August 26, 2014

Rex Ryan takes a shot at Mike Pettine for talking to media

Pettine presser

Certain people always find a way to have their names in headlines, even when things are supposed to be slow. New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is one of said people, his latest coming in the way of a few shots taken at former colleague and current Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine.

Pettine was recently the subject of a well-written profilish piece written by Monday Morning QB’s Greg Bedard. (If you haven’t read it yet, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for.) Within the story, Pettine was quoted throughout, dropping all sorts of science—scheme, philosophy, the NFL Draft, you name it. But in a passage about his playbook and how he goes about educating his players, the rookie head coach dropped this gem:

“The initial playbook itself is actually quite thin, and that’s by design. I don’t put a lot of graduate-level information in it. We know in places like New England, it’s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.”

Pettine added that Ryan used to hand out his defensive playbooks “like candy,” and that they would always, somehow, find their way into the hands of Bill Belichick. Ryan, needless to say, was not too pleased with this nugget of information.

“Everyone needs to talk to Mike Pettine because he’s got all the answers,” said Ryan. “I don’t understand what he’s trying to gain by it. He needs to learn to be quiet.”

This take by Ryan was just the spark. The inferno would take place when a few thirsty media members added some fuel to the mix, calling Pettine names like “ultimate snitch,” and that he was the one to leak all information to the New York media during the Tebow-Sanchez season.

Taken in context with the entire story, it would appear that there was little in the way of malice with Pettine’s comments—he simply does not provide much in the way of depth when the roster is still at 90 players. There is little to gain on providing propriety information to individuals who may not be with the team come late-August. Could Pettine have chosen another team or simply spoke in generalities? Probably.

While it’s unclear as to the cause, Ryan claimed that his relationship with Pettine is “in a bad spot.” This mid-week barb isn’t likely to mend the fences any time soon.


Infographic: Where the Browns rank in terms of draft value

Good news, Browns fans. You know how we have long felt that the Browns have been horrible at obtaining value from the NFL Draft? Well, it turns out that every team, by and large, has done a poor job of drafting for value. The bad news is, while all NFL teams have largely failed at hitting it rich on the regular, the Browns have been among the league’s worst at the whole value thing, pusing the limits on standard deviations of suck.

From Jon Bois, the mind-bending editor of SB Nation, we have the chart above which depicts, based on value and eventual career value, where NFL teams rank when it comes to identifying gridiron genius.

There are a lot of great tidbits in the piece, including a depiction of Mike Holmgren on a skateboard, a comparison of the Detroit Lions to throwing darts, and a good ribbing of the Jets for taking a kicker (Mike Nugent!) in the second round. The interesting part may come when Bois discusses the Patriots and Bill Belichick.

Bill Belichick’s Patriots are the only team to exist outside of these rules. Their middle rounds were littered with guys who did nothing, or next to nothing, in the NFL. Their draft success ranked in the bottom third of the league during these seasons.

But even in 2009, those guys made up a large chunk of the roster. Nearly a third of the roster was made up of guys who were never drafted at all; the Patriots signed them for cheap and plugged them right in.

See, it’s easy! Drafting means nothing. Sorry, have to go, the NFL Combine is on. Oh, new mock draft is released? [Click]

Mike Lombardi seen with Browns documents at NFL Combine


While this may have merely been a matter of inoportune timing mixed with media notes provided to the cavlacade of individuals at the NFL Combine, former Cleveland Browns general manager Mike Lombardi was shown on NFL Network, sifting through documents with the Cleveland Browns logo on them.

Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan tweeted Lombardi’s on-screen arrival which was quickly followed by images tweeted from all corners of the web, mostly consisting of cell-phone shots of television screens.

While we won’t know exactly what Lombardi was thumbing through, it’s safe to say that all of the NFL Draft prep that was done prior to his exit from Berea is now firmly in the hands of Bill Belichick.

Mike Lombardi reportedly lands on his feet, set to join the Patriots

Well, that certainly didn’t take long. Multiple reports out of both Cleveland and New England claim former Browns general manager Mike Lombardi will join the New England Patriots’ front office, just days after being shown the door in Berea.

