Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Where do we pick up our playoff tickets?

What a weekend for the Cleveland Browns.

From Brandon Weeden’s cannon arm, to Trent Richardson’s muscles to Travis Benjamin’s speed, the Browns won the weekend at the rookie minicamp.

So get those playoff tickets ready, Uncle Mike, we’re gassing up the car and heading to Berea.

OK, jokes aside, it was nice to hear some good news coming out of Berea at the end of the three-day, five-practice minicamp.

“It was a good practice, a good minicamp,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “I told the players it was a very good start, but we have a long way to go before we’re ready to play a game and do the things we’re ready to do.”

The Browns got their first look at Weeden as the rookie quarterback from Oklahoma State started the transition from the spread offense he ran in college to the Browns version of the West Coast Offense.

“Fortunately for me, the Senior Bowl was a nice little appetizer just because the terminology is the same,” Weeden said. “A lot of the formations were the same, so I could kind of recall going back to that. But, it’s different and for me I have to spit it out in the huddle and there are plays that are this long. You just have to get comfortable with it, understand how it all works, why we are doing certain things and once you get a feel for it, it plays itself out. I think everybody did really well with it. Overall, I am happy with the way everybody performed because everybody got better, competed and really everybody produced.”

It also sounds like Richardson, who the Browns selected at No. 3, is the real deal.

“Wow, he’s a very powerful man and he’s powerfully built,” Shurmur said. “Don’t let the 5-91/2 fool you. He is almost 230 pounds, and that is a lot of muscle packed into that body.I think he’s got a very powerful build, much like we thought when we drafted him, and it shows up on the field.

“I think he can hide behind blockers, and we saw him do that at times at Alabama, naturally. He’s a very patient runner. He’s got excellent vision, so when he sees daylight, he can get his foot down and get up in it.”

We realize that looking good in helmets, shorts and no pads is the football equivalent of the layup line in basketball or batting practice in baseball – it’s nice but it doesn’t really reveal very much.

But when was the last time the Browns had something that fans could get excited about? 2007 maybe, when they selected Joe Thomas and traded up for Brady Quinn?

While the drafts of 2011 and 2010 filled important needs on the defense in the first two rounds, it doesn’t have the same sizzle as selecting a running back and quarterback with the first two picks. And if the Browns only had one but not the other, it wouldn’t have the same impact.

“I was pleased with the way that they performed,” Shurmur said of Weeden and Richardson. “I was glad to see that they were very professional in the way that they work at things and I think it showed up on the field. Now, the next step as we have just talked about is to put them in with the other guys and see them compete with guys that have already played in the league.”

None of this means the Browns can now automatically compete on the field with Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but it’s a big step in the right direction.

The Browns won the month of May. The next step is to starting winning when it really counts.

***

No, no, no, a thousand times no.

We don’t care if Casey Kotchman doesn’t get a hit the rest of the season, just what he does with his glove makes him 100 times more valuable than Matt LaPorta.

We’ve all seen this move before and the ending sucks.

***

Looks like the Browns will be going back to wearing the Brown jerseys at home this fall – at least part of the time.

(Photo by The Plain Dealer)

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