April 18, 2014

While We’re Waiting… MISSING MASCOT!!

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

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“Can a superstar-less team win a championship again? The last occurrence of that feat came in 2004, via the Billups – Hamilton – Prince – Wallace Brothers starting five. Last season though, two of the NBA’s final four were superstar-less. The Pacers and Grizzlies greatly resembled those 2004 Pistons. Arguably, current day, 36-year old Tim Duncan isn’t a superstar on the level of in-their-prime Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, or Duncan; ESPN’s #NBARank considers him the league’s 16th best player. Three of last year’s final four teams put themselves in near position to win a championship without a current #NBARank top-ten player, and with a few lucky breaks (or maybe more appropriately, a sprain, perhaps to Lebron’s ankle) could win one this season. As a team in a market like Cleveland – similar to Indy or Memphis to some extent — isn’t that the target to build towards? Other than Kevin Durant, recent “superstars” in a non-marquee market have bailed on the franchise that drafted them.” [Hetrick/Cavs the Blog] [Read more...]

2013 NFL Draft – AFC North analysis of Browns, Bengals, Steelers and Ravens with @SteelersDepot – WFNY Podcast – 2013-04-26

WFNY Podcast LogoDave Bryan from SteelersDepot.com helped me break down what everyone in the AFC North did in the first round of the draft.

  • Barkevious Mingo and how quickly he can make an impact

  • Ray Horton and whether he can teach these guys the system

  • Jabaal Sheard converting

  • Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant and their implementation into the defense

  • Ahtyba Rubin and his future

  • Paul Kruger’s brother Joe Kruger

  • Steelers pick of Jarvis Jones

  • Can Jarvis Jones set the edge in the NFL?

  • Is there a bigger winner than Andy Dalton?

  • Tyler Eifert and the Cincinnati Bengals

  • The departure of Ed Reed and the call for Matt Elam

  • Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens strike again?

  • What’s next for the Steelers? Justin Hunter? Robert Woods? Eddie Lacey?
  • Joe Flacco’s contract

Bengals vs. Browns 2 – Reader Survey

The Browns and Bengals will be back at it this Sunday, this time in Cleveland. Feels like a long time ago already. Joe Haden’s back. D’Qwell Jackson is practicing today. We’ll see about Ahtyba Rubin, but go ahead and call your collective shot!

Bengals’ Maualuga: Trent Richardson “Didn’t do nothing spectacular”

Unintended double negatives aside, the Cincinnati Bengals LB Rey Maualuga is not concerned about facing Trent Richardson this Sunday when the Cleveland Browns and Bengals square off in Cincinnati.

According to ESPN’s AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley, the Bengals LB wasn’t too shy about making his unimpressed opinions of the Browns’ rookie RB known:

Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga didn’t come away impressed after watching tape of Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson. “He can run you over and you can miss a tackle, at the same time, from what we’ve seen he didn’t do nothing spectacular,” Maualuga told CBSSports.com. “From running screens, missing passes, trying to find a hole when he’s running the ball. He just didn’t do anything spectacular from what I’ve seen.” I double-checked and made sure this was Maulauga and not Jim Brown talking. This is funny because Maualuga “didn’t do nothing spectacular” in the season opener against the Ravens. He managed five tackles in a game where he got continually blocked by Ravens fullback Vonta Leach.

Outside of running over defenders and making people miss, I’m not sure what else a RB needs to do to impress Maualuga. Of course, presumably, averaging more than 2.1 yards per carry would be a good start.

Either way, I believe the first verbal shots have been fired. We’ll see how the Richardson and the Browns respond. A victory over the Bengals would be this author’s preferred response.

[Related: Browns Offer a ‘Taste of the Browns’ for the Cleveland Foodbank]

Browns D is Good, But Ravens D is Great

While certainly far from perfect,  (A.J. Green can attest) the Browns defense is pretty good.  In total defense Cleveland is sixth in yards.  They are sixth in passing yards allowed per game.  They are 29th in rushing yards allowed per game, which stinks.  The Browns also don’t take the ball away enough to be considered anything better than just good.  They’ve only converted six interceptions and six fumbles into possession changes.  But they are ninth in points allowed at just 19.6 per game.

As a defense, when you allow fewer than three touchdowns per game, you should be giving your team a chance to win more times than not.  We all know the Browns have played a pretty weak schedule.  They’ve been fortunate a few times as well.  I’m thinking most specifically about getting to miss Marshawn Lynch in the Seattle game.  So, I will grant you that.  The good news is that the Browns defense is extremely young, so you hope that this year is kind of a baseline.  They’re good, not great.  This Sunday, unfortunately, the Browns will have a chance to see a Ravens defense which is still truly great. [Read more...]

