While We’re Waiting… In which I promise not to link to a single mock draft

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While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

“It will be up to the team’s owner, Randy Lerner, to determine if this is yet another abortive experiment, or whether a long-term winning culture is being established. Lerner, despite his carefully maintained low profile, is very sensitive to criticism of his team, and is particularly aware of criticism by passionate fans. He soaks it all in, and responds in some situations where he feels he can make his case fairly.

It is incumbent upon Lerner to ignore what is likely to be a firestorm of vitriol directed at his franchise throughout the 2012 season. Holmgren and Heckert need to have at least through 2013 to show progress with the franchise, given draft-oriented approach they’ve taken to building it.

The validity of the team’s draft orientation won’t matter if it loses the first five games. The airwaves will be full of nothing but negativity, and no excuses for poor performance will be tolerated. Local sports personalities will jockey for attention, attempting to out-do each other’s over-the-top rants as the team struggles.” [McBride/The OBR]

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Protecting Pronk- “But just to go back to the frequency in which Hafner was used last year prior to his injury, he played in 32 of the first 39 games (posting a .958 in those 32games) and would play only 62 of the final 123 games (posting a .732 OPS in those final 62 games) and so far he’s played in 13 of the first 15 games and while I’m not suggesting that anything is about to go SPROING with Hafner as he “looks” healthy, he started out in this manner last year and looked just as healthy as we read stories about how he was finally ready for a year of full health. Again, he played in only 94 games last year as his absence from the team coincided with the team’s slide in the standings and while I won’t say that the team overused Hafner in the early going, causing him to the DL for a month from mid-May to mid-June (and he hit the DL again later in the year), the idea that Hafner has returned to form this year comes with the caveats and precautions that cannot be ignored, as they may have been last year.

What I’m getting at is that protecting Hafner, who is out to a huge start, is vitally important to the offense’s productivity this season, as wonderful as it is to see him hit like this and imagine that he’s FINALLY back. Hafner is what makes this offense go (settling the middle of the lineup and providing protection for Santana) and – though it may be hard to remember, particularly given the alternatives – it is important to remember that a healthy Hafner is more important than an everyday Hafner.” [Cousineau/The DiaTribe]

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Checking in on the hitters in Columbus- “Lonnie Chisenhall is perhaps the one offensive player in Columbus who controls his own destiny in terms of a Cleveland promotion. Chisenhall is in AAA because he needs to improve his plate approach and show consistency on defense. Through 18 games he is hitting the ball very well (.315/.338/.575/.913, 4 HRs, 7 2Bs), but has an abysmal 15:2 K:BB ratio and five errors in the field. So while he is doing well, he is not doing the things he needs to do to get to Cleveland. Putting up an eerily similar line to Chisenhall is our old friend Matt LaPorta (.305/.364/.559/.923, 4 HRs, 3 2Bs), with a marginally better plate approach (5 BBs, 17 Ks). Cord Phelps is remaining relevant by hitting .316/.384/.487 while seeing time exclusively at 2B in the early going. Russ Canzler is probably the most disappointing guy on the roster at this point, as he has labored to a .234/.290/.297 line. Ryan Spilborghs, Gregorio Petit, Andy LaRoche and Ezequiel Carrera are, collectively, failing to do much more than occupy a spot.” [Let’s Go Tribe]

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In all fairness, the Browns did have draft flops before 1999- “Cleveland Browns: Courtney Brown, 1st overall, 2000. The Browns have blown quite a few draft picks, but not getting any return on the top overall pick in the draft isn’t easy ‒ and the Browns did it two years in a row (see: Couch, Tim). With Brown, it wasn’t anyone’s fault, really. He had a lot of promise, but just couldn’t stay healthy. In five years, he was gone from Cleveland, and after six, he was out of the league. Honorable Mentions: Tim Couch, William Green, Brady Quinn” [Shutdown Corner]

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Finally, Brendan Bowers talked with Tristan Thompson at shoot-around yesterday about his nearly completed rookie season. [Stepien Rules]

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Finally part 2, WFNY Draft party at Two Bucks tonight!!!

  • MrCleaveland

    Good headline!

  • Max

    dear NFL writers… Tim Couch was not a bust. He got the snot beaten out of him, never complained, got the team to 7-9 and 9-7 in back to back seasons, got jerked around by Butch Davis, never complained, and eventually couldn’t play anymore because his arm was shredded as a result of the beating he took with quite possibly 2 of the worst teams in NFL history (99 & 2000)

    Leave Tim Couch alone. He’s the best QB we have had in Cleveland since Bernie

    /end rant

  • Harv 21

    I feel the same about Courtney Brown, who looked dominating in a few games before his body fell apart, and Lawyer Tillman, who was a beast with no real injury history until his rookie year. Bust = a Mike Junkin or Ryan Leaf, who cn’t perform healthy. 

  • porckchopexpress

    Thank you!  Lack of success and being a bust are two different things.  Courtney Brown was a bust because his body couldn’t hold up.  Gerard Warren was a true bust because he just should never have been picked that high (over Richard Seymour wasn’t it)  TIm Couch took more abuse than any QB ever has since abuse started being measured.  He led the league in sacks two years, in a row, I think he set the single season record as a rookie and then beat it the next year had two coaches, neither of whom should have been coaches, had the single worst GM in the history of sports in Duh-whight Clark, and the team he went to got absolutely jobbed by the NFL by having to throw itself together from the ground up (including finding an owner) in something 13 months.  Couch was at worst a decent QB talent wise, but we’ll never know

  • BenRM

    Happy Group-Think Thursday, everybody! 

