August 16, 2014

Did the Browns break an “unwritten rule?”


The Cleveland Browns made a relatively below-the-radar move earlier this month, adding offensive lineman Michael Bowie after he was waived by the Seattle Seahawks. Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable appeared on 710 ESPN Seattle, suggesting that the Seahawks still believed in Bowie and that the Seahawks expected the Browns to stay away from him, citing an “unwritten rule” that allows teams to hide injured players from their 31 opponents.

“Typically when you waive someone injured, they kind of get through [waivers] and you’re going to get them back, fix them and move on,” said Cable. ” Cleveland chose to take him, and whether you agree with it or not, I guess that’s business. It’s kind of an unwritten rule — you just leave each other’s injured players alone and they didn’t.”

Having 90 players and needing to start making space on their roster, the Seahawks waived Bowie due to a shoulder injury despite the 22-year-old starting several games for the eventual Super Bowl Champions. Bowie will require surgery and could be sidelined from four to six months having sustained an injury on the first day of training camp. Seattle had hoped that the Browns would adhere to said unwritten rule where other teams leave injured players alone, allowing them to rehabilitate and return to their original team, but the Browns thought otherwise, adding a 22-year-old player who was in line to start at right tackle for one of the best teams in football.

The Saints, Cowboys, and Patriots made waivers claims for Bowie, too, but the Browns had superior waiver claim. The Patriots violated said rule two years ago with tight end Jake Ballard, and again only days before Bowie was waived with running back Tyler Gaffney.

Bowie, a former seventh-round pick, should be fit for Cleveland spring practices in 2015. One step closer to The Earthquake.


Browns claim injured offensive tackle from Seahawks

Michael Bowie

In what appears to be a pretty strange transaction, the Cleveland Browns have signed Michael Bowie, who was waived injured by the Seattle Seahawks. Bowie is expected to be out 4-6 months with an injured shoulder according to the Seattle Times.

Pete Carroll reportedly called the shoulder injury “significant,” but that remains to be seen. I would call an injury significant too if I wanted my guy to pass through waivers.

When a player is waived injured it is usually an indication that the team believes he’ll pass through so they can put him on injured reserve. The Browns, in turn, must have thought they had a real steal on their hands to grab Bowie and keep him around via roster spot until the first roster cut-down.

The cool thing for the Browns is that they get to control a potential starting offensive tackle for 2015 and 2016 for a grand total of just over $1.2 million. Bowie started eight games for the Seahawks including seven at tackle and one at guard. He also graded out at Pro Football Focus at a +7.1 as they raved about his run blocking.


Now, if the Browns could scout some stud receivers that might get cut soon…

Cavs targeting Bulls’ Adrian Griffin to replace Mike Brown?

Dan Gilbert Mike Brown

The Cavaliers surely wasted an entire year bringing back Mike Brown to the Cavs bench for the 2013-14 season. How else do you explain his ouster after just one season of his five year $20 million deal? David Griffin has got to be deep into his search for Mike Brown’s replacement already and Sam Amick indicates we might look to Chicago for answers.

Griffin is a 39-year-old retired NBA player who was involved in the Cavaliers blockbuster 11-player deal involving the Bulls and Sonics that brought Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak to Cleveland. After playing 13 games with Seattle to finish that year, Griffin retired from playing.

He was an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks from 2008 to 2010 before joining the Bulls where he’s been ever since, save for a brief departure from coaching to spend more time with his family.

“Coaching is a great aspiration,” Griffin said in a phone interview. “But it came down to what is the best thing for me to do as the head of my house and as a husband and a father. I wasn’t there. The NBA is a great industry to be a part of, but it’s demanding. It’s hard to be a full-time husband and father and full-time coach. Something has to give.”

It didn’t sound like he would come back in those comments, but he did return to Tom Thibodeau’s staff a few months later.

How far can NFL teams go to keep “away” fans away?

NFLShieldCould the Browns someday work to eliminate Steelers fans from Browns games? Wouldn’t that be sweet? Could they only sell tickets to fans who live in a certain area? Those two questions will be answered soon, it would appear, thanks to a lawsuit filed by a 49ers fan against the Seattle Seahawks.

