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  • 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

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.
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.
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 https://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 https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He also edits .

  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 9th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Tonight on NNR Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports on the Browns/Rams game.

Tonight on NNR Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports on the Browns/Rams game.

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Bruce Matthews with his brother Clay Matthews ...

Bruce Matthews with his brother Clay Matthews in the mid-1980s. Photo taken at a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Houston Oilers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Samantha will be joining me weekly to discuss the Browns games.  Tonight you can hear it live on at 6PM EDT or check out the archive on https://fryingpansports.com

Thanks for your support.
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 https://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 https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
He also edits .  
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.
  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 9th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Browns Rams LIVE Thoughts

Browns Rams LIVE Thoughts

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The logo of the Browns Backers Worldwide.

The logo of the Browns Backers Worldwide. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Browns Rams LIVE Thoughts

This is a VERY thin crowd tonight.
Nice play on 3rd and 2 to Bess
Good 37 yard pass to Gordon
Runs are going nowhere.
Good pass protection vs blitz
Draw play gets the 1st.  Great call.
The pressure up the gut allowed the blocked pass.  It was not Weeden’s fault.
What Cameron misses Little catches.  Bad play by the TE.  Weeden is not showing much touch.  The pass to Little via Cameron was way too hot.
Again run gets nothing
Two incompletes force a FG.  Clev 3 St coming up.
Penalty on Groves (head butt) gives the Rams good field position.
Bradford had all day to throw.  That is not a good sign
On 2nd down Sheard had some pressure.
Blitz fails to get pressure.  1ST down
Jackson attacks the run which is a good sign
Browns blitz and the screen catches them for 17 yards
RB Pead fumbles on a taylor hit and Skrene picks it up.
Jackson shows good vision on the run.
Gordon breaks a tackle for a nice gain.
Barnidge with a good catch.
Greco with a good block down field on the screen.
Cameron with a nice pattern and catch
Jackson great effort on the run right.  Broke a tackle
O line gets no push on run up the gut on the 2nd down run to the 2 and a half
Pass to Lewis TD Cleve 10-0
KO +8
Jackson made the tackle 5 yards down the field again
Skrine with a nice play
Robertson does a great job of getting coverage on 3rd 5
90 yard punt return by Benjamin Clev 17-0
KO +8
Winn rocks the runner for a gain of 3
Blitz doesn’t get there and the pass goes for 59 yards.  Ward did not keep deep against Givens.
Run up the gut by Richardson gets 12
Up the gut again for 5
Givens gets the TD.  The Rams #1s move right down the field against the 2nd team D of the Browns
CL 17-7
PN Butler -5
Gilkey good push on the run
Butler pulls back too quick but didn’t get called
Campbell looks sharp on a read and a quick pass to
Jackson looks good running and catching.
Marecic can’t block at all.
Butler pulls early again and gets away with it.
Campbell scrambles for the 1st down.
Norwood with a nice pattern and catch.
Jackson catches and makes a tackler miss to get 4 yards
Campbell missed Ogbonnaya on 3rd and 3
41 FG Graham CL 20-7
KO +12 Graham
Groves gets the sack.
Middle of the D gives up a 12 yard run.
Blitz doesn’t get home but the WR missed the catch.
After the 2 min warning the Browns didn’t get the snap call and blow the 3rd down play with a sack.
The team was not organized and missed a chance to keep the Rams off the field in the 2 min.
Rams get the ball on their 40 after a poor punt
Blitz By 2nd team is not getting to the QB.
Mingo gets to the QB even after a trip attempt
Fort and Wade stop a QB run by Davis.
54 yard FG GOOD CL 20-10
On a 1st down run Mingo stood his ground and turned the run inside.
The 2nd team Zone is not working.  The players are not breaking down in their zones to cover in time.
Sanford does a great job getting a sack.
Mingo puts pressure on Davis and forced him to throw it away.
P Davis gets held as he rushed
JMJ made a tackle that Fort missed on 3rd and 26.
Hoyer in at QB missed a WIDE open TE Davis
Then Hoyer almost threw a pick but the receiver rounded off the route and did not get open.
Three and out again.
Stacy runs for 6 up the gut
A second run gets the 1st
T Wade makes a good play and Quick missed the pass
Kitchin levels Stacy on a reception
T Wade called for interference.
Bademosi provides great coverage on a deep pass
Davis misses a wide open 81
55 y FG Cl 20-13
The Browns are able this year to throw screen passes unlike with the Shurmur regime
Jackson is running hard from the handoff or with the reception.
Cooper gets on the ground to get the ball.  Good catch.
Roosevelt makes a great catch but Hoyer threw it out of bounds.
On 3rd and 4 the Browns total blitz fails.  WR Wide open get the ball to the 30
Cole does a great job staying home against a reverse.
Staples makes the 4th down play tackle of QB Davis to turn the ball over to the Browns.
Paul Davis deflected the ball and Staples picked it off.
Maysonet has very good vision and speed.  Can he take a big hit?  He also tries to take the ball outside too much.  He has to stay with the hole called unless he sees a bigger opening.
Critical 3rd and 3 Hoyer finds a wide open Robinson and hits him for the closing TD.
CL 27-13 3:01 LEFT 4TH QUARTER
ST allows a return to the 30
38 misses Radway and the Rams score 58 yards CL27-19 after the unsuccessful 2 point attempt
Edwards catches the on-side kick at the 50
