August 26, 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.

[Read more...]

NFL Rumors: Heckert, Shurmur Could Be Reunited With Andy Reid In Arizona

Mike Jurecki, a talk show host and reporter out of Phoenix, is reporting that not only are the Cardinals closing in on hiring former Eagles head coach Andy Reid for their head coaching opening, but they are looking at former Browns general manager Tom Heckert for their general manager vacancy as well. There’s one other nugget too: Pat Shurmur might be reuniting with Heckert sooner rather than later.

Heckert, you will recall, spent nine years in Philadelphia in various positions, while Shurmur was there for ten seasons as a tight ends and quarterbacks coach under Reid.

Jason La Canfora also supports these rumors and adds that Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress could be headed there as a quarterbacks coach.

However, not so fast, says Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer.

Related: #1 Moment of 2012: Haslam and Banner Replace Lerner and Holmgren

Brandon Weeden and Browns fans left looking for answers

Brandon Weeden doesn’t know.

The six-foot-four-inch, rocket-armed rookie leads the NFL in batted passes by a wide margin, having added four more to his first-year resúmé in his most recent loss. Said to have been mature beyond his class, having leadership qualities unparalleled, Weeden is nearing 30 years of age. But what he has in measurables and intangibles, he lacks in instinct and whatever quality it is that allows one to learn, manicure and progress over time — let’s call it adaptability. When asked what Weeden plans on doing to rectify this glaring, season-long issue, he offered the most telling of quotes.

“I don’t really know,” Weeden said. “It’s been one of our better plays. I don’t have an answer for you.”

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Thankful for Jeremy Pargo

Today, as a special version of While We’re Waiting, I wanted to go team-by-team as I share what I’m thankful for here in November 2012. For more WFNY thanks, stay tuned at 10 a.m.

Cleveland Cavaliers

I’m thankful for a very pleasant Thanksgiving Eve surprise in new Cavs point guard Jeremy Pargo: “Pargo’s 28 points was surprising enough, but it was doubly impressive considering that he was matched up against Jrue Holiday, who is one of the better point guard defenders in the NBA. Pargo had no trouble getting his shot, though, as he shot 11-19 from the field and 4-8 from three. He also added four assists and five rebounds.” [Jordan Sargent/SB Nation Cleveland] [Read more...]

Shurmur talks about improving communications

Browns head coach Pat Shurmur, from yesterday’s session with the media-

I can’t tell you exactly. I know exactly why. There were a couple situations getting the right people in the game, getting the play to the quarterback in a timely fashion and then him calling it properly. That’s the string of events. There were a couple times yesterday that didn’t get done. I’m absolutely responsible for that. We’ll make changes here and we’ll streamline some of things. That’s what’s nice about the bye week. It’s about the Browns. It’s about whoever you’re team is you focus on, ‘What can we do better as we move forward?’ We just happen to have the latest bye of the season. For instance, we’ll look at third and ones, what we can do better, the people we use, the plays we run as we move forward to make that absolutely better. We’re going to do that.

(On why the plays didn’t get in on time) – I mentioned about the communication. That’s something that we’re going to talk about. I’ll take full responsibility for all of it. I think we can streamline some things to help the players execute better. That’s about what I’ll say about that.

(On the play calling process) – Brad (Childress) and I call the game. I send in the play to the quarterback, and then he calls the play in the huddle. That’s it. (It’s) very simple.

(On the conversations between himself and Childress) – We talk about what the plays are going to be. We have them written down, we just don’t make them up as we go. Then there’s also getting different players in the game because we use multiple players. There’s a lot that goes on. That’s where we need to be better than we were the other night in all of that and make sure it happens.

[Related: On squandered opportunities and disappearing good will]

Weeden has no comment on three burned timeouts

I believe Jeff Schudel asked Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden what the cause of using three timeouts because the team seemingly couldn’t get a call in by the end of the play clock.

Weeden quickly said, “I’m not.. I’m not going to comment on that.” Then he gave this look.

Who knows why Weeden wouldn’t comment, but you have to think that if he thought it was his fault, based on his previous willingness to take responsibility, that he would have done so.

[Related: Shaky decisions haunt Browns as they lose and say hello to the bye]

WFNY Podcast – 2012-10-26 – Craig and Rick preview Chargers matchup

Once again, Craig and Rick preview the matchup of the week. We also discussed the post I did about Pat Shurmur remaining for the rest of the season.

