Right on the money..

Red Right 88

browns quarterback competitionWhile we have already made a solid case for why the Browns would be better served to give quarterback Brandon Weeden a year in Norv Turner’s offense to see what they really have at the position, the Browns have other ideas.

“I think Norv and (Rob) Chudzinski have been very open that they like a lot of what Brandon does, but we’re going to have competition at that position, and I think competition makes us all better,” owner Jimmy Haslam said earlier this month.

Now whether that competition comes in the form of current San Franciso quarterback Alex Smith, who was available a year ago following a 3,100-yard season with 17 touchdowns compared to five interceptions and drew zero interest from any team (which means something); career backup Matt Moore from Miami, a player that Turner is reportedly a “big fan” of for reasons not readily apparent; or a player…

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Couldn’t have said it better..

C-Town & Down

Jimmy Haslam IIILet’s all just settle down with this lynch mob that is out to get Jimmy Haslam III all of a sudden.  In reaction to his comments, there are some that suddenly feel Haslam’s heart is not truly with the Browns, a team he just purchased for one billion (1,000,000,000) dollars.  After hiring key people for key positions in the Browns front office, Haslam announced he would be returning to Pilot Flying J as the CEO saying “This is about me realizing my first love is running Pilot Flying J and wanting to return to that job”.

Cue the meltdown.

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Alex Smith vs. Brandon Weeden CAGE MATCH

alex weeden

 

Yep, I said “cage match” I know, I’m lame.  Whatever, let’s move on shall we?

No witty and/or colorful setup here.  Let’s get down to business:  Who would be better for the Browns in 2013: Alex Smith or Brandon Weeden?

Let’s discuss Alex.

To be fair, let’s focus on unbiased facts.  Smith has steadily improved in all major statistical categories every year he has been in the league (td/int ration slightly dipped last year).  He also posted better yds/att (8.0) and QB rating (104.1) then Tom Brady, Big Ben, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco and just BARELY missed Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers last year.  Alex has also been plagued by numerous HC and OC changes throughout his career which led to system changes and slowed development.  And lastly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more professional, team oriented player who has consistently handled obstacles with class and dignity.

This all leads me to my next point:

I do not want Alex Smith as the starting QB for the 2013 Cleveland Browns.

Why you ask?  How about some more unbiased facts?!?!?

Smith is still under contract for a tidy 7.5 mil in 2013 AND 2014  (unless he’s released which is highly unlikely)

How about the “amazing numbers” he was posting this year.  Let’s extrapolate those numbers before injury over a 16 game season and see what we get:  2960 total passing yards 21 TDs 9 INTs  (week 10 omitted due to injury)  Are those championship caliber numbers?

Now simmer down, I can hear most of you screaming at your smartphones about how I don’t understand that those stats are skewed by lack of pass attempts from an outstanding run game and punishing defense.  That actually transitions me nicely to my final take.

In my humble opinion, I believe we have seen the best Alex Smith can offer.  And we have seen his best while being surrounded by a championship caliber roster.  I surmise that Harbaugh shares a similar opinion based on his initial drafting of Kaepernick and continual vote of confidence in the young playmaker.  Now the 49ers find themselves in that lovely “damn there’s no way we’re paying a backup QB 7.5 mil…    I GOT IT let’s talk about how great he is and see if some team is desperate enough to trade for him” scenario.

Please Browns don’t be that team.

You’ve got a QB that’s fresh off breaking the club rookie record for passing yards in a year while playing with 4 other rookies and suspect coaching.  You’ve also got a dream team of coaches/coordinators poised to utilize his natural ability and a young offense that is growing together and might actually establish some much-needed continuity.  Yep the c-word.  Hope no one is offended..

CAGE MATCH WINNER:

WEEDEN-262x300

2013 Browns Defense: The AFC North should be AFRAID..

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Hello comrade.

First off, I am painfully aware that nobody is actually afraid of the Browns.  Well, maybe honey boo boo is….  or not, I can’t really understand her.  However, in my opinion that is all about to change.

