The Bruins continued their winning ways this Saturday, having beaten the New Jersey 1-0 at TD Garden. This one was mostly a snoozer, as most are against the sorry Devils. When the Devils suck, they play an awfully boring hockey game. It’s been that way for years, and this year was no different.
Much of the game was a battle of Goalies. Tuukka Rask manned the pipes for the Bruins, and Mackenzie Blackwood for the Devils.
The only goal of the game came early on a Bruins power-play:
A filthy goal from Marchand who received a disgusting no-look, behind the back pass from Patrice Bergeron. It was so naughty it should be illegal in some states. This goal came just 2:37 into the First. Neither team would score for the remainder of the contest.
Rask stopped all 20 shots he faced, while Blackwood stopped 29 of 30. Including a Marchand Penalty Shot in the First.
Marchand with some improbable history in this one. There isn’t a more obscure stat that is more fitting for Brad Marchand than that.
Next up for the Bruins are the surging Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes have won 8 of their last 9 and 5 in a row. This will be a good test for the Bruins, playing a team almost as hot as they are. Sebastian Aho leads the way with 73 points, followed by Tuevo Teravainen in second with 61. This isn’t a typical Canes team with piss-poor forwards.
They’ve got quality youth in Aho and Alex Svechnikov. They made a ballsy mid-season trade when they were out of the playoff picture to acquire Minnesota Wild forward, Nino Niederreiter. He’s provided secondary scoring with 41 points. Canes biggest whole comes in net where they sport two below average, stop-gap goalies. We will have a better idea tomorrow whether Peter Mrazek or Curtis McElhinney will man the crease. Bruins will need to be as focused as they were against Tampa to win a 13th out of 17. Lets keep those sorry Maple Leafs in the rear-view.
The Boston Bruins welcomed the surging Tampa Bay Lightning last night, and came away with a resounding 4-1 victory. The Bolts came in having won 9 games in a row. They already post a whopping 102 points. The Bruins are the next best Eastern Conference team with 85. Didn’t matter on this night, as the Bruins stifled the Lightning from the get go.
I was just hoping they’d keep it close, but from the get-go they were all over Tampa, out-shooting them 32-9 after two periods. Jake DeBrusk was the only Bruin able to sneak one past Tampa Net-minder, Louis Domingue. Domingue was having himself a career game, making highlight reel save after highlight reel save. Finally DeBrusk snuck one through in the Second.
Jake DeBrusk continues to roll.
Make that 7 goals and 12 points in his last eight games.
I can’t remember the exact stat, but through the first two periods, I believe Kenny Albert mentioned the Bruins had only allowed two shots by Tampa forwards. Stamkos, Kucherov, Point, Tyler Johnson, Palat, and countless others. They could only muster up two freaking shots from forwards.
Tampa woke up to start the Third Period, finally applying consistent pressure on a Rask and the Bruins. Able to withstand the pressure, Noel Acciari stuffed a rebound past Domingue to break open the floodgates.
The game would finish 4-1, as the Bruins finish February 11-0-4. The last time they had a perfect month was November 2011. It’s been just a sensational month. Our deadline acquisitions played well again, but registered 0 pints between the two. I actually really like Charlie Coyle. He is a very very good Third Line Center. He’s got size, decent skating ability, and generates scoring chances. Problem is his linemates fucking BLOW. Backes is too slow, and Nordstrom just is one of the worst hockey players I’ve ever seen. Due to some re-shuffling thanks to Kuraly missing a few days with an injury, we finally see a decent player on Coyle’s wing in, Peter Chelarik. The past three games there was Nordstrom and Backes flanking Coyle. 🤢………🤮.
Backes and Nordstrom have 4 points between them since Christmas. All from Backes.
How embarrassing, Nordstrom. Whole fucking net to shoot at, and flops it into Domingue’s glove. Shame on you, Joakim. Domingue got lots of praise for this save, he got lots of help from Nordstrom.
So moving forward I’d like to see some other combinations, and giving Charlie Coyle a legit player in his wing. Bruins next game is Saturday at TD Garden against the rotten, New Jersey Devils. The Bruins look to cement their place as one of the NHL’s elite over the last Month of the season.
Two nights ago the Boston Bruins dismantled the San Jose Sharks, 4-1 at TD Garden. The game featured sexy goals, big hits, and plenty of bad blood. The Bruins first game back from a lengthy road trip brought plenty of emotion, especially from the Captain.
41 year old Captain, Zdeno Chara, and San Jose Shark Diva Evander Kane squared off in the Third Period. The fight was brewing all game, as Kane was running around picking fights with multiple Bruins once the game was out of hand at 4-1. A second period flurry of goals from McAvoy, DeBrusk, and Marchand put the game away. It was the Captains bout with Kane that put the icing on the cake.
At 41 the big guy can still peat the piss out of anyone. It’s much more rare than in the past, but he is still just too strong for anyone in NHL. Kane got a head start by knocking Z to the ice, but Z got up like it was no problem. He then proceeded to beat the bag out of Kane causing TD Garden to go nuts. Throwback city, it was great.
Tonight will be the biggest measuring stick the Bruins will have faced in some time. They played some solid Western Conference teams on that trip, but tonight they’ll play the best team in the NHL. Tampa Bay comes to town having won last night in New York. Tampa has an astonishing 102 points already. It’s still February. They are historically good, with Stamkos, Point, Hedman, and Kucherov leading the way. Tonight we’ll see how the Bruins stack up. We will get a good look into weather or not the Deadline acquisitions will make an impact.
