NFL 2017-2018 Preseason Schedule

 

By: Will Stevenson

Can you feel it? Just imagine the droughts and sounds of the NFL season. Two-a-days, minicamps, veteran camps, seven on seven drills, torn acl’s, Non-contact injuries, position battles, and most importantly: Expert analysis of guys in shorts.

There are countless things that could irritate a football fan, but actual football isn’t one of them. So between now and the first preseason game, we have months to comb through every team, transaction and predict who will do what when the season rolls around. It will be exciting to see how the top drafted rookie quarterbacks find their footing on teams that made the playoffs last season: Chiefs and Texans. We all know how the preseason goes: Stars play in one or two games for a few series, then the backups. I also have an interest in fringe plays attempting to made rosters within the new safety guidelines for special teams.

So let us take a look at the preseason schedule. The competition will be early as starters make their way off the field after a few possessions, but don’t let that deter you from consuming the whole game. Position battles, overall team health, sheer talent, and a basic understanding of the team’s philosophy will be on display. So it’s not the Pro Bowl, but it’s damn near close for those first few series.

Not need to worry. Football is own it’s way, and it starts with the Hall of Fame Game on August 3rd with the Cowboys and the Cardinals.

 

 

NFL/Hall of Fame Game – AUGUST 3
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET NAT. TV
Thurs Aug. 3 Dallas Cowboys vs Arizona Cardinals 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM NBC
WEEK 1 – AUGUST 9-13
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET
Wed Aug. 9 Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Friday Aug. 11 Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Friday Aug. 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Friday Aug. 11 San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs 8:00 PM (CT) 9:00 PM
Sat Aug. 12 Tennessee Titans at New York Jets 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 12 Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams 6:00 PM (PT) 9:00 PM
Sat Aug. 12 Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals 7:00 PM (MST) 10:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 13 Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts 1:30 PM (ET) 1:30 PM
Sunday Aug. 13 Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM
WEEK 2 – AUGUST 17-21
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET NAT. TV
Thurs Aug. 17 Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 17 Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM ESPN
Friday Aug. 18 Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans 2:00 PM (CT) 3:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys 6:00 PM (CT) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 New York Jets at Detroit Lions 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 19 New England Patriots at Houston Texans 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals 7:00 PM (MST) 10:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 20 Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers 4:00 PM (ET) 4:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 20 New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM
Monday Aug. 21 New York Giants at Cleveland Browns 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM ESPN
WEEK 3 – AUGUST 24-27
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET NAT. TV
Thurs Aug. 24 Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 24 Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Friday Aug. 25 New England Patriots at Detroit Lions 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Friday Aug. 25 Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM CBS
Sat Aug. 26 Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 New York Jets at New York Giants 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM CBS
Sat Aug. 26 Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos 7:00 PM (MT) 9:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 27 Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans 12:00 PM (CT) 1:00 PM FOX
Sunday Aug. 27 Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins 4:30 PM (ET) 4:30 PM FOX
Sunday Aug. 27 San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM NBC
WEEK 4 – AUGUST 31
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET
Thurs Aug. 31 Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers 6:00 PM (CT) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 New York Giants at New England Patriots 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs 7:30 PM (CT) 8:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos 7:00 PM (MT) 9:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM

Each AFC North Team’s Biggest Draft Need

By Leo Silbert

 

It is getting to the point of the year that fans are trying to figure out who their team needs to draft or what position needs the most help.  Some teams like the Patriots don’t have a glaring need so they are able to pick for desire and are allowed greater risks.  Other teams like the Browns have needs all over the map so they are best suited to just take the best available player.  I’m going to sort this out by division and within the divisions I’ll sort them by 2016 records.

