August 1, 2014

While We’re Waiting… MISSING MASCOT!!

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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“Can a superstar-less team win a championship again? The last occurrence of that feat came in 2004, via the Billups – Hamilton – Prince – Wallace Brothers starting five. Last season though, two of the NBA’s final four were superstar-less. The Pacers and Grizzlies greatly resembled those 2004 Pistons. Arguably, current day, 36-year old Tim Duncan isn’t a superstar on the level of in-their-prime Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, or Duncan; ESPN’s #NBARank considers him the league’s 16th best player. Three of last year’s final four teams put themselves in near position to win a championship without a current #NBARank top-ten player, and with a few lucky breaks (or maybe more appropriately, a sprain, perhaps to Lebron’s ankle) could win one this season. As a team in a market like Cleveland – similar to Indy or Memphis to some extent — isn’t that the target to build towards? Other than Kevin Durant, recent “superstars” in a non-marquee market have bailed on the franchise that drafted them.” [Hetrick/Cavs the Blog] [Read more...]

NFL Draft: Browns select S Jamoris Slaughter from Notre Dame in 6th round

After not making selections in the 2nd, 4th, and 5th rounds the Browns used their 6th round pick to draft safety Jamoris Slaughter from Notre Dame at pick 175. Slaughter was the Browns’ first selection since Leon McFadden at pick 68.

Slaughter tore his Achilles in Notre Dame’s third game of the year forcing him out for the remainder of his final season in South Bend. His appeal for a medical redshirt was denied by the NCAA forcing him into this year’s draft.

Slaughter says despite the injury he expects to be back when training camp opens at the end of July.

“With my injury I’m about 90 percent now,” he said. “I’m doing sprinting and cutting. It’s all coming back in line. The main thing for me is getting my power and explosion back. It’s coming along pretty well and I should be ready for training camp.”

Unlike Leon McFadden, Slaughter’s camp had been in contact with the Browns leading up the draft.

“My agent said the Browns contacted him a couple days before the draft and gave the indication they were very interested in me.”

In his junior season, the 6’0″ 195 pound Slaughter often played a hybrid safety/linebacker role close to the line of scrimmage in the slot. While he may not be an ideal fit for a free safety, he fits the mold of a special teams player, and if healthy adds versatility to Ray Horton’s defense.

Here is NFL.com’s analysis of Slaughter.

STRENGTHS

Solid pass defender. Knocks receivers off their route with a strong punch, and has the read-and-react skills to follow quarterbacks’ eyes and knock away passes in zone. Attacking blitzer, able to throw aside running backs and run under the shoulder of tackles trying to protect their quarterback. Also plays with strength against the run, fighting off receivers to contain on the edge. Brings attitude into head-on collisions in the open field, can stop backs in the hole. Contributes on special teams coverage units, using speed and intensity to fight through blocks.

WEAKNESSES

Lacks a true position. Might not have the size to succeed against tight ends or the foot quickness to handle faster receivers. Spends a lot of time around the line, will needs to prove the range and ability to read routes in two-deep looks. Hasn’t been challenged in coverage often. Injuries.

NFL COMPARISON

Eddie Pleasant

BOTTOM LINE

Notre Dame coaches have used Slaughter’s excellent football instincts all over the field throughout his career. However, between his lack of a true position, season ending injury, and a deep defensive back class, Slaughter might not hear his name called on draft day.

[Related: Browns add Bess and McFadden, pass on Honey Badger]

NFL Rumor: Chip Kelly waffled on Oregon on Tuesday January 8th

There will obviously be more information leaking out about the entire Chip Kelly saga. The initial leaks are happening right now, and it seems that the turning of the tide for Chip Kelly leaving Oregon was last Tuesday January 8th.

The person, who requested anonymity because neither the team nor Kelly’s camp has released details of the talks, said Kelly first let the Eagles know he was having second thoughts about his decision to return to Oregon last Tuesday.

It was right around that time the Eagles were talking to another Kelly – Brian Kelly of Notre Dame, who eventually told them he was returning to school as well.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was talking about returning to Notre Dame and the Browns were working on securing their head coach Rob Chudzinski who was hired on January 10th.

What remains to be seen is if there was any communication between Kelly and the Browns, or if he’d already narrowed his decision down to the Eagles. If he did contact the Browns were they true to their word when they indicated through media sources that they’d decided to move on? Did the Browns consider Kelly one last time or were they never afforded the option?

Maybe we’ll never know for sure, but all that’s left to do is watch it play out and see which team feels vindicated in their process and decisions this time next year. It seems especially painful for the Browns in the media because they’re now viewed as losing out on the same guy for a second time no matter what the truth of the matter might be.