In his first game as a Bruins on Tuesday, Marcus Johansson looked like he belonged. He certainly is flashy enough with the puck on his stick to make things happen. He did so by contributing an assist on DeBrusk’s goal.
Hopefully he keeps it up, and builds on a solid debut. While he wasn’t who I wanted the Bruins to grab at the deadline, he came pretty much as advertised. Super skilled, crafty with the puck on his stick.
Charlie Coyle has been good so far, problem is Cassidy is hanging this guy out to dry. His line mates have been Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes. Both are just terrible. Coyle is playing well, carrying that line, but he is being held back by these two stiffs. Hopefully the following games we will see legitimate hockey players on his wing like Peter Cehlarik. Regardless, tonight will be a great test to see if they will have any shot to push Tampa in a Playoff series. I am not holding my breath.
With regular 60 point scorer, Mark Stone on the move to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Boston Bruins laid another Trade Deadline egg yesterday afternoon.
Having been in the conversation to acquire Stone for upwards of two weeks, Donny Sweeney couldn’t get it done….again. Much like Hossa and Kovalchuk from 2008-2011 (that was Chiarelli but still, John Tavares, and Kovalchuk again this past summer. Most reported the Bruins were pushing hard for the Superstar Winger. Stone was unable to negotiate a contract extension with the Senators, which made him available to contenders.
Per @DarrenDreger, OTT receives Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg and DAL 2nd round pick in 2020 for Mark Stone.
Once again Donny failed. This might be criminal case of failure. How do you have an aging Bergeron, Marchand, Chara, Rask, and Krejci on your team, and not put all your resources you possibly could into maximizing their window? Instead they trade for Marcus Johansson who is simply not good enough. I shouldn’t be surprised, this is the Bruins “MO”. You’ll always find the Bruins associated with the biggest available trade targets, or Free Agents. They never have the balls to pull the trigger. This team had a chance to be something special, had Sweeney invested future assets. He was a afraid to trade a First Round Pick, because last year he pissed one away on the corpse of Rick Nash. Mark Stone is 26. They would be all sorts of dangerous adding a 60 point winger in his prime, but instead they add two guys who combine for 55. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Marcus Johansson is a pretty crafty player, loads of skill especially with the puck on his stick. More of a pass first player, I would think he’d be on the second line with Krejci and DeBrusk. Problem with MoJo is he took a cheap shot from Brad Marchand just last season:
The guy hasn’t been the same since, not many would be after taking that Bush League shot. We’ll see how he contributes, but I don’t think he and Coyle is enough to match Tampa. Not even close. The Bruins just don’t have the stones (no pun intended) to maximize their ever slimming Stanley Cup window. People will say, “They didn’t mortgage their future!”. To that I say, there is no fucking future. This is it, the next 2-4 years is about as long as Bruins fans can expect to compete with the aging roster. One more bonafide stud, and they woulda been a real threat. Instead, we’ll have to pray they go in some magical run with a string of upsets.
B’s take on San Jose today at TD Garden, where MoJo will make his Bruins debut. Put up or shut up time with just over a month left.
In the midst of a Six game winning streak, the Boston Bruins added depth to their lineup by trading for Minnesota Wild Center, Charlie Coyle. In return, Minnesota received Ryan Donato and a 5th round draft pick. This is a solid trade for both sides. Donato really hit snag toward the end of last season, which he looked to be a sure fire fit in the Top 6. This year saw Ryan struggle mightily, traveling between Boston and Providence for most of the year.
Needless to say he was struggling. Barely amassing 12 points in 18 AHL games for a guy who is labeled as a goal scorer is fucking bad. Watching him play you can tell he has a wicked shot. Problem is he doesn’t have the hockey IQ, toughness, and willingness to get to quality scoring areas. Most of his shots come from around the perimeter. I still think he could do with finishing this season in the AHL and playing a full season down there next year. Sure seems like his development has been rushed. There is still hope for him, but a good amount of time in Iowa (Minnesota’s AHL affiliate) will be needed. Who knows, maybe they plug him in right away in Minny? Can see that happening too, and in typical Bruins fashion he becomes an All Star like Seguin, Kessel, and Blake Wheeler.
As for Charlie Coyle? Not a bad addition for the Bruins by any means. He is a solid player, who can play up and down the lineup. He play Center or Wing. I do think he has been brought here to be a Third Line Center, which is one of two massive holes in the Bruins forward group.
Charlie is good for anywhere between 35-50 points a year, which will bring much needed depth to the Bruins lineup. Hopefully, Coyle has been brought in to solidify the Third Line, and NOT to be the scoring Winger the Second Line needs. We’ll see, but Don Sweeney had this to say:
Don Sweeney on if the Bruins have any additional plans ahead of the trade deadline:
"I don’t know if we’re necessarily going to do anything else. … We will continue to look at the marketplace."
Fingers crossed they are still trying to pry Mark Stone from Ottawa. They certainly aren’t going to say out loud if they are, but this is worrisome. Monday is the NHL trade deadline, which will see a plethora of moves made by Playoff contenders. I would like to think the Bruins know they need one more piece, and I can’t think of a more perfect piece than Mark Stone.
