April 24, 2014

Scott Raab discusses the Browns hiring of Mike Pettine – WFNY Podcast – 2014-01-25

WFNY Podcast LogoWe don’t do a regular Monday morning podcast with Scott Raab anymore, but whenever there’s something that needs to be discussed, he’s there for us. With the Browns’ hiring of Mike Pettine and ending the lengthy coaching search, it was a good time to catch up.

We discussed the Browns’ search. We discussed Mike Pettine as a candidate. We discussed the challenges facing the Browns going forward and we even fit in a bit of Cavs talk with Chris Grant and Anthony Bennett.

Enjoy!

Check out this episode

Comparing national and local perspective of the Cavs and Browns – Cleveland Scene’s Sam Allard and Andrew Zelman – WFNY Podcast – 2013-01-13

WFNY Podcast LogoToday I wanted to talk about the national and local perspective of the Cavs and the Browns. It feels so paranoid, angry and negative locally, but that also can sometimes feel accurate. In various cases, that perspective is backed up nationally. So what’s the right perspective?

I talked to Cleveland Scene’s new owner Andrew Zelman and on of Scene’s many resident sports fans, Sam Allard.

You should follow these guys on Twitter as well.

Andrew Zelman is @AZFromCleveland

Sam Allard is @SceneSallard

Check out this episode

Dueling reports on Browns interest in Oklahoma’s Stoops

BCS Championship Oklahoma FootballAs we have seen in years past, the NFL offseason is typically a time where national media folks kindly ask the local contingent to step aside while they handle all of the latest and greatest on various hirings and firings. Last season, as the Browns were hot after Oregon’s Chip Kelly, it was NFL.com and ESPN.com leading the pack with the various newspaper folks left to merely retweet or re-word others’ reports.

Things do get a bit interesting, however, when a national report comes out and a local person swoops in to immediately refute it. Such is the case with the ongoing discussions surrounding Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and the reported mutual interest between he and and Cleveland Browns regarding the team’s currently vacant head coaching spot.

On Saturday, NFL.com’s Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Oklahoma Sooners coach Bob Stoops are the team’s top candidates to replace Rob Chudzinski and that it was Stoops who was expected to interview this coming week. McDaniels has been frequently linked to the Browns, but Stoops (and other collegiate coaches) has been more of a bold, wild card-type name.

Not long thereafter, it was Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer who took down Rapoport’s report as if it were a scud missile. With placement above the fold on A1 in Sunday’s paper as well as the featured link on Cleveland.com, Cabot refutes any report that links Stoops as a person of interest and says that an interview is not scheduled.

For the scoreboard watchers and finger pointers, it was Rapoport who all but cemented Kelly in as the next Browns head coach last season prior to the bizarre, and still under-discussed reversal on the coaches part. Recently, it was Cabot who refuted reports of Jim Tressel being interviewed for the Browns gig as well.

There is a big difference between “mutual interest” and “top candidates.” There’s posturing, and there’s the potential for misdirection from sources. Things can change on a dime, as evidenced by a year ago. For the time being, it appears that Rapoport is sticking to his guns.

(AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)  

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...]

In praise of the Browns front office… so far

Banner Chud 4In the name of front office accountability, I’ve been very open with the fact that I’m not a fan of the Trent Richardson trade. I’ve learned quite a bit about criticism and sports over the last five years with our Cleveland franchises and Mike Holmgren helped ensure that I already finished drinking my last bottle of “Benefit of the Doubt” cola,1 let alone a sugary glass of Kool-Aid. That doesn’t mean that I am just a skeptic for the sake of being a skeptic. I think it’s important to look at the things that this Browns front office has gotten right, or that are showing decent early returns.2 Without those positive facts on the table, criticisms don’t mean very much. So whether it be Joe Banner, Michael Lombardi, Ray Farmer, Alec Scheiner or some combination of all of them, here’s what I’m encouraged by so far.

1. Chud – I tried really hard not to get sucked into the “local boy” story with the Browns’ selection of head coach Rob Chudzinski. The local angle has been beaten to death in Cleveland and it hasn’t yielded much since 1999 other than one really great year watching Joe Jurevicius catch passes. So far, so good for Rob Chudzinski. Of course it’s far too early to say conclusively, but right not I give the front office credit for ending up with Rob Chudzinski and his decorated crew of assistants led by Norv Turner and Ray Horton. At least for this early moment in time, it appears that however it all went down, the Browns ended up doing just fine missing out on Chip Kelly. But comparisons are really unfair at this point, so I’ll just compliment Chud on his own merits.

