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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Albert Breer Gave Me a Browns Boner This Week

WOW.    I need a cigarette after seeing this little bit of gossip from one, Albert Breer.  Now bear with me for a second, I know a few days ago I mentioned that Alex Smith should be the guy the Browns went after.  I still think he will likely be the guy to come here as a bridge starter for 3 or so seasons.  When I say bridge starter, he’d certainly more than a stop gap.  He’d likely be the best Quarterback we’d have since the return in 1999.  But you get the point.  Veteran guy to come in to Cleveland for 3-4 years while we groom in all likelihood, Sam Darnold.

I have been an avid Kirk Cousins fan since he took over for Robert Griffin III, in 2015.  The guy can ball.  2015 was his first full year as the full-time starter, and he lead the Skins’ to a 9-7 record.  That year 9-7 was good enough to qualify for the playoffs.  The Redskins lost in the 2015 Wildcard round at home to the Green Bay Packers, 35-18.

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The next two seasons Washington would miss the playoffs with an 8-7-1, and 7-9 records.  Still, Captain Kirk has not earned himself a long-term contract extension with Washington.  He has been Franchise tagged 2 consecutive seasons in a row.  Each year, he proves his worth on the field.  The notoriously putrid, and slimy Redskins refuse to offer him a long term contract.  They could place the Franchise tender on him a third time, which is a whopping $34 million.  No chance the Skins do that.  That number is not trade-able, as 99% of teams cannot afford that cap hit.  The most likely options are a long-term extension, or Unrestricted Free Agency.

In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Jay Gruden even decided to throw his Signal Caller under the bus, “But we like Kirk and his development. He’s played well at times, without a doubt”  Played well at times?  Let’s take a quick peak at Cousins’ shall we, Jay?

Cousins stats

That is a damn good Quarterback.  I don’t know what the fuck you are smoking, Jay? I think three seasons is enough of a sample size to confirm that he can be a franchise guy.  The Redskins seemingly don’t give a shit.  Moving on from RG III was a tough decision. The Skins entered 2015 an unknown, and most experts had them pegged to finish last in the NFC East. They have no idea how lucky they were to have the second guy come in, and  average 4,392 yards a season. Especially after how RG III exploded on the scene during his rookie year.

Would the Browns be interested in Cousins?  I would hope the answer is a resounding, “YES”!!!!!!  It’s not everyday a Quarterback of his quality becomes available.  It is going to take a lot of fucking money.  Like record money.   With $109 million and change in free money, feel free to break records, @JohnDorsey, @JimmyHaslam.

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Signing Kirk does NOT mean the Browns will not draft a QB #1 overall.  They simply can’t afford to pass on one. Not after the past whiffs. Ideally, the Browns would sign Cousins to a 3-4 year MASSIVE contract, and draft the guy who will lead the franchise after Cousins. This allows a Darnold, Rosen, or Mayfield develop a la Jimmy G.

After year 4 you move on to your young guy waiting in the wings.  After-all, Darnold is only 20.  Cousins would be 33 at the end of a four year contract.  Perfect time to walkaway via free agency.   If all goes to hell, you trade/cut Cousins prior to the contract expiring.  There is cap space to avoid it being too much of a problem.

I hope Dorsey see’s this and makes a move.  I know Alex Smith is probably the move we’ll make, as it is safer than paying Cousins big big money.  I still want to tap the potential that is Kirk Cousins Franchise Quarterback.  Cousins, and add a few young weapons.  Maybe we have something cookin’?

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Edit:

Should leave some Captain Kirk highlights, no?

Browns Hire Eliot Wolf as Assistant General Manager

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John “big dick” Dorsey has made his final off-season addition to the Front Office, before we get into the Combine, Free Agency, and the Draft.  Wolf had been interviewing with both the Browns, and Raiders.

Wolf, like Alonzo Highsmith comes from the Greenbay Packer organization.   He is the son of former Packer General Manager, Ron Wolf.  Ron Wolf is most famous for trading for Brett Favre.  Wolf traded a first round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft to the Atlanta Falcons for Favre.  Wolf initially wanted to draft Favre, but was was he was taken one pick prior by Atlanta.

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This has absolutely nothing with Eliot’s hiring, but it shows that Eliot has come from a strong background.   In 2004 Wolf became a Pro Personnel Assistant for Green Bay, and worked his way through the ranks.  He was promoted to Assistant Director of Pro Personnel in 2008, and then finally in Director of Player Personnel.  Wolf comes from the Pro side of things, rather than drafting/scouting.  The idea of over $100 million to spend this off-season has to be intriguing.

Per spotrac.com, the Browns have a whopping $109,696,292 in free money.  It will certainly be interesting to see how Wolf will help spend that.  After all, this is what I want him to bring.  I want him to identify talent at the pro level, and bring them in.  Whether it be a guy who is on waivers, or an eight figure signing when free agency opens.

Seems as if the overall reaction is that this is a great hire.  The trio of Highsmith, Dorsey, and Wolf give me something to feel somewhat decent about.  I will certainly give these guys some time to figure it out.  These are three EXTREMELY well respected executives, who know what it takes to build a sustainable winning program.  First order of business, Quarterback.