I’m fascinated by this lawsuit. On the one hand, I get that the Seahawks really wanted to keep their stadium filled with Seahawks fans for their playoff game against the 49ers. It’s understandable in a playoff environment where you know a game is going to sell out. But even though it makes sense to me, did it violate any laws?

“The practice of withholding the sale of tickets from the public at large and allowing only credit card holders limited to certain areas is a violation of the Federal Consumer Fraud Act and/or common law,” according to the lawsuit filed April 15.

In the case of January’s game, the Seahawks limited ticket sales only to credit cards with addresses in the states of Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii, as well as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.

I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t have much of an opinion on how this should turn out, but I’m interested nonetheless. Also brought into the equation for the fan, John E. Williams III, is the NFL’s reliance on public subsidies and money from taxpayers to build stadiums. I’m not sure if that helps or hurts his cause though, because public subsidies and taxpayers are garnered locally to build that stadium.

The future of the 12th man isn’t exactly hanging in the balance. Regardless of the outcome, I’m guessing Seattle’s homefield advantage will remain substantial whenever the team is good. Still, it will be interesting to see if this new territory in ticketing is legal or not.

Recently, the Columbus Blue Jackets did something similar for their playoff opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They restricted credit card sales to Ohio in an effort to pack the house with hometown fans. Pittsburgh has often had a very sizable Penguins crowd when playing in Columbus.

[Related: Tribe weekend wrap: swept away in San Francisco]

The Browns could have been trading with the Jets in Draft Day movie

Draft DayI’m not spoiling Draft Day when I say that it involves some wheeling and dealing for draft picks in and around the NFL Draft. I’m also not spoiling anything when I say that the Seattle Seahawks were the trade partner with Kevin Costner and the Browns regarding a presumed number one draft pick quarterback. What I found out today, though, is that originally the Browns were supposed to be fictionally trading with the New York Jets instead of the Seattle Seahawks.

“They were having something of a quarterback dispute, and the team said that this is just going to incite our fans a little more to criticize us, even though it’s all fictional,” director Ivan Reitman said.

So let me get this straight. The team that continually gets booed live and in person every single year no matter who they draft has a thin skin about how a fictional movie about the NFL draft could impact real world criticism of their team? Seems a little bit thin-skinned for a group of professionals who work in the NFL.

Then again, I don’t know what I’d be like if I had to go through this kind of reaction every time I did anything at my job. See how Radio City Music Hall reacted to the Jets trading up with the Browns and subsequently drafting Mark Sanchez.

Gotta love the Mike Mayock quote on the broadcast too. “We don’t yet know what they (the Jets) gave up to get here, but I’m pretty much willing to bet ultimately it’s going to be worth it.” Well, the Browns just signed Alex Mack to a new deal and the Jets cut Mark Sanchez. What do you think now Mr. Mayock?

Browns reportedly agree to terms with Nate Burleson


The Browns thought they had a reliable veteran receiver when they traded for Davone Bess last season. That didn’t work out all that well for the Browns as Bess turned into what appeared to be a pot-smoking rastafarian via his own social media presence. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Browns have found a new veteran as they’ve agreed to terms with Nate Burleson.

Burleson comes with his own problems, of course. He’s only been able to play 15 games in the last two seasons. Burleson has also only had one season of 1000 yards and that occurred an awful long time ago back in 2004.

None of this means Burleson can’t help for a year or so in Cleveland, of course. The 32-year-old former third rounder has had a long career and certainly knows what it takes to be a receiver in the NFL. We’ll see if he can find a way to contribute alongside Josh Gordon, newly signed Andrew Hawkins and whoever the Browns are likely to draft next month.

Speaking of Josh Gordon, he and Kyrie Irving are supposedly fighting.

[Related: The drama continues: Kyrie Irving calls out Josh Gordon]

(Photo Jason Miller / Getty Images)

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...]

Browns coaching search, Anthony Bennett and Super Bowl predictions with Dennis Manoloff – WFNY Podcast – 2014-01-29

WFNY Podcast LogoIt’s always great to catch up with Dennis Manoloff (follow D-Man on Twitter) and it has been too long since I have done so. D-Man talked to me about a variety of topics today from the Browns hiring Mike Pettine, philisophically how he treats the Pilot Flying J case as a Browns story, and Anthony Bennett.

