Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

What’s in a name?

The Cleveland Indians made it official this week with the announcement that they will be changing the team name. 

It was not exactly breaking news, as the move has been expected ever since the team dropped (sort of) the use of Chief Wahoo as part of the team’s on-field logo package. 

Team officials did not set an actual date for when a new name will be announced, but made it clear they will still be called the Indians at least through the 2021 season. Team owner Paul Dolan declined to offer up any clues about what the new name will be other than to say changing from Indians to The Tribe is not on the table, according to

Naturally, the news has led to speculation and suggestions for how the team should rebrand itself.

Some favor Spiders, which was the name of Cleveland’s baseball team from 1889 to 1899. The Spiders went 20-134 in their final season, the worst record in major league history, and paying homage to one of the worst franchises in the history of American sports would be an interesting choice. 

If the idea is to honor a former team, the Cleveland Buckeyes would seem to be a better choice. The Buckeyes played in the Negro League from 1943 to 1948, winning the World Series in 1945. Renaming the team Buckeyes would probably lead to some agita from Ohio State University, however, so it may not be worth the effort.

Others have put forth Guardians after the Guardians of Traffic art deco statues that are a prominent feature of the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge in downtown Cleveland. While that idea has its merits, there are some who criticize the choice as being too minor league for a franchise that has not won a World Series since 1948.

The idea that there might be a “right” or a “wrong” choice for a team name brings up an interesting discussion, namely (sorry) what makes a team name be worthy of a professional franchise?

Is there something in a name that triggers fans’ brains to say, “that is a major league club!” Or do we simply accept a name because it is associated with a franchise is part of MLB, the NFL or the NBA?

After all, what is it about Red Sox or White Sox that screams a high level of expertise? If simply selecting a random article of clothing is the bar to clear, then Cleveland could simply change to Blue Shirts and call it a day. 

Some names make sense from a regional perspective, like Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies. But there are just as many that are nonsensical, such as the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates (was piracy an issue in Pittsburgh once upon a time?), or names that have followed franchises as they moved from their original cities, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Giants. 

Cleveland Cardinals has a nice alliteration to it, but St. Louis appropriated Cardinals in 1900 apparently because the Eastern Bluebird, the state bird of Missouri, was deemed lacking.

The takeaway here is that while one could make the case that there right names and wrong names — think anything related to Rockers, for example — it is a bit harder to say that there are names that are more professional than others. 

As long as the Dolans don’t do anything completely wonky, the name they come up with will likely be at the very least serviceable and pass the test of sounding professional. 

Given the pace that they are moving on this issue, however, Cleveland fans will have plenty of time to continue to debate the issue.

Browns could be willing to gamble on Sam Beal

sam-beal-wmu-supplemental-draftThe NFL will hold its annual Supplemental Draft on Wednesday and there is growing speculation that the Cleveland Browns will be players for the first time since 2012.

There are five players available:  Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander, Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant, Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu, Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter and Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal.

The Browns reportedly have their eye on Beal, who decided to pass on his senior season at Western Michigan due to academic issues. He finished last season with 26 tackles, a pair of interceptions, and 10 passes defended while being named to the All-Mid-American Conference second team.

Beal, who is just a shade under 6-foot-1 and 178 pounds, is being hyped as a player who “would have been one of the top cornerbacks selected” in the 2019 NFL Draft, which makes it easy to see why every NFL was represented at his quickly arranged Pro Day last month.

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Corey Kluber continues to show he belongs among Tribe’s elite


On Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber pitched what, at least for him, was a routine outing.

Kluber went seven innings and allowed just one run, marking his 13th consecutive quality start this season. (A quality start is defined as allowing three earned runs or less in at least six innings of work.)

Kluber has been so consistent for so long that a start like the one he posted against the Brewers has almost come to be expected by Tribe fans. Kluber goes out, quietly works over the opposing lineup and, seven or so innings later, calmly walks off the mound after another job well done.

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Duke Johnson contract needs to be priority No. 1 for the Browns

Duke Johnson

Since arriving in town, general manager John Dorsey has been busy reshaping the roster of the Cleveland Browns.

From trades, to free agency and the draft, Dorsey has worked overtime to bring in “his guys” in an attempt to accelerate the ongoing rebuilding efforts.

There is one item remaining, however, that should have a permanent spot at the top of Dorsey’s to do list:

The Browns need to sign running back Duke Johnson to a contract extension.

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The one constant on the Browns is that Hue is going to be Hue

nick foles

The Cleveland Browns are heading into the 2018 NFL season in a situation that is wholly unfamiliar to decades of fans.

Thanks to the groundwork done by former general manager Sashi Brown, and executed by current general manager John Dorsey, the Browns actually have a stable quarterback situation.

