July 25, 2014

NFL News: Steelers might lose draft pick for Mike Tomlin incident

The Pittsburgh Steelers are facing fines and could lose a draft pick after coach Mike Tomlin’s balancing act on the sidelines on Thursday, reports CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.

According to a league source, there likely will be stiff financial penalties, regardless of the coach’s intent, based on past disciplines for similar incidents. The team also is worried, per sources, that they might lose a late-round draft pick as well.

Pittsburgh lost to Baltimore on Thursday to fall to 5-7 on the season. They beat Cleveland last Sunday in decisive fashion, but then the Tomlin incident of watching a kick return on the scoreboard and nearly interfering with Ravens’ Jacoby Jones marred a tough loss in the spotlight.

In 2009, Jets assistant Sal Alosi was part of the team’s tripping crew for returns and the team was fined $100,000. Alosi was suspended for the rest of the year and later fired. More serious punishments did not occur since Alosi was a low-level assistant. Alosi is now the strength coach for UCLA.

The Browns own the 2014 third-round and fourth-round picks of the Steelers after draft day trades back in April. Pittsburgh received fourth- and fifth-rounders in the separate deals to make selections in the 2013 draft. They also traded a conditional draft pick for left tackle Levi Brown earlier in the season.

Certainly, losing another draft pick, even if in the sixth or seventh round, would again hurt the Steelers going into the 2014 season. They’re heating up after a slow start to the season.

[Related: Browns’ unexciting draft low on fun, but high on strategy]

Cleveland Browns don’t get a second chance at a first impression

FirstEnergy Stadium Steelers

I really wonder how much of Joe Banner’s legendary arrogance is dripping over in Berea right now. We’ve all heard the stories from Philly about power struggles and ego that I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to assume the Browns are operating with a fair amount of arrogance, do you? How else can you explain the fact that the Browns – despite losing one of their QBs to an ACL injury in early October – are headed into a week of regular season NFL action with their third ((used to be first, but currently is undoubtedly third)) QB slated to start with no actual backup on the roster? (Caleb Hanie might be signed by the time you’re reading this, but the point stands.) How else do you explain some trading maneuvers, that even if smart in the long run, have left their team woefully thin at the end of their very first NFL campaign at the helm? Regardless of how you feel about the future and how the Browns have set themselves up, there’s no denying that this year’s team has under-performed in a down year in the division with a somewhat easy schedule.

This isn’t to question all the Browns’ moves or their future. The Browns don’t need Shamarko Thomas (the guy who was taken with the draft pick they traded to Pittsburgh) and hindsight proves pretty well that they didn’t need Trent Richardson. That doesn’t mean that the Browns don’t need a running back at all, however. Further, their game on Sunday against a largely disappointing Steelers team indicates they’re in need of plenty more. [Read more...]

Fun with Numbers: Browns-Ravens edition

sheard ravensBefore the Browns host the Ravens today for a special 4 p.m. game at FirstEnergy Stadium, I did some research to share some fascinating numerical tidbits for you today. You can check back to Oct. 5 for the last time I did this feature.

2,178 – Number of days since Cleveland last defeated Baltimore in an NFL game. This occurred on Nov. 18, 2007. The final score was 33-30 in overtime. Kyle Boller was the Ravens quarterback. Josh Cribbs had 245 kick-return yards, the second-highest total in his career. Baltimore has won all 11 matchups since this date by an average score of 11.6-24.1. The Browns have scored over 17 points just once in these contests.

80% – Jason Campbell’s 105.4 QB rating against Kansas City ranked as the 15th-best performance in his NFL career in games with nine-plus passing attempts. He has 75 such games in his career, marking last week’s outing at exactly the 80 percentile mark for his career. Campbell’s career QB rating is 82.8. The 2013 NFL average is 84.1. [Read more...]

The Browns are 3-2; Should we be surprised?

Through five weeks the Browns are 3-2, tied for first place, and barking is prevalent along the shores of Lake Erie.

Sitting next to a Ravens fan on my flight last Sunday night after their win over the Dolphins, I kindly welcomed him along side us into first place — a position us Browns fans had been comfortably lounging in for the past three days. I couldn’t help but gloat. But as the portly, Flacco jersey wearing gentleman pointed out, “You’ve got to enjoy it while you can”.

Believeland

Considering the new Browns have never been 3-2 through the first five weeks of the NFL season, and are sitting in the driver’s seat of the AFC North, albeit a crammed driver’s seat, you can be damn sure Cleveland is going to enjoy it. Since this is rarefied air for Browns fans many are acting shocked at the strong start, but is it really that surprising?

