August 26, 2014

Joel Bitonio has been working inside at guard at Browns rookie camp

Bitonio from rookie camp press conference

Obviously it’s really early in the process for the Browns, but indications are that Joel Bitonio is starting out inside at a guard spot. He’s been playing both sides, but obviously once camp breaks with the veterans, there’s no telling what kinds of combinations they might try before figuring out where everyone will end up. In addition, there’s no telling just how all the existing players will fit in Kyle Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme. Whether it ends up being Mitchell Schwartz moving inside or Bitonio pushing the rest of the guards, it’s good to add names to the offensive line depth chart.

The potentially frustrating thing for these other draft picks is that they all have to answer lots of questions about Johnny Manziel. What’s it like having your locker next to him? Did you ever think you’d be blocking for him in the NFL? Joel Bitonio seemed to handle it really well, but I admit it did crack me up a bit when the Cleveland media asked Justin Gilbert if he had to remind Johnny Manziel who was selected first.

Hopes for the Cleveland Browns as the off-season begins for real

Pettine presser

The off-season already feels old for the Cleveland Browns as it’s been 35 days since they last played football on December 29. As the Browns seem set to announce Kyle Shanahan as their offensive coordinator, and as we sit back and think about how Seattle decimated the Broncos in the Super Bowl, I have a few hopes for the Browns.

[Read more...]


The only Jewish siblings in the NFL take each other on for the first time on Sunday.


339-20130726-0829_600It’s been 90 years since two brothers who remember each other’s bar mitzvahs have played on the same NFL field. And never has such a pair played against one another. Until Sunday– when Geoffrey Schwartz, an offensive linesman for the Kansas City Chiefs takes the field against his younger brother Mitchell Schwartz, an offensive linesman for the Cleveland Browns.

It is enough to make parents Olivia Goodkin and Lee Schwartz start reaching for the Maalox. “It’s a good thing they won’t be on the field at the same time or we might need a straight jacket [to contain all the nerves],” jokes Lee. [Read more...]

Scott Raab discusses the Tribe, Browns, the end of Chief Wahoo and Sigur Ros – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-16

WFNY Podcast LogoI’m a bit tired from being out at a concert last night, so I don’t have much to say other than it was a good conversation and the notes below tell the story of what we discussed today.

Sigur Ros show at Nautica
LeBron’s wedding on Yom Kippur
The Cleveland Indians and their ability to grab the casual fans
Michael Bourn and the attendance question
The beginning part of the Bourn quote
The Indians pitching staff with Kluber, Salazar and Ubaldo Jimenez
Carlos Carrasco and his ability to be in the bullpen
The Indians never sign one of their own guys so they don’t have the leverage
Grady Sizemore and his star power
The Indians sold that they were the smartest in the room and people bought it
Looking at the attendance from series to series and game to game
The front office should initiate the conversation about year over year attendance
Would the Indians sellout a home playoff game?
Who asked the Michael Bourn question?
The Cleveland Browns and the lack of entertainment
The Cleveland Browns and how they don’t have an NFL quarterback
The pass to Chris Ogbonnaya and the sideline reaction to him missing it
The Browns coaching staff and what’s happening with the Browns offense
What’s the deal with Trent Richardson?
Just how boring it is to watch the Browns
The penalties and the delays of games and illegal formations, etc.
The element of despair for long-time Cleveland sports fans
Chief Wahoo and the Cleveland Indians name
Being on the wrong side of history with your team name
Cleveland fans as crabs in a bucket
Barkevious Mingo looking good [Read more...]

Browns lose, commit crimes against entertainment

Your lone Browns offensive highlight...

Your lone Browns offensive highlight…

More than anything else today, I’m struck by how bad the Browns were as an entertainment vehicle. The Cleveland Browns took a 6-0 lead into halftime, the defense played well, until eventually they started to tire. They gave up 14 unanswered points in the second half as Brandon Weeden missed a wide open Chris Ogbonnaya and Greg Little booted multiple attempts at catches. Delay of game penalties haunted the Browns as well. On the bright(ish) side, Trent Richardson got a decent number of chances and Oneil Cousins kept his name off of our tongues. Ultimately, beyond the loss, it just wasn’t fun football to watch.

