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  • Published: Aug 26th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
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News, Notes & Rumors Week 3 of the preseason

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News

Later this week I will post the AFC and NFC projections for the league.

When asked which team might be a surprising team, Chris Mortensen of ESPN suggested the Browns will “make it very interesting in the AFC North.”  He mentioned the improvement of QB Brandon Weeden in the new offense and the additions on the defensive line.  Needless to say that was before the Browns choked at Indy.

The Steelers traded to get RB Felix Jones from the Eagles.  Steelers’ 2nd round pick RB Le’Veon Bell has a lisfranc injury in his foot.  It is not a good idea to draft a back that has carried the ball as much as Bell did at Michigan State.  His injury could not have been a surprise.  Look for Jones to be a significant factor this year for the Steelers but the running game will struggle.

“DANGER—DANGER”  The first team of the Pats turned the ball over on 4 of their first 5 possessions against the Lions Friday night.  QB Tom Brady has been harassed consistently in the first 3 preseason games.  Brady looked disgusted with the play of his team.  Those are not good signs for the Pats.  The good news is the Pats are in the AFC Least with no real competition for the division title and the playoff spot.

Several major injuries marred week 3 of preseason.  The Cards lost OG Jonathan Cooper for the year with a broken leg.  The Jets saw QB Mark Sanchez go down with an injury to his throwing shoulder.  It does not look to be significant.  The Giants lost S Stevie Brown for the year with an ACL. That is a big injury for the G Men because he had 8 picks last year.  OLB Jarvis Jones (PT) was hospitalized after an undisclosed lung injury.  It sounds similar to what OLB Barkevious Mingo (CL) experienced.

Former Browns QB Colt McCoy has won the backup spot for the 49ers.

Colt McCoy

Colt McCoy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Notes:

The Raiders cannot start QB Matt Flynn if they expect to have a decent season.  He has looked miserable in the last two preseason games.  There is a reason he was a very late round draft choice coming out of LSU.  Against the Bears in game 3 he threw two picks and generated 0 points in almost a half under center.  Former Buckeye Terrelle Pryor seems to be the only QB that can survive behind a very offensive O line.  In four drives Pryor generated 20 points with the 2nd team O of the Raiders.  While Pryor was moving the team to scores, Flynn was sulking on the sideline and not even wearing his head piece to listen to the play calls.

The Seahawks O line issues continued in week 3.  QB Russell Wilson did throw a pick but had another because the O line did not keep the D line’s hands down.  The O of the Hawks can be explosive ONLY if they can solve the O line issues.  The D looks fine.

Chiefs’ QB Alex Smith has not targeted WR Dwayne Bowe yet this preseason.  It could be that by the time Smith makes his drop and turns around Bowe is out of range of his arm.  Don’t expect Smith to throw much down field.  That is not what he does best.  The team has also struggled to protect Smith. He needs good protection to be successful.

Rumors:

Lion head coach Jim Schwartz has to get his team back into the playoffs to save his job.  The Lions commit way too many penalties and Schwartz seems to be unable to correct that.

Bills’ QB Kevin Kolb’s concussion could end his career.  The Bills signed Matt Leinart and traded for Thaddeus Lewis for insurance.

The 49ers are trying to trade QB Colt McCoy.  So far there are no takers.  That is no surprise to Browns fans.

Jet HC Rex Ryan is taking a lot of heat from the NY Media over his decision to put QB Sanchez into a preseason game after QB Geno Smith threw 3 picks.  Sanchez got hurt.  As usual, Ryan is giving as good as he gets.  But this is the beginning of the end for Ryan in NY.  He is a nice guy but like so many others is a much better coordinator than HC.

QB Terrelle Pryor is getting first team reps with the Raiders because the Matt Flynn experiment is not going well.  Flynn will “rest” his elbow this week and Pryor will start.  Look for Pryor to end up as the #1 soon.  Flynn has proven he is not a starter in the NFL.

The Packers like what they see in QB Vince Young.  Look for him to be the #2 in Green Bay.

That’s what I think.  Tell us what you think.

You can listen to the podcasts at http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro football teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/. 

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  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 12th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on News, Notes & Rumors after Week 1 of the preseason

News, Notes & Rumors after Week 1 of the preseason

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Brett Favre in Confessions Of An NFL QB Drama ...