Entering the preseason there was plenty of excitement and optimism surrounding the team, as which is the case with most teams in July. The additions of Paul Kruger, Desmond Bryant, Barkevious Mingo, and defensive coordinator Ray Horton all seemed like valid reasons to think the Brownie’s D would be improved in 2013. On the other side of the ball the acquisition of Davone Bess as a third down target, Trent’s fantasy hype, and Norv Turner’s vertical passing offense even had us thinking the Weeden led offense would be able to put some points on the board. [Read more...]

Browns safety T.J. Ward: ‘We’re a reflection of Coach Chud’

“Our attitude is we’re happy that things are going the way they are, but we’re in no way settling into what we’re doing right now. We’ll continue to work hard. We have that drive for greatness, that drive for betterment every week. We have a group of hard workers, determined, persistent players, and I think we’re a reflection of Coach Chud. That’s a sign of our team, a reflection of Coach Chud, our assistant coaches. Every day, we preach, ‘It’s not going to be pretty all the time. It’s not going to be how you want it, but at the end of the day, if you get it done, you get it done.’ And that’s what we did. We came together as a team and got it done.”

– Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward’s comments to the team’s website on the Browns current mood after moving into first-place in the AFC North with their Thursday night victory over the Buffalo Bills. Ward’s late pick-six sealed the deal in the back-and-forth 37-24 victory. Both teams lost their starting quarterbacks in the contest, as Brian Hoyer is now out for the season with a torn ACL. The Browns return home next Sunday, Oct. 13, to play the improved Detroit Lions.

[Related: Fun with Numbers: Browns stats as they improve to 3-2]

Fun with Numbers: Browns stats as they improve to 3-2

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Cleveland BrownsIt sure is fun to have a win in the books before Sunday. The Browns managed to do that with their back-and-forth dramatic victory on Thursday night, despite losing resurgent quarterback Brian Hoyer for the season.

As we look back at how the Browns are suddenly on top of the AFC North Division – yes, it’s true – here are a number of intriguing statistics that I’ve found, courtesy of the fine folks at Pro-Football-Reference.com.

0.23 – Difference in yards per rushing attempt between Trent Richardson (3.39) and all other Cleveland Browns running backs this season (3.16). The Browns again rank as one of the worst rushing teams in football this season, but have capitalized on adding a first-round draft pick for a drop of only about 7% in relative rushing efficiency. [Read more...]

Week 2: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens open thread

brownsravensOver the last four seasons, no 0-2 team in the NFL has eventually made the playoffs. This afternoon, the Browns head off to Baltimore to see which AFC North team will fall to the basement of the division in the early part of the 2013 season.

The Ravens will be passing out their Super Bowl rings before the start of the game. The Browns will hope that the offense shows some signs of improvement under Brandon Weeden, as it displayed in the preseason, after a lackluster performance against the Miami Dolphins. Baltimore also was blown out by the Denver Broncos to start the NFL season 10 days ago.

Click below the jump for links to WFNY’s great Browns coverage from the past week. This is your week 2 open thread. [Read more...]

Résumé stuffer, Shayne Graham, signs with the Steelers

Shaun Suisham hurt his hamstring this weekend playing in a Steelers loss. As a result, the Steelers have turned to recent Cleveland Browns cast-off Shayne Graham to come in for at least a little while.

The Steelers are the 14th different team that has employed the well-traveled Graham at one point or another over the course of his career. Signing with the Steelers means that all four AFC North teams are now represented on that list.

So at least for now, Graham isn’t an option should Billy Cundiff falter. It’s really not much fun to be a part of the sloppy seconds kicker parade of the AFC North. Thanks to Phil Dawson, the Browns have largely missed out on these shenanigans over the years. Now, they employ Billy Cundiff for the second time after he was dumped by Baltimore for costing them an AFC playoff game. The Browns had Graham into camp who was most notably with the Bengals in the AFC North from 2003-2009.

To think I didn’t think it could feel any worse than when beloved punter Chris Gardocki went to Pittsburgh in 2004 after four years in the orange and brown. If only the Browns could become really, legitimately good, maybe Browns fans could stop caring so much about kickers and punters. To breathe is to dream in Cleveland.

[Related: Cleveland Browns missed a big opportunity with first impression]

The Diff: Kickers, running efficiency and the AFC North

The Diff is your weekly WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I wrote about Chris Perez’s future in Cleveland, stealing off my colleague Jon. Now, I’m sharing some NFL stats as the season begins tonight.

