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  • Published: Dec 3rd, 2013
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Browns Jaguars Live Game notes.

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Note:  Listen to the radio version of News, Notes & Rumors live 6PM Monday with my co-host Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports for the recap of the Browns game and review of the week in the NFL on .  On Fridays join Samantha, Tony Williams Giants beat writer for Metro New York and me for a preview of the weekends games.


The first pass to TE Harbor was actually incomplete.  BAD CALL.  The receiver MUST maintain control of the ball to the ground.  He did not.

Jones-Drewdoes not look anything like he did before the injury to his foot.

Nice hit by Skrine right on time with the arrival of the ball on Jones-Drew

Punt returns were only one thing I liked about Poyer.  He has starting CB skills but is raw.  Great return!

Nice throw under pressure by Weeden.  Great adjustment by Gordon.  Schwartz let the DE in to hit Weeden as he threw.

McGahee for the TD.  47 yard drive on 3 plays

CL 7 JK 0


No contain allows the end around to get the 1st

8 guys in the box so Henne throws for 8

Todman for the 1st and no contain again

JONES-DREWis a lot slower than he used to be but still gets the 1st.  No contain again.  They are running the edges.

Ward called for pass interference.  Ref said “prior to the snap illegal contact”  WHAT?

1-10 CL 31 Todman for 13 up the gut.  This D does not look organized.

18 yard TD to TE Harbor ties the game.

CL 7 JK 7 80 yard drive

Gordon gets open again and Weeden gets him the ball for 23

Again Ogbonnaya hit behind the line.  Loss of 1.

3-7 Again Weeden is under extreme pressure but gets the ball out.  Gordon had it stripped by 27.

32 yard punt less 5 yards for illegal formation.  Not a good start for special teams


Kruger bad angle Henne gets by him but not Rubin

Skrine misses Jones-Drew and he gets the ball to the 40

Swing pass to Sanders gets 7 and the 1st

Jags catch the Browns unprepared.  But offsetting penalties negates the play.

1-10 CL 49 Todman gets 7.  The Browns are struggling with the zone blocking of the Jags

WOW A McFadden sighting!  Coverage sack by Sheard.  Henne had more than enough time to throw.

1-10 8yl McGahee gets 8 because Barn got a good block

3-.5 yard McGahee gets the 1st but was hit at the line



Weeden overthrew Gordon by 6 yards

Gordon jumps way up and caught the ball 1st down

1-10 CL 48 Great catch by Gordon under pressure

Weeden finds Cameron to the JK 21 Protection was pretty good

Penalty on Cameron for false start

Little did a great job preventing a pick that Weeden threw into coverage.

Weeden shows touch to Gordon for 21 and the TD.

CL 14 JK 7

Great pick by Haden.  Timed it perfectly and undercut Shorts.

Marks gets by Lauvao and sacks Weeden.  His fumble recovered by Whit.


Despite a tackle for loss by the Browns, Henne gets the 1st on 3rd and 2

Browns struggle to tackle against the bubble screen

Sheard lost contain.  Todman breaks 2 tackles and gets 13 yards and the 1st

Winn gets Todman for a loss of 3.

Blitz by Mingo and Skrine fails to get there but Henne throws it away

A guy in the stands had a Weeden jersey on but had a pumpkin on his head so none of his friends would know who he was.

The Jags had the screen set up.  If Todman had caught it he would still be running.

So far Weeden has looked good.  7-11 with no picks is a lot better than usual.  Does that mean we will see the Bad Weeden in the 2nd half?

Poz almost picked off the pass to Cameron.

Another Weeden Flip underhand but this one is INC.  Greco let the pass rusher in that cause the flip.

Poz tips another pass to Cameron away.


36 yard punt.  Not good.

Mingo blocks the pass.  Nice play

Mingo gets Jones-Drew for just a yard.  Two good plays in a row

Ward gets Jones-Drew on a swing pass at the LOS.  Jags go 3 and out.

Weeden throws to Cameron who had 3 guys around him.  The ball was 2 yards off target and was PICKED.  Cyprian returned it for 23 yards to the Browns 17 2:29 left  Sorry Weeden, that was my fault for saying it earlier.

Weeden trusts his arm way too much.


Run for 6.  2 min warning

Eubanks gets a tackle of Jones-Drew for 2.

3-1 Jones-Drew throws a TD pass to TE Lewis.

CL 14 JK 14

Weeden is picked AGAIN!  Ball was 3 yards off target.  It was picked by Gratz.  The right side of the O line collapsed and Weeden wet himself again.


1-10 CL 28 Screen pass is blown up by McFadden who read the play.

Throw to Brown INC.

Browns call a TO after a Jones-Drew run to give Weeden time to throw another pick.

44 y FGA Good

JK 17 CL 14

Throw to Gordon very low.  He had to go to his knees to catch it.

2 passes net 7 yards.

Weeden fumbles and the Jags get it.  Schwartz gives up the sack and allowed the fumble.

Jags get a FG.



Weeden is worse than Charlie Frye and Frye got traded at halftime of the 1st game of the season.



No passes yet.  That is good.

Throw to Gordon for 21.  Nice throw and good catch

1-10 JK 41 CB Ball tips the ball on a pass to Gordon but it falls INC.  It was off target again.

3-9 Pass to Little was too far out of bounds.  PN on JK Def. Holding

1-10 JK 35 Weeden hangs ball out to Gordon into double Coverage.  Hit to the head likely Concussion.

Gordon could be out for a while.

1-10 JK 20 Whit makes is average per run of 2 yards.  Mack and 82 can’t push 1 defender out of the way.