I fucking hope so. In terms of the On-Ice stuff, the Bruins continued their winning ways with a 3-2 Shootout win over Vegas last night. It’s their 7th win in a row, which has propelled them to second in the Atlantic Division. Some of the struggling youngsters such as, Debrusk, Heinen, and Peter Cehlarik are coming alive. Next matchup is Saturday in St. Louis, who have won 11 straight. Can’t wait.
We’re past the halfway point in the 2019 NHL Regular Season, and the Boston Bruins rest in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division. Despite major injury issues at the beginning of the Season, Bruce Cassidy’s bunch has once again kept the ship afloat.
That tells you that the Bruins are kind of good this year, but looks may be deceiving. They are not great. As of this moment, the Bruins pretty much live and die by two things:
1. Tuukka Rask, who’s been phenomenal since his early season woe’s. Rask is clocking in the Top 3 for Save Percentage across the league.
2. Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak. The Erection Line, or better known as the best line in hockey.
Those two things are keeping them in the middle of the Eastern Conference Standings. From there on, they have a boat load issues. Biggest issue is secondary scoring. They rely so heavily on the Erection Line, and Powerplay it often gets overlooked, but the Bruins have nothing after line 1. David Krejci is having a good year statistically, even though he’s great one week, invisible the next. That’s the “MO” of David Krejci. His linemate, Jake Debrusk is a good player, and is a good fit for the Second Line. He has 19 points, but just isn’t as lethal as we’d all like. No issue with Debrusk whatsoever, he’s nails and will one day wear a letter on his chest I am convinced. It’s Krejci’s other wing that’s an issue.
Krejci’s right wing has been a a revolving door of stiff after stiff after stiff. Ryan Donato, a second year guy who looked to be a Top 6 piece last year, has been up and down all year. He’s regressed badly. Last year he had 9 points in 12 NHL games, this year he has 9 points in 34 games. Not good. Anders Bjork had 3 points in 20 NHL games this year, and 10 in 13 AHL games before being sidelined with a season ending injury. Those guys were both rushed into NHL duty, and will likely be spending the majority of this season and next in Providence.
Currently Peter Chelarik is manning the wing, and has produced decently in his stint. Chelarik has 4 points in 8 games so far. Hopefully he keeps it up, but I’m not holding my breath.
To make matters worse the Bruins third line has been shitty too. Danton Heinen has regressed badly after nearly cracking 20 goals his Rookie Year. David Backes is a complete shell of himself, as his physical play style has caught up to him. Both those two have been in and out of the lineup all year. They have a quality Fourth Line with Chris Wagner, Sean Kuraly, and Noel Acciari. They are physical, and contribute with big goals. No issues there.
As we inch closer to the deadline the need for depth, and secondary scoring becomes more glaring. They cannot just sit on their hands with the Roster as it currently stands. Don Sweeney owe it to Bergeron, Chara, Rask, and (FINE) Krejci to add for a playoff push. It allows Chelarik to move down a line, which is probably better suited to him. Who should the Bruins look at?
1. Mark Stone
Mark Stone is the ideal trade option for the Bruins to help fill that second line void. He’s cracked 60 points in all but one of his five full seasons as a Senator. Stone checks all the boxes for me. He’s a bit of a pest a la, Brad Marchand, but he’s got more size. Most importantly, he’s and expiring contract. His deal is up at the end of the year, so his $7.3 AAV is easier to stomach. Adding Mark Stone is my primo, creme de la creme target. On a team like Ottawa, who’s tanking, a deal could be made.
2. Kevin Hayes
The Bruins haven’t had much success with Hayes brothers, but Kevin is an option I’d consider. Hayes isn’t quite the player Stone is in terms of goal scoring ability, but he is younger, and is good to contribute around 40 points a season. Hayes is versatile, with the ability to play center or wing. The Bruins have a solid trading relationship with the Rangers, and with them out of the Playoff picture I could see a deal being made. Kevin will be a UFA after this year, so his $5.1 million AAV will not be an issue.
3. Brayden Schenn
The Bruins have been linked to Schenn at earlier points this season. St. Louis loaded up on talent this past summer, and they came out of the gate as one of the league’s worst teams. All signs pointed to the Blues selling off names like Pietrangelo, Tarasenko, and Schenn. They’ve recently turned a corner, and are a mere few points out of the last Wild Card spot in the West. Last year was a career year for Schenn, potting 70 points for the first time in his career. He’s not on pace for similar this year, but he is on pace for his career average of around 40-50 points. Much like Hayes, Schenn can play Wing or Center if needed. He’s got 2 years left on his deal at $5.1 million AAV. A deal will be tougher since the Blues have regained their form, but I could still see one being made for Schenn.
Notice how Wayne Simmonds is not on the list, Bruins fans? For some reason Bruins fans are hell bent on acquiring Simmonds. At 30 he is half the the player he once was, which was a solid 40-50 point guy, who was tough and fought. This is pretty much what Milan Lucic was for the Bruins, and I think that’s why Simmonds is always mentioned. Like Lucic, Simmonds is slowly regressing with age, so trading for Simmonds on the back 9 is pretty much identical to last years Rick Nash trade. Let’s not do that again, the Bruins need an honest to goodness, in their prime, goal scoring stud.
Over the next few weeks we will find out what the Bruins have in store. Sadly, they are in a spot where they kinda have to take a kick at the can. I hope Don Sweeney see’s what everyone else see’s, a team that needs guys who can put the fucking puck in the net.
