Archive for the ‘Cleveland Browns’ Category

Quarterback Harassments – The Full Story

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Defensive lineman Desmond Bryant was the Browns’ most efficient pass rusher last season (Photo: Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

This past Saturday, veteran columnist Terry Pluto briefly discussed the Browns’ 2013 defensive struggles. Pluto pointed out a number of statistics that proved just how misleading Cleveland’s ninth place ranking in yards allowed really was. As anyone who watched could attest, the team’s primary struggles came on third down, leading to sustained drives, and eventually, a hell of a lot of points for the opposition. None of this is surprising or new, but another stat Pluto included in his column did get my attention. (more…)

Uncovering the Athletes: SPARQ Concepts and the Cleveland Browns

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Second-year defensive back Josh Aubrey (#37) possesses an impressive combination of speed and power (Photo: Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

Just before Independence Day, writer Chris Wesseling wrote about the Seattle Seahawks’ recent success with late round draft choices, and the team’s connection to Nike’s SPARQ rating for athletic ability. SPARQ stands for speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness, and its calculation for football uses numbers from several of the drills players run at the NFL Scouting Combine and their pro days. According to Wesseling’s research, Seahawks strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle helped develop the SPARQ formula, and SB Nation site has covered Seattle’s connection in great depth. Unfortunately, Nike no longer makes the SPARQ calculator available on its website, but there are still ways to approximate values based on information that is available. With this in mind, I’ve crunched some numbers to find out which young, late round or undrafted players currently on the Browns roster are the most impressive athletes, and could, in turn, emerge as contributors once the regular season starts. (more…)

Pettine’s Recipe on Offense will Borrow from the Champs

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Seattle’s success with Russell Wilson could ultimately help Johnny Manziel win Cleveland’s quarterback competition (Photo: USA TODAY Sports) Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

After an arrest for DWI in North Carolina, it is obvious that Josh Gordon is incapable of staying out of his own way. The NFL’s reigning leader in receiving yards was already facing a probable year-long ban for repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, before Saturday’s news further frustrated his employers and fans. The Browns were hopeful that Gordon’s suspension might be reduced on appeal, but the 23-year old receiver’s most recent brush with the law is a laugh in the face of that hope, slamming the door on any chances of Gordon playing meaningful football this season, and maybe ever suiting up for Cleveland again. It’s an unfortunate story, written by one of the most (if not the most) naturally gifted athletes ever to suit up for the new Browns.

There is no question that the weekend DWI is extremely disappointing to the team’s coaching staff and front office, but the Browns have been preparing themselves for life without Gordon since about two weeks before news of a failed drug test first leaked on Day Two of the draft. There were no reactionary draft picks in rounds two through seven, but the organization did add veterans Earl Bennett (since released) and Miles Austin in an effort to bolster the receiving corps. There is no replacing Gordon, but there are ways to minimize the impact of his loss. In fact, the wheels have probably been in motion to reduce the importance of the number one receiver since the 2013 season ended. After all, despite Gordon’s gaudy statistics, The Browns finished their last campaign with 11 or more losses for the sixth year in a row. For all of the flash on paper, last year’s offensive formula under Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner was a failure on the field, so Jimmy Haslam hired a new team of chemists for the lab this season. First-year Head Coach Mike Pettine has brought in former Texans and Redskins coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and together they are borrowing a blueprint that should transform the Cleveland offense into something vastly different in 2014. (more…)

2014 Cleveland Browns Rookie Preview: Chris Kirksey

Friday, May 30th, 2014 Editor: Brendan Leister

As the NFL game changes and evolves, teams are constantly making an effort to become more innovative.  Offenses are playing at faster paces and employing multiple formations all while using the same personnel packages.  Adding to the stress that these tactics put on defenses, offenses are also finding skill players that can be moved around the formation and excel in the run game along with the pass game.  To combat this, defenses are forced to find versatile players that have the skills to play in space while also having the ability to be a force in the run game.  Finding these “jack-of-all-trades” types can be a challenge much of the time, but the Cleveland Browns seem to have found a player that fits the mold in linebacker Chris Kirksey. (more…)

Cleveland Browns 53-Man Roster Prediction: Memorial Day Weekend Edition

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Trading a defensive lineman like Ahtyba Rubin could open a roster spot for the Browns this summer (Photo: Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

Browns players are breaking from OTAs for the holiday weekend, and things will pick back up Tuesday. But there is never a dull moment for this franchise, as we’ve already been treated to the national media pouting about being left off the rookie minicamp invite list, and of course, the phony baloney (or Vienna Sausage?) lawsuit against rookie QB Johnny Manziel. Fun times. Amid all of this excitement, I have been trying to predict who will make the team when the preseason ends – a futile, but fun exercise in clairvoyance. if I’m right, then I’m a genius. If I’m wrong? Well, it’s May, so get off my back. I started with the defense, since that figures to be the strength of Cleveland’s football team this year, and worked my way all the way down to long snapper. Oh, and I’ve predicted 54 names. Thank you, Josh Gordon. Here’s a look… (more…)

2014 NFL Draft: Day Three Recap – Farmer Sticks to his Board

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

Small-school cornerback Pierre Desir was the only player drafted by the Browns on Saturday (Photo: Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

The Browns headed into Day Three of the 2014 NFL Draft with only two picks remaining: the fourth round selection they had acquired from the Colts for last year’s fifth round pick, and their own seventh rounder. With no receivers selected on the first two days, the natives were restless, and clamoring for pass catching help in wake of the pending banishment of Josh Gordon. Cleveland General Manager Ray Farmer was unfazed, and never wavered from his plan. Having known of Gordon’s issues for about two weeks, Farmer apparently continued to enact the plan he’d had in place for months. The Browns never panicked, stuck to their board, and came away with one excellent value, and a future sixth round pick. (more…)

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