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In Cleveland, hope dies last

David Blatt firing the latest “Only in Cleveland” moment

david blatt fired

As Cleveland fans we’ve come to realize that we can’t expect championships from the local sports teams.

But that doesn’t mean things are ever boring.

The latest example came on Friday, when the Cleveland Cavaliers firmly took hold of the “most dysfunctional team in town” title by firing head coach David Blatt at the midway point of his second season.

In doing so, the Cavs are just the third team in the past 40 seasons fire their head coach the season after an NBA Finals appearance. They also become the first team in NBA history to fire a head coach with a winning percentage as high as Blatt’s, which is at .732 after Thursday’s win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Mike Pettine: It’s hard to be unified at this point

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Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine met with the media on Monday and for the first time publicly acknowledged that there are problems within team headquarters in Berea.

Namely, not everyone is pulling in the same direction when it comes to turning things around for the 2-10 club.

While Pettine did not go into specifics, it seems likely that the source of the division centers around (or at the very least includes) quarterback Johnny Manziel.

The coaching staff, which knows football, clearly has one opinion on what to do with Manziel, while the front office and/or business side, which is interested in moving as many No. 2 jerseys as possible, has another.

For the rest of the story, check out our latest at Dawg Pound Daily.

If the Browns make a coaching chance, who should it be?

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The Cleveland Browns enter the month of December in a familiar position.

The team is currently residing in the basement of the AFC North Division, have lost six in a row (and 14 of their past 16 dating back to last season), and are trotting out yet another starting quarterback on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

It wouldn’t be December in Cleveland, either, without the annual call for yet another coaching change.

If head coach Mike Pettine is relieved of his duties shortly after the regular season comes to a close, whoever takes over will be the Browns’ eighth full-time head coach since the team returned in 1999, and the fourth head coach since Jimmy Haslam took over as owner in 2012.

As hard as it is to find something nice to say about former owner Art Modell, of the seven full-time head coaches he hired, he gave all but one more than two years to try to figure things out.

Let’s assume that Haslam has seen enough, though, and is ready to fill our January and February with yet another coaching search.

So who can we expect the Browns to look at?

To find out, check out our latest at Dawg Pound Daily.

Cleveland Browns: 5 best MNF games of all-time

browns jets monday night footballThe Cleveland Browns will make the 30th appearance in franchise history on Monday Night Football when they host the Baltimore Ravens tomorrow night.

It will be the first time the Browns have played on Monday night since the 2009 season, when they also hosted the Ravens. That night, the Browns dropped a 16-0 decision – the team’s 14th loss in 15 games dating back to the previous season. The Browns managed just 160 yards of offense that night and never crossed Baltimore’s 45-yard line.

Quarterback Brady Quinn, another in the never-ending line of first-round quarterbacks who have failed in Cleveland, finished the night just 13-of-31 for 99 yards while being intercepted twice.

This time, much to the chagrin of Jon Gruden and ESPN, the Browns will not be led by quarterback Johnny Manziel, who decided that acting like a spoiled teenager is more important than being a starting quarterback, but rather veteran Josh McCown. The move to demote Manziel to third string pushes him one step closer to joining Quinn on that list of failed first-round quarterbacks.

It hasn’t always been doom and gloom for the Orange and Brown on what was once the league’s lone weekly primetime game. The Browns appeared in the first Monday Night Football game in league history and carry a 15-14 record into this week’s game against the Ravens.

To get ready for the matchup, check out the five best Monday Night Football games of all-time in franchise history in our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily.

Cleveland Browns: 5 best trades of all-time

alg-frank-ryan-jpgAs the Cleveland Browns continue to see the 2015 NFL season circle the drain, one of the few bright spots has been punter Andy Lee.

Acquired in the off-season by general manager Ray Farmer (reportedly a horrible judge of talent) for just a seventh-round draft pick, Lee has consistently shown why he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection while punting for the San Francisco 49ers.

Lee is fifth in the NFL with 49 punts (not a surprise for an offensive that loves nothing more than a three-and-out, especially with Johnny Manziel at quarterback), is sixth in both average and net average, and is tied for fifth in punts inside the 20 (only two off the leaders).

A few weeks back we had a discussion with Seth Neale (@Marbles7th) on Twitter, who posited that the trade for Lee was the best trade in franchise history. That got us thinking about the trades that the Browns have made over the years.

