July 31, 2014

Decisions… Greg Little or a Nissan?

There’s just something about former Cleveland Browns receivers that makes for good memes. Braylon Edwards was a favorite target (get it?) for Browns fans for years and now that we no longer have to hope that Greg Little figures it out, he’s became the latest favorite. I feel a little bit badly because Little was a hard worker and a decent enough guy, but man did he struggle to be the guy we needed to see on Sundays.

[Also see: Justin Gilbert is unfamiliar with Greg Little]

But don’t forget where it all began with Braylon.

braylon Edwards drop

(Greg Little image via the fine folks at the Cleveland Browns Reddit page)

Justin Gilbert is unfamiliar with Greg Little

Not real newsworthy, but I was entertained by what transpired on the Internet last night with Greg Little and new Browns corner Justin Gilbert. Of course you all know that Greg Little was released by the Browns and didn’t make it through waivers. The Oakland Raiders picked him up, which prompted the Deadspin headline in the pic below.

Deadspin Greg Little Headline

 

But that’s not the funniest reaction to the Greg Little news, at least not for Browns fans. Greg Little tweeted the following about his chance to show the Browns what they’re missing when the Raiders play the Browns this season.

But new Browns cornerback wasn’t impressed. When it was brought to his attention, Justin Gilbert had a succinct answer for Browns fans.

Justin Gilbert trolls Greg Little

Gilbert has since deleted the tweet, making me wonder if he was intentionally trying to smash Greg Little or maybe Justin Gilbert has no idea who Greg Little is. Dare to dream.

Love Reign O’er Me, While We’re Waiting

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All you need is Love

In Kirk Lammers’ report yesterday on WFNY regarding Tristan Thompson’s status on the trading block, there was a part at the end about the Cavaliers making a run at Kevin Love. Now, granted, if the Cavaliers could somehow pull off a trade for Kevin Love, it would completely change everything about this team.

The Cavaliers haven’t had a consistent, reliable offensive player at the PF position since the days of Larry Nance (I wouldn’t use the words consistent or reliable for likes of Antawn Jamison or Shawn Kemp, the best offensive PFs the Cavs have had since Nance). Cavs fans have been conditioned to forget just how important and effective a frontcourt scoring option at the 4 is for team offense.

But are the Cavaliers really players for Love? Probably not. For one thing, Love wants to play in a big market or a marquee team. That isn’t the Cleveland Cavaliers. While I would still trade for Love and hope for the best when he’s a free agent next year, the Cavaliers might not see that as the best strategy. But what shows Kyrie Irving a commitment to winning more…trading for a 26 ppg and 12 rpg All-Star PF, or adding yet another draft pick and waiting for him to develop? I think the Cavaliers should go for it. Do whatever it takes to get Kevin Love, and see what happens when you pair two of the best players at their position in the NBA. If it doesn’t work and you lose both of them, then I tend to agree with WFNY’s Ben Cox:

Players like Kevin Love so rarely become available via trade. If the Cavaliers aren’t interested in pursuing a player like Love when he actually is available and the Timberwolves are open to trading him, then I’m not sure what the point of having a team is. The odds are slim of actually getting him1, but at least take a stab at it and try. If Minnesota and/or Love say no, then so be it.

When this franchise had LeBron James, they never did anything to add a real, legit 2nd All-Star to play beside LeBron, and it cost the team any chance of keeping LeBron. He left to go play with other good players. This feels like history frustratingly repeating itself all over again. The Cavaliers have spent three years of roster mismanagement with Kyrie Irving and haven’t come close to giving him another star quality player2. If there’s a chance to actually give Kyrie Irving this kind of teammate, I think the Cavaliers should do it.

I mean, come on, tell me this wouldn’t be fun:

***

On the other hand, what are the chances the Cavaliers can get a superstar sidekick in the lottery?

The NBA Draft Lottery is tonight, and obviously whatever happens will play a huge part in the Cavs’ offseason. I really think the Cavaliers are going to trade their first round pick this year or die trying. This roster is so insanely young and I don’t feel that adding more inexperienced youth that needs to develop is going to exactly help the Cavaliers.

But what if they get into the top 3? If that happens, they could still trade the pick. But in that case I don’t know if they would trade it for an expiring player like Love without an agreement on a contract extension first. But there could be some really good players still under contract who could get moved for a top 3 pick in this year’s draft. But even if they don’t trade it, a pretty good player can be had in the top 3 if they just keep it.

But alas, the Cavaliers don’t have very good odds. To demonstrate this point, I decided to open ESPN’s Lottery Machine and play the lottery just one time to see what would happen. Well, this happened:

nba draft lottery 2014

Hey, we can still dream, right?

***

Are you all scared of the vengeful retribution of Greg Little?

So Mr Little was picked up by the Oakland Raiders and he’s going to get his revenge on the Browns for cutting a player who saw his catches and yards decline every single year all while supplying the team with a frustrating amount of dropped passes? Well, ok then.

Look, it’s only natural for humans to want to stick it to the people who don’t believe in us. I can’t hold that against Little. But I also can’t sit here and pretend like the team wronged him somehow. They gave him three years to improve, and by all accounts he certainly tried. I’ll never question his work ethic. But he simply wasn’t good enough to be an NFL receiver, even on a team that desperately needs them.

