July 26, 2014

Calling out the worst of all NFL draft clichés

2012 NFL Draft

Leading up to an NFL draft, there are a lot of hackneyed conversations that will drive a fan absolutely crazy. It seems that some fans want to rely on simplistic rules to simplify the NFL draft for themselves. It’s a coping mechanism to help deal with the fact that most fans have do not possess nearly enough information to truly decide what their team needs or how they should build for the future. It’s not an indictment of fans to not know, but it is an indictment for fans who pretend like they do.

Know what, exactly? It’s infuriating this time of year, but how many fans do you come across — at the bar, calling sports talk radio or on Twitter — who think of themselves as the only one qualified to run the war room of their favorite football team? Imagine every nugget of their “wisdom” being delivered with a confident, smug smile that says, “I just know I’m right.” Instead of looking at each team like a complex system that needs lots of different pieces, we get a lot of vague, simplistic misconceptions. And with that, here are my least favorite draft clichés.

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Colt McCoy signs with the Washington Redskins

coltsnake

Colt McCoy wasn’t out of work long. The former Browns quarterback has never been able to find tons of success in the NFL, but the backup QB game isn’t so bad. Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Derek Anderson, Colt McCoy? All of them have been able to find rosters at least for this year’s training camp.

I’ll never get used to NFL teams reporting their own news with “BREAKING” as a descriptor. Anyway…

The financial details haven’t come out yet, and McCoy will certainly have his work cut out for him on a roster featuring RG3 and Kirk Cousins already. Even if he doesn’t make it to the roster for the regular season, I wouldn’t bet against Colt McCoy getting a job as a backup somewhere.

For all the warts on his résumé, I will always consider Colt McCoy a player of value. No, he’s apparently not starter quality in the NFL, but for whatever reason, I’ll always look back on his tenure more fondly than that of Brandon Weeden’s or even Derek Anderson’s. That’s not much of a contest to win, of course, but congrats to him for winning it just the same.

It must be the snake-wrangling photo.

[Related: Browns brass becomes bystanders for Blake Bortles’ ballgame]

Jason Campbell signs on with Bengals for one year

campbell

Being a backup quarterback in the NFL isn’t such a bad gig. Despite lackluster performances, former Browns like Brandon Weeden and Derek Anderson are never going to be out of work, it seems. Jason Campbell had a pretty bad year for a starting quarterback in the NFL, but it was apparently good enough to get him another job in the league as he signed with the Bengals yesterday.

It’s shocking that the Bengals of all teams would have signed Campbell. Why? Consider that Campbell helped author a 41-20 loss to the Bengals this past November when he threw three interceptions and finished the day with a 44.3 QB rating. The game featured so many check-downs that even Colt McCoy was embarrassed for him.

The terms of the deal aren’t available yet, but you have to assume it’s a pretty modest veteran salary.

The Campbell signing also goes to prove just how strange a little place the NFL can be. Jason Campbell reunites with former Raiders coach Hue Jackson, who happened to be coaching the Raiders when Jason Campbell hurt his collarbone after starting the season 4-2.

What happened next? The Raiders traded for Carson Palmer.

Anyway, in case you want to remember just how bad the Browns loss to the Bengals was this past season, check out the first paragraph from the recap. Remember this is a game where the Browns gave up 31 pointsin the second quarter.

The Cleveland Browns had a meaningful game against the division leading Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and responded very poorly. They started the game great going up 13-0, but quickly imploded into a cornucopia of bountiful gifts for the Cincinnati Bengals to feast upon. Interceptions, punt blocks, fumbles and offensive ineptitude took the place of pumpkins, grapes, apples and squash. I’m thinking of so many bad jokes about the Browns getting squashed that I’m not even going to bother. Given a chance to respond to opportunity, the Browns failed on this day.

[Also see: Brandon Weeden, Dallas Cowboy]

Image via Rick Grayshock/WFNY

Talking Browns with Mike Burgermeister (@jimkanicki) – WFNY Podcast – 2013-12-24

WFNY Podcast LogoThe very best Browns sports talk that money can buy, but you get it for free! I finally got Mike Burgermeister of JimKanicki.com back on the podcast to talk through the Browns’ miserable season. We talked about all the failings.

