Which Team Will Sidney Jones Make Look Like Geniuses?

By Leo Silbert

After 3 seasons at the University of Washington, corner back Sidney Jones decided that it was the time for him to declare for the NFL draft.  He was one of the highest rated corners coming out this year which is also a year where corner back is one of, if not the, strongest position groups in years.  One NFC East scout said that Jones seemed to have taken all of the good qualities from fellow former Husky and off-season workout buddy Marcus Peters, with none of the behavioral issues.  He put up respectable numbers across the board at the combine and he seemed like a lock for the first round of the draft until he went to the ground during his pro day and had to be carted off the practice field.

Sidney Jones Injury

The diagnosis ended up being a ruptured left Achilles tendon, a devastating blow to his draft stock.  He went from being a potentially top half of the first round selection to being a mid-late round gamble on his ability to heal from this injury.  The worst part about this injury is that it might rob him of some of his speed and quickness and eventually shorten his career length, but if he is taken by a team in the right situation, he can end up living up to his potential for pennies on the dollar.  Now, he won’t be much use to a team that has an immediate need at the corner back position to make their defense improve since he may be unable to play until November, but he still has two types of teams that should be very interested in him.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

The first group of teams who should be interested in him are teams who have good corner back groups already, but with aging members.  As a Giants fan, the Giants were the first ones to come to mind to me here since they already have a very good trio of corner backs but with one member who is over the age of 30 and a contract that would save the team valuable cap space if it wasn’t on the books anymore with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  DRC is a great corner still and had one of his best seasons ever this past year, but he has a few issues going against him.  Most importantly is that even though he will start just about every game, he is a player that can’t stay on the field for an entire game anymore.  This past season, he only played 736 snaps while he only missed one game.  His teammate Janoris Jenkins who missed most of 2 games on the other hand played 1,028 snaps.  This means that the 4th string corner has to end up picking up most of the extra 292 snaps missed by DRC.  Also, the Giants need to clear up some cap space in the upcoming off seasons so they can give second contracts to players such as Odell Beckham Jr, Landon Collins, Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg.  The Giants also fit with their fondness for gambling corners as seen with both DRC and Janoris Jenkins.  Other teams that also fit this type of mold are: The Denver Broncos with Aqib Talib, the Dolphins with Byron Maxwell, the Panthers with Captain Munnerlyn, the Patriots with Malcolm Butler if they decide not to pay him highly, the Raiders with Sean Smith, the Steelers with William Gay, the Texans with Jonathan Joseph and the Titans with Jason McCourty.

Joe Haden

The other type of team that should be interested in Jones is the group of teams that are so talent deficient that a highly graded player joining or being hurt won’t affect their record much this season anyway.  The team that leads this group is the Cleveland Browns.  The Browns need capable bodies at positions across the board except for along their offensive line, at nose tackle and at weak side linebacker.  They are a team no one expects to compete this season and is likely due for another top 5 draft pick next year.  They are a team that has nothing to lose by gambling on such a talent as Jones is and in a few years if they build their team up to respectability, they may have a mid-round steal of a corner on their team helping to lead their defense.  The list of teams here is a lot shorter since the league is at the closest level of competition across the board it has ever had so there are fewer teams that qualify for that, and one of the few teams that do qualify have a scheme where Sidney Jones’ lack of height and arm length make it so he doesn’t fit the scheme like how it is with the San Francisco 49ers.  Other teams where Jones would fit with under this stipulation though are the Bears and Jets.  If Jones is picked by any of these three teams, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if in 3 years he was helping to lead a great young defense.

Sidney Jones

Injuries suck in football, especially when they take away a player’s chance to get paid before they are even drafted.  They could rob careers from reaching as high as they could potentially go and they can shorten or even end them early.  Jones won’t have his career ended before it starts and with the proper attitude and system, he can end up as one of the best corner backs in the league, and his draft position will make whatever general manager pulled the trigger on drafting him look like a genius.