Brett Favre in Confessions Of An NFL QB Drama Queen (Photo credit: DavidErickson)

News, Notes & Rumors after Week 1 of the preseason

News
The injury bug seems to be alive and well despite a reduced uniformed practice schedule this season.  The injury de jure seems to be the dreaded torn ACL.  There were no ACL injuries on the first week of games.  All of them occurred during practice.
The NFL is still trying to get the 18 game season into the minds of the fans.  While preseason games are not popular, there will be a lot of player pressure against the move.  The NFL is even reducing the ticket cost of preseason games.  One thing that has not been talked about is the effect that 2 preseason games will have on the ability of undrafted players to make a team.  With the much more restricted practice schedule, the only real opportunity an undrafted player has is in preseason games.  Two less games will give the new guys only one game to show they belong.  The first preseason game will be used to prepare the starters for the season.
Browns color guy Bernie Kosar has been widely crushed for his opinions about the play of Rams players.  First, there is no Constitutional Guarantee for freedom from being insulted.  Second, if a color guy cannot express his opinion, why have one?   Rams Coach Jeff Fisher needs to get a lot thinker skin.  Jeff, shut up and pick better players.
 
Notes
Starting QBs that could be replaced–Josh Freeman TB looked very shaky against the Ravens.  He did not have his starting OGs and was not productive.  He is in the last year of his rookie deal and will be gone unless he shows he is a franchise QB.
Mark Sanchez NJ should not have been an early 1st round pick.  He has not developed and is now in a QB duel.  He will be remembered forever in NFL circles for the Butt Fumble.  His best chance of keeping the job might be the ankle injury to Geno Smith but that is reported to be minor.
Blaine Gabbert JK has not developed and some of that is on the coaches.  The Jags just need to find someone that can move the ball.  Gabbert has regressed in his time there and needs to find his game to keep the job.
Christan Ponder MN is not developing.  The best thing he has going for him is that the backup is Matt Cassel and he has already proven he is not a quality starter.
Payton Manning DV—Just kidding although the Broncos did run 3 plays out of the pistol while he was in.  Don’t expect Payton to run the ball any time soon.
 
Many teams need backup QBs – The backup is much more critical this season than ever before.  Due to a rule change if a player suffers a possible head hit he must be taken into the locker room to get tested for a concussion.  That could mean a starting QB could be out as much as a quarter and a half even if he is not injured just for the test.
The Pack had Graham Harrell at QB2 last year.  If Aaron Rodgers gets hurt the season is over unless the team finds a better 2.  Harrell turns the ball over way too much.  The Pack is close to SB quality unless he has to play QB for any extended time.  Good news for Harrell is that the expected challenger is Vince Young who couldn’t make the Bills roster last year.
According to Kosar, the Rams could use a better backup than Kellen Clemens.  I agree with Kosar.
The 49ers traded for Colt McCoy.  In his first game for the team he did what he does best—get hurt.  Colt will likely be out for the year and the team needs a QB2 as well.  So far neither Scott Tolzien nor B.J. Daniels look like they can play at this level.
The Falcons are searching for a backup.  Dominique Davis is the current backup but he has yet to prove he can handle the job.  He has never thrown a pass in a game and is backed up by two rookie QBs.
Players that caught my eye—RG2 Lane Taylor GB The undrafted RFA did very well on the run and the pass.  He is someone to watch given the issues and age of the OL.
FS2 Tyrann Mathieu AZ had a standout game and should unseat Rashad Johnson very soon.  Mathieu just makes plays.  That is exactly what the Cards need at FS IF he can stay away from trouble.
FB2 Zack Line MN not only can block but is a receiver as well.  I talked about him on my show before the draft and in his first game looked like a player.
J.D. Woods PT really showed his ability to catch.  He had to try to catch balls thrown by John Parker Wilson.  Woods’ first catch was well over his head.  The second one was thrown out of bounds but he caught it and got both feet down.
Sloppy games of the Week—Bucs/Ravens game had more flags than the UN does.  Both teams looked shaky on O and shot themselves in the foot on a regular basis with penalties and turnovers.
Steelers/Giants was a turnover fest that included muffed punts, RBs running into the QB in their own endzone and missed passes, fumbles, and blocked punts.  The final was 18-13 with most of the points coming off mistakes.
 
