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News, Notes & Rumors for week 3

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nfl

 

News:

There is trouble in 49er land.  The passing game has gone south because the O line can’t protect Colin Kaepernick and the receivers can’t catch, the running game has disappeared and the D can’t get off the field.  Now LB Aldon Smith’s locker has been cleaned out and the team reports he has been given a leave of absence indefinitely while he goes to a rehab facility.

 

The Giants and Redskins are equally miserable.  Both are 0-3 but for different reasons.  The Giants can’t run the ball and QB Eli Manning throws as many to the other team as he does to his own.    The Redskins are waiting for Robert Griffin III to get back to where he was last year.  He is getting better every week but needs his receivers to catch the ball.  The Redskin defense stinks.  Neither team is getting into the post season but the Skins have hope.  The Giants do not.

 

The Browns traded RB Trent Richardson who was the third pick overall in 2012 to the Colts for a 2014 1st round pick.  For my thoughts on the  trade check out my editorial The Browns’ 2013 season has just been “Bannered” right here on FryingpanSports.com.

 

Notes:

Bengals 34 Packers 30 – Bengals founder Paul Brown once said “I would rather be lucky than good.  Goot teams lose.”  While the Cincy D played great, the offense did its best to give the game away.  In the 2nd quarter alone QB Andy Dalton and the Bengals gave the ball away four straight times inside their 40 yard line.  The Pack took a 30-14 lead in the 3rd quarter but Dalton led them back to the win with some help from Packers’ turnovers.  While the Bengals are 2-1 they are not that good.  The Pack was driving for the clinching TD when rookie RB Johnathan Franklin fumbled and DB Terence Newman returned it 58 yards for the winning TD.  QB Aaron Rodgers drove the Pack down to the Bengal 20 but the 4th down pass was deflected.  The Pack at 1-2 needs to watch out for the Bears 3-0.  But the Pack O will be OK in the long run as long as they can protect Rodgers.  Their D is a serious issue.

 

Bears 40 Steelers 23 – In the second half the Steeler offense started to gel but they were too far behind to finish the comeback.  The Bears D scored two TDs off of pressure on Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger.  The O line is a disaster and there is no running game.  The D still plays hard but do not get the turnovers they did in previous years.  The Bears are doing OK on O but depend too much on scores from the D.  QB Jay Cutler is spreading the ball around more than last year and is having a good season.  But he has O line issues too that have not yet cost the team.

 

Colts 27 49ers 7 – Kaepernick had a bad game but so did the O line and the defense.  Kaepernick does not have his TE.  The opponents are doubling WR Anquan Boldin and the other WRs were not getting open.  The running game with Frank Gore looks old and slow.  With no running game the play action was ineffective.  The WRs are not getting off press coverage.  In game 1 vs. the Packers, they used the bunch formation and used a lot of motion.  They did not in the last two losses.  I wonder why?

 

The D could not get off the field on 3rd down and Smith did not have a sack.  The 49ers are no longer as physical as they were last year on both the O and D lines.  Part of that is the poor season Gore is having.  But Kaepernick is not running effectively either.  Defenses have solved the read option to some degree.  When the up the gut running does not work, the read option will fail as well. The Colts played well but the win came from the poor play of the 49ers.  QB Andrew Luck is outstanding. The 49ers will get better and so will the Colts.

 

Panthers 38 Giants 0 – Manning was punished by the Panthers D line with 7 sacks and a bunch of hits.  The O line is struggling badly and the running game has disappeared.  They are -9 in turnover ratio.  The team is in disarray.  I doubt Coughlin can get it turned around any time soon.  The Panthers are OK but not outstanding.  QB Cam Newton has had an up and down season so far but the Giants D made him look great.  He led the team to their first win.

 

Browns 31 Vikings 27 – The Vikes were so bad the city has traded them to London.  The team will play the winless Steelers there next week and that will be a LONG flight.  Check out my Live game notes right here on http://fryingpansports.com/.

 

 

Rumors:

There are rumbles that the Giants management is not at all happy with Coach Coughlin.  HC Tom Coughlin is in serious trouble.  It looks to me like the team has tuned out the coaching staff.  The pass rush is missing in inaction and the O line is a mess.  There is no running game and Manning is getting pounded.  The front office is in part to blame for the issues.  They have allowed key players to walk away in free agency.  If someone becomes the fall guy it could be the coach and the GM.  That is something to watch.

 

Mike Florio of NBC Sports reports that the NFL is quietly pushing the NFLPA for the 18 game regular season.  Most stadium leases require at least 10 games.  The league would not cut the preseason to 2 games without the agreement of the union to go to 18 regular season games.