Next up, the AFC North:

  1. antonio-brownPittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers have a rapidly improving defense, one of the top offensive lines in the league, and a trio of offensive play-makers who are able to dominate any given game on any given weekend.  They have had success in drafting Artie Burns in the first round as he has improved greatly over the season and has high upside as the future lock down #1 corner for the team.  Their receiving corps were weaker this year than it could have been, but that is partially due to Martavis Bryant being suspended for the season, but he is likely to return for next season as long as he doesn’t mess up again.  Their biggest weakness on defense is at inside linebacker next to Ryan Shazier.  Lawrence Timmons has been a great leader for the Steelers for years, but his play on the field doesn’t reflect his leadership.  He is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason so the team might not bring him back and the linebackers under him don’t have the necessary speed to cover sideline to sideline that is needed in today’s NFL.  If they grab a strong coverage linebacker here, then the Steelers defense can go back to living up to the standards of the Steel Curtain.
  2. cj-moselyBaltimore Ravens- The NFL is losing possibly the greatest receiver to ever have a Napoleon complex this year with Steve Smith retiring.  Throughout his career he has been one of the toughest and quickest to anger players in the league which has also made him one of the most fun players in the NFL over his career.  Now the Ravens still have their qb in Joe Flacco and there is already a known formula for a successful offense built around him.  They need a receiver who can stretch the field and either catch long balls or cause defensive pass interference penalties and they have that in Mike Wallace.  They need a running game that can produce yards on the ground, but also able to produce in the short passing game and the combination of Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon provides that for them.  And finally they need a big guy in the mold of an Anquan Boldin to make the tough move the chains type of catches, which is something the team is severely lacking.  At tight end they have a high round pick in Maxx Williams who just plain hasn’t been able to produce.  At wide receiver they have a Breshad Perriman who has had to deal with injuries, but is best suited for the same role as Mike Wallace who is just plain better in that role.  This draft is deep at tight end so I’d like to see them go in that direction so they can go back to playing Ravens football on both offense and defense.
  3. aj-greenCincinnati Bengals- Oh how the almost mighty have fallen.  Before this season, the Bengals had made it to the playoffs for 5 consecutive seasons only to lose in the first round.  In 2015 they started out even better than normal and looked poised for a first round bye until Andy Dalton went down with a thumb injury.  Then they ended up losing both their #2 and #3 receivers in free agency so they had to replace them with Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell who worked fairly well at their spots.  But there is another player they lost during the offseason who they weren’t able to replace, and that was their former right tackle Andre Smith.  Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher combined to play terribly at right tackle all season for the Bengals.  This led the team from having one of the top offensive lines in the league to having one in the middle of the road.  If they can add a top offensive tackle prospect this year who can end up eventually developing into a left tackle since Andrew Whitworth is in the last few years of his career, then the Bengals can once again find themselves in the playoffs, and maybe even making it past the first round.
  4. danny-shelton                        Cleveland Browns- The Browns have 3 studs in place on their roster who can be trusted to be good next season, left tackle Joe Thomas, corner back Joe Haden, and defensive tackle Danny Shelton.  Those are the only 3 guys who are safe in their spots on the entire team as long as none of them are traded away.  This means that their biggest need will be whoever the best player they can get is.  If I were the Browns, I wouldn’t take a quarterback first overall to stick them behind an offensive line with one great piece and 4 average at best pieces with no true receiving threats, little to no running game, and a defense that wouldn’t be able to hold onto a lead.  So I think the biggest need for the Browns is a pass rusher who will be able to make the rest of their defense better.  They are moving to more of a 4-3 scheme with Greg Williams as the defensive coordinator, so with Danny Shelton stuffing the run on defense, an edge rushing defensive end who can also play the run would be able to help boost the play of their defensive backs in the pass game and help their limited linebackers in the run game.  This probably won’t make them a great team quickly, but it will likely give them their best shot at a franchise quarterback in the 2018 draft.

Previous articles in this series: AFC East

Debbie Browners

Tay Holloway

Another season and another reason to think high and to think proud. The browns signed the former rookie of the year Robert Griffin and they seemed to have a breath of fresh air. It seems to be that way for years with each new quarterback that they would get to attempt to lead them to some type of good record. It must be something in the water with the Browns because it seems that is the place to be where careers go to die or just plain get paid to be mediocre.

