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Free agents playing for contracts– “Based on the fact that Jackson has been inactive all season, I don’t think he would want to return to Cleveland, I wouldn’t blame him. Cribbs is getting up there in age, but he still has the Browns among the league leaders in special teams. I think it’ll come down to this: a new coaching staff will come in, and Cribbs will make his pitch to Jimmy Haslam’s staff about his value to the team, much like he did when Mike Holmgren came in. The new guys might be content in moving on with a guy like Travis Benjamin as a return man, though, and Tom Heckert probably drafted Benjamin with Cribbs’ free agency status in mind.
It’s a different story for Mohamed Massaquoi, who was highly touted heading into the season. He got off to a strong start in the first couple of games before suffering a hamstring injury, and he didn’t look like himself against Baltimore. He desperately needs to deliver in these final seven games, because I don’t think his stock is going to be very high if Cleveland doesn’t retain him. The tight end situation will flow with whether Pat Shurmur remains on board or not; they love Alex Smith, but he’s not a critical piece to the puzzle. We’re going to have to find a new starting tight end at some point, so I don’t think Benjamin Watson will be back either. Shaw is a reserve offensive lineman who could stick around for the minimum. [Pokorny/Dawgs by Nature]
“Even with his struggles in the passing game, it was his decision-making in the ground game that proved the most frustrating. With Herman/Urban continuing to dial up the zone read, Braxton often misdiagnosed the Badger front. Not only did this stifle his personal ability to gain yards but it took the ball out of Carlos Hyde’s hands, who was having little trouble finding running room when given the opportunity. Give the Badgers some credit obviously but I bet Braxton won’t be thrilled with his reads upon watching the tape.
After the game, Braxton was still at a loss for exactly what Wisconsin was doing to slow him down. As such, you can expect Mattison to employ similar spy tactics to keep Miller from getting outside. That said, it wasn’t all on Braxton. Too often, Wisconsin stacked the box and even in cases of audibles, Braxton and the staff failed to exploit what was often a vacated middle of the field with screens, slants or crossing routes.” [Lauderback/Eleven Warriors]
“Scott is constantly changing his rotation, largely because the players off the bench aren’t getting the job done. Point guard Jeremy Pargo and small forward Omri Casspi are in the rotation – for now – until he gets tired of looking at them. It all adds up to being a team in transition, with a lot of moving parts. It doesn’t add up to being a good team in any stretch of the imagination.” [Finnan/News Herald]
Looking at Maryland to the Big Ten from a Terps fan perspective– “Objection #8: We won’t have a rival there. I’ll be brutally honest: we don’t have a rival now. Not a single school in the ACC circles Maryland on their schedule. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.
What Maryland has is teams they enjoy beating: Duke, UNC, State, Virginia. And with the genesis of the ACC’s new scheduling, those teams will be seen less and less. After all, don’t you know that Pitt is your rival now? The New ACC is as much Notre Dame and Boston College and Clemson and Pitt as it is Duke and Virginia.” [Broman/Testudo Times]
Some serious head scratching– “Josh Kendall, who voted Ohio State 14th on his AP ballot this week, had the Buckeyes 8th last week. That was a devastating win in Madison.” [Gerdeman/Twitter] [PollSpeak.com]