July 30, 2014

TD’s Ten For Thursday

Norv TurnerIts Thursday….Im bored….We need some topics for discussion….So lets do this….10 for Thursday

1. The Browns have officially named Norv Turner as their new offensive coordinator. While people will probably gloss right over this, I happen to think bringing Turner to Cleveland is a coup. The Browns have put it out there that one of the reasons new head coach Rob Chudzinski got the job is because of his ability to put together a strong staff. In other words, bringing old friend Norv with him was a major feather in Chud’s cap.

Nobody questions Turner’s OC credentials. He was the man behind two of the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl offenses in the 1990′s, and in between head coaching stints in Washington, Oakland (I seriously have zero recollection of this, but it happened), and San Diego led offenses in Miami and San Francisco. Chud worked with him in San Diego and they share the same love of the vertical passing game. Their scheme is perfect for Brandon Weeden’s strengths. If Weeden can’t succeed under Chud and Norv, then the Browns will be looking for another QB….again.

2. After a day of thinking more about it, I don’t ever believe that the Browns were ever seriously in the running for Chip Kelly. I think Kelly wanted to do his due diligence and try to look for the right spot for him with the right personnel and the right amount of power. He will be getting that in Philly. He wouldn’t have gotten that here in Cleveland with Joe Banner on the scene.

Anyone else worried about Banner already? While nobody says it on the record, it seems as though his reputation of being tough to work with is doing him no favors here. I know it is very early, but thus far, I would say I am far from impressed and a bit concerned. Then again it is very very early.

3. Now onto the GM search. The longer this has dragged on, the more I get the feeling that Michael Lombardi is going to be the guy. Whoever does get the job will be GM in name only (if that). Banner will be making those final calls along with input from Chudzinski. The PD’s Mary Kay Cabot seems to think Lombardi will end up being the guy, while others, like 92.3′s Keith Britton – who was first to have the Chudzinski info – says it could be Ray Farmer, the Chiefs director of player personnel. I’m more interested in seeing who is right.

The local Browns beat reporters (MKC and Tony Grossi in particular) have had a really tough offseason in terms of predictions and information. They have been beaten to the punch repeatedly. But in all seriousness, at this point, I’m not sure it matters who gets the GM job, because Banner will be having the last word.

4. Anyone else miss Mike Holmgren? Me neither.

5. Those who follow me on Twitter know of my “NBA Free” stance. But I still know what it going on with the Cavaliers and where teams are in the standings. If you are a big Twitter person like me, you can’t help but know what’g going on with so many people I follow being diehard Cavs fans.

Here is a question for all of  you – tell me how Byron Scott is keeping his job?

I know the Cavs roster is littered with garbage – by design might I add #TankStrong – but there are too many times that I see the Wine and Gold getting completely destroyed by their opponents and the people I know who are dialed into the NBA tell me the Cavs are literally one of the worst defensive teams they’ve seen in years. Are there any real signs of progress here?

Imagine if this were the Browns. Everyone would be up in arms and calling for the coaches head. But because Dan Gilbert has everyone in this town borderline hypnotized to drink his “patience” kool aid, Byron is getting a free pass, as has his entire team.

Now I have always said that if you are going to be a losing team in the NBA you might as well go all the way to the bottom to get yourself a high draft pick. There is no glory in fighting for the 8th spot. But you would like to see some sort of improvement or hope for the future with your team. Right now, the Cavs seem to be banking on Kyrie Irving’s ascension to top tier status, Dion Waiters turning into a star, Tristan Thompson being a solid 12 and 10 guy, drafting a stud in the top three in the 2013 draft and having him hit, and the possible return of you know who in 2014.

Meanwhile, Dan Gilbert is counting up his casino money.

I realize I am talking out of both sides of my mouth here, but this is from an outside perspective. I realize the rebuild isn’t going to be made over night, but this city deserves more.

6. Last Cavs thought. This LeBron returning story is much ado about nothing. Its a season and a half away at a minimum and nothing is going to change that fact. That said, people want to know how Gilbert could swallow his pride and bring back the guy who left him at the alter with no phone call notice. Its easy, he is LeBron freaking James, the best player in the world, and a gigantic money maker! Gilbert is a business man first and foremost. You check your feelings at the door.

As Marcellus Wallace said in Pulp Fiction: “F*** Pride…. Pride only hurts.”

