April 21, 2014

Sorting out the Browns wide receiver situation

Little2The Browns announced the signing of Nate Burleson on Sunday night. Burleson will be 33 when the season begins. He has had a nice NFL career, but at this point he isn’t exactly the threat opposite Gordon that would make the Browns a dangerous offense. (Quarterback notwithstanding.)

The Browns currently have the following receivers on the roster: Josh Gordon, Nate Burleson Greg Little, Travis Benjamin, Andrew Hawkins, Josh Cooper, Charles Johnson, Tori Gurley and Vernon Conner.

Gordon is the legitimate number one receiver. He is one of the best in the league and still hasn’t reached his potential. Travis Benjamin tore his ACL last season against the Chiefs in week 8. He should be ready to go for the beginning of the season. Benjamin is dangerous because of his speed and agility. Hopefully he is able to fully come back from this injury. Even if fully healthy, he is a slot receiver and return specialist.

Andrew Hawkins is the free agent acquisition from the Bengals. Obviously the team thinks enough of him to outbid the Bengals for his services. Looking at his career to date, you wouldn’t think that Hawkins is being primed to be the second option behind Gordon. He is a very nice 3rd/4th option. [Read more...]

What should the Browns do with Greg Little?

Greg Little FilteredAs we make our way through the off-season and think about various positions on the roster, nobody’s position might be stranger than Greg Little’s. Little is a good guy with very good physical attributes. He’s a receiver who “flashes” on occasion, but then disappears for long stretches when he isn’t dropping passes. Despite some mostly meaningless traffic incidents that served to bring him a bit of negative attention, he largely does and says all the right things. He works as hard as he can whether it’s extra time catching passes or learning hand-fighting techniques of defensive linemen in the pre-season. Greg Little is, in many ways, exactly what you want a young player to be and yet, he was rumored to be a guy that Browns brass wanted Rob Chudzinski to cut to send a message. Chud is gone of course, but for now Greg Little is still here.

If you were to poll Browns fans and ask them if Greg Little should be cut from the team, I bet the vote would be 50/50. I can’t even tell you what I would say, personally. After his third year, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s not a number two wide receiver, let alone a number one. I know for a fact that he’s not a guy I want returning kickoffs either. By the way, despite that infuriating chapter of the 2013 Browns season, Little averaged 21.57 yards per return in seven attempts. I would have bet it was nowhere near that good an average. And that’s kind of instructive for Greg Little’s entire career. [Read more...]

Davone Bess, Browns firing of Chud, Cavs’ future – WFNY Podcast – 2014-01-06

WFNY Podcast LogoFirst week in a long time without Scott Raab. First pinch hitter out of the gate was Andrew. We spent some time talking about the Browns and all their maneuvers along with how quiet it has generally been about Davone Bess.

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Scott’s post on Davone Bess is an interesting place to start.

- why is this topic going so under the radar? on the one hand we’ve heard that he has problems in his personal life, likely with his family. I understand the media not wanting to report that, but his pot pictures indicate some sort of meltdown.

- on the other hand, some of the reaction to Scott’s post seemed to indicate, “what’s the big deal? It’s pot and it’s basically legal now!” that’s something we talked about with chris perez earlier this year. Even if you don’t have an ethical dilemma about pot (and I don’t) that doesn’t mean that it isn’t some sort of self-destructive meltdown to have it shipped through the mail / post pics on instagram

- does the Bess thing just have everything to do with the fact that the Browns are such a mess otherwise?

- As for the Browns, obviously confidence is extremely shaken in the entire organization now, but does that preclude them from being right? Is it even possible in your mind that their story is just 100% true and they couldn’t work with Chud despite their reasons for hiring him in the first place?

- if Chud was hard headed about playing McGahee, Little, Lauvao and others as opposed to moving on, would you consider those decent enough reasons for firing a guy? If they were so far off from being on the same page, isn’t it the right move?

- Are you shocked that a first time head coach like Chud would seemingly be willing to push back on his superiors? Do you think it was guidance from Norv Turner – who reportedly blew up at Banner in his meeting – for standing his ground?

- Lastly, we’ll talk Cavs. What are the going to do with Bynum. I’m hoping it’s done before we record, honestly. Otherwise, we can talk about Grant and how hot his seat might be at this point.

