

Benching Quinn Is the Right Move

I've read a few fan blogs from around the NFL lately and something thing that jumps out at me is the assumption that Brady Quinn is getting screwed by the Browns and that's why he put his house up for sale and that he obviously wants out of Cleveland. After all, he was benched for a guy that just went 2 for 17 against Buffalo, right?

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that these "experts" didn't have the "pleasure" of watching Brady Quinn's performances in those first 3 games of the season. It's awfully easy for an outsider to say that Brady Quinn didn't get a fair shake while Derek Anderson can complete just two passes in a game and somehow keep his job. Obviously Brady Quinn should still be the Browns starter, right?

Wrong.

With the exception of the first half of the season opener at home vs. Minnesota the Browns offense under Brady Quinn was quite possibly the worst offense of all time. He held on to the ball too long, checked down too fast, didn't allow his WR's to run their routes and took too many sacks. There were times during the Denver and Baltimore games when the Browns weren't even threatening to complete a first down. Comparisons to the Tim Couch Era in Cleveland were drawn up but the conclusion was "at least the Browns could score with Tim Couch and a cast of nobodies". Leaving Brady Quinn in at that point would have been very damaging to his confidence, the entire organization and a fan base that was quickly losing hope that the Browns would improve under Mangini this season.

Say what you will about Derek Anderson but he has given the offense the spark they were looking for. He looked somewhat good against Cincy in a game the Browns could have won. Everybody is quick to jump on Anderson after the Buffalo game but keep in mind he was throwing into 40 mph winds for most of the game. The last time he played in a game with those kinds of gusts was in Cincy in 2007 and he threw 5 INT's and cost the Browns a playoff berth. Jamal Lewis went for over 100 yards in Buffalo so that tells you how much the Browns tried to throw the ball. They played conservative on offense and managed the game without committing a bunch of stupid turnovers and that's why they won the game. It wasn't pretty but it was something to build on moving forward.

Speaking of stupid turnovers, the Bills were flagged for more false starts in that game than some teams commit in an entire month. Much criticism has been thrown at the Browns this week but for the first time in a while they weren't the team that played undisciplined, careless football. That could bode well heading into Pittsburgh.

As a Browns fan I'm very disappointed because I had high hopes for Brady Quinn going into this season and I'm sad to see him go down like this but starting Derek Anderson is the right move, right now. What that said, if Derek Anderson is the opening day starter next season then we're probably in trouble.

10/9/09

Give Mangini Time

Lets all just sit back and relax for a minute. Lets really try to digest what is going on with this Browns team. I know it’s hard to do but we have to give them a chance.

The first thing we as fans must realize is Mangini and Kokinis walked into a huge mess, this team is terrible and it’s going to take a lot more than 5 games to turn things around.

No matter how you look at it, all of the people in charge of the team since 99’ have failed miserably. The one easy way to tell? There are only 2 players left on the roster that were drafted before 2006. Ryan Pontbriand (2003) and Brodney Pool (2005).

What’s the first thing that needs to be done when rebuilding a team? Get rid of the head cases. Get rid of the players that are going to make your job harder than it already is and get rid of the players that take on a me first attitude.

Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards. Two potentially really good players, but two players that are impossible to deal with. These are players that don’t know how to put the team first, players that only care about themselves.

As good as Braylon could be at times and for all the circus catches he made, they will never make up for the inconsistency and lack of concentration he had on the field 90% of the time, or for the distractions he caused off the field. This team will be better off with out him in the long run.

I’m just glad we could get something for him instead of just losing him when the season was over.
Is Derek Anderson the long-term solution at QB? I don’t think so but it could be worse, and at best he could be a 2-year solution.

At least we know he can move the ball, true he may get intercepted more than he gets the ball in the end zone but at least he gives us a chance to get there.

Unlike some other QB I won’t mention because he’s a gun shy pretty boy that completely blew his chances to be an NFL starter unless Derek gets hurt this year and he can redeem himself before he demands a trade in the offseason.

Mangini is rebuilding this team from the inside out. He is stacking this team with depth and lots of young talent. I for one am not of the thinking that building a team through free agency is the way to go (Phil Savage) but by drafting talented quality players in the draft.

Sure, once you have that solid core of players you can bring in your Randy Moss or Jay Cutler via free agency, but you must have a solid core of guys before you bring in your veteran pro-bowler.

