Waiting For Next Year http://www.waitingfornextyear.com ...a tradition of hope, passion, and misery Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:49:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Browns QB “problems,” optimism as philosophy and Pompeii… While We’re Waiting http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/browns-qb-problems-optimism-philosophy-waiting/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/browns-qb-problems-optimism-philosophy-waiting/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:30:04 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132704 It’s Friday. It’s been a long week since the Browns lost to the Jags. Here’s hoping things turn up from here. The idea that the Browns have “problems” with their QB situation… I’ve heard a lot of talk this week about Johnny Manziel and whether or not it’s possible to regret that draft pick already.

The post Browns QB “problems,” optimism as philosophy and Pompeii… While We’re Waiting appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
It’s Friday. It’s been a long week since the Browns lost to the Jags. Here’s hoping things turn up from here.

The idea that the Browns have “problems” with their QB situation…

I’ve heard a lot of talk this week about Johnny Manziel and whether or not it’s possible to regret that draft pick already. The feeling seems to be that we’ve seen Blake Bortles, we’re about to see Derek Carr when Oakland comes to town this weekend. We’ve even seen Teddy Bridgewater already play for the Vikings. The fact that Johnny Manziel couldn’t beat out Brian Hoyer and that we haven’t really seen him much seems to be giving some fans and commentators a bit of consternation. Not me. I’m pretty patient.

It’s easy to forget once draft seasons depart just who Johnny Manziel is as a player. Granted he red-shirted for a season, but Johnny Manziel is supposed to be a junior playing his third college football season right now. It’s not like he’s got tons and tons of experience in college, let alone the NFL. I do think he’d accomplished all he needed to in college and I think it made tons of sense for him to go to the draft, but that doesn’t mean we need to try and judge him this second because he hasn’t been on the field yet.

That’s the benefit of having Brian Hoyer. There’s a chance – albeit a small one – that Brian Hoyer could become a franchise quarterback, but in the meantime his competence is worth a ton. While everyone talks about the “problem” the Browns have coming up with regard to their quarterback position, I don’t know why that’s the case.

People want to go back and look at Derek Anderson and say that was a problem, and I agree that it felt like a problem in the end, but all he did was help deliver a ten-win season. Of course it was disappointing that he couldn’t repeat that performance, but it wasn’t a problem, per se, that the Browns paid Derek Anderson and continued to have Brady Quinn on the bench behind him. Having options with potential is a good thing.

The only problem is if neither of the guys can be a franchise quarterback. That’s all I really care about in the end. If Brian Hoyer can buck the odds and make it so, then I say great! If Brian Hoyer falters and the Browns let him leave via free agency, I just hope Johnny Manziel is more capable and successful than Brady Quinn.

But to say Johnny Manziel is a failure already or that the Browns have a “problem” at quarterback right now seems unnecessarily harsh. Sure, the Browns might not have anyone on this roster who is going to work out for them, but I’ll take my chances with Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. And maybe there are those of you who like Bridgewater, Bortles or Carr better than Manziel, but none of us know for sure which QBs are going to work and not at this point. I just wouldn’t bury Manziel’s chances or call the Browns’ QB situation a “problem” just yet.

Lobbying for optimism…

This isn’t sports-related, and I’m really not into “self help” books or going too heavy in modern philosophy, but this hit me in a good way. I do constantly try and reflect on myself and try to figure out where I am as a person versus where I was in the past. I find myself trying hard to be positive and optimistic. It was good to read an interview with Netscape founder, Marc Andreessen, and see him be a proponent for optimism.

But clearly you don’t think everything’s going to work.

No. But there are people who are wired to be skeptics and there are people who are wired to be optimists. And I can tell you, at least from the last 20 years, if you bet on the side of the optimists, generally you’re right.

On the other hand, if there’d been a few more skeptics in 1999, people might have kept their retirement money. Isn’t there a role for skepticism in the tech industry?

I don’t know what it buys you. Let me put it this way. If you could point to periods of time in the last hundred years when everything just stabilized and didn’t change, then maybe yes. But that never seems to actually happen. The skeptics are wrong all the time.

Maybe it’s because of having kids that I’m feeling like optimism is the best way. It would be psychopathic to think about having kids in the world who will outlive me and think that things are just going to be worse. I’m sure there are lots of people who would want to make that case, and there’s no doubt that things are always going to be different. If you get too previous about your traditions, there’s no doubt that you might even perceive a worsening of the world. But it really is up to an individual perception.

So maybe it’s the kids. Or maybe it’s just how much I despise anyone who plays the “don’t pass” bar on a craps table.

Your weekly moment of soccer zen… Robben

Long-awaited album from Pompeii called Loom…

This is the modern world of music where our access to bands can make them giants in our lives even if they’re still somewhat unknown. I love the band Pompeii. They’re from Austin Texas and they started in 2004. They had two albums that I was absolutely infatuated with – 2006’s Assembly, and 2008’s Nothing Happens for a Reason – and now they’ve finally (FINALLY!) gotten their new album together with Loom.

They’re a band that makes really pretty, engaging music. The vocals are more tasteful and refined than “emo,” but it’s still got that vibe as an almost post-emo sound. The effects are not spared on the guitars and vocals, but the songwriting and construction shines through just the same. That’s what makes Pompeii different than some other bands. Every song you listen to, no matter how much it has been layered with effects or other atmospherics, is still possible to imagine as a song constructed with just a single guitar and vocalist.

I’ve only listened to Loom a handful of times, and it’s not the same as their previous material, but I can tell I like it already. So happy to have Pompeii back with new material.

Enjoy the weekend folks! Go Browns. Hopefully we can enjoy a winning week this week.

The post Browns QB “problems,” optimism as philosophy and Pompeii… While We’re Waiting appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/browns-qb-problems-optimism-philosophy-waiting/feed/ 0
Seahawks sign former Browns linebacker to be fullback http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/seahawks-make-former-browns-linebacker-fullback/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/seahawks-make-former-browns-linebacker-fullback/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:49:38 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132791 When the Browns cut Ray Agnew recently, it was surmised on Twitter by some that the Browns were making a move so that they could protect Kiero Small from being plucked from their practice squad. It was suggested to me by someone (sorry, can’t remember who but I think it was a member of the

The post Seahawks sign former Browns linebacker to be fullback appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
When the Browns cut Ray Agnew recently, it was surmised on Twitter by some that the Browns were making a move so that they could protect Kiero Small from being plucked from their practice squad. It was suggested to me by someone (sorry, can’t remember who but I think it was a member of the DraftBrowns crew) that Seattle was the team targeting the Browns’ practice squad fullback due to Derek Coleman’s broken foot. The Seahawks have signed a former Browns player, but it wasn’t Ray Agnew. The Seahawks have signed former Browns linebacker L.J. Fort and listed him as their fullback.

With Derek Coleman still hanging in limbo with a broken foot — he hasn’t been placed on the injured reserve yet and Pete Carroll was vague when asked what the plan with him was this week — the Seahawks signed free agent linebacker L.J. Fort and are apparently looking to groom him as a fullback.

Fort spent the 2012 season with the Browns, appearing in 16 games and registering 20 tackles, 3 passes defensed, and 1 interception. Fort didn’t play in 2013 but signed a futures deal with the Broncos last December. He was recently waived by Denver and Seattle quietly picked him up this week and signed him to the practice squad. The interesting part of this roster-churn move is that Fort is listed on the Seahawks’ roster as a fullback and has taken the number 44.

Fort was undrafted in 2012 and helped the Browns out when Chris Gocong was injured. I don’t remember much about his playing time – good or bad – but this is certainly an interesting development for his career. Pete Carroll taking a pretty athletic, if undersized, linebacker and trying to develop him at a different position is just the kind of creativity I’d expect from Carroll and his staff. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work, of course, but when the available options at linebacker aren’t that appealing, you have to make due.

Do you think he considered calling Lawrence Vickers? That would have been the only thing that could have made this the perfect Cleveland Browns side story. You know, because Vickers…

The post Seahawks sign former Browns linebacker to be fullback appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/seahawks-make-former-browns-linebacker-fullback/feed/ 2
LeBron James Beats by Dre billboard goes up in downtown Cleveland http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/lebron-james-beats-by-dre-billboard-pic/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/lebron-james-beats-by-dre-billboard-pic/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:03:59 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132764 RE-ESTABLISHED 2014

The post LeBron James Beats by Dre billboard goes up in downtown Cleveland appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
Downtown Cleveland is going to be all LeBron everything before the year is all said and done.

Most of us have already seen the “RE-ESTABLISHED 2014″ Beats by Dre commercial featuring James and the city of Akron as it was prominently featured all weekend during football and posted here on Sunday afternoon. Well now anyone who finds there way near The Q downtown will have a pretty good chance to be reminded of it thanks to a billboard displayed on the side of a parking structure on the corner of Huron and E. 4th. (This, coincidentally, is the same lot that will feature Kendrick Lamar before the team’s October 30 home opener.)

LeBron is probably more than happy to oblige Beats. It was reported some time ago now that the Cavaliers’ small forward realized some phenomenal profits from his Beats association, to the tune of $30 million. That’s an awful lot of headphones.