  • Cleveland Browns podcast with Mike Burgermeister (jimkanicki.com)
  • The Joe Banner press conferences
  • How do the Browns show accountability in a year where nobody needs to be fired
  • The cap rollover money that Tom Heckert left $12 million
  • How does the NFL cap rollover work?
  • Counting the Cleveland Browns’ holes
  • Does D’Qwell Jackson hold the team back?
  • Fixing the offensive line
  • Offensive guard and whether the Browns can fix it in a year
  • Not having scouts in the room
  • Barkevious Mingo and whether or not the Browns should have drafted him
  • How many games did the Browns think they could win?
  • Do you like the coaching staff?
  • Chud was their third choice
  • Did Banner turn off Chip Kelly?
  • How desperate are the Browns going into next year?
  • Could the Browns franchise either Alex Mack or T.J. Ward?
  • The Browns’ 3-4 and whether they like Ray Horton’s version of it
  • Colt McCoy is still better than Brandon Weeden

Check out this episode

Should the Browns cut bait on the Brandon Weeden Experience? A WFNY Roundtable

WFNY_roundtable

Scott: So… Was that the last start for Brandon WeedenShould it be his last start?

TD: They cannot trot him out there at home again. It will be a the ugliest of ugly scenes if they do so. [Read more...]

Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy to re-unite in San Francisco?

The San Francisco 49ers might be interested in talking to recently released Seneca Wallace according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (by way of ProFootballTalk.) Of course that seems ironic to Browns fans that saw the Colt McCoy / Seneca Wallace combination lead to controversy over the Browns’ starting QB spot in Cleveland over the last couple years.

Seneca Wallace was cut by the Browns after the pre-season last year and spent the season out of football before being signed by the Saints this off-season. He was released on August 19th.

Colt McCoy was expected to be the backup to 49ers starting QB Colin Kaepernick after being traded on April 1st 2013. The deal sent the Browns’ 2013 6th rounder and McCoy to the 49ers for 7th and 5th round picks in the 2013 NFL draft.

The 5th rounder was flipped to the Colts for their 4th rounder in 2014 and the 7th was included in the trade that brought the Browns veteran receiver Davone Bess.

Hard to believe all the movement of players and draft picks in the NFL. This is a league where it isn’t uncommon for players to go from presumed starters, to expected backups, to assets used in trades for veteran receivers all in a matter of a couple of seasons.

Seneca Wallace better not ask McCoy for any pointers on the playbook should he end up signing in San Francisco. You know, if that comes to pass and McCoy is still there when Wallace arrives, that is.

[Related: Browns’ Chudzinski praises Joe Haden’s leadership]

Public relations, fan experience, and winning aren’t mutually exclusive for the Browns

Kevin Griffin (left) and Zak Gilbert (right) are two new faces in Berea this year

Kevin Griffin (left) and Zak Gilbert (right) are two new faces in Berea this year

Yesterday the Cleveland Browns reportedly delivered a Lou Groza jersey to the family of the Browns fan who put a joke about the team in his obituary. Yesterday, Will Burge reported that the Browns are changing many of the features of the Cleveland Browns game-day experience for the upcoming season including (wait for it) wiener dog races and drum lines. I’ll admit that I have my doubts about some of the things that came up in the game experience rumor mill, but that’s where my doubts end. Over the last couple days with these two stories, we might just have a glimpse at the beginnings of a changing of the tides in Berea.

As I said in the podcast last night, the Browns might fail miserably with a few of their game-day experience initiatives. Yes, Kevin Griffin, Browns Vice President of Fan Experience & Marketing might fall flat on his face with the wiener dog race. Fear of failure isn’t very endearing, and many people who end up being defined by failure never gave themselves an opportunity to succeed. In order to succeed, sometimes you need to take some chances. Plus, if Joe Banner taught us one thing last year, it’s that he’s not afraid to adjust on the fly. Remember that he’s the one who stepped up and nixed the “white flag” giveaway. So, if by chance the wiener dog race or the drumline are utter busts, expect another attempt to show up in its place. That’s my expectation anyway.

The one argument that I commonly hear against this stuff is a non-argument in my mind.1 “The only good PR and game-day experience the Browns need is to WIN,” they say. “Everything else will take care of itself!” It would help, obviously, but overall I don’t buy it. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. I don’t think it’s a straw man, by the way. I’ve heard this refrain time and again even if I haven’t quoted anyone specifically here. []

It’s been all quiet on the Weeden front this off-season

Shawn Lauvao and Mitchell Schwartz block for Brandon Weeden

Shawn Lauvao and Mitchell Schwartz block for Brandon Weeden

You know who hasn’t had their name drug through the mud all that much this off-season? How about Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden?

