• Author:
  • Published: Sep 15th, 2014
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Great win but Browns have a lot of work to do.

Great win but Browns have a lot of work to do.

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Clearly the Browns played a great game to get the win against the Saints. This was the first home opening win in a long time. The final drive by Brian Hoyer reminded me of the Cardiac Kids era. Hoyer drove the Browns from the 4 to a winning field goal. In the recent past the gaggle of quarterbacks the Browns have started would have thrown a pick or taken a bad sack to end the game.

Hoyer was outstanding. He was 24 of 40 for 204 yards and 1 TD with no picks. There were more than a few drops as well. But Hoyer hung in and showed he has outstanding vision to see the field. But a QB can not do that without some good catches on the other end. The much maligned WR group did well overall. There were some critical drops but the band of no-names came through when it counted. Miles Austin made 3 critical catches in the final drive. TE Gary Barnage was solid both blocking and catching. He had a key catch on the final drive on a 4th down that kept the Browns hopes alive.

The running game was OK but needs work. The backs are both rookies with a lot of talent but need to get more experience. Both backs need a little more help from the O line.

The O line gave up only 1 sack but Hoyer was under a lot more pressure than he should have been. The right side of the line is below average. Most of the pressure on Hoyer came from his right side. The O line did not generate the holes to get the running game going that are required for future wins.

The D still struggles to get off the field on 3rd down. While it scored a TD, it needs to prevent teams from converting more than 50% of the third down attempts. The D allowed a late 1st half drive for a score. When a team scores like that they usually win the game. Late in the half or the game, the D has to play better.

The front 7 played very well early but wore down as the game progressed. They got 2 sacks on a QB that is hard to get because of his quick release. But in the 2nd half the pressure was not there. The team had a couple of guys out but that will happen. In addition the front 7 gave up 6.4 yards per rushing attempt. That is not acceptable particularly against a team that struggles to run the ball. The biggest issue is the edge run. The Browns have struggled to stop that since they returned in 1999. ILB Karlos Dansby played particularly well.

The D backfield played pretty well. The one guy that kept the Saints in the game was TE Jimmy Graham. One guy can not cover Graham. The defense needed to have a LB and CB or safety on him at all times. The team should have known that Graham is the red zone target and covered him better.

The TD return by FS Tashaun Gipson was outstanding. It almost made up for allowing the score by the Saints at the end of the first half. QB Drew Brees completed 27 of 40. But the defense had just enough stops to keep the game close.

Then there is the special teams. The bad snap on the extra point nearly cost the team the win. That is not acceptable but is not new. We have seen that way too often. The kickoff and punt coverage teams were much better this week. The return teams did nothing. It is time that someone beside Travis Benjamin return kicks. He still seems to be favoring the leg he hurt last year.

The Bottom line: This was exactly the kind of game that the Browns would lose in the past. The difference this time was Hoyer. Rather than folding in the last drive, he took the team on his back and led them to a win. The play calling was better. The O line held up in the last drive pretty well. All and all, it is nice to have a win to talk about. The fan base deserves it.

That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.

NOTE: The News, Notes and Rumors podcasts are on hold due to a problem with the site. I apologize for that and hope we will be back soon.

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/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on .

He also edits .

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

 

  • Author:
  • Published: Sep 23rd, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Browns/Vikings live game notes.

Browns/Vikings live game notes.

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BrownsLogo1

 

Good job by Rubin getting Peterson.

Robertson did a nice job tracking TE.

Peterson was one missed tackle away from a 70 yard TD.

Nobody even in the same area code of Jennings.  Where is the D?

Wright WIDE open too.  Anyone playing D?

Skrine had to jet back to get to the receiver.  Bad read by him.

9 yard run by Peterson.  GRAB GRAB GRAB

Gibson misses the tackle of Peterson.  1st & goal at the 2.

TD MN.

MN 7 CL 0

Rainey with a one yard run and Hoyer is 0-2.  Great start to the “New, new Browns.”

=

Good coverage by Skrine on Peterson.

Kruger gets by the block and gets the tackle of Peterson.

Haden missed the tackle but others fill in to force the 3 and out.

Bess has the first and gave it back trying to extend the run.

Ogbonnaya gets a third of a yard on his first two rushes.

Hoyer throws the ball into the ground.  Looked bad.

Great effort by Cameron to reach for the first down.   The O line did OK.

Hoyer finds a wide open Gordon.  Gordon got open on a stop and go that froze CB Jefferson.  Good throw by Hoyer.