The real question is would LeBron want to toy with Gilbert one more time and then give him another rejection just for spite reasons, or would he want to come back to Cleveland late in his career and help right the biggest wrong of his life?

7. Who is in for Tribe Fest this weekend?

8. I see that Chris Antonetti said today that the Indians are going to soon be making a decision on which direction they will go with the DH slot. According to his comments, the door on bringing back Travis Hafner still has not been closed.

Chris, buddy. Seriously. I beg you. Don’t do it. Don’t. Don’t clog up a 40-man roster spot on a guy who you know cannot stay healthy, cannot play the field, and cannot hit left-handed pitching. You have finally moved away from Grady Sizemore. Let go of the past. It was a lot longer ago than you think.

9. I may be in the minority, but while its a great honor that Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Mike Aviles have been asked to play for their respective countries in the World Baseball Classic this spring, I wish they were not involved. CP and Vinnie are the two most important parts of the Tribe’s pen and they will be pitching in key situations in February, away from the eyes of their own coaching staff who can control things. Team USA’s manager is notorious bullpen overworker Joe Torre. Now I know I am overreacting here, but the last thing the Indians need is an injury to either of these two.

As for Asdrubal, we all know he has worn down after the All star break these past two seasons. Adding more games in the front of his season while he hasn’t gotten himself into game shape isn’t going to help any.

10. Manti Te’o was in on it. No chance he wasn’t. There are just way too many inconsistencies in his story. His girlfriend of three years gets into a bad car accident, has leukemia, chemo, and he never visits her? She dies and he doesn’t go to the funeral of the love of his life? I could go on and on. The Deadspin report is incredible work.

  • RGB

    Ed Lacy could spin move through the holes in Teo’s story…

  • dwhit110

    I’ve said it before, but a guy who can hit for average against righties in 200-300 ABs per year is a useful club to have in the bag if we can get him at the right price. It’s not like we’ve got a bunch of great options to DH as it is. If you add Hafner, maybe it’s only 250 ABs that you have to account for with Aviles, Gomes, McGuiness, etc.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I take offense to TD’s being bored clearly he isn’t reading this web site enough!

  • Ritz

    “I’m not sure it matters who gets the GM job, because Banner will be having the last word.”

    I could not disagree more – just because Joe Banner may have ‘final say’ he won’t be the one constructing the draft board, scouting free agents, etc. The personnel guy, whatever his title, will, at least as it seems to me, be handling those duties along with the head coach and maybe some direction from Banner.

    The problem with talking about ‘final say’ is that the term can mean different things. But no doubt about it, the GM/Director of Player Personnel will be a critical thing to get right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12428289 Chris McLafferty

    Having a college coach with a TON of control is horrible and I think the Browns wanted his as coach, and he wanted to be coach but neither the Browns nor the Eagles wanted to give him that much control, with good reason (ZERO NFL Experience) Then he said he was going back to Oregon. Eagles panicked, Browns SMARTLY decided we’re not giving in and the Eagles did. I think the Browns made the smart move. CAVS-I’m getting really tired of the Cleveland media and most fans. Seattle/OK City with DURANT & Westbook won 23 games together (Durant’s 2nd season & Westbrook’s 1st) and they stayed the course and really turned around the record the following. Why do you think our team is any different? PLEASE explain.

  • Brendon

    Te’o wasn’t missing tackles in the Title game, he was giving his girlfriend hugs.

  • boomhauertjs

    I agree on Byron. I would’ve liked to have seen what happened with the Cavs with Mike Brown. They’d have no clue on offense, but at least they’d be playing competent defense. What’s Mike up to these days…?

  • boomhauertjs

    On the WBC, some interesting facts just shared by MLB:

    In April 2009 after @WBCBaseball, 17.8% of non-WBC players (140/786) spent time on DL vs. 9.5% of those who played (11/115).

    Only 2 of 73 players on 2009 Opening Day DL played in@WBCBaseball, and one was a non-baseball injury (ulcer).

  • Harv 21

    Did I miss the part about Banner retaining “final word”? I thought he said his preference was saving that for the HC.

    Banner creeps me out a little as well. But right now that’s solely and illogically based on his physical mannerisms and appearance of smugness, and has nothing to do with any decisions so far. When I hear him without seeing him he sounds great; his still shots are the creepiest. Try him without video or read the transcript of his pressers/interviews to see if your initial distaste for him might be coming from some other place.