Nice throw to Cameron for 9.

Weeden throws the ball from the 4 directly at a CB but Little snatches it for the TD.

CL 21 JK 20 But it won’t last.


Henne throws at the feet of his receiver against the blitz.

Ward gets Jones-Drew for a loss of 3.  He is playing LB which makes the D vulnerable to the pass.

Shorts drops a pass but he was WIDE open

McGahee and Ogbonnayaget several good runs in a row.  Maybe the effort to make all those interceptions and fumble recoveries tired out the Jags D.

Weeden on 3rd and 5 is sacked.  Lauvao missed the blitzer LB Poz completely.  That was combined with the ET game.  The sack took the Browns out of FG range



1-10 42 Jags go 3 and out.

Lauvao again blows the block and lets Whit get caught for a 4 yard loss

GORDON IS BACK.  He caught a short pass.

McGahee for the 1st



The ET Stunt still confounds the Browns pass protection.  Weeden is forced to throw it away.

TE Barn helping Schwartz with the DE.

Lauvao flagged for false start

Marks pushes Lauvao right into Weeden’s grill.

Cameron WIDE open vs. LB but Weeden overthrew him.


1-10 JK 15 Jackson blocks the pass.

D Bryant almost gets a sack.  That is what we are down to in watching the Browns.

Throw to Todman takes advantage of Jackson in coverage for the 1st

1-10 27 Browns fail to cover bubble screens well and JK uses them to get the 1st

1-10 40 Blitz fails to get the Henne passes to Sanders for the 1st

1-10 CL 49 Mingo gets Henne as he throws.  One of the few times the blitz caused an incompletion.

On 3rd pressure combined with good coverage causes Henne to throw the ball away.

1-10 14 The ball is snapped over the head of Weeden and the Browns give up a safety.  Weeden kicked the free ball out of bounds.  That was a smart play.

JK 22 CL 21


31 yard free kick return

1-10 CL 43 Face mask on Taylor.

1-10 26 Pass to Lewis to the 12

The Jags fail to get the 1st.  25 y FGA Good

JK 25 CL 21

Special teams strikes again.  The return is out to the 30 but the foul puts it on the 5.

95 yard TD pass to Gordon.  He caught it on the 22 and took it the rest of the way.

With the luck of the Browns he will probably celebrate with a joint and be out of the league for a year.

Or the league will declare he had a concussion and invalidate the TD


Sanders catches the pass to the 50.  No pressure and Ward was up on the line and Gipson missed the tackle.

16 yard gain because Haden was trying to rip the ball out rather than tackling the receiver

1-10 38 2:30 left

3rd 1 after a run and pass at the Browns 25.  They are well in FG range.

Jones-Drew gets the 1st 1:35 left 3 TO S

Browns had 10 guys on the field but Haden bailed the D out with a tackle.

Jones-Drew got 5 tough yards on 3rd and 1.

Bryant gets to Henne.  The QB almost threw a pick.

Shorts beats Haden for the TD.  Haden was looking for the short pass and was beaten on a double move.

JK 32 CL 28

The Highlight of the last Browns’ series was another Weeden flip.


Final Thoughts:

This was as disgusting a game as I have ever seen.  It reflected poorly on the players, the franchise, the league and the city.  As bad as it was for me, it was worse for those that spent good money and sat in the bitter cold to watch this debacle.



When Campbell was hurt I predicted that Browns would not win another game with Weeden at QB.  So far I am correct.  Weeden is not an NFL quality QB.  Please understand I have nothing against the young man.  I am sure he is a wonderful person that is doing his best.  But this is Big Boy Football.  Not everybody has the skill or temperament to play at this level.  In my opinion Weeden has neither of those qualities.

Flipper is back.  How can a professional QB do that?  While none of the Weeden Flips were picked off in this game, his propensity to throw them is an indication of his lack of poise in the pocket.  Just before the 1st flip I wrote the following: “So far Weeden has looked good.  7-11 with no picks is a lot better than usual.  Does that mean we will see the Bad Weeden in the 2nd half?”  The answer was YES beyond my worst expectation.

Two picks and a fumble lost were made worse by a lot of near misses on picks:

1 Weeden throws to Cameron who had 3 guys around him.  The pass was picked.

2 The second interception was 2 yards behind Little.  It was caused by pressure from a leaky O line.

3 The Fumble resulted from Weeden running into pressure with the ball hanging out like a fish on a line.

4 When Mack snapped the ball over his head, Weeden showed the awareness to kick it out of bounds.  Giving up 2 is preferable to giving up 7.

5 Weeden throws the ball from the Jags 4 directly at a CB but Little snatches it for the TD.

6 Weeden’s 1st fumble recovered by Whit.

7 Weeden on 3rd and 5 is sacked.  Lauvao missed the blitzer completely.  The sack took the Browns out of FG range.

8 Cameron WIDE open but Weeden overthrew him.  This was one of a number of open receivers that were missed by Weeden.

9 He blamed the helmet for not getting the calls on time.

10 Weeden’s 2nd fumble was recovered by the Jags and they got a FG.


Weeden trusts his arm way too much and he tends to fall apart when something goes wrong.  He was

24-40 370 yards 3TDs and 2 picks and a lost fumble.  But many of the yards were by WRs not the pass.   For example Gordon caught it on the 22 and took it the rest of the way.  After the disaster, the administration claimed he had a concussion.  That was probably to get him out of the post game and Monday press conferences.

He is still panics every time he is rushed.  His footwork is horrible.  Weeden’s high throws result from bad footwork.  He is going to get someone killed like he almost did to Gordon.  When Weeden has a clean pocket, he can throw deep accurately.  With this O line that doesn’t happen often.