MN 7 CL 7.

=

Sheard gets off the block and makes the tackle.  Rubin cut off the inside run.

Ponder had 2 guys open but didn’t get the ball anywhere close to either of them.

Winn gets the sack with a big assist by Mingo with pressure on the edge.  Browns get another 3 and out.

On the punt return Benjamin ran the wrong way and lost 9 yards but that does not work in the NFL.

Gordon avoids 4 tacklers and gets the first.  Great run but he almost dropped the ball on a scrape.

Hoyer runs the slowest QB keeper I have seen since Bernie Kosar.

Ogbonnaya gets the pass but Mitchell shuts it down quickly.

Bess is again the safety blanket for Hoyer.

Gordon with a great reverse run.  Mack got out on the run with a nice block.

Little catches the ball but loses a yard.

== end of the 1st quarter

Hoyer on a great pass to Cameron for the 19 yard TD.  Great catch by TE with keeping his feet in.

Hoyer has hit 7 straight passes.  Unlike Weeden he is not staring down his receivers.

CL 14 MN 7

=

Ponder is accurate despite Taylor’s pass rush.

Browns are playing a lot of zone to keep an eye on Peterson.

AP breakes three tackles and got 8 yards.

D line keeps its lanes and prevents Peterson from getting away.

Peterson burns Skrine again for 37 yards.  He looked like Moss.

Play action with Peterson makes completions easy.  The D reacted to the run fake and lost Jennings

Ward gets Peterson after the catch.  Nice tackle.

1st goal at the 7

Winn stops Peterson for a gain of 1

QB draw for the TD.  Nice run against a spread D.

MN 14 CL 14

McG gets 4 yards.  Longest run of the day.

Ogbonnaya gets the swing pass but is stuffed on a run.

Gordon a yard short on the crossing pattern.

Aubry takes a direct snap on the fake punt and runs the ball for 37 yards

McG held to a gain of just 2.  Maybe the lack of a running game was not TRich’s fault

Hoyer makes a business decision and throws it away rather than getting stuffed by the Vike D.

Third and 9 and the pass goes for just 4 yards.  Somebody see if Shurmur is calling the pass plays.

There is no excuse for running a pattern on 3rd down that is short of the LTG.  That is bad design.

CL 17 MN 14

=

KO short of the end line.  KR is 30 yards.

The Browns D is playing their lanes very well preventing a big run by Peterson.

Pass is tipped by Robertson and Ward picks it.

Sherills knocks the ball away from Gordon on the slant.  Nice defensive play.

Great throw by Hoyer on the crossing pattern to Gordon.

Bad no call on PI against Sherrils vs Cameron.  Hoyer put the ball in but the CB had his arm around the TE.

Rainey gets 6.

Throw to Bess is a little high and he can’t come up with it.

Fake FG by Lanning to Cameron for the TD.  This is the most wide open O we have ever seen by the Browns.  It was a player option.  When Lanning saw the TE without coverage, he threw the pass.

CL 24 MN 14

=

Taylor gets the sack of Ponder at the 12.  Taylor beat C Sullivan.

Jackson covers the TE keeping it to a short gain.

Ward and Gipson knock the ball down deep to Peterson.  Another 3 and out.

Benjamin muffed the punt and the Vikes recover it.

The NFL has to fix the 15 yard penalty on a coach challenging a call that cannot be challenged.  The ref declared the Benjamin gaff a muff which can’t be advanced.  The Vikes coach challenged and was penalized 15 yards for thowing the flag when

Jackson makes a tackle with

Haden gets Simpson after 8.

Haden gets Peterson after a 1 yard pass.

43 yard FG GOOD.  The Browns D did a great job holding the Vikes to 3 after the TO.

CL 24 MN 17

1:08 left and 1 TO for Hoyer.

Bess gets the 1st on a great out pattern.  Rainey with a nice block to protect Hoyer.

Hoyer throws a bad pick. He never saw the safety doubling.  MN has 3 TOs and 47 sec.

=

Kruger gets to Ponder.  Winn hurt.

Patterson is being covered by Jackson and gets the 1st.

Ponder runs for 12.

Gerhart to the 11 on a pass from Ponder.

Skrine knocks the ball away from Jennings preventing the TD.

Ponder fumbles the ball on a hit by Sheard and Roberson picks it up and runs out the half.

CL 24 MN 17 Half time.

 

Browns are forced to take a TO on 3rd and 8 because the play is not in.

Bess with a great scoop up for the 1st.

