August 1, 2014

NFL Rumor: Browns were interested in trade for Eugene Monroe

There had been murmurs earlier in the week of the Browns’ reported interest in Eugene Monroe, the left tackle just traded from Jacksonville to Baltimore. Now, we have the gory details, courtesy of CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora’s latest report:

The Jaguars dealt starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to the Ravens this week for fourth- and fifth-round picks, with Jacksonville assuming $2.35 million of Monroe’s salary and the Ravens paying $547,000. The Browns, hearing of the Ravens nearing a deal for Monroe, reached out to the Jaguars late, and asked of their interest in a player (believed to be receiver Greg Little or right tackle Mitchell Schwartz) , but were told the Jaguars had no interest in the player at that point that trade was essentially complete, sources said.

La Canfora said the trade talks were exclusively between the Jaguars and Ravens, much like the Browns and Colts discussion of the Trent Richardson deal. The Browns would have had the ability to absorb more of Monroe’s long-term deal and would also have been willing to throw in a second-day draft pick, if needed. But talks never occurred.

Overall, the meat of this report is this: the Browns “valued Monroe very highly as a long-term answer at right tackle” with Joe Thomas at left tackle. Considering the team’s interest in Monroe and Schwartz’s potential availability in such a deal, it appears that is unsurprising. Overall, the second-year pro has struggled so far this season.

Cleveland also was interested in Arizona left tackle Levi Brown, who later was traded to the AFC North and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Monroe, an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason, could perhaps reach a long-term deal with the Ravens, but no attempts have been made yet by the team.

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

Cleveland Browns make it two in a row, beat the Bengals!

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Victory formation!

The Cleveland Browns did not get the memo on tanking the season with the Trent Richardson trade. The Browns beat the Bengals 17-6 to take their season record to 2-2. They beat an AFC North rival, which is always bonus. They did it at home. Most importantly, they did it on the same day they unveiled Brownie the Elf! What else is there to say?

One thing that shocked me going into the game this week was how little Browns fans and media I heard seemed to embrace how large of an underdog the Browns were. The Browns were coming off a road victory over the Vikings, but the Bengals are not the Vikings. They are the presumed best team in the AFC North and maybe the whole AFC.

Brian Hoyer appeared to be a pretty solid upgrade as a game manager from Brandon Weeden, and Josh Gordon had a monster first game, but the track record of the Bengals was meaningful. Yet it seemed that most fans and media I heard wanted to treat this week’s game like something of a toss-up. Maybe they were right, but I wasn’t buying it pre-game. [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...]

Paul Kruger: ‘It’s going to be pretty wild’

“It’s going to be pretty wild to know that you were a part of that and to not be standing over there on the sideline with them. It’s going to be different. But I’ve been here for a while now, and I’ve moved on. So now I’m just looking to go get a ‘W’ over there.”

– New Cleveland Browns lineback Paul Kruger on the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl ring ceremony that will take place before their Week 2 game against the Browns at M&T Stadium. Kruger, who also shared that he was frustrated with his limited role in Baltimore, then signed a five-year $40 million deal with Cleveland to revamp their defense in the offseason. Both teams lost their opening games in disheartening fashion but the defending champ Ravens enter the contest as seven-point favorites.

[Related: What are the Browns in for this Sunday: WFNY takes on M&T Bank Stadium]

While We’re Waiting… Fantasy football in NFL stadiums?

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Would the Browns ever try out an area like this? Do they need to? “Inside EverBank Field, during the second half of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ lopsided loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, Carlos Boria finally found a reason to cheer. ‘Yeah, baby,’ he screamed as tight end Jimmy Graham scored a touchdown. But Graham is not a member of the Jaguars. He was playing for the Saints, about 500 miles away, at the Superdome in New Orleans. Boria’s cheer was part of the cacophony in the new 7,000-square-foot fantasy football lounge at the Jaguars’ stadium, where fans were primarily following not the game they had bought tickets to attend, but those in other N.F.L. cities involving players on their fantasy teams.” [Ken Belson/New York Times] [Read more...]

What do you make of the Ravens game? – Cleveland Browns Roundtable

WFNY_roundtable

Craig: So now that the negativity from week one has been exhausted, how does everyone feel about the Browns’ chances to bounce back against a Ravens team that got their faces pounded against Denver. Michael Oher is likely to be hobbled if not out. The Browns defense didn’t play horribly against Miami. The Ravens defense still has some pieces, but they are feeling the losses of Ray Lewis, Ellerbe and Ed Reed. Still, the Ravens are 6.5 point favorites last I heard. So how are you feeling?

