July 28, 2014

While We’re Waiting…Cleveland Browns playoff chances

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

WFNYBanner wwwBill Simmons at Grantland ranked the 18 teams he believed still had a shot at 5 playoff spots up for grabs in the NFL. The Browns and Bengals fates were lumped together.

“How It Could Happen: With a two-game lead in the AFC North, the Bengals are 1-to-10 favorites to win that division. But the Browns just got two straight competent weeks from Jason Campbell! LOOK OUT! THE BROWNS ARE ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!

Why It Won’t Happen for Cincy: I thought the Patriots got screwed when they lost Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo; losing Geno Atkins and Leon Hall is actually worse. Is this turning into the Season From Hell for the Bengals? If they lose in Baltimore this Sunday, Cleveland hosts a banged-up Cincy team in Week 11 with a chance to pull even in the loss column AND win the season series. Could the Browns recover from the wreckage of Hurricane Weeden and eke out an AFC North title? Could 9-7 and a season sweep over Cincy be enough?”

“Anyway, once upon a time, the thought of Brian Hoyer or Jason Campbell “saving” a Browns season seemed impossible. In 2013? Totally reasonable. I’ll believe anything in 2013. And if it were anyone other than Cleveland, I’d pick the beyond-banged-up Bengals to blow the AFC North thanks to the Browns swooping in. Sadly, we’re always four words away from the words “Here comes Brandon Weeden.” I just can’t shake them. So, begrudgingly … I say yes for the Bengals and no for the Browns.”  [Grantland/Simmons]

“Anyone who ever tells you that humans control their own destiny, that we aren’t subject to vague whims and foibles of the universe, or that individuals can be self-deterministic in anything beyond when and where to fart have clearly no experience following college football.

Because here’s the deal: life laughs at our pathetic attempts to defeat the hard calculus of chaos. Ohio State is on an incredible winning streak, destroying opponents, winning hard fought games, but ultimately doing everything that they could be reasonably asked to do to show people that they’re good. And that really doesn’t matter at all, largely due to forces that Ohio State has zero control over.

Put another way, the Buckeyes, one of college football’s winningest and most storied programs, could feasibly end up riding a 38 game winning streak with zero national championships to show for it until 2015.

So, knowing that life is a meandering crapshoot, we turn to one of the (Michigan!) men who has fully embraced the insanity and chaos of college football to save us from random chance.

This isn’t really a post about Les Miles per se, but it is an observation about the kind of confluence of events that we need to get over the hump in terms of public perception. In other words, if Ohio State wants to play for the crystal football, they have to rely on more or less random happenstance to get where they want to go.” [Ginter/Eleven Warriors]

“The Browns have endured a roller-coaster ride of a season thus far, but they’re still in position to enter the playoff discussion if they can maintain their momentum coming off a bye this weekend.

The players certainly deserve credit for hanging tough, though they’re identifying first-year head coach Rob Chudzinski as a major reason the team has a record of 4-5 at its break.

The possibility for many more losses seemed to be strong, considering the Browns started the season 0-2 and faced potential distractions when the organization traded running back Trent Richardson, the third overall pick in last year’s draft, to the Indianapolis Colts Sept. 18 and speculation that wide receiver Josh Gordon would be subsequently dealt spread like wildfire. Not to mention the team was on its third starting quarterback by Week 8 after Brandon Weeden sprained his right thumb, Brian Hoyer spearheaded back-to-back wins before suffering a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and Weeden returned to the lineup for two games until he was benched in favor of Jason Campbell because of poor performances.

Chudzinski, through it all, never wavered” [Ulrich/Akron Beacon Journal]

“Welcome to the first ever Dunk History, where I pore through the annals of ancient Cavaliers shot chart history, perhaps while enjoying a pint or two of lager beer. Tonight’s edition features combo guard Larry Hughes. Remember him? Of course you do. “Big Shot Larry”, as we definitely didn’t call him back then, arrived in Cleveland in the fall of 2005 on the heels of a 22 PER season in Washington, on 27% Usage and a 46% effective field goal percentage. If those metrics didn’t tip off the front office to something fishy, perhaps they could have consulted his previous four eFG%’s of 43%, 49%, 44%, and 39%. I’ll try and take it easy with on the 20/20 hindsight, but I guess Ferry and company thought the 6’5 slasher was turning a corner in his career.

