August 15, 2014

Would Browns trade down to draft Derek Carr?


I lust for the day when the Cleveland Browns draft rumors won’t involve first round quarterbacks. In order for that to be the case, the Browns will have to find one, probably in the first round. So, the only question is where in the first round? As the Browns are set to host Carr in Cleveland this week, Pro Football Talk suggests maybe Ray Farmer and the Browns could take a page out of the Ravens’ book.

They could trade down from No. 4 and draft Carr in the teens, like the Ravens did when acquiring Joe Flacco six years ago. This would give the Browns an extra pick or two as the latest new coaching staff tries to put together a team that fits the new schemes and systems.

One of my biggest complaints about the Browns — as I’ve stated time and again — is that under Mike Holmgren, they seemed to constantly lose the “poker game” aspects of the NFL draft. The Browns went and got guys they wanted, which is good, but they seemed to pay steep prices. I’m really hoping that the Browns stop losing the poker game under Ray Farmer.

Maybe that includes confidently trading down, gaining more assets and still getting a player they covet. Now, whether or not they should be coveting Derek Carr is another conversation…

[Related: "Growing sentiment" that Browns nab Carr at No. 4]

Photo: Cary Edmondson/USA Today Sports

Scott Raab on the Steelers, Jhonny Peralta, Chris Grant’s future and The Kings of Summer – WFNY Podcast – 2013-11-25

WFNY Podcast LogoIt was another awful week in Cleveland sports. It was so bad in fact that I don’t think Scott or I could even muster up any anger over it. When you get lulled out of anger and into straight depression, it doesn’t mean it’s any easier. It’s just sadder.

Anyway, here’s the email I sent to Scott on Sunday night before we recorded on Monday morning…


I was at the Browns game today. We don’t need to spend too much time on that. It’s over. The season is over. They’ll be favored against the Jags, but I wouldn’t bet on the Browns to beat any other NFL team right now.

I’m missing next week’s game driving back from thanksgiving. I normally rally the family at 6 AM to leave Indy so we can make it home in time for kickoff. Not doing it for this team. It’s the first time that I’m missing a game in a long time and I really don’t even care. I don’t hate this team but I’ve never been with less passion in my life.

Jhonny Peralta signed a 4 year deal for more than $50 million. Would Asdrubal get that today if he was working free agency? Plus this is the second straight year that a PED user went and got a deal after a suspension. Melky Cabrera last year.

Taking the anger out with regard to the Cavaliers, what do you do if you’re Dan Gilbert? I know he’s not a sympathetic figure really, but what do you think he’s thinking and feeling right now?

Last but not least, I saw a really great movie filmed in Chagrin Falls. The Kings of Summer starred Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and some great unknown younger actors. While Cleveland / Chagrin Falls wasn’t really a character in the film, it still have me pride. Local producer doing good work. Surprisingly funny.

Check out this episode

Ozzie Newsome taken from stadium in ambulance

Following today’s Ravens-Bears game at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ravens general manager and former Browns great Ozzie Newsome did not feel well and left the stadium in an ambulance, according to several reports.

“Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome left Soldier Field via ambulance after his team’s loss to the Bears, as first reported by WNST’s Nestor Aparicio. The Chicago Tribune‘s Brad Biggs later confirmed the news, via a Bears source.

Aparicio, a radio personality in Baltimore, tweeted that he rode in an elevator with Newsome and Newsome was “sweating profusely.” Biggs reported that “Ravens officials were adamant they wanted person going on ambulance taken out side door of locker room so no one would see.””

Newsome played tight end for the Browns from 1978-1990 and compiled 600+ receptions, nearly 8,000 yards receiving, and 47 receiving touchdowns in his career. Newsome was a 1999 Hall of Fame inductee after not missing a single game in his 13-year career.

Following his playing days, he went to the Browns front office as an executive. When the team left for Baltimore in 1996, Ozzie went with them and has remained there ever since. He was appointed as General Manager in 2002, and he’s highly regarded as one of the best in the business.