Check out this episode

Scott Raab talks about Rob Chudzinski being fired and Andrew Bynum – WFNY Podcast – 2013-12-30

WFNY Podcast LogoScott Raab couldn’t be finished with the WFNY Podcast for 2013 after what happened over the weekend, so we decided to do one more in 2013. We touched on all of the obvious topics including…

  • Scott Raab talking about the Browns
  • Dumpster fire’s use in the mainstream
  • Joe Banner and the ego that goes with firing Chud
  • Jimmy Haslam’s role in the firing
  • The informational path from Mike Lombardi to the media
  • How should fans react to this today?
  • Was Rob Chudzinski the wrong guy for the job?
  • Rob Chudzinski’s own issues and how they impacted his own firing
  • Tony Grossi’s post about Chud refusing to cut Greg Little and Shawn Lauvao
  • Professional sports leagues are cartels, not pizza parlors
  • Scott: “We’re prisoners, not customers”
  • Is there anything Haslam and Banner could say for Scott?
  • Media should have an adversarial relationship with the front office
  • The Kyrie Irving situation is going to end the same way the LeBron one did
  • The Art Modell move continues to haunt coverage of the Browns
  • Andrew Bynum, the media and the Cavaliers’ future
  • Brian Windhorst continues to be one of the best Cavs beat reporters
  • The Kyrie Irving scenario and how it’s playing out [Read more...]

Cleveland Browns Game 15: Winners and Losers

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Wow. Having watched that game, I can’t say with a straight face that there were any winners in Orange and Brown. Looks like an all-loser edition.

LOSER: Jason Campbell. Drops aside, this was a miserable game from Campbell who as a veteran should have been able to beat this Jets team. 18-39 for 178 yards and two interceptions.

LOSER: Greg Little. Pretty convinced that Greg Little was gone next year long before Sunday. Call this one the clincher. [Read more...]

Cleveland Browns Game 14: Winners and Losers

Who caught your eye? Did someone stand out? Who blew it? That’s what were interested in this morning. Winners and losers.

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LOSER: Fans. Let me be clear about this one: I’m not calling the fans losers. I’m saying that we lost. Again. The Browns finished the home slate with a 3-5 record this year. It could have been worse I suppose. The Browns could have won all four of their games on the road. The Browns made a big deal this year about improving the fan experience. In some ways they did, but at the end of the day I think fans will remember a dismal season more than wiener dog races and giant inflatable corn hole games.

WINNER: Tashaun Gipson. When Ray Horton called Gipson the defensive MVP a few weeks back, I admit that I laughed it off. I’m not laughing anymore.

Gipson had a pair of interceptions including a 44-yard return for a touchdown. He also had a pair of tackles for loss and several good plays in the passing game. His ability has given the Browns the freedom to use T.J. Ward as a Troy Polamalu-type player, blitzing and playing the run almost as an extra linebacker. [Read more...]

Video: Browns 2013 highlights so far

Not everyone took the bye week off. One YouTube user decided to compile a bunch of the Browns’ highlights from the year and do it up like a college kid would do his scouting highlights with loud hip hop featuring NSFW language. It’s an entertaining watch, and I recommend muting it so you don’t pollute your virgin ears with the harsh language of youthful music. It’ll remind you that this team has been lots of fun to watch at times this season.

Make sure you watch until the end to see Greg Little rocking a mic and dancing.

[Related: NFL News: John Moffitt says Browns failed his physical due to salary dispute]

No fines levied in Ravens-Greg Little choking incident

The NFL has decided that no fines will be administered in response to the alleged choking incident between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns.

This past Sunday, Browns wide receiver Greg Little was flagged 15 yards for an unsportsmanlike conduct violation when he threw the helmet of a member of the Ravens after a play had been whistled dead. Still images later showed that Little was being choked at the bottom of the pile by Ravens safety James Ihedigbo. Little later confirmed that such was the case, proceeding to question the safety’s toughness and character as a player.

“I would never personally cross the lines or play outside the rules in any manner,” Ihedigbo told reporters in Baltimore earlier this week. “I had my hand on his chest. It is what it is. It’s kind of unfortunate that this is even being an issue.

“I’m not a dirty player by any means. He’s saying what took place that didn’t take place. The refs would’ve seen it. Other players would’ve seen it. And I would have been punished for the play as well.”

Little reiterated that he would react similarly if the incident were to happen again.

Regarding the penalty assessed, Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski was firmly in the corner of his player.

“I think you always have to look at things on a case-by-case basis,” Chudzinski said of the penalty potentially being deemed detrimental. “I didn’t [think so] in that case.”

[Related: Cleveland Browns Film Room: Blitzing the Ravens]

(Source: Mary Kay Cabot)

NFL News: Greg Little confirms he was being choked during Ravens game

(Click for larger version)

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You never quite know with still photos, but if you take Greg Little’s word, he was in fact being choked. Mary Kay Cabot has the quote.