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

NFL Weak 11 Powder Rankings: *All around the world same song*

By: Will Stevenson

What an NFL Sunday! Well, I only watch the Redzone Channel, so I don’t know what bad football looks like at the moment. As they say, ignorance is bliss. All in all, there is no way to avoid these bad teams, and as the season wears on, teams and players are falling off one by one. This week I can’t ignore the bad play, even if your team has some W’s in the win column; Bad is Bad! Alright, let’s look at the usual suspects and a few returners in NFL Weak 11 Powder Rankings.

  1. Cleveland (0-10)

The Browns are bad, but they aren’t super terrible. They have had six quarterbacks start this year and there is talk of another regime change. Last Thursday we were able to witness their Powderness. The thing is, it was Thursday Night Football, and I refuse to subject myself to such malarkey.

2. Green Bay Packers (4-5)

Have you seen their defense? I know their secondary has been banged up all season, but that performance against the Titans had me checking the ESPN scroll to see if Ted Thompson was going to let Mike McCarthy go. With the Vikings on a slide themselves, and the Lions being the Lions, the Packers could still win the North. Regardless, they suck right now. P-A-N-I-C.

3. New York Jets (3-7)

Even as I root for the Patriots, I refuse to delight in the misery of other fellow AFC East contenders. It’s tough because Bryce Petty is as bad as Ryan Fitzpatrick, and he’s as bad as Geno Smith, and they’re all as bad as Mark Sanchez and whoever was there previously. The defense is suffering, they are -65 in point differential, and have only won one game at home. They have a bye week coming up, so the y might as well go to Petty.

4. Jaguars (2-7)

Blake Bortles sure does overthrow his receivers on the deep ball. It’s getting worse in Jacksonville as the Jags have not forced a turnover since Week 4; It’s Week 11. Turnovers are a bit of luck, but there is strategy in forcing them, just ask the Chiefs. Another regime change in Jacksonville, I’ll stay tuned to the Espn scroll.

5. Buffalo Bills (4-5)

Remember when the Bills were riding high? Yeh, neither. The season will tell you who’s good and who’s not, and with Rex Ryan at the helm, they surely will suffer. The Bills are +34 in point differential, but have lost three straight games. Looks to be another marginal season for Rex and the Bills.

6. Bears (2-7)

Alshon Jeffrey is gone for four games. Jay Cutler is the quarterback. I don’t know what we expect form a John Fox coached team, we know what it looks like when the ship goes down. The Bears will start anew, again after the season.

7. 49ers (1-8)

Colin Kaepernick looked good yesterday. The 49ers didn’t allow 800 yards of offense, so that is a plus. They’re so bad that this feels like moral victories, even though it seems that nobody will be back for this team next year.

8. Rams (4-5)

I wasn’t going to put the Rams on here, because they won, but they still are a bad team. As long as Jeff Fisher is here, they will be average, and they are. Yes, they beat the Jets, but beating a bad team 9-6 isn’t something that excites me.

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The Hunt for the Redzone October

red-zoneBy: Will Stevenson

They always say it’s best to never meet your idols in person. They say it’s better to admire them from afar, while they are in their element. If you happen to meet them out on the street, their cloak of deity could evaporate with a slight, or a refusal to acknowledge you. The same ca be said for childhood crushes. Speaking from experience, I remember being head over heels for this girl in my class. I studied her every mannerism, eavesdropped on her conversations, asked her friends what she liked, and admired whatever she wore; I loved that girl. A few years passed, and through Myspace we reconnected. We talked on the phone and reminisced on the old school days. I asked her out on a date, in which she said yes. So that day came, I met her at a bar (I was too young at the time to realize what a “bar date” meant) and had a few drinks. Actually, she had a lot to drink. I paid, thinking that was the gentleman thing to do. About an hour in, I went to the bathroom to re-assess my life, I came back and she was talking to some other guy. I approached, they both laughed: It was her boyfriend. Turns out they were just using me to get drunk for free.