McGahee gets several good runs in a row.     He averaged 4.1 yards per attempt.  Maybe the effort to make all those interceptions and fumble recoveries tired out the Jags D.  It entered the game with one of the worst yards per attempt against the worst Rush D in the league.  The other guys did very little as well.  Ogbonnaya averaged just 2.9 per attempt and Whittaker ran for just 2.1.  The O line did not help much because again Sunday the backs were hit at or behind the LOS way too often.


Gordon set an NFL record with his 10 catches for 261 yards and 2TDs.  It was the first time in NFL history that a WR got 200+ yards in consecutive games.  He was hung out to dry by Weeden but came back to play.              Cameron caught 4 for just 28 yards on 7 targets.  The others had a total of 10 catches.

O Line:                                                                                  

The line gave up 3 sacks for 28 yards lost and a total of 6 QB hits.  The line still can’t figure out ET game.  The Jags got 2 sacks that way.  Lauvao, Schwartz and Grecco each gave up a sack.  Beyond that there were many more pressures against Weeden.  Mack snap to the 3rd row of the cheap seats didn’t help.  That turnover cost the Browns 5 points including the field goal that resulted from the field position provided by the free kick.  RBs are getting hit behind or at the LOS way too often.  It is impossible for any back to make yards when they are hit behind the LOS.   And again even the veterans were called for pre-snap penalties.


Browns DC Ray Horton said the team needs to do a better job leading to turnovers. “We didn’t get enough turnovers,” Horton said.  Even when Haden got the pick, the offense wasted the good field position.  Ward complained about the O not holding up their end.  He is absolutely right.

The Browns defense has consistently lost contain on wide runs.  The Jags who were at the bottom of the NFL in rushing gashed the Browns D time after time on the edge.  No adjustment was made and they continued to take advantage of the inability to set the edge.  The Browns also struggled with the zone blocking scheme of the Jags.  Ward was at the line to help against the run.  That made the Browns vulnerable to long pass.  Gipson struggles in deep coverage because he takes poor angles.


The pass rush was not a factor in the game despite the injuries on the Jags O line.  Blitzes are not getting enough pressure on the QB.  They fail to force the quick throw and put the pass coverage at a disadvantage.  The Browns made Henne look very good.

The throws to Todman and other backs took advantage of Jackson in coverage.  The linebackers have struggled in coverage all year.  Even Haden did not have a good game again.  Shorts beat Haden for the game winning TD.

But by far the worst part of the D was allowing an 80 yard drive in less than 3 minutes.  A top D can never allow a game to be stolen by a lesser offense with that kind of drive.  There was a 16 yard gain because Haden was trying to rip the ball out rather than tackling the receiver.

Special Teams:                                                                                  

Punt returns were only one thing I liked about Poyer.  He has starting CB skills but is raw.  His first  return was very good.  But again the special teams were inconsistent.  The punting and coverage was not acceptable.  The 32 yard punt in the first quarter was made worse by the 5 yard penalty for illegal formation.  Special teams errors struck again with a return out to the 30 that was negated by the foul that put the Browns at the 5.

Long return off the free kick added three points to the lead after the safety.


Chud was way too aggressive after the 1st pick.  They had a chance to go into 2nd half 14-14.  Instead two more turnovers gave the Jags a 20-14 lead at the break.  There are still TOs due to confusion on both O and D.  The team was slow to get players in and out of the game.

The team continues to make the same mistakes over and over.  The D cannot figure out how to contain the run wide.  The O line continues to fail to block the ET game.  I am not sure if the problem is the lack of teaching or the players inability to learn and implement the adjustments on the field.

Front office:                                                                          

The last 3 losses lay directly at the feet of Lombardi and Banner.   Even after two QBs were injured, they refused to bring in a 4th player to backup and learn the system.  Since then we have seen two QBs go down with injuries.  Now they may be forced to start a QB who has never thrown an NFL pass and has been with the team for a week.  I can only assume that       they WANTED to lose to get a better draft choice.


IF they cared a wit about the fans they would have brought in a decent QB months ago.    The running game is a joke and the O line is a disaster.  The big dollar defensive FAs have not produced much and there have been very few contributions from the 2013 draft picks.  Just 3 weeks ago the team was in a position to challenge for a playoff spot.  But with 3 straight losses, they are now in a position to challenge for a top 3 draft pick.

The Weeden plague is spreading to the D and even Mack.  The Browns are in serious danger of losing their better free agent players because the front office has been unable or unwilling to make the moves necessary to win.  Why should we trust them with the 14 Draft?           If I was the owner I would fire them both for dereliction of duty.

Where do the Browns go from here?

A month ago I was somewhat optimistic about the front office and the draft.  That no longer is the case.  Maybe they should use all their picks on QBs then pass out the ones they don’t like candy on Holloween.  What I am most afraid of is that the Browns trade both 1’s to trade up to draft Texas QB Case McCoy.


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


You can listen to the podcasts at https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and hear NNR Live Mondays and Fridays at 6PM Eastern time on .  The Monday show is a review of the previous week and the Browns game.  The Friday show previews the upcoming games.


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.


Browns Redskins live game notes

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Brandon Weeden

Brandon Weeden (Photo credit: Erik Daniel Drost)

Browns Redskins live game notes

3 and out for the Skins is a good start for the D.

TRich showed his vision on the 14 yard run.

Weeden missed the wide open Gordon.  You can not do that

3rd and long again stops a drive.  The team has WAY too many of those.  Part of the issue is lack of getting yardage running because they don’t get to the 2nd level to open holes.


