August 15, 2014

Watch: Frank Caliendo reads LeBron’s letter as Morgan Freeman on ESPN

By now, in popular culture and society at large, it can sometimes seem as if nothing in life carries any weight to it unless it is narrated by Morgan Freeman. Be honest, when reading LeBron’s letter on a couple weeks ago, how many of us heard it in Morgan Freeman’s voice inside our heads?

Well now we can actually hear what that would sound like. Voice impressionist extraordinaire Frank Caliendo stopped by the Mike & Mike set on ESPN this morning, and read LeBron’s letter in Freeman’s voice. And no matter how tired anyone might be of Caliendo’s ubiquitous impressions, this is a pretty funny listen. Enjoy!

Brian Windhorst talks about LeBron coming home – WFNY Podcast – 2014-07-15

WFNY Podcast LogoI talked to Brian Windhorst a year ago when the Cavs re-hired Mike Brown and I was taken aback when I started to think about all the things that have changed since then. Brian was gracious enough to join me for about a half hour to talk about LeBron coming back to the Cavaliers. Here are some of the things we discussed.

  • The free agent market shakeout after LeBron signed
  • The Houston Rockets’ bad off-season (so far)
  • LeBron’s relationship to the player’s union and being involved with the CBA
  • The culture of the Miami Heat vs. the culture of the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Reporting on a story that directly impacts your home town
  • LeBron’s visit to Cleveland for the Zydrunas Ilgauskas number retirement
  • What’s next for Brian

Check out this episode!

More than 20 million people watched the USMNT lose to Belgium

The numbers are in and the results are that tons and tons of people in the United States watched the USMNT get eliminated yesterday.

Obviously add in watch parties like the ones that occurred at stadiums in Dallas, Chicago and Kansas City and the numbers get juiced a bit more. What does it all mean? It will take more time to sort all that out, but this team was able to capture the nation in a significant way.

This team had lots of fans rooting for it. The games were at a mostly convenient time. There weren’t any vuvuzellas on the TV coverage, etc, etc, etc. As with our conversations about Indians attendance, it all matters and it’s hard to draw sweeping conclusions other than what the stats actually say. Lots of people watched yesterday.

World Cup TV ratings up in U.S. over 2010

Dempsey Celebrates

In many ways I dislike talking about TV ratings in sports. TV ratings are usually used as a reason why Cleveland teams would torture television executives if they advanced to either the World Series or the NBA Finals. The NFL doesn’t care much which geographies are represented in the Super Bowl, I don’t think. That aside, I am interested in the TV ratings for a national team representing one of the after-thought sports in the United States sports culture. So far, soccer is proving to be more popular on TV than it was four years ago.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have combined to average 3,740,000 viewers (based on a 2.3 US HH rating) for the first 11 matches, marking a two percent viewer increase over the 2010 World Cup – which included the United States vs. England match on the second day of the tournament.  (Note: The 2014 vs. 2010 audience increase is 37 percent higher when ABC’s 13,130,000 viewers (7.4 US HH rating) for the 2010 United States opening round game is removed.)

Additionally, WatchESPN has averaged 209,000 viewers in the average minute across 11 World Cup matches, which represents a six percent lift over the ESPN Networks’ TV audience for a total of 3,949,000 viewers across TV and WatchESPN.

What’s amazing to me is that viewership was up 2% over 2010 for the first 11 matches, without the United States being involved in those first games. So, even without a country-driven spike that the USMNT provides to U.S. TV ratings, viewership is up.

And about that spike? It was a good one.

It’s hard to draw a conclusion, but interesting to note. Maybe Klinsmann’s program is working and people are taking notice. Maybe the team’s marketing has improved? Maybe it has to do with population dynamics? Maybe people were happy to watch their soccer without all that din of vuvuzelas. Maybe all of the above.

We’ll see how the next game goes from a ratings standpoint. I’m guessing there were a lot of casual fans watching last night’s game against Ghana, but from my standpoint it wasn’t a particularly great game from a pure entertainment standpoint. The U.S. played sloppy and conservative while being out-possessed for much of the match. Will that drive away some of those casuals from watching game two on Sunday against Portugal? We’ll see.

Maybe it has to do with social media. Check out this amazing map showing the reaction to the game-winning goal last night.