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The preseason looked great for them and it looked like RG3 and Pryor were having some type of magical connection but that all came to a end when the real season started and once again RG3 is injured and out for an extended period of time. That took the breath out of the Browns once again and they went on to get smashed by the Eagles in week 1. I didn’t feel sorry for them because its the way I have grew up and know the Browns to be; Debbie Browners. I really don’t understand why they were so excited for RG3 because this man reads a defense as well is Floyd Mayweather reads books. I am sure people would hope he could return back to his rookie form but things have changed since 2012 and the pistol offense is kinda being phased out because like the wildcat, the defense has figured it out.

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Another bright spot that will still happen because this player is incredibly talented is after week 4 they get wide receiver Josh Gordon back on the field for the first time in almost two years. He was suspended because he cant stay off the marijuana and he had to sit for a year. I guess this time he has learned his lesson or maybe not. We will see because I am sure that the league will give him a random drug test after a game, which they have just started doing. I think its a good idea but then again why after a game, the game is played and if a player were high you are too late. If Gordon can come in and be the productive receiver he was before he was suspended then that is a bright spot for the Browns.

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Already in week 2 of the 2016 season the browns are down two quarterbacks – RG3 and Josh McCown –  and Cody Kessler  will get the start and they have also signed Charlie Whitehurst. This is just all around once again bad news for a team that just cant get right. Their fans are very loyal and hold out hope that one day they will be back on top like they was in 1964, when some of our mothers was born.

 

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I seriously think you should jump on this wave!

By Lawrence Edwards

OK, before I get started let me tell you that this isn’t a fad that will quickly fade out, nor is it a get rich quick scheme. It’s simple, I am not forcing you or trying to persuade you to do anything. I just want to share with you something that I know sports enthusiasts every where will enjoy and offer you the opportunity to be apart of something or get ahead of everyone else on a trend that is about to take the world by storm. From Football to Cricket we have something every sports will fall in love with. You have two options: Affiliate or Player. I will go in to great detail about both and most importantly the coming of a game changing sports app by United Games that is going to absolutely blow your mind!

Now what we are talking about here is an app that will let you enjoy your favorite sport interactively while watching the game. This app is going to bring a new dynamic way of playing of enjoying sports. It’s not just going to focus on the major sports but every sport.  The point is to get everyone to enjoy sports better, not just the people who have time for drafts and 4 different fantasy leagues or the ones who are good at selecting the right combination of players in order to enjoy the experience.

Now, as I previously mentioned you have two options to join this wave, either as a player or an affiliate. If you want to just be one of the first to enjoy the experience of this game changing app then sign up as a player for free. You will be a pre-registered player and once the app launches within the next 5 weeks you can begin enjoying your interactive sports experience and start earning some rewards and points. I don’t know about you but once I started playing fantasy football and basketball, the game became THAT much more interesting to me. I began to pay attention to things that I didn’t before. This interactive app will award every real sports fan the same experience but much better – did I mention that some of EA Sports former developers are building this thing? – Get ahead of the trend, this app is coming and it’s going to change the way we enjoy sports forever and it will be the first of it’s kind, share it with your neighbors, share it with your family, if they love sports, chances are they will love this!

Now if you are interested in becoming an affiliate of United Games and getting the opportunity to not only get ahead of the trend but earn some money while doing it, then this the route you want to go. Now let me tell you this isn’t a pyramid scheme or something wild like that, if you don’t want to be an affiliate then you don’t have to. We aren’t trying to recruit people for money, we are just offering an opportunity to earn some income based off of people just playing the game. Now when this was brought to me a few weeks ago I had my initial negative thoughts. I was told that I can become an affiliate for free, feel it out see if I like it and if I do I would have to pay a one time fee of $30 to stay an affiliate and $9.99 a month to maintain my affiliate site and if I don’t just simply cancel no harm done. Now I’m no easy person to convince to join things, so I did my own research before I agreed to sign up for anything. Now I hate selling things, I’m terrible at it, so the fact I didn’t have to sell a product and it was an app – I’m a huge tech junkie – helped me decide to really read up on it. So I did my research and found that this app could really be something special and I don’t have to pay my fee until the app launches in 4-5 weeks at the time of this writing. I figured, what can I lose? I can jump on board playing a new fantasy app and maybe earn some money while doing it. Every time you share the app and someone signs up, whether as an affiliate or a player, and starts buying or earning tokens, you get a piece of the pie, NICE! Another selling point for me was the fact that in order for you to earn income you have to fill out tax form 1099. That right there let me know it was legit. Now United Games is offering this opportunity only up until the app launches in 5 weeks. Once it goes live, the affiliate opportunity will be no longer offered. You will only be able to download and use the app.

