Browns’ Draft Thoughts

In two months, the endless draft talk regarding what the Cleveland Browns should do after a pair of horrific seasons which netted one win in 32 games.

Looking at the draft, we agree with the notion that former Browns GM Ernie Accorsi has said, the two most important positions in pro football are quarterback and a guy who can get to the quarterback.

Certainly, the brown and orange need a passer.  They haven’t had one since Bernie Kosar was unceremoniously released in 1993.

They got a guy who can get to the QB last season in Myles Garrett, but like pitching in baseball, you can never have too many pass rushers.

We think Emmanuel Ogbah can develop into a great bookend with Garrett, but we think GM John Dorsey will look for another player who can get to the opposing team’s passer.

Still, we feel the offensive and defensive lines are the team’s strengths, although the Browns have to be on the lookout for Joe Thomas’ replacement whether or not he retires prior to next season or not.

Besides quarterback, in our opinion, the biggest needs for the organization are the secondary, including linebacker, and running back.

We would also say that anyone who feels the Browns can pass on a passer with the first overall pick are crazy.  Again, it’s been 25 years since Cleveland has had a top 10 quarterback in the NFL.

Which one of the college QBs would we take?  The guy who has the highest floor, the one who has the lowest bust factor.  We think that is Josh Rosen.

Rosen was the premier prep quarterback coming into college as a freshman, meaning he was at the top of the class then, and he has maintained that position.

That said, we like Baker Mayfield a lot too.  And if Dorsey and his cadre of talent evaluators think he is the answer, then we would have no problem with the Browns selecting him.

After all, if they are right, then the Browns are a step closer to competing for a Super Bowl.

There are a lot of draft “experts” who rate Penn State running back Saquon Barkley as the best player in this year’s draft.

While we certainly have seen running backs help teams transform into winners the past two seasons with Zeke Elliott in Dallas and Leonard Fournette in Jacksonville, we don’t put Barkley in the same category.

Barkley is a home run hitter, but we have questions as to whether he can take the pounding of getting 20-25 carries every week in the NFL.

Besides, this year is purported to be a deep running back draft, so you can get a solid back with one of your second round selections.

We would be more intrigued with CB/S Minkah Fitzpatrick from Alabama, DE Bradley Chubb from NC State, or CB Josh Jackson from Iowa, all of whom would fill a big need for the Browns.

We would probably look for Thomas’ replacement with one of the four selections the Browns have from pick #33 through #65, as well as one of the spots they didn’t fill with the fourth overall choice.

Trading down?  We would stay away from that, in fact, we would probably look to trade back up for another first rounder.

If they would consider moving down, it should only be to drop two or three slots, so you can still get the guy you like.

There will be plenty of speculation between now and April 26th, particularly this week with NFL Draft Combine going on.  Although, none of the candidates have played a game since January.

There.  We got that out of our system.  No more draft talk until at least April.



Dorsey-Jackson Combo Raises Draft Questions.

This Sunday is the first without angst since the end of summer without angst for fans of the Cleveland Browns.

No worries about can the team win their first game, no concerns if the coach will ever use the running game, no wondering if DeShone Kizer can keep himself from throwing passes to the other team.

Now, the parades are over, and it is time to start focusing on the “Super Bowl” for Browns’ supporters seemingly every year…the NFL Draft.

Between now and April 26th, when Cleveland will kickoff the selection process with pick #1 (we assume), there will be plenty of speculation what GM John Dorsey will do with all of the selections his organization has.

The big question is how does Dorsey look at the process.  Does he select the players with the best potential to be NFL stars, or does he take players who fit the style of play coach Hue Jackson prefers.

One thing we have learned about Jackson in his two years at the helm is he will try to fit a square peg into a round hole.  We have extreme doubts that the head coach wants to change what he wants to do offensively.

Jackson has said he wants to hire an offensively coordinator, but since he is apparently doing the hiring, he is going to bring in someone who runs the same offensive style he favors, which is going downfield.

The Browns led the NFL is the average distance of their passing attempts at 9.7.  The only playoff team averaging over nine yards per throw was the Panthers.  Three other playoff teams (Falcons, Titans, Bills) were 8th-10th.

Two things come to mind here.  First, throwing downfield was clearly not working for Kizer, but Jackson didn’t care about that.