Jacob: Not great. Ya know, TD’s buddy TA has been all over Twitter this week talking about bets and that 6.5-pt line. [Read more...]

Casual Friday talking vacations, away fans, iPhone announcements and home construction – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-13

WFNY Podcast LogoAnother week of Casual Friday in the books talking to Denny. We talked about away fans, Apple (the company,) home construction, brand rivalries and preferred vacation styles.

The Browns playing in Baltimore and Denny’s lack of desire to go to the game
Away team gear in a foreign stadium
Away fan cheering and the desire for confrontation
Women walking around without fear of physical confrontation
The chain home depot vs. the neighborhood hardware store
Fixing a cracking roof
Old school roof tarring
Using safety equipment doesn’t make you a wuss
How old is a house with plaster walls?
Plaster is more artistry than it is technical know-how
Vacation preferences… Resort or rental house?
Resort experiences
Acting like you’re a local when you’re on vacation
Watching movies on the way down is selfish for parents
Being underwhelmed by the iPhone announcement and Apple
TV technology will continue to underwhelm
iPad mini and what to get when you get frozen by specs
How important is the retina display?
How much time we spend arguing and parsing technological decisions
Where does the brand rivalry come from and where is it perpetuated?
Totino’s pizza rolls
Having access to a deep fryer in your house
Craig nearly setting his house on fire
J Roddy Walston and the Business [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Why the Tribe will make the playoffs

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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An optimistic take on the Indians’ playoff hopes: “The good news for Cleveland is that the difficult stretch is over. There are 17 games left on the Indians’ schedule, and aside from a three-game stand in Kansas City, the remaining teams are a gift from the baseball gods. It’s practically the reverse of what they just endured — whereas the only solace in the previous 15-game stretch was the Mets series, the Royals represent the only hardship between now and the end of the season. The rest reads like a wish list: White Sox (six games), Astros (four games), Twins (four games). The question is, how many games can they expect to win from the remainder?” [Shane Ryan/Grantland] [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Wild Card’s factor in MLB attendance

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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This article focuses on Cleveland and other MLB wild card contending teams struggling with attendance: “Baseball’s addition last season of a second wild card playoff spot in each league was supposed to help teams like Cleveland by elevating their chances of contending and increasing the importance of September’s schedule. The Indians currently trail the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League wild card by a game and a half. Yet the town, like other towns whose teams are in the thick of things, seems to be yawning.” [Tom Van Riper/Forbes] [Read more...]

What are the Browns in for this Sunday: WFNY takes on M&T Bank Stadium

MandTBankStadiumAs the sun was setting over the western end zone of M&T Bank Stadium last Thursday, I was standing on the mid-field emblem—a script B and an R married with the two flags which ensconce the helmets of the Big Ten-bound Terrapins—along with roughly a dozen other individuals. The stadium, 71,000 purple seats and two end zone jumbotrons, was completely empty. Somewhat eerie in the way a shopping mall is after the gates have been lowered, the confines in which the Baltimore Ravens call home was completely dark and silent, giving way only to the green glow of the M&T-branded signs which were perched at each end and the sporadic flash of smartphones trying to capture just the right angle.

A stadium nerd, I was fortunate enough to be in the town which locals refer to as “Charm City” thanks to the wonderful folks over at Crown Royal. As a marketing push of sorts, the Diageo-owned whiskey company decided to host their first (annual?) fantasy football league, dubbed “First and Crown.” A 16-team dalliance wherein teams are owned by various football-heavy markets, the draft also included a stadium tour and a whiskey tasting1prior to the year’s maiden gridiron voyage (featuring the hometown Ravens) was set to leave shore. Given my fondness of fantasy sports and my well-documented weakness for whiskey, it just made sense for me to embark on this one-day, one-night trip.

[Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Reign on! []

NFL Week 1 – Previewing the Dolphins vs. the Browns – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-06

WFNY Podcast LogoWeek one is finally here! Craig and Andrew break down the matchup week one between the Cleveland Browns and the Dolphins.

Ravens vs. the Broncos
The value of Anquan Boldin
What do you make of the Dolphins?
Can the Browns come out and take care of business week one
Moving on after the departure of Reggie Bush
Browns leading by playing defense and running the ball  [Read more...]

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...]

