August 15, 2014

The ends don’t justify means in Peter King’s defense of Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi

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Peter King is one of the best NFL writers in the nation and as a national guy his perspective can sometimes be instructive to help local fans take blinders off. As a follower of the Browns, it’s pretty easy to lose perspective on the more overarching story-lines that make up an NFL season or era as you’re consistently living and dying with week-to-week results. It’s with that in mind that it’s definitely worth considering when Peter King instructs Browns fans to “Stop cursing Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi.” [Read more...]

YELLING TRIBE, BROWNS AND TWITTER WITH @sportsyelling – WFNY Podcast – 2014-02-28

WFNY Podcast LogoI was very happy to welcome in @sportsyelling for the first time on the WFNY Podcast. She (yes, she) is a Tribe first sports fan, so we talked a lot about the Indians. We talked about Ubaldo Jimenez, the rotation, Chief Wahoo, and Ervin Santana. We also touched on the Browns and how the NFL has dominated the sports world to the point there’s really no “off-season.”

Check out this episode!

Talking Browns and NFL combine with @jimkanicki – WFNY Podcast – 2014-02-27

WFNY Podcast LogoJim Kanicki (Mike Burgermeister) joined me today to discuss all things Browns. We talked about the Browns decision to release D’Qwell Jackson, the shakeup of the front office, the free agencies of Alex Mack and T.J. Ward, Mike Pettine and lots about the combine. Is the combine meaningful? If so, how meaningful?

Check out this episode!

Browns have “no comment” on Lombardi’s Browns documents

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Is it a big deal that recently ousted Browns employee Michael Lombardi was seen at the NFL combine with documents emblazoned with Cleveland Browns logos? The answer is that none of us have any clue. It certainly seems less than ideal for the Browns, but whether or not it is an actual impropriety or not is impossible to know without finding out from the Cleveland Browns. The team, however has issued two separate “no comment” statements to ProFootballTalk and Mary Kay Cabot.

This could mean a couple things.

1. Maybe the Browns really aren’t sweating it. The team obviously didn’t feel the need to keep Lombardi out of work through the end of the draft, which you would think they could have done by simply paying him to stay home. Maybe they reserved no such rights in Lombardi’s contract, but it seems unlikely that Lombardi would have had leverage to exclude non-compete and non-piracy language from his contract negotiations with the Browns.

2. Maybe the Browns are embarrassed and just hoping this goes away. Who would let a year’s worth of scouting information go straight into the hands of another NFL team? The Browns seemingly just did.

3. Maybe the Browns are pursuing this issue with the league. We have no evidence of this and it is pure speculation, but maybe the Browns didn’t enjoy seeing their logo in the Pats loge at the combine and are seeking to have the situation addressed through channels that require them to not comment at the current time.

Mary Kay Cabot’s report also indicates that Ray Farmer isn’t concerned because the club “followed proper procedures” with Lombardi’s departure. Again, I’m unsure what this means. Does it mean that Lombardi’s exit was handled in such a way that he’s doing something wrong by having documents with Browns logos? Does it mean that it was handled in such a way that it’s cool that Lombardi have those documents?

We’ll find out eventually. Probably. Maybe.

For now, the Browns, unsurprisingly, have no comment.

I missed most of the NFL Combine and I don’t care

Johnny Manziel

Without downs and drives, we’re forced to focus on broad jumps and the bench press? No thanks.

Maybe it’s because I spent a whole week out of state without access to NFL Network, and subsequently only followed the combine tangentially through the news and Twitter, but I feel as if we live in a new NFL world. The combine is important to figure out which guys are healthy and as one of many tools to help organize a draft board, but it also feels largely marginalized. As we watch players climb and fall, draft charts organized by analysts who largely get things wrong as real drafts unfold, I’m left less and less compelled by the variance in tenths of seconds by various NFL draft prospects.

[Read more...]

Wading through the reports of a Browns trade for Jim Harbaugh

Cleveland Browns headquarters training camp

Berea, Ohio: Where the fun never stops

Late Friday, the never-ending Cleveland Browns coaching search – which really did end on February 6 when the Browns hired Mike Pettine – got an extension in the news cycle. Pro Football Talk got wind of an apparent trade between the Browns and 49ers for their coach Jim Harbaugh and anonymous sources have been doing battle ever since. But what does all this mean for Browns fans as they get set for an immediate future with Mike Pettine?

[Read more...]

Browns clean house again! – Scott Raab discusses – WFNY Podcast – 2014-02-12

WFNY Podcast LogoHonestly, Scott Raab has been trying to get away a bit from the Cleveland sports thing. I’ve left this platform completely open to him for whenever there’s something worth talking about, and a mere days after Chris Grant was fired and we fired up the podcast, Jimmy Haslam drops the hammer in Berea. So, we loaded it up again.

There’s no mystery about the things we talked about. The Browns, Joe Banner, Michael Lombardi, Jimmy Haslam, Ray Farmer, Alec Scheiner, Mike Pettine and more…

Check out this episode!

While We’re Waiting… Mostly positive reactions to latest Berea upheaval

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Harsh words about Joe Banner and his departed regime from this former Browns.com writer: “There’s a pattern here. The Browns have long had trouble figuring things out, and if it makes any sense, Haslam might be starting to figure that out. Now, if the Browns can just nail their two first-round picks, Haslam can be cleared of wrongdoing in the FBI investigation of his Pilot/Flying J companies and Farmer and Pettine can be on the same page in March, May, August and November, the Browns might just be able to eventually rejoin the ranks of the NFL living and competing again. Deep breath, Browns fans. With Farmer in charge, all of that (or at least some of that) has a better chance of happening.” [Zac Jackson/Fox Sports Ohio] [Read more...]