Second, it appears most successful teams mix in shorter throws as well.  The four teams in the top ten in this stat also rank in the top half of the league in rushing attempts, Cleveland ranked 28th.

We would take this to mean Carolina, Atlanta, Tennessee, and Buffalo throw downfield off of play action.  The Browns rarely do because teams don’t respect Jackson will run the football.

Getting defensive help is clearer because we believe defensive coordinator wants to pressure the quarterback, but didn’t have the secondary to do it in the style he prefers.

Getting Minkah Fitzpatrick would seem to be an ideal fit.  He can play both cornerback and safety and is considered the best defensive player in the draft.  To get that guy two years in a row (Myles Garrett) would help.

It has been reported that Dorsey wants to make a splash in free agency, and that’s fine as long as he isn’t bringing in aging players with a year or two left.

No matter what you feel about the past regime, there are plenty of good, young players here to build around and we would hate to see some of them let go to bring players on their last legs to the roster.

This is the asinine system set up by owner Jimmy Haslam when he decided Jackson would continue to be head coach of the team in 2018.

Our guess is Dorsey will bring in his guys, but then we can expect another season, at least at the beginning, of not utilizing people to the best of their abilities.

That’s why it is still frustrating to ponder.




Does Anyone Still Think Hue Wants To Run?

It was going to be the best play of Myles Garrett’s young career.

He caught a deflected pass and rumbled toward the end zone, breaking a tackle, and getting the defensive score the Cleveland Browns had been looking for all season, putting his team ahead, 9-6.

He fired the ball into the stands in glee.

But as things are when you are 0-14, there was a flag down.  Carl Nassib lined up in the neutral zone, nullifying Garrett’s score.

And that pretty much ended today’s game.  Hue Jackson’s team dropped to 0-15 on the season, 1-30 during his tenure, losing to the Chicago Bears, 20-3 at Soldiers’ Field.

Since both teams are starting rookie quarterbacks, the contrast is startling when comparing the two teams.

On a snowy, windy day, the white stuff was accumulating on the field in the first half, the Bears, now 5-10 on the year, ran the ball 31 times compared to just 20 for the Browns.

As has been the case for most of the year, Cleveland averaged more yards per running play, 3.8 to 3.1.  The Browns didn’t get nearly as much out of DeShone Kizer on the ground either.  He gained just 8 yards on three carries, whereas Mitchell Trubisky (Mentor native, we are obligated to say) picked up 44 yards rushing.

This means Cleveland’s running backs gained 64 yards on 17 attempts (3.8 average) compared to the Bears’ 53 yards on 24 attempts (2.2 average).

Can the national media get it out of their head that Jackson wants to run the football.

It has been clear all year long that despite averaging in the top in the league in average yards per attempt on the ground, and an offensive line with solid pieces in Joel Bitonio, Kevin Zeitler, and JC Tretter, and for part of the year, future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas, that the coach doesn’t want to run it.

After the Bears’ scored their only TD in the first half, Jackson dialed up five consecutive passing plays on a day that screamed running.

The Browns best drive of that half was seven minutes long, leading into the two minute warning.  They mixed six runs and have short passes to move 50 yards.

On a 2nd and 4, after a six yard run by Crowell, Kizer threw for the end zone, where the pass for picked off, the QB’s 20th of the season.

And despite it being just a 6-3 deficit at half, which turned into 10 points after the Bears first drive, but still with over 27 minutes to go, Cleveland ran just three more running plays the rest of the game, and one of them was the last play, a three yard gain by Matthew Dayes.

The lack of an attempt to establish a ground game causes the Browns to lose the time of possession battle, the Bears had the ball for 33 minutes today.

The total yards for the two teams was about even, but once again, Cleveland lost the turnover battle, 3-0.  Reminder, the Browns have not won the turnover game at all this season.

They have been even three times (week 1 vs. Pittsburgh, and both Cincinnati games), and ten times have had two or more turnovers than their opponents.

The last forced turnover by the defense?  Week 11, five games ago, vs. Jacksonville, when Garrett recovered a fumble caused by Christian Kirksey’s sack of Blake Bortles.

The defense did have five sacks today, the biggest output of the season.