Simmons: Joel Embiid is going first overall



How does a seven-foot-tall Serge Ibaka with three-point range sound? Once he was done explaining why Cleveland should not have won the 2014 NBA Lottery, ESPN’s Bill Simmons went all insider, describing a private workout he watched with Joel Embiid, the 7-foot, 250-pound Kansas center who could very well be the first-overall pick in the impending NBA Draft.

By the way, Embiid’s back is fine. I watched him work out last week.

He wasn’t playing against anyone, just going through a two-hour workout with Will Perdue. Here’s what I can tell you: He moves around as effortlessly as a 7-foot Serge Ibaka; he’s such an athletic freak that he’s one of those “still going up as he’s finishing the dunk” guys; his freakish wingspan might make Jay Bilas pass out; he has been playing basketball for only four years (which seems impossible); he gave up a world-class volleyball career; he has 3-point range; he can shoot jump-hooks with both hands already; he couldn’t have seemed more coachable/agreeable/likable; he’s a hard worker with a goofy sense of humor; his voice is just a touch Mutombo-y (deep with a heavy African accent); and his friends call him “Jo-Jo.” And again — his back seemed totally fine.

News flash: As I said on TV before the lottery, Embiid was always going first. None of these teams was passing on him. Repeat: none of them. The amount of smokescreening going on in April and May was high comedy. We keep hearing his back is really screwed up, this could be another Oden situation … Just stop it. This was like sitting at a fantasy football auction next to someone who kept claiming that he wasn’t going to pay big money for a QB … and then, two hours later, he’s bidding $49 for Aaron Rodgers. The truth is, Wiggins and Parker never separated themselves enough this season to warrant anyone saying, “We’re passing on a potential franchise center with a good chance of becoming the 7-foot Serge Ibaka.”

Our own TD (who watches more Kansas basketball than Bill Self) is a huge supporter of Embiid, comparing him to a young Dwight Howard with advanced skills. The back will be an incredible issue leading up to June’s draft as big men and injuries do not typically bode well for long-term success. Boston’s Jared Sullinger was considered a lottery talent in 2012, but questions about his back caused the former Ohio State power forward to slip to No. 21.

If healthy, however, Embiid brings a once-in-a-decade game that marries rim protection (7-5 wingspan, 2.6 blocks per game) with an offensive game that should not be possible given how long he’s been playing the game. Had the Jayhawks not been bounced from the NCAA Tournament before Embiid could return, there’s a chance there would not even be a conversation regarding the No. 1 pick. Two-way centers aren’t a neccesity in the NBA, but they surely are quite the bonus.

Photo: Greg Nelson/SI

ESPN ranks the Browns dead last in off-season power rankings

You can take these things with a grain of salt or you can choose to figuratively kill them with fire. The Cleveland Browns getting picked dead last in ESPN’s post-draft power rankings is ridiculous. No, it doesn’t matter, but they committed it to their website, so I felt like discussing.

The reason that I find it completely ludicrous and insulting is because Vegas – a place that has to actually put money on the line for their rankings – has the Browns as 75-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl. There are at least six teams below them with bigger payouts currently. The bottom three in order are Minnesota, Jacksonville and Oakland.

But what does Vegas know?

Again, it doesn’t matter other than for debate, but sorry if I think this makes these prognosticators look silly.

Browns Power Rankings

McShay and Kiper have the Browns landing Watkins, Bridgewater


In what may be the dream scenario for many, both ESPN draft analysts have the Cleveland Browns landing a play-maker and a quarterback in the first round of the impending NFL Draft.

With the fourth-overall selection, Mel Kiper Jr. and Scouts Inc.’s Todd McShay believe the Browns will select wide receiver Sammy Watkins, barring a trade.

From Kiper:

 There’s been plenty of debate over the last week about whether this could be Johnny Manziel’s landing spot, but I think Browns general manager Ray Farmer will settle on the assurance of a young, experienced (even though he’s still just 20) difference-making talent at this slot. Watkins gives the Browns a viable No. 2 next to Josh Gordon, and a player that ultimately could be a star No. 1 wideout. If you get a QB later on — keep an eye on No. 26 — he’s in a better position to succeed with Watkins as a target. A sleeper here could be Jake Matthews, a safe pick, but probably not one the fan base will be thrilled about. 