Rumors
While Chip Kelly offense looked pretty common, the D did not.  Kelly has prohibited tackling to the ground at Eagle practices.  It looked like the Bird D forgot it is legal to tackle during a game.  There were more whiffs than you see at most Cleveland Indian games.  Look for the tackle rules to change at practice.
The Packers CBs got burned a lot and things will not get better until they get the starting CBs back.  Given the issues with the 2nd unit, look for the Pack to be watching the cut lists very carefully.
Before the draft I talked about WR Kenny Stills as a late round value.  The Saints took him in the 5th round.  Although there were some glitches in his first preseason outing, the Saints think a lot of him.  He could win the 3rd WR spot this year.
The Rams rookie WR Tavon Austin was very quiet in the game vs. the Browns.  Coach Jeff Fisher said the team had to get Austin more involved in the O.  While he can return kicks, getting him more involved in the passing game will be harder.  There is no question about his speed but he is very short.  The key to getting him more involved will be getting him down the sideline from the slot. That would match him against shorter DBs.  It would help if there was any other receiver that could threaten the D.  So far there have been more drops than catches by the Rams group.
Undrafted QB Matt McGloin (Raiders) has moved ahead of 4th round pick Tyler Wilson for the #3 QB spot according to the San Francisco Chronicle.  But don’t trust McGloin to make the team.  He has serious flaws as a passer.  He improved a lot at Penn State in his senior year but Wilson is a quality prospect.  A lot of NFL teams would love a shot at Wilson as a key backup.
The Seahawks are looking for a solid backup to RB Marshawn Lynch.  They may have found one in ex Texas A&M back Christine Michael.  He had 89 yards in 16 carries for a 5.6 yards per carry average.  He blocks well and can play FB or HB and even a little TE.
The sudden retirement of Cowboy OG Brandon Moore has the team scrambling for a vet.  ESPN reports that they are after former Pats’ OG Brian Waters who retired in 2012.
Don’t bet on Bills QB Kevin Kolb to be the starter.  E.J. Manuel is coming on strong and Kolb cannot stand that type of pressure.
Fantasy Football comments:
Look for SF QB Colin Kaepernick to explode this year.  In the months leading up to the 2011 draft I talked a lot about him.  He has had an entire off season as the starter unlike last year when he was getting backup reps.  He said he is faster than last year which should scare NFC Ds to death.  Don’t worry about him losing WR Michael Crabtree or about him getting hurt running the ball.  He has a lot of weapons and is a very solid guy that never seems to take a big hit.
Don’t draft any KC receivers unless you are in a PPR league.  QB Alex Smith does not have a strong arm.  The vast majority of his throws will fly less than 8 yards under the WCO of Coach Andy Reed.
KC RB Charles will also be a risk.  Reed likes to pass a lot.  He passed a league high 61% of the time last season in Philly.  While Charles may get some short TDs, he will not get enough carries to get a bunch of yards.  He will catch a bunch of passes however.
Eagle RB McCoy is going in picks 9 or 10 in most draft leagues.  Remember that at Oregon Kelly ran the ball over 60% of the time.  If he stays healthy McCoy should get a lot of carries and catch some passes as well.
That is what I think.  Tell me what you think.
You can listen to the NNR podcasts at http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro football teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He also edits .

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Live Game Notes From Browns/Chiefs

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Brandon Weeden watches the BCS Unveiling

Brandon Weeden watches the BCS Unveiling (Photo credit: ShuttrKing|KT)

 

Live game notes from Browns/Chiefs

Great start by allowing the Chief to run 80 yards for a TD on the first play.

 

-KC 7 CL 0

 

Thomas watched the DE beat Watson and sack Weeden.

 

After a first down the O folds like a paper airplane and punts

 

=

 

Great throw to Bowe set the Chiefs up for a score but the FG was no good.  Haden and Bowe were so cute holding hands all the way down the field.

 

 

As usual the team drives the ball to a 1st and goal at the 2 and can’t score 7.  The coach seems to like the fade pass for the score but we have yet to make it work.  How about calling something that does work?

 

=KC 7 CL 3

 

The off side gives the team a 1st down.

 

Haden should have been called for holding on the pass to the sideline.

 

The Browns returned the punt for a TD.  However, there were at least 2 holds during the return that were not called.  It is about time the team gets a break.  With our luck it will be in the leg of a top player.

 

-CL 10 KC 7

 

Great play by Haden on the run wide.  He is becoming a stud both against the run and the pass.  That is what is necessary to be a complete CB.

 

 

The long pass to Little was not over thrown.  Little quit on the pattern.

 

Brown go 3 and out from their 8 yard line.

 

Skrine must do down field under control on the punt coverage.  Too often he misses the tackle because he is not under control.

 

=

 

Winn pressured Quinn to force the throw away.

 

 

Weeden is so much more comfortable in the shotgun you have to wonder why he is not allowed to be there more often.  Good pass to Little for the 1st.

 

The Browns get another break on a 6 yard pass on 3rd and 13.  The penalty gives the team a 1st.

 

Hali did a great job reading the screen pass.