Anyway, it’s on to Pittsburgh and one last attempt to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history.  A pretty daunting task.





Another Exhausting Sunday For Browns’ Fans

The Cleveland Browns are exhausting to watch because over the past two seasons every game seems like the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day.

It’s the same crummy game plans, the same dumb mistakes, it’s a complete rerun every stinking, single week.

We may not speak for all Browns fans, but here is a list of things we are tired of seeing, and we aren’t even talking about losing.

Oh, by the way, the Browns are now 0-14 after today’s 27-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in what was mercifully, the last home game of the season.  Hue Jackson’s record as coach of Cleveland falls to 1-29.

We are tired of the abandonment of the running game.  What if we told you that one team averaged 6.8 yards per run, and the other 3.1.  And one team had 31 running plays, the other just 19.

You would obviously think the team that averaged almost seven yards per carry probably used 31 running plays.

You would of course be wrong.

The lunacy is after a drive which gave Cleveland a 7-3 lead in the second quarter and consisted of five running plays netting 96 yards, the brown and orange ran 10 consecutive passing plays.

There was one play where QB DeShone Kizer scrambled after dropping back to throw, and ran with the ball, so there was a rushing attempt, but it was not a running play.

Isaiah Crowell had a 59 yard run on the touchdown drive, then carried it just one more time the rest of the game.

We are tired of illegal formation penalties, there seems to be at least one each and every week.  This is the 14th game of the season, shouldn’t players know where to line up by now?

We are tired of Kizer’s red zone turnovers.  The rookie threw an interception from the Ravens’ 6 yard line, throwing to Crowell when he was covered by not one, not two, not three, but four Raven defenders.

What exactly is Kizer being taught by the so-called “quarterback whisperer”?  It is definitely not take care of the football.

We are tired of not seeing the coaching staff use weapons like rookie TE David Njoku and WR Corey Coleman.  The two combined for one more catch than we had today.

We are tired of seeing tight ends dominate the Cleveland defense.  Gregg Williams’ group had problems covering them in game one, and once again, here on game 14, they still cannot cover them.

Former Brown Benjamin Watson, now 36 years old, caught four passes for 74 yards, including a 33 yard touchdown.

We are tired of the resignation this coaching staff has towards defeat.  Myles Garrett gets held often, but it doesn’t seem like an issue for the coaches.  Joe Flacco obviously intentionally grounded the ball in the second half, and no one complained boisterously.

We are tired of Kizer’s inaccuracy.  He was 20 of 37 on the day, a tick just over 50%, when in today’s NFL, the benchmark is 60%.

That inaccuracy goes with his seemingly terrible pocket presence.  He ran himself into a sack once again today.

And we are tired on seeing the Browns on defense for vast amounts of the game every week.

Today, the Ravens had the ball for 37 minutes, compared to 23 for Cleveland.  Is the defensive scheme perfect?  No.  However, that unit is on the field for long periods every game, due to the team’s lack of a commitment to the running game.

Browns’ fans deserve better.  This team won one game a year ago, and added a number of good players:  Garrett, Kevin Zeitler, JC Tretter, Jason McCourty, Njoku, etc., yet they are somehow worse.

The next installment of this horror film occurs next week in Chicago.  A very Merry Christmas Eve indeed.



Front Office Or Coach, Who’s More To Blame For Browns.

The football fans of Northeast Ohio are at odds with each other.

Should the Browns keep the front office intact two years after Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta, and Andrew Berry were put in charge of procuring players, and keep coach Hue Jackson, or should they keep Jackson and find a new director of football operations.

A third option would be to keep everyone in place for a third season.

Our opinion is that the front office stripped the team down to the bare bones following the 2015 season, and has started to put together a talented group of young players to grow and develop.

They haven’t addressed the quarterback position, but they will probably take care of that in this upcoming draft where they could have two top ten picks.

However, the offensive and defensive lines are strong, the linebackers are solid, and they seem to have a good group of tight ends.

This put them light years away from a couple of years ago when they simply weren’t good enough up front.

We have confidence that Brown and his cohorts in the front office will address the positions of weakness prior to next regular season.

Six players picked last season (2016) are currently starting:   WR Corey Coleman, WR Ricardo Louis, T Shon Coleman, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, LB Joe Schobert, and S Derrick Kindred.

