There was a sense of relief that the Cleveland Browns didn’t sign Mike Wallace last off-season after the details of his contract emerged. The fact is, as badly as the Cleveland Browns needed help at receiver, it was an absurdly large contract. How absurd? Now that there’s been a shakeup in the Dolphins front office there are rumors via Jason La Canfora that the Dolphins would like to explore the idea of taking an $8.8 million cap hit for the right to trade Wallace right now. So, without advocating it, I thought it might be interesting to look at the financial implications of trading for Wallace. [Read more...]
The Browns were kind to give D’Qwell Jackson a chance to sell himself around the NFL and make the best choice for himself. As it turns out, the best choice was in Indianapolis where Jackson is reported to be pulling a 4-year deal worth $22 million ($11 million guaranteed) with the Colts. Jackson follows former teammate Trent Richardson, who was traded this past season, and former head coach Rob Chudzinski who was hired as an assistant to the head coach after being fired by the Browns following the conclusion of the 2013 season. That’s a whole lot of Browns connections in the Indianapolis Colts for a house like mine where my wife is a Colts fan.
— Indianapolis Star (@indystar) March 6, 2014
Welcome to the Colts, D'Qwell!
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) March 6, 2014
The Jackson move comes on the heels of a PFT report that the Colts had no intention of resigning oft-injured linebacker Pat Angerer. Angerer has shown tons of potential over the years, but between foot surgeries and the knee surgery he’s rehabbing now, it’s a story of injuries.
D’Qwell Jackson’s career was once thought to be something of a lost cause due to pectoral injuries that saw him play only six games over a two-year period from 2009 to 2010. Jackson’s seemingly on the other side of that storyline now. He’s played reasonably well the last two three years as he’s played all 16 games per season since 2011.
I obviously wish D’Qwell Jackson well, but I still wonder if he’s the answer for any NFL defense that aspires to be truly great. As productive as Jackson is and as good as he is as a leader, I still wonder if he’s good enough at such an important position on the field to truly raise the level of a team’s defense to a championship level.
[More Browns: Cleveland Browns have released Davone Bess]
(Image via Candice Vlcek/WFNY)
Former Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski will be joining the Indianapolis Colts as a special assistant, the team announced on Saturday.
The Browns fired Chudzinski, 45, on Dec. 29 after their final game of the season. Cleveland eventually replaced him with Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
Over in Indianapolis, Chudzinski will join the staff of head coach Chuck Pagano. The two previously worked together at The University of Miami and for the Browns in the early 2000s.
He’ll also be reuniting with running back Trent Richardson, traded in mid-September this past season. Offseason murmurs out of Indianapolis indicate that the team will not retain Donald Brown, who served as the starter for the season’s second half. They appear to be committed to Richardson’s long-term future.
Shortly after the firing, there had been previous murmurs that Chudzinski could be a candidate for the Miami Hurricanes, his alma mater program. Eventually, Al Golden decided to stay at The U and Penn State hired Vanderbilt’s James Franklin instead.
Overall, Chudzinski’s resume isn’t too shabby and he should probably nab an assistant job of some kind next season. Recall that he did have four years of NFL offensive coordinator experience (two in Cleveland, two in Carolina) and five years of assistant jobs (one in Cleveland, four in San Diego) prior to his toxic one head coaching season.
For the comedic, this now means that former Cleveland athletes Richardson, Chudzinski and even Andrew Bynum are all employed by sports teams in the city of Indianapolis. There certainly are plenty of jokes to be made there (even if the Pacers are one of the NBA’s best and the Colts made the playoffs).
Hey, you guys know me by this point. Any chance I get to talk about the Trent Richardson trade… Kidding. Kidding. I do want to talk about running the football, however. More specifically, how the Cleveland Browns might go about doing it in the future.
This obviously doesn’t include Trent Richardson, but the Browns will need to find someone to carry the ball in 2014 after cobbling together as meek a rushing attack in recent memory.1 We are talking Terry-Kirby-in-1999-type of awfulness. Consider this: Willis McGahee put up the 69th best season rushing in Cleveland Browns history; Kirby’s 1999 season—just 452 yards in 16 games—was the 75th best. Regardless of who gets the starting running back job in 2014, it has to get better if the Browns are going to improve as a team. [Read more...]
- I never said my memory was all that phenomenal by the way… [↩]
If you thought that 2012 was one crazy year in the world of Cleveland Sports, 2013 proved that there is rarely a dull moment. There were good times and bad, hirings and firings, wins and losses, and appearances in postseasons and courtrooms. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last five years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the ten biggest sports stories to grace our local sports scene over the last 12 months. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. Do enjoy.
On September 18, the Cleveland Browns traded 2012 first round pick Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the Colts’ 2014 first-round draft pick. The move was shocking. In-season trades rarely happen, and trading away a player drafted in the first round the year before is even more rare. In fact, only Richardson and John Matuszak were top three picks that played their rookie seasons and were then traded the very next year.
Joe Haden got torched by Chad Henne and Cecil Shorts to give the Jaguars the lead with 40 seconds to go in the game. It was an embarrassing play in an embarrassing loss to one of the worst teams in the NFL at home. Yes, Brandon Weeden had a chance with 40 seconds and three timeouts to drive 80 yards for a touchdown and a victory, but that prayer wasn’t meant to be answered. This team remains an utter embarrassment to themselves and the city they represent. They might be set up for the future, but I’ve got to tell you. The present stinks. Browns are losers 28-32.