Whether you sign up to be a player or an affiliate I can assure you that this app is going to change your sporta experience. The point of this blog is to get the word out that a Giant is coming and to offer, what I believe to be a grand opportunity to be apart of the next big thing. If you like what you heard here today feel free to drop a comment, email me (lawrence.edwards115@gmail.com) or if you got here through my Facebook link, just shoot me a DM and I will happily send you a link to be an affiliate or a free player so you will be all set to go when the app launches. Once you click the link there will be more information for you to read through to get an even better understanding. You’re going to love this!

Here is a one page info sheet you can look at to get more information. Feel free to contact me with questions.

 

Cleveland Browns 2016 Training Camp: Rewriting the script for Believeland

By Will Stevenson

“All  that matters is what happens in-between the lines on the field.” For the Cleveland Browns in 2016, this cliché statement is not the only way it works. After a dismal 2015 season and coaching staff changes, Hugh Jackson knew he had to do something to bring excitement and energy to both the players and the fans of Cleveland. How many people would actually show up for a scrimmage for the Cleveland Browns during the dog days of summer? Well, 42,310 people actually and that’s how many showed up for Saturday’s Scrimmage at the Horseshoe. Honestly, a new Head Coach must first prove to his players and staff he is the man for the job, but from the media’s perspective, winning over the fans is always something that works early in July and August.With a Sunday atmosphere in the summer, the Browns brought the perfect environment to Ohio Stadium for the players and the fans on Saturday.

All eyes were on Robert Griffin III as he connected three times with Buckeye hero Terrelle Pryor on a touchdown in the first half, followed by a toss for a short touchdown to running back Duke Johnson. Pryor also caught a long touchdown pass from Josh McCown on the last play of scrimmage. The quarterback competition will be heavy between McCown and Griffin as they both look to stay sharp through camp and preseason to become the opening day starter for the Browns. With a new offense, both McCown and Griffin are starting from the same place, even with McCown being the Browns starter last season.

The excitement on Saturday could be a preview of what is to come from the Browns this season if they can string together a couple early wins in the schedule. Robert Griffin III is still upright, rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman showed flashes of brilliance on Friday’s scrimmage, and Josh McCown should keep Griffin on his toes and ready to compete for the starting job. It’s only one week in, but the Browns fans will relish in the fact that the buzz around this team is exciting, vastly different from last season. For now, Browns fans should enjoy the excitement of football in July, because football in the fall has not been so kind over the past decade.

There’s always room for more editing for Believeland.

2016 Cleveland Browns Preview: Another Happy Ending for Believeland?

By Will Stevenson

Last year’s record: 3-13, last in AFC North

Scoring offense: 17.4 ppg, 30th in NFL

Scoring defense: 27.0 ppg, 29th in NFL

AFC North 2016 Prediction: 7-9, last in AFC North

UpsideRobert Griffin III, Hue Jackson, no Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon’s reinstatement, Corey Coleman (WR, 15th overall pick in 2016 draft) and the Cavaliers won the championship.

Downside: It’s still Cleveland. Kelly Holcomb and Dennis Northcutt aren’t walking through the door.

In 2015, the Cleveland Browns started the way any Browns season would start: Maintain high hopes during training camp until the season starts and then we all realize that these are our dad’s Browns. From bad quarterback play, an average running game and lack of explosiveness and consistency from the wide receiver corps to a defense that was on the bottom end in scoring defense, 2015 lined up to be another version of the same mind-numbing notion: “The Browns are still the Browns.”