Only Louis can be considered questionable of that group.

Four rookies are starting:  QB DeShone Kizer, DT Trevon Coley,  DE Myles Garrett, and S Jabrill Peppers.

Garrett looks like he is as advertised, a very good pass rusher and a guy who can make All Pro teams.

And don’t forget CB/S Briean Boddy-Calhoun, TE Randall Telfair, TE Seth DeValve, and DE Carl Nassib who have shown flashes.

Have all the front office’s personnel moves worked?  No, but name a team that is right 100% of the time in this area.

Our belief is that coach Hue Jackson is the bigger issue.

He started Kizer, a rookie and a second round pick from the opening game, but didn’t put in an offense that would’ve taken pressure off the kid, having him throwing downfield instead of running the ball and using a short passing game to help him out.

He also doesn’t seem to run the ball, Cleveland ranks 23rd in the NFL in rushing attempts, but is 12th in the league in yards per attempt.  Something just doesn’t add up.

Meanwhile, Jackson’s squad is next to last in yards per pass attempt but they throw the ball the 4th most times in the league.

These statistics seem to indicate a coach who is either trying to lose football games or simply doesn’t have a clue as to how to use his personnel correctly.

Football people say tight ends are a quarterback’s best friends, but Kizer doesn’t seem to have been taught to use them.  Rookie TE David Njoku has scored three touchdowns this year, but has caught just 20 passes, and plays less than 50% of the snaps.

Duke Johnson, another threat on offense, has caught 46 passes, the same number of rushing attempts he has on the season.  This means he doesn’t even get 10 touches from scrimmage per game.

Add that to clock management mistakes, accepting penalties when he shouldn’t, and a general lack of discipline, and the fingers should point to Jackson, first and foremost.

Can Jackson change?  He could, but we are skeptical because of the past.

The question we like to ask is this:  Would another coach have one, two, or even three wins at this point in the schedule.

If you answer truthfully, then you know where the issue is.



Might Be Unpopular, But It’s Time For Hue To Go.

The Cleveland Browns played a competitive game for three quarters last Sunday in London, before their defense tired and they lost by 17 to Minnesota.

So far, that loss has been the highlight of the week.

Monday, the New England Patriots traded reserve QB Jimmy Garoppolo to another 0-8 team, the San Francisco 49ers for a second round pick.  The Browns had interest in Garoppolo last spring, but the Patriots didn’t want to make a deal.

Then came the fiasco on Tuesday, in which, supposedly the team was dealing two picks (2nd and 3rd rounders) to Cincinnati for their backup QB, A.J. McCarron.

Yes, a guy who sits behind Andy Dalton.

However, allegedly a paperwork snafu nixed the deal, which is good because it’s not a good trade for the Browns.

The organization is looking bad and it appears the coaching staff is leaking tales of organizational dysfunction to the media.

Our solution is simple.  It’s time to fire Hue Jackson.

There is an obvious disconnect between the front office and the coaching staff, and quite frankly in our opinion, Jackson isn’t living up to his end of the bargain.

Most football people felt the best way to protect a 21-year-old rookie quarterback would be to run the ball and play solid defense.  No one expected a .500 season, but that formula should get the Browns a few victories, an improvement over last year’s single win.

This is a football team that really lost one player who was a major contributor a year ago, WR Terrelle Pryor.  They added two free agent offensive linemen, a solid veteran CB in Jason McCourty, and three rookies who start, #1 overall pick Myles Garrett, S Jabrill Peppers, and TE David Njoku.

Yet, somehow they are worse.

The defense, which ranked 29th in the NFL in average yards per running play a year ago, now leads the league in that category.

To compound things, Jackson is consistently throwing the front office under the bus, claiming a lack of talent and needing to play “perfect football” to win.

Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta, and Andrew Berry take the criticism for passing on Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, but it has been reported that the head coach wanted Jared Goff last season, and wanted to draft Malik Hooker at #12 last spring, not Watson.

Meanwhile, the front office has overhauled a roster that was starting these players for most of the 2015 season–

Karlos Dansby, now 36 years old with Arizona
Donte Whitner, 32, no longer in NFL
Tramon Williams, 34, now with Arizona
Paul Kruger, 31, no longer in NFL
Randy Starks, 34, no longer in NFL

All those players started 14 games for Cleveland in 2015.

