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Potential Indians free agent target: “With LaPorta relegated to a bench role or in Triple-A Columbus to start next season and Santana entrenched as the everyday catcher the Indians need to find an everyday first base option for at least next season. Santana will still play some first base to keep his bat in the lineup, but the Indians need a player who can be counted on both defensively and offensively and has a proven track record. One such player is free agent Derek Lee. The Indians have yet to be tied to Lee in the offseason rumor mill, but he is exactly the kind of player they target in free agency. A player who is in the twilight of their career who still has some value and can be had on a low risk one year deal.” [Tony Lastoria/Indians Prospect Insider]
Expect a heavy dose of Steven Jackson today: “The Browns also currently boast the league’s best pass defense, giving up only 165.3 yards per game. While they haven’t exactly played against many elite quarterbacks so far, it’s even more reason to expect to see Jackson and Cadillac Williams often on Sunday.
Some have wondered about a drop-off for the defensive line in recent weeks, especially since rookies Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard haven’t managed to get much pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Call it hitting the rookie wall, but it’s far more likely that they’re simply being overworked in games. The offense cannot sustain any drives, and it’s wearing down everybody on the defense.” [Steve DiMatteo/Dawg Pound Daily]
Positional breakdown – lot of “even” between these two less than impressive teams: “The Rams have played better the past two weeks than they did in their first six games, but more times than not, they have been blown out of the water this season. It would be unfair to project that the struggling Browns’ offense can pull that feat off all of a sudden, and I can’t imagine what losing to a 1-7 team would do to Shurmur’s credibility. The only thing he can hang his hat on this season so far is that his defense has gotten the job done against some of the worst teams in the league. The Rams are in that class, so I see Cleveland moving to an unimpressive 4-5.” [Chris Pokorny/Dawgs by Nature]
Reviewing the Tribe’s season, month by month: “July was be a turning point for the Indians, as their struggles from June carried over as the second half of the season progressed. The exhaustion of not missing a game until July 10 seemed to take a toll on Cabrera. Grady Sizemore looked to be returning to more of his usual self (.911 OPS, .283 batting average), but the injury bug struck again and he was out until September. Travis Hafner did not maintain his early-season form; his only Pronk-esque moment was a walk-off grand slam against the Blue Jays, July 7.” [Jon Rudder/Wahoo's On First]
Tribe swagger: “The Indians appear to be moving in the right direction, though, and some new swagger may soon be earned. Masterson is a gigantic talent and, with a well placed scream or two, he can worm his way deeper into my heart. Kipnis, Carlos, and Cabrera have a chance to throw blankets of fear over opponents, and Santana most clearly among them seems capable of physically embodying that threat with his walk, glare, and wildman’s swing. Add to this the intriguing possibility that Yoenis Cespedes could be the Indians next center fielder, and you can start to see a team that’s a lot of fun. Clearly, sustained greatness is probably not in the cards for the 2012 Cleveland Indians, but it’s my hope that we can at least see moments of true greatness, and when those moments come I hope they’re punctuated by sideways grins, helmet tosses, and derisive barks—whatever it takes to let opponents know that these moments are not isolated incidents but, instead, the advanced scouts for a forthcoming army of pain.” [Let's Go Tribe]
Some Week 10 NFL Picks with your morning coffee. [Brian Tarcy/Whatzgonnahappen]