Lombardi will be reuniting with long-time friend in Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick. Recall, the two worked together with the Browns during Belichick’s first head coaching opportunity in Cleveland from 1991-1995. Lombardi’s role with the Patriots is unclear, though he is believed to be assuming the nebulous role of “personnel executive.” He spent five years working in the media (NFL Network, National Football Post) after being fired by the Oakland Raiders. He was subsequently hired to run the Browns prior to last season to work under Joe Banner pror to being fired earlier this week.

Various members of 92.3 The Fan, including Chris Fedor and Browns beat reporter Daryl Ruiter, were among the first out of Cleveland to report on Lombardi’s next chapter.

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Belichick on the Browns: “They outcoached us and outplayed us in every area.”

During his conference call on Monday morning, New England head coach Bill Belichick had this to say about the Browns and the way they played on Sunday-

“Cleveland did a good job. They outcoached us and outplayed us in every area. Fortunately we were able to make some plays at the end, play some good situational football and be able to come back and score pretty quickly at the end of the game where a lot of things had to go right.”

The Patriots will be without TE Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the season. Tests revealed a torn ACL and MCL for Gronkowski after a hit yesterday involving Browns safety T.J. Ward. Ward was not flagged for the hit, and said after the game that he went low in part due to the league’s mandates and fines for hitting players high.

[Related: Cleveland Browns Game 13 Winners and Losers]

Cleveland Browns lose 27-26 thanks to key pass interference call

Brady Edelman Pats BrownsYou really can’t spend a lot of time talking about NFL football and talking about refereeing. It has a tendency to go both ways and good teams overcome all kinds of bad calls all the time. It’s a part of the game, period. Of course I open my recap that way because today is not one of those days.

Today, I have no choice. The Cleveland Browns were called for pass interference in the end zone on one of the softest calls I’ve ever seen while clinging to a 26-21 lead in New England. The Pats, who’d been trailing the whole game received the bail out call to end all bail out calls. Tom Brady threw long to Josh Boyce and Leon McFadden had great coverage as he and Boyce dove for the ball. The ball went past them both and the cowardly official tossed his flag on the field to make sure that the action wasn’t decided by the actual players making good football plays. Can you tell I’m still pretty fired up about it.

Serenity now… [Read more...]

Animated: Josh Gordon celebrates after toasting Aqib Talib for 80 yards

Josh Gordon was having a quiet day. Operative word being “was.” After being harrassed by Aqib Talib all day long, Gordon finally exploded for 80 yards all on one play as he caught a pass in stride and shrugged off the agitating New England defensive back.

And this was his celebration.

Josh Gordon Celebrates 80 Yarder


[Related: Cleveland Browns – What to watch for now that the games are meaningless]

Is Bernie Kosar’s doctor really helping him? Jason Schwartz discusses – WFNY Podcast – 2013-11-18

WFNY Podcast LogoBernie Kosar is near and dear to Cleveland fans’ hearts. To a person, there’s probably not anyone who doesn’t want one of Cleveland’s most beloved athletes to be well and feel well. Years of playing a brutal sport in the 80′s has obviously taken a toll on Kosar and last year he came out heralding the treatments of a specific doctor. It all sounds great in theory, but what help is he really getting from this doctor? What does the medical and research community think of the claims of this doctor and others like him?

Senior Editor of Boston Magazine, Jason Schwartz, wrote an article exploring this topic for The New Republic and we had him on the podcast to discuss it all.

Click here to read Jason’s article: These Fringe Doctors Say They Can Cure NFL Concussion Victims

Check out this episode

NFL News – Nate Ulrich on Tebow coverage, Browns position battles, Josh Gordon suspension, contract extensions and more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-14

WFNY Podcast LogoAlways good to catch up with the Browns observations with Nate Ulrich from the Akron Beacon Journal. Here’s all that we discussed.