This is exactly how the gameplay for the NFL has been. These games lure us in with things of the past, get drunk off of us, give themselves to another, and wait for next week when we return to them again. We only seem to remember the good things about watching football: Drinks, food, family, friends, Hail Mary, basically the things they show in commercials. What we don’t realize is these games take almost four hours to watch, commercials on end, and so much time in-between plays that you have time to zone out to something else. We have deceived ourselves as the technology and NFL have progressed. We don’t watch the game the same way we use to back in the day. The amount of options available at our disposable has made watching football, disposable.

The Redzone has now become a blessing and a curse. When I think about the Cleveland Browns, I only think of them in a confusing light. When I look at their record, they are winless, but I only seem to recall watching them score. How can that be? Oh yes, the Rezone only shows me when they have the opportunity to score, therefore you have no idea how they got to the 4o yard line or that there 13 play drive was; 4 screen passes, 3 runs for loss, 3 more check downs, 2 penalties, and a beautiful touchdown pass on 3rd down. That’s the thing; You never see those plays! You know when you see those long, exhausting drives? The stand-alone games: Thursday, Sunday, and Monday Night Football.

How many games to do you watch from start to finish on Sunday? How can you with all of the options. You would literally just have to have basic cable or go to a restaurant in which you only can catch one or two games. We know Brock Osweiler is bad because we’ve had to witness the Texans on Primetime four times at the least. He’s bad. We get it. Think about it, the Seahawks vs Cardinals ended up 6-6 OT in the Sunday Night game. That game, if at 1pm or 4:15pm would be on the Redzone Channel maybe four to five times, and that would only be for the field goals attempted.

We don’t care though. The NFL is giving us booty-juice every single week, but we still come back for more. We keep thinking it’s going to get better, but it doesn’t. Just like I still messaged that girl after the “bar date”. Sometimes, winning isn’t everything… Scoring is.

Jags vs Titans Thursday Night. Enjoy!

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Rise and Fall of Robert Griffin III

I am an avid college football fan so when I began to pay attention to the Baylor University football team, they had a quarterback by the name of Robert Griffin III or his nickname RGIII. He was dynamic and exciting. He was bringing a new flavor to the college game’s, that had been missing since Vince Young. The media thought he was the next best thing and I myself thought he was going to be an elite quarterback.

During the 2012 draft, the media hype up the top two quarterbacks going into the draft, which was RGIII and Andrew Luck. The Colts, who still had Peyton Manning, who just missed the season due to neck surgery and they had the number one pick. The Colts ended up drafting Andrew Luck first overall and the Washington Redskins who was in dire need yet again for a quarterback drafted Robert Griffin III.

During his rookie season, Mike Shannahan ran the pistol offense with RG3 and Alfred Morris. They ran that offense so fluent and tricked the defense a lot because they didn’t know who had the ball. The only problem was when RGIII ran, he didn’t know how to slide or get out of bounds. He was absorbing contact and that’s not a good sign. He ended up injuring his knee against the Baltimore Ravens. That didn’t stop him because the Redskins had to win out to make the playoffs. They made it to week 17 with the division on the line in FedEx field. The Redskins was a Tony Romo interception away from losing, they won and advanced to the playoffs since 2004.

This made everyone in Washington excited and happy again. They felt a sense of hope and accomplishment. He gave the franchise their first division title since 1999, which was a long time for fans.The city came alive again and a sense that the suffering was over, or was it?

The Fall….

