Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Browns feeling lockout’s pinch?

How much is the ongoing NFL lockout impacting the Browns?

Well, it’s certainly not helping.

Josh Cribbs told ESPN’s First Take the Browns are hurting because they can’t work with the coaches to install the new offensive and defensive systems.

“It does hurt us because at a time when there’s not a lockout, teams who have new coaches are allowed a certain amount of time to prepare,” Cribbs said. “And because of this lockout, we’re not.”

If this was a normal year, the Browns would be allowed to hold an extra minicamp because they have a new coach in Pat Shurmur.

Now? They have to be content with Camp Colt.

“Colt has been rounding up the troops and planning short minicamps to get the playbook down pat as much as we can, to get the plays down pat,” Cribbs said. “We’re really limited on the amount of things we can do because of the amount of information that we have.

“But at the same time, the minicamps that we’re having are beneficial. We’re getting our throwing down pat and the timing with the quarterback. It’s really beneficial … but we are set back a little bit because of the lockout.”

Speaking of McCoy, can he be the quarterback that helps the Browns close the gap on Pittsburgh and Baltimore?

“It’s horrible; there’s nothing good about [inexperienced quarterbacks] facing the Ravens and Steelers,” said Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. “They’re not carbon copies of each other, but their philosophy is pretty similar. They’re going to take away your running game, and you’re not going to outwork them in the trenches or move them. Then you’re one-dimensional, and then you’re in trouble.

“I really worry about the guy’s arm strength. I just can’t get around that. When the weather gets bad, he’s not going to be able to complete passes in Cleveland. I think he’s a real good fit in the West Coast offense. I think he has some moxie to him and I like the way he plays. But when it’s December and the Steelers and Ravens are in town, you better be able to complete a deep out.”

It’s getting a little old hearing about McCoy’s alleged lack of arm strength. You know who else had “average arm strength”? Brian Sipe. It’s not always how hard you throw the ball, but when and where you throw it that counts.

“It takes a while, but you make the cold and the wind your asset,” Sipe said in Terry Pluto’s book, Things I’ve Learned from Watching the Browns. “You learn to play in it by practicing in it. Then, when the other teams come to the lakefront, they aren’t ready for it.

“You should embrace the cold. It helps you as a quarterback because it slows the game down. You can see things better. Playing in that weather is part of what made us a tough team mentally.”

McCoy has the skills needed for a West Coast offense, which the Browns are now planning to run. He’ll be fine.

***

In the world of a different kind of football, the Premier League’s 20 clubs collectively lost close to half a billion pounds last year despite making record income, a Guardian analysis of their most recent accounts has revealed.

In the 2009-10 financial year, the clubs currently in the Premier League made total revenues of £2.1 billion (that’s billion with a b), principally from their billion-pound TV deals and the world’s most expensive tickets. Yet 16 of the 20 clubs made losses, totalling a record £484 million, and the same number relied on funding from their wealthy owners.

Aston Villa lost £38 million as the club’s owner, Randy Lerner, struggles to compete with clubs whose commercial income and potential is much greater than Villa’s.

According to the report, “these are sobering figures … signalling why reality bit for Randy Lerner’s ‘good American’ takeover at Villa Park. Lerner has problems to address despite £206 million invested. Their turnover of £91 million at the 42,582-capacity Villa Park is the Premier League’s seventh highest, but is so far behind Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal they risk becoming a seller of players to the top clubs.”

So in addition to the NFL lockout, Lerner has that on his plate to worry about.

***

Lost in all the hoopla about Jake Peavy’s performance against the Tribe on Wednesday night was that Justin Masterson was just as good.

Even though he took the loss, Masterson threw a five-hitter, striking out eight and walking two in his first complete game of the season.

Masterson went 5-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his first five starts of the season. In his last four starts, he’s 0-2 with a 2.78 ERA. In three of those games, he’s allowed two or fewer earned runs.

He keeps that up and we’re sure everything will be just fine.

***

Kyrie Irving plans to only have medical tests at the NBA combine, and will skip the on-court tests and drills.

“I’m just going doing medical here,” said Irving, the presumed No. 1 pick. “There’s no particular reason. I’m still working out around here (privately) but I’m not doing anything at the combine.”

No need to wear yourself out kid. Just focus on getting ready for Byron Scott’s training camp this fall.

***

Finally, check out the latest from Fresh Brewed Tees.

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