 

Could the Vikings be tanking to get a QB in the 2014 draft?  There is little doubt that the one thing holding the team back is the poor play of QB Christian Ponder.  The team needs to fix the situation quickly because the key players on the defense are near the end of their careers.

 

The Steelers are in deep trouble and there is no help in sight.  The O has struggled because of injuries but also because the team has drafted poorly.  QB Roethlisberger has been beaten often and has no running game to fall back on.  He also misses Mike Wallace’s speed to stretch the D vertically.  The D has struggled badly as well.  It has gotten old and fragile.  It no longer forces turnovers.  The team is in freefall and there is no quick fix to their issues.  Again the front office has to take a lot of the blame for the team’s fall.

 

The Browns are reportedly taking offers for WR Josh Gordon.  That is not because they don’t want him on the team.  The team is worried about another off the field issue that could cause the league to suspend him for a year.  While that is a risk with a player in the drug program, the team needs to spend more time helping him stay clean.

 

 

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/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.  

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

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.

 

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Thoughts about week 15 of the NFL

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Thoughts about week 15 of the NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher at ...

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher at the White House- Cropped from original image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The 49ers with Kaepernick are for real.

The win over the Pats was very impressive.  Kaepernick put the team in position to blow out the Pats but the D struggled to keep up the pressure on Brady.  It was the D that gave up the 4 TD lead but Kaepernick ended the game with a TD.  This team is nearly ready to go for it all.  The change from Smith to Kaepernick should have been made earlier in the season.

 

The Jets are a joke that is not funny.

The issue with the Jets is not only QB Sanchez but the roster’s lack of talent.  Mike Tannenbaum Jet’s GM has blown drafts and free agent signings.  HC Ryan is not the best coach in the league but deserves better players.

 

Sanchez was never a favorite of mine because he had only one year of starting at USC.  If he could not beat out John David Booty who was a 5th round pick, what made Tannenbaum think he was worth a top 10 pick?

 

The Browns are not and never were a hot team.

The Browns’ three game winning-streak was against the Steelers with a 97 year old QB that was sitting at home watching the league on TV a week before he started and two of the worst teams in the NFL.  This team is badly coached and hopefully for the fans that will be resolved after the season by the new owner Jimmy Haslam.  However, in my opinion Lombardi is not a quality candidate for the GM spot.

 

Watch out for the Seahawks.

QB Wilson is the real deal.  I told you that in the middle of the 2011 college season and often since.  He has the arm, head and mobility to take this team all the way unless the coaching gets in the way.  The D is solid and when they get their CBs back is as good as any.  At home this team is nearly unbeatable.

 

The Giants are in trouble.

The Skins are playing well.  Even the Cowboys seem to have overcome some QB and HC issues to become a contender rather than the pretender we have seen for several years.  If WR Bryant can stay on the field and be even close to effective, this team will challenge for a playoff spot.

 

The Giants on the other hand are suffering with below average QB play and a boatload of injuries.  Even some of the best coaching in the league cannot save this season.  QB Manning has suffered from a lack of protection and drops by usually reliable receivers.

 

The Bengals are in at this point and the Steelers are out of the playoffs.

The Cincy D is playing well and QB Dalton has solved his footwork issues for the most part.  He is playing consistent ball and living within his limitations of arm strength.  This is not a Super Bowl team yet but it can make the playoffs for a second consecutive season.  That has not happened in a long time.

 

The Steelers are in serious trouble.  They have to beat the Bengals and that will be a problem.  QB Roethlisberger is back but he is not healthy.  The team has an injury plagued D and a running game that is fumble prone.  Even if they back into the playoffs, they will not be a factor.

 

The Falcons need the home field advantage more than any other team.

The Falcons are as inconsistent away from home as any team in the league.  That is in part due to an average D that plays better at home.  If the Falcons get HFA throughout the NFC playoffs they will have a shot at the Super Bowl.  If not they will lose again.

 

The Texans are capable of great or terrible games.

When the Texans lean too much on the passing game they get in trouble.  They have one of the top 2 RBs in the league.  They have to keep the ground game going to keep winning.  QB Schaub is good but can’t carry the team alone.  They need to keep running with Foster.  The D is good enough to win it all but this team may not get there this season.

 

The Broncos are my choice as the best team in the AFC IF…

The IF is can Manning stay healthy?  If so, the team can go far and win both at home and on the road.  If not the team is done.  He has made the WRs much better and helped a less talented OL look good.

 

Coaching changes to look for after the season

The Cardinals will fire Ken Whisenhunt which is a shame.  I doubt it was his choice to staff the QB position with duds.  It is the GM that should be canned.  Whisenhunt is a good coach and will not be unemployed long.