Well it’s Super Bowl Week, and in a stunning a turn of events, the Browns have already been eliminated. That leaves the Rams and Patriots standing in Atlanta. Sadly the Browns were eliminated quite some time ago. Week 16 to be exact. In Week 17 there was still hope of finishing the 2018 season with a winning record (8-7-1). In a Week 17 showdown with Baltimore, the Browns fell 2 points short of achieving that goal. The Ravens outlasted the Browns 26-24, with CJ Mosley intercepting Baker Mayfield on the final possession to seal the deal. It wasn’t all bad for Mayfield, who threw for 375 yards and 3 Touchdowns. Bakers third TD toss gave him 27 on the year, which surpassed Russel Wilson’s record for the most of any Rookie Signal Caller.
7-8-1 sucks, but clearly is an improvement from 0-16. If the Browns ducks were in a row last summer, well I think we would’ve been playing at least one Playoff game this year. Once the coaching dust settled, they showed just how good they could be. They were one of the most efficient Offense’s during the second half of year. They could run it down your throat with Nick Chubb, and sling the fucker all over the joint. In the end, the Defense is just not where it needs to be for this team to reach the Postseason. In the final game, Lamar Jackson ran for 90 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Kenneth Dixon rushed for 117 yards, and Gus Edwards added 76. While they were able to generate a shit ton of turnovers in 2018, the Browns Defense just could not get a stop when they needed it the most. Priority number 2 this Offseason should be improving the Defense, especially the interior of the Defensive Line. What is the reason this is only second on the Offseason “To-Do List”? That’s because priority number 1 this Offseason was to find a new Head Coach to pair with Baker Mayfield.
They wouldn’t have to look to far to find the 17th Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns. With Sean McVay having so much success out in Los Angeles, and Matt Nagy having similar success in Chicago, every NFL team is trying to replicate that type of hire. These young, offensive minds have captured the hearts of desperate, stupid Owners.
Kliff Kingsbury was hired out in Arizona, for reasons that confuse many. This guy choose Davis Webb over Baker Mayfield at Texas Tech, and was unable to win anything with Patrick Mahomes. He’s seen as this young genius, who has connections to McVay. The Cardinals went as far as to mention it in their Press Release:
You see where Arizona’s Head is at with this hire. They see those McVay connections, and history with Mayfield and Mahomes. It makes owners drool. They see high point totals and Kliff being the media’s darling like Sean himself. Problem is the dude finished under .500 at Texas Tech. Mediocre at best.
Kingsbury is just one example of this type of hire. The Jets hired Adam Gase, a mere few hours after he was fired by Miami. He too, is a young Offensive minded Head Coach.
Matt LaFleur was hired by the Green Bay Packers, who was Sean McVay’s Offensive Coordinator in 2017 out in LA. LaFleur then took over as Titans Offensive Coordinator. The Titans finished 27th in Points Per Game this past year, averaging 19.4 per game. This guy was hired to coach Aaron Fucking Rodgers.
The Browns interviewed a slew of mediocre Coordinators and former Head Coaches for the open position. Names like Jim Caldwell, Mike McCarthy, Gregg Williams, and Dan Campbell were interviewed. Josh McDaniels was linked to the job, mostly due to media speculation. Thanks to his Irish Goodbye from Indianapolis last year he never got an interview, while Patriots Defensive Coordinator, Brian Flores did. Despite having arguably the most attractive job open in the NFL, the Candidates were slim pickings.
All of these factors helped John Dorsey circle back around, and hire Interim Offensive Coordinator Freddie Kitchens as the teams 17th Head Coach. This comes as surprise, as Freddie was just a Runningbacks coach in August. He then was given the keys to the Offense when Todd Haley was told to screw. The results speak for themselves:
CLE offense under Freddie Kitchens (all stats since week 9) + Led the NFL in yards per play (6.86) + Tied for the league lead in yards per pass attempt (8.72) + 4th in yards per game (395.1) + 4th in passing yards per game (285.9) 23.75 points per game (14th) https://t.co/PQHVvds75L
Under Freddie Kitchens, Browns are converting a 1st down before reaching 3rd down 31.2% of the time… just another of a never-ending supply of stats demonstrating how this offense is performing at an extremely high level pic.twitter.com/wfjvbYNshb
The Offense exponentially improved during the second half of the year with Kitchens calling the shots. The Browns Offense went from being one of the leagues most lackluster to most potent. Biggest tell for me is Red Zone Efficiency. From October on, the Browns were fucking money in the Red Zone. Mayfield was surgical inside the 20’s, so much so he was one of the better Red Zone passers in the NFL. You might think it’s easier to score in the Red Zone, but in the NFL it narrows your margin of error. You have to be even quicker, even more decisive in the Red Zone. Mayfield was just that and then some.
The Browns are betting on themselves with this hire. It is very rare a coach rises so rapidly within the ranks. Freddie has been in the league for quite some time, but he came from nowhere to be the most popular candidate. The one time Alabama Quarterback is loved by players and fans alike.
He is nearly impossible to dislike and or root against. Kitchens hails from Alabama, so naturally he’s got a deep Southern Drawl. He’s got a natural sense of humor at the podium.