“I know the ref was saying ‘let go of his face mask,’ but he was choking me, so I’m not (going to let go),” said Little, who was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. “There’s a thin line between football and just morals and if you’re a man, you’re not going to let a guy spit in your face, and your not going to let a guy choke you.”

Of course we’ll now see how the NFL’s disciplinary arm deals with this in terms of fines. As it stands now, the only one who has been punished is Greg Little with 30 yards worth of yellow laundry on the field last Sunday. Almost makes you wish the Browns had one more game left against the Ravens this year. This finally has the makings of a rivalry considering the Browns finally stood victorious at the end of one of these games.

[Related: NFL News: Jason Campbell named AFC offensive player of the week]

Pic: Was Greg Little being choked by a Ravens player?

The Browns won yesterday beating the Ravens 24-18, so Greg Little’s two personal fouls are much easier to take. Now some visual evidence makes at least one of the penalties a little bit more understandable. It sure appears like Greg Little is being choked by some Ravens player’s hands in the pile. This was the incident where Little was penalized for grabbing a helmet.

(Click for larger version)

(Click for larger version)

So while Joe Haden was right that this isn’t the same old Ravens, it appears he was also wrong. It is the same old Ravens in terms of attitude, toughness and willingness to provoke opposing teams and be largely intimidating. At least the Browns and Greg Little didn’t shrivel.

(Thanks to @MarkSkog for sending the original pic)

[Related: Cleveland Browns Week Nine: Winners and Losers]

Cleveland Browns Week Nine: Winners and Losers

Who caught your eye? Did someone stand out? Who blew it? That’s what were interested in this morning. Winners and losers.

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For the first time in six seasons, the Browns beat the Baltimore Ravens. For fans and some of the older Browns like D’Qwell Jackson and Joe Thomas this one was a long time coming.

WINNER: Davone Bess. Call this one Davone’s redemption. Bess only caught three passes for 24 yards, but he made those most of those opportunities. Two touchdowns and a HUGE first down catch on fourth and one to keep the final drive going. (Is it me, or was that play eerily similar to the one against the Chiefs last week that he didn’t come up with?) Everyone in the locker room was happy for Bess, who handled his tough game last week like a pro.

WINNER: Greg Little. Little set a career mark with seven catches in the game for 122 yards. Despite a couple of mental mistakes with penalties, Little was a difference maker in this one. His first quarter catch in traffic was a magic act. [Read more...]

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]

The Cleveland Browns begin beautiful bye by beating Ravens 24-18

Browns Celebrate TDIt’s going to be a fun bye week Browns fans. Your team beat a division rival. They beat them without a lot of gimmicks or tricks. Your team stood up and played to their capabilities and just flat out beat the Baltimore Ravens 24-18. Yes, this team has lost tons of players since last season, but they’re still the defending Super Bowl champs and your Browns beat them.

It wasn’t all cakes and pies. Browns fans got a peek at Brandon Weeden after Jason Campbell was the recipient of a pancake courtesy of Haloti Ngata. Ngata is the same player that had a lot to do with the gnashing of teeth over the Cleveland Browns trading with Pittsburgh on draft day this year, by the way. The last time the Browns traded in the division, they swapped picks with the Ravens so that they could take Ngata. The Browns took Kamerion Wimbley. But let’s not go down that road. Despite the momentary taste of Weeden, Jason Campbell came back to play and play well. [Read more...]

WWBD – What will Banner do?

Gordon and CameronIt is no secret that the Browns are still a team in transition, building for the future. Team President and GM Mike Lombardi have already shown they have their own agenda and anyone who was brought in during the run of the previous regime shouldn’t feel safe.

Today at 4:00 PM, the NFL has its trade deadline. It has been no secret that certain members of the team have appeal and could be had for the right price. If you don’t think that Banner isn’t shopping players despite what his coach Rob Chudzinski said yesterday, then you are fooling yourself.  You didn’t think Trent Richardson was going to go anywhere either did you?  [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Greg Little is ready to make game changing plays

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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“Little’s stats against the Lions would’ve been better after he made what appeared to be a great 25-yard catch against the Lions when the Browns were driving and trailing 24-17 near the 50-yard line, but was ruled out of bounds. Chudzinski challenged but there wasn’t a conclusive camera angle to overturn the call on the field.