All the best to Ozzie.

Related: Cleveland Browns punt opportunity against Bengals, lose 41-20

Scott Raab talks about Brandon Weeden, Mark Sanchez, Josh Cribbs and the Indians – WFNY Podcast – 2013-08-26

WFNY Podcast LogoAgain this week, I thought I’d skip the bullet points and just send you the email I sent to Scott the night before the podcast. Wherever we end up is based on this email and the conversation that ensues. We ended up talking about concussions in football, Tribe attendance and any number of other topics including some from my Sunday night email below.


I’d love to spend some time talking about a packed pre-season game in a dome with cheerleaders and their fans wearing irrelevant jerseys. Because they’ve been so good for so long, save one bad year, even their dead jerseys aren’t embarrassing. Dwight Freeney is gone but they still wear his jersey. Jeff Saturday is retired, but he was well represented. Peyton Manning, of course. Edgerrin James. Meanwhile I saw a Tim Couch jersey on the way in. Took a photo for evidence as if anyone would question it. As for the game itself…

Brandon Weeden stares down receivers. He’s going to get Jordan Cameron murdered this season. I’d love to know your thoughts from TV. I feel like I missed a lot from being live.

Josh Cribbs cut by the Raiders. Is this the end for Mr. Cribbs? Now that he’s not on the Browns anymore it makes it easier to be sympathetic toward him. Just a perfect example of how brutal the NFL is when it spits out 30 year olds, even if they have made a nice amount of money first. [Read more...]

Browns fans predict the team will go 9-7 in 2013

231-20130726-0595_600Browns fans are an optimistic bunch, at least collectively. When you add up the results of our survey, it yields a 9-7 prediction. (Game-by-game results are listed below.) That’s probably a bit too confident for my tastes. I’ve said all along that eight wins should be the goal for the team if they are able to stay healthy and get better from last season. So let’s break it down a little bit, because I think there are some flaws in the logic of Browns fans this season.

First of all, let’s talk about the Bengals and Ravens. I think Browns fans have a pretty healthy respect for both teams. Only about 16% of Browns fans predicted the Browns could beat the Ravens in week two and about 45% said the Browns could beat them in week nine. Meanwhile, Browns fans think they can beat the Bengals at home week four at a nearly 60% rate, but lose in Cincy after the bye week with about 40% of Browns fans saying the Browns will win. I think this year those numbers are flipped. I think the Bengals are improved over last season and I think the Ravens are going to be running uphill.  [Read more...]

Scott Raab on the 2013 NBA playoffs, Roy Hibbert fine, Jim Brown, Gordon Gee – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-03

WFNY Podcast LogoWent a little long this week, so you’ll want to split it up if that’s your deal. Apologies, but I didn’t feel like cutting it up. All killer no filler, just the same.

  • Roy Hibbert saying “No Homo” and getting fined

  • Dave Zirin at The Nation and his thoughts on Hibbert

  • Hate speech and whether or not Hibbert hates anyone

  • The news covering the word without telling us what people said

  • Am I allowed to use the word “pansy?”

  • I’m back in the NBA and watching the playoffs

  • Doc Gooden getting squeezed and not being able to scream until I’m hoarse

  • The Indians get rained out and hell comes down on them

  • The Indians apologizing for the rain out

  • Stand-up comedians and whether they ever have to apologize

  • Tracy Morgan is crazy and anyone who gets crazy deserves it

  • Free speech and the first amendment and whether or not people should stand up

  • Don Draper hitting a hash hookah and why we can’t be more consistent

  • Opie and Anthony’s stance on apologies and how they never mean them

  • Parsing the difference between Camel advertising to kids and SNL making jokes

  • Jim Brown and whether or not he needs to be around anymore

  • Ozzie Awesome on the Muni Stadium scoreboard

  • LeBron opting out and joining the team

  • Cleveland losing ownership of its rockstars, Scott Weiland, Trent Reznor

  • Sports is the last nationally identifying factor for Cleveland

  • Gordon Gee and whether he’s allowed to tell a joke or not

  • Gee is a symptom, not a disease

  • Flame wars on Twitter [Read more...]

