Cleveland Browns Coaching Decision and 2018 Season Review.

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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.

 

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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:

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.

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.

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!

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Browns Re-Sign WR, Jarvis Landry to 5 Year, $75.5 Million Extension.

Holy shit!  That is some serious dough being forked over by the Browns.  As soon as the trade went down the belief was that a deal would be done at some point.  It finally happened this morning, and Landry’s payoff is massive.

A lot of chirping about this being an over payment, blah blah blah.  I don’t agree with that statement, but I also don’t disagree.  The guaranteed money, and term is a bit much in my opinion.  $47 million is the most guaranteed money any active receiver is making, but there is no debating the fact that he produces.  What do the Browns suck at ( I know  everything! HAHA)?  They suck at throwing, catching, and completing first downs to sustain drives.  Those drives eventually lead to points.  Jarvis is one of three receivers in the  to have at least 400 catches since 2014.  Not bad!

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Jarvis lead the league in catches last year, and had 60 first down catches.  He catches the ball, and gets first downs at an exceptionally high rate.   That is something that sounds really fucking simple, but the Browns did not have a reliable guy in Landry’s mold pretty much ever.

Overall I like this move and have zero issue with overpaying.  The $15 million per year the Browns just shelled will drop their available cap to around $70 million. Boy that Landry contract is really putting us in cap hell!  Fuck outta here with that.

So far so good with Landry since coming over from Miami.  At first you feel bad for the guy, going from South Beach to Cleveland.    From 6-10 to 0-16 I figured he wouldn’t be too pleased, but he seems excited, and thrilled to be in Cleveland (Now I know the $75.5 million reasons why).  He’s even got the skill position players together to work out in the offseason.  Something we never see from the lowly Browns:

Kind of a lame video, but at least we have some decent Football players, who appear to be excited to work together.  Team Chemistry gets overblown in terms of impact, but with these Browns anything is positive.   That video is a tease.  I need these guys on the field, and I need these guys on the field now.

Go Browns.  T-Minus 2 weeks until draft day.

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Packers Cut Jordy Nelson & Bring in Jimmy Graham

 

Yesterday was the most wild day of free agency I can remember in a long time as the NFL continues to dominate headlines even in the middle of March. One of the bigger moves of the day saw the Packers cut ties with their longtime #1 target Jordy Nelson.

The Packers of course however would not release Jordy without a reason. And that reason was due to a former basketball player (if you haven’t heard 30 times every season)

FINALLY, a weapon for DeShone Kizer (jokes). The leader in red zone TDs for tight ends has found a new home in Lambeau. There was a massive amount of talk of a reunion in New Orleans for Graham but they were unable to agree on a number. The Packers took this opening and swooped in to sign the dangerous TE to add an interesting weapon in Aaron Rodger’s arsenal. I actually like the move because Jimmy Graham was being wasted out in Seattle. They refused to throw to him and then would toss a fade every time they got in the end zone. Painful to watch. The Packers are going to be a pretty fun offense to watch now (their defense is still garbage — but hey who cares!). However, the fallout from Jordy Nelson is sure to hurt Packers Nation.

Jordy Nelson had unreal chemistry with Aaron Rodgers which I think will hurt them a bit. Nelson no doubt will be a hot commodity on the open market, despite being 32 years in age. If he’s looking for a new home, there’s another cold weather team that wouldn’t mind having him suit up — and it looks like it’s mutual.

Let the Madness Begin (Continue).

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What a fucking weekend it has been throughout the NFL.  The NFL league year starts tomorrow, when free agent signings/trades can be finalized.  Yesterday saw the legal tampering period open.  That means we have plenty of contract agreements, trades, and players getting cut.  It is truly fantastic, and this year the Browns were in the forefront.

The Cleveland Browns fired three trades in succession.  They traded a 4th round pick in 2018, and a 7th in 2019.  Absolute peanuts compared to Unrestricted-Free Agents who are signing mega deals.

Not a bad deal at all!  Shows the Browns are serious about adding some play makers.  Landry will play one season on the $16 million dollar franchise tag.  I really liked this trade even more once the following broke:

Tyrod!  Welcome aboard, guy.  Love this trade, because it enhances the Jarvis Landry deal.  Landry is a 5-8 yard pass catcher, who lead the league in catches this past season with 112.  These two seem like they were born to play together, and I am hoping this may help Taylor expand his game.