Haden breaks up the 1st down pass

Skins have a blocking issue as well.  They didn’t block the back side and were trapped by Taylor.

Rookie QB mistake caused the pick.  Can’t throw into double coverage.  Tipped by Brown and picked by Ward.

One play drive for the TD.  Great push by TRich for the TD.

=CL 7 WA 0 8:41 1st

Cousins is not even looking down field.  He is just throwing to the checkdown guy.

Great coverage and good pass rush and Sheard gets the sack.

1st down penalty not good.

Good job by Weeden to get the pass off accurately with a guy hanging on him.

Again a short pass on 3rd and long results in a punt.  The 3rd down playcalls have been a big issue.


Taylor locks down the run again.  Great play.

Long pass irritates the Skins bench.  But the ball was uncatchable.

Good coverage on the checkdown and the Skins are 3 and out.

Even TRich’s great vision can’t help because there was no blocking.

Fletcher smells out the swing pass.

MoMass open and Weeden misses him badly.  This again just can not happen.

Bad punt gives the Skins great field position.

Great throw by Cousins to Hankerson results in a TD Wash.

Young blew coverage.  He was not deep enough and let the pass go behind him.  WE NEED A NEW FS.

  • WA 7 CL 7

No team can drive facing 3rd and long every series.  The Browns have 3rd and 8+ almost every series.

End of the 1st Q

Another bad punt from Hodges.  37 yards.


Ward does not wrap up and missed a tackle on the RB

Cousins  rifles a ball to a 1st down.  He is getting less nervous each play.

On 4th and 1 the Skins go for an off side by the Browns but it fails.

After the TO the Skins were going to throw but the penalty made them punt.

Weeden has not been accurate up to now in this game.  He has to get yardage on 1st and 2nd down.

Weeden missed Gordon again throwing behind him.

Former Buckeye Worthington knocks down the 2nd down pass.  3rd and long again.

Good effort by MoMass but the pass is only 4 yards and his effort is short of the LTG.

Good punt by Hodges 51 yards.

This game is going Skins direction.  The Browns have looked awful on O.


Cousins gets 17 yards and a 1st on a roll out.  If Griffin was in the game the score would be 21-0.

The Browns D leave the Skins best WR Garcon WIDE open.  He catches the ball but the Ref says it hit the ground at the 31.  The challenge was denied.

Royster runs a wheel route and the Skins convert on a 3rd and 9.

Cousins throws off target due to him falling down.  The pressure was not a factor.

44 yard FG

-Wa 10 CL 7 5:46 left

The Browns get an off side and only face a 1st and 5.  But the pass was behind Gordon.

TRich faces a team picture of the D and loses 2.  The O line HAS to get blocks.

Weeden is not seeing the field well.

Gordon is hit by Alexander and the LB is the loser in the contact.  Gordon’s effort gets the 1st

Good crossing pattern gets the Browns 2nd and reasonable.

Little was WIDE open and gets the ball.

Good run by Cribbs on the Wild Cat.

2 minute warning.

The Browns need to get 7 not 3 on this possession.

Great run by TRich for the TD.  Again it was his vision that allowed him to see the hole and get to the Goal line.  Good call because his knee was down.

Gut check time for the O LINE.  They have to push the ball in.  TRich breaks a tackle and scores.

=CL 14 WA 10

The skins are running no huddle and the Browns get a sack.  Rather than calling a TO as soon as the guy goes down Shurmur lets 10 seconds run off the clock.

Again if RG3 was the QB the half time score would be 21-7.


Weeden starts the half by throwing a pick.  He never saw the LB drifting into the zone.


In 3 plays the Skins score.

-WA 17 CL 14

Schwartz is called for illegal procedure.

Another 3 and out by the Browns.  RT Mitchell was late picking up his assignment and Kerrigan blocks the 3rd down pass to TRich which would not have made the LTG anyway.  He was double covered.

That is followed by another bad punt by Hodges.


Cousins is hot now.  Good throw to the 15 then a nice pass for the TD.  He read the Blitz and Hankerson was WIDE open for the score.

The Skins see that the Giants are getting pounded 24-0 by the Falcons so this game puts them in a position to win the division with a win next week.

As the sun pulls away from the shore and the ship sinks slowly in the west…

-WA 24 CL 14 7:40

Weeden is staring down the receiver.  Nice throw to Little but a vet DB core would have picked it too.

Weeden again stares down Little and CB Hall nearly picks it.

Browns set up to go for a 4th and 3 on the 41 with Cribbs in the backfield and the Skins call TO.

Weeden on 4th down panics and throws the ball away.  How can you do that?


Garcon is called for taunting.  The Browns were lucky that Haden was not called for a push after the taunt.

Brown is called for Illegal contact.  Skins 1st down.

Lots of broken tackles and Ward goes out with a leg injury.

Thanks to good pressure Cousins is called for grounding.  That led to a punt.

Weeden hits 2 in a row to take the ball from the 15 to the Skins 43.

Then he under throws a ball to Little and is picked again this time by Fletcher.


The Skins move the ball right down the field.

3rd quarter ends with the ball at the Browns 44.

Browns lose contain and Cousins runs for 6.  With Griffin that would have been 6 points.

Redskins put the game away with a TD by Royster.

-WA 31 CL 14  11:19 LEFT

Nice throw from Weeden to Benjamin 69 yards for the TD.  Weeden finally took advantage of a guy in the Skins backfield that was bagging groceries 2 weeks ago.   Too little too late.