Bess again with a 1st down catch.

Bubble screen nets only a yard.

Little on a slant with a great throw by Hoyer.

Hoyer picked again.  He never saw OLB Greenway in the zone drop.  He was staring down the receiver and Greenway saw it.

=

Jackson hits Peterson and forced the fumble.  Sheard recovered.  Sheard hurt on the play.

McGahee with a nice run for 8.

Hoyer missed two passes in a row and the Browns punt.  Gordon was going long Hoyer throught he would break off the pattern.

38 yard punt puts the Vikes inside the 10.  Well done.

=

Nice pass breakup by Haden on Patterson.

Rudolph drops the ball.  Mingo on the coverage.

Sheard returns

Ward knocks Peterson out of bounds short of the LTG.  Browns with a 3 and out.

Great punt return by Benjamin to the 43 for 27 yards.  HE CAUGHT THE BALL!

Rainey runs for 6.  Running game beginning to open up.

Hoyer just a little too far out to let Gordon make the catch.

Hoyer’s pass is knocked down on 4th and 4.  The play and personnel were too late.

=

Peterson has 9 with Mingo getting bulled over.  Sheard’s return is doubtful.

Haden good coverage on 82.

Hughes sacks Ponder on a stunt with Taylor.

Mingo gets the sack on 3rd down.

McGahee is not following the play and spins around and gets blasted.

Penalty for 12 men in the huddle.

2nd and 21 pass is tipped and picked on the Brown’s 8.  The right side of the line collapses under the pressure for the pick.

=

Webb wide open but is missed by Ponder.

Taylor gets Peterson.

QB run again for the TD.

MN 24 CL 24 2:36 left

Hoyer sacked.

Screen pass is again blown up and Hoyer is called for grounding.

3rd and Los Angeles. Ogbonnaya get to the 28 but can’t make the LTG.

=

Peterson for 3 Bryant and Jackson on the hit.

Browns lose contain and Ponder runs for the 1st.  If they do that against Peterson it will be a TD.

END OF THE 3rd quarter.

 

Jennings pushed over the LTG by Kalil.

Ponder flings it down field but no one is home.

Kruger and Jackson both miss the sack and Jackson called for a face mask.

Peterson runs for 5 to the Browns 15.

Ward throws Rudolph out of bounds short of the LTG.  3rd and 2

Roberson plasters Ponder for a hurry.

30 yard FG Good MN37 CL 24

Bubble screen to Gordon almost picked again.

Hoyer Got Gordon for the first.

Hoyer goes for Gordon up the middle and it just about was picked again.

Hoyer gets past Schwartz and is sacked by Allen.

3rd 19 Hoyer throws behind Cameron and the Browns punt again.

=

Kruger forces a hurry.

Hughes slams Peterson again.

3rd and 10 Skrine grabs a leg of TE Rudolph and calls for help.  Ownes makes sure he did not get the 1st.

  • 7:11 left

Great throw into tight coverage to Bess for the 1st.

Hoyer gets nailed by a late blitz by Henderson for a 10 yard loss.

After illegal motion 3rd and 19 so Hoyer throws a 3 yard pass.

=

Gipson and Jackson stop the WR sweep by Peterson.

Two incompletions force the Vikes to punt.

  • 3:21 Browns on the 45

When pressure comes on Hoyer he tends to throw the ball away.  He does not have much sense of pocket.

Gordon catches a ball behind him for 11.

 

Long throw almost picked.

Throw to an Open Cameron to the 20

Gordon to the 7 with 1:19 left.  Clock running.

Fade to Little Incomplete. 1:00 left

Hoyer throws it away with no one open. 0:55

Cameron reaches up over his head and brings in the TD.

CL 31 MN 27 0:51 left.

=

Ward and Jackson knock down the hail Mary.  04 left

Bryant gets the sack and the BROWNS WIN—THE BROWNS WIN.

 

 

Conclusion:

Offense:

A lot of Browns fans were “Hoyerfied” about the QB change during a tough week.  However, it was unfounded.  Hoyer brought the team from behind to win the game with a final drive.  That is something that has not happened in a number of close losses with Weeden at the helm.   Hoyer did throw three picks but did a number of things that improved the overall O.  He was fooled by the defense on two of the picks.  That is not unexpected for a QB that has started just one game prior to this.  He was mobile in the pocket which helped reduce the pressure of a leaky O line.  He also was much more decisive and threw the ball quicker than Weeden does.  Part of that is his ability to make pre-snap reads.   Hoyer has great touch and throws the fade very well.  He was very accurate putting the ball in the best place for the WR to make the play.  While he made some mistakes, he fought through them and made the plays to win.