  • BenRM

    his hair was decidedly un-dreamy, however.

  • Max

    exactly. Courtney may never have been a pass rushing monster, but he was excellent against the run. Not what we drafted him to do, but he was still an asset when he was able to make it on the field.

    Lawyer Tillman…wow that takes me back. It was a broken leg, right?

  • Max

    Duh-whight Clark. That is priceless

  • porckchopexpress

    The mad dog in a meat market?  I love draft time just because that is the greatest phrase ever.  You wanna know why Cleveland and Detroit are the way they are?
    1987 Draft Cleveland takes a linebacker (Junkin) Detroit takes a D-end named Reggie Rogers.   The next three picks off the board are Jerome Brown (He was Warren Sapp before Warren Sapp was Warren Sapp), Shane Conlan, and Rod Woodson.  Kinda whiffed on that one

  • dan

    But McBride’s rant is nonsense.  This will be H&H’s third season in charge of the club.  If they can’t get out of the 10+ losses a year rut the team is in, it won’t be because of fan impatience or a media that unjustly thinks that a team should be able to increase its win total after three years of rebuilding.  It would be because they have failed in their rebuilding. Any franchise in the NFL that goes through three straight years of 4-12 or 5-11 seasons would have a changeover at the top, deservedly.  Management in the NFL that successfully rebuilds has an immediate impact.  It doesn’t take half a decade to see the win total altered.  If anything, the Browns fans have been too patient with this “rebuilding” nonsense and should have demanded that the team be more aggressive over the past three years.

  • Harv 21

    Happy Group-Think Thursday, everybody!

  • mgbode

    David Carr wants to remind you that he helped reset that abuse meter.  It’s called Couch-Carr syndrome for a reason :)

  • Harv 21

    Now that made me double over with a wince. Three straight HOF-level talents immediately following our epic bust.

    One of the local sports guys w/cameraman tried to grab me this a.m. for fan-on-the-street draft quote. Had I not been wearing my tear-away I would have said: you have the #4 overall. Try not to be a genius, just grab your impact player. My biggest fear is that someone trades up to #3, and then Heck gets too cutesy with tradedowns. Don’t go for genius, Heck. Sweep. The. Leg. Get cutesy later to dump the extra picks, but first secure The Guy.

  • BenRM

    icwutudidthur~

  • Harv 21

    maybe I’m too patient because Mangini intentionally made the roster older while blowing huge draft picks, and the new regime switched both offensive and defensive philosophies.

    But I agree: after 3 drafts, can’t win 5 games anymore. And if you say Holmgren dawdled for a year in transitioning from Mangini, totally agree, it was pointless.  

  • Max

    + eleventy billion for the John Kreese quote

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    One could compare Colt McCoy to one Tim Couch and say the very same thing as far as getting the snot beaten out of him.  I’m not a Couch fan never was and never will be and Courtney Brown, ugh, both of these guys were mistakes from day one.

  • dan

    There’s a difference between a guy not panning out and being a mistake. I don’t remember anybody questioning the Courtney Brown pick when it happened. He never missed a game in college, as I recall. I don’t see how the front office could have foreseen his injury problems. They made a lot of avoidable mistakes later on in that draft, but I can’t blame them for Brown. (Like some others, I also think Couch has been unfairly labeled; he was an unsuccessful pick, but not an historically awful one).

  • mgbode

    one could compare Colt to Couch, but they would probably start with one of those players being the #1 overall pick in the draft, and the other player being a 3rd rounder.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Oh I questioned Brown especially when his teammate Arrington was available.  The only problem was both were from Penn State who had a terrible track record at turning out NFL players.  Look at all the RBs who failed to live up to expectations.

    Couch played in a system where all he did was sit in shotgun and throw the ball all over.  The Browns were an expansion team with nothing and he was not the pick for them.  This was largely the failing of the Cleveland Browns but Couch and Akili Smith were both overrated.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    That’s why I’m not ready to bury McCoy yet.  Hopefully he gets some help starting today.  If he still struggles then well at least it was just a third and not the #1 first ever selection by your new old franchise.

  • Slooz

    Is there a WFNY jinx? Compare Hannahan’s performance the day after this article: 
    http://waitingfornextyear.com/2012/04/is-jack-hannahan-be-the-next-casey-blake/#disqus_thread as compared to the day after this article: 
    http://waitingfornextyear.com/2012/04/up-is-down-left-is-right-jack-hannahan-isgood/. Small sample size alert, but I’m definitely seeing a correlation there. Please write more “Jack Hannahan will regress” articles…it’s the only way he’ll be able to sustain that kind of BABIP.

  • Harv 21

    yeah, Tillman was lower leg fractures and then repeated leg probs, as I recall. Outrageous mismatch college receiver, tall, could really jump and run, drafted by Accorsi so that Bernie would finally have a field stretcher. Then he but held out nearly all of first training camp when his agent demanded first rounder money under theory that we traded a first rounder to move up in draft for him, and then everything went downhill. He was so big that we even tried him a little at TE just to squeeze a little value out of him at the end. No real college injuries, just a sad episode.

  • Slooz