 

After a block in the back penalty the team is forced to punt.

 

Another bad punt by Hodges.

 

=

 

The D blitz forces a sack by Rucker.

 

After giving up a long TD and a drive inside the 10 DC Jauron made some adjustments and the D has played well.

 

 

Gordon catches the slant for a big 1st.

 

Weeden shows he is not feeling pressure as he gets sacked holding the ball too long.

 

=

 

Half

 

Double reverse works well for 15 yards

 

Watson prevents the pick by Berry by knocking the ball out of the DBs hands.

 

Shurmur should not have challenged the call on the wildcat run by Cribbs.  It was CLEAR that Cribbs was down at the 1.  Somebody should take the Red flag away from Shurmur.  He is not smart enough to know when to throw it.

 

Good run and middle push by the Browns OL for the TD.

 

=CL 17 KC 7

 

After two runs by Quinn Brown tips a pass that is picked off by Gibson.

 

 

Nice pass to Gordon to the 2.  Weeden did a better job of reading  the coverage.

 

The stupid shifting bites the team when the TD is called back due to a penalty.

 

A 2nd TD is called back on a foul on Richardson.

 

Again a pass is well short of the goal line so that the team was forced to kick the FG.

 

=CL 20 KC 7

 

The Chiefs get a 1st on a Charles run but then were forced to punt.

 

The D continues to prevent drives.  It is playing well.

 

 

Nice drive by the Browns to the 2.  The run by Little was very effective.

 

After a fumble at the goal line by Hardesty is recovered by the Browns, TRich takes it in.

 

=CL 27 KC 7

 

Hughes gets a sack forcing a 3 and out.

 

 

Nice drive again but a loss on a run ride cost them a shot at a TD.

 

=CL 30 KC 7

 

The D plays soft allowing the Chefs to drive but lose the ball on a failed 4th down play at the 20 of Cleveland.

 

 

Another 3 and out after a pass short of the LTG.

 

=

 

Good pressure on 2nd down by Winn.  He is becoming a solid DT.

 

On 3rd Sheard gets the sack.  The Chefs are 1-11 on 3rd down coversions.

 

 

There is a Colt McCoy sighting in mop up.

 

 

 

Conclusions:

 

The Browns are limited by the offensive playcalling of Pat Shurmur.  Two more wins will probably save his job but it shouldn’t.  He is still making bad decisions right and left.  With Shurmur at the helm the Browns will never win consistently.  He is not qualified to be head coach.  While he has shown a bit of improvement, the team is too good now to put up with his stupid calls.

 

These are the issues that prevent Shurmur from becoming a winning HC.  He is incapable of making adjustments offensively.  I am not sure if he just doesn’t see what is preventing the O from moving or is not sure how to adjust to make it work.  Either way, he should never be allowed to call the O.

 

He also fails to do the HC job.  The issues with running different player groups in and out still exist.  That complicates the offense and does not permit Weeden to develop timing with a stable group of WRs.  He should keep Little and Gordon as the starters with a TE or two.  Weeden needs all the reps he can get with the guys that will be on the field the most.  Bringing in WRs based on some lottery system is not working.

 

Weeden is not developing he is regressing.  Early in the season he was not staring down his receiver but he is now.  He is not seeing the field well either.  While all QBs miss open receivers, Weeden makes up his mind where the ball will go before the snap and fails to see an opening.  While it may be that he still doesn’t trust his protection.  The blocking has gotten better for the pass but not the run.

 

Don’t blame TRich for his low average per attempt numbers.  The run blocking scheme is a mess.  The guards are not getting to the second level.  Even teams that struggle against the run look like super stars against the Browns.  Richardson is an outstanding back.  But even great backs need to get holes to make yardage.  The blocking scheme is old and tired.  It needs to be updated.  If the current OL cannot open holes they should be replaced.

 

Some people are talking about TRich dancing behind the line.  He is looking for anything that even could develop into a running lane.  He is also playing hurt without a word of complaint.  I had 12 broken ribs and torn rib cartledge.   I know what kind of pain he is in.  Trust me when I say I could NEVER have played with that pain.

 

The receivers have improved however it does not seem to be due to coaching.  The improvement has more to do with the need to impress the new ownership than good coaching.

 

Overall, my choice would be to keep Heckert and Jauron but lose Shurmur.

 

That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.

 

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

 

He edits .  Follow him @NNRonDSN.