Making the case for the Cleveland Browns and Johnny Manziel

This may now require a trade

This may now require a trade

It’s a divisive topic. Every time anything hits the WFNY Facebook page regarding Johnny Manziel, there’s an immediate split among fans who love the idea of Johnny Manziel becoming a Cleveland Brown and those who are as opposed to it as if Johnny Manziel is a fierce combination of Ryan Leaf, Mark Sanchez, Michael Vick and Matt Leinart. The truth is that nobody knows for sure how Johnny Manziel will do as an NFL quarterback, but I’m ready to make the case that he can be a good one, worthy of Browns fans’ hopes and dreams for a franchise quarterback.

[Read more...]

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Check out this episode

My Cleveland Sportsman of 2013: Brian Hoyer

The hometown kid rejuvinated a bitter and beaten fan base (Diamond Images/Getty Images)

The hometown kid rejuvinated a bitter and beaten fan base
(Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year is an annual must-read. Given that the national recognition rarely has anything to do with the teams or individuals whom we cover. In turn, WFNY will soon announce its choice for 2013′s Cleveland Sportsman of the Year. Here’s one of the nominations for that honor by a WFNY writer.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Charting top QB draft prospects

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Phenomenal research here on the top QBs in the 2014 NFL draft class: “Most notable for Bridgewater is the lack of screens incorporated in the offense. Some have said that Bridgewater throws a high quantity of short passes, however the screens a QB normally utilizes have become short throws so that Bridgewater throws 53% of his passes in the 1-10 yard zones.” [Greg Peshek/Roto World]

[Read more...]

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]

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

WFNY Podcast LogoI was very happy that Marla Ridenour was willing to come on the podcast today. She’s always a great read, but her work has been particularly noteworthy in her coverage of the Browns since they decided to fire Rob Chudzinksi. She’s pulled no punches as she put Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi on notice. We discussed that for most of the podcast before also touching on the Cavaliers, their trade for Luol Deng and Ridenour’s belief that the Cavaliers will not send Anthony Bennett to the D-League.

You can follow Marla Ridenour on Twitter @MRidenourABJ.

Also, see some of her Browns coverage that I was referring to in the podcast.

Browns’ three-ring circus leaves Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi next in firing cannon

Also on the Luol Deng trade…

Young Cavs needed Deng trade for their battered psyches

Check out this episode

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

Todd Bowles succeeded Ray Horton in Arizona, interviews with Cleveland Friday

The Cleveland Browns are starting to put their interviews together and Jason LaCanfora reports that the Browns are set to interview Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Friday. Not only does Bowles qualify the Browns for the Rooney rule, but he might also lend some insight into what it takes to coach a team coming off of Ray Horton’s coaching. Bowles had coached the 4-3 prior to getting to Arizona where he coached the 3-4 defense for head coach Bruce Arians this season.

In 2013, Arizona had the 6th ranked team in terms of total yards given up. They were seventh in the almighty category of points given up per game at 20.3. In 2012 under Ray Horton, the Cards were 12th in yards and 17th in points. That’s obviously a very simplistic approach to looking at the two coordinators, but it’s something.

Bowles’ experience as an NFL head coach is limited to an interim stint for Miami in 2011 where he went 2-1. Hey, anyone know who Bowles’ agent is?

All this talk about Bowles feels like a waste of breath as the Browns have scheduled an interview with the presumptive favorite Josh McDaniels the following day on Saturday. Until such time as McDaniels is passed over and that talk cools, he remains the assumed successor to Rob Chudzinski as far as I’m concerned.

McDaniels Sad Face

Joe Banner, the 3-4 versus the 4-3 and agent Jimmy Sexton

Jimmy Sexton Hire My Clients 595

One of the scariest things for Browns fans in the transition from Mike Holmgren to Joe Banner was Banner’s decision to switch defenses. It isn’t that Cleveland Browns fans have that much of a preference, other than they have a preference against switching schemes all the time. You know, continuity and all that? The Browns were a 3-4 defense with Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini before switching to the 4-3 for Pat Shurmur’s two-year tenure under Mike Holmgren. That defense was young and thought to be on the rise when Joe Banner fired Shurmur, Dick Jauron and proclaimed to Terry Pluto that the Browns needed to run the 3-4. Now that the Browns have fired Rob Chudzinski and are again searching for a new coach, the rumor mill is churning out Jim Schwartz’ name. He’s a 4-3 guy.

[Read more...]

Sports! with Brian Spaeth (also movies and technology too) – WFNY Podcast – 2014-01-01

WFNY Podcast LogoThe first podcast of 2014 goes to Brian Spaeth. (Follow Brian on Twitter @brianspaeth) – We’d been meaning to talk for a while about the Cavaliers, and the news has been so intense around the Browns that Brian talked about that team for once. He doesn’t do that one often.

An enjoyable conversation to start the new year. Here are some of the particulars.
  • Brians Spaeth talks sports
  • Is New Year’s Eve a breakup holiday?
  • The Cleveland Browns and what Brian’s take is on them
  • It’s hard for Brian to take them seriously
  • The timing of the Browns blowing it up
  • Alec Scheiner taking responsibility for the snow mess-up
  • The Browns just look dumb
  • Interesting for the Browns it would have been easy to keep Chud
  • The Cavaliers are a joke as well
  • The Cavs and how little sense the roster makes
  • Is Dan Gilbert a good sports owner?
  • What the Browns said about Chud “not needing more time” applies to the Cavaliers
  • Not wanting to talk about Cleveland sports
  • Talking about attendance in 2014 and comparing Browns to Indians
  • The movie business and why it’s hard for things to converge
  • Early adopters of technology

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...]

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