Browns Fade in Second Half to Lose in Cincinnati

The Cleveland Browns carried a ten point lead into halftime, but couldn’t make it stand up.  The Bengals capitalized on some big plays to tie it at 20 before taking the lead for good with under a minute to go in the game, 23-20.  It was a crushing defeat for the Browns, but they have nobody to blame but themselves, as a team, in all phases of the game.

Most notably, the Browns again had a miscue in the field goal game.  Granted, Phil Dawson’s 55-yard go-ahead attempt was not a gimme.  No matter, as Ryan Ponbriand rolled the snap back to punter Brad Maynard who did well to even allow Phil Dawson to take a swipe at the ball which flew wide left and maybe even short.

The Browns had miscues on defense that led to big plays by A.J. Green, Cedric Benson and Jermaine Gresham.  Reserve safety, and 7th round rookie, Eric Hagg was victimized worst in a mismatch with the talented and much larger Gresham.  Joe Haden found it lonely being on an island with A.J. Green at times.  Usama Young was one of a few Browns who was noticeably beaten by Cedric Benson.  The Browns will also be kicking themselves for dropping interceptions.  Chris Gocong dropped a sure one.  [Read more...]

Holmgren Speaks… to Seattle Radio Station

Mike Holmgren broke his silence today as he spoke to Mitch in the Morning on KJR 950 in Seattle.  Here’s what he said…

Mitch: How long you going to do this?  In 10 years are you going to be the President of the Cleveland Browns?

Holmgren: Well, you know it’s hard to tell for sure.  I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be 10 years.  We still have our home in Seattle.  The kids are there.  The grandkids are there.  I don’t think they’re going to be moving anytime soon.  Our vision is to get back into that area at some point.  Exactly when that is?  I’d like to see improvement here and lay the foundation here so that they can feel good about the team again before I make any changes.

Mitch: What kind of team are the Seahawks going to face this week on Sunday?  Is it a good football team?  Is it an O.K. football team?  What’s your honest assessment of what kind of Browns squad you’ve got over there?

Holmgren: You’ll watch us play, and you know we’re a young football team.  You combine the youth we have on the team and a new coach and at times we kind of look young out there.  And then at other times we actually play pretty well.  I think we play pretty good defense.  Dick Jauron, who’s the defensive coordinator, is doing a heck of a job.  Ray Rhodes is on the staff who you know.  They’re doing a great job. [Read more...]

Browns Weren’t Ready – Lose to Bengals 27-17

Bengals rookie receiver A.J. Green got his first touchdown today to give the Bengals a 20-17 lead. It couldn’t have been a more embarrassing play for the Browns. The Browns’ defense was still getting set and ready to line up with Joe Haden inside near the hashes as Green was lined up outside. Bruce Gradkowski – in for injured rookie Andy Dalton – had the easiest touchdown connection of his career as Joe Haden looked stunned and sad after such a solid game full of break ups and blanketing defense went for nothing.

Gone was the streak of 17 unanswered Browns points. Gone was the miniscule four-point lead that the Browns seemed to sit on for much of the second half. The Browns never were able to get that score to put them up by more than a touchdown and the Bengals made them pay for it with about four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The Bengals would later add the final nail in the coffin, a long running touchdown by Cedric Benson.

The faces in Cleveland change, but the acts in this scripted play seem to stay largely the same for a bruised and battered Cleveland fan base that came into the game believing in this team. [Read more...]

Bengals vs. Browns – First Half Report

The new version of the Cleveland Browns was off to a very scary start. A first quarter with seven penalties for 48 yards will do that. The Bengals took an early lead and built it to 13-0 before the Browns finally started to play. It probably isn’t coincidence that the Browns’ offense finally started to click after Josh Cribbs returned a ball about 51 yards (nine yards deep) to the Browns’ 42 yard line.

The Browns got the running game going a bit with Montario Hardesty before Colt McCoy found Ben Watson leaking up the middle past the linebackers and into the end zone. What started with Josh Cribbs seemed to finally catch the rest of the team on fire. The Browns would force the Bengals to punt and the Browns would score again from McCoy to tight end Evan Moore for two yards. That touchdown was set up by a 56-yard bomb from Colt McCoy to Mohamed Massaquoi. [Read more...]

The Browns’ 2011 Opponents

If there is an NFL season next year, we already know who the Browns will play, even if we don’t know the order.  In 2010 the Browns got the whole AFC East, the whole NFC South, the worst team from the AFC South, the worst from the AFC West and their annual divisional opponents.  The non-divisional teams accounted for 76 wins in 2009, the year prior to playing the Browns.  Bucs (3,) Chiefs (4,) Falcons (9,) Saints (13,) Pats (10,) Jets (9,) Jags (7,) Panthers (8,) Dolphins (7,) and Bills (6).