It’s kind of a different look for anyone who has the letters Q and B next to his name on the Cleveland Browns roster over the last decade. It’s been an even stranger phenomenon for the guy who also sits atop the depth chart. Derek Anderson coming off of his 2007 performance had it pretty easy. Colt McCoy coming into his first full year as starter had his name in hopeful, fluffy, hazy white clouds in most corners of the Internet. In an off-season where the Browns unloaded the aforementioned McCoy, signed Jason Campbell, and eventually Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden’s kind of skated through rather quietly.

Maybe it’s the plethora of negative storylines that have dominated the headlines from Jimmy Haslam’s corporate troubles to unnecessary controversies with Weeden’s presumptive targets making them targets for fan anger over the NBA finals. I’m sure those negative comparison’s haven’t hurt Weeden’s ability to keep this a quiet off-season. But, maybe it’s the maturity of a guy who spent very little time on Twitter other than to promote charities and talk about raising money for those affected by tornadoes in Oklahoma.  [Read more...]

Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden and what it all could mean

Hoyer PatsA fictional conversation that could have taken place in Berea over the last couple of days…

Michael Lombardi: “Hey. Have you heard of Brian Hoyer?”

Ray Farmer: “You mean the journeyman Michigan State guy who went undrafted in 2009, with one career NFL start who was cut flat by the team, the Arizona Cardinals, with some of the worst quarterback play since Kurt Warner retired as an arthritic old man?”

Michael Lombardi: “Yep! He’s available! Go get him!”

And scene…

Look, the jokes that were going around yesterday had more to do with the fact that almost everything that’s ever been rumored about Michael Lombardi has come true. The only thing that hasn’t happened (yet) is the Browns trading for Patriots backup Ryan Mallett. With that lens, of course it’s somewhat comical that Brian Hoyer finally became available and signed with the Browns. That’s really where the comedy ends. In all, the Brian Hoyer signing is a good one for depth for a team that has question marks at the quarterback spot. [Read more...]

NFL News: Tom Heckert joins Denver Broncos as Director of Pro Personnel

We’ve all just had a lesson in how front offices turn over in an off-season. It feels like a relatively new lesson here in Cleveland. The Browns have decided not to renew some contracts of scouts that were in Berea under former General Manager Tom Heckert.

The timing of waiting until after the draft is apparently pretty commonplace. In Denver the Broncos let Keith Kidd depart after being there since 2009 with Josh McDaniels. That vacated a spot for Tom Heckert who has reportedly joined the organization as Director of Pro Personnel.

In Denver, that position means that Heckert will be underneath John Elway who is the executive vice president of football operations and also the general manager. There’s little doubt that wherever Heckert goes he will have plenty of influence with his resume. Still, it’s interesting how different organizations choose to organize and function.

It will also be a very different task in Denver than it was in Cleveland. Heckert will look to help make every second that’s left of Peyton Manning’s career successful while also helping to plan for the day that Manning can no longer play. It’s not exactly like dealing with Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, Eric Mangini and Pat Shurmur on the way to seeing the team sold out from under your five year plan.

[Related: Browns thoughts on Terry Pluto, ProFootballTalk, “black boxes,” and draft strategy]

Colt McCoy on 49ers: “We want to win, and we want to win now.”

Former Browns quarterback and current San Francisco 49ers backup QB Colt McCoy said that he would “always be grateful” to the Browns organization, but his tune is a little different lately.

In a NFL.com article by Marc Sessler, it’s communiated that McCoy says things are quite different in San Francisco, who made it to the Super Bowl last year, than Cleveland.

“When I walked in the building in San Francisco, it was the same feel (as at the University of Texas),” McCoy told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Saturday. “It’s a great organization, and their only focus is: We want to win, and we want to win now. That’s obviously different than some of the things that I’ve been part of the last few years. I was really happy about that.”

McCoy played in 24 games (21 starts) for the Browns over three seasons, throwing for 4,388 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions with a career passer rating of 74.8. He was a third round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, but he was replaced by rookie Brandon Weeden last season as the team’s starter. McCoy was traded earlier this month to the Niners along with a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft for fifth and seventh round selections.

Related: Former Brown Ricky Feacher Arrested In Florida

Tom Reed talks NFL draft, Byron Scott, the Colt McCoy trade and the GOasis – WFNY Podcast – 2013-04-11

WFNY Podcast LogoTom Reed makes his first appearance on the WFNY Podcast to talk to me about his journey to the Plain Dealer.