 

The development of TE Jordan Cameron has given the team some hope.  He has come a long way and this coaching staff is owed some of the credit for that.  He caught three TDs yesterday.  The addition of Gordon was critical.  He looked like he had been with the team since day 1.  Bess is a major upgrade from Little as a starter.  Bess catches the ball in traffic and gets the key first downs to continue drives.  He runs great patterns and always gets past the sticks to get the first if he gets the ball.

 

While some will say that the O line played much better, unfortunately that is not true.  The fact is Hoyer did a much better job of getting rid of the ball.  Weeden waits to see a receiver break open.  With the guys on this roster (without Gordon) that did not happen often.  Weeden got sacked before the WR ever got open.  Hoyer throws with anticipation.  He throws to the spot where the WR will be.

 

The play calling was nothing short of spectacular.  The fake punt and run for the first was good.  The fake field goal and pass for the TD by P/Holder Lanning was outstanding.  OC Norv Turner was also more aggressive by throwing on early downs.  That was good because the running game is appearing on a milk carton.  The best run was the fake punt.  While it is possible to beat the Vikes without a running game, it will cost the Browns against good Ds like the Bengals.

Defense:

The biggest part of the D’s contribution to the win was the ability to hold RB Peterson to 88 yards on 25 attempts.  The 3-4 has been very good against the run.  That continued this week.  The front 7 did give up two runs by Ponder for TDs which was due to the spread formation of the Vikes.  The inside backers need to be aware of that tendency.  The D did get 6 sacks one interception and forced two fumbles.  Overall a good day for the D.

The passing game of the Vikes is suspect.  But the backfield did a very solid job in covering the receivers.  Because the front 7 was able to keep the running game under control, the backs were free to cover.  The team played a lot more zone than usual in order to keep an eye on Peterson.  The zone allowed the Vikes to convert 8 of 17 third downs.  That is not acceptable.  In particular Buster Skrine played his best game of the year.  He was better but not yet a starting quality CB.

The Bottom line:

Is Hoyer the long term answer at QB?  Probably not but he showed enough to warrant another start.  If he plays as well against the Bengals, he should continue to start whether Weeden is healthy or not.  The Browns will still be looking for a college QB in the 2014 NFL draft.

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/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith 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 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 6th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on America’s Passion: How a Coal Miner’s Game Became the NFL in the 20th Century

America’s Passion: How a Coal Miner’s Game Became the NFL in the 20th Century

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English: Arlington, Va. (Aug. 11, 2003) -- Nat...

English: Arlington, Va. (Aug. 11, 2003) — National Football League (NFL) Hall of Fame quarterback, Terry Bradshaw signs the guest book at the 911 Memorial for America’s Heroes inside the Pentagon. The Fitz-Bradshaw NASCAR Busch Race Team owned by Terry Bradshaw and Armando Fitz brought along NASCAR race driver Casey Atwood to the Pentagon for an autograph session and to promote their Navy sponsored team. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer’s Mate Johnny Bivera. (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you like the NFL you should check out America’s Passion: How a Coal Miner’s Game Became the NFL in the 20th Century

 
This book was written by our good friend Evan Weiner, TV and Radio pundit, newspaper columnist and public speaker.  The book is filled with stories and interviews of some of the greatest players in the history of the league.
The book traces the league from a meeting in a Canton car dealership to the multi-billion dollar business it is today and Evan provides analysis of exactly why the NFL grew when so many other sports leagues failed to do so.
It is a fascinating work that every NFL fan that has an interest in the history of the game should read.
     The National Football League (NFL) is the premier fan sport in the United States. But it wasn’t always like that. Author Evan Weiner takes us back to the days when the NFL was a mom and pop store operation with the players and others who witnessed the league’s growth first hand. The game of football started in the dark coal mines in western Pennsylvania (PA) and is today a multi-billion dollar business.
The work is available at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/268077 for only $2.99.  It is a steal and is a great gift for any NFL fan.  You might also be interested in Evan’s other works including From Peach Baskets to Dance Halls and the Not-so-Stern NBA, and The Business and Politics of Sports which are both available at smashwords.com as well.
That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of a number of semi-pro teams, has officiated both basketball & football, done color commentary on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent across sports. He edits https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.  Follow Bill on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the daily schedule for all Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. He also edits .  
To stay on top of the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.

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