Maybe Josh Gordon is the most important player on the Cleveland Browns. We’ll find out next week, I guess. He shouldn’t be able to make this offense any worse, that’s for sure. Maybe it’s Shawn Lauvao that the Browns need so badly. I’m sure there will be arguments against me, but I still think it comes down to Brandon Weeden more than anything else. [Read more...]

Cleveland Browns Film Room: Game 1, What the heck happened? Part 2

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.


If you missed Part 1 of this week’s film room, go back and read it. It’s sort of a prerequisite.

So in Part 2 we are going to look at what the Browns did to try and help Mitchell Schwartz against Cameron Wake. Yes, they certainly lined a tight end or running back up behind Schwartz to help block Wake, but there is more you can do and to my surprise more the Browns tried to do in order to slow him down. Let’s take a look. [Read more...]

Cleveland Browns Film Room: Game 1, What the heck happened? Part 1

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.


Before we roll tape, let me first talk about my method for these pieces. Each week after the game I try to come up with a question to be answered. For example, last season I wanted to know how we were so terrible on third and short situations, or I wanted to know how the young defensive linemen were performing. I take that question and go to game rewind looking for the answer on tape.

I’ve had a number of things in mind for film room since watching the team practice in camp. Those will have to wait. The burning question in my mind after the game was “What the heck happened on the right side of the line?” [Read more...]

In 2013 the Browns are betting on defense and hoping for offense

Kruger jerseyThe off-season isn’t over, but it’s not time to look at what the Browns have put together to try and figure out how they’re going to compete in 2013. When you’re caught up in all the details of free agency and the draft it’s much more difficult to get the overall picture, but now more than ever it seems readily apparent what the Browns are trying to do. It’s also apparent what this team could look like in 2013 as they look to improve on their 5-11 season with a whole new coaching staff and brand new looks on offense and defense.

It starts with the defense. The Browns spent almost all of their resources in free agency and the draft on defense. The combination of switching schemes and the defensive performance in 2012 demanded some serious attention. The Browns were second-worst in the NFL in terms of number of offensive plays that opposing teams ran against them. The Browns allowed opposing teams to run 1095 plays showing an inability to get off the field. They gave up the fifth-most number of first downs and the 14th most points. The Browns were truly middle of the road in terms of pressuring the quarterback with their 38 sacks and 6.0% sack rate.1

So take that group of defenders, put them with an aggressive coordinator, add Desmond Bryant, Paul Kruger, Quentin Groves and sixth overall pick Barkevious Mingo and all of a sudden I think we’ve seen pretty much exactly where the Browns hope to be able to compete in 2013. [Read more...]



  1. Sack rate is the number of sacks divided by pass attempts + sacks []

WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2012: #3 Trent Richardson Headlines Browns’ Youth Movement

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. We started the Buckeyes Final Four trip. Number nine is something that happened just a short two weeks ago. The Ohio State perfect 12-0 season was number eight while Chris Perez’ harsh and honest words clocked in at number seven. Our sixth-biggest story saw our first of two straight from the Cavaliers, the drafting of Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller. Up next was Kyrie Irving receiving the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Coming in at number four was Manny Acta’s fall from managerial grace.

#3 Trent Richardson Headlines Browns’ Youth Movement

This season the Browns were led by rookies in passing, rushing and receiving. (Still mad I didn’t get so much as a cap tip from the Browns stat department. You’re welcome.)

Trent Richardson’s 950 yards didn’t just lead the team this year, they were the most by a Browns rookie RB ever. Yes, he played in more games and had more attempts than Jim Brown in his rookie season. Stop for a moment though and think about the comparison. You want to split hairs about Richardson’s season compared to Jim Brown? Ok. I fully submit Richardson’s rookie year was only the second best in franchise history. And that’s good enough. He also set a club rookie marks for rushing touchdowns. [Read more...]

Cleveland Browns 2012- Winners and Losers

I thought today we would eschew the typical gameday winners and losers piece, and just move to a season long winners and losers. Beware of low hanging fruit. Let’s try to be a little insightful or creative with these.

WINNER: Mitchell Schwartz. The second round RT played every snap of every game his rookie season I believe, and was effective doing it. There was a learning curve to the job of course, but Schwartz was up to the challenge and performed well as the season progressed. I challenge anyone not on the Schwartz bandwagon to recall the parade of fail the Browns have had at RT the last ten years. [Read more...]