That natural sense of humor is what helps Freddie connect so well with players. He clearly has a tight bond with Mayfield, and the whole team. He has this belief in the team, a belief that clearly translates on the field. Take a look at the second half of the year. The Browns were running trick plays to show off how good they were, they were breaking 90 yard Touchdown runs, and were slinging it 60+ yards to a first round bust (Perriman). Hell, if Alabama had not beaten Georgia in the SEC Championship, Freddie was going to let Nick Chubb call some plays in the Browns upcoming game. He was serious too. This sort of stuff was impossible for the Browns to ignore.
Browns RB @NickChubb21 (UGA) tells me @nflnetwork that Freddie Kitchens (Bama) says Chubb can call plays Sunday if Georgia wins the SEC championship Saturday.
While I am definitely nervous about this hire, but there is definitely that slim chance this dude pops and the Browns explode to like 11-5 or something . I am certainly skeptical, but this is Dorsey’s guy which makes it all better. What do I mean by Dorsey’s guy?
Jimmy and Dee Haslam keeping their fucking asses out of Football decisions. That’s what i mean. They desperately need to keep watching from the sidelines, keep mouths shut, and sign fucking checks. Sounds harsh but these two do more damage than good. This is John’s team now. John, Alonzo, Eliot, and the rest of the old Packers boys should be making these calls. John Dorsey knows this. Seth Wickersham recently wrote just a fantastic Expose for ESPN on the Browns under Haslam. Regarding the Kitchens hire Dorsey states, “I flexed my muscles and got what I wanted”.
Dorsey paired a cabinet of solid Assistant Coaches with Freddie to help ease the transition.
From @gmfb: The #Browns have hired OC Todd Monken and DC Steve Wilks, adding to their staff prior to coach Freddie Kitchens' introductory press conference later today. pic.twitter.com/xLdysRfTAH
Todd Monken is taking his talents from Tampa to Cleveland to be Freddie’s Offensive Coordinator. Monken comes of high regard, and was Interviewed for numerous Coordinator AND Head Coaching gigs this Offseason.
Monken is an aggressive coach, who’s philosophy revolves around the Air Raid system. His teams are aggressive, and it showed with Buccaneers this year. Monken is coming in to run the offense, but not call plays. That will still be Freddie’s bread and butter.
On the Defensive side of the ball, Steve Wilks was brought in to run the show. Wilks spent the 2018 Season as Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals. His team was an absolute train wreck. They gutted the roster before he got there, basically hanging the dude out to dry. Wilks is most known for being the Carolina Panthers Defensive Coordinator. If anything, Wilks will be able to help guide Freddie through the Up’s and Down’s of being a Head Coach in the NFL. Gregg’s Defensive scheme had gone stale, and was masked by the unit generate a shit ton of turnovers. Wilks is a highly regarded Coordinator, and the Browns are hoping he can take the Defense to another level.
All that’s left now is to wait for the League New Year for any sort of news. March 13th will be the day Free Agency opens up. Big John has stated he doesn’t have any Jaw Dropping plans, like last years flurry of Trades and signings.
I tend to agree with that stance from Johnny. There aren’t really any Free Agents out there that tickle my fancy. A list of the top NFL Free Agents ranked by Pro Football Focus can be found here. Obviously there are a few names that stand out. Demarcus Lawrence certainly tickles the fancy, but the Cowboys are likely going to re-sign him. Trey Flowers is another one that moves the needle. If he hits Free Agency odds are he won’t want to leave a perennial winner in New England for Cleveland. Still, there are a few D line options the Browns could go after to bolster the Run Defense and Pass Rush.
Shaq Barrett is one to grab on the cheap, as Bradley Chubb outshines him out in Denver. The Browns have been interested in the past, but never got anything done. Maybe they take a flyer? Other than that nothing appeals to me. It’s an older Free Agency class than what we normally see.
2018 being over sucks. I have major Blue Balls for next season. I am not going to sit here and guarantee playoffs or anything though. The Browns are the Browns. Usually when they make strides the next year is hell. While I feel comfortable with Mayfield and Dorsey, it’s still going to be interesting to see how the teams builds of the late season success of this year. Fingers crossed.
I’ll leave you with an assortment of Browns Porn to get you through the Offseason.
Hope 2019 adds a second volume of Browns Porn. I sure enjoy it! Go Browns!
This past Sunday the Cleveland Browns pulled the curtain on their home schedule, with a 26-18 beating of the hapless Cincinnati Bengals. It was the first game I have ever watched where nearly every Offensive play the Browns ran…worked. Everything was clicking. The win on Sunday brings the Browns to 7-7-1 on the year. Sadly, their fate was out of their own hands. The day prior saw the Redskins lose to the Tennessee Titans, which was enough to officially eliminate the Browns. Don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened. I’m not necessarily mad they didn’t make the playoffs a year removed from not winning a single game, but looking back….FUCK. They should be in. The Browns should be traveling to Baltimore for the right to claim the AFC North Title. Hindsight really makes those early season losses that much worse. They will be playing a game which determines the AFC North Title at the very least? Either way, the Browns and their fans are having some fun. This past week was yet another display of that, as it was a fucking treat to watch.
The beginning of the game saw both teams come out a bit flat. It is expected for the Bengals who have nothing to play for at this stage. The Browns had been coming out firing for the better part of a month, but the Bengals were able to stymie them early on. Both squads exchanged 4 punts to begin the Battle of Ohio. Finally at the end of the First Quarter Mayfield lead a long march inside the Bengal Five yard line. On Third and Goal from the Three, Mayfield hit David Njoku in the back corner of the Endzone to open up the scoring.