In the playoffs, we played Seattle at FedEx field. Griffen was moving the ball at ease against a very talented defense, lead by Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas just to name a few. I had a good feeling we would win the game until Griffin was injured. He fumbled the snap and while trying to recover it, the already injured knee twisted and left Griffin on the ground and a sense of quiet filled the stadium. It was like the life and excitement were taken from the whole franchise in the blink of an eye. The game continued but the team was not the same and they went on to lose and the drought of a playoff win since the 2005 season continued.

robert-griffin-iii-knee-injury-1

RGIII diagnosis was a torn ACL, which was horrible for him and ended his magical season. He went at his rehab hard and he coined the catchphrase ” All in for week one” which a lot of fans believed in, including me. He posted his rehab videos and were doing things that were beautiful on the field. High expectations was swirling around the team and their accomplishments. RGIII was the rookie of the year so of course, everyone wanted to see him do well.

Rumors started to swirl around that then-coach Mike Shannahan didn’t like Griffin and he should not have played him against Seattle because he was already injured. I believed he made the right choice; it was the playoffs, it’s win or you go home, so why not take a risk and put your best product on the field. Other rumors were that Griffin could not read a defense, he locks in on his first read and he is not a pocket passer.

When the 2013 season came around, the Redskins started off losing to the division rival Eagles. The bleeding was just starting. The team was fighting with each other, the owner and coach were fighting and of course, Griffin was the center of it all because he was injured again and the team got swept by the entire NFC East and finished with a record of 3-13 which was not the expectation. That put a bad taste in the fans mouths again, it was the same old Redskins, Snyder can’t get right and losing started to become acceptable in the fan base.

Griffen was rehabbing another offseason and coach Shannahan was fired, Jay Gruden was hired and more drama started. Gruden wanted to start Kirk Cousins instead of Griffin and that shocked a lot of people. The owner, Daniel Snyder was not having that and he wanted his man Griffen on the field. Gruden compiled and started the 2014 season with Griffin was the starter. Players on the team didn’t like it because they thought Kirk Cousins moved the offense better. During this season, RGIII got hurt again, which gave Cousins a chance to start. He showed he was an interception machine so people wanted Griffin back. The season ended again miserably 4-12 and last for the 7th time in ten seasons in the NFC east. The team was embarrassed along with the owner who called for change.

sp-skins0921_0041442767451

A new general manager was brought into town by the name of Scott McClaughan, he was known to build teams into winners but his personal demons was alcohol. He began to draft and sign players who fit the scheme. We were trying to win again and that including phasing out Griffin. This did not go well with the some of the fan base and it started a divide the fans and players on the team. Those who wanted RGIII and those who wanted Cousins. That’s not a good thing to have in a locker room during a team sport. The offensive line seemed to not lock for rg3 but when kirk cousins came in they gave him all sorts of time. The play calling was different for both quarterbacks. It was rumored that Gruden was purposely calling plays to make RGII I look bad and to make Cousins shine so he can get his man to start. It worked and your new starter for 2015 season was Kirk Cousins.

Griffin the once poster boy, the love, heart, and soul of this team was on the outside looking in. He didn’t even dress for games and did not take a snap the entire season. It was depressing for him and his fan base. He was not on the team anymore by mid-summer, he was cut by the team which was expected and signed with the Cleveland Browns.

THE RISE… MAYBE…..

147164838966597-f549ddf1593442218c870463daa2ceb3It’s only preseason but Griffen has been looking terrific with his new team and new wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. They have not won a preseason game but Griffin’s numbers have been excellent and looking better than past years. He seems to be happy, have his confidence back but something have not changed and that’s the drama that surrounds him. He announced he was divorcing his wife and the tabloids exploited his now new girlfriend. This is a distraction that a team does not need during this time where they need to be focusing on getting ready for the upcoming season. Griffen is still causing a division with the Redskins fan base even though he is on another team. People who were Redskins fans have switched teams to follow their beloved quarterback and some still root for the skins but they back Griffin as well. Then you have some that just plain don’t like him and they love Kirk Cousins. You have those who don’t like Kirk Cousins. My opinion, that mess with the fan base needs to stop. We need to come together as one to rally around the players on the field of our team. I loved Griffin but I will not switch teams to follow him. Players come and go but my love for the Redskins is for a lifetime
Written by: Melvin Jackson III

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