Trent Richardson and Ozzie Newsome represent Browns in Madden cover vote

Nobody in Cleveland has forgotten the Peyton Hillis Madden cover vote just yet. In the end, it came down to Hillis and Mike Vick, and I don’t know if Vick is wiping his brow for having avoided the curse just yet either, as he took a pay cut this year to stay with the Chip Kelly iteration of the Eagles.

Well now the EA Sports folks have decided to pit “old school” against “new school” for this year’s Madden Cover showdown. On the left side of the bracket are the old school people, including Jake Delhomme for the Panthers, Chad Johnson for the Bengals (how OLD!) and Ozzie Newsome for the Cleveland Browns.

As beloved as Newsome is as a player, it will be a tough road as a 13th seed going up against Kurt Warner in the first round. Plus, even if he advanced, he faces such “old school” names as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and even the recently retired Ray Lewis.

On the “new school” side of things, the Browns are repped by Trent Richardson. He’s the seventh seed against the Packers’ long-haired linebacker with Cleveland Browns lineage, Clay Matthews.

Based on Browns fans’ previous experience with the Madden Cover, while I don’t believe in curses, it might be safer to just vote for the Steelers’ receiver Antonio Brown. You know. Just in case.

[Related: Mike Wallace should give the Browns pause]

NFL Free Agency Rumor: Ed Reed to the 49ers?

As the news gets worse for Baltimore Ravens fans, it could continue to get better for Browns fans. Albert Breer reported on Twitter that Ed Reed hired an agent, and now Pro Football Talk is reporting that that agent might help him get to San Francisco.

I could call the 34-year-old Reed a “Browns killer,” except that Reed has been a pain for opposing quarterbacks and receivers in all jerseys in his career. It just hits especially close to home with how careful the Browns quarterbacks have been with Reed in the opposite defensive backfield, even going so far as to name him this season.

Earlier in February Ozzie Newsome said that he and the Ravens wanted Ed Reed back and that they thought Reed wanted to be back too. Even then, Ozzie knew that Reed would have options. That was also before the Ravens got Joe Flacco locked up to a historically high-priced deal.

The Ravens knew they would need some re-tooling after their Super Bowl season because of the aging roster, but it might be an especially rude awakening to have so much turnover in a season where they might hope to defend the title. With departures like Anquan Boldin, a retiring Ray Lewis and now maybe Ed Reed, a title defense could prove that much more difficult.

Meanwhile, the 49ers are looking to avenge their Super Bowl loss at the expense of the Ravens. That’s good for Browns fans. Well, that is unless the Browns miraculously find a way to meet them in the Super Bowl.

[Related: NFL News: Baltimore Ravens trade Anquan Boldin to San Francisco 49ers]


How the Browns could win a Joe Flacco negotiation

FlaccoThe world of NFL contracts is pretty tough to comprehend at times due to the fact that there are various bonuses and cap implications. Baseball, conversely, is pretty easy. There are contracts with dollar amounts and options, and other than options, pretty much everything else is guaranteed. The structures (and re-structures) of NFL contracts will sometimes make your head spin.

Agents tout deals worth eleventeen years and twelveteen million dollars in order to make themselves look good. Then when the details come out, the guaranteed money is significantly more reasonable and team-friendly. As the Browns are mentioned as having cap space to steal someone like Joe Flacco out of Baltimore, I thought it might be instructive to at least see what the numbers could look like. Make no mistake. This isn’t a post saying the Browns should make a play for Joe Flacco. It’s just hopefully pointing out how they could, if they had the opportunity and desire to do so.

First, let’s set the table with Mike Vick’s contract restructuring that was reported today.