Mangini, so far has 11 draft picks next year and he managed to collect 8 last year. We have to give this coach 4 or 5 years to see what he can build. If we throw him out of here before the rebuilding process is complete, the next coach will start the rebuilding all over again. We fans cannot afford that. We need a winner and the quickest way that will happen is if we stick with Mangini, even if that means suffering for 2 or 3 more years.

I believe this coach can get it done. I like his style and I like his attitude. Go Browns.

10/7/09

Braylon's Gone, is Brady Quinn Next?

With Braylon Edwards headed for Broadway it's obvious that Eric Mangini is planning for the future in Cleveland and if you wear the Brown and Orange and you're not in the future plans for the Cleveland Browns you may soon find yourself with a boarding pass to your new NFL destination. That includes you, Brady Quinn. Yes, you won us over with your Hollywood smile and toned physique and you melted our hearts with your Bernie Kosar replica jersey and helmet as a child but you let us down when we gave you the keys to the castle.


Without getting into what Brady Quinn's trade value could be at this point in his career, lets take a look at a few teams that might be interested in trading for the former first rounder...



Washington Redskins


Washington has spent more money on free agents than any other team in the last few years but for some reason they still think that Jason Campbell is a franchise quarterback. I'm not convinced. Quinn might not be a franchise QB yet either but his contract is affordable and most of the incentives are based on playing time so the financial aspects shouldn't scare Washington away. There's little risk in bringing him in to compete with Campbell for the starting job in 2010. There could be a new head coach in Washington before the end of the season and there is always the possibility that the new coach will want to start fresh with a young QB like Brady Quinn.


Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins made what appeared to be a very questionable decision at the 2007 NFL Draft when they passed on Brady Quinn and instead drafted Buckeye Ted Ginn Jr. and brought in veteran Chad Pennington. The result was a trip to the playoffs. Chad has since been bitten by the injury bug like he was for much of his tenure in New York. Chad Henne is the back up QB and may prove himself to be a quality starter in the NFL but I wouldn't put any money on it. Brady Quinn's athleticism would give the Dolphins' hyped Wildcat formation yet another wrinkle because he's not exactly wearing cement shoes out there. Would it make sense to trade for Quinn if your Bill Parcells and your sitting on South Beach sipping drinks with umbrellas? I guess time will tell.



Seattle Seahawks

Seattle has been sitting on Seneca Wallace for a few years while Matt Hasselbeck slowly got older and less effective. That tells me that they are not 100% sold on Wallace as a starter in the NFL. Instead of testing the waters in the 2010 draft, Seattle may be willing to call Eric Mangini to test the waters about Quinn. Don't forget that the Seahawks gave Cleveland a 7th round pick for Charlie Frye after the debacle in Pittsburgh in 2007. This trade would cost them more than that but it may be worth it.



St. Louis Rams

Let's face it, the Rams are a bad team. The talent level is down and the owners are looking to sell the team. Marc Bulger got hurt so Kyle Boller will be manning the ship this week. Kyle-freakin'-Boller. I don't expect the current GM to make any bold moves but if somebody does buy the Rams and move them to LA there's a good chance that a roster turnover would begin soon after and Brady Quinn would definitely be a possibility but I think he'll be traded before the Rams are in position to make such a deal.



Jacksonville Jaguars


The Jags are only a few years removed from beating Pittsburgh on the road in the playoffs. That's a heck of an accomplishment but it's not 2007 anymore and the Jags are in trouble. Much like with the Marlins and Rays there just isn't enough of a fan base to justify keeping the team in Jacksonville. The Jags are flirting with the idea of playing a few home games in Orlando to see if it might make sense to stay in Florida. While attendance is way down and home games are being blacked out here comes Brady Quinn, shirtless and riding a white horse ready to save the Jags from eternal damnation.



Carolina Panthers



I really wanted the Browns to trade Derek Anderson to the Panthers after 2007 but it never happened. I'm not sure if they would be interested in Brady Quinn but Jake Delhomme is 34 and just is not getting it done this year. He failed miserably in their playoff game last year against the underdog Cardinals and for some reason they rewarded him with a fat raise. As I said earlier, Brady Quinn doesn't have a huge price tag so Carolina could come calling before this thing gets out of control. There is plenty of talent on this offense with Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart so it's not as if Brady would be asked to win games single-handedly. Brady Quinn has shown that he can manage the game and make smart decisions with the football, which could be enough to make this team a contender again in 2010. If the Browns could somehow get Stewart in this deal I would do it yesterday.