 

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  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 29th, 2012
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

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Tune in to the Browns Half time show at Mooheadradio.com and the post game show at http://mooheadradio.com/2.5/?page_id=21

Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

Great first call with a 28 yard pass to Gordon

Pinkston penalty  2nd guy always gets caught

Smith can catch but cannot run the ball.  Great read by Weeden throwing the crossing route vs zone

Play was late coming in and the confusion by Weeden of the defense caused a TO

New owner Jimmy Hasslam has to worry about the empty seats in the stadium.

Make up call against the Eagles on the off side.

Hardesty does not have very good vision.   That is a problem.

Hardesty spinning is a problem as well.  He just doesn’t look like an NFL back to me

Weeden arm strength obvious on the pass to MoMass

The leakage on the right side is going to be a huge problem

MoMass needed to go a little further on the out route.

Good throw by Weeden.

It is hard to run wide against a wide 9 D.

Hardesty cannot give up that much yardage in the redzone

Holding against Pinkston shows a problem at guard.  He is better than early last year but has a long way to go.

Screen pass that went VERY BAD on the Weeden fumble.  Pinkston has to get a better block on a screen pass.  Thomas also gave up way too much ground.

=

Great play by D.  Good pass rush great coverage on the Haden pick off.

Great play recognition by Rubin on the pass rush.

Benjamin was open and Weeden missed him.

WAY too many 3rd and long situations.  No Offense can be successful always facing 3rd and 7 or more.

Incompletion to Little was as much on him as QB.   It looked like the ball was out before Little made his break

=7:51

Ward is doing a lot better job on covering this year.

Great read by DT Winn on the sweep cutting down the RB in the backfield.

Very solid coverage by DBs on 3rd down.  Good pressure by Sheard.  Eagles were holding but that was not called.

Little recognizes the pressure and came back to help his QB.  He attacked the ball which is good to see.

Hardesty fumbles again.  Cannot have that.

=5:34

Haden great read on the screen.  He broke through and got the tackle.

JMJ lost track of the TE.  TD Philly. 0-7 4:18

O line false start really hurt.

Hardesty had lots of room outside on 2nd down but didn’t see it.

3RD and 15.

Browns O line cannot keep 2ND Philly D off Weeden.   Both OTs allow penetration and Thomas’ guy caused the fumble.

Punt blocked right up the gut.   Blocker was untouched.  Hanna let him in clean.

=2:43

TD Pass to Lewis vs Ward.  0-14 2:00

Cameron drops the ball on a sideline route.  Leakage over Schwartz again.

Another 4 yard pass on 3rd and long.  Just cannot do that.

Schwartz gives up the sack.

Long punt that is not covered well gives up a long return.

2nd quarter

It does not look like the Browns are ready to play.  Just missing critical blocks, lanes, and balls.

The O can’t move the ball vs the Eagles 2nd unit at all.

Browns 2nd D gets fooled by cut of WR Johnson.

Fort misses the tackle cleaned up by Robertson.

1ST team CB Brown gets burned by speed for the near TD.

Rookie WR just missed getting the 2nd foot down and did not hold the ball to the ground.

0-17 13:31

Jackson misses the pass right off his hands.  I thought he was supposed to be a pass catcher.

The run on 2nd and long will look better with TRich.

Great catch under pressure by Norwood for the 1st.

Good run by Jackson.  He has better vision than Hardesty.

Weeden put some mustard on that ball.

Short corner fade was double covered.  Not a great read by Weeden.

Hunt comes off right side unblocked to force the fast throw.

Jackson runs right by hunt not noticing Hunt was coming to crush his QB.

3-17

DE Parker makes his debut with a great move.

DB Brown had no clue where he was or when the ball was coming

Parker gets through 2 blocks for the hurry.

JMJ gets REAL deep in the secondary to knock away the pass.

=

Way too many 3rd and long situations because the Browns are not making good yardage on 1st and 2nd down.

Great throw and catch Weeden to Gordon on the slant.

Benjamin reached too soon and it slowed him slightly to fail to catch the ball.

Pinkston crushes the right side of the D to get Jackson 9 yards

Bad combination of routes makes Gordon doubled.  They needed to send 2 receivers deep.

Schwartz never touched the DE and the pass was still good but incomplete.

Screen passes eat up the Browns.

The Eagles kick a field goal on 2nd down with 48 seconds left.  WHY?

Norwood was hurt.

JMJ penalty was not that bad.  Sims picked the pass and scored but it was called back.

4 missed tackles on the Brown run.  Again contain is non-existent.

Hasslam looks like he has fire.  Shurmur had dead eyes.

JMJ caused the fumble but the Eagles recover.