Does Anthony Bennett still belongs in the d-league after his breakout night?

What are the chances that Ubaldo Jimenez is back with the Tribe?

Will T.J. Ward or Alex Mack be back with the Browns?

How much blame should Mike Brown take for the Cavs’ woes?

What does D-Man think of the cold-weather Super Bowl?

What are his predictions for “The Big Game?”

Check out this episode

I want to be The Earthquake

Divisional Playoffs - New Orleans Saints v Seattle Seahawks

I want a new stadium. A modern, open-air, architectural beauty of a venue placed right in the heart of the city. One that looks like it is straight from Flight of the Navigator. It has curves and construction and impressively bright lights with jaw-dropping views of the downtown skyline. One that holds in all of the sound, creating a true home field advantage. One that celebrates the fans just as much as it does the history of the team and the players who currently occupy its inhabitants up to 10 times per calendar year.

[Read more...]

NFL News: Browns again sign defensive end Brian Sanford

Defensive end Brian Sanford has sign a deal with the Cleveland Browns, the team confirmed on Thursday morning.

ESPN’s Adam Caplan first reported news of a two-year contract on Christmas Day.

Sanford, 26, might be most well known in Cleveland for being Seattle’s return in the eventually voided John Moffitt trade. The vocal Moffitt, who then retired from football, said the Browns failed his physical due to a salary dispute.

That trade was announced back on Aug. 19. It was voided days later. Sanford then was waived by the Browns on Aug. 31 and has spent the season with the Oakland Raiders, bouncing back and forth on their roster. He was released for good on Dec. 7.

The Browns had an available roster spot since placing Davone Bess on the reserve/non-football illness list prior to last week’s game. They likely needed additional defensive line help with both Phil Taylor and John Hughes not practicing on Tuesday.

Long-term, it’s perhaps a curious move to give Sanford two years. This past offseason, the team shored up its front seven in drafting Barkevious Mingo, plus signing Desmond Bryant and Paul Kruger. The unit has shined occasionally throughout the year, but has been inconsistent over the past couple months.

Cleveland (4-11) enters Sunday’s game as six-point underdogs in Pittsburgh (7-8). An upset would knock the Steelers out of playoff contention, although they’d still need help from several other teams to lock up the AFC’s final wild card spot.

[Related: Browns hire Lombardi and Chudzinski — WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2013: No. 5]

Why I don’t like the Trent Richardson trade… yet

MMQB Hates Trent RichardsonI have the feeling that there are more fans of the Trent Richardson trade than detractors at this point in time. That wasn’t the case on the day that the trade occurred, I don’t think. Those who claimed that the Browns were tanking the season (like I did) have been treated to a three game winning streak. Those who liked the trade have been treated to the same winning streak, but also seem to be claiming they are now correct about the Trent Richardson trade due to the fact that the Browns are winning without him right now. Combine that with T-Rich’s continued difficulty running the ball in Indianapolis with Andrew Luck and you have a perfect storm of people jumping to conclusions. I might learn to love the Trent Richardson trade. I’m willing to admit it might be a good move for the Browns, but I’m just not sure yet.

Let’s talk about the three game winning streak. This piece of “evidence” as to why the Trent Richardson trade was good is flimsy at best. The Browns did go on a three game winning streak after the trade of Trent Richardson, but they also switched quarterbacks to Brian Hoyer and got Josh Gordon back. To think that Trent Richardson was somehow holding the team back from winning is silly. Beyond that, is there anyone who thinks Trent Richardson wouldn’t also have benefitted from the return of Josh Gordon and the switch to Brian Hoyer? The bottom line for me is that Trent Richardson – while maybe not good enough for his draft position – clearly makes the Browns roster better than what it is today with McGahee, etc. How much better is up for debate of course, but I think it would be pretty undeniably better. [Read more...]

NFL News: Browns void trade with Seattle, retain Brian Sanford

That was interesting.

The Browns and Seattle Seahawks made a trade yesterday sending DE Brian Sanford to the Seahawks for offensive lineman John Moffitt. The guard was in Berea today, but just before practice he was brought back into the locker room. It seems the Browns didn’t like what they saw in Moffitt’s physical.