That deal was once touted as a “$100 million deal!!!” Remember when many on Twitter claimed that the Eagles were really really stupid? It was actually $32.5 million guaranteed. The back end of that deal was so horrendous from a cap perspective that Vick was forced to restructure (give up all that $100 million in contract language) or face being cut outright. And don’t forget that there was a 2016 $20 million year that was never going to happen ever. Never ever. So Michael Vick “gave up” $15.5 million for 2013 in order to sign a deal that could be worth “up to” a reported $10 million. To me, that means it is likely decidedly less than $10 million. [Read more...]

WFNY Podcast – 2013-01-31 – The Art Modell Episode

WFNY Podcast LogoThe Art Modell talk has been going strong lately, and in this episode Craig and I discussed the former Browns owner’s upcoming consideration for the pro football Hall of Fame.

We tried as much as possible to not rehash all the excellent pieces that have been written on the subject lately, but some of the topics we discussed include:

  • Is it possible to discuss this issue without bias as Cleveland fans?
  • Is the argument against Modell more about Art himself or about the Hall of Fame itself?
  • Ozzie Newsome’s guest column in the Plain Dealer
  • The perspective from neutral observers on this subject
  • Is there any real chance Modell actually gets in?
  • Much much more…



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Some Browns bits on Alex Smith, Leroy Hoard, Ray Horton, Ozzie Newsome and more

1986-browns-newsomeThere’s not one topic I feel like talking about today as we endure a week of Super Bowl and Hall of Fame propoganda. The Browns introduced their defensive coordinator Ray Horton yesterday, but even that was putting a cap on old news. With that in mind, I thought I would just combine a bunch of things into one post today…

Alex Smith to the Browns?

So Brandon Weeden thought he dodged a bullet when the Browns failed to land Chip Kelly, I bet. I hope he didn’t spend too much time sighing with relief because the Browns quarterback rumors are flying fast as the Browns are being linked to the 49ers’ own displaced QB Alex Smith. It makes some sense because as we all know, new coaches tend to gravitate toward familiar players, and Google is full of pictures of Alex Smith sitting next to Norv Turner. That’s also why we were treated to a lot of Chud-fueled Derek Anderson news a few weeks back.

So, is it good or bad for Browns fans? [Read more...]

A note to the Browns regarding the Ravens…

This week we heard some encouraging news that the team leaders decided to forego any days off in order to start prepping for the Ravens right away on Monday. Trust me when I tell you that Browns fans love to hear this kind of stuff. It helps bridge the gap between the level of desire that fans have for success and the lack of control we have over whether or not you can achieve that success. In light of that, I thought it might be instructive as you prepare for the Ravens to know just how Browns fans feel about this particular divisional match-up.
This game should be a rivalry and it just hasn’t been over the last decade. The Browns are the most dear franchise to the city of Cleveland and that’s partially because the Ravens were moved to Baltimore from here. I know some of you saw the NFL Network documentary about the 1995 Cleveland Browns, so I know it isn’t a completely foreign concept to most of you. Regardless, I thought it might be nice for us to try to put into words what it would mean for the Browns to take care of business this Sunday against a despised division rival heading into a bye week. I’ll go ahead and go first.

Craig -

Quite simply, we can’t stand the Ravens. A victory over that team would be almost on the same level as a victory over the Steelers. In some ways it would be even better though. While Browns fans don’t really cherish the rivalry with the Ravens, I think that has less to do with history and more to do with a lack of respect. You see as much as we hate the Steelers (purely in a sports rivalry hate kind of way,) we respect them. While we all still love Ozzie Newsome I don’t feel that same level of respect for the Ravens and how they go about their business.  [Read more...]

Cleveland ’95: Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds

Of course. But maybe.

Louis CK, the Emmy-winning comedian who is arguably the best1 at his craft, kicked off his nationwide tour on Wednesday night, doing so in the city of Cleveland, or as he refers to as “kind-of-big-guy Cleveland.” In typical CK fashion, he weaved between his act and whimsical tangents with no race, illness or creed left unturned.