=WA 31 CL 21 10:21

Great throw by Cousins for 32 yards to the Browns 44.

Three broken tackles on Morris again.  The D is tired.

Garcon recovers the fumble on the Browns 8.

Morris runs through a hole the size of the Mississippi River on the back side to put the Browns further out of their misery.

-WA 38 CL 21

A 4 and out by the Browns was expected.

= 3:14 left but the game was over long ago.


This loss should finally change the minds of fans that Shurmur has to go.  The fans were fooling themselves about the Browns being a “hot” team because they had won 3 straight games.  The fact is that we beat a banged up Steeler team with a 97 year old QB that was sitting watching TV just a couple of weeks ago, a Raider team that has not been a factor in decades and a Chiefs team run by a former Brown’s HC we fired due to lack of wins.

Shurmur’s lack of ability or willingness to allow players to do what they do best has hurt the team.  It will continue to hurt the team as long as he insists on believing he is the smartest guy in the room.  My experience is that those that think they are the smartest guy in the room usually are not.

As I have said before the running game is a mess.  It does not give Richardson a chance to be successful.  The fact that Weeden has no power to audible away from a run when he sees 97 guys in the box is also due to Shurmur’s desire for control.  The OL is not getting to the second level of the D and without that the running game will never be successful.  Part of the issue is the blocking scheme.  The rest is a lack of talent.

Another issue with Shurmur is his total lack of ability to make adjustments on the fly or at half time.  Week after week we see the D adjust to what the Browns are doing but he is not capable of making changes to those adjustments.  We have heard him say over and over ‘I’ll have to check the tape.’  That is a clear indication he does not understand what is going on during the game.  If you don’t understand what is happening you cannot adjust to it.  Making in game adjustments is an essential part of job of a coach.

I have come to believe that Weeden is not the right guy.  I am aware that he has regressed over the season but cannot overlook his lack of accuracy and ability to get the ball out on time.  He misses easy passes that an NFL starter MUST make to be successful.  His decisionmaking is also a big issue.  If he was 22 I would be willing to see if he develops.  But at 29 the team doesn’t have time to waste a couple of years waiting to see if he comes around.  This was a bad choice made worse by bad coaching.

I have also changed my opinion about the future of Heckert.  The latest information I have is that the choice of Shurmur was more Heckert than Holmgren.  That combined with the Weeden choice over guys like Wilson makes his grade much lower.  It was also Heckert that allowed Shurmur to be OC in addition to HC.  Childress was available at the start of the 2011 season.  Despite that, Shurmur insisted he did not need an OC and would do both jobs.  It is clear he is not capable of doing EITHER job effectively.  In my opinion Heckert has to go along with the coach.

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.


Tonight on the radio version of News, Notes and Rumors

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Tony Williams of Metro New York Paper and I will preview the NFL Playoff games this weekend.  We will also discuss the Jets’ locker room meltdown.

Evan Silva of NBC Sports and Pro Football Talk and I will discuss the NFL playoffs and coaching changes around the league.

Finally Daryl Rider, Browns reporter for 92.3 FM the fan will join me to discuss the Browns season and his impressions from the press conferences last week.

NNR at 6PM EST follows the Moohead show at 5PM.Join Mr. Moohead  on after early Cavs games for his post-game chat.

Also join Tubbydawg Saturday night at 8 PM EST for his show on

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 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 .  


Notes on Week 3 Preseason games

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To see more comments on the games check out my article on NFL News, Notes and Rumors on


The Bengals have been unable to score TDs. The 1st O has scored just 2 TDs in 10 possessions coming into the game. The team struggled in the red zone in the first 2 games. What they needed was a game against the Bills. 2 1st team possessions resulted in 2 TDs. When the 1st team O left the game, they led 14-7. QB Palmer needs to play a little better than he did late in the 09 season. The biggest single addition to the team last year was RB Benson. After being a bust with the Bears, he showed he could be the guy in an NFL offense. He has to be the guy because there is no significant experience behind him. The O addition this year is WR Owens. The passing game suffered last year due to the lack of threat opposite Ochocinco. They signed WR Bryant but cut him. Rookie TE Gresham should also be a major help. He is a good late round pick in Fantasy football.

If the Bengals are depending on Smith to play RT, they will be disappointed. He was a bad pick and will be a bust.

The Bengal D played very well last year. It was one of the big reasons that the team swept the AFC North and made the playoffs. It didn’t look like a playoff D against a below average Buffalo O. DE Odom looks like is most of the way back from his ruptured Achilles last year. DT Tank Johnson finally gets the game and will be a force. Even so, the D allowed 3 first half TDs by the Bills. The D backfield allowed QB Edwards to complete passes to convert 3rd and long way too often. That has to change if the Bengals expect to get to the playoffs again this year.

The Bills O looked good against a playoff D. RB Spiller was caught a couple of times in big losses because he though he could outrun the D. He has to realize this isn’t Clemson any longer. The 250 pound LBs understand angles and are nearly as fast as he is. He also tends to dance behind the line. Those issues have to be worked out because he is the back of the future for the team. QB Edwards has Spiller and WR Evens but very little else to throw to.

The Bill D is going to be a work in progress. They are changing to a 3-4 and at times it looks good but there are a lot of missed assignments and will for a while. DE Stroud will help keep the team in line but even he is changing position from a 4-3 DT. The LBs are a weakness of the D. MLB Posluszny is the only real player in that group. The backfield is the heart of the D. Given any kind of pressure by the front 7, it still should perform well.