In 2011 the Browns get the entire AFC South, the entire NFC West, the second worst AFC East team, and the second worst AFC West team.  The Browns finished above the Bengals in their division, so that means the Browns get the Dolphins and Raiders while the Bengals get the Bills and Broncos.  That in and of itself is a 7 win swing. (Dolphins + Raiders = 15, while Bills + Broncos = 8.) [Read more...]

Browns Notes – Mangini Moratorium, O-Line Woes and How Many Players Away?

As you know from yesterday, I will not be discussing Mangini’s future for another two games.  That doesn’t mean I won’t talk about the season that is still going on.  And just to clear a couple things up because some people took umbrage with my Mangini Moratorium.  Let me just explain why it doesn’t make any sense to engage in this conversation now.  It is premature.  That isn’t to say that Mangini doesn’t deserve to be fired.  Someone can certainly make that case after the last two weeks.

The problem is that by burying Mangini now, you might as well write off talking about the last two games of this season.  They are important divisional games.  The culture of this team better be to compete hardest in divisional contests even when there is no longer anything meaningful on the line.  Anyone who is talking about something that won’t take place until after the season is over (like potentially firing a coaching staff) is, in my mind, rendering the last two contests meaningless.  I refuse to call any matchups against Baltimore and Pittsburgh meaningless.  This isn’t to say the Mangini haters are necessarily wrong or right.  Just save it for two more weeks after you see the complete portfolio of work.  Make sense?  Maybe I am wrong.  I am sure you will tell me.

As for what we saw yesterday… [Read more...]

Game 14 Open Thread – Browns vs. Bengals

It is game time.  The Battle for Ohio commences yet again.  The weather should be cold and clear with temperatures in the 20s.  Colt McCoy is back from injury and many of you will finally be excited about a Browns game for the first time since he has been out.  Before the game starts, be sure to check out all the coverage WFNY has done prior to the game.

Colt McCoy Eric Mangini and more were discussed in the weekly WFNY podcast with Cleveland.com

All the writers weighed in on how the Browns can defeat the Bengals with BWWI

Of course you can also check out Pre-Game Intel which is just below this article as you look at it on the front page.  Enjoy the game, and go Browns!

Pre-Game Intel – Browns vs. Bengals

When and Where: Sunday December 19th, 2010 – 1:00 PM – Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, OH

Overview: I thought maybe we would do something different this week now that the Browns are down to playing divisional opponents for the second time.  We already have had one “Pre-Game Intel” article for the Bengals.  A lot of time has passed since then.  The Bengals were 2-1 coming into the first game with the Browns.  They had lost their first game to New England before beating Baltimore 15-10 and beating Carolina 20-7.  Then, the Bengals faced mighty Seneca Wallace and the Browns.  That was the first of ten straight losses for the Bengals.  Their eleventh game of the season will be their opportunity to break the streak against the team that started it so so many weeks ago.  I will use the same picture that I used the first time just in case that was the reason the Browns won the game, though. As I say so frequently, I don’t believe in superstition except when I do.

As the Bengals now sit 2-11, what were we saying back in October when the Browns were set to face these Bengals the first time?

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…the Vikings prep for West Virginia, and Arenas to ORL talk

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

CSU Coach Gary Waters on today’s game against WVU…tip-off’s at 2pm people:  “They [WVU] have size on the backline. They hold you down, we are going to have to find ways to score on this team. It’s not going to come easy. The difference is that we can shoot in the 40s and still be in the contest. ”

Waters also did talk about his two key players of the game, first Jeremy Montgomery.

“He came in those games and did not have any fear. I always tell Jeremy he’s a gamer, when the game time is on, Jeremy comes to play. When it comes to putting the ball in the basket, he’s ready to play.”

Then Norris Cole [pictured].

“I am trying to evaluate who will guard him and I don’t know if you can say that they have anyone to do that. The one that I think that could mirror Norris is Flowers. Put a bigger guy on him and see if he can slow him down in what he does.”

“Our goal is to go out there and play as hard as we can and compete. I want us to compete at our highest level. I have to get these guys ready to compete and I have to make sure that they are not full of themselves on this 12-0. That can easily be knocked right out of you.”  [Robert Ivory / CSU.com]

[Read more...]

Appreciating Randy Lerner by Comparison

To derive happiness from the shortfalls of others is really very unbecoming in life.  Then again, the yin and yang are important because without ups, there could be no downs and without unhappiness there could be no such thing as happiness.  

You know; elementary philosophy and all that.  

As the Browns head into “The Battle for Ohio” this week against the 2-11 Bengals, we shouldn’t waste any pity on them or their fans.  They probably don’t want it even if we felt like giving it to them.  The Browns are 1.5-point underdogs as I write this, so it isn’t like Browns fans have a whole lot to crow about other than a better record on the way to also missing the playoffs.  None of this means that I can’t muster a bit of a back-handed compliment for Randy Lerner as I think about Mike Brown’s reign over the Bengals. [Read more...]