Here we are at the end of July and there is one thing that keeps fans coming back to the Browns, and that one thing is hope. With the quarterback names that range from Tim Couch to Connor Shaw (25 starting quarterbacks since 1999), having a playmaker under center is something this team and this city have solely missed in the past decades. During this past offseason, the Browns selected former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson as their new head coach, and he completely changed the look of the coaching staff in Cleveland. With a new look comes a new mindset (or as the famous saying goes “out with the old and in with the new”.) With the signing of Robert Griffin III and the drafting of Southern California’s Cody Kessler in the 3rd round, the Browns decided to do something most losing teams don’t do: Draft the wide receiver (former Baylor wide receiver Cory Coleman with the 15th overall pick), trade down from the top of the draft to get volume with 2nd and 3rd round selections. With every new coach in the NFL, they are usually hitched to the quarterback of the team, whether it’s through the draft, free agency, or the quarterback that is already slotted as a starter at the time. Without the knowledge of Josh Gordon’s reinstatement at the time, giving Griffin or Kessler a young playmaker on the edge is something that was sorely needed. 

It’s Time to Prove

With the signing of Robert Griffin III this offseason, it is time for RG3 to prove if he can be a force in this league again. He also must prove that he can complete the passes needed and run and offense that was near the tail-end of the league last year. Griffin was never known to be a pocket quarterback, and with his litany of injuries, being a mobile quarterback wasn’t in the best interest for his Derrick Rose-type knees. Being armed with talents such as Duke Johnson in the backfield, RG3 will have a running back that didn’t excel with his vision as a rookie, but was still able to catch 60 plus balls last season, which is definitely a safe option for a quarterback that could run out of options if the receivers are covered downfield.

Josh Gordon is back!!

There is a theme to this Cleveland Browns offense in 2016 and it revolves around the three former Baylor Bears that they are on the roster this season: The aforementioned RG3, draft pick Corey Coleman and the most infamous member of the trio, Josh Gordon. His career has been mixed: His talent on the field is nothing to overlook but his off the field choices have kept him in the dog pound (no pun intended). With the recent reinstatement of Gordon and his subsequent 4-game suspension that will have him back on the field in time for Week 5, it is now time for Gordon to re-feast on NFL secondary’s. All Browns fans want is for Josh Gordon to pass his drug tests and stay out of trouble. That is, it.

On defense, Joe Haden is paid like a shutdown corner, but it is hard to continue that trend when you are coupled with a defense that doesn’t get to the quarterback and you’re in a division that gives you high-octane offenses to stop six times a year. The 2016 season must be filled with consistency: A consistent pass rush, consistent pass coverage, and putting opposing quarterbacks and their offenses in hostile situations that would lead to turnovers and points off those turnovers.

Reality Check

In a division that features the Cincinnati Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, there isn’t much room for patience and growth in the AFC North. With a new coaching staff, new quarterback, new receivers and young draftees on the defensive end, The Browns must take advantage of this offseason to gel as a unit on offense, defense and special teams. With one primetime game on the schedule, the Browns will stay out of the spotlight most of this season. There is, however, that game on the road in Washington in which Robert Griffin III will face his old team that benched him and replaced him with a guy who is now making almost more than RG3 has games played and money made combined. The other NFC East opponents (Dallas, Philadelphia and the New York Giants) should be ripe for the Browns’ picking this season.

Below is the Browns schedule plus an optimistic prediction.

2016 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
WK DATE OPPONENT TIME (ET) Prediction
1 Sun, Sep 11
  • @
  • PHI
1:00 PM CBS Win
2 Sun, Sep 18
  • vs
  • BAL
1:00 PM CBS  Loss
3 Sun, Sep 25
  • @
  • MIA
1:00 PM CBS  Win
4 Sun, Oct 2
  • @
  • WAS
1:00 PM CBS  Win
5 Sun, Oct 9
  • vs
  • NE
1:00 PM CBS  Loss
6 Sun, Oct 16
  • @
  • TEN
1:00 PM CBS  Win
7 Sun, Oct 23
  • @
  • CIN
1:00 PM CBS Loss
8 Sun, Oct 30
  • vs
  • NYJ
1:00 PM CBS  Win
9 Sun, Nov 6
  • vs
  • DAL
1:00 PM FOX  Win
10 Thu, Nov 10
  • @
  • BAL
8:25 PM NFL  Loss
11 Sun, Nov 20
  • vs
  • PIT
1:00 PM CBS  Loss
12 Sun, Nov 27
  • vs
  • NYG
1:00 PM FOX  Win
13 BYE WEEK
14 Sun, Dec 11
  • vs
  • CIN
1:00 PM CBS  Loss
15 Sun, Dec 18
  • @
  • BUF
1:00 PM CBS  Loss
16 Sat, Dec 24
  • vs
  • SD
1:00 PM CBS  Loss
17 Sun, Jan 1
  • @
  • PIT
1:00 PM CBS  Loss