Ending his show, CK used a self-belief which he has dubbed “Of course…but maybe.” Without spoiling the specific jokes, the crux of these beliefs are that there are essentially universal feelings regarding certain topics (peanut allergies, gender or race equality, The Make a Wish Foundation), but maybe we should, at times, consider an outsiders perspective and reassess our stance. Unfurling his comedic stylings for a little over an hour, jokes were made, and laughs were had. Lots of them.

At least until the headlining show was followed up with the NFL Network’s broadcast of “A Football Life: Cleveland ’95.”

[Read more...]



  1. Living. []

“Cleveland ’95: A Football Life” will be mandatory viewing for me

I’ve read countless tweets from Browns fans saying they won’t watch this documentary about the 1995 Cleveland Browns. Tony Grossi wrote about it and likened it to reliving a family member’s funeral. While those scenes depicting the stadium being torn apart might cause me to shed a few tears, after seeing the sneak preview, I think I’ll have to watch it because there is so much more there for someone like me born in 1979. I wasn’t anywhere near maturity as a football fan by that point in my life.

I know all the names of the guys in and around the Browns, but to say that I have vivid memories of Bill Belichick as Browns’ head coach would be a lie. It makes this story almost mandatory viewing for NFL fans when you consider that names like Bill Belichick, Mike Lombardi, Nick Saban, Kirk Ferentz, Scott Pioli, Eric Mangini and Ozzie Newsome were all at least partially built during this time period. Yes, it hits hardest for Browns fans who lost their team and in many ways still don’t have it back. Even still, part of being a Browns fan is understanding and wanting to explore the rest of the ecosystem that they exist in in the wider NFL view.1 [Read more...]



  1. One of the most difficult adjustments for Browns fans since the team has been back has probably been missing out on five years of game evolution in terms of on and off-field culture. In many ways, I think Browns fans are still fighting many of the changes that happened while we were… ahem… “away.” []

Ravens Bringing Moneyball to the NFL?

One of the great things about having organizational continuity is that you get the luxury of innovating. Through every “rebuild” in Berea, the Browns have been vacating and filling roles over and over again, but they’re seemingly the same roles that exist in every franchise. When you have organizational continuity from the top down, and as people get comfortable in their roles, you can identify opportunities to differentiate from the standard organizational chart and innovate with new positions. That appears to be what the Ravens are attempting to do adding mathematician Sandy Weil to their operation.

Weil will use analysis to challenge and examine some of the prevailing schools of thought within the NFL. The studies could look at everything from the value of going for a first down on fourth-and-short, to determining the traits that are key indicators of success for an NFL prospect.

“We’re always looking for confirmation on things we think we know and insights that could provide an edge for us in personnel and coaching,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. “This is where Sandy will help us.”

This is what happens when you have a GM who has been in his position for a decade. This is what can happen when you have a team president, Dick Cass, who has been in his position since 2004. Lastly, this is an opportunity that develops with steady, professional ownership as Steve Bisciotti has provided since taking control of the team from Art Modell.

Look, it may not work except to tell the Ravens that they’re pretty good as a front office, but it is something that gives them a chance at evolution beyond the standard operating procedure of other NFL front offices.

Make no mistake, the Ravens aren’t chasing to try and become as good as someone else’s “football tree.” They’re clearly growing their own.

[Related: Jimmy Haslam Represents Possibility and Opportunity]

Ozzie Newsome: Richardson May Not Even Get to Ray Lewis

What I will tell you is we’ve got a freshman at Alabama that’ll probably make us forget about Trent Richardson already. They’re that good down in Tuscaloosa right now. Trent’s a physical player. So is Ray [Lewis]. They asked [Ravens top draft choice] Courtney Upshaw about playing against Trent, and he said, ‘I think I can get him on the ground.’ That’s what’s fun … When we come to town, (Richardson) may not get to Ray because he’s got to get to [Haloti] Ngata and [Terence] Cody first. We’ll see.