***

When will the bass drop?

This weekend was the season finale of Saturday Night Live, and former cast member Andy Samberg was back to host it. Samberg, known for his hilarious and often non-sequitur Digital Shorts, made a new one which was absolutely one of his best ever:

I get why people listen to EDM and Dubstep music. I sometimes enjoy listening to it when playing video games. But I’ve never really understood the “live” performances of it. Anyway, Samberg does a pretty good job of poking fun at some of the funnier aspects of Dubstep.

***

If you’re not watching “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”, you’re missing out

When HBO announced they were giving John Oliver a weekly half hour news show, I think most people expected a Daily Show ripoff. To a degree, they were right. Oliver’s show does closely resemble John Stewart’s enterprise.

Yet there’s something different about Oliver’s style. I’m probably about to get crucified as a Stewart heretic, but I actually prefer Oliver’s approach to skewering the news and the people and organizations behind the scandals. While I think John Stewart is absolutely hilarious, there’s just something about his holier-than-thou smugness that feels heavy handed to me. Oliver isn’t any more forgiving with his targets, but he doesn’t it in a manner that focuses more on the humor and less on coming across like a sermon.

Plus, Oliver has another huge advantage: HBO. Being on the cable subscription service, Oliver is free to say, do, or show whatever he wants. There are no corporate sponsors to worry about offending and there are no censors to appease. He can literally say and show whatever he wants. It makes the show feel a little more free. Plus, by being a weekly show, Oliver doesn’t have the pressure of delivering every single night like Stewart does.

But I don’t want to pit the shows against each other. They are both great and they both have their place. I think the country is a funnier and more educated place because of these shows. So, ripoff or not, Last Week Tonight is an absolute riot and one of the things I most look forward to watching every week.

***

Finally, the album of the week:

Yesterday in Scott’s edition of WWW he mentioned The Roots’ new album. It was officially released this week and it’s a great listen.

But I’m going to go in a different direction for this week’s new album of the week. I’m going to give it to yet another Cleveland band, and it’s Herzog’s incredible new album titled “Boys”. It’s straight forward rock, the type of rock that Cleveland does best. This is a really great listen from start to finish and yet another band showcasing that Cleveland is still a city producing some really great rock music.

You can read Pitchfork’s review here and listen to the album below:

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburn and Marc Stein say Love prefers the Warriors and Bulls, while Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is saying to keep an eye on the Celtics. Nobody is mentioning the Cavaliers as a possible destination []
  2. Luol Deng is close, and I can’t hold his ineptitude on the court against Chris Grant…how was he or anyone to know Deng would play as poorly for the Cavaliers as he did? []

Breaking down Johnny Manziel’s press conference after Browns rookie camp – WFNY Podcast – 2014-05-17

WFNY Podcast LogoI did a solo podcast today breaking down Johnny Manziel’s post-practice press conference.

What did he have to say about Loggains’ comments about his text messages during the draft.

Were the Browns the only team that Johnny Manziel was texting with during the draft?

Why did Johnny Manziel want to come to Cleveland?

How does Manziel feel about Texas A&M and “The House that Johnny Built?”

I comment on all of that.

Check out this episode!

I’m not cheering the Greg Little release, but it’s no big deal

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And so the Greg Little era in Cleveland has come to a close. It’s not a day worth celebrating, that’s for sure. It’s never a good day when your team gives up on a second-round draft pick who was still playing under his rookie contract. It’s never a good day when your team is cutting a player under the age of 25 who has good size and passes the eye test as an athlete. Then again, all said and done, if you are a fan of a team and have any aspirations for that team to be successful, you might not want to get all caught up emotionally over a move like the Browns cutting Little. In the end, it’s just not that big of a deal.

[Read more...]

NFL News: Browns release wide receiver Greg Little

Well, that was quick and a bit surprising. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports on Friday morning that the Browns have released wide receiver Greg Little.

Little3Little was the team’s second-round pick in the 2011 draft out of North Carolina. In three seasons, he averaged 52 catches, 607 yards and three touchdowns. But his numbers (catches and total yards) dropped each year and his struggles with drops were a constant topic.

Just a week ago, Little was No. 1 atop the Browns’ receiving depth chart, alongside new slot receiver Andrew Hawkins. Then, the team added veteran free agents Earl Bennett and Miles Austin, who both have been inconsistent and had their share of injuries over the past few years. The team must feel confident enough in at least one of them to make this move.

Certainly, I wouldn’t have been surprised by this announcement last month. But with Josh Gordon’s likely suspension, I would’ve expected the team to at least hold on to Little for one final chance. Bennett and Austin are wild cards anyway; is Little that much riskier?

Overall though, I’ll state that I’m a bit more confident than most about the Browns’ receiving corps. With Jordan Cameron in tow, the Browns have an elite tight end capable of making some really outstanding plays. Then, there’s Hawkins, a very solid slot guy. They have several solid running backs in Ben Tate, Edwin Baker, Dion Lewis, Terrance West and more. Yes, there’s no easy way to replace Gordon; what other team in the NFL could do so easily?

Now, it’s down to Austin, Bennett and whoever else gets a chance to step up. A strange offseason continues to be strange.

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.

WinnersLosers_WFNY

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)

(Click for larger version)

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.

WinnersLosers_WFNY

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...]