The Giants 1st team O has been very ineffective. It has scored only 1 TD in 3 preseason games (game 1 against the Jets). The O has been 3 and out a lot. The injury to QB Manning and backup Sorgi were factors but it goes a lot deeper than than. The WRs have all been hurt during the preseason. Even when they were on the field, the accuracy was inconsistent as was the protection.

The running game has been hurt by the failure of the O line to open holes. While the RBs are mostly healthy, the projected starting O line has yet to play together because of injuries. If and when the players get back, it is not clear that this team will have enough offense to make the playoffs.

The Giant D has played better than the O but still has issues. The Giants D needs to improve at red zone D. They allowed TDs in 67% of the opponent trips last year. Rolle and a recovered Phillips at S should help cut that figure down. Admittedly, the preseason schedule has been tough, but the Giants don’t look anything like a contender.

The Ravens look ready for the regular-season except for the O line. Flacco is accurate and the new hurry up O was very effective against NY. Flacco has a very quick release and his touch has gotten better. He has never had a WR like Bolden to throw to. TE Heap will still be a good target in the red zone.

It doesn’t seem to matter who the RB is, he makes yards. While teams have in the past been able to play the run first, that will not work against these Ravens. Forcing the D to be balanced has helped the running game.

The D is even more aggressive that it has been in previous years. The ILB combination of McClain and Lewis is outstanding. The one issue is the injuries in the D Backfield. CB Carr replaced Foxworth and FS Zbikowski was filling in for Reed. Reed is expected to be ready to play early in the 2010 season. The team has had too many personal foul penalties but that should be fixed.


This game for the Cards was a tale of the QBs. ExBrown Anderson started with former starter Leinart coming in late in the 2nd. Both generated a TD and looked OK but each has issues. Anderson has the cannon arm but lacks touch and consistent accuracy. Leinart has lost the confidence of his team after having the position handed to him 3 time and failing to hold onto it. They miss Warner. They even miss Josh McCown. Leinart is in his last year with the team unless he significantly improves his stats.

The O line is an issue as well. The team totally reshuffled the O line this year. LT Brown played RT last year but can he be quick enough to pass block against speed rushers? Probably not. RT Keith has never started a NFL regular-season game. They brought in UFA Faneca but he is not close to the pro bowl player he was a couple of years ago.

The WRs are missing Boldin but have Fitzgerald and a bunch of young guys. Rookie Williams looks very solid but will make rookie mistakes. Breaston and Doucet are both good if the later can stay healthy.

The Card D has lost a lot of players including pro bowl LB Dansby. The D line looks good and the team has put pressure on the QB regularly. The LBs are just OK with Porter leading the group. The DBs star is SS Wilson and CB Rodgers-Cromartie is a future star. But the team will miss S Rolle.

The Bears prime offensive issues are QB, RB, OL, and WRs. That is almost all the O. QB Cutler has an interception problem but it is not all his fault. The key part of a comeback route is coming back. When WR Knox did not come back, a Card DB did and picked off the pass. While Cutler doesn’t have a group of experienced quality WRs, some of the fault is his. He does not have great vision and will not see the LB underneath the coverage or the safety coming over the top. He also tend to trust his strong arm more than he should and tries to stick a pass in between 2 DBs. He needs to develop better pocket awareness as well.

RB Forte is not the guy he was in his rookie season. He seems to have lost a couple of steps and is not as aggressive hitting the hole. Former Vike RB Taylor was brought in to challenge him. So far neither of them are doing much but Taylor looks better. Part of that lack of production is the O line. 2nd year LT Williams has looked very beatable at times in pass coverage but is a little better in the run. RT Omiyale played G last year and was benched for part of the season. C Kreutz is 2 years beyond his pro bowl level of performance.

The WR problem is youth. Hester is not a natural WR and has struggled to become a precise route runner. Knox is young and will make some spectacular catches then have a brain cramp like the one described above. Bennett is the most reliable WR but is nothing special.

The Bear D will be better with the addition of DE Peppers and MLB Urlacher coming back from his year long injury. The key will be how much pressure the D line can put on QBs. The team has solid backups in the front 7 but the safety position is up in the air. They have 4 Ss but everyone has been benched for lack of production.


SF QB Smith has to get it done this year. He is in the last year of his rookie 1st overall pick contract. He had his best year last season but a QB rating of 82. That is not good enough to help this team win. They are not talented enough to win with a below average QB. If he does not improve, former Texan 1st pick Carr might be the answer. RB Gore is outstanding but has suffered from a lack of a passing threat. The O line is banged up and is not that solid if healthy.

WRs Crabtree, Morgan and newcomer Ginn all have talent but all need to give their QB more help catching the ball. Crabtree was set back by a long holdout and some minor injuries last year. They need him to be a #1 guy. Ginn looks like a new man after a disappointing start to his career in Miami.

The 49er D was very solid last year. NT Franklin had his first good year last year and held out. He has signed a deal and will be ready for the regular-season. The only star is ILB Willis. CB Clements is paid like a star but has yet to play like it in SF.

OK QB Campbell is a GREAT improvement. He has better vision and accuracy. He also has the big arm that Al Davis loves. He has given Raider Nation some hope. However, he was hurt in the 2nd quarter of this game. He was not hurt badly and was throwing at practice Monday.

Davis might interfere in naming the starting RB. He prefers the former 1st round swift McFadden but RB Bush is the best overall back. Bush, a 4th round pick due to a bad injury in his senior year, is bigger, a better inside runner and picks up blitzes better. McFadden is fast and is a good receiver but has not been able to stay healthy.