One thing’s for sure right this second. The Philadelphia Eagles won the battle for the headlines by landing the biggest name so far this off-season.

[Related: “Chud” may be the man, but the Cleveland Browns were played by Chip Kelly]

Manti Te’o or Ryan Shazier?

Approximately 2.5 years ago, an undersized linebacker from Plantation, Florida decided to make a commitment to stay in his hometown to play football for the University of Florida. In spite of being somewhat undersized at 205-pounds, he was still a 4-star recruit with an enormous upside because of the intangibles he possessed.

Unquestionably, Ohio State was on the short list of possible schools and was a highly sought after candidate, but home cooking generally wins out. At the time, the coach that he made that commitment to was Urban Meyer. Months later in December of 2010, Urban infamously retired (act 2 of 2) putting a large question mark around the incoming recruit. Only nine days after Urban’s retirement announcement, Ryan Shazier decommitted from the University of Florida notifying The Ohio State University of his verbal acceptance, marking yet another reason for the Urban Meyer love affair.

I haven’t felt so great about being a backup plan since junior prom.

[Read more...]

NFL Pre-season: What to Watch After Browns Starters Exit

Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur indicated that his starters will play the first quarter on Saturday when they take on the world champion Green Bay Packers.  Obviously, during that quarter, we’ll all be watching the same stuff.  How will Colt McCoy and the offense look against live action defense considering they are all learning a new offense?  How will Phil Taylor, Ahtyba Rubin, Jayme Mitchell, and Jabaal Shear perform against an opposing offensive line, QB and running attack?  Will any wide receivers step up and identify themselves from the rest of the pack, or will we be talking about tight ends all year long?

What about after the first quarter when the starters exit the game?  Here’s what I’ll be watching, amongst other things. [Read more...]

Browns Undrafted Free Agency Signings and Rumors

Now this is one of the places where Twitter is really useful. Last night the floodgates were opened so that NFL undrafted free agents were allowed to negotiate with teams. Or is it the other way around? Either way, as these guys, who had been in limbo since the draft ended, started to have their phones ring they and their friends were tweeting about where they were going.  Luckily for everyone, a New England Patriots draft blog – nepatriotsdraft.com – was reporting and consolidating information from basically everywhere into a list.  So, who did the Browns reportedly get?

Carl Gettis – Cornerback – Missouri – (@CG_AKA_P_CHULO) Gettis is a four-year player from Missouri.  He is 5’10″ at nearly 200 pounds.  He came into college as a running back before switching to corner.  Not that it means a whole lot, but his most famous highlight has him playing press coverage against Illinois before making a one-handed interception.

[Read more...]

WFNY Bracket Challenge – Ohio State Out

Well, I am sure a lot of WFNYers are significantly less interested in the tourney now that the Buckeyes have been Calipari’d out of the game.  Still, the contest goes on for the Tribe tickets and Carlos Santana jersey.  As we await opening day on Friday, that should be enough to keep your eyes glued to the competition.

[Read more...]

Big Ten Expansion Possibly Coming Soon

According to numerous reports, the Big Ten conference is expected to speed up their decision-making time line in reference to expansion. The conference that already has 11 teams is looking to see if adding one or more universities to the mix would increase competition and revenue streams.

The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday that Big Ten representatives met in Washington today and could start identifying names within the next few weeks. The Bowl Championship Series has meetings scheduled for Phoenix later this month and that could be an opportune time to start discussing the matter with other conferences.

The writer of that article also mentioned that it seems that an addition of three teams is actually the most plausible now. Read after the jump for more information and my thoughts on what a 14-team or 16-team does for the image of the Big Ten.

[Read more...]

Buckeyes Should be Wary of Spartans

At least in the circles I have, no Buckeyes fans have really been talking about the Michigan State Spartans.  Everyone I know seems to jump straight ahead to the chance Ohio State has to make a name for themselves against Penn State on October 25th.  This is a big mistake.  Let’s hope Jim Tressel hasn’t overlooked the Michigan State Spartans in any way shape or form.  Plus, a team that beats Purdue without actually scoring an offensive touchdown shouldn’t be allowed to overlook anyone on the schedule.

Michigan State is a good football team.  They haven’t really played anyone of note since losing by a touchdown to Cal in week one.  They also beat Notre Dame 23-7 and you can consider that win however you like.  The bottom line is this.  The Spartans have a good record 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten.  Michigan State also has Javon Ringer, senior running back.  Already this season Ringer has over 1000 yards and 14 touchdowns. [Read more...]