Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Paul Kruger quietly going about being a team leader

paul-kruger-mike-glennon-nfl-tampa-bay-buccaneers-cleveland-browns1There are plenty of subplots surrounding the defense of the Cleveland Browns heading into the 2015 NFL season.

Can the new additions along the defensive line finally help the Browns stop the run? Can the defensive secondary, one of the league’s top units, be even better this year? Will fans start to understand that Barkevious Mingo’s role has changed, and that may not be a bad thing?

One name you never really hear mentioned much, however, is that of outside linebacker Paul Kruger, who is entering his third season with the Browns.

To see how Kruger has transformed into a quiet leader on the defense, check out our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily.

5 things Browns must do to have success in 2015

browns beat tampa 1The numbers are a bit staggering when you take a look at them.

Heading into the 2015 NFL season, the Cleveland Browns have had:

  • Only two winning seasons since returning to the NFL in 1999 – and none since 2007.
  • No more than three wins in the AFC North Division since the NFL went to the current division alignment in 2002.
  • Only two playoff appearances since 1989 and no playoff wins since 1994.
  • Double-digit losses in a season six times in the past seven years, and 10 times in the past 12 seasons.
  • More players suspended by the NFL since 1999 than playoff wins.

But that is all old news and we’re trying hard to get past the history and look to the future as it relates to the Browns.

To that end, check out our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily to learn five things the Browns simply must do this fall if they want to build on last season’s 7-9 finish and find success.

Q&A with The Royal Perth Browns Backers

royal perthThe Browns Backers Worldwide is considered to be one of the largest organized fan clubs in all of professional sports with members and clubs established throughout the world.

The organization exists as a non-profit group to actively support and positively promote the Cleveland Browns.

Today, in the first of a series focusing on the best fans in the NFL, we talk with Bruce Millinger, president of The Royal Perth Browns Backers of Western Australia, one of two clubs in that country. Millinger was kind enough to join us for a virtual Q&A on the club and what it is like to be a Browns fan almost 12,000 miles away from the shores of Lake Erie.

Check out the full interview over at Dawg Pound Daily.

Is Johnny Manziel really a bad backup QB?

johnny manziel starterIf there is any fanbase in the NFL that is intimately familiar with backup quarterbacks, it is those of the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns have not had a quarterback make 16 starts in a season since Tim Couch in 2001 – and he was the first one to do it since Bernie Kosar in 1991.

The problem is not confined to Cleveland, or course, as 54 different quarterbacks started games in 2014, but with the Browns being at the forefront of the multiple-quarterback movement, it does on added importance around these parts.

Which brings us to second-year quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was ranked next-to-last among backup quarterbacks by NFL.com.

To see what it all means, check out our post at Dawg Pound Daily.

Time for Browns defense to earn its money

browns run defenseThe Cleveland Browns will spend 54 percent of their payroll on the defensive side of the ball this year, the only team in the NFL that will spend more than half of its cap space trying to stop the other team from moving the ball, according to Sports Illustrated.

The Browns have a league-high $82.1 million currently invested in a defense that finished last season ninth in the NFL in points allowed at 21.1 per game, tied for 10th by allowing opposing offenses to convert on just 38 percent of third-down attempts, was second in interceptions with 21, was eighth in pass yards allowed per game at 224.5, and was tops in the league in allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just 57.1 percent of their pass attempts.

Of course, that same defense was last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, 27th in yards per carry, and 28th in runs of 20-plus yards. Opposing teams ran the ball 500 times on the Browns last year, and on 87 of those rushes they gained eight yards or more.

If the Browns are going to have any success in 2015, it is time for the defense to start earning those paychecks. We take a deeper look in our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily.

Browns defensive depth chart: PFF fair or not?

Following their first non-double-digit-loss season in seven years, the Cleveland Browns will be looking to its defense to improve in one critical area if they want to build on the 7-9 finish of 2014.

We’re talking, of course, about the run defense.

Last season, the Browns were last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, 27th in yards per carry, and 28th in runs of 20-plus yards by opposing ball carriers. The Browns were the favorite opponent of running backs across the league, as teams ran the ball 500 times on the Browns with 87 of those rushes gaining eight yards or more.

Pro Football Focus examined the defensive depth chart for the Browns, ranking each player in one of seven categories: Elite, High Quality, Good, Average, Below Average, Poor, Not Enough Info, Rookie and Rookie Undrafted Free Agent.

According to their rankings, the Browns’ defense is solid, but still has some work to do. Seven presumed starters earn a ranking of good or better, while three of the remaining four are just average or worse.

We take a look at each position group, see how PFF ranked the players, and determine if the ranking is fair or not in our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily.

Time to consider Wes Welker has passed for Browns

Entering the 2015 NFL season, the Cleveland Browns have what many believe to be one of the worst group of wide receivers a team could assemble.

So it is somewhat understandable when a site gets lazy and starts throwing out suggestions that the Browns should sign every free agent wide receiver to fill the perceived talent gap, while conveniently overlooking the fact that just weeks before training camp starts, there may be a valid reason why a particular player is not currently on an NFL roster.

Which brings us to free agent wide receiver Wes Welker.

There was a time when it would have made sense for the Browns to consider Welker, but that time was 2013.

To find out why it would be folly for the Browns to bring in Welker, check out our latest at Dawg Pound Daily.

Cleveland Browns position preview: Defensive Line

browns run defense
The Cleveland Browns spent a large part of their off-season working to fix one of the biggest problems that has plagued the defense for years.

And if they didn’t get it right, the problem will negate the defense’s biggest asset.

We’re talking, of course, about the defensive line and the team’s inability to stop the run.

We preview who will make the roster cut in our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily.

Dwayne Bowe ready for a season of firsts with Browns

Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills
Veteran wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is preparing for plenty of firsts in his debut season with the Cleveland Browns.

After spending the entirety of his nine-year NFL career in Kansas City with the Chiefs, Bowe is getting ready for new uniforms, new fans, new division rivals and what may be the most important first of his career.

This season will be the first time he will be playing with a quarterback like Josh McCown.

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

Mike Pettine only the 28th best coach in the NFL?

mike pettine no panic
Heading into his second season in charge of the Cleveland Browns, head coach Mike Pettine may already be the best coach the team has employed since the glory days of Marty Schottenheimer.

Granted, that may not be saying much for a franchise that has made just one playoff appearance since 1994, has had only two winning seasons since 1999, and has lost 10 or more games six times in the past seven years.

It was Pettine, however, who broke that streak in his first year in charge by leading the Browns to a 7-9 record in 2014 and giving Browns fans hope that a better day is truly finally on the horizon.

Even in NFL.com views things a little bit differently.

To see where the league’s website ranks Pettine among NFL coaches, and why they may have gotten it wrong, check out our latest post at Dawg Pound Daily.

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