And from McShay:

 I had slotted Johnny Manziel here in Monday’s mock draft update, but it now seems more likely that the Browns will pass on a quarterback at No. 4 and instead take the fourth of this class’ four elite players. In this scenario, that’s Watkins, who would provide Cleveland with a dynamic playmaker opposite Josh Gordon and potential insurance in the event that Gordon is injured or deals with any more off-field issues. The Browns can look to take a QB later in the first round or in the second.

As Kiper intimated, if the Browns pass on a quarterback at No. 4, look for them to land one with their second pick of the first round. Specifically, both men have the Browns selecting Louiville’s Teddy Bridgewater with the No. 26 pick.

From Kiper:

The Browns didn’t take a QB at No. 4, but with Bridgewater on the board, I don’t think they’ll wait around and assume they still get a guy they think has the chance to start early further down the draft board. What Bridgewater lacks in arm strength, size, and escapability, he gives you back in anticipation, accuracy, smarts and work ethic. I really don’t think there’s a more consistently accurate QB available in this draft, and you have to feel better about his chances if you have Watkins, Gordon and Jordan Cameron as the weapons.

And from McShay:

The Browns passed on a quarterback at No. 4 in this scenario — instead taking Clemson WR Sammy Watkins — but they get one here. We’ve heard that the Browns like Bridgewater more than some other teams do (and more than the Browns like Fresno State’s Derek Carr), and this is a logical spot in the first round for him to come off the board.

There has been plenty of rumblings surrounding Bridgewater and the Browns. Late Wednesday, it was reported that the team commissioned an expensive analytical study that resulted in Bridgewater being the top quarterback in this year’s draft class. If he were to fall to the Browns at No. 26, he would likely represent the third quarterback taken. If the team were to address these glaring needs with just two of their 10 picks, it’s tough to envision any scenario that isn’t met with open arms from a fan base that has long been scorned by this very weekend in years past.

Todd McShay’s latest pegs the Browns with Sammy Watkins AND Johnny Manziel


Many times throughout the draft process, many point to draftnik types like ESPN’s Todd McShay and say “If he was so good at scouting talent, why isn’t he employed by an NFL team?” Well, this is because his job isn’t necessarily to scout talent, but to use what he knows, coupled with people he speaks with, and produce lists that ultimately link players to specific teams. Naturally, this is a fleeting, thankless job as months of work becomes useless once the NFL Draft has come to an end, save for those who wish to go back and “grade” how people of his ilk did at their job.

In his latest, however, McShay switches gears a bit and says not what he thinks will happen come May 8, but what he would do if he were the GM of the 32 NFL teams. Using his “Big Board,” McShay bends a bit based on need, but maps out what is mostly a Best Player Available scenario throughout the first round—one which lands the Cleveland Browns two high-profile talents in Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

With high-octane ends Jadaveon Clowney and Kahlil Mack going first and third, resepctively, and offensive lineman Greg Robinson going to St. Louis, the Browns switch gears by going offensive play-maker. Take a gander:

I’m beginning to sound like I’m on repeat here, but the Browns are another team that needs a quarterback that I have waiting until later to draft one, because I can’t justify using a top-four pick on any of this year’s QBs. Cleveland needs an upgrade at the No. 2 receiver spot opposite Gordon, and if Watkins reaches his potential, the Browns will essentially have two No. 1s. He is an explosive and dynamic weapon both as a vertical route runner and after the catch, and he attacks the ball in the air, playing bigger than his size. He’ll have some learning to do as a route runner, but he already knows how to separate from coverage.

Blake Bortles then becomes the first quarterback off of the board, going eighth to the Minnesota Vikings. Arizona scoops up Teddy Bridgewater at No. 20, allowing Manziel to slide all the way to 26th.

This pick made sense to me because Manziel is the 19th-ranked prospect on my board, and the Browns need to address the quarterback position. Additionally, I already addressed a need position with an elite player at the No. 4 pick in Sammy Watkins, and having five total picks in the top 83 frees the Browns up to take a chance here. All of those factors make Manziel worth the risk, because the potential pay-off with him — if he can make the necessary adjustments to his game to consistently win from the pocket and protect his body, while still utilizing his rare improvisation skills — is significant. If Manziel gets past the top eight picks on draft night, I think there could be a good trade market to get in place to draft him.

This scenario would satisfy plenty of Browns fans as a team in dire need of skill positions addresses them with two of the biggest names in the draft. Unfortunately, as McShay iterates, the odds of Manziel falling this far and a trade not happening are very slim—the Dallas Cowboys have been recently linked to the Texas product and the Tampa Bay Bucanneers reportedly have the QB on their “short list.”