 

The Browns will fire Shurmur and the staff.  Only DC Jauron may stay but that is doubtful.  My preference would be a vet NFL coach but that is not likely to happen.  No top drawer coach will want to come unless Haslam charms him with his great personality.

 

The Jags and Chiefs will change coaches as well.  Both teams have under produced and the Jags new ownership wants progress.  Chiefs’ coach Crennel is a nice guy but is not head coach material.  He will get a job as DC somewhere.

 

The Eagles have already made it clear that HC Reid is gone.  That has more to do with the team tuning out his voice than his coaching ability.  He made a couple of critical staff mistakes that hurt and the fall of Mike Vick did not help.  Reid is a solid coach that will resurface as soon as he wants to work again.

 

The Chargers will replace HC Norv Turner.  He was lucky to have kept his job this long.  He has coached his way out of the league.

 

The Bills may change coaches as well.  Chan Gailey has been the coach since 2010 and has not won much since.  He has been struggling with QB Fitzpatrick but so far the QB is inconsistent.  The team brought in FA DE Williams to help the D but that has not resulted in wins.  The GM Nix’s job is in jeopardy as well.  When you trade for QB Tarvaris Jackson you need QB help and that is not it.

 

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 http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.  

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Live Game notes Steelers Browns

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English: Rashard Mendenhall of the Pittsburgh ...

English: Rashard Mendenhall of the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game against the Cleveland Browns (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Great start with a pick 6.

When the Steeler D scores it keeps our D fresh.

=PT 7 CL 0

The blocking is not holding up.  Greco allows a sack almost as soon as Weeden gets the ball.

Then there is no hole for TRich and he is caught behind the line.

=

Mendenhall fumbles after a hit by Rubin and the D recovers.  Young with the recovery.

TRich finds his own hole and gets 7.

TRich finds another hole breaks a tackle and gets the 1st

Another thow short of the LTG and the Browns have to kick a FG.  How long will the new ownership allow Shurmur to screw up his BILLION dollar investment?

=PT 7 CL 3

Browns forgot how to tackle after the day off

No recognition of the screen pass.

DQ fills the hole and stops Dryer.

Miavia avoids the OG and makes the tackle with Ward helping out to end the drive.

TRich is a weapon on the run and the pass.  Circle routes to TR will open up the running game.

Weeden is not seeing the field well.  He checks down too quickly.

=

Papa: Maybe it is the wind?   Nope just bad QBs.

Young bats down the 2nd down pass.

3 and out and the Browns get the ball back—unless they fumble the punt.

Cribbs has no vision any longer.  He runs directly into the pile.

The reverse goes no where.  Big risk very little potential return

3 step drop and the throw again does not go beyond the line to gain.

Not enough booze in the world to make this look better to me.

=

The Steelers want to avoid giving the ball to Batch to throw.

Dwyer has a history of fumbling in college.  But he is the only one not to loses one so far.  The Browns have the ball on the 10.

TRich gets 3 then 2.  Third and 5 so Shurmur will call a 2 yard pass and kick the FG.

Weeden finds Cameron and the Browns score…I forget what it is called but it counts 6 points.

That was the first TD in the last 20 Browns possessions.

=CL 10 PT 7

Good to see Haden back.  Good thing too because Miava missed the tackle.

Having the two big guys inside helps a lot against the run.

Browns playing too loose a zone and the Steelers get the 1st.

JMJ gets Dwyer at the LOS.

Batch is not even close to the receivers.

Browns get great field position at the 42.

Gordon is strong and can break tackles.  He is a good target for the bubble screen.

Good vision by TRich seeing the hole and making a jump step to it.

Weeden has no ablility to audible away from a bad play.  SHurmur knows best.

GREAT catch by Watson and he gets hit twice the second one hurt.

The Browns O line is not moving the D much.  We need to use misdirection to get holes.

Holding Mack.  Penalty declined.  Dawson O strikes again.

=CL 13 PT 7

After Dwyer’s fumble the Browns have the ball on the 35.

Browns lose yardage twice in a row and face a 3rd and 17.

Ball almost gets picked.  Browns will punt.

=

Rainey now in at RB

Sanders wide open and gets the ball to the 50.  Brown makes some nice plays but then will have a brain cramp and miss a coverage.

Pit moves the ball right down the field to get into FG range.

Then with 7 seconds Brown is called for interference in the endzone.  The Browns don’t give up the TD on the first run but Rainey is not wrapped up and rolls off the tackle to score.

-PT 14 CL 13 despite turning the ball over 3 times none of which were Batch’s fault.