Historians will write that the Larry Hughes era in Cleveland took place between November 4th, 2005 to February 20th, 2008. During this period he played more than six thousand minutes in the Wine and Gold, and approximately 11,433 offensive and defensive possessions combined. You can see in the chart below that Larry took quite a few shots from quite a few places. His shot selection by itself was not unlike Kobe Bryant’s, willing to chuck the ball from any spot. The results were decidedly not Black Mambian.

At a usage rate down to 22% from 26% & 28% for the Wizards, you might have expected a guy with this kind of range to stay selective and really flourish next to LBJ. He didn’t. As a “slasher” you might have expected him to finish at the rim; he converted less than 50% of his shots in the restricted area, so he definitely didn’t. He shot miserably from the most important areas of the floor (corner 3 and at the rim) on a modest usage rate, and more than half of his makes were assisted, so Larry wasn’t exactly creating his own shots. The result of sharing so much credit on his buckets, combined with very few assists to his teammates, results in a total offensive rating of 93 points produced per 100 possessions. With Larry on the floor, the Cavs as a team produced 106 points per 100 possessions—and allowed 105 per 100 possessions on defense. In summary, he was a tremendous sandbag on an otherwise efficient offense. We also paid him lots of money.” [LaughingCavs.com]

Nick Houghtaling of Wahoo’s on First takes a look at the possibility of the Indians bringing back Bartolo Colon.

“Bartolo Colon is a familiar figure to Cleveland Indians fans. Colon  pitched five-plus effective years with the team to kickstart his professional career (75-45, 3.92 ERA, 873 K in 1029.2 IP in Cleveland). However, he’s now most appreciated for giving the Tribe an amazing prospect haul.

Colon was traded to the Montreal Expos prior to the 2002 trade deadline for prospectsBrandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore, and Cliff Lee. He would go on to spend just half a year in Montreal, and the Indians ended up with three quality major league players who have had memorable careers. It’s one of the more lopsided deals in recent baseball history, and one that shaped both team’s futures immensely.

But could Bartolo Colon return to the Tribe and help them remain competitive in 2014, 12 years since he last suited up for the Indians?” [Houghtaling/WahoosOnFirst]

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I’m going to save any serious thoughts about the playoffs until after the Cincy game. If the Browns can win in Cincy, take the season series (and corresponding tiebreaker), and move to 5-5 with PIT and JAX coming to town, I will start to believe….

  • maxfnmloans

    ^^^^ this

    in the past, this is where the Browns come out and lay an egg. I know its a different team and a different coach, but I need to see that they can handle some pressure or expectations before I start Googling Homegrum’s number to see if he can get me playoff tickets from his pal Joe B

  • waitingforwinatcincy

    Agree 100%. Bring the bandwagon around after they beat Cincy and I will jump on.

  • Scott Johnson

    I don’t think it’s insane to think that the Browns could go 5-2 in their remaining games (losses to NE and CHI)… the Browns appear to be AT LEAST as good as any of the Wild Card teams that appear to be in the hunt (Maybe that’s crazy?)

  • MrCleaveland

    In today’s PD, Mary Kay says (1) the Browns are the best team in the division AND (2) Jason Campbell is “an elite quarterback.” She swears she hasn’t been into the Christmas Ale.

    We’ll find out next Sunday. It’s nice to get fired up for an important game again.

  • Samuel Barrick

    Of course the Buckeyes aren’t getting any national respect and it is of no fault of their own. The Big 10 has fallen apart around them. They are just as or slightly less of good of a team as they always have been, but there are no teams to point to and say “Look, they beat these guys and they are good too!” For example, I believe that there are at least 5 SEC teams that would be undefeated with this schedule.

    If only there was a way for Meyer to fix other teams in the conference too.

  • Tsm

    No one forced them to schedule cupcakes for their non conference schedule. They had to see this coming with the population shift. They have made the necessary adjustments in their future scheduling, but it won’t help this year. I think they could compete with the top teams the way Braxton & Carlos are playing.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Now that the Bengals finally lost… the 2013 Cleveland Browns officially control their own destiny. After 10 weeks. Wow.