Nice throw by Mayfield to the back corner, and all Chief has to do is win the one on one battle, which he does easily. Seems like a light switch has been turned for Njoku since the Kansas City game. The Browns in general are freaking money in the Red Zone. The Red Zone used to be a place where I closed my eyes and just hoped for the best. Recently I can count on them to make big plays in the Red Zone.
Highest passer rating in the red zone this season:
Having just scored, the Browns were feeling it. The very next possession had the Bengals going the wrong direction. 3 plays totaling a loss of 11 yards. The Browns got the ball back, eager to give the Sellout crowd a show, Freddie Kitchens dialed up yet another trick on the first play from the Browns 30:
Seeing this as a trend this year in the NFL. A ton of teams are running a shitload of Jet-Sweeps with Wide Receivers, and occasionally having them throw up a bomb. We’ve seen a few from Odell Beckham this year, and Landry has made a few attempts himself. Helluva throw on this play. No joke this might be the second best throw by a Browns QB since 1999. What a beautiful throw by Landry! First, he shows great awareness feeling that pressure coming, stepping into pocket, and hitting Perriman’s back shoulder in stride. Not to mention he fit it between two defenders. There goes Perriman again with his token big play. Two plays later, Mayfield fired a Touchdown pass to Darren Fells to make it 13-0 Browns.
The Browns were rolling, so naturally Greg Joseph decided he’d rather play “H-O-R-S-E” by drilling the upright with the Extra-Point. It wouldn’t pose much of a problem, because the Bengals would not threaten for the remainder of the first half. The Browns would add a Greg Joseph Field Goal to make it 16-0 at halftime.
The Second half started out much like the First. The Bengals were forced to punt on their first possession. Mayfield made them pay, taking the Browns on a 9 play, 87 yard march to pay dirt. On 3rd and 4 from the Bengal 17, Mayfield hit Rashard Higgins underneath, and Higgins took care of the rest:
Once again the Browns were absolutely torching the Bengals. They would add one more Field Goal in the fourth Quarter to make it 26-0. Jeff Driskel then lead a mini-charge, scoring 18 unanswered points. On their last drive of the game, Mayfield decided it was time to ice the game:
Naturally that is Hue Jackson who Baker is taunting right there. I was hoping they’d get really mean, and try and punch it in after that long catch and run. Sadly the Browns decided to #VictoryFormation for the remainder of the game. A third consecutive win brings them to 7-7-1. This is bittersweet because it is great to finally be winning at a healthy clip. 7 wins a year removed from winless will never not be a positive. It is unfortunate that their ducks were not in a row at the beginning of the season. There are games that they should have won. Oakland, New Orleans, Tampa, and the first meeting with the Steelers should all have been Browns wins. More often than not, the Browns beat themselves or got screwed by inexplicable calls in those games. They should be around the 11 win clip. That doesn’t mean this season is a failure, its just giving me some serious blue balls. Had that first down call in Oakland not been reversed, this weeks match-up with Baltimore would be for the fucking division.
This game does have meaning, as it will determine who wins the AFC North. If the Browns win, the Steelers will take the North (assuming they beat Cincinnati). The Ravens win and they’re in.
Our Week 17 game at Baltimore will be played at 4:25 on CBS.
The game has been flexed into the National time-slot with Nance and Romo calling this one. Hopefully the Browns will be playing more Nationally televised games in the future, but with their own Playoff fate on the line. Lets finish above .500, shall we?
Lets go Browns!
Stop us if you’ve heard this one…
A GOAT & a Baker walk onto a field…
Tom Brady (2018) • 25 pass TD • 11 INT • 95.4 passer rating
After getting their tails kicked in by the Texans three weeks ago, the Cleveland Browns have once again won 2 games in a row. They took care of the Carolina Panthers 26-20 to improve to 5-7-1, and they took down the Denver Broncos at Mile High, 17-16. The Browns are so very close to .500 at 6-7-1, and even still have a small chance to make the playoffs. Small chance is being a bit generous too, considering they’ll need a Colts and Titans tie in week 17. Safe to say the Browns late season push will be for not, but Its week 16 and they have not been eliminated. Normally this is pathetic to be proud of, but it sure beats the alternative:
The horror of 0-16 seems like forever ago. Watching Saturday night showed many what is coming in the future. A team that is only going to get better. The Browns have a supremely athletic Defense that is opportunistic, and Offense that can run the ball down your throat, and pick you apart in the passing game. Most importantly of course is the Quarterback, which is now in place. Baker Mayfield has been nothing short of fantastic. He was amazing at Mile High, which is right up there as the toughest place to play in the NFL. Combine those sicko fans and noise with altitude, and your hard pressed to find a tougher place. The Bronco’s aren’t the same as they once were, mostly on Offense. Gone is Demaryius Thomas, hurt is Emmanuel Sanders, and Case Keenum simply sucks. They still have as good a pass-rush as anyone in the NFL, sporting Bradley Chubb and Von Miller. The secondary is not what it used to be in their Super Bowl Days when they had Chris Harris Jr, Aqib Talib, and TJ Ward. Even so, they were hanging to a thread in the playoff race just like the Browns.