Moffitt was drafted in 2011, but has already been through multiple knee and elbow surgeries. It appears the Browns weren’t willing to take the risk on Moffitt’s repaired body, not with guards Shaun Lauvao and Jason Pinkston already out for multiple weeks with injuries.

So the Browns retain the rights to Brian Sanford, which they could try to trade again for another lineman. The Seahawks didn’t waste any time trading Moffitt to Denver right after the Browns rescinded the deal.

Meanwhile, rookie Garrett Gilkey will start against the Colts on Saturday. Oniel Cousins is also under consideration for the job until Pinkston or Lauvao is able to return.

Sorry gang, no more fun pictures of Moffitt.

[Related: Brandon Weeden named the starting quarterback]

In defense of the great Phil Dawson

I was reading an otherwise great article today at Grantland by Bill Barnwell that pointed out how bad a job Jacksonville Jaguars GM Gene Smith is at his job, when a snippet caught my attention. While talking about Josh Scobee and his contract from the Jags, a footnote said the following about Phil Dawson.

Given that kickers are incredibly inconsistent from year to year, I still suspect that the Scobee deal will end up looking bad in a couple of years. And yes, two other franchise kickers (Phil Dawson and Matt Prater) have also been perfect this year, but given that they were both below-average in terms of their accuracy last year before being franchised, does that really prove that kicker accuracy is a predictable thing?

Granted, Barnwell didn’t say anything about Phil Dawson and his abilities. He very well could have been speaking more to the value proposition of franchising a position like kicker where the return on investment is inconsistent. Then again, just in case he was besmirching the impeccably awesome name of Phil Dawson, I’ve prepared an over-reactive defense of everyone’s favorite Browns kicker. And honestly, why shouldn’t I considering the fact that pretty much every miss of Phil Dawson’s 2011 wasn’t his fault? [Read more...]

Cleveland Browns Film Room: Week 6 Field Goal Protection

Each week this season, we’ll take a seat in our very own WFNY Browns film room and break down a little tape from the previous week.  Do enjoy.

I spent some time going over all 4 of the Browns’ field goal attempts from last Sunday. You probably don’t need reminded that 2 of these kicks were successful, and 2 were blocked. Both of the unsuccessful kicks were blocked by Red Bryant, a 6’4″ 323 pound DE for Seattle. Before we look at the pictures, let me say a couple of things. Red Bryant is bigger than 6’4″ 323. And for a guy that size, he has some impressive agility.

[Read more...]

More On Leading With the Helmet

Thank James Harrison.  Seems like an odd thing to say on a Cleveland-based sports blog, but it is true.  The NFL was on the path to over-regulating tackling and hitting anyway, but James Harrison’s plays against the Browns (including a near decapitation of Josh Cribbs) are pretty much the reason we find ourselves watching the NFL as it is today.  Even Browns fans seemed to be upset with Mike Carey’s unnecessary roughness call.  I understand that completely.  I am not in love with the rules as they are either, but you can’t put this toothpaste back in the tube.  The NFL is being safety conscious, and you might as well learn to live with it.  Yesterday’s play was a bit on the soft side, but these pictures will show you why it was called.  In the end, the rule has everything to do with form and intent and less about the end result.  Meaning, Colt McCoy doesn’t have to go off on a stretcher for the play to be illegal form.

First, notice the positioning of Mike Carey with relation to the play where he threw the flag.

[Read more...]

Week 7: The Browns Will Win If…

It’s almost starting to feel like game days are the respite from the craziness that is swirling around the Browns these days. Between the offense and the Peyton Hillis contract and the general malaise of Browns fans, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks. Well, Game Day is Game Day, so here’s hoping the Browns can tune out some of the distractions. The Seattle Seahawks come to town,


The  Browns might be catching a bit of a break, as the Seahawks’ offense is actually worse on paper than is Cleveland’s and Tavaris Jackson may not play with a pec injury (hellooooo, Charlie Whitehurst!). However, the reigning NFC West [gulp] Champs are coming in off of their bye week. They’ve been averaging just 288 yards per game on offense, good for 30th in the league. They only average 83 yards per game on the ground, which should help the Browns defense a little. End of the day, the teams are 26th and 27th in the league in points per game, with Seattle at 18.8 and Cleveland at 18.2. This could be a snoozefest. The Browns have the edge on the stat-sheet defensively, giving up 45 fewer yards per game, and roughly one point less per game (23.4 to 24.4). So, where rubber meets road on the scoreboard, these two clubs appear to be pretty evenly matched. Feel the excitement! Without further ado…