For the Browns, a 7-9 record in 2016 would be a huge upgrade over last season’s 3-13 record. The Browns fan base has yearned for excitement, consistency and winning. Well, they’ll probably have to settle for just one of those, consistency. If the Browns can put Robert Griffin III in the best position to make plays with his talented wide receiving core, then they may be able to put some points on the board and save their defense from struggling like they did a year ago.

If all else fails this season, there’s always LeBron

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Soooo…You’re Saying There’s A Chance: The Welcome Back Tour For Discarded NFL Players

By Will Stevenson

Motivations are different for every player in the NFL. Long-term contracts, signing bonuses, new opportunities for family and friends, fame are a few of the motivations for NFL players these days. In a league in which a player can sign a contract one day, and be cut the next, it would seem that each player must be at the top of their game both on the field and off the field. With the media coverage and insider information around the teams, it seems harder to get away with things off the field anymore, but we all know that not to be the case. We usually only pay attention to stories that give credence to our outrage, which really means we will only give a fuss to the stories that are put in front of us. Usually when we hear a story, the chances of that being the first occurrence is not likely. Whenever we hear stories such as domestic violence, drug and/or substance abuse, or violating team rules, it can be pretty certain that was not the first time it had happened with that particular player. In most instances, if you are a great player, you can come back into the league to earn your way back into the good graces. If you’re not great, you will be cut, point-blank. So how many chances do you give a player with “character issues”? How many chances do we give teams who continue to ignore these hot-button player issues by signing them, only to excuse them once they sign them?

Josh Gordon was reinstated, Junior Galette tore his ACL, Tre Mason is in the news, Aldon Smith is Aldon Smith and Greg Hardy is circling a NFL training camp near you. There are more, but these are just a few names in the news right now. Just notice that I did not put the teams on here, because we do not fault teams for taking chances on players, we fault players for not making something out of that opportunity.

The NFL is not lessening their stance on marijuana anytime soon, especially with possible CBA negotiations coming up soon. It would be pretty hard to run those ‘Punt, Pass, Kick’ programs with the kids and not get a few jokes. Although I’m not in line with the NFL’s stance on marijuana and suspensions, it is a rule. I will say I am not the best at following rules or policies, but if all you have to do is not fail a drug test, and you get notifications on when you will be “randomly” selected…Just Don’t Smoke. I am applying the sensibilities of most Cleveland Browns fans have and I am sure that is the only thing they are cheering for. Do you really care if Josh Gordon smokes or not? I doubt it. Most fans just don’t want him to get caught, which seems to be theme for him over the past couple years with the smoking and drinking: He is close friends with Johnny Manziel, who happens to be in the substance abuse program (for alleged use of hard drugs and alcohol), in and out of rehab, an alleged domestic dispute and he’s not that good on the field as well. Josh Gordon is an outstanding talent, and he hasn’t even played in a very long time by football standards. Here’s the thing: He’s Good! He’s Hope! And it is July, so Browns fans can hold on to the fact that the process for Gordon to be on the field by Week 5 is happening. So whether or not you believe marijuana and alcohol to be an issue for this young man, the Browns want him, Goodell has conditionally approved him to play, and Gordon wants to play. In the end, that’s what matters to us all, we get what we want.