Generally it is often the bad ones that most fans remember – trading Bobby Mitchell for the right to draft Ernie Davis, trading Paul Warfield for the right to draft Mike Phipps, trading Chip Banks for the right to draft Mike Junkin – but there had to be some moves the worked out for the Browns, right?

To see who made the list of the five best trades of all-time for the Cleveland Browns, visit our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily.

The path is there for Justin Gilbert if he wants it

justin-gilbert-shaun-draughn-nfl-denver-broncos-cleveland-browns-590x900Cleveland Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert has been an enigma (to say the least) ever since the team selected him with the eighth-overall selection of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Expected to earn playing time as a rookie before taking over a starting role opposite Joe Haden this season, giving the Browns a modern-day Hanford Dixon-Frank Minnifield duo to terrorize opposing offenses, Gilbert has continually lost playing time to a host of other players.

On the rare times that Gilbert has joined the defensive huddle, he’s occasionally flashed his talent (most notably last season against Indianapolis) but more often than not has struggled.

While there are fans who continue to make excuses for why Gilbert is not on the field, there is one person and one person alone who is keeping Gilbert on the sidelines.

And that is Justin Gilbert.

To learn the rest of the story, check out our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily.

Browns turning offense over to Johnny Manziel

johnny-manziel-nfl-cleveland-browns-pittsburgh-steelers4-590x900Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine made it official on Tuesday.

The Browns offense is now in the hands of quarterback Johnny Manziel.

“I think the performance against Pittsburgh validated for us the progress that he’s made, the improvement that he’s shown and that he deserves this opportunity,” Pettine said in announcing the move. “Also just Josh McCown’s circumstances being what they are, not being entirely healthy at least in the short term. It’s something that we understand where our season is at this point and this is a kid we invested a lot in. This will give us an opportunity to see how far he’s come and what he’s capable of.”

It is the right decision at the right time for the Browns, who head into the bye week with a record of 2-8 and carrying a five-game losing streak.

To find out why, check our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily.

Cleveland Browns: 4 things to do during the bye week

alex-mack-nfl-cleveland-browns-pittsburgh-steelers-590x900The Cleveland Browns head into the bye week in an all-too-familiar position.

Losers of five in a row and 13 of their past 15 (dating back to last season), the Browns sit at the absolute bottom of the NFL with a 2-8 record.

Thoughts of a playoff appearance, the first since 2002, disappeared long ago. A winning season, the first since 2007, is also off the table. A repeat of last season’s seven wins? Not looking good.

After watching the team be outscored 95-39 over the past three weeks, most Browns fans would settle for general competency over the season’s final six games.

Since this is the NFL, rather than Major League Baseball or the NBA, team’s are a bit limited in what they can do to fix problems during the season, but that doesn’t mean the Browns have to stand idly by while waiting for their next game.

To learn the four things the Browns can do – some might even say must do – during the bye week, check out our latest at Dawg Pound Daily.

Johnny Manziel’s height an issue if he lets it be

johnny-manziel-nfl-denver-broncos-cleveland-browns-590x900Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel pointed out an important part of life in the NFL on Wednesday.

“I am not going to be able to sit there like some of these taller quarterbacks in the league and just be able to see everything happen as it plays on,” Manziel said on Wednesday. “There are going to be times where I am not going to be able to see something and I am going to have to make a faith throw.”

While there is no denying that the 5-foot-11 Manziel will, at times, have trouble seeing over the defensive line, this is not anything new. He’s been dealing with being shorter than most quarterbacks since he started playing quarterback and, at age 22, there is no summer growth spurt coming in his future.

Is Manziel’s lack of height an issue? Only if he allows it to be, which is what we look at in our latest at Dawg Pound Daily.

Bernie Kosar selling miracle cure for what ails the Browns

bernie kosar replacedThere is no bigger fan of former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar than the one currently residing right here.

We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve watched Kosar’s performance against the New York Jets in the double-overtime victory in the 1986 playoffs, or his touchdown pass to Webster Slaughter to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers that same year.

We often find ourselves thinking about what might have been if Kosar hadn’t suffered one injury after another, beginning with the season-opening game against the Kansas City Chiefs in 1988.

Having established that we are a fan and not a “hater,” there is one thing that we are certain about above anything else when it comes to the Cleveland Browns.

Kosar should not be allowed anywhere near this club in any role that would have him making any kind of important decisions.

To find out why, check out our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily.

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