9/21/09

MELT DOWN #1

I am running out of reasons to follow this team, and am questioning why I put so much time, passion and loyalty into Cleveland Browns football. I have never really questioned my loyalty, at any point in time before. When the Browns were taken away from Cleveland I boycotted football until they came back, and now this.

I almost want to turn my loyalty over to tOSU football and follow the Browns less intently. True the Buckeye’s blow every big game they play in, but at least they give us a winner most of the time. At least they give us the thought that they can win any game they play in. Truth be told I have always been a Browns fan first, but that could slowly be changing.

I have three huge problems with the Browns right now that need to be taken care of quickly.

First. Brady Quinn. I’m fine with him getting off to a slow start, I’m fine with him struggling a bit, but the kid needs to throw the damn ball. He’s not going to have a wide open receiver every play, especially when the teams second receiver is Josh Cribbs. Brady will never be a good quarterback if he’s afraid to throw the ball. Its one thing to be safe but its another thing to be gun shy. Being safe means don’t throw the ball up for grabs in double coverage, being safe means don’t try to throw a left handed pass when your being sacked, hold on to the ball. Brady is gun shy and its killing the offense.

Second. Jamal Lewis. I’ve wanted him replaced since last year and nothing has changed. He’s done. I’m tired of watching him shuffle his feet like he’s a wiener dog. Is James Davis or Harrison the answer? I don’t know, but they cant be much worse, at least they have the chance of breaking a long run from time to time.

Third. St. Clair. Get this scrub out of the game. If he’s not getting called for a false start or holding he’s letting the defense run right past him. He alone is the biggest weakness this team has and something needs to be done about it. How many times can one man get beat before he is pulled out of the game? If he starts next week I will throw a hissy fit like a 10 year old girl….again.

All in all I refuse to give up on Brady or Mangini before they get a fair chance. Two games is not enough for me to throw in the towel. Hell I would love to give them 3 or 4 years. What do we have to lose? Another losing season. It will happen regardless of the coach or QB here in Cleveland. The only way we can become a winner is to stick with what we have. Starting over every 3 or 4 years doesn’t work, this is obvious, we’ve been trying that method since 99’.

9/4/09

Coach Mangini, WTF?


I really hope the Browns players already know who the starting QB is.

The fans already know. That's for sure. We've seen enough to make an educated selection. Even a wanna-be sports blogger like myself who never played a down of football in high school but follows this team religiously knows that Brady Quinn will be the starter.
That's not the secret.

The secret is why in the hell hasn't Eric Mangini announced his starting QB? There are only 9 days left until the season opener, so his mind has to be already made up. You can't see these guys play everyday for this long without picking your guy. About a month ago when this thing was just starting to get annoying, I assumed that if both guys appear to be "neck and neck" than it could be a tactic to boost Quinn or Anderson's trade value (most likely Anderson's). Well, I'm over that.

I think the "all things will remain a secret" way of doing things that Mangini apparently learned while dog sniffing Mr. Hoodie in New England has manifested itself to a whole new level. It's one thing to not disclose information about injuries. I'd like to know why our best player has been on a stationary bike since early August but I'm not pulling my hair out over it.

Is it possible that Mangini is becoming obsessed with secrecy?

A quick look into the Cleveland Sports Flow Crystal Ball reveals the following...


Media: Coach, what color socks are you planning to
wear tomorrow?


Coach: We're going to continue to evaluate and analyze
the possibilities and make an internal decision and go with it.


Coach, seriously...WTF?

8/19/09

Mangini is Wasting Reps on Anderson

Like a 6 year old with a Sharpie, Eric Mangini has written his name all over the Cleveland Browns. He's "moved" murals, traded Pro Bowl talent and traded the #5 overall pick to the Jets for a group of former employees who he thought would help him preach the gospel in Cleveland. That was just in the first few months!

I'm not knocking any of those moves because I think they were all smart and cleared the way for a re-building effort that will (hopefully) see this team become more competitive and fundamentally sound in the new few years. I'm ok with that. I know the Browns aren't going to the playoffs this season and I won't be disappointed when that becomes a fact.


What I am disappointed in is the idea that Eric Mangini is giving Derek Anderson snaps in pre-season and training camp with the notion that he might actually win the starting job over Brady Quinn. Look, I'm not 100% sold on either guy as a "franchise QB" but even a casual fan knows that Brady Quinn should be the starter when the Browns open the regular season on September 13 at home against the Minnesota Favrekings. So why is Coach Mangini torturing us with his homemade Quarterback Derby 2009 Edition?