DE Houston, DT Kelly and OB Wimbley are providing a good pass rush. When the regular-season opens, DE Seymour will join the group. Rookie Houston will be a pass rush specialist but will challenge LE Matt Shaughnessy for the starting spot. Wimbley has found new life with the Raiders and had 4 sacks last week in the first half.

The run D has been the weakest area and Gore blew up the gut for a TD early in the game. But the run D got better as the game went on. MLB McClain is a potential star. The D backfield is good but CB Asomugha is the only star. FS Huff may have saved his career last year with a good season but has to continue to improve his ability to cover deep.


Reguardless of which QB starts the season, the Steelers will really struggle on O. With Roethlisberger suspended for at least the first 4 games, neither potential replacement looks like they can keep the team competitive until he gets back. QB Dixon has the ability to move. The problems that they have on the O line makes that a valuable asset. But Dixon is easily fooled by coverages and that leads to turnovers. The other option is Leftwich who is a statue behind C. In his short stint, Roethlisberger looked sharp.

The O line problems continued in Denver. RT Adams had more illegal procedure penalties than good blocks in pass protection and is too old and too slow to block speed rushers. The C position is also in question with rookie Pouncey replacing Hartwig in this game and possibly to start the season. The best O lineman LT Colon is out for the year. RT Stark has gone to LT to replace him. The running game was better last year than in 08 but will depend a lot on the blocking of the O line. While RB Mendenhall is the main guy rookie Dwyer could be the wild card.

The D is starting to crumble. Personal foul penalties that come from frustration have been more frequent this preseason. It is beginning to show its age. Even the return of FS Polamalu doesn’t seem to help. While the team still makes some spectacular plays, it struggles to get off the field on 3rd down.

DV is offensively challenged. The running game will be a big question mark. It will be RB by committee but they don’t have any franchise backs. They would love to see RB Moreno be the guy but he has yet to prove he can handle the job. He has been out much of the preseason with injuries. The team signed RB White who was cut by his college coach in Seattle. Buckhalter is above-average at almost everything but has been injury prone. If the team can’t pass, the opponents will stack the line against the run.

Despite losing WR Marshall, the team has some potentially very good receivers. WR Royals and Thomas are young and have talent. WR Gaffney will hold down a starting spot until Thomas is ready. The question will be can the O line protect Orton well enough? The O line has had a lot of injuries as well.

The Bronco D will miss LB Dumerville who led the NFL in sacks last year. They will also miss DC Nolan who was replaced with a 1st time D Coordinator. The D pass rush looked good against the weak O line of PT. The key will be NT Williams the ex-Charger. If he can stay healthy and LB Avery comes around, the D pass rush could be OK. IB Williams is good but the rest are average at best.

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 is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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Fantasy Football Sleepers, handcuffs and avoids in the NFC

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NOTE: This list is the NFC only. The list of AFC players is below.



Matthew Stafford – The Lions are going to be behind a lot and Stafford will throw a lot. He has Johnson and that should help him produce more than a 18th ranking would project.

Matt Hasselbeck Seahawks – Yes, he is old and the O line is a little shaky but Matt should have a good year. Check out the handcuffs on this one because you will need some insurance.

Matt Moore Panthers – Moore is better than you think and the D may struggle. That means a lot of opportunities to throw to Smith et. al.


Brandon Jacobs Giants – He is a starter for a playoff team but is ranked 29th RB by NFL. At that point he is a great value but handcuff him. The O line is better and so should the passing game.

Clinton Portis Redskins – He is rated 32nd at RB and should have a better season than most if he can stay healthy. The passing game is better and the system suits him.

Pierre Thomas Saints – This team will be ahead a lot and Thomas is the work-horse.

LeSean McCoy Eagles – The Birds will run more this year without McNabb.


Dez Bryant Cowboys – Dez wouldn’t normally be on this list. But since he was hurt, many have taken him off their draft list. Take him late and he will pay off.

Santana Moss Redskins – He is ranked 26th but should be a prime target for McNabb.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh Seahawks – TJ is healthy and should have a good year.


Tony Scheffler Lions – QB Stafford will be pressured more than the checkout girl at a half price sale of designer wedding gowns. He will need a security blanket and Scheffler is the guy that can bail him out.



Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst Seahawks – Matt is a little fragile so get some insurance.


Marion Barber and Felix Jones Cowboys – The Boys will use RB by committee but both are injury risks.

Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw Giants – Jacobs runs upright and has a history of injury.



Matt Leinart Cards – Cards fans will be saying “I miss Warner. I even miss Josh McCown!”

Josh Freeman Bucs – He has a canon for an arm but has the accuracy of Saddam’s scud missiles. Not a good combination for a team that will behind a lot.

Tarvaris Jackson Vikes – Don’t bother with Jackson. Even if Favre goes down, he won’t help you.


Ryan Grant Packers – He is brittle and he fumbles.

Steven Jackson Rams – He is older, injury prone, and will be playing for a team behind a lot. Not a winning combo for a 1st round rated player.


Percy Harvin Vikes – He is a great player but is having migraines. He may miss large chunks of the season.

Steve Smith Giants – This Steve is hurt. Get an update before drafting him.

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 is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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  • Published: Jul 31st, 2010
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Questions in the NFC East and North training camps

Questions in the NFC East and North training camps

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Note: We will look at all the divisions of the NFL with this same point of view over the next few issues of Fryingpansports.com.

NFC East


  1. Will the new LT be able to protect the blind side of QB Romo? The team cut previous starter Flozell Adams and will try Doug Free and Alex Barron at that critical position. Neither has proven he can be an effective RT let alone face the talented REs around the league.
  2. Will the ground game get back to a high level in the running back by committee system? Last year there was too much Jones and not enough Barber. The line was inconsistent and the running game suffered. Beware of taking either of these guys high in your Fantasy Draft.
  3. Will former 1st round pick Roy Williams ever be worth what Jerry Jones paid for him in the trade? NO and rookie Dez Bryant will have his spot before week 3 unless the injury takes him our for longer than we think.