NFL News: Browns claim running backs Bobby Rainey and Dennis Johnson

We knew the Browns would be active, and guessed that running back could be addressed. Now, it apparently has. According to Aaron Wilson and Jason La Canfora, the Browns have claimed Bobby Rainey and Dennis Johnson respectively.

The two running backs are almost identical physical specimens. Rainey is 5’7″ and 207 pounds and Dennis Johnson is 5’6″ and 196 pounds. Presumably, these signings are meant to help the Browns cope with the loss of 5’8″ and 195 pound Dion Lewis.

Rainey has floated around the Baltimore Ravens between the practice squad and short stints on the active roster since being undrafted in 2012. Johnson was cut by the Texans and at least a few comments I’ve read around the web were hoping that he would make it to their practice squad. Johnson played at Arkansas behind Knile Davis, so he was overshadowed.

This could be a case where the Browns are making an “either/or” decision on these two players, or maybe they have designs of keeping them both and cutting loose someone like Brandon Jackson.

[Related: NFL News: Cleveland Browns roster by position]

ESPN predicts the Cleveland Browns to go 6-10, finish last in AFC North

The Cleveland Browns are likely a much improved team, but will still not gain ground in the standings of the AFC North. That’s the prediction by Jamison Hensley of ESPN.

The Cleveland Browns will end up being the most improved team in the AFC North and will still finish in last place. That’s how tough this division has become. The goal would be to reach .500, but there’s still too many holes on this team for the Browns to achieve that. This has the look of a sixth straight double-digit-loss season, even though this team will be better than the previous ones.

Of course predictions are tough in the NFL with so many rosters looking like shells of what they were in August by the time the season is over.

Additionally, this time of year everyone seems to think players will produce at their best levels from the year prior. So Joe Flacco is clearly the guy who threw no interceptions in the playoffs with a QB rating of 117.2 as opposed to the guy who averaged an 87.7 rating for the entirety of the regular season while also having Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta in his arsenal. Hensley has predicted that the Ravens will win the AFC North title and go one win better during the regular season than they did a year ago to finish 11-5.

ESPN Steelers reporter Scott Brown, meanwhile predicts a 9-7 record for the Pittsburgh team while grasping at straws to justify an improvement over the 2012 season. “The Steelers slipped to mediocrity in 2012,” writes Brown before wondering, “and it is fair to ask whether they will be good enough to be even an eight-win team this season.” In the end, Brown must have been convinced by producing “evidence” about how the offense “could” be better in Todd Haley’s second season. That’s a stark contrast to the words of warning that ESPN’s Jeffri Chadiha used in training camp indicating that Steelers fans could be in for a long year as the team could be “less competitive” than they were in going 8-8 in 2012.

Hensley finishes off the AFC North predictions by complimenting the Bengals, sending them to the playoffs for a third straight season with a 10-6 record.

It’s not totally different than predictions that we had here at WFNY for the division. A couple writers predicted the Bengals would take the top spot and a couple more predicted the Ravens would remain in the driver’s seat.

[Related: Ranking the teams in the AFC North: Cleveland Browns Roundtable]

Scott Raab talks about Brandon Weeden, Mark Sanchez, Josh Cribbs and the Indians – WFNY Podcast – 2013-08-26

WFNY Podcast LogoAgain this week, I thought I’d skip the bullet points and just send you the email I sent to Scott the night before the podcast. Wherever we end up is based on this email and the conversation that ensues. We ended up talking about concussions in football, Tribe attendance and any number of other topics including some from my Sunday night email below.

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I’d love to spend some time talking about a packed pre-season game in a dome with cheerleaders and their fans wearing irrelevant jerseys. Because they’ve been so good for so long, save one bad year, even their dead jerseys aren’t embarrassing. Dwight Freeney is gone but they still wear his jersey. Jeff Saturday is retired, but he was well represented. Peyton Manning, of course. Edgerrin James. Meanwhile I saw a Tim Couch jersey on the way in. Took a photo for evidence as if anyone would question it. As for the game itself…

Brandon Weeden stares down receivers. He’s going to get Jordan Cameron murdered this season. I’d love to know your thoughts from TV. I feel like I missed a lot from being live.

Josh Cribbs cut by the Raiders. Is this the end for Mr. Cribbs? Now that he’s not on the Browns anymore it makes it easier to be sympathetic toward him. Just a perfect example of how brutal the NFL is when it spits out 30 year olds, even if they have made a nice amount of money first. [Read more...]