Seriously, is it really necessary?

Speaking of unnecessary, how about waiting until an hour before the first pre-season game to announce the starter? Was that a strategy to try to force Green Bay into having to be prepared for both QBs? I hope not because the Packers came out and looked like the best defense in the world while Coach Mangini was rotating Quinn and Anderson like they were trying out for his Yahoo! Fantasy Football Team. Great "sneaky" tactic to start the season of games that don't even count.

We won't even get into the specifics of the game. Check Ben's recap in the previous post for that info. All I'm going to say is the fact that Quinn didn't pull ahead in this battle was a bigger disappointment than our defense all of a sudden forgetting how to tackle.

So now it's Thursday and we still don't have a confirmation on who will be starting Saturday against Detroit in the (in)famous "Great Lakes Classic" (that almost got blacked out). Why is it taking so long to name a starter this week? Is this forcing the Lions, coming off the league's first ever 0-16 season, to prepare for both guys? Detroit's first team defense is going to see both guys anyway so why not just announce that D.A. will start the second game since apparently it's too early to tell who's leading the race for the starting job and Mangini is hell bent on getting them equal reps? Doesn't that make sense?

Apparently not.

Not a lot of what Mangini is doing with these quarterbacks makes sense to me right now and I have no reason to believe that anything will be cleared up anytime soon either. In my opinion, the logical thing to do would be to name Quinn the starter as soon as possible since he's the guy we gave up a #1 pick for to be our future quarterback and give him all of the reps with the first team in the 3rd pre-season game. Derek Anderson might want to be traded because he believes he can still start in the NFL for another team or he might want to take his chances here as the backup since we're in Cleveland and with our luck there's always the possibility Quinn's arm could fall right off . If I were George Kokinis, I would test the trade market to see what we could get for D.A., but unless somebody gets hurt and a team is desperate it's probably not going to be much especially after the forgettable season he had in 2008. If we can get something of moderate value then pull the trigger and go into the season with Quinn as the starter and Brett Ratliff as the backup. That seems logical, at least to me anyway. Do I expect Mangini to do the logical thing in this case? Hell no.
Here's what I expect Mangini to do....

Keep both quarterbacks and keep this open competition going as long as he possibly can without having to commit one way or the other. Then Go through the rest of the pre-season letting DA and Quinn share reps but without naming a starter or even hinting at who the favorite is. Once the regular season starts, he'll go with Quinn because that's what he was planning on doing all along. So many of us fans will ask "why didn't he just say that from the beginning?"

Because he's Eric Mangini and that's not how he rolls! Next question, please.

8/17/09

Browns vs Packers (what i saw)


Positives.

Brady Quinn – His pocket presence was excellent. He dropped back in the pocket and planted his feet, something he didn’t do last year. Last year he was bouncing around and had happy feet. If his first receiver was covered he moved on to the next receiver and so on. He made a good showing that he should be the starter, but it was only one game, I’m not going to hand him the keys yet.

Josh Cribbs – He is one of the best players on this team. To see him actually make a couple plays on the offensive side of the ball is very encouraging. If he can become a receiving threat, everything else that he brings to the table on offensive will fall into place.

Blitz – True, the Browns didn’t get to the QB very much against Green Bay but the fact that I saw them actually trying was something I haven’t seen from them in quite a few years. I could tell Kam Wimbley is benefiting from the new coaches, I saw him use a couple of new moves that he hasn’t perfected yet but he’s getting close.

Negatives.

Running Game – Terrible. What is the problem here, by the end of last season it was my number 1 goal to get a new running back. We didn’t, unless James Davis is truly a star and I doubt it. Jamal doesn’t have it anymore and until he does something to prove me wrong I’m standing by my Jamal Lewis is washed up attitude.

Rush Defense – What happened to Zeus? I keep hearing how he’s a tremendous run stopper. When your team gives up over 200 rushing yards rushing nobody on the defensive line should be dubbed “ZEUS”.

Derek Anderson – He didn’t do anything to help his chances of being the Browns starting QB. Zero completions and 1 interception. He locks onto one receiver and holds the ball until the receiver gets open or until he gets sacked. He better get his act together in the next pre-season game or else everybody is going to write him off completely.

8/13/09

F-O-O-T-B-A-L-L

Just two more days until a meaningful sporting event for Cleveland sports fans. Football season is finally here. This is what we Cleveland fans live for, football, win or lose, we love our football. And even though it is only a pre-season game, for those fans that aren’t die hard enough to follow training camp, this is a sign that football season is back.