Did Brandon Weeden call the 69-yard TD pass to Travis Benjamin himself?

I noticed an OBR thread linked on Reddit today that wondered if Brandon Weeden called his own play when he fired a laser to Travis Benjamin over the top for a 69-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of the loss to the Redskins.

The prior play, Trent Richardson missed an assignment that allowed Brandon Weeden to get blindsided violently. Weeden’s helmet came flying off and the assumption is that the audio wasn’t working.

[Read more...]

Cleveland Browns Game 6: 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.

Woo hoo! It had some ugly on it, but when you haven’t won in almost a year, you take any kind of win you can get.

Today’s Winners and Losers piece should be much more upbeat than previous weeks. Should be. We’ll see…

WINNER: Josh Gordon. Only three catches, but he made the most of them, including a 71 yard touchdown reception. For the season he has 12 catches for 274 yards and 3 TDs. He leads the team in receiving yards, yards per reception and touchdown catches. His emergence is huge. [Read more...]

WFNY Podcast – 2012-09-21 – Craig and Rick Preview Browns vs Bills

Two podcasts in one week? Why not! This time Rick and I talked about the Browns, specifically the matchup this week with the Bills. Two inconsistent teams on a collision course at CBS on Lake Erie! (I feel like a hype man now.

  • Mitchell Schwartz vs. Mario Williams
  • Young Browns secondary bounce back?
  • Will Browns stack against Spiller?
  • Which Brandon Weeden will show up?
  • Scott Fujita, L.J. Fort, Playing Time
  • Brandon Jackson, Montario Hardesty, and Chris Ogbonnaya

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Enjoy! Tell a friend!

Cleveland Browns Film Room: Game 1, Richardson’s Debut Part 1

Like we did last year before it became fashionable, 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.

Finally. Some actual football to break down. With so many question marks surrounding this team, we should have endless topics for the film room this year. I was curious about several aspects of this game, and debated several topics. Ultimately, my curiosity about Trent Richardson and the struggles of the running game won out. What exactly did happen to the number three pick in the draft, and should we be concerned about his 2.1 yards per carry average?

Let’s start at the beginning- [Read more...]

Pat Shurmur Contiues to be High on RT Mitchell Schwartz

It’s tough to play the offensive line in this league. I think he also has crossed those hurdles as you go through the offseason. This will be his first game as a pro. I anticipate he’s going to battle. I anticipate he’ll have a winning performance. If he makes mistakes along the way, we’ll get them fixed and keep moving. [...] I think he’s a guy that started and played in almost every single game in his college career. He’s gone through this getting ready to play process. He’s played a lot of snaps. I think that gives me a little bit more comfort than a guy that came in and maybe was a one-year starter or there was something about his college history where he hadn’t played all that much. I think he’s draws on that a little bit. I think he’s playing with some guys in that offensive line that are veteran players. Even though they might not be right next to him, although Shawn Lauvao has played a couple years now, I think they’ll help him get through it. I just know by his personality that he’s going to battle. That’s what you need from an offensive lineman.

– Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shumur, Friday, on 2012 second-round draft selection Mitchell Schwartz. Schwartz had a very hot and cold preseason, experiencing considerable issues during the team’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Browns’ Week 1 opponent.

[Related: Eagles vs. Browns – Reader Survey]

Browns Banking on Shawn Lauvao to Help Make Weeden and Richardson a Success

Shawn Lauvao and Mitchell Schwartz block for Brandon Weeden

“Bran-don Wee-den” clap, clap, clap clap clap “Bran-don Wee-den”.

Practice has just ended, and a group of school students are doing their best to encourage their favorite players to come over and sign autographs.

“Gr-eg Lit-tle” clap, clap, clap clap clap “Gr-eg Lit-tle”.

A few players are getting some extra work in. Alex Smith catches passes off the juggs gun. After one hits the ground, he is ribbed by James Dockery for failing to look the ball into his hands, the very thing he is supposed to be working on.