The Browns Will Win If…

Holmgren Speaks… to Seattle Radio Station

Mike Holmgren broke his silence today as he spoke to Mitch in the Morning on KJR 950 in Seattle.  Here’s what he said…

Mitch: How long you going to do this?  In 10 years are you going to be the President of the Cleveland Browns?

Holmgren: Well, you know it’s hard to tell for sure.  I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be 10 years.  We still have our home in Seattle.  The kids are there.  The grandkids are there.  I don’t think they’re going to be moving anytime soon.  Our vision is to get back into that area at some point.  Exactly when that is?  I’d like to see improvement here and lay the foundation here so that they can feel good about the team again before I make any changes.

Mitch: What kind of team are the Seahawks going to face this week on Sunday?  Is it a good football team?  Is it an O.K. football team?  What’s your honest assessment of what kind of Browns squad you’ve got over there?

Holmgren: You’ll watch us play, and you know we’re a young football team.  You combine the youth we have on the team and a new coach and at times we kind of look young out there.  And then at other times we actually play pretty well.  I think we play pretty good defense.  Dick Jauron, who’s the defensive coordinator, is doing a heck of a job.  Ray Rhodes is on the staff who you know.  They’re doing a great job. [Read more...]

Cleveland Browns Tickets Available Through WFNY

An unsolicited testimonial came our way this morning from long-time reader REEPJP about WFNY Tickets:

Nothing to do with the WWW, but I used WFNYTickets yesterday for the first time and it was a breeze! Scored 18 (yes, 18) tickets to the Browns v. Titans game on 10/2 for $30/ticket….I thought this was a steal since everything else was $60+ ! Already got FedEx shipping confirmation and a tracking number. If it’s always this easy, looks like I found my new ticket purchasing tool. Great work on getting that thing to work like it does!

Thanks for that Joe. Your chance to grab tickets is just a click away.



Browns Should Try to Add Picks This Year

There is a generally accepted NFL Draft Pick Value Chart that most NFL front offices use to gauge value of picks for trade purposes.  It is a point system where the first pick is worth 3,000 points and Mr. Irrelevant is worth two points.  The idea being that if you wanted to trade the 25th pick in the draft with a value of 720 points for the 6th pick of the draft worth 1600 points, you would have to make up somewhere in the neighborhood of 880 points.

If you have the 25th pick in the first round, chances are you have the 57th pick in the second round which carries a value of 330 points.  In essence, when you add up your first and second picks (720 + 330 = 1050) you are still drastically short of the 1600 you need to get into the sixth spot.  In other years, a team could make up ground like that by trading a veteran player.  Without that option this year, teams will have to mortgage the future and trade future picks.

It is 100% worth it to mortgage the future for this year’s draft. [Read more...]

Former Buckeye Quinn Pitcock Unretires

In one of the stranger stories out of the NFL a couple years ago, Quinn Pitcock retired after his rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts.  Pitcock wasn’t an afterthought in the draft either.  He was originally selected in the third round of the 2007 draft.  After having his rights waived by the Colts this year, Pitcock decided to work out for the Seattle Seahawks.  Now according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, the former All-American and All-Big Ten Conference player from 2006 is preparing to play again at the age of 26.

Quinn Pitcock played  in nine games with 18 tackles and 1.5 sacks his rookie year for the Colts.  The Colts had big plans for him, but Pitcock decided, for some reason, that he didn’t want to play football anymore.  According to reports at the time, Pitcock had doubts about signing his rookie contract.  Then, he reportedly almost quit in the middle of his rookie year before finally pulling the trigger and retiring during training camp before his second year.  Bill Polian and the Colts were distressed by Pitcock’s retirement because they also lost out on their other DT Ed Johnson because he couldn’t stop himself from smoking pot.*  Apparently, the whole retirement thing didn’t take any more than that rookie contract he signed with the Colts. [Read more...]