And here’s the original TV spot if you happened to miss it.

James’ new Nike banner is expected to be unveiled prior to the home opener in a ceremony in front of the Sherwin-Williams building on the corner of Ontario and Prospect Ave.

The post LeBron James Beats by Dre billboard goes up in downtown Cleveland appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/lebron-james-beats-by-dre-billboard-pic/feed/ 5
Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes finalists for Gold Glove Award http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/mlb-news-michael-brantley-yan-gomes-finalists-for-gold-glove-award/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/mlb-news-michael-brantley-yan-gomes-finalists-for-gold-glove-award/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:39:54 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132763 Good luck?

The post Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes finalists for Gold Glove Award appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
How much do advanced analytics or team-wide defensive struggles factor in to Gold Glove nominations? Not as much as one would think as Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley and catcher Yan Gomes have been named as finalists for the 2014 award at their respective positions.

The team’s press release touts Gomes has having only committed three errors in his final 55 games, leaving out the fact that he had 14 over the course of the entire season—the second-highest mark in all of baseball. His fielding percentage was 17th out of the 18 catchers with the required amount of innings. That said, Yanimal did play a large factor in the MLB record 1450 strikeouts thrown by Indians pitchers. He also threw out 27 of 93 (29%) of the runners attempting to steal off him, the second-highest percentage among American League catchers behind the Yankees’ Brian McCann (31%).

The book on Brantley has been written may a’times around these parts. Brantley had one error this season, snapping his much-discussed errorless streak. His 12 assists were tied for fourth among all American League outfielders. But that’s where the good in Brantley’s defense largely ends. His zone coverage (as measured by UZR/150) placed him 42nd out of 59 qualified outfielders.

brantley_2014-04-02

In a piece written by WFNY’s Jacob, Brantley is compared to Derek Jeter (a Gold Glove winner) in the way that his range is the biggest downfall. He catches balls he can get to—he just doesn’t get to many. Taking a list of defensive runs saved above average, and Brantley falls in 120th with a -3. (This compares to Kansas City’s Alex Gordon, presently playing in the World Series, who prevented 27 more runs than the average player—worth almost three wins with this alone.)

For all intents and purposes, both Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes are great human beings and were huge reasons why the Cleveland Indians were within spitting distance of the postseason this year, but it was not due to their defense. The award will be announced this Tuesday.

[Related: Lookin' for glove in all the wrong places]

The post Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes finalists for Gold Glove Award appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/mlb-news-michael-brantley-yan-gomes-finalists-for-gold-glove-award/feed/ 5
Kevin Love discusses trade, Cavs’ team flight to Rio http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/kevin-love-players-tribune-lebron-james/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/kevin-love-players-tribune-lebron-james/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:30:44 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132749 "I can win any argument with you about why GOT is the best show currently on TV."

The post Kevin Love discusses trade, Cavs’ team flight to Rio appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
The latest piece to be published by Derek Jeter’s new journalistic venture, The Players’ Tribune, is from the byline of one Cleveland Cavalier power forward, Kevin Love. Titled “How I spent my summer vacation,” Love details his offseason of rumors, speculation, working out, and binge watching what amounts to nearly the entire catalog of Netflix.

I spent most of my summer either working out or trying to escape the craziness through Netflix binge watching. I tore through more than 40 of the IMDB Top 250. That’s not even counting the TV marathons. I did every single episode of Seinfeld (holds up), Curb Your Enthusiasm (the best), Mad Men and Game of Thrones (twice). I can win any argument with you about why GOT is the best show currently on TV.

Things were especially tough because for a month before the trade was finalized, [Andrew] Wiggins and I were caught in NBA purgatory. Is this happening, is this not happening? With everything up in the air, I felt like I couldn’t say a proper goodbye to Minnesota. And once the trade finally went through, everything happened quickly.

Love used the space to thank the fans of Minnesota for their embrace during his time spent in the city, harkened back to the days he was ” shooting on an eight-foot hoop in a Shawn Kemp jersey,” and referred to boarding the Cavs’ plane to Brazil as something akin to the first day of school.

As I moved to my seat, guys were making inside jokes with one another and shouting across the plane. The atmosphere was totally different than what I was used to. And at that moment, a familiar feeling came over me that anybody can relate to when he’s getting his bearings: It felt like the first day of school.

So I did what I should’ve done on my own first day of school. I went and sat down next to the smartest kid in class, James Jones. He’s a guy who has played in 100-plus playoff games and has done the gritty, thankless jobs that don’t make SportsCenter. Just as we started talking, Mike Miller posted up in the seat behind us. He’s a guy who I think shot 44 percent from three to help the Heat win the 2013 title, and did it like it was no big deal. He even hit a huge three in the Finals without his left shoe. Having the opportunity to talk basketball with teammates who’ve won four NBA titles among them is invaluable.

Throughout the piece, Love juxtaposes his brief experience with the Cavs to that of what he was used to in Minnesota—a picture that he paints as being very secluded and impersonal. On that trip to Rio, it sounds like 16 close friends were taking a road trip after having not seen one another for several years. And while he may not write another piece again, his kicker may have been the best part of the entire thing.

Everything on the plane to Rio was natural, and I felt like I could be a part of something special. It was a culture that I’m not accustomed to.

After I was traded this summer, I kept hearing about how our challenge was going to be figuring out how to share the ball among LeBron, Kyrie and myself. Reporters kept asking me how I felt about it: Are you the second wheel? Are you the third wheel? What about your stats?

To them I say: I don’t care. I’ve never played in a playoff game. I came to Cleveland because I want to win. I’ll grab a broom and sweep the floors if it gets me an NBA title.

The entire piece is well worth your time, if only for the behind-the-scenes look into how the Wine and Gold are interacting at this point in what is primed to be one hell of a season.

The post Kevin Love discusses trade, Cavs’ team flight to Rio appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/kevin-love-players-tribune-lebron-james/feed/ 3
NFL trade deadline might be a lost cause http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/nfl-trade-deadline-cleveland-browns/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/nfl-trade-deadline-cleveland-browns/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:56:15 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132665 You get the feeling that the NFL would love to pump up their trade deadline, but as Greg Garber points out at ESPN, reluctance rules the day. It’s the only thing in a nearly 365-day NFL year that the league hasn’t been able to turn into an event. There are some examples of deals that

The post NFL trade deadline might be a lost cause appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
You get the feeling that the NFL would love to pump up their trade deadline, but as Greg Garber points out at ESPN, reluctance rules the day. It’s the only thing in a nearly 365-day NFL year that the league hasn’t been able to turn into an event. There are some examples of deals that occur in-season every year like Trent Richardson last year or Percy Harvin this year, but they still feel like exceptions. And frankly, neither one occurred at the actual deadline, so it isn’t like the NFL could have a live four-hour show on ESPN with talking heads counting down the minutes as the deals roll in. For a variety of reasons, it just seems like a pumped up, exciting trade deadline might be a lost cause for the NFL.

For one, NFL coaching and game-planning dictates tons of synchronicity on the roster. Baseball requires the least because at the plate it’s pitcher against batter with an umpire calling balls and strikes no matter what uniform you’re wearing. NBA teams run offenses and have set plays, but even then, it’s a game that has plenty of one-on-one match-ups. In the NFL, it’s much harder to grab an offensive guard or defensive lineman and just plug him in. If he doesn’t know precisely what to do in a certain version of a certain scheme, it could lead to disastrous results because those units are so dependent on working together in sync.


The NFL still doesn’t seem to make major use of its trade deadline almost as an overall culture.

Of course, that also goes to show why a few of the biggest trades of the last two years — Harvin and Richardson — play skill positions where scheme might not matter as much. Even though Trent Richardson failed to accomplish much in his first action with the Colts, it’s not proof positive that it wouldn’t make sense for a team to make a play for a running back. In fact, running back and wide receiver make the most sense of all the positions that can be traded.

Yet the NFL still doesn’t seem to make major use of its trade deadline almost as an overall culture. It may have to do with coaches’ reticence toward trying to fold in new players, or if it has more to do with GMs and NFL personnel departments focusing on the draft more. Right now, there’s so much emphasis on the draft that even in the media it seems like general managers get punished for dealing picks and lauded for acquiring those “assets.” That makes sense as well because of the salary cap in the NFL can be so punitive if a team puts itself in a bad spot with too many high-priced veterans.

Then again, it isn’t like the salary caps aren’t expanding.

Today, with the ever-expanding salary cap, there is more money to spend. Here are the teams with the most room to maneuver: Jacksonville (approximately $23 million), Cleveland ($19 million) and Philadelphia ($16 million). A number of playoff contenders have surprising surpluses: New England ($11 million), Cincinnati ($9 million), Denver ($8 million), Baltimore ($6 million), Arizona ($6 million) and Carolina ($6 million).

There’s also no game like the NFL where the players are more devalued the second they are selected and signed, no different than driving a car off of a lot. It feels like we see it in the NFL more than any other sport after a guy gets a big contract, the team regrets it because there’s seemingly an endless supply of cheaper replacement players at every position other than quarterback. Even undeniably great players like Larry Fitzgerald is now looked at as a drag on his team’s future. At 31 years of age and with a $23.6 million cap figure for 2015, everyone — including Fitzgerald — knows it’s an issue.