Is the front office perfect?  No, they let Mitchell Schwartz, now starting for perhaps the best team in the league in Kansas City, walk away.

They traded LB Demario Davis, who could help the current roster as well.

The roster isn’t a finished product.  The Browns still need help at quarterback and wide receiver, a stud running back, and help in the defensive secondary.

In our opinion the Brown and his crew know this, and this will be the focus of the off-season.

Jackson is supposed to be an expert on quarterbacks, but just what is that based on?  Who has he really made an top flite passer? Dalton?  Joe Flacco?  Certainly, not any of the men he has had with the Browns.

The Browns need everyone in the organization to be on the same page.  And right now, that is not the case.

We get it would not be a popular decision.  Jackson is well liked within NFL circles, while Brown and DePodesta are seen as outsiders.

But who has done a better job over the last two years?  It seems silly to reward the guy who seems to be coaching an offensive scheme for players he wishes he had, not the players currently on the roster.





Browns Keep Firing Long Passes, Lose Once Again

So, the biggest news of the week for pro football fans in Cleveland was that Kevin Hogan was named the starting quarterback, giving rookie DeShone Kizer time to watch and learn.

Surely, the way Hogan played in the second half last week, getting the ball to David Njoku, Seth DeValve, and Duke Johnson, would carry over to this week and we would see a more efficient offensive game.

And early on, it seemed to work.  Heck, the Browns even picked up two first downs on their first drive, an improvement from the usual three and out.

The Browns even tied up the game at 3 in the first quarter after pinning Houston deep in their own territory after a punt and getting a good return from Jabrill Peppers.

After the Texans scored on a deep pass, the Browns were moving again, mostly using the ground game to get the football in the red zone.

After Hogan overthrew the ball on first down, his next pass was another overthrow picked off by Johnathon Joseph and run back 82 yards for a touchdown.

That seemed to be the end of the running and short passing game.

And Hue Jackson’s squad dropped to 0-6 on the season with a 33-17 loss, and are now 1-21 during his tenure as head coach.

After that interception, Cleveland ran the ball just twice the rest of the first half, and that turnover occurred with 11:08 left in the second quarter!

Cleveland trailed 24-3 at halftime, and was lucky it wasn’t worse.  They got the ball back with slightly over three minutes to go in the half, and threw three passes, two of them deep throws, giving Houston the ball back with 2:33 left.

Luckily, the defense held.

Our point is if you are going to run that type of offense, there is really no reason not to play Kizer, he is more suited and has the bigger arm to throw the ball downfield.

As a result of this type of offense, the Browns were just three of 14 in third down conversions, a woeful 21.4%.  That doesn’t help the defense of course.

Duke Johnson, a player one of the Browns’ own coaches said is a threat every time he touches the ball, had five carries and caught three passes.

The two tight ends, Njoku and DeValve?  Both caught two passes.

Meanwhile, Jackson has his quarterbacks heaving 20-25 yard patterns on a week to week basis.

Thank goodness for Myles Garrett, who had another sack today, his third in two games, and had five tackles total.

We liked Deshaun Watson coming out of Clemson, but he didn’t do anything today that knocked our socks off.  He is just in a better system and has some playmakers surrounding him.

Texans’ coach Bill O’Brien didn’t ask his rookie to make a lot of throws outside the numbers, the way Jackson does with his passers.  Watson makes a lot of short tosses in the middle of the field.

Which is what we would like to see the Browns do with Kizer.

The one positive we can think of is Zane Gonzalez made a field goal today, a 41-yarder.  He needed that.

Another telling sign on the Browns coaching was 11 penalties.  Granted Cleveland has the youngest roster in the NFL, but the yellow flags are a constant issue.  Doesn’t that reflect on the staff?

We all know the definition of insanity.  Yet, Jackson doesn’t seem to want to do anything differently on offense.  He continues to chuck long throws to a mediocre wide receiver crew.

Name another team in watching other games that throws deep ball this often.

Bringing up the insanity thing again…maybe the fans fall in the same category.



Decisions In Red Zone Cost Browns.