  • How good do you feel not having to talk Tebow?
  • Bill Belichick out to prove he doesn’t have to talk about anything.
  • Gregg Popovich and how he just defies everyone to do what he wants.
  • Ray Horton’s new attacking scheme and how evident it might or might not be at this point
  • T.J. Ward in the box a bit more, maybe like Troy Polamalu?
  • Ray Horton’s Phoenix radio station and how it was going to mirror that of the Steelers
  • Maybe Horton’s change in tune is to avoid player comparisons from Pittsburgh
  • Josh Gordon and the league’s CBA that limits the fact-finding
  • Dawgs by Nature post about changing to Drew Rosenhaus and the timing with the change
  • Joe Haden and his change to Drew Rosenhaus as well
  • Davone Bess and his ability to fill in for Josh Gordon
  • Davone Bess replacing Josh Cribbs as the leader of the wide receivers
  • Fullback and Cleveland Browns and Vonta Leach
  • Leach’s agent talked to Mike Lombardi but no visit was scheduled
  • No real interest on the Browns’ part
  • Owen Marecic’s future and Brad Smelley’s future with the Browns
  • Browns had two backs in the backfield a lot including Ogbonnaya and Hardesty together
  • The Brandon Jackson signing and how weird it was
  • The injury history of Trent Richardson and at the RB position in general
  • If there was one position group where the Browns might supplement the roster, which one would it be?
  • Chris Owens, Buster Skrine, Leon McFadden all battling it out opposite Haden and in the nickel
  • Brandon Bogotay and his competition with Shayne Graham
  • Expected player extensions and why we haven’t seen any just yet
  • Mike Lombardi said it was “a little early”
  • Moving training camp to 4-6:30 PM and how packed camp has been anyway
  • Fan experience and how important it seems to be to the new regime

Check out this episode

Jon talks Vinnie Pestano, NFL salary caps and more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-03-12

WFNY Podcast LogoI was able to grab Jon on location in Arizona. Unfortunately “on location in Arizona” for his purposes has nothing to do with the Cleveland Indians spring training location. Anyway, we battled the time zones (and my bed time) for a chat.

Here’s what we talked about.

  • Scott Kazmir’s great day
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka injury
  • Matt LaPorta cut and crickets respond
  • Vinnie Pestano and his new contract
  • Mike Trout and his pre-arbitration deal
  • The Angels short-change Mike Trout. How short-sighted is it?
  • What did the Indians offer Vinnie Pestano?
  • Who do you have ill will for?
  • NFL Free agency and waiting for the efficiency
  • Market inefficiencies and roster dynamics
  • PECOTA and Nate Silver’s book
  • The Belichick tree is dead after Bill Belichick
  • Bob Kraft and his willingness to give people leeway
  • Dealing with parents as a coach

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WFNY Debate: Do NFL coaches even matter?

chudzinskiIn case it hasn’t been clear yet, the WFNY writers email each other a lot. And I mean a lot. So on top of our two email-based roundtables already this week (post-Kelly rumors and post-Chudzinski hire), we bring you inside the famed Gmail inbox for a look at a Friday debate: This time, we’re talking about the possible impact of pro coaches.

Jacob: Hey guys, I’m considering writing a numbers article about Rob Chudzinski. I’m intrigued by the stats about his TDs, points and plays of 20+ yards with Carolina. Then maybe look at the Browns in ’07-’08, the Chargers, Miami, etc. Compare to league averages. His success with RBs (DeAngelo Williams in Week 17). Here’s a quick snippet of the stats that I had in mind for such a post:

2011: plays of 20+ pass/rush (total) —- Carolina: 66/24 (90); Cleveland: 32/7 (39)
2011: third down conversion —- Carolina: 75/185 (40.5%); Cleveland: 92/238 (38.7%)
2012: plays of 20+ pass/rush (total) —- Carolina: 58/17 (75); Cleveland: 50/7 (57)
2012: third down conversion —- Carolina: 88/204 (43.1%); Cleveland: 67/218 (30.7%) [Read more...]

Browns coach search and why the excitement over Chip Kelly was justified

Joe Banner will have some decisions to make in Cleveland

On to the next one…

Despite all my criticisms of the Browns’ media handling in the hunt for Chip Kelly, I fully supported their chase of him as a coach for the Browns. The idea of Chip Kelly coaching the Browns was awesome. There’s no guarantee that Chip Kelly was going to be anything more than a complete bust. That’s pretty much the case for any coaching candidate. It drives me nuts that in order to talk about Chip Kelly in Cleveland that we constantly had to talk about Butch Davis because, you know, they both coached in college. That connecting of the dots is probably about as lazy as you can get from an intellectual standpoint.