“That was a huge, huge play in the game,” Little said. “It was obviously a drive that would’ve tied up the ball game. I would’ve liked to know what they were thinking. Then it again it was just one play and one play never really loses the game.”

Little has showed signs of starting to be a difference maker. He had a key 47-yard reception that set up a Josh Gordon touchdown in the win over the Bills. Is he ready to make more big plays?” [Greetham/Orange and Brown Report] [Read more...]

Cleveland Browns Film Room Game Five: Big Third Down Conversions

For the third consecutive year, we’ll take a seat each week in our very own WFNY Browns film room and break down a little tape from the game, with a specific focus.  Do enjoy.

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There were several big moments in Cleveland’s win over the Bills last Thursday. Certainly T.J. Ward’s interception return for a touchdown could have been the biggest. Today I want to focus on a few crucial third down plays for the Browns’ offense and how they were able to convert.

Here’s the first one. The Browns are down 10-3 in the second quarter. This is the second full drive for Weeden since coming in for the injured Brian Hoyer. He hasn’t looked very sharp until this point. The Browns have the ball on their own 28 yard line and it is third and eight. [Read more...]

Jordan Cameron collects fifth receiving touchdown of 2013

The Cleveland Browns jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a Brian Hoyer connection to Jordan Cameron in the corner of the end zone. That touchdown was Cameron’s fifth of the season in the just the first quarter of the fourth game of the year.

A year ago, Cameron had only one TD catch in 14 games. Starter Ben Watson collected three TDs all season and trailed team leaders Josh Gordon and Greg Little who had five and four touchdowns respectively.

I thought Jordan Cameron would be a lot better this season, but I’m a bit blown away by the results thus far.

[Related: NFL Rumors: Browns to release RB Montario Hardesty]

Cleveland Browns Game Three: Winners and Losers

Who caught your eye? Did someone stand out? Who blew it? That’s what were interested in this morning. Winners and losers.

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What do we have here? A win? Four touchdowns in one game? Pace yourselves there Cleveland, don’t want to score all your points in one week.

WINNER: Rush defense. I have to start there because above everything else, this might have been the most impressive thing about Sunday’s game. The Browns were a top ranked unit against the rush coming into the game, but many were expecting them to be exposed against Adrian Peterson, the best back in the game. Instead the team held the reigning NFL MVP to 88 yards on 25 carries. Well done gentlemen. It has been an eternity since the Browns were stout against the run. [Read more...]

Scott Raab on not investing in the Browns, Wild Card Tribe, and the writing environment – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-23

WFNY Podcast LogoThe Browns won, the Indians won and I also forced Scott to talk to us about his writing process. I just figure to have a writer of Scott’s stature on the podcast and not occasionally talk about the job of writing would be insane. He’s nice enough to put up with the topic on occasion.

Craig on vacation in Virginia Beach
The Cleveland Browns win against the Vikings
The Trent Richardson deal goes down
Rooting for the team but tuning out so you don’t have to invest in it
Joe Banner and his reputation
Michael Lombardi’s potential for floating rumors about Josh Gordon
The franchise quarterback conundrum
Bernie Kosar and the Browns competing for Super Bowls
The media and fans congratulating the Joe Banner / Mike Lombardi front office for getting a first round draft pick
Trick plays and gimmicking their way to a win
Christian Ponder and when he was picked
The AFC North and the lack of #1 quarterbacks in the division
Brandon Weeden and when we should see him again
“We’ve got to see what we have in….”
Tony Grossi, Eric Mangini and the finger that needed to be pointed at Lerner
The Cleveland Indians and Michael Bourn
Technical writing information on environment from Scott Raab [Read more...]

NFL News: Davone Bess will start over Greg Little for Browns

While some are still discussing the Brian Hoyer decision, the Browns have also made a decision to move Greg Little back on the wide receiver depth chart. Reports out of Berea today from Rob Chudzinski say that Davone Bess will start opposite the returning Josh Gordon, who sat out the first two games due to drug suspension. Chudzinski told the pool of reporters that the switch at wide receiver was a product of Davone Bess’ play. That intimates that it doesn’t have to do with Little’s continued trouble driving a car without necessitating legal intervention.

Of course, this benching of Greg Little doesn’t mean a whole lot. It is presumed that Greg Little will still find the field plenty when the Browns go to three or more receiver packages. Still, the symbolism is important too as Greg Little attempts – yet again – to overcome the reputation of a guy who drops passes and volleys interceptions to the opposing team’s DBs.

Greg Little was unavailable to the media in the locker room today.

[Related: Writer’s Block Roundtable on the boring Browns and Indians playoff race]