Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

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

corey-kluber-beller-topper

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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Browns select quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 pick

Rose Bowl Game - Oklahoma v Georgia

The Cleveland Browns opened the 2018 NFL Draft by selecting quarterback Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma.

Mayfield becomes the eighth quarterback the team has selected in the first round of the regular draft in franchise history, but the first quarterback selected with the top pick since Tim Couch in 1999.

It is a bold move by general manager John Dorsey in his first draft with the team, as he bypassed USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Wyoming’s Josh Allen for Mayfield. The Browns have been searching for a franchise quarterback since 1993 and, while talented, Mayfield was not viewed as the safest selection prior to the draft.  Read more…

Dorsey’s QB criteria points to one clear choice on draft night

baker mayfield

The 2018 NFL Draft will open on Thursday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Cleveland Browns will be on the clock with the first selection of the draft and, barring an unforeseen mental lapse by general manager John Dorsey, the club will be selecting the player they hope will solve the quarterback crisis that has plagued the franchise for 25 years.

There are five legitimate candidates for the pick – Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Wyoming’s Josh Allen and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson – and it seems likely that, just two days before the draft, Dorsey knows who the pick will be.

Dorsey is keeping a tight lid on the decision, however, and will reportedly wait until Wednesday night to tell owner Jimmy Haslam and head coach Hue Jackson which player will be selected.

Once that happens, word is sure to leak out, although Browns fans will not know for certain until NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell makes the announcement sometime around 8:20 on draft night.

Without going into specifics, Dorsey has dropped a few clues as to what he is looking for in a quarterback. Hand size is on the list, naturally, but there are a few other measurable traits he wants to see, according to cleveland.com:

“The only thing I really care about is do guys win? Does he have accuracy? Does he have a strong arm? Can he throw the ball in the red zone in tight windows? Can he drive the ball? At the end of the game, does he win? That’s what I look for.”

Now that we know that, let’s see if we can decipher who the pick will be by ranking each quarterback on a rubric scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest) for each of Dorsey’s preferred categories.

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