  1. Will the D line return to the top of the NFL or repeat a disappointing 2009? Going into last season, the DL was supposed to be a strength. It was not. The Giants replaced DC Bill Sheridan with new DC Perry Fewell. 2008 star DE Osi Umenyiora has been advised to get surgery to fix his hip. How will DE Justin Tuck bounce back from his shoulder injury? The D is going to have to play better and stay healthier than it was in 09.
  • Will the running game return to a high level? In 2009, problems on the O line and at RB caused the running game to disappear during games against Dallas and other top teams. If the Giants are going to become a contender again, the running game is going to have to improve.
  • Can FS Kenny Phillips recover from microfracture knee surgery and will UFA SS Antrel Rolle solidify the last line of defense? The loss of Phillips was a major factor in the D’s decline in 09. Rolle had an off year in 09 for the Cardinals and they were willing to let him go. The D will depend on the S position as much as anything if it is going to become effective again.

  • Eagles

    1. Can QB Kevin Kolb become the QB that the team hopes he can? Probably not this year and it will be a down year for the Birds.
  • Can the running game be resurrected? In a word, no. The Eagles are talking like they have a running game but LeSean McCoy ran out of gas as a part timer last year. With Westbrook gone, he will have to carry the main load.
  • Will the D line produce sacks like they did in the beginning of the season last year? The team traded for DE Darryl Tapp and drafted undersized DE Brandon Graham in the first round. The D line ran out of gas last year. DE Trent Cole is getting older and neither LDT Mike Patterson or RDT Brodrick Bunkley are much of a pass rusher.

  • Redskins

    1. Will Albert Haynesworth settle in at DE? 21M just doesn’t buy as much as it used to. That is what the Redskins paid Haynesworth to play NT but he wasn’t thrilled about being hit by 900+ pounds of OL every play. He lost 25 pounds so that he would be too light to play NT but still couldn’t pass the conditioning drill.
  • How good will the O be with Donovan McNabb at QB? McNabb will be a great improvement over Campbell. But he will really miss the quality receivers he had in Philly.
  • How will the OL protect an aging QB? The bookend pro bowl Ts are gone. The replacements are 4th overall pick LT Trent Williams and ex-Saint RT Jammal Brown. Brown can play LT if needed and is a 2 time pro bowler. Williams is a questionmark.

  • NFC North


    1. How will QB Jay Cutler preform in OC Mike Martz’s offense? Cutler looked lost in a very simple O last year. Martz’s O depends on timing which has not been a strength of Cutler or the Bear WRs. Look for the Cutler/Martz marriage to end in a quick and ugly divorce.
  • Will the running game recover? 09 starter Matt Forte struggled badly and the lack of blocking up front didn’t help. Ex-Vike Chester Taylor was brought in to compete with Forte but he is not a full time guy at this point in his career either. Beware of these guys in the Fantasy draft as well.
  • Will the DBs finally come around? The coaching staff have been shuffling the lineup in the D backfield more often than they do in Las Vegas. The team has not had good coverage since they finally gave up on the oft-injured S Brown. Getting MLB Brian Urlacher will help a lot because he can cover the deep middle in the 2 deep zone.

  • Lions

    1. How well will 2nd year QB Matthew Stafford play? He was up and down as expected in 09 but should improve with a year of experience. Forget what you hear about better WRs for the Lions. There is Calvin Johnson and a bunch of “never was” guys.
  • Will the team have a running game? 09 starter Kevin Smith is coming back from an ACL. It takes 20 months to fully recover from that injury. Rookie Jahvid Best has talent but there is no indication he can hold up for 16 games. Look for the running game to struggle.
  • How much will the D line be improved by the addition of DT Ndamukong Suh and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch? A lot! Suh is the real deal and has more pass rush than you think. Vanden Bosch is a solid pass rush guy and won’t face as much double teaming as he did last year.

  • Packers

    1. How good will the D be without DT Johnny Jolly the year? That may sound like no big deal but Jolly played more downs than any other D lineman last year. Look for NT Ryan Pickett to move to LE leaving NT B.J. Raji to man the middle. Raji tends to wear down and there isn’t another legitimate NT on the roster if Pickett is not able to play there.
  • Will the O line look as old as it did late last season? LT Chad Clifton got old in a hurry last year. He has to play better. RT Mark Tauscher was OK but beyond that there is nothing special on the line. While there will be some challenges from the bench, there is no real depth there either.
  • Will the conversion to 3-4 continue to go as well as it did last year? The team lost multi-year pro bowl DE turned reluctant LB Aaron Kampman. The left OB looks like a problem with Brad Jones filling in for Kampman. He is solid rushing the passer but does not hold the point of attack against eh run. The rest of the LBs are solid.

  • Vikings

    1. Will the league be able to suspend the Williams boys at DT this year or will the court fightes go on until they retire? Don’t worry Vike fans, they are safe for 2010.
  • Will MLB E.J. Henderson (leg) and CB Cedric Griffin (ACL) be ready for the season? The D suffered when these two went down last year. The biggest value of the great DT play of the Williams boys is that it frees up the LBs to make plays at the line of scrimmage. The loss of Henderson was exposed in the Vikings loss in the playoffs last year.
  • Will QB Brett —? Who cares at this point?

  • 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 is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

    and edits .

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