Just this week alone, I was really impressed the way Chud tried to rev up the crowd when the Browns were on defense and simultaneously admitted a mistake and apologized when asked about not going for two on what turned out to be the final score of the win against Buffalo. As we all know from Pat Shurmur, meek defenses and arrogant attitudes don’t help anyone. It’s nice to see Chud handle his position with confidence and humility so far, while also staring down cries of “tanking” to win three games in a row. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Really bitter after-taste! []
  2. I liked the Browns draft day trades, but that isn’t an example for this list because it’s too early to say anything about the results. []

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.

WFNYBanner www

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...]

The Diff: Coveted Chip Kelly brings Moneyball style to NFL

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 some Browns storylines heading into Week 1. Now, I’m writing about the NFL’s latest fad and one of my favorite topics ever: Chip Kelly.

The Diff

Jan. 5-6, 2013: A crazy weekend in Browns news. The next Monday, the WFNY crew congregated for a roundtable to reflect on what exactly just happened. In the end, University of Oregon football coach Chip Kelly had indeed bolted for the NFL, but chose the Philadelphia Eagles instead of Cleveland or elsewhere. I was pretty decimated; not only because I was on Twitter alert for 16 hours a day for naught, but because the much-coveted Chip Kelly had gone elsewhere. My favorite football coach wouldn’t be coaching my favorite team. [Read more...]

WFNY Podcast – 2013-03-05 – Diminishing returns in baseball stats?

WFNY Podcast LogoJon and Craig got together to talk sports, and this is what went down.

  • MIT Sloan conference (again)
  • Nate Silver the rockstar
  • Baseball analytics… are they a diminishing returns game?
  • Stability to run an analytics department
  • Chip Kelly might be the best thing that ever happened to the Browns
  • Pete Carroll, tall corners
  • Baseball and the closers came after saves
  • Pat Shurmur never played with confidence
  • Puritan and Company in Cambridge and tip to tail dining
  • Horse meat and dog meat
  • The worst tagline I could possibly think of for the podcast

[Read more...]

Pat Shurmur Reportedly Returning To Philadelphia As Offensive Coordinator

Chip Kelly in the words of Ricky Bobby wants to go fast. In a head-scratcher for us fans recently released from the offensive reign of Pat Shurmur as head coach, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Shurmur to be the team’s offensive coordinator, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

For a first time head coach like Kelly, it’s important to have experienced coordinators who may even have some head coaching experience to help the coach along. Shurmur went 9-23 in his two seasons in Cleveland and was fired following the team’s season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a 24-10 loss. Prior to that, he was the offensive coordinator in St. Louis for two seasons with quarterback Sam Bradford after being the Eagles’ quarterback coach under Andy Reid from 2002-2008 and tight ends coach from 1999-2001.

Kelly, you will recall, interviewed with the Browns, Bills, and Eagles for their head coaching opening prior to originally deciding to remain at Oregon before changing his mind and heading to Philadelphia.

Shurmur had reportedly talked to the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets about their offensive coordinator vacancies as well.

Related: Chud, Norv, Horton, and Lombardi: The Future’s In Their Hands

Philadelphia Eagles and Lurie taking shots at Cleveland Browns and Joe Banner?

The Chip Kelly hiring in Philly was seemingly linked to Cleveland and it could have stood to reason that it was just Cleveland-born negativity and paranoia driving that bus. Now that Jeffrey Lurie and the Eagles are talking about their newest head coaching hire, Chip Kelly, it appears that there might be just a little bit of gamesmanship between the Eagles and the Browns, if not some outright loathing for the former partnership according to Paul Domowitch.

There are a few things that could potentially going on here. First of all the relationship between Lurie and Banner could truly be as sour as Domowitch indicates it could possibly be. That doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.

From a Browns perspective, this might also mean that Haslam and Banner’s instincts about Chip Kelly might have been right where Cleveland was only being used as a tool for leverage. If you’re one that thinks the Browns were smart to step away from the Kelly situation (and you think they actually did step away) then these statements about it being a two horse race might make you feel even better.

If Chip Kelly turns out to be the next great NFL coach, none of this will make anyone feel better. The Browns at least kicked the tires on the guy and got a chance to interview him, so if he becomes a success, there will always be reason to wonder what could’ve been.

If he fails on the other hand… Well, we’ll just leave that to the budding rivalry between Joe Banner and his former partner / boss.