McShay’s latest isn’t the first piece to have Johnny Manziel sliding down to the Browns at 26, but I’m not certain this makes the possibility any more likely. Personally, if Blake Bortles is available at No. 4, I’ll be shocked if the Browns pass in hopes of obtaining a passer later on. I also hope I’m dead wrong.

[Related: WFNY on the 2014 NFL Draft: Joe Gilbert’s Top Five Quarterbacks]

Video: SNL roasts Stephen A. Smith

Jay Pharoah was absolutely hysterical as he took a shot at doing Stephen A. Smith last night on Weekend Update. I even enjoyed when he lost his composure and cracked a small laugh and a smile. The only downside to this clip? It didn’t include last night’s host Louis C.K. who had some really hysterical bits.

Josh Gordon thinks Browns will draft a QB at No. 4

Gordon catch sm

Josh Gordon might not know a whole lot more about the Cleveland Browns’ draft plans than we do. That has to be stated first and foremost. Still, Gordon’s opinion on the matter is interesting just the same. On Thursday, the Pro Bowl wide receiver told ESPN that he believes the Browns will call a quarterback’s name with the fourth pick of the 2014 NFL draft.

We won’t go so far as to speculate that this is something that Josh Gordon wants as a receiver. I’m guessing the guy who was able to go for over 1,600 yards in only 14 games while catching passes from Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell feels pretty comfortable in his ability to get open enough for just about any quarterback.

[Related: Johnny Manziel will wear helmet and shoulder pads at pro day]

(Photo by John Cole/WFNY)

Who promotes sports analytics? Musings from Day 2 at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference


“So why are you here?”

“I’m here for the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s this annual sports analytics conference. It’s been happening for eight years. It was at Hynes this year; there were 2,000 attendees. It’s kind of a big deal. It had 2,700 attendees last year.”

“So it dropped?”

“Well, yeah. It was at Seaport last year. They moved it to Hynes this year and knew there would be smaller space.”

“So what sport did it focus on?”

“Well, mostly basketball. Because one of the co-founders is the GM of the Houston Rockets. But it kinda dabbled in other sports. And mostly, teams just supplied talking points and the value was in the hallway conversations. But please, keep asking questions. You’re amazing.”
[Read more...]

Indians ranked as baseball’s 15th-best team by ESPN and

The Cleveland Indians, winners of 92 games a season ago, were ranked as baseball’s 15th-best team in two separate online articles this week.

Giambi walk off 2’s Anthony Castrovince, formerly a Tribe beat writer, concluded his top-10 series with a look at the best teams in the game. Within the honorable mention section, he wrote this tidbit about the Indians and an AL Central rival:

15. Indians and Royals (tie): As far as I’m concerned, it’s a pick-’em for second-best team in the AL Central. The Indians have a really good offense that could be even better, and the Royals have several tantalizing players who have not yet reached their potential. Both have rotation questions.

The Detroit Tigers, despite the loss of star slugger Prince Fielder, were ranked as Castrovince’s No. 2 team in MLB.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday over at ESPN’s SweetSpot blog, writer David Schoenfield shared his No. 18-13 teams. He concluded the series with the game’s top six teams on Friday. Within Wednesday’s article, here’s a tidbit of what he said about the Tribe.

I’m just the messenger: The red flag for me in Cleveland’s run to the playoffs was that the bullpen was 19th in the majors in ERA and yet went 33-16. A few of those wins came after blown saves, but that’s still an impressive W-L record for a mediocre relief corps. The Indians also lost Smith and replaced him with the erratic Axford. While Cody Allen appears ready to step in as the closer, they also need Axford to provide quality innings in the setup role.

So yes, early reports are not too optimistic about these Indians. If you recall during WFNY’s 2013 predictions, we all were between 80-86 wins. The range likely will be much larger heading into 2014.

Pitchers and catchers report on Tuesday to Goodyear, Arizona. The team’s first game is on Monday, Feb. 17. SportsTimeOhio announced earlier in the week that it will air eight spring training games on TV.

[Related: Could Ubaldo have a Cleveland Homecoming?]

Patriots’ Josh McDaniels reportedly withdraws from Browns consideration

is this the last time I get to use this graphic?

Is this the last time I get to use this graphic?

