August 20, 2014

Joe Banner, the 3-4 versus the 4-3 and agent Jimmy Sexton

Jimmy Sexton Hire My Clients 595

One of the scariest things for Browns fans in the transition from Mike Holmgren to Joe Banner was Banner’s decision to switch defenses. It isn’t that Cleveland Browns fans have that much of a preference, other than they have a preference against switching schemes all the time. You know, continuity and all that? The Browns were a 3-4 defense with Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini before switching to the 4-3 for Pat Shurmur’s two-year tenure under Mike Holmgren. That defense was young and thought to be on the rise when Joe Banner fired Shurmur, Dick Jauron and proclaimed to Terry Pluto that the Browns needed to run the 3-4. Now that the Browns have fired Rob Chudzinski and are again searching for a new coach, the rumor mill is churning out Jim Schwartz’ name. He’s a 4-3 guy.

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If Rob Chudzinski is fired, it’s just another Browns embarrassment

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 3.33.49 PMI could sit here and break down what happened in the Steelers game, but I have no interest in doing that. The only thing on my mind right now is what an embarrassment the Cleveland Browns organization continues to be with today’s “one-and-done” rumors involving Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski. Granted nothing has happened yet, but just the fact that this rumor has legs across multiple analysts – From Chris Mortenson to John Clayton – is embarrassing. It may be even more embarrassing than the Browns’ bad record, which at 4-12 says so very much, but we’ve seen bad won-loss records plenty of times. I really hoped that the embarrassing Berea chaos of things like Mangini / Kokinis and even Phil Savage’s power struggle were long gone. If Rob Chudzinski gets fired after one year, it’ll be tough to believe that organizational dysfunction doesn’t flow through the pipes of even a renovated Browns complex in Berea.

Rob Chudzinski is not coming off of a good rookie head coaching campaign, to be sure. No matter what happened to the Cleveland Browns from a personnel standpoint, the fact is that only winning four games is a miserable failure. The Browns weren’t even able to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. The fact that the Browns couldn’t win after having their bye week is miserable, but even given all that, I find it shocking to think that the Browns are going to fire Rob Chudzinski and his staff after just one year coaching a roster that wasn’t exactly loaded up on both sides of the ball by the front office. Yet, those are the rumors that persist today. [Read more...]

Browns fans predict the team will go 9-7 in 2013

231-20130726-0595_600Browns fans are an optimistic bunch, at least collectively. When you add up the results of our survey, it yields a 9-7 prediction. (Game-by-game results are listed below.) That’s probably a bit too confident for my tastes. I’ve said all along that eight wins should be the goal for the team if they are able to stay healthy and get better from last season. So let’s break it down a little bit, because I think there are some flaws in the logic of Browns fans this season.

First of all, let’s talk about the Bengals and Ravens. I think Browns fans have a pretty healthy respect for both teams. Only about 16% of Browns fans predicted the Browns could beat the Ravens in week two and about 45% said the Browns could beat them in week nine. Meanwhile, Browns fans think they can beat the Bengals at home week four at a nearly 60% rate, but lose in Cincy after the bye week with about 40% of Browns fans saying the Browns will win. I think this year those numbers are flipped. I think the Bengals are improved over last season and I think the Ravens are going to be running uphill.  [Read more...]

Haslam: Browns scouting staff will all be retained

One of the biggest concerns about the Browns during the transition is what would happen to the draft if Tom Heckert was let go. This morning the Browns confirmed that they were parting ways with Heckert, so that asked the obvious question about how the Browns would be prepared for the draft. Now, we have an answer.

Before opening up the press conference to questions from the media, Jimmy Haslam made perfectly clear after saying they would allow members of the coaching staff to interview and look for their next jobs that the scouting staff will all be retained.

That’s good news, at least initially. Banner and Haslam also said that they would hire their coach first before looking to the general manager. So, that intimates that the coach will have a whole lot to do with the acquisition of new personnel. That’s Joe Banner’s M.O. in the past with Andy Reid in Philadelphia.

[Related: NFL Report: Trent Richardson admits he played with broken, not just bruised ribs]

While We’re Waiting…Vick and Andy Reid as Browns, Playoff Scenarios

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

“With four games left to play, the Browns are notmathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet!!!

Let me say right off the bat that I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE BROWNS WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. However, since it is still technically possible, let’s break it down real quick.

First of all, the Browns would need to run the table and finish 8-8, which is a nearly impossible feat. So eight wins is the magic number that we need to keep in mind here.

In the AFC there are five teams that have the inside track on the postseason: Patriots (9-3), Ravens (9-3), Texans (11-1), Broncos (10-3) and Colts (8-4). That leaves one spot left for the Browns.” [Flack/Bleacher Report]

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Jason Whitlock: Andy Reid is “a moron” for not running more against Browns

I can’t say that I wouldn’t be unhappy with Andy Reid’s play selection Sunday if I were an Eagles fan. It’s interesting to read such fallout for the coaches of the winning team. Leave it to Whitlock to resort to name-calling. At some point that probably detracts from credibility in most people’s minds.

In a tight game the Eagles led for much of the day, Reid waited until the fourth quarter, until after Vick’s fourth interception, to realize he needed to feature McCoy. Vick threw the ball 56 times on a day McCoy averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

Andy Reid is a moron. I mean that. I don’t care how many regular-season games he’s won. Or maybe Reid wants Vick carried off on a cart so the Eagles can switch to a quarterback who can actually play the game from the pocket with some savvy.