    Haven’t seen any clearly wonderful results from Banner yet except Norv Turner today (imo practically perfect in every way for the young personnel already here). And he hasn’t clearly screwed anything up yet. I am a Heckert fan, but Banner’s choice and system may be better. I wanted them to go for Chip Kelly, and they did. I’ve seen nothing that indicates the reason Kelly nixed the Browns was because of Banner’s retention of power, inability to smile naturally or hell toupee. If Chud is good and the draft is good, Banner will suddenly be way more handsome and charming.

  • mgbode

    shhh….Hafner was ONLY the 2nd best hitter on our team last year and is probably had for a 1yr contract for $1-2mil.

    but who needs a platoon guy that hits an OPS+ of 120 and above?

  • mgbode

    i was about to type out many of these same points. thank you Harv. i’ll add-in that Heckert mentioned in his interview that he expects most (or all) of the personnel team to remain intact. so, the guys feeding the info to Heckert will still be here.

  • mgbode

    on the Cavs, TD we have been discussing as much on Scott on the Cavs threads here. we are pretty split on the issue. Scott has the pedigree, but he is just not getting it done right now.

    we are not the worst defense in the NBA amazingly (bottom4) but we are also almost the worst offense (bottom5) and are the worst combined except for the Wizards (who have been missing Wall).

    I think Byron is coaching for his job the rest of the season. He doesn’t have to win a ton of games (see Thunder’s 2nd season with Durant), but he does need to improve the offensive and defensive efficiency. Alot.

  • BenRM

    You saved me from typing about the Cavs. I think you’re spot on.

    Another point on Byron: I think that anyone who was honest with themselves knew that the Cavs wouldn’t even sniff the 8th seed. Given that, there isn’t a lot of hate for Byron at the minute.

    I do think, though, that next year is the year he and this team need to start performing.

  • Woods

    Chud is the hire and we need to give him time to hire a staff and actually coach the players before passing judgement. Norv Turner does seem to be a competent hire as OC. We won’t know until the end of the season.

    Kelly comes off looking like a flake due to his actions over the last 10 days. Kudos to Haslem/Banner for recognizing that they were being set up to be a bargaining chip. They moved on and hired Chud. As fans of the Browns we need to move on as well. Kelly is not here and never will be now.

    Kelly’s offense was/is revolutionary in the college game. It will be interesting to see how it will translate to the NFL. It will be a bumpy ride at times.

    Colt McCoy does not seem to be a good fit for Chud’s offense. Nick Foles does not seem to be (by his own admission) to be a fit for Kelly’s offense. I propose a straight up trade that would be beneficial for all parties involved.

    One of the developments to watch will be “how will defenses alter their schemes to deal with a hurry up attack in Philly”.
    – I would be willing to bet that teams will stack the line of scrimmage and leave their CB’s on an island.
    – Cover corners will be coveted by NYG/Dal/Wash. (They might want to trade up in the draft to get a CB that they covet.)
    – Most tackles will be a scrum to extend the amount of time between plays and allow for substitutions.
    – Opposing defenses will develop wholescale substitution packages to attempt to negate the fast pace.

    Since NE already incorporates concepts of Kelly’s offense his defense should have a bit of a leg up in dealing with a full scale fast pace attack. I hope that New England plays Philly next year.

    Banner and Haslem have done a professional job of interviewing candidates. It will all be squandered if Lombardi is hired. It would be totally cool if Heckert doesn’t find a job and returns. We are already paying him…

    Byron Scott is the coach of the Cavs and is saddled with a super young and inexperienced roster. Gilbert/Grant/Scott seem to be on the same page and in agreement with the #TankStrong philosophy for this year. Having said this, I would like to see if Scott can get them to play a better brand of team defense. Random Thought – Would Byron Scott be comfortable enough to add Mike Brown to his staff to concentrate on defense.

    2014 is way to far in the future to begin to think about a specific free agent. Keep following the plan to go young, develop the team and preserve cap space to be used on a free agent to complete the rebuild.

    With year round interleague play coming to the MLB schedule in 2013, there will probably be a few American League teams that view a full time DH as a luxury that they can do without. I would prefer it if the Indians started a trend of having a DH that hits .270 or above with a high on base percentage than a .220 hitter with the potential for 20 home runs. Cord Phelps/Tim Fedroff/Ezequiel Carrera or some other rotating person can fill the DH role. On the other hand a position player can fill the DH spot on a rotating (and agreed upon) basis. Perhaps Cabrera/Kipnis/Santana could be rotated more often into the DH role to lower their workload at the demanding SS/2B and catcher positions.