I’ve assumed since the Browns fired Rob Chudzinski that Josh McDaniels was the favorite to be the next coach of the Cleveland Browns. Not to say that McDaniels is necessarily my preference, but his connections to Michael Lombardi seemed all the more indicative that he should be the favorite until I heard otherwise. Well, thanks to Adam Schefter of ESPN, I’ve now heard otherwise.

Peter King also had a quick reaction…

At least they had an “awesome” meeting though, right you guys?!

So, what does this mean? Does this mean that the Browns lost their number one candidate coming into the interview process? The Browns have never admitted missing out on Chip Kelly, so we’ll likely never know for sure. What this means is that the Browns will continue to scour ranks of coordinators and position coaches like Ben McAdoo of the Packers and potentially Adam Gase of the Denver Broncos.

Plenty of successful head coaches have been hired from those ranks, so it’s not necessarily a disaster, but you’ll have a tough time convincing me that one of the Browns’ presumed top options is now unavailable, having followed down the unavailability path of Gus Malzahn.

[Related: Marla Ridenour on the state of the Browns, plus the Luol Deng trade – WFNY Podcast – 2014-01-08]

We need controversial shows like “Friday Night Tykes”

Friday Night Tykes 595

The Esquire Network—recently launched in September 2013 as a multimedia arm of the national men’s literary magazine of identical namesake—has a new show coming out that caught my attention. The show is called “Friday Night Tykes” and it is a new reality show that is giving viewers an inside look at what is likely the epicenter of football culture in America: The Texas Youth Football Association. The promo video shows all the same screaming football coaches and big hits that you’ve come to expect from trailers from Hollywood football movies like The Waterboy. Except now, 15 years after Adam Sandler gave us a cartoon character named Bobby Boucher, we have a different understanding about what those hits really do to the people playing the games. And yet down in Texas, this TV show catalogs the beginnings of that brutal path for children ages eight and nine years old. [Read more...]

ESPN’s Chad Ford calls Cavs one of NBA’s biggest messes

Dan Gilbert, Mike Brown, Chris GrantAt 10-20, it’s undoubtedly been a disappointing start to the season for the Cavaliers. But are they the NBA’s biggest disappointment?

ESPN Insider’s Chad Ford has posted a weekly “Tank Rank” article about the leading worst teams in the league. The Cavs have been occasional entrants into the top-10 listing so far. In Monday’s article (subscription required), they gained premium real estate at the No. 4 spot.

Here is how Ford began his comments on Cleveland this week:

I’m not sure there is a team in a bigger mess than the Cavs are right now. Owner Dan Gilbert wants the playoffs. The team he’s fielding is disjointed and filled with several players that are more interested in their daily stat line then the win-loss column.

Ford also noted that the Cavs are in the “worst sort of space” when it comes to trying to contend, yet actually failing. They have no intentions of actually tanking, per everything that’s been said by Gilbert and the front office. But as of now, they’re one of the NBA’s eight worst teams.

Sure, I believe it’d be preferable for the organization’s long-term future to actually tank and get another top draft pick. I don’t necessarily think a draft-pick core of Sergey Karasev, Anthony Bennett, Tyler Zeller, Dion Waiters Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving will ever be good enough on its own. Ideally, more firepower would come from the draft.

But that’s probably not what the Cavs see at the moment. They’ve been rumored in multiple trade conversations. The Andrew Bynum suspension has placed an odd shadow over the season. It’s unknown what’s coming up next. Ford’s comments seem to hit the nail in the coffin over the terrible status of the team’s failures.

[Related: Cavs at NBA’s one-third mark: How much patience is left?]

(AP Photo/Jason Miller)

NFL News: Ravens say Greg Little is “trying to be a tough guy”

So, is Greg Little the next Kevin Garnett? Is he just trying to be a tough guy? Is he faking it? Little didn’t shy away from the chippiness in the Browns’ 24-18 victory on Sunday afternoon, getting into skirmishes and picking up two personal fouls in the process.

It didn’t go unnoticed in the Ravens locker room.

“He’s trying to be a tough guy,” Ihedigbo said. “Some guys who aren’t tough try to prove that they’re tough.”

Meanwhile whether or not Little is trying to be a tough guy, he was tackled into the pile when he earned his first personal foul and was given an extra shove after already being out of town when he earned his taunting penalty. So the jury is out on who, exactly, was attempting to be a “tough guy.”