  • Commuting from Columbus to Cleveland
  • The underwhelming NFL draft
  • The Colt McCoy trade
  • Joe Banner and accountability
  • Mike Lombardi’s hiring
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers’ abysmal defense
  • The silence from Chris Grant and Dan Gilbert
  • Byron Scott’s future
  • Hiring a defensive coordinator for the Cavs

[Read more...]

Raiders to work out former Browns QB Seneca Wallace

Adam Schefter is reporting (by way of PFT for us) that former Browns QB Seneca Wallace is going to work out for the Oakland Raiders. It just goes to show that there are at least nine lives available for anyone who can stand under center in the NFL. It also goes to show that the economics of football are changing just a bit.

Seneca Wallace was cut prior to the 2012 season in favor of Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy and Thaddeus Lewis. Wallace was set to make $2.4 million on the year and even with plenty of money to spare, it almost certainly was a part of the Browns’ decision to cut Wallace loose.

Fast-forward to this off-season where the Browns signed another journeyman veteran quarterback – Jason Campbell – with experience at a similar age as to what Wallace was when he originally signed with the Browns. Wallace signed that deal for three years and $9 million plus incentives. Campbell’s contract is two years and a mere $3.75 million with a reported $2.6 million in available incentives. And Campbell is a player with legitimate starting experience that Seneca Wallace never had.

Add in additional evidence like Kevin Kolb’s two-year deal for $6.1 million with a miniscule $1 million in guaranteed money, and it might be a full-blown trend at the league’s most important position.

[Related: NFL News: Browns sign WR David Nelson]

WFNY Podcast – 2013-04-02 – Terry Pluto talks Twitter, Facebook, tailgating culture and more

WFNY Podcast LogoFeeling very fortunate for a day like today where I get to start it talking to Scott Raab and finish it talking to Terry Pluto. Hope you guys feel as fortunate listening as I do asking them questions and talking.

  • Access to Twitter and Facebook changing the way writers do their job
  • Browns culture of tailgating
  • Protecting drunkenness
  • Keeping comments sections clean and family friendly
  • Colt McCoy getting shipped to San Francisco
  • The Browns roster moves cutting Chris Gocong and Usama Young
  • The Indians’ off-season and whether it will work
  • Ubaldo Jimenez’ different Spring from 2013 compared to 2012
  • Approach to writing about sports and longevity [Read more...]

Fair shots at the end of the Colt McCoy era in Cleveland

Colt McCoyThe fact that I’m writing this at all is probably too much. Such is life in Cleveland where the quarterback controversies aren’t too high and mighty for Charlie Frye. That was less than a decade ago, by the way. But now that former Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Colt McCoy has been traded away for a late-round draft pick upgrade,1 it’s time to end another era.

Like that of Brady Quinn, this one couldn’t even live up to the Derek Anderson era, though I would put the Colt McCoy stint higher than the Charlie Frye version and somewhere lower than those of Tim Couch/Kelly Holcomb. Splitting miserable, disgusting hairs is no way to go through life, but we do it out of pure obligation.

So now what? The future isn’t any clearer. As Colt McCoy has his future clearly defined as the backup for Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, Browns fans shudder to think what the world will look like if Brandon Weeden is ushered out in similar fashion this time next year. Strangely though, if that did happen, I don’t think anyone would be asking if the world had been fair to Weeden.

[Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Basically the Browns upgraded from a 6th to a 5th in my point of view []

NFL News: Colt McCoy trade details

Here is the official release from the Browns regarding QB Colt McCoy-

“The Cleveland Browns today acquired two undisclosed 2013 draft choices from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for quarterback Colt McCoy and an undisclosed 2013 pick. The Browns now own seven picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which will be held April 25-27.

McCoy was a third-round pick by the Browns in 2010 and started 21 of his 24 career games. He completed 409 of 702 career passes for 4,388 yards with 21 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He registered a 6-15 record as a starter.”

Those undisclosed picks were quickly disseminated-

“The Browns sent the 25-year-old quarterback along with a sixth-round draft pick to the Niners for a fifth- and seventh-round selections, The Plain Dealer confirmed this afternoon.”

So the Browns sent McCoy and their sixth round pick (173 overall) to San Fransisco for a fifth round pick (either #157 or #164 overall) and a seventh round pick (227 overall).

[Related: Cleveland Browns trade Colt McCoy to San Fransisco]

NFL News: Cleveland Browns trade Colt McCoy to San Francisco 49ers

Jason LaCanfora reports that the Browns have traded former third-round draft pick Colt McCoy to the San Francisco 49ers.