  • Pat Shurmur and his tenure
  • What are the benefits of not switching coaches mid-season?
  • Trent Richardson and his running style
  • The pass and run mix
  • The Chargers and their loss to the Broncos

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Brad Childress Never Saw a Snap of Josh Gordon Before Draft

Every week, it seems that Brad Childress’ press conference delivers some peculiar nugget about his eccentric, old-school coaching style. This week’s special: He never had seen Josh Gordon play before he officially became a Cleveland Brown:

(On what he saw in Gordon before they picked him in the Supplemental Draft)- “I never saw a snap of him. I got off a cruise boat and somebody said, ‘We signed Josh Gordon,’ and I said, ‘Who’s Josh Gordon?’”

(On if he’s being serious of about not knowing who Gordon was)- “Honestly, yeah. That was Tom (Heckert) and Pat (Shurmur).”

(On where he went on his cruise)- “Where did I go? What do they call it? Western or Eastern Caribbean, I can’t remember right now. I don’t know my islands very well, but it was my wife and I.”

Childress did also mention that Gordon has evolved and improved significantly lately, but it wasn’t clear what the coach’s initial expectations may have been. Never change, Chilly, never change.

Hat tip to Dawgs By Nature for posting these Browns quotes earlier this evening.

[Related: Brad Childress: ‘There are a lot of times … that I don’t look at halftime stats’]

Brad Childress: ‘There are a lot of times … that I don’t look at halftime stats’

During his usual Thursday news conference, Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress was badgered with questions about the team’s run/pass imbalance thus far on the season. His answer to checking the balance of playcalling may surprise you:

(On if seeing an imbalance in the run and pass in the first half affects how he calls the second) – “Not usually, because we’re tending to script our openers. It takes us through the first quarter, sometimes into the second quarter. We have a pretty good sense of where we’re at. It’s not like one of those ‘Hey, let’s throw it, throw it, throw it, throw it’, or ‘let’s run it, run it, run it, run it.’ We’ll never get into that. There are a lot of times, Tony (Grossi), to be honest with you that I don’t look at halftime stats. You’re doing it by the way you feel like you need to play to win the game.”

(On if he’s ever surprised when he sees the stats) – “I’m never surprised. There are times I think I’ve told you, that you guys were talking about numbers of plays for Trent when he first came back. We’re mindful sometimes of things like that. Sometimes we’ll count carries or touches, but that certainly hasn’t been the case for the last three weeks.”

Tony Grossi, the former Plain Dealer reporter and current ESPN Cleveland scribe, later penned an article with these quotes saying that this play-calling discrepancy “makes no sense.” This particular comment also was a hot topic on 92.3 The Fan on Friday.

According to Team Rankings, the Browns currently rank third in the league by passing on 69.2% of their offensive plays this season. Only New Orleans and Oakland have passed it more. The Browns also lead the NFL with a 73.4% mark in the past three games, something Childress specifically pointed to in his comments.

[Related: NFL News: Josh Cooper will, in fact, be added to Browns roster]

What should the Browns do with receiver injury situation?

The Cleveland Browns have had receiver problems for as long as anyone can remember at this point. Anyone talked to Kevin Johnson lately? Former Browns receiver and returner André Davis is only 33. Maybe he still has something in the tank. Kidding aside, it felt like the Browns’ receivers were developing this year early on as we got looks at Mohamed Massaquoi, Greg Little, Travis Benjamin and Josh Gordon. Plus, we had the promise of pesky Jordan Norwood and Josh Cribbs making appearances in relief. …And then there were none. Or at least that’s the way it feels.

Mohamed Massaquoi is presumed to be out this weekend along with Travis Benjamin and Jordan Norwood. That leaves Greg Little, Josh Gordon, and Josh Cribbs. Add in the presumed call-up of Josh Cooper from the practice squad and the possibility of recently re-signed Rod Windsor and you can at least fill out the lineup, I guess. But, that’s a whole lot of guys without a whole lot of experience or meaningful recent playing time, so what should the Browns do? Here are some suggestions. [Read more...]

Depth Chart Demands: Is it Josh Gordon’s Turn?

While the coachspeak could be overflowing with hyperbole, Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress went on the record to say that rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon is entering the weekend coming off of his best practice as a professional.