The Diff

Billy Cundiff as a solid kicker

NFL kickers are a strange breed. In essence, it’s the most baseball-like situation in any non-baseball sport. The conceptual understanding that makes baseball so logical to analyze is that each at-bat is an isolated incident. Yes, fielding is an unknown at times and statistical evaluations are just starting to get off the ground in this light. But pitching and batting are mano-a-mano situations. Same with a kicker. It’s very isolated and easy to understand in the aggregate. [Read more...]

Vegas has Browns at 5 to 1 odds to win division; Too high or too low?

Weeden - Chud

Less than a week before all is right with the world and the NFL kicks off, the odds makers at Bovada have the Browns at 5 to 1 to win the AFC North. The Browns have the worst odds of any team in the division with Bengals (+180), Steelers (+210), and Ravens (+225) bunched towards the top.

While few will argue that the Browns should have the worst odds of any team to win the division, the verdict is out on whether 5 to 1 odds are too high or too low.

Those are the same odds given to both Tampa Bay and St. Louis to win their respective divisions and at 5 to 1 are better odds than both San Francisco (+600) and Denver (+600) have to win the Super Bowl. Do the Browns really have a better shot at winning the North than San Fran and Denver have at winning the Super Bowl?

Mathematically I suppose they do — with 32 teams gunning for the Lombardi trophy and only 4 vying for the North crown it does make sense for the odds to lay like they do. However, seeing that I’ve never been alive for a Browns division title, it seems much more likely to me for Manning or Kaepernick to be crowned champions than for Weeden to be slinging it around First Energy Stadium in a home playoff game come January. [Read more...]

Predict the Cleveland Browns win / loss record for 2013

Brandon Weeden close upPete Prisco thinks the Browns will go 4-12. So while I don’t love the exercise of going through and putting Ws and Ls across the schedule, maybe if we all do it together it will mean something. Put your most realistic soundtrack on in the background and let us know what you think the Browns are capable of this season. Don’t let your heart get too far in front of your head and vice versa.

This isn’t a wishlist. It’s a prediction.

GO!

Marvin Lewis: Chudzinski inheriting a better football team

Offseason division gesturing is a common thing in the NFL world, especially in the vaunted AFC North that has won several championships and placed at least two playoff teams for most of the last decade.

Because of that, it was a bit of a surprise to see Marvin Lewis’ comments about the Browns and Rob Chudzinski yesterday. These comments made their way via Lewis’ most recent press conference with the Cincinnati media. Let’s take a look:

(Thoughts on the Browns) - “They are inheriting a much better football team. They’ve done a nice job over the last couple of years of the addition of guys through the draft and watching them grow. Rob (Chudzinski) has been a productive guy as a coordinator. His coordinators are experienced.

Mike Lombardi has had great experience in the NFL, Joe Banner. They have put together a group of people that have been successful and you come together and bring some ideas together. They are a much better football team than what their record showed. It was a team that was improving. In my mind they were going in the right direction. We have a tough division and have to play great football.”

So yes, Lewis doesn’t say anything too controversial and was fairly diplomatic in his comments. But still, comments like these are always appreciated in Cleveland.

My favorite part here? The fact that the nicest thing Lewis could think of with Lombardi and Banner is just that they have “great experience.” Nothing about great “success” or that they are good people. But that only fuels the fire for the Cleveland conspiracy side of things. … Overall, this was just some nice Browns talk being heard from the opposite corner of the state.

[Related: NFL News: Chudzinski “excited” about Weeden, still needs to see more]

Ravens fire OC Cam Cameron

The Baltimore Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Monday, a day after Baltimore’s overtime loss at Washington.

Cameron joined the Ravens in 2008 and in his time as offensive coordinator the Ravens offense has finished no worse than 16th in the league. The Ravens offense is currently ranked 9th.

Cameron will be replaced by former Colts’ head coach and current Ravens’ quarterback coach Jim Caldwell. Caldwell also served seven seasons as quarterback coach in Indianapolis prior to being their head man.

Browns Open Thread: Week 6 vs. Bengals

The Browns (0-5) look to collect their first win of the season today as they host divisional rival Cincinnati (3-2). While the Bengals haven’t been that bullet-proof this season, this looks like a stretch based on their dynamic playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Follow along with all of the action here at WFNY. Yours truly will be attending the game cheering on the Brownies, so hopefully they can finally crack the egg in the wins column this afternoon.