HALF

Pit has decided to throw short passes to move the ball because the RBs can’t hold onto it.

Robertson does a great job stopping the screen.  Good to see him on the field.

The Browns D does a great job stopping Pit and force a 3 and out.

TRich is clearly not healthy.  He just doesn’t move like he did before the rib injury.

The O line is beginning to show up.  Nice drive on a 7 yard run.

Little cannot block Harrison.  What was that blocking scheme?

The Browns are forced to punt AGAIN!

=

Batch just doesn’t jave the arm strength to throw the deep out.  He is picked by Brown.

The Browns score on a great run by TRich.  Lauvao  trap blocks the DT and Smith gets the LB to open the hole.

=CL 20 PT 14

Rucker stuffs the double team and stops the RB

Miller gives and he takes away.  Gets the 1st over the middle then holds on a run.

Big Taylor gets the sack.

The Rookie G Beachum gets called for holding on his first play replacing RT Adams.

After a short gain Pit punts.

Lauvao holding two plays in a row.

Fourth Quarter CL 20 PT 14

=

Pit gets the ball at the Browns 44.

Mendenhall fumbles again but Pit recovers.

Sanders sees his QB in trouble and comes back to bail him out.  That is what we miss not having veteran WRs.

Haden tips the ball out of Wallace’s hands and DT Winn grabs it for the pick.  I was a big fan of Winn before the draft.  It makes a lot of difference having an athletic big guy.

Mack gets his 2nd holding of the day and this is why the team will not win.

Greco gets called and this shows a lack of discipline on the O line.

=

Pit 3 and out.  Batch can no longer play at this level.

15 yard return by Cribbs gives the Browns the ball at the 39.

Weeden slides rather than trying to make a play.  Is he turning chicken?

Gordon is hit by two but fights for the 1st.

Weeden on 3rd and 4 gets pounded.  He doesn’t trust his pass protection.

=

5:38 Complete to TE. 1ST down

4:29 19 yards to Miller again.  How about covering him.

Weeden taken to the locker room.  Those that want Colt will get him.

2nd and 19 and the Browns Sheard is called for hands to the face.  1ST down.

3:09 42 YL long pass to Wallace fails to get to him and Haden picks it.

Colt takes the ball and a 2 yard pickup by TR.

After 2 runs of 0 total yards and 2 TOs by Pit McCoy will have to throw get the fd.

Richardson runs and Pit will get the ball back with 2:47 left.

The only thing that will save the Browns now with Shurmur being reactive is another Pit TO.

=

Rainey fumbles the ball after a great move to avoid a tackle and Taylor Recovers.

Shurmur thinks he is fooling the Steelers by not having a FB in the game.  The only thing he is doing is getting his best runner killed.

It is GREAT to have timeouts available.  But he doesn’t use them and gets the penalty.

Great punt goes out on the 3.

= 0:20 left

On the final play the Steeler fumble again.

 

Conclusion:

The last time I saw that much giving it involved a bell and a red kettle.

The Browns were given the game in a black and Gold gift wrapped box.  This was not a Browns win it was in the truest sense a Steeler loss.

Shurmur gets no credit from me for anything.  He kept the game needlessly close by his Super conservative play calls.  The team was 3-10 3rd down coversions.

Shurmur is playing not to lose.  That will continue to hold the team down.  He did not let Colt throw the ball in his 2 (3 and out) series.  But Colt should not feel bad.  Shurmur didn’t let Weeden throw much in the second half either.

I wonder if the win over the Steelers will give Shurmur a chance to save his job.  I hope not.  As I said he would have been dunce of the year if he had not been able to pull out a win with +6 TOs.  I have seen very little that indicates he has learned anything from his year and 11 games of losing.

I also wonder how badly Weeden is hurt.  We could well see Colt McCoy next week at Oakland.

Shurmur was glowing at his post game press conference like he did something to deserve a win.

What coaching credit there is goes to DC Jauron not HC Shurmur.  The team continues to play hard on both sides of the ball.  But they are not playing any smarter on O.

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 http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.  Follow him @NNRonDSN.

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Tonight on the radio version of News, Notes and Rumors

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Neal Coolong, Steeler beat writer for Behind the Steel Curtain and Yahoo sports joins us to discuss the playoff loss to the Broncos and the Steelers post season plans.

Eric Galko Director of Scouting for Optimum Scouting joins us to talk about the draft with particular focus on teams that will want to trade up to get RG3 and what players might be available at the Browns pick 22.

Peter Pattakos, editor of ClevelandFrowns.com joins us to talk about the fans reaction to the press conferences last week.

Join Mr. Moohead  on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/ after early Cavs games for his post-game chat.

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 http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.  

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