“I could go out this year and get 2,600 yards and that cap number is still going to have to be addressed, know what I mean?” Fitzgerald said, via the Cardinals’ official website. “It doesn’t matter how well I play or how bad I play, it’s going to be addressed. I don’t even think about it.”

And that’s impacting the trade deadline in a major way. There needs to be player movement because everyone knows there’s an issue with a guy’s contract, but there’s very little incentive to actually get a deal done. Let’s say the Browns wanted to trade for Fitzgerald, hypothetically. Everyone knows his contract is a problem, so how much would the Browns actually consider giving up to take on a contract like that? In the back of their mind, they know Arizona will have to cut him or trade him, so it chills the market for an actual deal to get done.

This situation also works to NFL owners’ benefits because the player contracts aren’t guaranteed. It wouldn’t be cheap for Arizona to cut Fitzgerald as they’d take a cap hit of $14.4 million in 2015 if they did it. Then again, that cap hit would actually save them just over $9 million on the salary cap so they could address other needs. The easy incentives of cutting a player help kill the trade market and thus the deadline, but it would probably cost the NFL owners a lot in the way of their business to create an environment where there were more trade incentives.

I don’t know what the answer is, and I’m also not totally positive the NFL cares. At some point, as a league, they just can’t have it all. They’ve gotten complete and total attention of the American sports world during the combine, draft, regular season, and have by far the most-watched championship game in all of U.S. sports. Then again, I wouldn’t bet against the NFL in any quest to create more of their precious football inventory. Every additional event they create is another potential boost to their bottom line in television revenues.

This year’s NFL trading deadline is this Tuesday. Maybe this is the year it all begins.

The post NFL trade deadline might be a lost cause appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/nfl-trade-deadline-cleveland-browns/feed/ 9
Video: Andrew Hawkins kicks son out of house for calling AJ Green his favorite player http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/video-andrew-hawkins-son-aj-green/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/video-andrew-hawkins-son-aj-green/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:24:12 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132729 It's a long walk to Cincinnati, Austin.

The post Video: Andrew Hawkins kicks son out of house for calling AJ Green his favorite player appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
Looking for yet another reason to love Andrew Hawkins? The Cleveland Browns wide receiver posted a video to his Instgram account that features him booting his two-year-old son from his house for referring to AJ Green as his favorite player.

Greeen (and Mohamed Sanu), obviously, were teammates of Hawkins when the shifty slot receiver played in Cincinnati. The tongue-in-cheek production was perfect, complete with split scenes.

Luckily for young Austin Hawkins, who is decked out in Browns colors, that Pokémon suitcase was at the ready. Get the kid an IMDB page.

The post Video: Andrew Hawkins kicks son out of house for calling AJ Green his favorite player appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/video-andrew-hawkins-son-aj-green/feed/ 14
Peace out, Preseason: Chad Zumock http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/cleveland-cavaliers-big-3-chad-zumock/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/cleveland-cavaliers-big-3-chad-zumock/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:45:34 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132709 Now with more preseason grades!

The post Peace out, Preseason: Chad Zumock appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
With the 2014-15 NBA season right around the corner, the national media is hitting the gas pedal on the “hype-machine” when it comes to this year’s newly formed Cleveland Cavaliers team. Ernie Johnson and the rest of TNT gang, Kendrick Lamar, and Kevin Hart have already RSVP’d for the October 30 home opener and Sports Illustrated went ahead and made the so-called “Big 3” the cover boys for this season’s NBA preview (The first time since Oct 26 2009 that featured LeBron and Shaq, but let’s not focus on how that ended up).

Somewhere, San Antonio is loving the attention Cleveland is getting. Cleveland, conversely, needs to continue to shut out the outside world much like James did in Miami over the past few years in order to get through the growing pains and life lessons of their upcoming season as the rock stars of the professional sports landscape.

Thus far, Cleveland’s coaches and players have all been saying the right things (“We’re not the Big 3; we’re the Big 15.”) because the long road ahead is going to take work. So let’s look at the work that needs to be done.

From my notes…

• The Cavs continue to learn head coach David Blatt’s offense this preseason but I’m still concerned with their defense. Anderson Varejao, Shawn Marion, and LeBron James are proven individual defenders, but they need to buy into team defense. They struggled as a team under Mike “Why Did We Hire Him Again?” Brown and finished 19th in the league in points allowed per possession—and that was an improvement from the Byron Scott years where defense was an afterthought.

• Kyrie Iriving showed flashes of being a decent defender this summer during the FIBA games for Team USA but his on-ball defense is still worthy of concern. This preseason I watched Derrick Rose, after two knee surgeries, score 30 points at will on the fourth-year All-Star guard. Even though Rose is an offensive freak, Kyrie has to continue keeping his man in front of him especially with weak rim protection. The Cavs do have 34-year-old Brendan Haywood to defend a few of the bigger centers still left in this league, but the guards need to do a better job defending their man one on one.

This does not qualify as a “better job.”

• The Cavs are 5-2 in the preseason and they’ve only played two games with their full line-up. Kevin Love actually looked immensely comfortable in the new offense and there have been very few plays run for him specifically. While this was cool, LeBron and Kyrie have to do a better job getting him the ball in position where Love will be effective offensively. Love’s best game this preseason was against the Milwaukee Bucks shooting 66.7 percent from behind the arc (10-of-15) with a game-high 25 pts without LeBron and Kyrie. James has picked up right where he left off four years ago playing beautiful basketball with Anderson Varejao. The two have a very telepathic chemistry where Varejao is always in the right spot for the perfect James pass. LeBron and Love need to work together to find that two-man game for spots where Love can do his thing much like he does with the big man from Brazil. Given how intelligent they both are, this should happen eventually—it just may take some time.


Ray Allen. Paging Ray Allen. You there? I didn’t think so. Enjoy your golf game.

• Mike Miller is a career 40 percent three-point shooter but has only been 2-of-13 from long distance this preseason. Coach Blatt needs to do a better job having Miller on the floor with the right combination of players to utilize his strengths of being a lights-out shooter. James Jones was seldom used last season in Miami and having Miller and him on the court at the same time could really open up the middle for points in the paint.

• Ray Allen. Paging Ray Allen. You there? I didn’t think so. Enjoy your golf game.

• Does it seem the Cavs play better with Kyrie and Matthew Dellavedova in the back court? Maybe this is just my perception but there always seem to be one extra pass when Dellavedova is on the floor and last season they were better with him offensively and defensively with him and Kyrie in the back court. Dion Waiters could be the Cavs biggest breakthrough star this season—or the biggest problem. There is nothing in-between with Waiters. He needs to continue working on his team game and playing without the ball in his hands. If I was Dion (and I often pretend I am) I would focus on my ability on being the best defensive player I can be, much like Tristrain Thompson did in the off-season. This is the very best way Dion can contribute and not put the Cavs in the position to trade him at the deadline for a better wing defender and role player. No one should panic with Dion because there are proven veteran winners in the locker room to keep him in line and this is a long season to figure things out. But it’d be disingenuous to not bring up this potential issue.

• Preseason has come to a close and what good would a column be without grades? I am going to give the Cavaliers at B+ considering injury, rest, and the new system. It is so early to tell, but one thing I am enjoying is the Cavaliers continue to make progress regardless of who is in the line-up. This is very encouraging heading into the season but let’s not fuel the hype machine. Let’s sit back and enjoy each game as it unfolds.

The post Peace out, Preseason: Chad Zumock appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/cleveland-cavaliers-big-3-chad-zumock/feed/ 9
Cleveland Browns Week 7 Film Room http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/cleveland-browns-week-7-film-room/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/cleveland-browns-week-7-film-room/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132666 Because you haven't seen enough of the Browns getting it handed to them by a winless Jaguars team.

The post Cleveland Browns Week 7 Film Room appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
The Cleveland Browns had what was arguably their worst game of the year when they lost to previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars this past Sunday. The Browns could not muster a touchdown versus a Jaguars defense giving up 30.8 points per game in the first six games of the season—this while being the benefactor of multiple turnovers. The Browns defense kept the team in the game for most day, but they still gave up 26 points to a bad offensive and allowed former college quarterback (and current wide receiver-numbered) Denard Robinson to rush for 127 yards. Not much went well. This week did not have much positive moments, so I am going to highlight (actually lowlight) the bad, worse, and worst aspects of last Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars.

So take a seat and grab some popcorn for Week 7’s film room. Afterwards, we can hash it all out in the comments. Enjoy.

Cleveland Browns Film Room

The Bad

This week’s bad is the Browns run defense. This has been a huge problem for the Browns all season, giving up the most rushing yards per game in the entire NFL. The lowly Jaguars gained 185 total yards rushing on Sunday. It might have reached its lowest depth’s when they gave up 127 yards to former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. This performance more then doubled his season total of 94 yards in the first six games.