The 3rd string of the Eagles marched the ball right down the field and scored

3-24 6:54

Thomas has much better vision and speed than Hardesty or Jackson

Great pass by McCoy to Winsor for 23 yards

Pass blocking is non-existant.

Eagles are covering very well.

Daniels takes a penalty making it 3rd and 16.

Good job by McCoy to get 12 yards to make it 4th 4.

Play VERY late coming in.  McCoy didn’t see the play clock running down.

McCoy runs for the 1st.

RBs get hit just as they get the ball.

McCoy gets hit as he throws.  3rd 12.

Thomas catches the ball and gets 9 yards after contact for the 1st.

Cribbs catches the ball against pressure coverage to the Philly 6.

Moore has great feet and hands.  But he can’t block a lick.  10-24

=

In the 2nd half there were a lot of empty seats.

Foles did very well as the QB of the Eagles.  He burned the Browns D like it was dried leaves.

Edwards looked good as well.  Shaffering got a nice pass rush to force a hurry on a 3rd and 2 pass.

First throw by Wallace is into triple coverage and is picked.

Edwards has the guts to stand in against pressure.  He might be the 3rd QB for Philly.

After the pick, the Eagles score AGAIN.

We are not that far away.  All we need is an offense, a defense and some special teams.

 

Final thoughts:

 

The Browns are not a good team.  The Offensive line is a major worry.  If they can’t protect Weeden the Offense will not progress.

The WRs are a concern as well.  The group is very young and has trouble running the disciplined routes that the West Coast Offense demands.  There is also an issue catching the ball.  That has to improve to let Weeden thrive.

The running game will get better.  Several holes were there but the combination of Hardesty and Jackson either could not see them or just couldn’t get there.  Richardson will make the running game work much better.  It will also help the team move the chains with a 3 yard pass to TRich on a 3rd and long.

The D has played well.  The O put them in bad positions allowing the Eagles to score 17 points by moving the ball less than 30 yards.  That is not acceptable.

The D line has done OK despite the injury to Taylor.  The rookie DTs are playing better than expected.  The LBs are an issue.  The team needs to get Jackson back and at 100 percent.  Johnson looks the part on the outside.  He has the speed that last year’s starters outside lacked.

The big issue in the backfield is the potential suspension of Haden.  If he is suspended the Browns will be burned often by the long pass.

 

The team is going to get better as the season progresses but this is no more than a 5 win team given the schedule, the youth of the roster and the coaching.  As a long time Browns fan, I wish I had better news but I have to be honest with my readers and listeners on NNR.  That is about all we can expect.  Anything better will be a major move in the right direction.

 

NNR at 6PM EDT follows the Moohead show at 5PM on http://mooheadradio.com/2.5/?page_id=21.  If  you cannot hear the show when Moo ends, press the join event button to hear the show and be able to ask questions of Papa or his guests.

 

 

The complete archive of the show is available on the Mooheadradio.com front page an hour after the show ends.  The individual interviews are available the following day at http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

Be part of the show by calling our SportSims.com hotline at 216-539-0607.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com and was a senior writer for .  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .  

 

 

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News, Notes and Rumors

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By Bill Smith

News:

Five US Senators have introduced legislation to eliminate NFL Blackouts.

The NFL has announced that they will play 13 Thursday night games next season.  The games will continue after the traditional Thursday night league kickoff and run through week 15.

The league also announced that every NFL team will get at least 1 prime time game.

The Eagles announced they will plan to put the franchise tag on WR DeSean Jackson.  They will try to work out a trade.  That would mean if he signs the tender he would get around 9.5 million dollars for 2012.  He has said he would accept the tender but the tag cannot be placed until Feb. 26th.  The Eagles would get two first round picks from any team that signed him as a tagged player.  The Eagles will try to trade him this offseason for a first and another player.

The Jags have named Mark Lamping as their team president.  He will oversee all non-football operations.

 

Notes:

Agent Tom Condon has said “Peyton’s not done.”  Peyton Manning has been medically cleared to play by his doctors in 2012.   However, he has not been cleared by the team.  The Big question is where will he play?  Odds are good that the Colts will pay the 28 million dollar bonus to him and keep both Manning and Andrew Luck the likely first overall pick in the draft.

Former Browns and current Chief OC Brian Dabol has said he wants competition for starting QB Matt Cassel.   The team trusts their QB but not enough to guarantee him the job.  HC Romeo Crennel said Dabol will not coach a position.  The HC wants his OC to focus on calling plays.

The Bills have announced they will change their D to the 4-3 in 2012.  That means that several of their D players may be on the trading block because they no longer fit the system.   Dwan Edwards might be one such player.