I am excited to see the new additions to this team take the field. From the new starters like Abe Elam to the third string quarterbacks like Brett Ratliff. I for one enjoy every minute of Cleveland Browns pre-season football. I love trying to spot the “out of no where guy” like Alex Hall last year, a guy that exceeds every expectation you have of him or a guy you’ve never heard of that comes out and makes a name for himself. Who will it be this year? Wide receiver Lance Leggett? Or maybe running back James Davis? Time will tell.

Who will be the QB this year? It is my impression that Derek Anderson is having a slightly better training camp than Brady. He has really improved his short passing game, but we all know that can change on game day. As good as Derek may be throwing the ball, I really don’t think he has the leadership skills or attitude to run this team. I think he folds under pressure and can’t recoup from bad play. Derek seems to let his emotions get in the way of the sport, and it hurts him more than his great throwing arm helps him. Brady on the other hand seems to have those intangibles to run the team and keep not only his head in the game but the rest of his teams. Brady has great touch on his pass and despite what people say, he can throw the long ball just fine.

I have my own theory on why Derek was with the starters for the Brown and White scrimmage. Coach Mangini figured he would be able to start Brady in the first pre-season game and his reason for picking Quinn could be that Derek played with the first team in the scrimmage so its Quinn’s turn with the starters. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if he rotates the QB’s in the pre-season games, guess who will be starting in the all-important 3rd game. That’s right, Brady, and he won’t even have to explain why. He’s rotating them with the starters.

I think Brady will be the starter when the regular season starts but I won’t be surprised at all if Derek wins the job.

It was just announced that Donte Stallworth is suspended for the entire season.

7/16/09

Cavaliers Cashing in on LeBron's Questionable Future

Cavaliers beat writer Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the Cavs have renewed approximately 95% of their season ticket plans from last year and are threatening to completely sellout every home game of the 2009-2010 campaign. Windy also reports that the Cavs are either first or near the top in every ticket-selling category in the NBA.

Not bad for a team from "small market" Cleveland. Not bad at all, actually.

News of the success the Cavs are experiencing with season tickets for this upcoming season got me thinking. Everybody knows that the 2009-2010 season could possibly be LeBron's last with the Cavaliers as it is highly speculated (by the NY media) that he will opt-out of his current contract next summer and become a free agent. LeBron has been pretty secretive when it comes to his future plans - with the exception of an alleged free agent recruitment here and there.

Here is my question:

Do the Cavaliers, as an organization, prefer LeBron to make it appear that the 2009-2010 season could be his last in Cleveland for the benefit of selling more season ticket plans?

GM Danny Ferry would never admit to it. Owner Dan Gilbert would chase me off his porch with his custom Cavaliers snow shovel if he heard this. But either way, the Cavs are benefiting from LeBron's "flirtation" with leaving Cleveland in 2010 in a big way and this report by Brian Windhorst proves it. Sure, the Big Shaquisition played a definitive role in the increase of season ticket sales, but not as much as LeBron's pending free agency has. People are starting to view 2009-2010 as Cleveland's last chance to win a championship and who can blame them? The team playing across the street at Progressive Field isn't even going to sniff .500 this season and the Browns are at least 4 or 5 years away from really competing with the top level teams in the NFL.

If I was in charge of marketing for the Cavs the possible sales slogans for prospective season ticket holders would have included:

Get your 2009-2010 season tickets: This Could Be LeBron's Last Season in Cleveland. Did You Hear We Got Shaq?

Get your 2009-2010 season tickets: "Do or Die" starring LeBron James and featuring Shaq. Win a Title and LeBron Stays. Lose and He's Gone.

Get your 2009-2010 season tickets: LeBron and Shaq combine forces to take on space aliens who are threatening to destroy Cleveland. Will you be there to cheer them on?

Ok, that last one was just for fun but you get the idea.

Regardless of whether the Cavs were planning on benefiting from LeBron's pending free agency or not, the fact is they are. At least this July, anyway. Hopefully next July won't be any different.

7/7/09

Cavaliers Running Out of Options

With signing day less than 12 hours away the Cavs don’t have many options left in free agency but that doesn’t mean they won’t get something done. The Cavs have already made a splash by picking up The Big Freeze, but they seem to be coming up short of getting another impact player. One that I think they must get to be able to contend for a championship.