I wonder what the conversation is between Greg Hardy’s agent and whomever handles the invites into training camp for each NFL team? I feel Hardy’s agent has a note card with all the possible questions and answers to what each team would like to know about Hardy and his rehabilitation. So do we as fans care if our team signs Hardy or anyone like him? We kind of went at Jerry Jones and the Cowboys for signing him last season, and there seemed to be no remorse on the part of Hardy, which settled on the domestic dispute. So where do we as fans of these teams stand: Are we on the side of winning at all cost, give guys another chance, or to stay away from all public relations turmoil? In this sports world where everything is linked together, good and bad, it’s hard to stand on one premise of an issue as if that’s the only thing that matters. Although this may never again occur in Hardy’s life, the argument of “He can help us” versus “No way we need a guy like that on our team” continues to go back and forth. The one issue is this: Players like Hardy are everywhere. They are on the teams, in the front office, in the stands, and in the media. We are surrounded by guys like Hardy. We are also surrounded by teams would could care less about PR hits if you can get Hardy on a one-year cheap deal as the Cowboys did (cheap as in no long-term deal with incentives).

(P.S.: I hate saying “what Greg Hardy allegedly done” because the proof is there, and witnesses were intimidated, therefore there was no case other than civil court).

So how do we draw the line on player issues when it comes to them signing with a team? Are there certain issues we let slide? Are there certain issues we will not forgive? Were there any Cowboys fans that refused to cheer Greg Hardy even when he was getting his sacks? For the casual football fan, Greg Hardy may be an issue, but to many hardcore fans, they just want to see their team win and are willing to sacrifice whatever human decency they have to achieve it. We all tend to rationalize our football players when it comes to our best interest.

  1. You know if Josh Gordon stays out of trouble, he can be a force.
  2. If the right team and the right situation signs Hardy… He can contribute.
  3. Once Galette rehabs, he’ll be a force maybe… (Domestic abuse issues since college).
  4. All Manziel has to do is clean up his act…

Why do some NFL players continue to cut off their own hand when it comes to player behavior off the field? Millions of dollars are literally yours if you can keep your nose clean. For many guys in the league, it’s not an issue, but for some it seems to be harder. In a masculine/testosterone (and sometimes estrogen) driven league in which staying on the field despite broken limbs and torn muscles is the rhetoric, having “fun” off the field is a must. We can all agree partying is something that will always happen: Posting videos of you smoking weed, or Instagram posts of affairs and who you were in bed with and pics and videos of drugs is…dumb. Ludacris made a song called “Keep It On the Hush” which goes, “Keep it on the hush/Don’t saying nothing/Isn’t gon’ be no talking/While I’m doing my thing”, and this song is something the players could follow. Stop getting caught! That’s it. I do think it’s too much for us to expect around 75 guys on an NFL roster to all be perfect citizens. I do think we all expect as fans is that our players not get themselves into trouble. The money is there, and even if a player is a backup to the backup, all we ask is that you stop getting caught. We would really hope you would stop the foolery off the field, but that will never happen.

Now in the case of Greg Hardy or Junior Galette, you’ve done your deeds, and now you must wait to see if any of these teams will do what teams do: Which is wait to see if other teams fall in line will the narrative of not singing guys who have domestic abuse in their past, but only if this player’s past is in the media and they have to be a certain age which is at least over 27 and be at a position in which we don’t really need because we have young guys but if we can get that player at a cheap rate and put incentives in the contract and sign him in camp but probably release him then we might just wait. See how horrible that looks when you rationalize?

We are not going to hold teams to a high standard, because this is football. Every team has a handful of players on their roster that have something in their past. Marvin Harrison allegedly… well, he was quiet enough to somehow slide through that mess. There are teams who take stands against signing or drafting players that have had off the field issues, but we all believe people can change, and all they have to do is produce on the field. Teams think they can “save” a player by keeping them around other players that can and will influence good and decent off the field behavior. So can we blame the teams? I do feel as if I am romanticizing how teams treat certain players with these type of issues, so forgive me for being… naïve’.

  1. Speeding over 100 mph
  2. Drinking and Driving
  3. Posting issues onto social media
  4. Secret videos of partying with drugs
  5. Riding around the city with a duffel bag full of money and prescription drugs.
  6. Getting into disputes at nightclubs

Oh I’m sorry… #5 was about an owner. Just overlook that one.

#Browns #NFL #JoshGordon #FreeAgency #Greg Hardy