The Browns did not wilt. In what was a sloppy affair between two mediocre teams record wise. Baker Mayfield was fantastic on the Opening Drive. On 3rd and 9 from the Denver 31, Mayfield found Breshad Perriman around the goal line:
Just really never expected to see Breshad Perriman making these kinds of catches. He looks like the 1st Rd talent Baltimore drafted just two years ago. pic.twitter.com/195Ji2Ef14
Phenomenal throw and catch. Perriman has been just about as good as you could hope for. All the Browns did was take a flyer, and this dude makes at least one huge play a game. No more than 2 catches a game, but its always a deep bomb, a clutch 3rd down catch, or in this case a touchdown. Things were looking good for the Browns, but they hit a bit of a lull for pretty much the entire first half. After the opening Touchdown drive the next 5 possessions went: Punt, Punt, Field Goal, Punt, Interception. Luckily for the Browns, Case Keenum and company didn’t fair much better. They were able to match Perriman’s match touchdown at least:
Keenum's TD run was a matter of inches. Myles plays the run first, then redirects to get after Keenum but his swipe misses Keenum's feet by the smallest of margins and he scores. #BrownsFilmBDNpic.twitter.com/l5W8hSZnHP
The second half wasn’t much more exciting, as both teams continued to struggle on Offense. Mayfield added a fumble to his early interception, while Keenum threw his second pick of the afternoon. Despite the sloppy play, Mayfield lead a march into Denver territory early in the 4th. Finally, on 1st and Goal from the Denver 2, Mayfield found Antonio Callaway on a quick slant for six.
With the Browns up 17-10 late in the 4th Quarter, the Broncos added a 29 yard Field Goal from Brandon McManus to cut the lead to just one point. Sounds great and all, but this was 4th and 1 from the Browns 11. Knowing how good the Browns are running the Football, why on earth would you kick? You HAVE to go for it. Sure enough the Browns managed drive the ball all the way into Bronco territory. They were looking to pretty much kill the game.
Just awful. With an easy chip shot within range, The Browns really wanted to ice a win by going for it on 4th and 1. I love the ambition, as normally I would go for this every single time too. 4th and 1, in December, at Mile High? Kick the damn ball, or if you go for it keep the ball in the hands of Mayfield. The Broncos sniffed out the Chubb run before he could even blink. Just like that, the Browns would have to keep the Broncos out of Field Goal Range.
Never fear, Jabrill is here.
Jabrill Peppers comes through with the game-winning sack! 💪
Just like that, the Browns were a scorching 6-7-1 on the year. Don’t let the Browns get hot! In terms of the playoffs, the Browns are done. Nearly every team the Browns needed to lose…won. They are not eliminated from Wild Card contention, but are from the AFC North thanks to the New England Patriots. The only scenario in which the Browns could sneak in involves needing a tie. That means its over.
That doesn’t matter much to me though, as I never expected them to make the playoffs. How could I? I am more excited about the team firmly sitting in the teens for this Springs draft.
The Browns sit at 16th. Still hanging on in the Wild Card race by a thread with just two weeks remaining? I’d say this season is a success. This weekend the Browns will host the Cincinnati Bengals in their final home game of 2018. The Browns are eager to take a few more shots at their ex-Coach.
The Browns are a staggering 9 point favorites heading into this one. I genuinely feel like this one shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the Browns. Jeff Driskel will be starting for Marvin’s gang. The Bengals defense is absolutely terrible, so Mayfield and company should feast. Look for more growth from players like Njoku and Callaway, who turned the switch during the second half of the year. Lets finish this thing the right way with two wins to finish 8-7-1.
It’s been awhile since we last discussed puck. Last evening, the Boston Bruins lost their third game in a row, all within the Atlantic Division (Detroit, Florida, Tampa Bay). They are still holding onto a playoff spot right now, as they are 14-10-4 good enough for 32 points. Problem is, the Atlantic Division sports the three best teams in the Eastern Conference in the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins are going to have to push for a Wildcard playoff spot, and why is that you might ask?
Easy. Lack of talent. This same time last year, we were watching the beginning of a magical run for the Bruins, which skyrocketed them up to the top of the East. They had a crop of young guys come up through the system, and contribute right away. Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, Ryan Donato, and Anders Bjork all got time with the big club, and performed well. Bjork is the only exception as an injury derailed most of his season.
First culprit, Danton Heinen. Heinen amassed 47 points in his Rookie season, which is VERY good. This season he has regressed badly with only 5 points total. Heinen’s game is often very quiet, so when he’s not scoring, you can’t even recall if he even took a shift. He is a very soft player, who often gets pushed around. Although I saw a lot of good things from him last season, his decline started in February of last year. He’s never really recovered. There were trade rumblings with his name last Summer, which probably should have been investigated further.
Ryan Donato was a late season addition last year, coming out of Harvard and the U.S. Development Program. Donato contributed right away in 2018, as he managed 9 points in 12 Regular Season games with the Bruins. He looked ready to slot into the Top 6 no questions asked. He was forced into the Press-box during the Postseason, simply because it was just too soon to expect him to be ready for Playoff Hockey. When the Bruins became strapped for secondary scoring, he was inserted into the Lineup as desperation measure. He slotted into 3 playoff games Registering 0 goals, 0 assists, and 0 total points. This season, Ryan has not only stalled, but it looks like he has regressed. He’s managed a measly 2 goals in 15 games with the Bruins this year. He’s been so bad he was sent down to Providence for a 10 game stint. It’s a shame, because he was supposed to be an addition to the Top 6. Much like Heinen
Anders Bjork is another skilled forward, who was supposed to slot into the Top 6 eventually in his time in Boston. Bjork is a small winger, who is seen as pure goal scorer. In 30 games with the Bruins in 2017, Bjork netted 12 total points. He wasn’t that great, but was slowly coming along as a rookie. Eventually he was sent to Providence for development, where a shoulder injury ended his season early. Fully healthy this year, Bjork has regressed. With only 1 goal, and 3 total points after 20 games, Bjork was sent to Providence for development. Not a good sign for him, considering the Bruins only employ three forwards who can score.