Veteran Tyrod Taylor is on hand to hold down the position for as long as it takes to get rookie Baker Mayfield up to speed. It doesn’t matter if that is two games, eight games or the entire season – the plan is in place and, for once, it is a sound one.

The one flaw, however, continues to be head coach Hue Jackson, who continues to display an inability to get with the program.

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From the editor’s notebook …

Browns Hard Knocks

A few quick thoughts while waiting for the Cleveland Browns to start Organized Team Activities on Tuesday …

Hard Knocks should be a hoot

It was quite the reversal last week when the news came out that the Browns will finally be featured on the HBO Series Hard Knocks this summer.

When the subject came up earlier this spring, general manager John Dorsey was pretty clear in expressing how he felt about the series, saying that he doesn’t believe “there’s anything good that comes out of Hard Knocks …”

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Hue Jackson quickly running out of excuses

Browns most improved

There is little doubt that the Cleveland Browns have improved, at least on paper, since the end of the 2017 NFL season.

A cynic would point out that it would be hard not to improve, given that the Browns finished the season by becoming just the second team in league history to go 0-16. Anyone who has followed the team for more than a year or two could pile on by claiming that if a team could get worse, it would be the Browns.

While there is some truth in both of those viewpoints, it would take a special kind of fan to look at the work that general manager John Dorsey has done over the past few months and not realize the squad has gotten better. Sure, there are some individual moves that were questionable, but taken collectively, Dorsey and his crew of “football guys” has done an admirable job.

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Baker Mayfield … offensive Rookie of the Year candidate?

browns baker rookie camp

The Cleveland Browns have high expectations for quarterback Baker Mayfield, which is reasonable considering that they made him the No. 1 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Browns are not the only ones expecting big things from Mayfield, as Pro Football Focus has tapped Mayfield as a candidate to be named the top offensive Rookie of the Year, writing that:

If and when he gets on the field, he has the play to earn himself rookie of the year. His career passer rating when kept clean in college was a ludicrous 134.3, which is more than 15.0 points higher than any of the other top prospects this season managed in their best single season. That play from a clean pocket has been shown by PFF’s data to be the most predictive of success from college to the NFL, but if you were concerned about play under pressure, it’s the same story there. Mayfield’s career rating under pressure is 116.1, and only one other passer topped 100.0 over his best single season (Sam Darnold in 2016 had a 101.0 rating). Mayfield was the best college prospect of this group by a distance, and should he force his way onto the field there’s no reason to hop off that bandwagon now.

Browns general manager John Dorsey made the easy call in selecting Mayfield, who is far more accurate than Josh Allen (who went to the Buffalo Bills at No. 7), protects the ball better than Sam Darnold (No. 3 overall to the New York Jets), and destroyed Josh Rosen (No. 10 to the Arizona Cardinals) in every statistical category.

But Mayfield being named the league’s best offensive rookie may not currently be high on the Browns wish list.

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Browns schedule quirk may come to an end in 2018

Deshaun Watson,Ricardo Louis

The Cleveland Browns will see some familiar faces on the opposing sidelines this fall during the 2018 NFL season.

In addition to the annual home-and-home series with AFC North suite mates the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals, the Browns take on the New York Jets for the fourth consecutive year, and the Houston Texans for the third time in the past five seasons.

With a little bit of luck, however, the Browns will see one scheduling quirk come to and end this season.

The Browns have played a team starting a rookie quarterback for seven consecutive seasons, and the results have been mixed:

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Browns: 4 takeaways from the 2018 NFL Draft

mayfield wardThe Cleveland Browns kept busy over the past three days as the team navigated its way through the 2018 NFL Draft.

Starting with the very first selection of the draft – quarterback Baker Mayfield – and continuing through the team’s final selection – defensive back Simeon Thomas in the sixth round – general manager John Dorsey continued to reshape the roster.

In addition to Mayfield and Thomas, the Browns selected cornerback Denzel Ward, offensive tackle Austin Corbett, running back Nick Chubb, defensive end Chad Thomas, wide receiver Antonio Callaway, linebacker Genard Avery and wide receiver Damion Ratley.

As is always the case with team and their draft picks, head coach Hue Jackson believes the Browns got the job done, according to the team’s website:

“Obviously, I am very excited about our 2018 draft class. From top to bottom, I think it is a really good class. This is still about winning drafts, but at the end of the day, it is about winning football games. We really feel like we put some guys on the team that can help us do that. We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of work ahead of us. From top to bottom, I think it is a really strong class.

The completion of the NFL Draft brings the heavy lifting of the offseason to a close. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four takeaways from the revamped Browns roster.

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