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Swallowing my pride here.  I think Alex Smith is a must get this off-season.  With it being pretty clear he is on the market, The Browns have been mentioned as a potential landing spot.  Dorsey was the man who brought Smith to Kansas City for a 2013 conditional third round pick.  Now, with Smith coming off arguably his best season the price might be higher.  This where my man Sashi Brown deserves some credit.  Bill Belichick won’t call The Browns to have them overpay for Jimmy G, but I bet Andy Reid calls the Browns first if trading him is the option they go with, rather than cutting him out-right. Sashi built up draft capital for a reason.  Let’s use it.  I’m ok with a bit of an overpay, as Smith is coming off a damn good year, as reflected in the stats below.  While Smith isn’t going to get you a Super Bowl, he could bring major stability to the Quarterback position, while we groom either Darnold, or Rosen.

Hopefully the organization is starting to stabilize.  See if we can attract a few free agents (hello Terrlle Pryor), trade for Smith, and pick your future Franchise Quarterback.  Use the ass-tone of picks to continue to build roster.  Let’s get this ball rollin’.  The off-season is our season baby!

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P.S. But seriously, bring back TP12…Or

Any of these guys…

Browns Hire Alonzo Highsmith for VP of Football Operations.

Well, it looks we have our first John Dorsey hire of the off-season, in Alonzo Highsmith.  Highsmith announced that he would be joining John Dorsey’s staff, as Vice President of Football Operations.  He spent the last 19 years in Green Bay working to build a Super Bowl contender.

Good to See Mr. Dorsey getting his ducks in a row here before a long, and very lonely off-season for the Cleveland Browns.  By all accounts, Highsmith, like Dorsey seems more than qualified for the job.  He is a well respected Football lifer, who is known for his ability to identify, and develop talent.

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Let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights from Highsmith’s interview with ESPN regarding the move:

“We discussed so many ideas and all kinds of stuff,” Highsmith said in a phone interview from Cleveland. “I was exposed to so much stuff today. That’s why I thought it was as great opportunity. It feels good to go somewhere that you feel like you’re trusted…

This is an opportunity to build something from the ground up, having an input, working with John Dorsey, who I respect a great deal,” Highsmith said. “To watch his work ethic today — we watched film all day. He made me feel rejuvenated. It was a lot of fun today”

 

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Seriously, that quote made it move.  Alonzo has made a name for himself, especially in the draft.  It was documented in the ESPN piece that he convinced the Packers Brass to pick Donald Driver in the seventh round of the 1999 draft.  He was also instrumental in scouting, and bringing in un-drafted free agent Cornerback, Sam Shields.  Shields was a major contributor in the Packers Super Bowl win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011.

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As second thing that stands out is taking a look at Wide Receivers drafted, and developed by the Packers.  Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Devante Adams, and James Jones just to name a few.  Just a bunch of guys that were starters, and contributes on very good teams.  A couple of number 1 receivers in that list as well.

Lets take a look at what they got running routes in Berea, Oh.  The Browns have Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins, Bryce Treggs, Jordan Leslie, Jordan Payton, Ricardo Louis, and Kasen Williams, and Bug Howard.  I’d like to think Highsmith will help turn this group of mush into something, or draft new guys.

Again I don’t have the slighest clue how this dude will fair in Cleveland.  I pray Dorsey know’s exactly what is needed, and is lining up his people in place to execute the plan.  Highsmith seems like a positive step forward.

The off-season is our season baby!

https://twitter.com/CoachT2658/status/948614465901289472

With All Due Respect to Joe Thomas, I don’t Want to Hear It.

Let me start this out by saying, I absolutely love Joe Thomas. When your team sucks so bad for 20 years running, you learn to watch-out for the positives. Joe is a positive week-in-week out. He dominates defensive ends, and outside backers with ease. Those two positions now have some of the most athletic players in the league too. Joe stones them all. He’s easily a top 5 left tackle of all time. Only two I can see ahead of him are Orlando Brown, and John Hannah. He’s right up there.

When I saw his quote today I almost threw up. I certainly appreciate some optimism on the brink of owensixteen, but “Set up for a long run”? Oh give me a break. It’s these quotes that annoy the absolute snot out of me. Let’s focus on winning a game first, and let’s acknowledge the fact that this is the worst team in NFL history. Being forthright about it might actually get you somewhere. Let’s say, “We fucking STINK, and are going to do X,Y,Z to fix it”. After that, shut your fucking mouths until training camp. I am sick of the sunshine and rainbows. It’s not what I see on the field each week that’s for damn sure.

Similarly, John Dorsey said in his introductory presser, “Let’s awake this sleeping giant”. Shut the fuck up dude. Stop trying to tell me a polished shit isn’t a turd.

Joe also made it known he wasn’t sure what his future would look like. He was undecided about coming back. I certainly don’t blame him. I’d be devastated if he left, but he deserves to play for a winner. I would be more devastated if he retired, so here’s to Joe coming back for a few more kicks at the can. What he said annoyed me, but I love the guy.

Whatever happens in the future, this is going to be a tough weekend for Browns fans out there. It feels like I’m waiting to be taken to the gallows. I hope the Steelers make it quick and painless. If it’s close it will only be worse. Just 48 more hours, and it’s over. Go turds!