[Related: WFNY Podcast – 2013-01-17 – Craig and TD talking Browns]

NFL News: Raheem Morris to interview for Browns defensive coordinator

Despite the fact that the Eagles got Chip Kelly and the Browns didn’t, the Browns are apparently moving forward trying to put a first class staff together around Rob Chudzinski. Pro Football Talk has the news that the Browns will be interviewing former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris for the opening.

Morris had a rocky ending to his tenure in Tampa as head coach, but few doubt his abilities as a defensive coach. Most recently he’s been the defensive backs coach for the Washington Redskins this past season.

As Mr. Florio points out the Browns still have Dick Jauron under contract. Oddly enough, Jauron’s name hasn’t even been mentioned anywhere so far this off-season. I didn’t really expect his name to surface in relation to the head coaching positions, but as those were filled, mostly with offensive names, I’m surprised we haven’t heard his name even once for a defensive coordinator spot in transition.

If you’re wondering about Morris’ ability to be coordinator, it might be noteworthy to find out that Morris assumed the defensive playcalling duties during the fourth quarter of a game against the Rams this season at the request of head coach Mike Shanahan following disagreements with D-coordinator Jim Haslett.

[Related: “Chud” may be the man, but the Cleveland Browns were played by Chip Kelly]

NFL Rumor: Chip Kelly waffled on Oregon on Tuesday January 8th

There will obviously be more information leaking out about the entire Chip Kelly saga. The initial leaks are happening right now, and it seems that the turning of the tide for Chip Kelly leaving Oregon was last Tuesday January 8th.

The person, who requested anonymity because neither the team nor Kelly’s camp has released details of the talks, said Kelly first let the Eagles know he was having second thoughts about his decision to return to Oregon last Tuesday.

It was right around that time the Eagles were talking to another Kelly – Brian Kelly of Notre Dame, who eventually told them he was returning to school as well.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was talking about returning to Notre Dame and the Browns were working on securing their head coach Rob Chudzinski who was hired on January 10th.

What remains to be seen is if there was any communication between Kelly and the Browns, or if he’d already narrowed his decision down to the Eagles. If he did contact the Browns were they true to their word when they indicated through media sources that they’d decided to move on? Did the Browns consider Kelly one last time or were they never afforded the option?

Maybe we’ll never know for sure, but all that’s left to do is watch it play out and see which team feels vindicated in their process and decisions this time next year. It seems especially painful for the Browns in the media because they’re now viewed as losing out on the same guy for a second time no matter what the truth of the matter might be.

One thing’s for sure right this second. The Philadelphia Eagles won the battle for the headlines by landing the biggest name so far this off-season.

[Related: “Chud” may be the man, but the Cleveland Browns were played by Chip Kelly]

“Chud” may be the man, but the Cleveland Browns were played by Chip Kelly

And I have been whining that there hasn’t been much to write about…..

CHIP KELLYHere I was, sitting in the Kansas City airport, waiting for a flight home, perusing Twitter, and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen drops a bomb of atomic proportions: The Philadelphia Eagles will name Oregon’s Chip Kelly as their next head coach.

Wh-wh-what?

I was going to try and not be reactionary to the news, but I just can’t. Let us recap what has happened:

New Browns bossman Jimmy Haslam and his handpicked CEO Joe Banner can tell you all day long that Kelly wasn’t there first choice, but it was clear that he was. The two went to Arizona, met with him for seven hours plus a two-hour dinner, the day after Kelly’s Ducks dispatched the Kansas State Wildcats in the Fiesta Bowl. There was no doubt – their full court press was on. We were led to believe that Haslam was not going to be outbid by anyone for Kelly’s services. As I wrote last week, Haslam and Banner had all of their eggs in Kelly’s basket, thought they had him, yet left Arizona without a deal in place. Kelly went on to meet for another full day interview with Philadelphia owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman, who is all that remains from the Reid/Banner era front office. Like with the Browns, the Eagles were reportedly rebuffed by Kelly and his agent and had to go back to the drawing board.

[Read more...]

Browns fan and media reaction to Chip Kelly news is all over the map

browns eaglesChip Kelly is coming to the NFL. He is joining the Eagles after everyone thought he was going back to Oregon. The Browns have to feel especially snakebitten right now, not because they lost out on Kelly necessarily, but because they lost out on him in the court of public opinion twice. Nobody knows how all the dynamics and timelines worked out, but we know some things are for sure. The Browns targeted Kelly. They were extremely interested in him to the point that he was the first one they aimed to talk to in Arizona. They planned on talking to him a second time and got stood up. They reportedly “moved on” from Kelly and it looked like Kelly had “moved on” from the NFL at least for 2013. That is until today. Here are how some of the reactions looked in the immediate aftermath of the news.