Under-performing prospects is severely hurting the Bruins, as they do not have a good forwards outside of their Top Line. Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak is the best line in hockey, and can literally score at will. It is the main reason the Bruins are in a playoff position at this point. That singular line. Other than that, there really is nothing. It is a big problem, because as always the Bruins are banged up. Almost all of their Defensemen have spent time on IR this year. McAvoy, Chara, Krug, and Kevan Miller have all been out for an extended period of time. In addition, Patrice Bergeron has been out for the past month. So, now the first line has been hamstrung. Colby Cave (whom I despise) has been Centering the Top Line. Cave is an Un-Drafted Free Agent, and it is for a reason. Shockingly he has only 2 lousy assists from his 7 games in Boston. Dude sucks. Yet he gets to Center Pastrnak and Marchand at will.
While there is decent skill in David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk there isn’t anything in terms of talent in the remainder of the Forward Group. It is a plethora of 4th liners, whom they hope will somehow explode into talented, corner picking snipers. They even claimed another fucking scrub on waivers yesterday:
BOOOOOOOOO. This guy is nothing but a JAG with speed, whom the Bruins are hoping to be a stopgap. The Bruins have the Fourth Line covered. They’ve got $6 million dollar, David Backes roaming the fourth line Right Wing, they’ve got Chris Wagner and his 3 points, they got Sean Kuraly and his 4 points, and they got Joakim Nordstrom with his scorching 5 points. Nordstrom has been the hand-chosen garbage Bruins player that gets Top Line minutes. There is one every year, Riley Nash, Tim Schaller, Tommy Wingels, and on and on. The struggles with this team are all about talent. They do not have it. Their highest paid player (David Krejci) scored his 3rd goal last night. It was his 1st in 18 games. Unacceptable.
The Bruins are at a Crossroads right now. They have an aging core of players from the old regime, and overvalued prospects. This next group of games is crucial for their season. Toronto and Ottawa back-to-back this weekend, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Montreal next Weekend, with the Arizona Coyotes in between. More losses than wins out of this stretch would have me contemplating major changes. The longer the struggles go on, the more I think it is a talent issue. The kids who were so highly touted, are simply not very good.
Don Sweeney should be doing his damnedest to trade off pieces that weigh the team down. First two I would trade being Krejci and Backes. Going to be near impossible to do so, as they both suck, are old, and make too much money. Backes has 5 points this year and has 3 years at $6 million per year left on his deal. Not many teams are going to be willing to take him. There is a chance a struggling team would take him on simply to reach the Salary Cap Floor, or they’ll take on Backes to get another asset. The Bruins could also retain money from his Salary. They could trade him to a playoff contender and split his $6 million with the team they are trading him to. More incentive to acquire the player, if his cap hit is half what it could be.
Krejci will have more suitors on the trade front, but he has a massive salary and No-Trade Clause to deal with. He would have to be asked to waive it in order to be traded. He’s also got 3 more years at $7.25 million per year. Krejci has more upside, especially for contenders looking for depth heading into the playoffs, but again the Bruins would maybe have to eat some of his Salary, or even toss in a prospect to get anything of value in return.
Third guy is Tuuka Rask. Its time to move on from Rask. He has had yet another roller-coaster year, starting out really poorly and being forced to take a Leave of Absence. Since he has come back, he has been rock solid. If he keeps playing well, some Playoff team with weak Goaltending would potentially spend some assets to add him at the Trade Deadline. Similar to the other two stiffs Rask has 3 years at $7 million per left on his contract. Same workarounds would have to apply.
It’s not over quite yet for the Bruins, who are just starting to get healthy on Defense, and will be getting Bergeron back soon. They very well could continue to maintain their position in the playoff standing. If they continue to slip, I just don’t think they have the talent to climb out of it. Hopefully I am wrong about this and the kids go on tear here to calm everyone’s nerves. With each passing game, I am starting to think it may be time for the Bruins to pack up shop on the 2019 season. There is no other options within the Organization to help remedy the lack of scoring. Big problem, because they had a chance to draft Offensive Super-Stars. 2015 had the Bruins drafting three times in a row. In what was the deepest draft in my entire life, Don Sweeney reached on two of three of those picks. 13 was Zboril who got called up this year when every single Bruins Defenseman was hurt. He was not even close to being ready, and it’s his 3rd year since being drafted. Un-Drafted Connor Clifton looked better in his Call-Up. Clifton looked pretty awful in his stay.
Zach Senyshyn hasn’t even earned a call up. Jake DeBrusk is a nice player. He is able to provide that coveted secondary scoring, is ballsy, and plays with energy. All that’s great, but those two whiffs. That’s a slap in the face. There is elite talent at forward everywhere around where the Bruins selected. Two stiffs, and a solid NHL player. You pick three times in a row you better hit on two of three. The Bruins whiffed.
Let’s hope this upcoming week isn’t the death of the Bruins 2019 season, and beyond.