The fact of the matter is that the defense is indeed shifting schematically.  As we know, most former NFL coaches/personnel will testify to the fact that scheme changes typically don’t manifest positive results overnight.  But there are some powerful factors coming into play here and the timing may be perfect for immediate reward.

 Enter Ray Horton:

We’re going to look like an aggressive, forward attacking defense that has big men that can run and little men that can hit.  That’s the most important thing to me — what do we look like, not what we line up in. We may be a 3-4 on one snap. We may be a 4-3 on another snap. I guarantee you we’ll be a 5-2 sometimes, and we’ll be a 4-4 sometimes. We are a multi-front, attacking defense, and that’s the most important thing, not what player lines up where, how he stands, what stance he’s in. Attacking, aggressive defense.

(*fans self like a 1950’s southern woman*)

Enter Tony Pauline via SI.com:

NFL decision-makers will have big smiles on their faces next April, thanks to the star quality available at defensive tackle and linebacker in the 2013 NFL Draft. The tackles offer excellent versatility in the trenches, while the linebacker class is full of three-down defenders.Read More..

(Fuh Fuh Fuh Fuh Fuh *fanning even more vigorously*)

Let’s see if I got this right.  First the Browns hire a very good steeler-influenced DC that is fresh off a 2012 campaign that saw his Arizona squad overachieve and come in second in interceptions (22) and fourth in takeaways (33).  Now you give this man a young, hungry, talented roster and a sixth overall pick in a draft STACKED w/ versatile DL and 3-down LB/DE studs??  Oh yeah and let’s not forget the enormous chip on Horton’s shoulder after being passed over for Arizona’s head coaching gig.

Bottom line:

Horton has all the incentive in the world to want to prove his naysayers wrong.

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Horton now controls a Browns defense full of rookies and second year players who forced EIGHT turnovers in one game last year which hadn’t happened since 1989.

=

THE AFC NORTH SHOULD BE AFRAID OF THE 2013 BROWNS DEFENSE 

(*puts on silk robe* *sips some single malt*)

 

Robert Griffin III… Period.

I should start this post out by admitting that I am NOT a draft analyst. I do NOT have “sources” and I do NOT expect my opinions to be right. (see Browns Divisional Contenders)

That being said, I would be remiss not to admit that I heart RGIII. Why you ask? See for yourself…

RGIII is a playmaker, period. He can make all the throws and his elusiveness and raw speed are off the charts. These attributes combine to support one simple claim that nobody seems to be putting a lot of stock in, which is, EXTENSION OF PLAYS. (see above highlight)

Winning in the NFL as we all know usually boils down to 1-2 back-breaking big plays where everything seems to not go according to plan but due to raw athleticism and talent somebody steps up and makes a play. As a long-suffering Browns fan I know this all too well seeing as we’ve had our backs broken repeatedly on said plays since 99′.

RGIII is a weapon, period. Consider the trickle down effect of having a legitimate weapon at QB. Opposing D-Lineman and LB’s would have to focus on setting edges and containing Griffin (opens up power run game). Opposing Secondary would be forced to respect Griffin’s arm and cushion WR’s with safety help (opens up TE mismatches underneath). And should opposing D’s try and blitz and stay thin in coverage I salivate thinking of all the different ways Griffin could make guys miss and break a back or 2 either with his elite speed or his powerful arm. (see above highlight)

RGIII is exciting, period. As a humble yet emboldened Browns fan I will take it upon myself to speak for all Browns fans everywhere when I declare that we need something exciting to watch. We’ve seen enough 5 yard slants, poorly executed screens and off-tackle runs. The fans let alone EVERY DEFENSE IN THE AFCN basically know what’s coming before the ball’s snapped. For once, let’s be the aggressor. Let’s give the great defenses in our division something to actually game plan for. Let’s give playing time to a QB who’s raw ability would undoubtedly better everyone around him and has all the tools to be a franchise QB in this league.