[Read more...]

NFL News: Philadelphia Eagles land Chip Kelly

A shocker today from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen-

The Browns of course were in on the Chip Kelly circus immediately after Oregon’s win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. Following a weekend of wining and dining from the Browns, Eagles and Bills, Chip Kelly announced he was staying at Oregon.

So what changed? And could the Browns have approached Kelly one last time before giving the keys to Berea to Rob Chudzinski?

You can be sure there is more to this story to eventually come out.

[Related: 2013 NFL mock draft has the Browns selecting...]

Kelly, Chudzinski, & Plan B….Was There One?

Rob ChudzinskiSo the Browns hired Rob Chudzinski. The city of Cleveland and Browns fans throughout the country run the gamut of opinions with regards to their new head coach. Outrage. Confusion. Laughter. Excitement. I’ve seen and heard it all. My uncle, who has been a season ticket holder since he was a child in the 1940′s and I attend every game with, loves the hire. My brother, who has never forgiven the NFL for allowing the Browns to move in the first place, thinks its brutal. I land somewhere in the middle.

On a daily basis here at WFNY, we have a ton of back and forth over email which often spawn pieces like this one. Our own Andrew came up with a theory that I completely buy into. Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner had their man targeted. He had all the prerequisites that Haslam talked about when he dropped the bomb on Pat Shurmur. A strong leader of men. An innovator on offense. A man who knew how to run a program. That man was Oregon coach Chip Kelly. [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...]

NFL Report: Trestman interviewed today in Cleveland

According to Tom Withers, the Browns have interviewed Marc Trestman-

“Trestman interviewed with the Chicago Bears for eight hours Monday night and arrived at the Browns’ facility in suburban Berea late Tuesday morning, said the person who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the search. He is the fifth known candidate to interview with the Browns, seeking their sixth fulltime coach since 1999 after firing Pat Shurmur last week.

Trestman was the Browns’ quarterbacks coach in 1988 and their offensive coordinator in 1989, when Cleveland appeared in its third AFC title game in four years with quarterback Bernie Kosar. Trestman has extensive background as an NFL assistant, working with eight teams, most recently Miami in 2004.”

The Browns have now interviewed Trestman, Chip Kelly, Ken Whisenhunt, Ray Horton, Bill O’Brien, and Doug Marrone, who was hired by Buffalo. Kelly and O’Brien decided to stay with their college teams.

[Related: Saban to NFL, no thanks]

WFNY Roundtable: The Chip Kelly debacle and the ongoing search for a Browns head coach

Though the Cleveland Browns’ head coaching search officially began upon the ousting of one Pat Shurmur, it began to pick up substantial steam over the last 48 hours once Oregon’s Chip Kelly did his annual flirtation with a league he is obviously not cut out for. The rumor mill swirled, speculation was ripe, and the Browns left their temporary headquarters in Arizona without a captain for their ship. The result was one part chaos and the other part wonder — wonder surrounding what is to be learned, wonder surrounding what is yet to come. What follows is a roundtable discussion between members of WFNY. Do enjoy.

Scott: Alright. I’ll start things off. Jimmy Haslam III and Joe Banner set up shop in Arizona where there proceeded to interview a handful of qualified candidates, only to seemingly put all of their eggs in the Chip Kelly basket. Not only did Kelly leave without signing whatever offer was presented to him, but he’s going back to college — very Brett Favrian, in my opinion — and the Browns have flown home without a head coach in place while the candidate pool continues to lose depth. What should fans take away from the circus that was the last 48 hours?

[Read more...]

WFNY Podcast – 2013-01-06 – Brian Spaeth challenges Craig on Browns and media

What better way to start 2013 than with a Brian Spaeth chat? After writing my article about the Browns and their handling of the media, Brian wanted to talk about it. He initially thought I was being a “baby.” Is that the way he finished thinking about it? You’ll have to listen to find out. (Tease.)

Here’s what else we talked about.

  • The Browns and the current Cleveland media
  • Twitter and the information economy
  • What do the Browns owe the media?
  • What do the Browns owe the fans?
  • Chip Kelly and his agent controlling the message
  • Does talking in the face of rumors help the Browns in any way?
  • How injured and needy are Cleveland sports fans?
  • How much does LeBron have to do with it?
  • What about the 24 hour news cycle?
  • Sulia
  • SportsYapper
  • Cougar Town
  • Funeral reality TV shows [Read more...]