Thoughts Watching The Last Exhibition Game

While watching the fourth exhibition game for the Browns last night, several thoughts came and went through my head, most of them unrelated to the game itself.  Most of the starters didn’t play, so fans were watching battles for the last ten or so spots on the final 53 man roster.

While important to the players involved, it’s not real interesting viewing.

Two comments about the Browns:  First, they will be very active after other teams cut their squads to get down to the limit, and they will be looking mostly for offensive linemen and linebackers. 

Colt McCoy has the ability to be a good, if not very good NFL quarterback.  However, he cannot throw the football flat on his back or be effective running for his life.  These exhibition games have shown that Pat Shurmur’s crew is having a tough time protecting the passer.  This has to improve or it could be disastrous.

To be fair, Shurmur hasn’t really unleashed the running game and it takes pressure off the offensive line to be in 2nd and 5 and 3rd and 2 situations.  Also, young offensive linemen usually do a better job in run blocking.  But there is no question the five guys who are blocking up front will be under great scrutiny, well at least the three guys not named Joe Thomas and Alex Mack will be.

Second, it is great to see president Mike Holmgren go back to tradition and have the Browns wearing all white at home this year.  Cleveland was one of the few teams that did this in the 60’s and 70’s (Dallas, St. Louis, and Los Angeles did too) and although it means nothing in terms of performance, it is just another acknowledgment of the Browns’ storied past.

The most impressive debut this week is new sports talk station 92.3 The Fan, giving fans (pardon the expression) the option of an alternative to what has become the tired, contrived conversations at WKNR. 

Kevin Kiley and Chuck Booms have come back to recreated their entertaining format from national radio, while the other hosts and beat reporters are entertaining and not condescending to the listeners.  Andy Baskin and Jeff Phelps do the 10 AM – 2 PM shift giving people the perspective of two veteran Cleveland voices.

Newcomer Adam the Bull and Dustin Fox (2 PM – 7 PM) have good chemistry despite not having worked together, and Ken Carman is back doing sportstalk after his stint in Akron.  He was a great option to the KNR people when he was on 1350 AM.

The station also hired personal favorite Joe Lull on the weekends along with another Cleveland veteran, Kendall Lewis. 

It will be interesting to see WKNR’s response to the new competitor in town.

As for the Tribe, we will know by next Wednesday night whether or not this season will go to the wire after the first place Tigers invade Progressive Field.  Manny Acta will have Ubaldo Jimenez, Fausto Carmona, and Justin Masterson starting against Detroit.  A poor showing in the next six games could doom the Indians’ divisional title hopes.

The Tribe needs a resurgence from SS Asdrubal Cabrera, who has been carrying the team most of the season, but now is in a batting funk.  Cabrera seems to be trying to hit a big fly every time up, instead of hitting the ball hard, and muscling up when the count is in his favor. 

A productive Cabrera is definitely a key to the Cleveland pennant hopes.

MW

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