All name-calling aside, I can’t say that I disagree with his other assessment. The Cleveland Browns were leaving T.J. Ward and Eric Hagg anywhere from about 12 yards to 17 yards deep to start plays. They absolutely were going to try and take away Vick’s long ball. Still, “moron” seems so permanent, doesn’t it?

[Related: WFNY Podcast – 2012-09-11 – Browns, Buckeyes, Suspensions and 2-point Conversions]

What Would it Cost for Matt Flynn if He is Franchised?

One of the options for the Browns this off-season should they choose to address quarterback in free agency is Matt Flynn.  Flynn has only started two NFL games as Aaron Rodgers’ backup, but his most recent start was a record-setting performance that set the world abuzz.  That can tend to happen when you throw for 480 yards and six touchdowns in a football game.  For reference, this weekend in his playoff game against the same Detroit defense, Drew Brees put up 466 yards and 3 touchdowns.  That says a lot about the defense that Matt Flynn went up against.  Anyway, that’s a different discussion.  Let’s assume that the Browns do want Matt Flynn and they have to deal with the Packers who franchise him in order to trade him.  What might the price tag be?

First of all, the price tag for franchising a QB is, um, really high.  Going into this past season, Jason La Canfora had estimated that the cost of franchising a QB would be $16 million.  So assume that to franchise Matt Flynn will be somewhere in the same ballpark.  The acquiring team will be on the hook for that, but in all likelihood it will lead to a new long-term contract that will be pricey.  But what we are really looking for is what the potential acquisition cost could be for the Browns.  There are three obvious examples, Matt Schaub, Matt Cassell and Kevin Kolb. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Santana Saves Cleveland, New Browns Duds and More Shurmur

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

If you don’t often join us for weekend coverage (and why not?) we’re happy to be back after a crazy Thursday and Friday in which the site was as blank as Tom Brady’s practice schedule this week. We still don’t know 100% what was to blame, some coding problems and we’re not ruling out our old server hosts as being incompetent. That may be harsh. They may know what they are doing, they just weren’t real interested in helping us get back online. Their loss. Others might blame LeBron, or karma, or even Tony Grossi. I’m just not so sure the conspiracy is real. Moving onward.

Do the hopes of Cleveland sports in 2011 rest on the shoulders of Carlos Santana?- “It is completely unfair to place a heavy burden of expectations on a guy who has just 150 big league at-bats to his name and who is coming off an injury. But Santana’s surgery wasn’t invasive enough to lead to major concern about him being ready for Opening Day, and his premier plate discipline is a skill that carries over considerably well.” [Castrovince/Castro-Turf] [Read more...]

Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb Talk Pat Shurmur

Still not sold on Pat Shurmur?  Well, until the wins and losses start accumulating, cast your agendas to the side as all we have to go by are numbers and the thoughts from those who are respected across the league.

An hour or so ago, we heard from Shurmur’s former team, the St. Louis Rams.  Now, we get some science dropped from the mouths of some of the Shurminator’s colleagues from his days in Philadelphia.

“I’m extremely proud of and happy for Pat Shurmur and his family,” said Eagles head coach Andy Reid.  “He is a proven commodity in the NFL and has paid his dues as a successful assistant coach.”

Shurmur came from Michigan State to work with the Eagles in 1999.  He was promoted toquarterbacks coach in 2002, manning that position until 2008, working closely with Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb.  In 2004, Shurmur is credited with helping McNabb achieve his career-best season, where he threw 31 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions. [Read more...]

Browns Coaching Rumors: Mangini, Mornhinweg, Rob Ryan and Rooney

Apparently Eric Mangini hasn’t been fired over night, but it is clearly open season for talking about the Browns coaching job.  Who am I kidding?  It has been open season for most people for the last few weeks.  Let’s discuss the swirling talk.

Terry Pluto wrote his post-game article and all but said that the Browns would be hiring a new coach.  He said it kind of like it was an opinion, but kind of like he knew something as well.  He wouldn’t say anything concrete or attribute anything to sources, but he said it just the same. “Be it team president Mike Holmgren or someone else, the new coach will be the sixth in 13 years since the franchise returned.”  Sounds pretty definite.

Peter King then went on record saying Marty Mornhinweg would be tops on Mike Holmgren’s list of potential replacements for Eric Mangini.  That piece of news led to an Internet meme of epic proportions.  The thesis of the meme was, “Marty Mornhinweg must stink because he stunk in Detroit eight years ago and he chose to go with the wind instead of taking the ball in an overtime coin toss.” [Read more...]

Holmgren Speaks About Heckert’s Role with Browns

Browns Holmgren FootballThe official announcement regarding Tom Heckert becoming the Cleveland Browns general manager came yesterday afternoon.  And while Heckert will meet the Cleveland media this afternoon, Browns president Mike Holmgren took to the telephone to announce the move and answer a few preliminary questions about the state of the team.

The biggest focal point of yesterday’s conference call was what role Tom Heckert will have with the Browns.  Given the way things went with former general manager George Kokinis, the Cleveland media was understandably curious as to what Heckert’s chief responsibilities would be.  Specifically, would Heckert have control of the 53-man roster?

“Yes, he’s going to set up the 53-man roster, but I would temper that just a little bit,” said Holmgren.  “He and I are going to be in close communication on that.  That will be his responsibility.”

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