One of the biggest problems of the run defense has been the outside rushers keeping contain. The Browns have lost contain on a lot of run plays throughout the season. The defense’s contain issues continued last Sunday versus the Jaguars. Here is an example of this big problem, this one against the not-so-fleet-of-foot Blake Bortles.

bortles-full-run-compressor

This play just shows how undisciplined the outside rushers are on run plays. This six-yard run by Bortles really shows the lack of contain the defense has allowed throughout the season. Here is how the play transpired.

run defense preplay

The play is a read option play by Blake Bortles. He will choose to either keep the ball or give it to the running back. The Browns defense has four rushers on the line with two linebackers and two safeties deep.

mingo run defense assignment

The key to this run stop is Barkevious Mingo. Mingo is in charge of contain on the end of the left end here. He has to stay disciplined and keep everything inside. Bortles is reading Mingo and deciding to handoff or keep the ball based on Mingo’s movements.

mingo-sliding-down-compressor

As you see here, Mingo completely bails out on the edge and follows the back to the inside. He loses contain allowing Bortles to get the edge for the six-yard gain.

wide open run

This shot shows what Mingo moving inside and leaving the edge does to the defense. The Browns only have a safety Tashaun Gipson and corner Joe Haden on that side of the field. Bortles has a free six-yard run without getting touched once. Mingo completely destroys the defense because of his undisciplined rush towards the middle of the line.

The Browns have had this problem too many times this year. It has nothing to do with talent or the offense outperforming the defense. It is all about knowing your assignment and being disciplined. The Browns defense has given up contain on too many plays. It must improve this aspect in order to improve their run defense.

The Worse

This week’s worse is quarterback Brian Hoyer and his accuracy. Hoyer struggled greatly versus the Jacksonville Jaguars defense. On Sunday, Hoyer only completed 16 of his 41 pass attempts for 215 yards and an interception. This 39% completion percentage was his worse of the season. Here are some plays where his inaccuracy really hurt the Browns.

hoyer-misses-cameron-compressor

This was probably one of the biggest incompletions of the game by Brian Hoyer. This 3rd and 4 play in the second quarter could have put the Browns up two possessions at 10-0. Hoyer misses tight end Jordan Cameron and forces the Browns to kick the field goal.

Cameron wide open

This shot shows the throwing lane and the open area tight end Jordan Cameron is in. The back of the endzone is completely vacant. The linebacker that is in charge of covering Cameron is completely fooled by Cameron’s fake to the outside and then cut to the inside route. This quick V-in route loses the linebacker and gets Cameron wide open. The linebacker inside of Cameron is too far over to really disrupt the pass. The video below shows Cameron’s perfect route to get open.

cameron-route-compressor

Brian Hoyer simply overthrows Cameron and misses out on a touchdown. An NFL quarterback needs to make this pass and Hoyer just did not do it. In the NFL, Cameron is wide open and an easy throw for a touchdown.

gabriel-incompletion-compressor

This play was the first play of the fourth quarter and could have been a huge play to take back the lead from the Jaguars. The Browns were in striking distance down 10-6 at this point of the game. Brian Hoyer extended the play well, but he missed an opportunity for a possible touchdown pass to receiver Taylor Gabriel.

gabriel wide open

Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel is able to beat the corner covering him. This shot shows Gabriel getting past the deep safety and running to the left wide open. The play was long developing but Hoyer was able to extend the play with his legs. Check out the route by Gabriel that allowed him to get open.

gabriel-route-compressor

The pass was about 50 yards, but Hoyer was able to set his feet and fire the ball. He completely underthrows this pass and it lands incomplete. His ability to set his feet should have given him the ability to rifle this ball to Gabriel for the big gain and maybe a touchdown. It shows that the arm strength question many had with Brian Hoyer is a legit question mark.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer has struggled with his accuracy in the past three games, completing fewer than 60% of his throws in all three games. He must be able to complete these passes in order for the Browns to help out the injured offensive line. His inaccuracy will allow defenses to stack the box against the run and slow down the team’s biggest strength. The Browns need the threat of the pass in order to run the ball.

The Worst

The Browns worst of the week is the play of the offensive line, especially by the right side of the line: right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, right guard Paul McQuistan, center John Greco. The injury of center Alex Mack completely destroyed the cohesion of the offensive line and versus the Jaguars it caused two holes in the line. The Browns right side of the line allowed rushers to get to the backfield and disrupt the Browns offense. Here are a couple examples of the poor blocking by the Browns offensive line versus the Jaguars.

shwartz-beaten-compressor

This play is a 4th-and-11 on the Browns final drive of the game. The Jaguars are rushing only four players against the Browns five-man offensive line and running back Isaiah Crowell. So the Browns have six men to block the four rushers, but right tackle Mitchell Schwartz is completely beat by defensive end Chris Clemons. Clemons does not do anything special. He simply uses his speed to beat Schwartz off the corner and causes the pocket to collapse on quarterback Brian Hoyer.

greco-beaten-compressor

This play was a 2nd-and-8 in the first quarter of the game. The Browns call a run play with running back Ben Tate running towards the middle of the right side of the line. The whole play is completely blown up instantly when center John Greco whiffs on his block. Defensive tackle Roy Miller brushes up Greco’s block and gets his hands on Tate in the backfield. Greco tries to regain the block, but Miller is already in midst of taking down Tate. This missed block by Greco causes a loss of three yards on the play.

mcquistan-beaten-compressor

This play was a 1st-and-10 in the fourth quarter of the game. The Browns call a run play with running back Isaiah Crowell running to the right end of the line. The play is completely disrupted by one man. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks makes right guard Paul McQuistan look like a fool on this play. Marks smashes McQuistan into the backfield and then sheds him to make the tackle on Crowell. McQuistan allows one man to disrupt the whole play cause the four yard loss.

The Browns offensive line is in complete disarray because of the injury to center Alex Mack. Mack’s injury caused two holes because it made Greco move to a position he has never played before. The right side of the line was so leaky on Sunday that the offense could never really get anything going for an extended period of time because of the penetration to the backfield by the Jaguars’ defense. It was an ugly day for the offensive line and will probably result in roster changes for this coming game versus the Oakland Raiders.

Highlights

This week’s highlight for the Browns was the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason game on Monday versus the Chicago Bulls. Yeah there were not highlights in the Browns’ loss on Sunday. The whole team played down to the competition and lost to a winless Jaguars team. The Cavs game was way more of a highlight then the Browns game. The Big 3 playing against their biggest competition in the East was a great showcase of the season to come.

Lowlights

There were many lowlights in the game, but the two I want to hit on was running back Terrance West and the coaching decisions. West followed up his benching with a lackluster performance. West has been way too indecisive and is not running downhill like the zone blocking scheme asks for. In the second quarter, he had two straight plays where he danced around the backfield and gained no yards. He has two chances at gaining two yards for the first down, but only gained one yard.

These two runs lead me to the other lowlight. Mike Pettine’s decision to go for the 4th and 1 in the redzone and not kick a field goal was a huge game changing play. Pettine has made good gameday decisions for most of the year, but this past game was one of his worst games as coach. This decision changed the momentum of the game and took away the chance to go up two possessions to the Jaguars. Nothing went right for the Browns on Sunday, so the whole the team was the real lowlight.

The post Cleveland Browns Week 7 Film Room appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/cleveland-browns-week-7-film-room/feed/ 28
Watch Kyrie Irving pass between his legs to Kevin Love http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/watch-kyrie-irving-pass-legs-kevin-love/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/watch-kyrie-irving-pass-legs-kevin-love/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:06:19 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132694 LeBron James didn’t play in Wednesday night’s pre-season game in order to rest, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t without highlights thanks to Shawn Marion, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Shawn Marion intercepted a pass and started a 3-on-1 fast break starring himself, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. There was a day and age where

The post Watch Kyrie Irving pass between his legs to Kevin Love appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
LeBron James didn’t play in Wednesday night’s pre-season game in order to rest, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t without highlights thanks to Shawn Marion, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Shawn Marion intercepted a pass and started a 3-on-1 fast break starring himself, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. There was a day and age where The Matrix would have soared through the air to catch an alley-oop from the point guard, but this day, given the options, Kyrie Irving chose Kevin Love.

Oh, but he didn’t just give him a bounce pass. Kyrie made sure the defender wouldn’t be able to see it coming by putting the bounce pass through his legs.

The Cavaliers lost their pre-season finale as they go 5-2 in the pre-season. Kevin Love had 12 points, Kyrie Irving had 16, and Dion Waiters had 15. It’s time for the regular season to begin. The Cavaliers are mostly ready and the fans are completely ready to get this thing started.

The post Watch Kyrie Irving pass between his legs to Kevin Love appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/watch-kyrie-irving-pass-legs-kevin-love/feed/ 7
Reflections on LeBron’s meaning to Akron: While We’re Waiting… http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/reflections-lebrons-meaning-akron-waiting/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/reflections-lebrons-meaning-akron-waiting/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132688 It’s almost here. Next Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers begin the much-hyped 2014-15 NBA regular season with LeBron James back in wine and gold. The preseason is now over. The real games begin soon. It’s a pretty surreal time to be a fan of Northeast Ohio professional basketball. It’s perhaps even more surreal to be amid

The post Reflections on LeBron’s meaning to Akron: While We’re Waiting… appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
It’s almost here. Next Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers begin the much-hyped 2014-15 NBA regular season with LeBron James back in wine and gold. The preseason is now over. The real games begin soon.