While We’re Waiting … Browns Hope for First Win, Dion Waiters’ Improvement, Ubaldo Jimenez’s 2012

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

I sensationally agree with all of these points about the Brownies: “So the Browns keep losing. The Cincinnati Bengals are coming up in Week Six and they’re not nearly as bad as fans hope they are. As we’re accustomed to, our anti-heroes are finding creative and exhilarating ways to lose, yet the fans who have spent fourteen years saying ‘I just wish they were competitive’ are now complaining even harder about losing (side note: did you really expect the Browns to beat the New York Giants? Really? If yes, why? How? Don’t be dumb.).

But from a fan’s standpoint, what now? You’re upset, sure. You’re a little disappointed, of course. Do we chalk this season up as a failure? Do we complain about virtually everything we can think of? Do we continue to act like the front office enjoys losing? If we do that, I’m going to hate all of you. A lot.” [Kevin Nye/Dawg Pound Daily] [Read more...]

PFT Puts Browns Dead Last in Initial Power Rankings

Pre-season power rankings aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Much like initial draft grades, they’re an excuse to talk about things, but rarely do they have much validity as the first few names are populating IR lists in fantasy football. Be that as it may, the Browns have been placed dead last on PFT’s power rankings.

Last year, the Browns were the only members of the AFC North to not make it to the postseason. While they likely won’t be quite so alone when the dust settles on 2012, they’re currently all alone at the bottom of the heap.

Hey, someone has to be No. 32. Though the Browns could scratch and claw and climb and thrive (and I personally hope they will), the franchise collectively has pressed the button that falls between “panic” and “reset” for the coming season.

Give Florio and company some credit. They don’t just throw a list together with a couple of one-liners. Their post on the Browns will seem like old hat to most of you hard-cores, but they do a very good job of laying everything out there on the team’s strengths, weaknesses, changes to the team and expected camp battles.

In this case, it wasn’t so much about smashing the Browns as pointing out the obvious question marks. The Browns might be headed in the right direction with their most recent draft, but it truly is impossible to tell until we actually see Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden and Mitch Schwartz play football. It is equally impossible to tell until we see the defense without Phil Taylor.

If Tom Heckert and Mike Holmgren did their jobs this off-season it won’t be long until they’re out of the basement. If they didn’t? Well, there’s no place further to drop.

As Florio said, “Hey, someone has to be No. 32.” Did Florio get it right, or is there a team that you think should have been below the Browns?

AFC North: Terrell Suggs might have a torn achilles tendon

One of the most talented players in the AFC North might not be taking the field for the vaunted Ravens defense this year if recent reports are true. According to Pro Football Talk, Ravens all-world linebacker Terrell Suggs might have a torn achilles.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the Ravens have not yet received a conclusive diagnosis.  Still, for now, it doesn’t look good.

And it won’t look good for the Ravens if they have to proceed without the 2011 defensive player of the year.

Injuries are a part of football as Browns fans know all too well. I certainly don’t take any pleasure in the fact that Suggs might not play this year. I always maintain that it would be more fun to see new Browns running back Trent Richardson pound through a Terrell Suggs than any of his potential replacements. All that being said, it is certainly news when one of the most talented players from a division rival might not be available for the two scheduled matchups with the Browns this year.

[Also read: Junior Seau is more than just a concussion storyline]

2012 Cleveland Browns Schedule Released (For Real)

The official NFL 2012 schedule was released Tuesday evening with great ceremony and fanfare, but once again the Browns will not play a primetime game at Cleveland Browns Stadium. All eight home games are scheduled for  Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm EST. Pat Shurmur and company face one of the league’s hardest schedules, with eight 2011 playoff teams on the docket. By opponent’s win percentage, it’s the third hardest schedule in the league.

The Browns open the season at home for the 13th time in 14 years, with the Eagles traveling to the north coast in Week 1. The only primetime game of the season is once again in the division, with the Browns playing the Ravens in Week 4 on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football. The Browns will finish the home season against the Washington Redskins, who will likely have Robert Griffin III under center.

PRESEASON
Fri., Aug. 10 at Detroit Lions 7:30 p.m.
Thur., Aug. 16 at Green Bay Packers 8:00 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 24 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 7:30 p.m.
Thur., Aug. 30 CHICAGO BEARS 7:30 p.m.