Ranking the teams in the AFC North: Cleveland Browns Roundtable

There’s no doubt the AFC North is under construction this season. It stands to reason that this could be one of the bigger years of upheaval in the division considering the Ravens Super Bowl victory and subsequent player departures. So, how does the WFNY crew think the division shakes out this year?

WFNY_roundtable

(Also see our previous roundtable: Browns Game 3 plans should remain unchanged: Cleveland Browns Injury Roundtable)

Craig: This morning we saw a headline with an ESPN writer predicting a regression by the Steelers, even from the 8-8 they experienced a year ago. I’ve noticed a hesitancy up to now for many who follow the NFL to predict a fall-off for the Ravens, but isn’t that almost a certainty at this point? I think the Bengals are clearly top of the AFC North power rankings this pre-season. How would you guys rank the AFC North at this point?

Scott: I’ve been calling for the Steelers’ regression for two or three seasons now—it just never seems to happen. [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...]

.@Steelersdepot talks Browns, Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, Shamark-nado, Phil Dawson and more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-08-05

WFNY Podcast LogoEveryone loves when @SteelersDepot comes on the WFNY podcast. Yes, he’s a Steelers blogger, but his knowledge of the AFC North is gigantic. He’s as dedicated to it as anyone in the world, I think. So, when I want to find out what’s happening around the division, it’s an obvious call. Drop him a compliment on Twitter Browns fans. @Steelersdepot

  • Dave Bryan from the Steelers Depot talking AFC North football
  • Backhanded compliments for Dave
  • Browns training camp practices setting records
  • Michael Lombardi and what he knows
  • Davone Bess and how big a move that is for the Browns
  • Ray Horton and how good a corner he can be
  • Is it a crime not to spend for the Browns with holes?
  • Saving money for franchise quarterbacks
  • Alex Mack’s extension and when that will get done
  • T.J. Ward extension and whether the Browns will get that done
  • Losing Phil Dawson and whether or not Browns fans are crazy to be so big on Dawson
  • The Bengals and whether they’ve peaked with Andy Dalton [Read more...]

The current negative streak in Cleveland Sports is truly remarkable

Jimmy Haslam didn't like the penalty that overturned the Browns TD

Jimmy Haslam didn’t like the penalty that overturned the Browns TD

I feel like we’ve said this every year for a while now, but I can’t think of a worse time in Cleveland sports.1 I’m really not going out of my way to dwell in the negative here. I think there are some good things going on in all three Cleveland sports teams right now. I think the Browns have a decent young roster that might surprise us all if coached up properly this season. I think Byron Scott lost the Cavaliers, but I think with their positioning this off-season and all Chris Grant’s “assets” there’s a really good chance for a positive makeover year-over-year. Lastly, the Indians are mired right now in a nearly whole-team slump, but they’ve turned over a lot of those veterans that have been dogging Indians fans for much of the past five summers. All that being said, and without any of that “Look at us and respect us for our suffering!” clamor, it truly couldn’t get much worse, right?

Let’s look at the negative streaks fans have endured in all the sports recently. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Excluding the real outlier of when we didn’t have a football team at all of course. []

NFL News: Baltimore Ravens sign Elvis Dumervil

Your AFC North news du jour: The Baltimore Ravens have agreed in principle to a five-year deal with star defensive end Elvis Dumervil. According to multiple reports, the contract is worth up to $35 million.

Of course, just the other week, the Denver Broncos had a free agency snafu with Dumervil. They never intended for the sack-master, who has recorded 37.5 over the past three years, to become a free agent this offseason. In the aftermath of the mistake via fax machines, the Ravens snatched up the opportunity yet again in the open market.

Dumvervil, 29, out of the University of Louisville, was a 4th-rounder in the 2006 NFL Draft. He has played the entirety of his NFL career with the Broncos. He has had at least five sacks in all six of his seasons, including a league-high 17 in 2010.

Previously this offseason, the Ravens lost former defensive stars Ed Reed (Houston Texans), Ray Lewis (retirement) and Paul Kruger (Cleveland Browns), along with receiver Anquan Boldin (San Francisco 49ers). With the Browns nabbing former Ravens sack artist Kruger, this addition certainly keeps the fire hot in the sure-to-be competitive AFC North for 2013.

As a reminder and to put Dumervil’s contract in context of the Ravens’ cap decisions, Kruger’s deal was five years and reportedly up to $40 million total.

[Related: 5-4-5-5-4 and the Browns free agent strategy]