It’s a pretty surreal time to be a fan of Northeast Ohio professional basketball. It’s perhaps even more surreal to be amid the subset of Cavs fans from Akron that grew up with LeBron as a part of their lives.

Ever since he was a high school sophomore in 2000-01, he was a national celebrity and a sure-fire NBA player. By that season, his home basketball games were starting to be played at the University of Akron’s James A. Rhodes Arena. The St. V Irish were out-selling the Zips.

LeBron has been a part of people’s sports lives in Northeast Ohio for almost 15 years now. I know for me, as an early teenager, going to those games at the JAR were sensational. The energy was insane as we went wild every time for this prodigious talent, this over-sized man-child.

By a stroke of good lottery luck, he went on to play for the Cavaliers. By an even further stroke of luck, he returned to Cleveland, championing his love and passion for community building in this region. Opening Night is sure to be an overwhelming scene.

But as a still young fan of basketball and of Akron, it just pulls at the strings quite a bit to see the new videos popping up each week. Take for instance, this new Beats commercial.

There’s Hawkins. There’s St. V. There’s Swenson’s. There’s Highland Square. There’s downtown. There’s the streets we know and love. There’s the common bond to an area that I share – that we all share – with this incredible talent, the best basketball player in the entire world.

Yes, the season will be filled with many pressures and expectations to compete immediately. But if we just sit back for a moment and cherish the incredulousness of this story, the emotional status of this community right now, it adds a necessary dose of reality. This matters, this is awesome. This is going to be a whole lot of fun for a whole number of people.

 

 

Assorted links:

FiveThirtyEight’s NFL playoff implications data visualization is really, really good. The Browns’ playoff odds are about 10% entering week 8 per the machine, created by InPredict’s Mike Beuoy and site writer Reuben Fischer-Baum, formerly of Deadspin.

— Our old friend Denny Mayo had a sentimental read at Eleven Warriors about Ohio State’s homecoming weekend and “home.” Missed you around these blogging parts, Denny.

— Hardwood Paroxysm unveiled its massive 2014-15 season preview. This basketball network is the best on the interwebs. You should go scope out this preview e-book. It’s glorious.

The Cauldron’s Kevin McElroy had a detailed read on the top Eastern Conference contenders opposite the Cavaliers. Again, I think many people are sleeping on the Raptors. They finished 42-22 last season and brought everyone back.

— Have you yet seen the LaBlatt Lue t-shirts that @firejb_ made? Because they also are glorious. And don’t ya get it? Blatt … Lue … there have been a few Canadian basketballers too. It’s funny! (And Dawn Griffin is offering a free Cavs print at Sunday’s Comic-Con event. You should take advantage of that.)

— The annual League Pass rankings from Grantland’s Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe made me super-duper excited for Cavs home games this year. I’m hoping to go to as many as possible during my winter break.

— Last month, BizTech Magazine’s Ricky Ribeiro wrote about the on-court 3D technology that will be used by the 76ers and Cavs this season. Super cool, super expensive.

— The Akron RubberDucks are the first Ohio sports team and first minor league baseball team to introduce Apple Pay as a payment option for fans. This is totally unsurprising with team owner Ken Babby, previously of Washington Post digital media.

— Speaking of digital media, I was really intrigued by this AdAge article about how Nate Silver plans to use video to better increase engagement and page views at FiveThirtyEight. The data site has seemed to be mildly underwhelming so far. I’m not certain exactly what interactive videos they’ll be able to create, but it’s certainly where Internet sites are trending these days.

— On the topic of video, Fox Sports’ Katie Nolan is awesome with her No Filter YouTube videos. Last week, she worked to out-duel Madison Bumgarner’s beer-chugging abilities. It was quite funny. (As was her story earlier in the year on bar mitzvahs.)

— And finally, I was really proud of last week’s over-filled Sports Analytics Blog roundup. I spend a lot of these articles each week. They’re designed to be a great primer for anyone interested in topical analytics research. Go check it out if you have a moment to browse.

 

Tweets of the week:

The post Reflections on LeBron’s meaning to Akron: While We’re Waiting… appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/reflections-lebrons-meaning-akron-waiting/feed/ 33
Brian Hoyer: Regression to the Mean http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/brian-hoyer-cleveland-browns-johnny-manziel/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/brian-hoyer-cleveland-browns-johnny-manziel/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:43:53 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132607 Will the real Brian Hoyer please stand up?

The post Brian Hoyer: Regression to the Mean appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
Too often, it seems, Cleveland sports fans pine for the next hero to lead them to a championship.  And, I’m not talking about any bandwagon fans who only root for the Browns because the Johnny Manziel Show came to town. I’m looking at the hardcore Muni Lot-tailgating, Bernie Kosar jersey-wearing, season-ticket holders who have endured the pain of not only losing games, but the team as well.

At the slightest hint that Brian Hoyer had the ability to lead the Browns to a winning record, he instantly became immune to criticism and garnered enough fan support to earn a local endorsement from Mr. Hero. After the dominating win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, even talk of a contract extension for Hoyer cropped up. Yet, after one bad performance, many fans seem ready to move on from him completely, either immediately or when Manziel is ready to take over the reigns. Just compare the comments on my post after the Steelers game where I cast some doubt into Hoyer’s abilities to Craig’s post-game article after the Jaguars game. The beauty of Cleveland fans is that they will hold players who win for their city in the highest regard and fight for them against any doubt. But, the curse of Clevelanders is if players don’t live up to the lofty expectations, they are immediately pushed out.


The curse of Clevelanders is if players don’t live up to the lofty expectations, they are immediately pushed out.

Maybe Brian Hoyer is who he has been for his entire career: A competent quarterback with strong mental fortitude, high football IQ, toughness, accuracy on shallow routes, and a workman-like attitude. He has been an underdog since he stepped foot into an NFL locker room as an undrafted free agent who managed to make the New England Patriots roster, backing up Tom Brady for three seasons, from 2009 to 2011. Released by the Patriots as one of the final cuts of training camp in 2012, he was not picked up until November, by the Steelers. He spent a month backing up Charlie Batch, then was released in December and picked up by the Arizona Cardinals who gave him an opportunity to play in weeks 16 and 17, replacing the one and only Ryan Lindley. The Browns picked him up six months later, after Arizona released him, and you know the rest.

Prior to Sunday’s game against Jacksonville, his record of 5-2 as a quarterback in Cleveland was good enough to make him seem legendary in light of performances from Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, and Seneca Wallace. Now, a 29-year old journeyman quarterback from the suburbs of Cleveland, is seen by many as another quarterback who the town got too excited about too quickly only to be let down. And, they’re probably right.

The Jaguars finally exposed Hoyer’s lack of pocket passing ability by shutting down the running game and forcing the Browns into third and long situations. In the first five games of the season, Kyle Shanahan was able to call on his stable of three promising running backs to carry the offense and, then, run play action passes to take advantage of the linebackers and safeties creeping up to stop the run. The misdirection helped Hoyer who was able to move and find throwing lanes created by misdirection rather than using impressive arm strength and accuracy. He does not have the arm strength or accuracy beyond short routes to “throw receivers open” or fit the ball into tight spots despite good coverage. Therefore, when forced to make throws to average to below-average receivers standing in the pocket, Hoyer struggles mightily.

What I’m not saying is that Hoyer is a failure at quarterback and needs to be replaced. That is the furthest thought in my mind. My point is that, as former Cardinals coach would say, he is who we thought he was rather than what we hoped he was. Sometimes, teams think they find a quarterback out of nowhere, always desiring the next Kurt Warner to walk into the NFL and dominate from start to finish. That almost never happens, but the possibility that it does entices everyone.

Take a look at these four stat lines from seven game samples and guess who these quarterbacks are.

Hoyer

If you guessed Brian Hoyer was player A, Matt Cassel was player B, Ryan Fitzpatrick was player C, and player D was Josh Freeman, you are correct—and you need to seriously reconsider things you commit to memory. Of course, Cassel, Fitzpatrick, and Freeman each have followed up their shockingly good performances with less-than-stellar careers. This excercise is not meant to prove that Hoyer will follow their careers and end up as a career backup, but rather to show that this phenomenon happens. Average quarterbacks in a system that fits well with talented players and coaches around them can succeed in this league and even win games. The issue remains that if they are not surrounded by a combination of these factors, many quarterbacks regress to the mean and struggle.

While standing behind the best offensive line in football, Hoyer was able to take a luxurious amount of time to allow receivers to get open, never once worrying about the pressure. The same line gave the Browns one of the best running games in football which allowed Hoyer to get out of the pocket on play action passes, as I noted above. But, when any part of this machine known as Kyle Shanahan’s offense breaks down (Alex Mack), the quarterback is asked to do more. We learned that Hoyer will likely have issues with this increased responsibility.

Going forwards, pay attention to how Shanahan is forced to change up the offense due to defenses keying on Hoyer’s weakness, throwing inside the pocket. Can Paul McQuistan or anyone else who is, at least, a somewhat capable of playing like an NFL offensive lineman help shore up the right side of the line? If the run cannot rebound to the level it was before Alex Mack was injured, either Hoyer or Shanahan must find a way to overcome this obstacle. Much of the poor performance in Jacksonville can be attributed to the leaky offensive line or shaky running game, but at the end of the day, Hoyer is on the hook, whether fair or unfair.