The Plain Dealer reported that the Browns feel QB Colt McCoy will be better in 2012 because of a full season under HC Pat Shurmur.  That of course assumes Shurmur can help Colt develop.

RB Cadillac Williams is now Chevy Williams.  He turns 30 this year and will not be back with the Bucs.  He has never been the same after his injuries in 07 and 08.  He has never been the back he was expected to be when he was drafted.

The Saints are trying to resign QB Drew Brees before they address any other position.  WR Marques Colston is expected to be addressed after they sign Brees.

Steelers WR Hines Ward said he is willing to renegotiate his contract.  The Steelers are not sure they want him back at all.  They may keep him if they can.  He is a slot guy and they don’t have that without him.

The Steelers also are planning 2012 without RB Rashard Mendenhall.  He is in the last year of his contract and it will take a full year to recover from his ALC injury late in the season.

The Steelers have already gotten some cap relief by reworking the contracts of CB Ike Taylor, and LBs  LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons.  Even with these moves the team is still more than 10 mil over the cap.

The Pats and HC Belichick have not won a Super Bowl since the Video Gate controversy broke.

KC HC Romeo Crennel recently said that he would like to have a QB to challenge starter Matt Cassel.  Chief fans can only hope Romeo does not decide the starter by flipping a coin like he did in Cleveland.

 

Rumors:

QB Peyton Manning spent a couple of days in the Cards facility working with the coaching staff and receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  That would be a great place for Manning to continue his career.  It would also signal the end of the Kevin Kolb experiment.  Kolb is owed a 7 mill roster bonus next week.  He lost the starting job to John Skelton and will not get the bonus as the 3rd QB.  If he is allowed to become a UFA, look for the Browns to get involved in bidding for his services in 2012.  He is well schooled in the West Coast Offense and has ties to Browns’ GM Tom Heckert.

Look for several teams to be interested in FA WR Randy Moss.  Because he was a FA at the end of 2011 season he can sign immediately.  The Pats are one of the teams reported to be interested.  The lack of downfield speed has been one reason the team has failed to win another Super Bowl.  If Moss still has most of his speed, he will likely be signed for 2012.

Titan UFA CB Cortland Finnegan will be looking for around 10 mil a season in a new deal.  He is going to get multiple offers but given the 120 mil salary cap for 2012 he will not get that much.  He should get 7-8 mil.

Texan UFA DE Mario Williams will not be back.  He does not want to play OLB in a 3-4 D and will opt to a 4-3 team.  He made 1.8 mil last year and could become the highest paid defensive player in the league with an income of up to 14 mil.

The NFL has secretly been looking for ways to fix the Pro Bowl.  As usual I have the ultimate solution.  Pick the teams as always.  But rather than spending all that money to send everyone to Hawaii, use Madden to play the game.  The “winning” network could still broadcast the game and use its announcers to call it.  There would be a lot better tackling and the new use of a contract corporation would promote the video game and save the 25 fans that attend the game the cost of the tickets.

Last week on my show I threw out the name of possible Browns’ QB targets.  I added the name of ex-Eagle, ex-Redskin and ex-Viking QB McNabb as a joke.  Now, the longtime Eagle is rumored to be in the mix for the Browns.  If he is signed by the Browns, I will be scheduling the Pitchfork and Torch demonstration before game 1 rather than after another 4-12 season in 2012.

Denver 9News is reporting that the team is looking into the possibility of signing Peyton Manning if he is available.  The goal would be having him tutor QB Tim Tebow and filling in until the team decides if Tebow is the QB of the future or it finds the next guy.

 

If you enjoyed this, join us for the Internet version of News, Notes and Rumors on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/  Monday –Thursday 6-7:30 PM EST. 

Follow me @NNRonDSN

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com and has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

 

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A plan for rebuilding the Cleveland Browns

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Where do the Browns go from here?

The Browns are now 3-5 and their chances of winning any more games are small.  They might steal a win from either the Jags or the Rams but the way they are playing there is no chance they can win any of their last 5 games.  Even the trip to the Cards on week 15 seems like an impossible win.

So the question is what do they do now and how do they proceed to prepare for 2012?  Here
is a plan.  The D has played fairly well despite being pushed around last week by the Texans.  The big issues are on offense.