So there’s the other shoe to drop after the signing of Jason Campbell. The Cleveland Browns have seemingly simplified one potential angle on a quarterback controversy by trading the oft-popular QB from Texas who bemoaned the lack of opportunity to compete last pre-season.

The San Francisco 49ers came into this draft season with a ton of picks–as many as 13 at one point. Details of the Browns’ compensation for McCoy aren’t available yet, but Twitter rumors indicate it might be a sixth rounder. With McCoy’s somewhat modest salary of $2.325 million for 2013 he becomes a pretty economical backup to replace the recently-traded Alex Smith.

Prior to the trade the San Francisco 49ers had:
- One 1st rounder
-  Two 2nds
-  Two 3rds
- Two 4ths
- Two 5ths
- One 6th
- Four 7th rounders in the 2013 draft.

The leader in the clubhouse in the jokes department is easily Zac Jackson, by the way…

[Related: WFNY Podcast – 2013-04-01 – Dennis Manoloff talks charities, Weeden and NFL draft]

Joe Banner says Colt McCoy won’t be cut

(Note: an earlier headline said “will compete for starting QB job” and that was speculation based on what Joe Banner said. I’ve updated the headline as such.)

Despite the fact that the Cleveland Browns signed Jason Campbell, the Browns will seemingly not cut loose Colt McCoy, at least not yet. Brandon Weeden will start the off-season at the top of the depth chart, but the Browns are saying right now that the best players will play. If Colt McCoy is the best quarterback, he’ll be the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. At least that’s the message of Browns CEO Joe Banner as he makes the rounds on both ESPNCleveland and 92.3 The Fan this morning.

That’s a pretty good stance on a quarterback – even one with a suspect future – who makes less than $3 million like Colt McCoy. Despite the fact that many Browns fans continue to tell me Colt McCoy has no trade value, as long as he has a chance to put some pre-season performances together, there’s always a chance.

Or maybe Colt McCoy pulls off a miraculous feat and wins the starting quarterback job. Not at all likely, and the Browns aren’t likely to give McCoy much better a chance to win the job than Pat Shurmur and company did a year ago as they anointed Brandon Weeden.

Now about Jason Campbell…

[Related: Cleveland Browns current cap space $28.7 million]

Jason Campbell to Cleveland makes some sense

Jason Campbell Football CardThe Browns signed Jason Campbell to a two-year deal yesterday to “add to the pile”1 at the quarterback position. Is this more like Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace? That’s what we Browns followers like to do, you see. We try to put everything in the context of other stuff we’ve seen before. Remember when we were talking about hiring coaches and were forced to endure “logic” about how Chip Kelly was like Butch Davis and Nick Saban because they both were former college coaches?2 Maybe Jason Campbell is like Jeff Garcia or Trent Dilfer. Or maybe he’s just Jason Campbell and unlike any of those other guys.

Campbell is a guy with starting experience. He’s not at an advanced age with declining skills like Jake Delhomme was when he arrived in Cleveland. He also probably hasn’t had the same level of success at the top end that Delhomme had at points with the Panthers. Campbell has had some pretty excellent statistical seasons.

Campbell also arrives as a more qualified starter than Seneca Wallace was when he was brought in by Mike Holmgren. Still, in terms of accomplishing the goals of bringing in a “system” guy, there are similarities between Jason Campbell’s experience with Norv Turner-style offense and Wallace’s prior Seattle experience with Holmgren.  [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. At this point I can’t remember if this was a Holmgren-ism or someone else talked about “adding to the pile” at positions. []
  2. Fake rules! []

Steelers cut Browns nemesis James Harrison

James Harrison has left a trail of broken bodies in Cleveland and I’m not just talking about guys on the roster. Sure, Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs and Colt McCoy took their bumps (videos,) but remember that James Harrison also suplexed an unruly Browns fan who ran on the field during a game.

Well now, James Harrison is no longer a member of the Steelers.

As Harrison is set to turn 35 years old in May, he apparently wouldn’t agree to cut his salary back from the approximate $6.5 million he was set to make in 2013. His knees were also giving him problems over the last few years.

There are enough teams converting to the 3-4 and enough teams that might not mind taking a chance on an older Harrison assuming they don’t need him to play full time anymore. It will be interesting to see just how much money Harrison gets and from which team.

For whatever reason, I really don’t expect the Browns to be that team.

[Related: WFNY Podcast – 2013-02-15 – @SteelersDepot talking Browns and the rest of the AFC North]