I’m not going to count out Trevor Ariza yet. He told Houston that he’ll sign with them but there are still little rumors flying around. Apparently LeBron has reached out to Trevor in an attempt to bring him to Cleveland, telling Trevor that he (LeBron) will still be in Cleveland after 2010. Whether that’s true or not, I’m hearing that Trevor Ariza could be backing out of his agreement with Houston (aka pulling a "Boozer"). Could this be why Ferry and Coach Brown flew out to the Left Coast?

An off the wall option could be Josh Childress. After playing a year overseas he seems to be ready to come back to the NBA. He’s a lanky small forward who has a lot of hustle in him. Doesn’t really have an outside game but can crash the boards and play solid defense.

One way or another the Cavs are going to get an impact player before the trade deadline comes next February. Don't forget about the Mo Williams trade last summer that nobody saw coming. If the Cavs fail to pick up that impact free agent this summer there will still be teams trying to dump salary at the trade deadline or maybe even sooner. If a team finds itself struggling to stay in the playoff race around the trading deadline in February they may be looking to cash in on a 2010 free agent who they don't expect to re-sign: Chris Bosh, anyone?

6/30/09

3rd & Long: It's July Already?

Welcome to the first installment of 3rd & Long, a new weekly series that will feature the "big 3" Cleveland teams. This is where we will focus on the high's and low's for the Cavs, Browns and Indians all in one spot.

Let's start with the Cavs, since they are the biggest news makers in this town.

Ryan: Danny Ferry should have Charlie Villanueva's phone number on speed dial by now as Free Agent Season 2009 opened last night. In a surprise move, the Bucks decided not to submit an offer for Charlie V's services making him an Unrestriced Free Agent. What does this mean for the Cavs? Well, it all depends on how bad CV wants to play here and how much he's willing to accept. The Cavs could offer him their Mid Level Exception, which maxes out at about $5.8 million. To put that into perspective, CV made about $3 million last year. Will a 1 year deal with a hefty raise and a chance to win a championship playing with LeBron and Shaq be enough to make that happen? It probably will if Danny Ferry decides to go that route. I hope he does.


Ben: Free agency has begun and i'm curious to see what Ferry does. It's obvious we need to sign a PF that can strech the court and a SG or SF with a little bit of size to match up with other teams bigger players. I'd really like to see Matt Barnes in a Cavaliers uniform but i'm not as high on Villanueva as most people are. Barnes defense is suspect, but in his defense he's played for Phoenix and Golden State the last three years and neither of those teams play very much defense. I like the Shaq trade, we got him for nothing so even if he doesn't play as well as we'd all like, i'll gurantee he'll do more for this team than Ben Wallace or Sasha would of. My dark horse pick up is a sign and trade for Artest!


Ryan: I'm starting to get excited for football season again and I have no idea why. Well, I know why - because it's the Browns and they haven't lost a game in months, but there are so many questions heading into this season that I have no idea what to expect. I'm looking at this time as the calm before the QB storm. Pretty soon the media will be engulfed in the Browns QB battle between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. I have no doubt that Quinn will easily win the starting job as Derek Anderson has been horrible in the pre season every year - he couldn't even beat out Charlie Frye in 2007. If the season gets closer and the Browns get a decent offer for Anderson, I would pull the trigger. Mangini got his backup QB in Brett Ratliff. This is Quinn's team, finally. On defense, I have no idea what to expect but if we at least TRY to pressure the QB once in a while I will be happy.

Ben: I hate the Steelers! I'm ready for football season to start. It's amazing how much i look forward to Cleveland football when i know how terrible we've been in the past. Every year i think it will get better and i'm usually let down, but once again i haven't learned my lesson. I'm excited about our defense going into next year. We picked up a lot of good role players and i think Rob Ryan will get the best out of our guys and run a more aggresive defense than we've seen lately.


Ryan: This team is lost and I'm not sure if they can be found at this point. It's hard to be a baseball fan in a small market when your team is struggling like this. The Indians have been built in such a way that the franchise's success has become completely dependent on young, inexperienced players overachieving. When that happens, you get the 2007 Indians. It's 2009 and this team needs a massive overhaul in the front office.

Ben: I have a feeling that Cliff Lee will be gone pretty soon, and i don't agree with it. There is no reason to trade our best players just because this season is done. Fire Wedge! If that doesn't work next year then go ahead and rebuild, AGAIN. We've got to give this team a chance, i think there is a lot of talent here, give Cliff, Victor, Grady and Travis a shot with a real coach and see what they can do. Is Mike Hargrove ready to come out of retirement?