Potentially sensing more of an opportunity given the injuries to fellow receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin, the 6-foot-3-inch Gordon is slowly becoming more comfortable in his role, playing quicker and thinking less.

“I didn’t see any hesitation, I didn’t see him thinking about anything,” Childress said regarding the 21-year-old Baylor product. “He’s doing all of thing things that you expect to see from a professional receiver.”

On the young season, Gordon has a mere seven receptions for 93 yards — his lone 16-yard reception against the Balitmore Ravens last Thursday came by mere fluke as it went through the hands of Greg Little and progressed down field where Gordon happened to be coming out of a come-back route. [Read more...]

Grossi: Is Childress calling the plays?

Tony Grossi pointed it out on Twitter1 that Brad Childress might have tipped his hat that he is calling the plays. From Brad Childress’ session with the press yesterday

(On how he would assess the offensive line with run blocking) – “If we’re calling it and sometimes I haven’t done a great job of calling it as much as I need to, it has been okay. I wouldn’t say we’ve been overpowering, but then again that’s driven by lack of calls.”

Whether that means he’s actually calling the plays or not, I don’t know. I presume Pat Shurmur is still making the final call, but that Childress’ voice is loud and clear in his head and they are collaborating. I’m sure many fans will just assume Childress is calling all the good plays.

[Related: Browns vs. Giants – Reader Survey]

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Footnotes:

  1. via the abominable Sulia []

PFT: Mock Draft 2.0 Gives Browns Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden

The bell continues to ring around the country for the Browns to select Trent Richardson in the draft. This is despite the fact that conventional wisdom constantly repeats things like, “you can’t draft running backs that high!” The fact is that the new rookie scale combined with the layer of polish on Trent Richardson seems to be something of a game-changer.

PFT really unleashes a surprise with their selection of Brandon Weeden at #22 though. Their comment?

Weeden won’t struggle to defeat Colt McCoy in a camp battle.

I think that is a little hard to say. Like McCoy or not, there were some mitigating factors for last season that could work to McCoy’s favor coming in this year’s training camp. McCoy has presumably been working toward the singular goal of solidifying his spot with the Browns this season since the last one ended. That includes thinking about the offense and working on getting better at running it. So even if there is some kind of talent gap in Brandon Weeden’s favor and even if he also is more mature than McCoy by some chance, to think that anyone can definitively say McCoy is toast is presumptuous. McCoy should at least have a “first mover advantage” to capitalize on a definition that folks from business school will recognize.

As always, we’ll see. I have my doubts about McCoy too. I might just not be willing to say I don’t have more doubts about the 28-year-old QB from Oklahoma State no matter how good he looks on YouTube.

[Related: Click here for highlight videos of Weeden (and Richardson) in action]

Mike Mayock is right about Ryan Tannehill and the Browns… sort of

The comments to our headline post about Mike Mayock’s opinion of Ryan Tannehill turned out to be a discussion of what it means for something to be newsworthy. In the case of Mike Mayock’s opinion, as someone who has invested pretty heavily in the Browns, I would rather know it than not know it. That doesn’t mean I believe it all, but it is an important part of the equation of how I go through my life as someone who follows the Browns closely. It sets a precedent not only for players who could potentially become a part of the Browns, but also the critic who puts the opinion out there. In this case, after reviewing Mike Mayock’s statement and really thinking about it, I am left to agree with him… sort of.

The sentence that everyone keeps repeating is when Mayock said, “I think Cleveland has to take (Tannehill) at No. 4 and if they don’t Miami is sitting there at No. 8.” I actually agree with that, but let’s re-formulate the sentence a bit, shall we? Mike Mayock said so much about Tannehill other than that one statement that I think it is important to boost the clarity for him. [Read more...]

Updated: With RG3 Gone, Browns fans prefer McCoy, Blackmon

With the blockbuster trade between the St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins now completed, all that’s left to do for Browns fans is figure out the best way forward. We conducted a poll today to do just that.

First of all, on the trade itself Browns fans overwhelmingly agree that they are happy the Browns didn’t pay the exorbitant price that St. Louis was asking. 69% of Browns fans agreed that the Redskins are welcome to the second pick at that price. A mere 11% of fans think the Browns should have paid whatever cost. Finally, 20% of Browns fans claim they never wanted RG3 to begin with.