Up next, the Browns face the winless Oakland Raiders who have allowed 218 yards per game on the ground, a welcome statistic to the Browns after last week. I fully expect Hoyer, the backfield, and the offensive line to look much better because the match-up favors everything Kyle Shanahan’s offense does well. But, if they struggle once again, expect the Johnny chant to get louder than it has been since the first pre-season game. This game is absolutely winnable for Hoyer and the Browns, but, after last week’s offensive performance, there are no guarantees

The post Brian Hoyer: Regression to the Mean appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/brian-hoyer-cleveland-browns-johnny-manziel/feed/ 18
Kendrick Lamar to perform before Cavs Home Opener http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/kendrick-lamar-perform-cavs-home-opener/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/kendrick-lamar-perform-cavs-home-opener/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:03:54 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132641 How big are the Cleveland Cavaliers? Not only will their October 30 home opener be televised on TNT, Kendrick Lamar will be performing before the game at a fan event held outside of Quicken Loans Arena. The Cleveland Cavaliers will tipoff the most anticipated season in the team’s history on Thursday night October 30th when

The post Kendrick Lamar to perform before Cavs Home Opener appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
How big are the Cleveland Cavaliers? Not only will their October 30 home opener be televised on TNT, Kendrick Lamar will be performing before the game at a fan event held outside of Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will tipoff the most anticipated season in the team’s history on Thursday night October 30th when they host the New York Knicks as part of TNT’s national broadcast of NBA Opening Week.

To commemorate the evening, Turner Sports and the Cavs will host a free fan event outside Quicken Loans Arena that will feature a musical performance by hip-hop recording artist Kendrick Lamar, as well as appearances by the Cavalier Girls dance team, the Scream Team hip-hop troupe and more. Once the Cavs game begins, the event will serve as a viewing party for fans with the TNT broadcast featured on the massive video boards that will be set up in the space.

The free event will be open to the public beginning at 4:00 p.m. in the Huron (Stark) parking lot (directly across the street from The Q). Turner Sports will feature footage from the event and Kendrick Lamar’s performance, within the hour-long TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com. With a special guest appearance by Kevin Hart and NBA TV’s Inside Stuff host Kristen Ledlow, the special will air at 7:00 p.m. ET before TNT’s coverage of the Cavaliers vs. Knicks game tips off at 8:00 p.m. ET.

The Grammy-nominated Lamar, widely accepted as one of the best hip-hop artists making music today, and his song “I” will serve as the theme song for the entire 2014-15 season. The song “I” has had some mixed reviews, but this is to be expected from someone as decorated as Kendrick Lamar has been—the bar is indeed high.

In 2014, Lamar took to the iHeartRadio stage to perform “California Love” in a Cleveland Indians hat. The intersection of his music and the NBA isn’t new as he and Clippers point guard Chris Paul were on the cover of the recent “Music” issue of ESPN The Magazine. As a fan of his work, if his upcoming album (Complex’s Most Anticipated album of 2014) is half as good as 2012’s Good Kid Maad City (released two years ago today), pairing Lamar up with the Cavs for this stretch run could prove to be one hell of a year for all parties involved.

For those of you who haven’t heard the track yet, we got you covered, ya bish. (Note: Some lyrics are potentially NSFW.)

The post Kendrick Lamar to perform before Cavs Home Opener appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/kendrick-lamar-perform-cavs-home-opener/feed/ 35
NBA GM Survey: LeBron James, Cavs should be pretty good http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/nba-gm-survey-cleveland-cavs-lebron-james/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/nba-gm-survey-cleveland-cavs-lebron-james/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:41:54 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132634 This LeBron guy is pret-ty good.

The post NBA GM Survey: LeBron James, Cavs should be pretty good appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
The annual General Manager survey was released by the NBA and, as to be expected, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a fairly good showing. Though the majority of GMs think the San Antonio Spurs will repeat as NBA Champions, more than 70 percent of respondents believe that their opponent will be the Wine and Gold.

Cavs forward LeBron James received plenty of accolades, garnering the majority of the MVP vote (67.9) in addition to being named the player most GMs would choose to start a franchise (despite turning 30 this year) as well as the one who forces the opposition to make the most adjustments. James also brought home “Most Athletic” and “Best Perimeter Defender,” just ahead of San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard. He was far and away the “Most Dangerous in the Open Floor” and “Best Finisher at the Rim.”

Interestingly, James received votes for “Best Small Forward in the NBA” as well as “Best Power Forward in the NBA.” While he won the former by a landslide, he and teammate Kevin Love came in fourth and fifth, respectively, among power forwards. Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, and Los Angeles’ Blake Griffin were ranked ahead. Love came in second for “Best Offensive Rebounder,” giving up the top spot to Detroit’s Andre Drummond.

Perhaps most newsworthy (outside of Shawn Marion’s multiple mentions), there were actually general managers who felt that the Cleveland Cavaliers did not have the best offseason—the Chicago Bulls pulled in just over 10 percent of the votes. Seventy-five percent of GMs said the Cavaliers were “Most Improved.” The Cavs were also not listed among the top five “Most Fun to Watch.” Good one, GMs. At least Grantland got it right.

As Zach Lowe said best, “I can hear Austin Carr cackling from 500 miles away.”

The post NBA GM Survey: LeBron James, Cavs should be pretty good appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/nba-gm-survey-cleveland-cavs-lebron-james/feed/ 10
Game Illustrated: Matthew Dellavedova http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/game-illustrated-matthew-dellavedova-cleveland-cavaliers/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/game-illustrated-matthew-dellavedova-cleveland-cavaliers/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:27:42 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132563 If you know me personally or have read more than 50 words I’ve written, then you already know that I am an unabashed sucker for players who hustle, especially on a basketball court. I paid tribute to Anderson Varejao’s hustle in the previous edition of Game Illustrated. Today, that honor goes to another foreign Cavalier

The post Game Illustrated: Matthew Dellavedova appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
If you know me personally or have read more than 50 words I’ve written, then you already know that I am an unabashed sucker for players who hustle, especially on a basketball court. I paid tribute to Anderson Varejao’s hustle in the previous edition of Game Illustrated. Today, that honor goes to another foreign Cavalier I hold near and dear: Matthew Dellavedova.

Matthew Dellavedova Game Illustrated

A pair of anecdotes to help illustrate—pardon the pun—my affection for Outback Jesus and those of his ilk:

My high school basketball coach stood about 5-foot-7.1 In his playing days, he was a classic, plucky point guard. He moved the ball on offense, got up in your shirt on defense, and collected floor burns like Beanie Babies circa 1998. If we were hoping to get any minutes as his players, that was the identity we needed to embrace. As a team, we could barely shoot a lick, and I was our biggest guy at 6-foot-5. We were loaded with talent in the way that Skip Bayless is loaded with subtlety.

But we could run, dammit. If we couldn’t win on talent, we would win on effort. We had entire portions of practice devoted to diving after loose balls. We practiced taking charges. We had no-rules rebounding drills. We took masochistic joy in running those practice-ending suicides. If we were going to win, it was going to be through attrition. We had to go hard until our foes got sick of it.

It’s all terribly corny, I know. But it resonated with me then, and it does now. To me, this is what basketball is about. If you’re going to be out on that hardwood endeavoring to win a game, why wouldn’t you go as hard as you can? Why entertain the possibility of thinking that you could’ve done more? When I see a person not sprinting back on defense, I see a person whom I probably would not get along with on a personal level. Ipso facto, Delly and I would be best friends.

Another tale, from a different time and place:

I taught English in South Korea for about three years. I taught dozens of students over that time. Some had a knack for English, some struggled, and some didn’t really care. Some roused rabble, while others were as rowdy as a cup of Earl Grey. Each was outstanding in his or her own way.2

The student of whom I was and am most proud was a third grader with the English name of Judy.3 She was not outgoing—in any language. She wasn’t an outcast, but she wasn’t mega-popular either. She mostly kept to herself in those in-between moments of class when the aspiring comics tried out their latest fart jokes.

But that girl worked. She worked her ass off. She took extra notes in class—as a third grader. When most kids only worried about whether or not this would be on the test, she was jotting down asides about idiom usage and appropriate situations in which to employ the present progressive tense. She took better notes in elementary school than I did in college.

Lo and behold, as the months passed, Judy got better and better at English. She was always shy, but her little hand went up more as she improved. You could see confidence in how she held her Hello Kitty mechanical pencil. She read aloud faster. She guessed the meanings of words she’d never seen. She grasped fully what nouns and verbs and adjectives and adverbs were. She stuck her neck out there and answered questions that everyone else assumed impossible, winning impressed glances from other students when she turned out to be right.

And she did all of this because she tried so damn hard. It was a joy to watch her at work. My eyes are moist as I write this.

This all brings me back to Delly. Delly is like Judy. He isn’t that big or that fast or that good, in the conventional NBA senses of those ideas. He’s a solid ballplayer, mind you, and there’s no doubt in my mind that David Blatt is happy to have him on the roster. There isn’t a coach in the basketballing world who would refuse effort like this:

Young Matthew probably won’t play more than 18 minutes a game this year, and that’s okay. He’s a decent ball-handler and he can at least initiate the offense and get out of the way.