Brandon Weeden had one of his typically uneven days. [Update: Weeden diagnosed with concussion.] He made some passes early on that made it seem like the loose version of Weeden was going to be better. Then to end the first half Weeden imploded. The Browns had a 14-7 lead when Weeden threw an interception past Jordan Cameron. Jags touchdown ensued. The very next time Weeden touched the ball he threw another interception, this time yielding a field goal. Five plays later, Weeden gave up a strip sack that the Jags returned into field goal range with five seconds to go in the half. Scobee nailed it. The Browns went from a 14-7 lead to a 20-14 deficit in an absolutely comical amount of time. [Read more...]
Trent Richardson has been officially demoted from the starting running back position in Indianapolis, reports NFL Network’s Mike Silver earlier this morning.
Richardson was traded by the Browns in mid-September for a 2014 first-round pick. In nine games with the Colts, he’s continued to struggle, rushing for 287 yards on 103 carries (2.8 avg) with two touchdowns and totaling just 127 receiving yards.
He will be benched in favor of Donald Brown, a 2009 first-rounder out of Syracuse, who has averaged 5.7 yards per carry in 57 attempts for the team. He’s been a much more efficient complement to quarterback Andrew Luck in his limited opportunities thus far.
NFL Network colleague Ian Rapoport shared, via a Colts source, that: “It’s a bottom-line biz. Change needed to be made. Donald is our most productive guy.” He said that the team still believes in the 23-year-old Richardson for its future.
Just a few weeks ago, Rapoport reported that the Colts still “absolutely” would make the trade with the Browns for Richardson. Yet with each passing day and with this news today, it’s continuing to look better and better for CEO Joe Banner and GM Michael Lombardi.
The Browns basically have no idea what they’re going to do in the draft because they have no idea where they will pick and are constantly analyzing their own roster. Having said that, it’s reasonably to assume with their moves this year – most notably with the Trent Richardson trade – that they would be preparing for the chance to potentially draft a running back. Now, Lane Adkins from the OBR (premium post) indicates that they are scouting that position almost as highly as quarterback.
“The Browns have been scouting running backs, nearly as heavily as they have quarterbacks and offensive linemen and the likelihood of seeing a running back, lineman and quarterback coming to Cleveland via the draft remains high.”
Of course, this still doesn’t mean a lot for the Browns first two picks in the first round between their own and the Colts’ pick. If you believe the early projections at places like WalterFootball, there are only a couple runners who might (emphasis) go in the first round at all. Still, even with all the moving pieces, it’s nice to get a little insight into what the Browns’ scouting priorities are like.
The Browns will also presumably get a healthy Dion Lewis back to compete for carries.
[Related: Video: Browns 2013 highlights so far]
Pat McManamon of ESPN.com published some interesting quotes from Browns pro bowl tackle Joe Thomas in his post on Friday.
The post centered around Thomas’ comments in response to being asked about Cleveland’s struggles to run the ball thus far this season. The Browns have only averaged 81 yards on the ground through nine games this season and are getting just 2.6 yards per carry out starting running back Willis McGahee.
“I’m looking at today’s NFL, and I’m just not sure there’s a place for a running back anymore.” Thomas said.
“If you’re a defensive coordinator and you give up a 100-yard rusher, you don’t really care, it really doesn’t translate into winning many games.”
Whether it was his intent or not, Thomas’ remarks seemed to echo the beliefs of a front office who traded running back Trent Richardson but held on to play making receiver Josh Gordon whose name was at the center of trade rumors.
“You have to have somebody who’s a once-in-a-generation talent like Adrian Peterson to really be a difference maker in the game,” Thomas said. “But you get one Josh Gordon, you throw him a jump ball in triple coverage and he goes up and catches a touchdown, you win the game. That’s one guy, one play. He can do that three times in a game. Calvin Johnson. You can go down the list of guys like that who are game-changers. A.J. Green.
You have to change the entire defense to try to take somebody like that out of the game. And the running game is so hard. Because first of all you have to have six, sometimes seven guys blocking perfectly up front. One mistake and it’s a tackle for a loss. So you have to have seven victories. And then you have to have a running back beat a safety. Today’s safeties are pretty good.”
- Is this one of the weirdest up and down Browns seasons in memory?
- How did the Browns come to play the QBs they’ve played so far this year?
- The nuance of talking about the running game issues without getting lost in the Trent Richardson debate
- Willis McGahee and just how ineffective he’s been for the Browns
- Davone Bess and how some people wanted to cut him just a week before
- The reactionary nature of Browns fans
- The hiring of Chud and comparing his handling of the Browns to Pat Shurmur
- Norv Turner and his influence on the quarterback decisions
- Ray Horton’s defense gaining traction
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 email@example.com.
“I’ve never really been in a situation where I’ve been doubted like this – and it lights a fire, motivates me to get into this building before anybody, study at night more than anybody because I want to prove everybody wrong,” Weeden told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “I want to prove to everybody that I can be the guy to lead this franchise to the places we want to go.
“If I’m worried about making mistakes, I’m making it harder on myself. So I just want to go out, have fun, just let it rip, and try to make the plays to help this team win. I have confidence in my ability and in everybody on this football team. So when I do it, hopefully, everybody will come back and say, ‘I can’t believe we doubted him.”’
Browns fans have doubts about Weeden’s ability to ditch the methodical minor league pitcher still ticking within.
“I hope Brandon proves me wrong,” said long-time Browns fan Breanna Makowski, 33. “If he can give us a reason to be hopeful, that would be great. Brian Hoyer came in and gave us reason to hope. It’s hard to be hopeful when you get crushed every time as a Browns fan.
“Brandon’s been too slow to get rid of the ball. Hopefully, he learned from watching Brian.”