If you find yourself unconvinced at this point do me a favor.

Picture in your mind’s eye: RGIII taking the ball from center, stepping up in the pocket, spinning away from Ngata/Harrison, buying time outside of the pocket, pump faking R.Lewis/Woodley out of their shoes, sprinting down the sideline with only Polamalu/Reed to beat, out of desperation they dive and only manage to remove one cleat….

Laying helpless on the field they look up and all they see is THIS galloping away for the game-winning TD.

Tim Hightower. Draft him. Don’t be Dumb.

Ahhhh yes. Can you feel it? That feeling that you are now feeling because I asked you to feel it, is the impending fantasy football season.

Now if you’re like me you act all cool when people ask you about it, usually claiming this is the year you don’t buy any magazines (even though you already have 2, you need something to read on the can instead of your wife’s In Style after all) . It’s cool, I usually feign ignorance to even the most high profile players, mispronouncing their names and assigning them to the wrong team. All the while I am digging like a wild baboon for obscure sleepers. Yep, I’m one sneeky son of a gun. Ironically, this whole charade is entirely pointless seeing as all my brosephs KNOW that I’m a whore for fake football. Sigh.

So what does this mean to you?

It means I plan to profile obscure sleepers that contain that rare blend of talent, opportunity, and motivation. Anybody who has played FF for years knows that you can count on rounds 1-2 underperforming, 3-8 being the most important, and 9-15 winning you a championship if you do your research. You will notice that in an attempt to separate myself from “conventional fantasy wisdom” I will often profile players that have been exiled from the collective group-think. My opinions/predictions will be unorthodox and sprinkled with hyperbole, all the while based on fact/experience. If nothing else it should be a good read and provoke some thought even if that thought is, “dude this blog sucks let’s get some glow sticks and go to Alexa’s Rave!!!”

TIM HIGHTOWER

The fantasy community is cautiously optimistic about Hightower. For every TD run he rips off in preseason the usual fantasy writers are quick to point to his history of fumbleitis and their lack of trust in Shanahan. Nobody really wants to publicly endorse High’s for fear they will be looked down on by the fantasy community. I could care less.

Talent: He has more than you think. I know at first glance he doesn’t have sexy game breaking speed. But he does a lot of things extremely well. Things that coaches love. Such as: running north/south, receiving out of the backfield, reading blockers and making one good cut, and last but CERTAINLY not least, dude can pass protect like a beast. This translates to increased 3rd down touches which turns into more opportunities. His history of fumbling doesn’t concern me because it can be coached and improved with better technique.

Opportunity: Again, he has more than you think. Recent history paints a misleading picture of Shanahan. If you dig deeper and start analyzing his years in Denver and his first couple in Washington. You see a coach who PREFERS a primary back who is multi-faceted. Shanahan is known for a run-heavy variation of the West Coast offense he coached way back in San Francisco. He has often found unheralded rb’s from later rounds and then turned them into league-leading rushers behind small-but-powerful offensive lines. Examples of this phenomenon are Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis, Reuben Droughns and Tatum Bell, all of whom have had at least one 1,000-yard season in a Denver uniform over the past 10 years. No reason why Hightower couldn’t join this group.

Motivation: As a fantasy footballer, if you haven’t noticed the typical spike in numbers across the board when a rb in his prime switches teams, then I would suggest another hobby. Possibly quilting or cow-tipping. Whether it’s the desire to gain respect from new teammates, to be in an organization that WANTED you and has a vested interest in seeing you do well, or both, traded rb’s tend to do really very well. (see 2006-7 Chester Taylor, 2004-6 Clinton Portis, 2007-8 Jamal Lewis, 2008-9 Michael Turner, and the list goes on….)

Add this all up and…..

Prediction: TIM HIGHTOWER WILL BE A TOP 20 RB IN STANDARD FORMATS AND A TOP 15 RB IN PPR

Stat Projections: 230+ carries 50+ recs 1400+ total yards 6+ tds