“Colt Mc-Co-oy” clap, clap, clap clap clap “Colt Mc-Co-oy”

In a small huddle off to the side of a practice field, the offensive line finishes up together and make their way back. Joe Thomas is assigned a spot to sign autographs on this day. Shawn Lauvao makes it back to the building without hearing a group of youngsters chant his name. His name isn’t easy to chant in four syllables, but doubtful that’s the real reason he wasn’t targeted by the boys. [Read more...]

Browns Training Camp Report 7/30/12

The Browns had a rather spirited practice this morning, complete with some goal-line drills, two minute offense and even a couple of minor scuffles. A couple of rookies stepped up, while others struggled and a veteran receiver looked good.

LB James-Michael Johnson looked very good in drills and in the two minute situations. He picked off two passes, one of which was tipped. He was in the right place at the right time, and whether that was good fortune or by design he made the plays when they came to him. Including a big time stop on a goal line situation. He stood a running back straight up and held him there for his teammates to polish off. When I asked him who it was that he stood up, Johnson said “I don’t know, someone had their head down and I blew him up.” [Read more...]

For Browns, Youth Might be Painful at Times this Season


You can’t judge an NFL draft in the first year, let alone the day after when most grade letters are assigned. This year when we were talking about the draft, I made sure to look at the process and try and grade the team based on how well I think they maneuvered. In this case, I think the Browns played it safe and didn’t necessarily have the best luck when positioning and maneuvering to take guys. You can support the case for where they took Brandon Weeden, but only because they seemingly missed out on another player first, which most of us assume to be a receiver. That’s all in the past though. The bottom line in the next week is that the Browns come to camp with a whole host of young players that will be counted on to hopefully step in and contribute right away.

In the name of Tony Pashos and John St. Clair and Terry Cousin that’s a good thing. At the same time, think back to Alex Mack’s first few games. The kid looked nervous. He was having trouble tossing the ball back in shotgun formation. He seemed so energetic off the snap that he was actually somewhat ineffective. It was a few games before he finally started to get the groove and look like the guy we were all referencing by the end of the season with, “at least Mangini got that pick right.” [Read more...]

Early Cleveland Browns Offensive Questions As Training Camp Approaches

It’s amazing to consider that training camp begins in just two weeks. The Browns will kick-start their 2012 season with a helmet practice from 8:45-11:15 a.m. on Saturday, July 28.

In the meanwhile, it’s been a fairly exciting offseason for the Brownies, especially on the offensive side. In the past few years, defense was the focus, as the team added new talents such as Phil Taylor, Joe Haden and T.J. Ward.

Over the past two months, the priorities switched over to the offensive side, where the front office looked to improve a unit that ranked 30th in the NFL in scoring last season (13.6 points per game).

Will these recent additions help out immediately? I’ll cover that and similar questions below as I break down some of the main offensive storylines here in mid-July. [Read more...]

PFT Puts Browns Dead Last in Initial Power Rankings

Pre-season power rankings aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Much like initial draft grades, they’re an excuse to talk about things, but rarely do they have much validity as the first few names are populating IR lists in fantasy football. Be that as it may, the Browns have been placed dead last on PFT’s power rankings.

Last year, the Browns were the only members of the AFC North to not make it to the postseason. While they likely won’t be quite so alone when the dust settles on 2012, they’re currently all alone at the bottom of the heap.

Hey, someone has to be No. 32. Though the Browns could scratch and claw and climb and thrive (and I personally hope they will), the franchise collectively has pressed the button that falls between “panic” and “reset” for the coming season.

Give Florio and company some credit. They don’t just throw a list together with a couple of one-liners. Their post on the Browns will seem like old hat to most of you hard-cores, but they do a very good job of laying everything out there on the team’s strengths, weaknesses, changes to the team and expected camp battles.

In this case, it wasn’t so much about smashing the Browns as pointing out the obvious question marks. The Browns might be headed in the right direction with their most recent draft, but it truly is impossible to tell until we actually see Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden and Mitch Schwartz play football. It is equally impossible to tell until we see the defense without Phil Taylor.

If Tom Heckert and Mike Holmgren did their jobs this off-season it won’t be long until they’re out of the basement. If they didn’t? Well, there’s no place further to drop.

As Florio said, “Hey, someone has to be No. 32.” Did Florio get it right, or is there a team that you think should have been below the Browns?