REGULAR SEASON
Sun., Sept. 9 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – FOX 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 16 at Cincinnati Bengals – CBS 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 23 BUFFALO BILLS – CBS 1:00 p.m.
Thur., Sept. 27 at Baltimore Ravens – NFLN 8:20 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 7 at New York Giants – CBS 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 14 CINCINNATI BENGALS – CBS 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 21 at Indianapolis Colts – CBS 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 28 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – CBS 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 4 BALTIMORE RAVENS – CBS 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 11 BYE WEEK
Sun., Nov. 18 at Dallas Cowboys – CBS 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 25 PITTSBURGH STEELERS – CBS 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 2 at Oakland Raiders – CBS 4:15 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 9 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – CBS 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 16 WASHINGTON REDSKINS – FOX 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 23 at Denver Broncos – CBS 4:05 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 30 at Pittsburgh Steelers – CBS 1:00 p.m.

NFL to release schedule Tuesday 4/17 at 7:00 PM

The NFL has decided to make a production of the schedule release tomorrow night at 7:00 PM EST on NFL Network and NFL.com. You will remember that a leaked schedule showed up a few weeks back and was eventually refuted by Greg Aiello of the NFL. We’ll see if that schedule is accurate at all soon enough. Despite the denial by the NFL, it was my suspicion that the leaked schedule was a draft of some kind that wasn’t supposed to find its way out.

Maybe I’m wrong though. We’ll see. Here is that leaked schedule from a few weeks ago.

 

Week 1 Sunday 9/9/2012 Bengals @ Browns CBS 1:00 PM
Week 2 Sunday 9/16/2012 Browns @ Giants CBS 1:00 PM
Week 3 Sunday 9/23/2012 Browns @ Cowboys CBS 4:15 PM
Week 4 Thursday 9/27/2012 Ravens @ Browns NFLN 8:20 PM
Week 5 Sunday 10/7/2012 Browns @ Broncos CBS 4:15 PM
Week 6 Sunday 10/14/2012 Chargers @ Browns CBS 1:00 PM
Week 7 Sunday 10/21/2012 Redskins @ Browns FOX 1:00 PM
Week 8 Sunday 10/28/2012 Browns @ Steelers CBS 1:00 PM
Week 9 Monday 11/5/2012 Eagles @ Browns ESPN 8:30 PM
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 Sunday 11/18/2012 Bills @ Browns CBS 1:00 PM
Week 12 Sunday 11/25/2012 Steelers @ Browns CBS 1:00 PM
Week 13 Sunday 12/2/2012 Browns @ Bengals CBS 1:00 PM
Week 14 Sunday 12/9/2012 Browns @ Raiders CBS 4:15 PM
Week 15 Sunday 12/16/2012 Browns @ Colts CBS 1:00 PM
Week 16 Sunday 12/23/2012 Chiefs @ Browns CBS 1:00 PM
Week 17 Sunday 12/30/2012 Browns @ Ravens CBS 1:00 PM

NFL Schedule Leaked: Rumored 2012 Cleveland Browns Schedule

Update: Tony Grossi reports that the NFL is denying the schedule, calling it “bogus.” We’ll see.

According to one website, the NFL didn’t secure a part of their webpage and a full NFL schedule is done. Here’s what it says the Browns have.

Week 1 Sunday 9/9/2012 Bengals @ Browns CBS 1:00 PM
Week 2 Sunday 9/16/2012 Browns @ Giants CBS 1:00 PM
Week 3 Sunday 9/23/2012 Browns @ Cowboys CBS 4:15 PM
Week 4 Thursday 9/27/2012 Ravens @ Browns NFLN 8:20 PM
Week 5 Sunday 10/7/2012 Browns @ Broncos CBS 4:15 PM
Week 6 Sunday 10/14/2012 Chargers @ Browns CBS 1:00 PM
Week 7 Sunday 10/21/2012 Redskins @ Browns FOX 1:00 PM
Week 8 Sunday 10/28/2012 Browns @ Steelers CBS 1:00 PM
Week 9 Monday 11/5/2012 Eagles @ Browns ESPN 8:30 PM
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 Sunday 11/18/2012 Bills @ Browns CBS 1:00 PM
Week 12 Sunday 11/25/2012 Steelers @ Browns CBS 1:00 PM
Week 13 Sunday 12/2/2012 Browns @ Bengals CBS 1:00 PM
Week 14 Sunday 12/9/2012 Browns @ Raiders CBS 4:15 PM
Week 15 Sunday 12/16/2012 Browns @ Colts CBS 1:00 PM
Week 16 Sunday 12/23/2012 Chiefs @ Browns CBS 1:00 PM
Week 17 Sunday 12/30/2012 Browns @ Ravens CBS 1:00 PM

 

So start counting up those Ws and Ls if that is your thing. I was on record saying that the Browns needed to prove something to me by week eight this upcoming season. Now, I’ll move that target to the bye week in week 10, I guess.