Still not done, the Browns made a THIRD trade right after the Tyrod Taylor trade was announced:

This one came at a complete shock.  The Browns shipped off second year Quarterback, DeShone Kizer for Green Bay Corner, Damarious Randall.  Sad to give up on Kizer, but he will be given a better chance to win out in Green Bay.  He won’t have to deal with Hue Jackson on a daily basis.  The Packers are getting an athletic specimen of a Quarterback.  The dude is a cardboard cutout of what you want in a Franchise Quarterback.   Kizer is a freaking oak tree standing at 6’4, 233 lbs.  He’s got the body to with stand NFL punishment, and can run with the best of Quarterbacks.  DeShone will need time and coaching to fix his footwork, and woeful accuracy.

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To the Browns end of the deal we go.  Damarious Randall was drafted in the first round, 30th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.  Randall came out of college as a Free-Safety, but had been playing corner with Green Bay.  He has nabbed 10 interceptions through two seasons, regular season, and playoffs.

As was reported by numerous outlets over the weekend, the Browns will be moving Randall back to his natural position.  This allows Jabrill Peppers to play in a more natural spot, which is strong safety closer to the line of scrimmage.  Last season Peppers was hardly able to make plays, because he was lined up a million fucking miles away from the line of scrimmage.  It was one of few decisions Williams made that I hated.  Glad to see they may have learned from that.

The Browns were still NOT done.  On Saturday morning they fired off their fourth and final trade of the Weekend:

Danny Shelton was shipped off to New England, and the two teams swapped mid-round draft picks.  Not a bad trade for either team here.  Danny Shelton isn’t a star lineman by any means, but he is a valuable piece to your defensive line rotation.  His role is limited to clogging A gap during the run game.  Don’t expect Shelton to improve your pass rush, as he’s only been able to record 1.5 sacks in his three seasons.

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This all before any of the other teams made real significant moves.  This past evening saw free agents agree to terms with new teams.  There have been a shitload, so I am just going to highlight a few:

Interesting move from the Bears here.  They are starting to add outside skill players to compliment the running attack.  Robinson is coming off a year in which he was out for the whole year with a torn ACL.  The Penn State product has had success in the past (1400 yards in 2016), but down years and injuries have plagued him.  If he and Cam Meredith can return to form, that forms a nice duo on the outside for Mitch Trubisky.

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Another Wide Receiver choose his destination fairly quickly:

Sammy Watkins sucks.  This guy is a fucking joke.  Hyped up heavily his draft year, he’s never fulfilled expectations.   Guess that makes him a perfect fit for the Kansas City Chiefs?  The writing is on the wall for this guy.  The Buffalo Bills decided to get rid of their only outside receiving threat for pennies on the dollar this off-season.  Watkins was a solid option in Los Angeles, but had the franchise tag rescinded.  Have fun with Andy Reid.

Finally to the big boys.  The Quarterbacks.  We had a slew of shitty Quarterbacks sign some atrocious contracts today.  First and foremost our man, Kirk Cousins.

This deal right here will be applauded by many players.  Kirk gambled on himself the previous two seasons in Washington.  That gambled played off as he now has a fully guaranteed contract worth $84 million dollars with the Minnesota Vikings.  Congrats Kirk Cousins, and god speed to the Vikings.  If it don’t work out, well that really sucks. Have fun!

(I can easily see this not working out)

The funny part is, Kirk wasn’t even the first QB to pick a landing spot:

Case Keenum agreed to a 2 year, $36 million dollar contract with the Denver Broncos. $18 million?!? You’re going to give Case Keemun $18 million dollars?! This is a brutal move by Elway and the Broncos. Case Keenum played WAY over his head in 2017-18. Even if this contract is only two years, that is still a shitload of money to pay a Quarterback. That’s a shitload to pay a Quarterback who you will be replacing in draft night. John Elway has to be one of the most overrated executives in professional football.

Last but not least we have Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater. Teddy signed with the J-E-Ts. He is coming off a brutal knee injury which saw him miss the past two seasons. If we’re being honest, Teddy Bridgewater sucked before the injury.

Many other domino’s fell on Tuesday, and we’re STILL not at the league new year. The Browns are poised to make some moves to bolster their roster. Get er done, John.

Go Browns!