Little also had 122 yards receiving on the Ravens defense which (Jamison Hensley’s post also notes) mostly skipped out on talking to the media after the game.

[Related: The Cleveland Browns begin beautiful bye by beating Ravens 24-18]

Cavs’ Irving listed as “most overrated” player in NBA in recent ESPN column

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is listed as the Most Overrated Player in the NBA by’s Kevin Pelton in his most recent PER Diem column.

Per Pelton, Irving drawing an #NBARank of No. 8 in the league, while conceivable based on potential, is “premature” due to health concerns and a lack of overall accomplishments.

The #NBArank panel placed Irving eighth in the league this season, and though Irving undeniably has that kind of talent, putting him in the top 10 is premature because of defense and durability. Last season, the Cavaliers — never a defensive juggernaut under the best of circumstances — allowed 1.7 more points per 100 possessions with Irving on the floor, per Adjusting for his teammates, xRAPM (a version of adjusted plus-minus) found that Irving gave back two-thirds of his offensive value at the defensive end, making him only a slightly above-average contributor.

Of course, Irving doesn’t have any value when he’s on the bench, and he has missed a combined 38 games in his first two NBA seasons — that after being limited to 11 games in his lone college campaign. To justify a top-10 ranking, Irving will have to stay healthy and effective at both ends of the floor.</blockquote>

Irving’s ranking among the annual ESPN list was a topic in a recent edition of WFNY’s “The Diff” column. “By the ever-controversial Wins Produced/48, Kyrie Irving was right around average last season” writes Jacob Rosen. “Only a handful of guards are viewed that favorably in general. But even in the context of those, Irving was sandwiched in between DJ Augustin and Jeff Teague, nowhere near the highest echelon.

Naturally, there is a bit of a debate regarding the importance or weight of ESPN’s annual #NBARank list. If anything, this edition of PER Diem, when reduced, is a column about a column.

Others receiving the ‘overrated’ tag are the New York Knicks (East), Golden State Warriors (West), Doc Rivers (head coach), Andrew Wiggins (draft prospect) and Marco Bellinelli (newcomer).

[Related: The Diff: Did #NBARank actually overrate Kyrie Irving?]

Video: WFNY referenced on ESPN’s Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable

A URL has never been so transcendent. Less than a day after having Waiting For Next Year mentioned in Cleveland’s WKYC Channel 3 news, ESPN’s own Bomani Jones give WFNY a mention in the opening segment of Thursday’s edition of Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable which, of course, discusses the impact of the Trent Richardson trade on Cleveland.

Verb conjugation is overrated. Sort of like honesty with a fan base.

[Related: Joe Banner’s Browns have not earned the benefit of the doubt]

NFL News: Brandon Weeden’s thumb won’t require surgery

Good news for those who still have included Brandon Weeden in their plans for the Browns going forward. Adam Schefter reports that Brandon Weeden’s sprained thumb will not require surgery and he could be ready as early as next week. Ready for what, you ask? You’ll have to ask Joe Banner, Michael Lombardi and Rob Chudzinski that question.

This news will obviously be overshadowed by the news of the Cleveland Browns trading Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts. As we’ve also heard, it isn’t like Brandon Weeden is definitely going to be in the Browns’ plans going forward as he’s not been guaranteed his starter spot if and when he returns.

For now, though, we’ll have to assume the availability of the number one quarterback on the depth chart sooner rather than later is a good thing.

[Related: Joe Banner’s Browns have not earned the benefit of the doubt]

Browns slot 30th in Week 2 ESPN Power Rankings

It could be worse: The Cleveland Browns will enter Week 2′s contest against the Baltimore Ravens slotted 30th in ESPN’s weekly NFL Power Rankings.

Down two spots from their preseason placement, only the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars are keeping the Orange and Brown from the cellar of the National Football League.

ESPN cites Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden’s abysmal Week 1 performance, second only to the Jaguars’ Blaine Gabbert; he was also the only other QB with a completion percentage under 50 percent on short throws.

The biggest gainer goes to the Chip Kelly-led Philadelphia Eagles who jumped 11 spots after their electric win on Monday Night Football. The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets both leapfrogged the Browns after impressive outings from their rookie quarterbacks. Things do not look to be improving for the Browns anytime soon as they will enter this Sunday as touchdown underdogs.

[Related: Tracking the Browns defense: How many times did they blitz?]