We are sure most of the focus of today’s 17-14 loss by the Cleveland Browns to the New York Jets will be on Hue Jackson’s decision to remove DeShone Kizer at halftime.

However, that shouldn’t mask the terrible coaching decisions made during the game.  Although the smile on fans’  faces after watching Myles Garrett, who recorded two sacks in his debut, shouldn’t be discounted.

Quite frankly, the Browns dominated this football game, particularly in the first half, which ended with Cleveland trailing 3-0.

In total, the Browns gained 419 yards offensively, compared to 212 by the Jets.  And they still lost.

With this one-sided statistical edge, Jackson should have to answer for a case of trying to be too cute offensively when his team got into the red zone.

The first time the brown and orange got inside the Jets’ 20, Cleveland ran an option pitch on third down, the first time the play has been used all year.

The pitch went off of Isaiah Crowell’s hands and was recovered by New York, so instead of at least three points (more on that later), the Browns were kept off the scoreboard.

Later, on the Browns’ next possession, rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez missed a 52-yard field goal.  More to come on that front.

The next time Cleveland got the ball close, on a 3rd down and three from the Jets’ four, Kizer threw an interception when it looked as if had he floated the ball over the safety, it would have been a TD pass to TE Seth DeValve.

Before the half ended, Gonzalez missed another field goal, this one much more makeable, from 39 yards.  It’s tough to keep missing opportunities to score points.

So, instead of 20 points possible in the first half.  Jackson’s team emerged with zero, a combination of crazy play calling, execution by the rookie QB, and poor special teams play, mostly by the kicker.

In the second half, Kevin Hogan, who completed 16 of his 19 throws for 194 yards and two touchdowns, seemed to have more rhythm with the attack, and also looked more amenable to getting the ball to the teams’ best offensive players:  Crowell, Duke Johnson, and tight ends David Njoku and DeValve.

But another curious decision came in to play.  Down 10-7 in the fourth quarter, the Browns had a 4th and 2 from the Jets’ three.  A field goal ties the score, and even with Gonzalez’ issues, he has to be counted on to make a 20 yard attempt, right?

Instead, the coach wasted a timeout, and ran Crowell up the middle, and he wasn’t even close.

That the defense, who was dominant for most of the day allowed a 97 yard drive didn’t help matters, but why not keep the momentum and tie the contest?

Cleveland ran 33 times today, but a closer look at the numbers shows than 10 of those attempts were by the quarterbacks.

Johnson had just nine touches, and produced 83 yards, including a 41 yard run after catching a screen pass.

Njoku scored his third touchdown in five games.  Why aren’t the Browns using him more?

Removing Kizer was the right decision in our opinion.  He was hurting the team’s chances at a victory.  He holds the ball to long and the inaccuracy he was plagued with in college is rearing its’ ugly head.

It’s time for the rookie to watch for awhile, and we would definitely start Hogan next week against the Texans.

He’s earned the gig.

Besides stubbornness, trying to show people how smart you are is our least favorite attribute in coaches.  Sometimes the obvious move is the right one.

Jackson has showed each of those things in the last two weeks.





Five Wins Would Be Real Progress For Browns.

The Cleveland Browns open their 2017 season Sunday afternoon at First Energy Stadium against their rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Hue Jackson’s crew is coming off a 1-15 season, so hopes aren’t exactly high for a playoff spot, the first since 2002 for the brown and orange.

To some fans and people in the media, anything short of a post-season berth will be considered a failure, but we feel this will be a successful season, even without extra games, that is if the Browns, the youngest team in the NFL, start showing progress, and start to develop some star players.

First of all, the organization is seeing if they indeed have a young quarterback they can develop.  Second round pick DeShone Kizer will be the youngest starter in the league this fall, and here’s hoping Jackson can bring him along slowly by running the ball and playing defense.

Gregg Williams may be the most important free agent signing of the off-season, coming to Cleveland to be the defensive coordinator.  Williams has directed six top ten defenses (in terms of yards allowed) in 15 seasons heading up a defense.

He has brought an attacking style to the unit, and he has some potentially very good youngsters to work with, players like first overall pick Myles Garrett (who may not play in the opener), Emmanuel Ogbah, Christian Kirksey, Jamie Collins, and first round pick Jabrill Peppers.