You just can’t tell me with a straight face that a defensive specialist with experience as defensive coordinator of the Cowboys and head coaching experience at the U is the same thing as a guy who was almost solely an offensive coach on his way to becoming head coach at Oregon. That’s just the resume side of things. The fact remains that each candidate is a completely different human being. Even two doctors who went to the same medical school are completely different, and their training and professional background will be far less diverse than two guys like Butch Davis and Chip Kelly.

[Read more...]

Cleveland ’95: Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds

Of course. But maybe.

Louis CK, the Emmy-winning comedian who is arguably the best1 at his craft, kicked off his nationwide tour on Wednesday night, doing so in the city of Cleveland, or as he refers to as “kind-of-big-guy Cleveland.” In typical CK fashion, he weaved between his act and whimsical tangents with no race, illness or creed left unturned.

Ending his show, CK used a self-belief which he has dubbed “Of course…but maybe.” Without spoiling the specific jokes, the crux of these beliefs are that there are essentially universal feelings regarding certain topics (peanut allergies, gender or race equality, The Make a Wish Foundation), but maybe we should, at times, consider an outsiders perspective and reassess our stance. Unfurling his comedic stylings for a little over an hour, jokes were made, and laughs were had. Lots of them.

At least until the headlining show was followed up with the NFL Network’s broadcast of “A Football Life: Cleveland ’95.”

[Read more...]



  1. Living. []

WFNY Podcast – 2012-10-04 – Craig and Andrew talk Cavaliers playoff hopes and Browns vs. Giants

The Skype calls continue to make podcasting a nice experience as I was able to get Andrew on the “Subway Fresh Take Hotline” for a nice chat about a variety of topics. Honestly I think Andrew and I could do four hours a day because we both never seem to run out of things to say.

Here’s a rundown of what we discussed…

  • Cleveland ’95 – Why Andrew didn’t care to watch it and why I wanted to see it
  • Pat Shurmur and if he can ever be a good NFL coach
  • Cleveland Cavaliers and the playoffs
    • Can they make the playoffs?
    • Should they make the playoffs?
    • What has to happen to make that a reality?
  • Browns vs. Giants
    • What are the Browns’ chances?
    • 10 days to prepare and what that could mean
    • Greg Little and his future


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While We’re Waiting … Belichick’s Browns, Tyler Zeller’s Blog, Indians as Next Orioles?

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

A quick preview of tonight’s NFL Films show: “In 2011, NFL Films launched its remarkable A Football Life series with a two-part study of Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The next episode, which focuses on the ’95 Browns, should more accurately be regarded as a Belichick prequel. The study of the 1995 Cleveland Browns, which debuts Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on NFL Network, spends more time focusing on the legacy of the coach than the fate of the franchise. Yes, there’s plenty about the final days in Cleveland of the team that became the Ravens. But there’s more about the manner in which Belichick influenced a generation of men who reached tremendous heights (admittedly with varying degrees of success) elsewhere.” [Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk] [Read more...]

“Cleveland ’95: A Football Life” will be mandatory viewing for me

I’ve read countless tweets from Browns fans saying they won’t watch this documentary about the 1995 Cleveland Browns. Tony Grossi wrote about it and likened it to reliving a family member’s funeral. While those scenes depicting the stadium being torn apart might cause me to shed a few tears, after seeing the sneak preview, I think I’ll have to watch it because there is so much more there for someone like me born in 1979. I wasn’t anywhere near maturity as a football fan by that point in my life.

I know all the names of the guys in and around the Browns, but to say that I have vivid memories of Bill Belichick as Browns’ head coach would be a lie. It makes this story almost mandatory viewing for NFL fans when you consider that names like Bill Belichick, Mike Lombardi, Nick Saban, Kirk Ferentz, Scott Pioli, Eric Mangini and Ozzie Newsome were all at least partially built during this time period. Yes, it hits hardest for Browns fans who lost their team and in many ways still don’t have it back. Even still, part of being a Browns fan is understanding and wanting to explore the rest of the ecosystem that they exist in in the wider NFL view.1 [Read more...]