He can knock down jumpers at a decent rate, too. He shot 37% on threes last year, including a combined 44.8% from the corners. You could do a lot worse than sticking him in the corner while one of the Cavs’ more ball-dominant stars is on the court.

Most importantly, Delly will be a pain for opposing point guards. He’ll draw charges and harass enemies for 94 feet. It’s not fun for a player to catch an inbounds pass and immediately have a defender on him like Vegemite on toast. It may not result in a turnover, but burning an extra few seconds off of the shot clock is valuable, especially if LeBron, Marion, and some of the Cavs’ other pterodactyl defenders are on the floor. You can even talk yourself into the idea that facing Delly in practice every day is making Kyrie a better player.

And as a bonus, he gives us an excuse to watch Australian interviews (In the first 35 seconds, Austin Carr gushes over Delly almost as much as me). I love a good accent:

Ah, Delly. He seems like a good lad. He won’t be more than the ninth-most important Cavalier this year, but he’s going to be one of my favorites to watch. He plays the game how my coach played it. He plays how Judy would play. He plays how we should all aspire to live: all effort, full belief, caution to the wind.

The Cavaliers are a better team with him on it.

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. He still does; he ain’t dead. Big shout to McGregor’s Militia
  2. Disregard this if you’re not a parent. Some kids kinda suck
  3. Most every student was made to take an English name. It was awkward

The post Game Illustrated: Matthew Dellavedova appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/game-illustrated-matthew-dellavedova-cleveland-cavaliers/feed/ 14
Dion Waiters Named Co-Captain to the Triangle All-Stars http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/dion-waiters-grantland-triangle-all-stars/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/dion-waiters-grantland-triangle-all-stars/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:20:28 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132600 Buckets: They still don't lie.

The post Dion Waiters Named Co-Captain to the Triangle All-Stars appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
Dion Waiters has won his first and most dubious honor of the season: He was named co-captain, along with DeMarcus Cousins, of the Triangle All-Stars, which are described as “the people’s Dream Team — the crazy characters, untapped talents, and head cases who make the NBA our favorite thing to watch.”

The Triangle is Grantland’s sports blog, and it is nothing if not a fan of the intersection of pro athletes and social media. The folks over there do deep dives into Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and everything else, so that we can enjoy the very best that the internet has to offer. Dion won big points for his “Men lie women lie BUCKETS DNT” tweet, which the Triangle named the Tweet of the Summer. High praise!

The full list of this year’s Triangle All-Stars has yet to be revealed, but Dion made the starting lineup along with Cousins, Gorgui Dieng, Klay Thompson, and Reggie Jackson.

Cavs fans are unlikely to be surprised by Dion’s inclusion. He has been a lightning rod for conversation and controversy ever since he was taken with the number four pick, and he has only stepped his game up since the Cavs stepped back into the national spotlight.

The Triangle loves Dion for his innate wild-carditude. A portion of the writeup on him:

The Walter White of locker-room chemistry.1 Dion is the 100 emoji. Every team needs a wild card — the dude who is going to turn a boring Wednesday-night visit to Detroit into either a personal highlight film or a personal Alamo. Some night in December, Dion Waiters is going to do something extraordinary, whether that’s scoring 40 points in a half or suplexing Tristan Thompson at midcourt. Either way, he is the one big question mark hanging over the Cavs roster (aside from the lack of big men).

This all seems just about right. I’m disappointed and a little hurt that Grantland did not cite the Swag Matrix as part of its research, but that’s okay. We’ll just have to keep on…waiting for next year.2

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. In the sense that he will probably kill your locker room, eventually.
  2. Synergy!

The post Dion Waiters Named Co-Captain to the Triangle All-Stars appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/dion-waiters-grantland-triangle-all-stars/feed/ 2
“Yosted” Celebrity Friends, NFL Fan Behavior, Passing Over Sandy, and Bitter Bo: While We’re Waiting… http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/2014-mlb-world-series-nfl-fans/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/2014-mlb-world-series-nfl-fans/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132543 TD takes a look at Ned Yost and the behavior of certain NFL Fans.

The post “Yosted” Celebrity Friends, NFL Fan Behavior, Passing Over Sandy, and Bitter Bo: While We’re Waiting… appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
Good Wednesday morning ya’ll…. It is my “offseason” here at WFNY, but it is good to have this space each week to get some quick views out to the masses. The Browns let me down big time Sunday, the Cavs are about to begin their quest with LeBron 2.0 and to be honest, it is just not my thing. My beloved Wahoos will soon start their winter roster tinkering, but I don’t expect anything major. So what am I talking about?

****

I will be the first one to admit it: Despite the fact that Ned Yost has his Kansas City Royals in the World Series for the first time in 29 years, he is still arguably one of, if not the, worst in-game managers in Baseball. His team is playing for a title in spite of him and his over-the-top love for the bunt. I can assure you that I am not alone in my evaluation. Don’t forget this was a guy who was fired with less than two weeks left in the regular season back in 2008 when his Milwaukee Brewers were battling for a playoff spot, led by their ace CC Sabathia,

After all, his brutal moves all season spawned a favorite hashtag in the Kansas City Twitter World: “Yosted.” As in when Ole’ Ned pulled James Shields after giving up a single and a walk in the sixth inning of the Wild Card, just 88 pitches in. Pulling him was bad enough, but instead of turning things over to his lock down seventh inning reliever Kelvin Herrera, or even a lefty to matchup with Brandon Moss, Ned called on right-handed Rookie starter Yordano Ventura. The book on Ventura is that he comes in wild at times before calming down, ala Trevor Bauer. The first two pitches he threw were balls. Ventura’s next one was tatooed to deep center for a three-run bomb.The 3-2 lead had evaporated and the Royals and their fans has been….wait for it…..Yosted.

That is just one of many examples of getting Yosted. But then again, the guy must be doing something right because his team, which trailed 7-3 heading into the eighth inning of the win-or-go-home Wild Card game, hasn’t lost until last night as his Royals rode into the Fall Classic as the Favorite.

One thing you can say about Yost is that he is an interesting guy. Here is something that our old friend Anthony Castrovince brought to our attention: Ned’s got some famous friends, which include Comedian Jeff Foxworthy and the late great Nascar legend Dale Earnhardt.

“Jeff is like a brother to me,” Yost said. “And Dale, I loved him like a brother.”

And no matter what you think of Yost’s strategy, no matter how much we might wish he was a little more media savvy, there is no denying, on the eve of this Fall Classic, that he has made that same ascension in his line of work.

“As the stakes have gotten higher, he’s gotten calmer,” said Foxworthy, who speaks with Yost daily and will be there Tuesday for Game 1 at Kauffman Stadium. “Ned would always say — even at the All-Star break this year — that this team was so close, that they just had to get it through their heads that they could win. And boy, they did.”

Collectively, we underestimated the Royals, and we underestimated Edgar Frederick Yost III. It’s OK to admit that now.

Kudos to the former Indians.com beat writer on another fantastic piece.

****

Growing up here on the East side of Cleveland, I was lucky enough to have a father who had season tickets to the Browns. Home Browns games were a holiday in the Dery family. My Uncle had a suburban that 10 of us would pile in to go down to each game. My dad always drove because he the more aggressive of the two behind the wheel. His moves in and out of traffic were Eric Metcalf-esque.

We parked in the lot down the hill by the West side of old Muncipal Stadium. We brought sandwiches from Davis Bakery for half time and My uncle Kenny would get Hot Dogs before the game for everyone and my dad would get the programs. We parked the same place. We walked the same way. We sat in the same order in our seats in section 37 of the upper deck. Everything was very ritualistic. One of the things my older brother and I enjoyed doing was watching drunks fight in the Dawg Pound with my dad’s binoculars. Back then, it was funny to us. Now? Not so much.

Fan behavior at NFL games these days can be borderline appalling. I hate to paint everyone with a broad brush, so if it comes off that way, I apologize. I now take my two young kids to the games with me. The walk from the parking lot into the stadium and from the gate to our seats is an eye opening experience to them. They look horrified at times. Maybe I was the same way when I was their age going with my parents to games down at the Lakefront, but I have to believe things have gotten a lot worse.

I have no issue with anyone tailgating. What I don’t understand is the need to have 18 beers before walking into a game, then barely being able to stand up while acting like a buffoon during the game. Or the guy who wants to act tough and tried to pick fights all day long. This happens in every stadium every Sunday in the fall. The fan on fan fist fights pop up every Monday morning on youtube and get plastered all over the sports blogs. There were two horrifically bloody incidents in Arizona and San Francisco this season that caught National headlines earlier this season. Now comes this nugget out of Chicago:

A man is in critical condition after he was beaten up during a tailgate party in a McCormick Place parking lot before Sunday’s Chicago Bears game.

What is wrong with people? Whether it is in the parking lot or inside the stadium, like the two incidents I spoke of earlier, I just don’t understand why people feel the need to get all liquored up, mouth off to people, then start throwing fists. Has the NFL even taken any steps to try and curb all of this violence? It is no wonder than people now prefer the at-home HD viewing than the live in-game experience.