– Browns Hall of Fame tight end and current Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, speaking on Tuesday night, on the first matchup between Browns running back Trent Richardson and eventual Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis

[Related: A Farewell to Armond Smith]

(Source: Tony Grossi)

NFL News: Ravens franchise Rice, cut Lee Evans and Chris Carr

Just like the Steelers, the Ravens are shaking things up this off-season. Although not at running back. The Ravens franchised their star running back Ray Rice. As has come up with talks of franchising Peyton Hillis, the tag looks like it could cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $7.7 million to tag a running back. Of course, the Ravens have really just used the tag to buy time in negotiating a long-term deal and you have to assume they won’t have any problem guaranteeing him some amount north of $7.7 million on a multi-year deal.

Good for the Ravens and bad for the Browns. Rice ran for 204 yards against the Browns this past December, although they were able to “limit” him to just 87 yards in the second meeting. For his career, Rice has gone for nearly 100 yards per contest, racking up 775 in eight meetings.

The Ravens also cut Lee Evans after one unspectacular season with the team. Evans will probably forever be remembered as a Raven for getting stripped of what almost certainly should have been a touchdown before Billy Cundiff shanked a chip shot enabling the Patriots to advance.

Finally, Chris Carr appears to be a cap casualty a year after signing a 4-year deal with the Ravens worth $15.2 million. Carr will count $1.25 million against the salary cap (the cost of his signing bonus) as the Ravens will opt not to pay him the $2.5 million he would have been due.

Browns fans might not have seen the last of Carr or Evans though. Ozzie Newsome stated that “this does not close the door on them” returning to the team.

[Related: NFL Free Agency: The Browns and the cost of franchising]

I Love Ozzie

Growing up in the late 70′s and 80′s, there was one constant in Cleveland Browns Football – the excellence of Tight End Ozzie Newsome.

A first round draft pick in 1978 out of Alabama, the workhorse Tight End started from day one through the end of his illustrious 13-year career. He was the gold standard at his position in the 80′s. Whenever the Browns needed a big third down conversion on a passing down, Ozzie was your man.

His best years came in 1983 and 1984, where he caught 89 balls twice, and scored 11 TDs.  For his career, Newsome had 662 receptions for 7980 yards and 47 TDs. His streak of 150 consecutive games with a catch between 1979 and 1989 was an NFL record at the time. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Two images of Ozzie are ingrained in my memory: The first is on opening day in 1985, with the rains coming down and the baseball dirt still in the closed end of old Municipal Stadium, Ozzie caught a short Gary Danielson pass and turned into a TD which gave the Browns a 24-17 fourth quarter lead. As he scored, he slid into the end zone and came up covered in mud. (yes, the Browns lost 27-24 in OT). [Read more...]

Wishing Bernie Kosar Well

The rumors started buzzing out of WKNR on Twitter, and Scott talked about it earlier this week.  Now Terry Pluto is speculating about possible destinations and roles in various organizations.  As we Clevelanders often do, many are figuring out what this means and how they feel about it.

How do you balance your love for a guy like Bernie and the thought that he could be joining an organization other than the Browns?  Is it a betrayal by Bernie to Cleveland?  Is it a betrayal by Mike Holmgren and the new leadership in Berea?  They already have a track record with former players after the Jim Brown situation and the Browns Ring of Honor stuff last year.  Is this starting a pattern?

In a word, no.  I can’t tell you how to think, but this is how I am thinking about it. [Read more...]

Browns Score 21 Points in 3rd Quarter – 1989 AFC Championship Game

The Browns lost the 1989 AFC Championship game 37-21 to the Denver Broncos.  I found some game footage on Youtube of the game and was drawn in watching the third quarter when Bernie and the Brownies put up 21 points.  It is fun to watch where the game has come from in terms of rules.  It is fun to watch where the Browns were back then with Bernie Kosar.  Then again, when you have Reggie Langhorne, Eric Metcalf, Webster Slaughter, Brian Brennan and Ozzie Newsome, you have a chance to be truly great.

The Browns trailed 10-0 at halftime.  They got the ball first in the second half.

[Read more...]