The defense should be able to keep Cleveland in games this season, and that will ease the burden on Kizer, so he will not have to put the ball in the air 40+ times in many games.

Isaiah Crowell is another who should help in this regard.  Crowell fell just short of 1,000 yards a year ago, and with an improved offensive line, bolstered  by free agent signees Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter.

We should learn about progress from last year’s draft class, which many considered a bust at various times during last season.

The following players drafted in 2016 are considered starters this season:  WR Corey Coleman, RT Shon Coleman, Ogbah, MLB Joe Schobert, and S Derrick Kindred.

Add Garrett, Peppers, Kizer, and K Zane Gonzalez to that quintet, and you have nine starters obtained in the last two drafts.

And that doesn’t take into account Peppers impact in the return game, another factor that should help an inexperienced passer.

We also expect TE Seth DeValve, WR Ricardo Louis, and DE Carl Nassib, three more players drafted in ’16 to get considerable playing time and make impacts.

If the Browns can get to five wins with these young players as central figures, the people hammering last year’s draft choices will have a lot of crow to eat.

The front office is still getting a lot of criticism from around the league, and we believe this is because they aren’t traditional “football guys”, and they are doing things a little differently.

For example, we’ve heard them getting toasted for making the trade for Brock Osweiler and a second round pick, the most important thing in the deal, because of the cap hit they are taking.

Then you realize the Browns are still over $60 million under that cap.

The key word for this Browns’ season is progress.  Progress in the win column, and progress of the players drafted a year ago.

The 2017 campaign could be the beginning of the rebirth of a franchise that has been down for many, many years.



Browns Draft Athleticism For Most Part

After all the rumors about the Browns taking local favorite Mitchell Trubisky with the first overall pick, common sense took over and they selected pass rusher Myles Garrett with Texas A & M with the choice.

Garrett was at the top of most analysts draft boards, so Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta didn’t overthink it, they took the best player available, which you should if you have the first pick in the draft.

As we have written before, we have followed the Browns for over 50 years, and they’ve never had a dominant pass rusher.  Hopefully, they filled that need today.

As for possible scenarios talked about during the day of the draft, that is trading up from #12 for Trubisky, those plans were thwarted when the Bears moved up to #2 to take the Mentor native.

There were several potentially good players waiting with the Browns’ second first round choice, but instead of taking Ohio State S Malik Hooker or Deshaun Watson, they traded with Houston, who did take the Clemson QB.

In return, Cleveland picked up another first round pick in 2018 and received the Texans’ 25th selection this year.

This gives the Browns five picks in the first two rounds next year, and infuriated fans who wanted the team to take somebody, anybody.

When they finally picked at #25, they took versatile defender Jabrill Peppers from Michigan.

We would have to classify this as new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ new toy, as we would bet he will primarily be a strong safety, but he can be used near the line of scrimmage too, and also fills a need as a punt returner.

The best thing we can say about Peppers is he’s a football player.  He can be used all over the place, and he played at a big time program which this regime likes.

There was one more move to be made when Cleveland moved back into the first round to take the 29th pick to take Miami TE David Njoku, another freaky athlete.

Our guess is it will not be long before Gary Barnidge is let go by the Browns, as he is over 30 years old, and this front office doesn’t seem to want anyone of that ilk besides Joe Thomas.

What do all of these picks have in common?  They are phenomenal athletes.  If you watched the NFL Combine, you saw what Garrett can do.  He’s got speed, power, and great leaping ability.

Peppers played some tailback at Michigan as well as his defensive duties, and at the combine, did drills with the linebackers and the secondary players.

Njoku is considered a rare athlete, with speed agility and explosiveness.  He’s only 20 years old, so he can get bigger as he matures.

As for the quarterback, remember that the draft did not end last night.  There are still six rounds to go and the Browns have a lot of picks.

Second, even if Cleveland would have drafted a QB last night, we would have started Cody Kessler at the beginning of the season anyway.  And if they draft a guy today, there is no pressure to start him right away.

If you are one of the quarterback obsessed, we understand you are not happy with the what happened last night in regards to the Cleveland Browns.

However, if you are about adding talent to a football team that needs it, you are happy today.  The Browns have helped their defense, and whoever the starting quarterback will be in 2017.