****

Back to baseball. It looks as though Hall of Famer Paul Molitor has become the leading candidate to become the next manager of the Minnesota Twins. This isn’t that much of a surprise, considering Molitor’s Minnesota ties and familiarity with the current roster. But what is interesting to us is who is not getting the job:

Reports have suggested that with DeMarlo Hale, Joe McEwing and Sandy Alomar Jr. having been told they are out of the running and with no evidence of additional candidates coming in now, the derby may be down to Molitor, a Twins coach this past year, Class A Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz and Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo.

Our man Sandy Alomar Jr. can’t seem to catch a break. Had the Indians not landed Terry Francona two years ago at this time, Sandy would be the manager of the Tribe today. He has been rumored for several jobs over the past three years – Arizona and Minnesota interviewed him this offseason while he was passed over for jobs in Toronto and Chicago (both White Sox and Cubs) – yet can’t seem to close the deal.

We all know that Sandy is one heck of a guy and his work with Yan Gomes over the past two years has helped elevate him into one of the best catchers in the AL. But maybe Alomar Jr. just isn’t a great interview. Not that it has ever been mentioned or is even any sort of problem, but Francona inherited Sandy and moved him from bench coach to First Base coach this past season. There is no rift there whatsoever and Sandy is an Indian as long as he wants to be, but I was just pointing that out. He will be a manager one of these days, I am just surprised it hasn’t happened as of yet.

****

A Big Ten guy, I am not. But living in Northeast Ohio I obvious am dialed in. This is not news to anyone; the conference is once again horrific in 2014. Adding Rutgers and Maryland makes things worse. You can point to Rutgers 5-2 record and tell me that I am wrong, but anyone who watched Ohio State destroy them 56-17 this past Saturday knows that is not a good Football team. Right now, the leader of the Big Ten West is Minnesota at 6-1 (3-0) and their best win to date is at Michigan, who we all know is the biggest dumpster fire West of Florida.

It is a two-team, one-game league at this point. Anything that happens before and after November 8 doesn’t and won’t matter. November 8 is when Ohio State visits East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans. The Bucks are an offensive juggernaut with QB J.T. Barrett getting better this week. Then again, who exactly have they played? Their four game winning streak where they have averaged 56 points per game has been against Kent State, Cincinnati, Maryland and Rutgers. While the offensive explosion has been impressive, call me when they play anyone worth talking about.

As for the Spartans, they had their one chance to put themselves in the top of the playoff conversation earlier in the season when they travelled to Eugene to take on Oregon. The game was close for a half before the Ducks overwhelmed Michigan State 46-27. Both Nebraska and Purdue came on late to keep things close when they got their shot at the Spartans, but in the end, both came up short.

Nebraska coach and known Red Arse Bo Pellini, who wants to believe this is a three-team race (except it isn’t), spouted off some interesting/bitter rhetoric about ESPN’s relationship with the SEC, the clear best conference in the sport and the place Pellini had come from before getting the head coaching job at Nebraska:

“I don’t think that kind of relationship is good for college football. That’s just my opinion,” Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said Monday. “Anytime you have a relationship with somebody, you have a partnership, you are supposed to be neutral. It’s pretty hard to stay neutral in that situation.”

“They play good football, and I know there is some good football played in some other conferences, too,” Pelini said. “It’s hard to say because you just don’t see, unfortunately, in this day and age, a lot of crossovers. So you don’t get a lot to make that decision on, to be able to compare and contrast. You have to go off what the media says to a certain extent and what some people say.”

The truth? As of today, The SEC West has four of the top five ranked teams in the AP poll. Is ESPN supposed to just ignore that fact? Should they be talking about the Maryland/Iowa game that means so much? Come on Bo, you are better than this. Pellini is an Indians fan and for that, I like to give him the benefit of the doubt, but that was not the smartest thing he has ever said.

****

Your classic Old-School Hip Hop of the week: Big Daddy Kane never gets the respect he is due as an MC. His staying power wasn’t to the likes of BDP, Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim, and others of his time, but he was still “silk smooth.” Enjoy his greatest cut: “Ain’t No Half Steppin.”

The post “Yosted” Celebrity Friends, NFL Fan Behavior, Passing Over Sandy, and Bitter Bo: While We’re Waiting… appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/2014-mlb-world-series-nfl-fans/feed/ 27
Indians ask fans about Wahoo, popular players in survey http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/cleveland-indians-survey-fans-players-wahoo/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/cleveland-indians-survey-fans-players-wahoo/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:04:59 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132576 Survey Says!?

The post Indians ask fans about Wahoo, popular players in survey appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
It’s that time of year again and the Cleveland Indians want to know what their fans and season ticket holders think. Not a lot of surprising questions, per usual. The Indians once again asked about all their various uniforms and Chief Wahoo himself. They also asked for a ranking of the top five Cleveland Indians, which makes sense. One slight wrinkle though: They included manager Terry Francona.

Lastly, they put a grid together with Cody Allen, Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, Jason Kipnis, Corey Kluber, Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher and asked which words applied to the players. Description words that were options included, boring, community-oriented, gritty, uncommitted, blue collar, resilient, passionate, fits character of Cleveland, star, and more.

It’s logical exercise, but I admit I did get a chuckle feeling like I was on an online dating profile with “Down to Earth” being one of the options.

The post Indians ask fans about Wahoo, popular players in survey appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/cleveland-indians-survey-fans-players-wahoo/feed/ 4
Kyrie Irving falls to No. 23 in ESPN’s #NBARank http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/kyrie-irving-espn-nbarank/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/kyrie-irving-espn-nbarank/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:21:07 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132562 He's going down, we're yelling TIMBER.

The post Kyrie Irving falls to No. 23 in ESPN’s #NBARank appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
ESPN surprised plenty of fans when they placed Kyrie Irving at the No. 8 spot in last year’s #NBARank, just one year after being No. 22. This time around, after a year of ebbs and flows and no real growth on the defensive end, the two-time All-Star slots in at No. 23.

Despite the fluctuation in “rank,” Irving’s 2013-14 numbers were right in line with his career averages, tallying 20.8 points, 6.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game (20.14 PER) while suiting up a career-high 71 times. Irving’s leadership has always been a question, but outside of a decreased field goal percentage, this move is either ESPN realizing that they were a little too high on the point guard’s skill set or there were actually a handful of players to leapfrog the 22-year old who is almost assuredly to take on a support role this coming season.

Per ESPN Stats & Info, Irving, in averaging at least 18 points per game and 5 assists per game in each of his first three seasons, matches only Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Grant Hill and Steve Francis in his accomplishments.

[Related: Did #NBARank actually overrate Kyrie Irving?]

The post Kyrie Irving falls to No. 23 in ESPN’s #NBARank appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/kyrie-irving-espn-nbarank/feed/ 3
La Canfora: Browns could “juggle” offensive line again this week http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/nfl-news-cleveland-browns-alex-mack/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/nfl-news-cleveland-browns-alex-mack/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:24:20 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=132544 You know who else juggles? Clowns.

The post La Canfora: Browns could “juggle” offensive line again this week appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
NFL insider Jason La Canfora joined Baskin and Phelps to talk about the Cleveland Browns after their big loss to Jacksonville. La Canfora mentioned that he doesn’t think Brian Hoyer’s job depends on the Oakland game. He also said that he didn’t think injuries to Alex Mack and the defensive linemen would catch up to the Browns as badly as it did on Sunday. Then he dropped this little nugget about the Browns’ continuing plans on the offensive line in light of the Alex Mack injury.

I don’t think (John) Greco will be at center this week. They’re talking about juggling their offensive line a little bit and I expect that to happen.

I don’t know what it means for the Browns to “juggle” their offensive line. Greco could go back to his guard spot leaving a hole at center, but who jumps in?

The Browns signed Ryan Seymour off their practice squad, but he’s a guard. He played LG, LT, RG and RT in starts at Vanerbilt before becoming a seventh rounder to the Seahawks in 2013. There’s a guy named Vinston Painter (sounds like a Bond villain) who’s on the list of Browns offensive linemen. He was signed early in September off of Denver’s practice squad. He was the 173rd overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. He’s described as a tackle.

The best bet? The Browns’ official roster page shows Nick McDonald, who is described as a guard / center. The 27-year-old went undrafted in 2010 and has had bits of time with the Packers, Patriots and Chargers. He played four games at center for the Pats in 2011 and 12 games at right guard for them in 2012.

It sounds like a decent enough plan. Rather than take a good piece of your offensive line that was working and creating two holes, why not leave four of the five spots intact? Of course the center is kind of an important spot and the Browns are now faced with potentially filling it with relatively unknown Nick McDonald.

Of course, that’s if La Canfora’s sources are correct and the Browns are actually going to shuffle the offensive line. I’m sure he’s right that they’re talking about it, but unless we can see the potential candidates in practice, we can’t possibly know if they’ll actually do it… until Sunday against the Raiders, that is.

The post La Canfora: Browns could “juggle” offensive line again this week appeared first on Waiting For Next Year.

]]>
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/10/nfl-news-cleveland-browns-alex-mack/feed/ 17