  1. One of the most difficult adjustments for Browns fans since the team has been back has probably been missing out on five years of game evolution in terms of on and off-field culture. In many ways, I think Browns fans are still fighting many of the changes that happened while we were… ahem… “away.” []

Grossi: Browns should “spread out” on offense

Tony Grossi has been a different guy since jumping over to WKNR. I’ve said it a few times. I also said Pat Shurmur looked like a different guy before he shrunk back into the ugly cocoon of negativity and churlishness once the Browns sale was announced. I digress.

Grossi seems to be enjoying his freedom from the Plain Dealer. Even if you still don’t like the Browns’ most tenured beat reporter, I think he nailed his post today about what he would do if he was Browns coach.

The plodding, 1980s-era fullback-tailback run game is not working here. It’s not only not working, it is deflating everybody. Richardson spends too much time running up the ankles of fullback Owen Marecic or guards Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao. He needs room. They get in his way.

The Browns have to spread out defenses with their formation. The NFL likes to think it invents every new trend in the game. Sorry. The college game is far ahead on the offensive side. That’s why Bill Belichick visited Urban Meyer at Florida for so many years – to get a leg up on his NFL rivals.

I recommend the whole post. It seems spot on to me. The Browns have some weapons now, and a few scheme adjustments would seemingly benefit the team greatly. Not to pile on Owen Marecic, but his presence on the field usually indicates an obvious run. His inability to punish anyone by catching the ball out of the backfield makes him even more one-dimensional.

It kind of reminds me of all those running plays last year where Alex Smith went in motion the exact same way probably 10 times per game. At least he caught the ball some.

[Related: Cleveland Browns Game 4: Winners and Losers]

Bill Belichick Looks To Tie Chuck Noll’s Record For Super Bowl Wins

Bill Belichick looms over today’s Super Bowl perhaps more than anyone involved in the game. There are plenty of narratives that the media look for during the two weeks between the conference championships and Super Bowl Sunday. As Belichick looks to tie Chuck Noll as the only head coaches with four Super Bowl victories, the New England coach has certainly been a first topic of the coverage this week, including a blog post of a comical old Starter ad in which he dons a classic Browns coat.

Despite his shortcomings and relatively unsuccessful time in Cleveland, I’ve always found Belichick completely fascinating and someone I am constantly interested in learning about. Those days in Cleveland bred a stable of NFL and college coaches, as well as personnel evaluators. The Patriots’ current head personnel man, Nick Caserio, is a Cleveland native and of course we’re all familiar with Josh McDaniels Northeast Ohio roots.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Rookie Honeymoons, Twitter Rankings and Brady/Belichick vs History

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

Is the Tristan Thompson honeymoon over already? “What really concerns me, though, is his offense. While he’s still great at doing what he’s always done (facing the basket and throwing it down with authority) he hasn’t really shown much improvement in the post, which is critically important, particularly for a guy his size who won’t be able to use pure power against the Dwight Howards and Andrew Bynums of the NBA. At the rim, TT is shooting a good 57% (especially for a guy who spends most of his time in the paint), but at just 3-9 feet away, his numbers drop to 38.2%, meaning our guy has a lot of learning to do even just a few feet away from the hoop.” [Factor/Cavs the Blog] [Read more...]

NFL Playoffs Teach Us that Building Teams is Hard Work

Every week of the Browns season we do the (sometimes comical) “Browns will win if…” articles here on WFNY.  Usually it was something about Peyton Hillis being healthy, Colt McCoy finding some rhythm with his receivers, Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin stopping the run, or Phil Dawson hitting eleventeen field goals as the keys to victory.  It was always interesting to see how the games turned out to see if any of our “predictions” or key matchups became as key as they felt on Friday afternoon as we were making things up.  In the end, the NFL has become a game of predictions between Vegas and Fantasy and, really,  nobody knows what is actually going to happen.  Nothing could have been illustrated more perfectly than that sentiment yesterday during the NFL playoffs.

Peter King pointed it out in his MMQB column and it is true. [Read more...]