    Those are my thoughts on the points raised. Please feel free to use any of the ideas above in a column or post. (Or ridicule them if you wish…)

    Go Browns/Indians/Cavs

  • Natedawg86

    OK… I have a serious question. Name 1 good thing Mike Holmgren did for the Cleveland Browns (Besides move on).

  • mgbode

    hired Heckert and let him build a young foundation

  • MrCleaveland

    I’ll name two:

    1. The ring of honor.

    2. He got rid of the brown pants.

  • Woods

    Thank you Harv 21 for eloquently stating my irrational fear of Banner due to his sourpuss/scowling appearance. For some reason I think of him as Ratso in Midnight Cowboy…I guess that this means that Jimmy Haslem is Joe Buck.
    I know I am wrong of me to think this way. I am somewhat ashamed of myself for judging him based on his appearance/pictures. I will change my ways as soon as Banner declares “Mike Lombardi will be the GM of the Cleveland Browns as soon as I finish my paper route on Mars”.

  • arnold_palmer

    Candidly speaking, I think Banner is on board until Jimmy Haslam 3 gets an understanding of how to run a football team, once he feels comfortable, Banner will be out as CEO of the Browns.

  • Garry_Owen

    So, Norv Turner is Mary Poppins? Check.
    It’s a jolly ‘oliday with Norvy. No wonder that it’s Norvy that we love!

  • Harv 21

    1) made needless and stupid promises and/or threats at nearly every press conference, and let criticism get him all red-faced.
    2) had no feel for the job: no sense of when to speak to the fanbase, how to use your bully pulpit to take the heat off your overwhelmed rookie coach, no idea that the urgency of team success should take precedence over letting a doomed fellow member of the coaching fraternity stay on for a needless year. Hell, for all we know he didn’t know how to close a saleon a loge to a corporate rep, either.

    Why is this good? Ask Haslam and Banner. They’d look like saviors already but for the fact that the fanbase was recently declared clinically insane. But the first time we win a division people will be wearing Banner toupees in the Dawg Pound. Thank you, Holms.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Installed a legitimate corporate structure that had a GM, coach and the rest of the staff all pulling in the same direction in terms of draft talent acquisition. (It was an admittedly low bar for Holmgren to jump in this regard.)

  • Harv 21

    yeah, not sure what’s up with my anglophilianisms lately. Must be the pernicious influence of you-know-what. Better knock this out stat – pass me them freedom fries (no, not the chips).

  • Garry_Owen

    Voldemort? He passed away in ’98.

    Oh … you said “you-know-WHAT.” Sorry. I must also be in a York state of mind.

  • Harv 21

    Voldemort was British? Kind of always thought he was from Moreland Hills. Well, live and learn, this place is like the prep school education I never had.

  • nj0

    People act like “building a young foundation” is difficult in the NFL. Anyone can do it.
    1.) Get seven picks a year.
    2.) Trade vets for picks.
    3.) Trade picks for more picks.
    4.) Draft guys
    5.) Sign UFA

    The real question is the quality of that talent and, imo, the jury is still out (though there have been a few obvious bright spots).

  • mgbode

    well, it’s a low bar but Heckert was really the first person to do it here since the return. as to the quality of talent, it’s still early (obviously) but there have been good notes from the media & their sources. anything in MSM print is trustworthy these days, right?

  • dwhit110

    Yeah! I mean, I understand being underwhelmed with the $12MM a year Hafner (or whatever he was making at the end of that ill-fated contract) but that doesn’t mean that getting him for $1-2MM a year, which I agree seems like his going rate, is a bad idea.

  • dwhit110

    Let’s wait to hire Mike Brown until we bring back LBJ in 2014. In fact what’s Damon Jones doing these days?

  • SDA

    Cheese!

  • mgbode

    I think it is safe to say that he is not playing defense and not hitting jump shots.

  • MrCleaveland

    I’m surprised no one said “He told Jim Brown to take a hike.”

    But I like Jim, and I’m glad he’s back in the fold.

  • Natedawg86

    Banner Toupees- sounds like a promotion giveaway to me

  • Natedawg86

    Granted, but I just think my expectations (probably falsy inflated by my excitement upon his hire) were much higher for his regime.