Maysonet has surprising strength running inside.  He breaks tackles well.
Browns 3 and out again with a punt going into the endzone netting just 21 yards.
15 double covered gets by the deepest and drops the ball inside the 5
Holding on Kearney gives the Rams life
The Hail Mary almost scores.  The receiver Blake had the ball in the endzone but Justin Cole pulled the ball way to end the game.
My Conclusions:
              The first string O played better than I expected.  The Rams are good on D and the Browns moved the ball through the air well.  The running game suffered without Richardson or Hardesty.  While the loss of the later is no big deal, the loss of TRich is a major issue.
              The #1 O line is not getting much of a push up the middle.  The lack of timing with the 3rd and 4th backs didn’t help.  But the issue runs deeper than that.  Last year the Browns could not convert 3rd and short opportunities.  RB Lewis looked good and will only get better with more work.  Jackson is running hard but there are not many holes to run through.  The total O depends on the play action pass.  Without an effective running game the D will not react to the play action.
              The O line did pretty well protecting the QBs.  The Rams D line is very good but the #1 and #2 O lines both held their own in the passing game.  That was good to see.
              I am also concerned about the inability to convert inside the 20.  The O will have to be more effective inside the 20.  It was good to see Weeden throw the 2 yard TD pass to take the lead to Lewis.  Last year the team had major issues scoring TDs inside the 20.
              The Browns 2nd and 3rd teams are not as good as those of the Rams or a lot of other teams as well.  There is talent there but it will take time to allow those units to develop.  The coaching staff is focusing on getting the first team ready for the opener.  At this point in the season that is the most important thing.
              The bottom line on the O is that there were no turnovers and the Browns got 2.  Weeden looked very good and Hoyer looked OK.  Weeden dealt better with pressure around him and does not stare down the receiver as often as he did last year.  If an NFL QB stares down his receiver he ends up throwing picks more often than completions.  Hoyer is not seeing the field consistently and that is a problem.  While he may have the best grasp of the system, he does not have the arm to ever be a starter.
              It is important that the Offense scored 20 points.  That is more than they averaged last season.  But the team won only because the special teams scored.  Otherwise the game would have gone to overtime tied at 20 all.
              The big question of this season was if the Browns new 3-4 could get pressure on the passer and still do better stopping the run.  The answer after game 1 of the preseason is NO on both counts.  Even in the all out blitz the Browns were not getting to the QB.  There were some plays by the front 7 but often they were due as much to errors by the O line than outstanding scheme or D play.
              I was concerned about Sheard making the transition to LB from DE.  We had heard that he was doing very well but I was not impressed so far.  Jackson sometimes attacks the run but too often still makes tackles 4 or 5 yards down field.  Robertson made some big plays.  He showed he can be the coverage ILB.
              Without the hammer Jackson who is now in Atlanta, the Rams still got big yards up the gut against the Browns 3-4.  Had the score not been so lopsided, the Rams running game would have done a lot more damage.  I was encouraged with the play of Mingo.  He was running around and making plays.
              The D will get better as it internalizes the new scheme.  But against a questionable line with an extra injury the front 7 was not getting pressure on the QB without a blitz.  That is not a good sign.
              The issues with the defensive pass coverage will be exacerbated if the blitz is not getting to the QB.  The loss of the 2nd and 3rd CBs hurt but it was the safety play was particularly horrendous.   The safeties were beaten early and often.  That was an issue last year and based on the Rams game it has not gotten much better.  The Rams are weak at WR.  Even so, they were often running open through the Browns backfield.  Ward is much better at the line than in deep coverage.  The team’s failure to get a quality vet FS is hard to understand.
Bottom line on Defense:
              This team has a lot of work to do.  When they blitz they have to get to the QB.  The team is not good enough in the backfield to cover up for a poor rush.  There were some good plays but not enough.
Special Teams:
              I have been very hard on ST Coach Tabor.  I blamed him for not cutting a long snapper that lost his stroke and a punter that was damaged goods.  But despite losing the long time kicker Dawson, the special teams did very well.  The 4th quarter punt into the endzone from the 41 was pathetic but other than that they were solid.  Great PR by Benjamin for the TD and a solid blocking job for him.  The FG kicking was OK.  The issues of not cutting bad ST players may have been Shurmur not Tabor.
              I am not ready to endorse Tabor yet but am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Overall:  The Browns won.  That alone is different.  They beat a team that is solid and may challenge for a playoff spot this season.  The win was good.  But as always there are many things this team needs to work on to contend in the AFC North.  For more on the Browns/Rams game check out our weekly podcast on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
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 https://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 https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
He also edits .  
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.

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.






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.






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 https://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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