  1.  The key issue is can the team win with Colt McCoy at QB?  I think they have decided that the QB must be replaced.  But this team is not likely to draft a QB in the first round.  The problem is this—When you pick a 2nd or 3rd round QB you get a guy with a great arm that could not hit the state of Ohio from downtown Columbus or a guy with good to very good accuracy but no stronger arm than McCoy’s.            Will  either of those guys do the Browns any good?   Probably not.  The Browns  have been the great arm 0 accuracy route with Anderson.
  2. They need to limit the playbook to the shotgun formations, go 2 TE 1 RB, and put Cribbs in motion as the flanker to  help Colt get a better pre-snap read of the D.  That will also allow him an additional half second to throw the  ball.  The WRs MUST run more accurate patterns and all plays that require the WR to stop and wait for the ball must  be eliminated from the playbook.  The West Coast Offense depends on hitting a moving WR with a short pass then  generating additional yards after the catch.
  3. Sign RB Hillis with FB money.  They MUST draft a RB high in 2012.  They let FB Vickers go and so far FB Marecic is a big time bust.
    He will not get any offer from another team because he is a one year wonder.  His injuries this year have eliminated
    any market value he might have otherwise had.  He is a victim of too many carries last season and the Madden
    Curse.  He is a good kid that has been in limbo all season due to injuries and his pending free agency.  If he refuses to sign a reasonable deal, the team should put him on IR and see what they can do next season.  He has been a valuable FB and can be
    again.  He catches the ball well and is an effective blocker.
  4. Promote RB Smith from the practice squad and start him.   He is the only back with any speed.
    He can be very effective running draws and sweeps out of the gun.  He has the speed to break a wheel route or
    draw for big yards as well.
  5. Put WR Massaquoi on IR.  He has suffered 3 concussive episodes in the last 2 games.  He needs to go on IR to protect his health.  I am not sure if he will ever be an effective WR but he must be healthy before the team can determine his long term ability to help the team.
  6. Put both WRs Norwood and Mitchell must get on the field.  Norwood has shown he can get open and catch
    the ball in the few opportunities he has had.   Mitchell is the only WR with great speed and size.  He must get a shot because this team has no one that can stretch the D.  They should  check on getting one more vet WR from those available.  Even WR Moss would help the team this year and help the evaluation of McCoy by providing a reliable guy that still has the speed to get deep and stretch the D.  A vet would also help develop the younger guys.  Say what you want about Moss.  He has a work ethic that no one questions.
  7. Most important, Pres. Mike Holmgren is going to have to take a much more active roll n the team.  HC Shurmur has proven that
    the combination of his duties of both HC and offensive coordinator are WAY too uch for him to handle.  He has held onto
    the job of OC because he is comfortable with that function.  He has failed to supervise the correction the pecial teams’ issues and the execution of the O has been abysmal.  Holmgren has to do the parts of the HC job that Shurmur cannot or will not do.
    Holmgren put his desire to be in the Hall of Fame on the line with his hire of Shurmur.  Now he has to step in
    to prevent the entire franchise and his hopes for election to the HOF from going up in flames.
  8. The team needs to draft a RB and a fast WR in the first round of the 2012 draft.  Given a 4 or 5 win season, they
    may be in a position to take RB Richardson of Alabama.  That would give them a combination of speed
    and power the team has not had since Hall of Fame RB Leroy Kelly.  They should take a QB with the 2nd
    round pick.  At this point it is possible that QB might be Griffin (Baylor) or Cousins (Michigan St.).  Both of these players have issues but would be a great improvement over the Browns current backup.
  9. The team MUST be more active in free agency in 2012.  This team has multiple needs on D and O that
    no amount of draft choices can fill.  Here is the problem with the draft only philosophy of the Browns.  By the time that you finally have enough good picks to fill the holes you will lose the 2009 and 2010 picks because they will be tired of losing and hearing “rebuilding is a process.”  If the team is not at least 8-8 by the end of 2012 it risks losing the fan base as well.   No team has been as inept and badly run over the last decade as the Browns.  Even the Bengals have won the division and gone to the playoffs in the last 5 years.  This fan base is dwindling because the team since its return in 1999 has been a disaster.

These moves will not do a lot of good in generating wins this year.  But this team is not going anywhere this season.  The one sure
full time job in sports talk in Northeast Ohio is the NFL Draft analyst.  Because within 2 or 3 weeks of the beginning of the season the fans are wondering what we should do with our early draft pick the next year.  The draft is the Browns fans’ Super Bowl because it is the only thing we have to look forward to.

 

That’s what I think.   What do you think?

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent.

He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on http://www.eBooks-Library.com/Contemporary/ and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.  Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear
his sports show Monday-Friday 6-8 PM EST on
http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/
or
http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.   You can be part of the show by calling our Herbalife Hotline at 216-539-0607.

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