As far as what the Browns should do moving forward, the results were less decisive, but decisive nonetheless. 60% of Browns fans are fine with one more year of Colt McCoy with more weapons. 17% of Browns fans would like the Browns to sign Packers free agent backup QB Matt Flynn. 13% of Browns fans want the Browns to find a QB in the draft, with 4% of those hoping for a first rounder. Finally Jason Campbell was preferred by 3% of Browns fans and only four people (not percent, but two people) would like Kyle Orton. 7% said they didn’t know, but something else. [Read more...]

NFL Free Agency: Matt Flynn unlikely to be tagged by Green Bay Packers

As the deadline for using the franchise tag approaches Monday at 4 PM it becomes less and less likely that the Packers will use their franchise tag on Matt Flynn. The Green Bay Press Gazzette seems to think that Packers GM Ted Thompson will not take the risk.

If they tag Flynn, though, they would have to make room for his $14.4 million tender, at least for a brief time, on March 13. That would require personnel moves, such as releasing players and restructuring contracts, before 3 p.m. March 13.

For all the Matt Flynn fans amongst Browns fans this is good news. Certainly you have to think the Dolphins have the inside track on Flynn should he become a free agent with former Packer offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as the new coach in Miami. Fans and media types have also mentioned Miami as a destination for Peyton Manning should the Colts cut him loose.

So we’ll see. For now, it appears that one hurdle to Flynn’s availability in free agency is close to being cleared as the franchise tag deadline approaches quickly.

For more on Matt Flynn and the Browns…
Please let it be Matt Flynn
What would it cost for Matt Flynn if he is franchised?

NFL Draft: Bullet point thoughts on RG3 and the Browns

On a day where I’m having trouble thinking about anything but the crazy news out of the next town over from me, I am trying to distract myself with RG3 stuff.  And I find it all confusing.

  • I’ve said it before, and I know the logic isn’t sound, but I have a lot of trouble figuring out how it makes sense to trade up with massive compensation for the Rams for the consensus second best quarterback in the draft.
  • The logic stinks because some years Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers come out together and everyone wins. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Brad Childress As Coordinator, Indians Prospects, Casey Kotchman At First Base

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.

Minnesota Vikings’ expert comments on Brad Childress: “Childress came to Minnesota as a respected, well-like coordinator from Philadelphia, but he may have come down too hard on players while trying to instill some institutional control after the Love Boat scandal that rocked the organization under Mike Tice. If Childress can return to the more relaxed, personable coach he was under Reid, he may be able to build something with the Browns and whatever quarterback he rides.” [Tim Yotter via OBR]

[Read more...]

NFL Rumors: Donovan McNabb Being Linked to Cleveland Browns

Veteran NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb has been in the news and some around the league feel that his next suitor could be the Cleveland Browns.

WKNR 850AM mid-morning radio host Tony Rizzo tweeted live from Indianapolis that three separate sources have linked the former Philadelphia Eagle quarterback to three of his former superiors in general manager Tom Heckert, current Browns head coach Pat Shurmur and recently-hired offensive coordinator Brad Childress.

In a recent interview at the Super Bowl’s radio row, McNabb went on record to say that he endorsed the Browns’ addition of Childress and, while mentioning current Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, that he and Shurmur will “do a great job together.”

In an inteview with Super Bowl Live on the NFL Network this past Wednesday, McNabb stated that he has three teams wherein he could “add a little flavor” if there was mutual interest. Given that the Browns continue to be among the handful of teams that have yet to commit to their quarterback for the long term, there will continue to be a mosaic theory which will place any available quarterback into the Cleveland-based rumor mill until a final decision is made.

McNabb, 35, was selected second-overall in 1999.  The Browns selected quarterback Tim Couch with the first pick that very year.

[Related: Grossi: Kevin Kolb Would Top Browns’ Wish List Upon Release]

Hillis Will be Back if He Wants to Be Back

According to a report by Mary Kay Cabot yesterday Peyton Hillis might have done enough for the Browns to reverse previous course and consider bringing the big bruiser back.  While I don’t doubt that with Hillis’ late-season surge after finally getting healthy enough to get on the field, I am not sure how much exactly he has proven in terms of dollar signs.

In November Tony Zarella from 19 Action News reported that the Browns were offering three years for $16.5 million with $3 million fully guaranteed.  Other reports/rumors came from LeCharles Bentley that the Hillis camp was seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million guaranteed.  Obviously at that time the Browns and Hillis’ people were very far apart. [Read more...]