Pre-Game Intel – Bengals vs. Browns

When and Where: Sunday October 3rd, 2010 – 1:00 PM – Cleveland Browns’ Stadium

Overview: The Battle for Ohio is on.  If this was a real battle for Ohio shouldn’t it still be Akili Smith vs. Tim Couch?  I kid.  The Bengals made the playoffs a year ago.  They swept the AFC North.  In the off-season they added Terrell Owens to the roster.  They also drafted Colt McCoy’s favorite college target Jordan Shipley who has been their third receiver all year.

The Bengals come into Sunday’s matchup with the Browns a very shaky 2-1.  Browns fans would love to see even a shaky 2-1, but people in Cincy are nervous.  Carson Palmer and the passing game aren’t working even with the additions.  Marvin Lewis is shaking his head at criticism for not winning pretty, but hopefully that means there is a possibility the Browns can win on Sunday. [Read more...]

Glass Half Full View of Browns Offense

I know we are all still stinging from the loss the Browns handed themselves in week one.  That’s why I decided to abandon the doom and gloom for a moment by bringing back the doom and gloom of a year ago to make us all feel better.  Nothing like the theory of relativity to make you think your dungeon is a bit brighter than the dungeon you used to inhabit.  The Browns squandered opportunities on Sunday and shot themselves in the foot with turnovers and a lack of offensive execution.  Still, they scored two offensive touchdowns which, believe it or not, is worth celebrating to some extent. [Read more...]

Browns Content to Be Competitive and Developing

As the Browns’ list of cuts was finally released and then as they failed to claim anyone, Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert’s view of the current Browns is becoming apparent.  The team is far from a finished product and instead of grasping at players who appeared to be minor upgrades the Browns seem content in seeing what they have with the unknown young talents.

Obviously I am talking most notably about the wide receiver position.  As outside observers, it seemed that this was one of the most dire needs the team has had all off-season.  As guys like Vincent Jackson were dangled and as guys like T.J. Houshmandzadeh were cut and became available, the Browns sat idle.  In fairness to the Browns, Housh was unlikely to sign with a team not looking seriously at the playoffs this season, and the asking price was so high on Jackson that he still hasn’t been traded to date.  Still, it speaks volume either about the potential of Massoquai, Robiskie and Cribbs, or the Browns’ desire to see that talent before extending offers to any other players. [Read more...]

America Is Ready For Some Football

Just in case you thought for half a second that baseball might still be America’s pastime, you are wrong.  This Sunday proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt.  I love baseball too, so don’t feel too sad.  Just admit that we all are obsessed with football.  The 365 day cycle of the NFL is officially complete.  They changed the draft and made us into zombies trying to remember stats and tape from the combine.  Oh yeah, the combine?  That is on the NFL Network and I know more than a few people who watched that too.  Now it is even more official.  What were you watching this weekend?

If you’re like the rest of the American sports viewing public, you chose the Hall of Fame Game between Cincinnati and Dallas on NBC. That contest not only trounced ESPN’s airing of the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game, but its 7.6 rating is the highest for any NFL preseason game in six years, more than doubling the Yankees-Red Sox, which drew a 2.7 rating. [Read more...]

Browns Drop Another to Go 1-10

AP / Tony Tribble

AP / Tony Tribble

So often when I am writing things about the Browns it is heavily influenced by conversations with my brother.  This morning, his statement was especially telling as a season ticket holder.  He just can’t wait for this all to be over.  That, my friends is the Lerners worst nightmare.  When those who love to head down and tailgate and make a day of Browns football are ready for the season to be over after 11 games, it is very telling.  Can you blame any of them when the Browns are 1-10, the opposing teams won’t give Josh Cribbs the ball, and now Shaun Rogers is hurt?  OK. Let’s talk about the game.

First, on Brady Quinn.  Don’t confuse this as the text you got from your buddy during the game yesterday that simply said “BQ sux!”  I am not going to say that just yet.  Then again, I think it is impossible to not notice that the Browns don’t have a bona fide, guaranteed quarterback of the future on their roster right now.  I am happy that BQ is playing right now and getting an opportunity to develop.  But, it would be wrong to say that I feel comfortable right now based on what I have seen with Brady Quinn running this team’s offense.  Yesterday, Brady was 15-34 for 100 yards.  He scored a rushing touchdown on a QB draw.  He also caught a pass from Josh Cribbs on a gimmick play.  Too often, even when he had sufficient time and guys were somewhat open, Quinn struggled mightily with his accuracy.  His deep balls were inaccurate, and the intermediate passes were inaccurate.  If he consistently throws behind his receivers, the rhythm will never get going with this offense. [Read more...]