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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

Read a book – learn something

Jonathan Knight has a good post up at The Cleveland Fan on his 25 Most Fun Non-Cleveland Sports Books, which is as good a reason as any to remind everyone to read a book once in a while.

Don’t worry Steeler fans, you can find someone to read a book to you.

If you need some book recommendations, we have those for you:

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Phase One Begins for the Browns

The Cleveland Browns started phase one of their off-season on Monday, signing linebacker D’Qwell Jackson to a reported five-year, $42.5 million contract that includes $19 million in guaranteed money.

“D’Qwell is thrilled with the deal,” Brian Mackler, Jackson’s agent, told The Plain Dealer. “He wanted to finish his career in Cleveland and this enables him to do that.”

Well we would certainly hope that Jackson is thrilled – that’s healthy chunk of change to hand out to a player who has only been healthy for a full season once in the past three years. But once the team decided it wanted to keep Jackson, they were going to have to devote some of their salary cap to him, the only question being how much.

Hopefully the team played the right side of the risk on this one.

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The Wait is Over (well not The Wait)

Liverpool ended its six-year run without a trophy by winning the Carling Cup on Sunday, beating Cardiff on penalty kicks.

It was the record-setting eighth time the Reds have lifted the trophy, and the franchise’s 15th domestic cup win, putting them in a tie with Manchester United for the most.

The match had the feeling of a March Madness No. 3 vs. No. 14 game, with the Bluebirds, currently in sixth place in the Championship League and looking to bring a trophy to Wales for the first time since 1927, going up 1-0 just 19 minutes into the game on a Joe Mason goal.

The game finished 1-1 in regulation time, and Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt, the hardest-working man in soccer, looked like he had sealed the win with a goal at the 108-minute mark.

But Cardiff fought back and Ben Turner put in a goal just two minutes before then end of extra time to force the cup final to penalty kicks.

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Shurmur, Childress & RG3: Can this work?

Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress sat down with the media on Wednesday before leaving town for the NFL Combine and the duo dropped a couple of interesting tidbits for Brown fans.

But you’ll need to head over to The Cleveland Fan to find out what it all means.

The Rams clearly miss Pat Shurmur

The St. Louis Rams offense clearly missed having Pat Shurmur calling the plays in 2011, as evidenced by a statistical breakdown at Cold Hard Football Facts.

After finishing the 2010 season with a negative point differential of just 2.4 points per game while going 7-9, the Rams were outscored by 13.4 points per game last season, the worst in the NFL.

Obviously the team couldn’t overcome Shurmur’s departure to Cleveland to take over as Browns head coach.

The Rams showed a huge improvement in 2010, Shurmur’s second season running the offense, as they rebounded from a 2009 season that saw the team outscored by an average of 16.3 points per game.

Hopefully that is a good sign for the Browns offense heading into Shurmur’s second year in charge.


For some reason, Scott Miller of CBS has decided it is his responsibility to hound the Oakland A’s and Manny Ramirez this season.

Miller sent out a Tweet saying “Sharpening knives now: Cannot wait to rip Manny, #Athletics & everything in path when Manny arrives in Valley of the Sun. Reprehensible.”

Seriously? You have nothing better to do than worry about a player that has to sit out the first 50 games of the season, then get in shape and who, in all likelihood, won’t even see the playing field this season?

And should reporters really be “sharpening knives” so they can go after a team and/or player? We must have been sick the day they taught that in journalism school at Kent State.


While we are still intrigued by the idea of the Browns weakening Pittsburgh by signing restricted free agent Mike Wallace, we have to admit to having some reservations after reading Ed Bouchette’s latest in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Bouchette points out that Wallace caught 43 passes for 800 yards in the first eight games of last season, but only had 29 receptions for 393 yards in the final eight games. He closed out the year with three receptions for 26 yards in the Steelers playoff loss to Denver.

Was that just a slump or did defenses figure something out?

That’s the big money question. (h/t Pro Football Talk)


Brady Quinn? Apparently not a big fan of Tim Tebow.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

The D’Qwell Jackson Dilemma

Free agency in the National Football League isn’t exactly free, as the Cleveland Browns are learning when it comes to linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.

A free agent, Jackson finished the 2011 season with a team-leading 158 tackles and an NFL-leading 116 tackles. He says he would like to stay with the Browns.

“Do I want to be back? This is where I started,” Jackson told The Plain Dealer. “That’s not even an afterthought to me. Yes, I want to be with the Browns, no question about it. I’m here in this locker room and I like the guys I’m playing with right now. That’s all that matters.”

And general manager Tom Heckert has said the team wants to keep Jackson, saying near the end of the season that “You can pretty much say (Jackson’s) going to be here.”

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The Return of the King?

With the Miami Heat in town for two days before their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the players had more time than usual on their hands. So the media decided to pick at the scab on the Cleveland sports scene and ask LeBron James if he would ever come back and wear the Wine and Gold again.

And James didn’t disappoint, practically setting the reporters’ notebooks on fire and simultaneously blowing up the Internet with a quote just as inflammatory as the one he uttered to Jim Gray at the Boys and Girls Club in Connecticut.

The Cleveland Fan has the rest of the story.

Rule Britannia

The Cleveland Browns are doing their cousins from England a solid this week, as coach Pat Shurmur is hosting his counterpart from Aston Villa, Alex McLeish, for a few days in Berea.

McLeish is in town at the urging of Randy Lerner, who owns both the Browns and Aston Villa of the English Premier League.

With a two-week break because of the FA Cup before Aston Villa’s next game, McLeish came to town to share ideas and talk with Shurmur about player evaluation, scouting, rehab and training.

“Alex is always looking for any advantage he can get and he felt this was an ideal opportunity to exchange ideas with his American counterparts at the Browns,” said Paul Faulkner, Aston Villa’s chief executive.

In addition to trading coaching stories and training tips, Shurmur and McLeish hung out, maybe had some Lancashire hotpot or some spotted dick, probably even caught some of the Champions League game between Arsenal and AC Milan.


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For Your Consideration

It’s not breaking news to anyone who watched the Cleveland Browns this past season that the team needs help at several (most?) key positions.

But before general manager Tom Heckert can use the team’s nine draft picks to continue rebuilding a franchise left bare by the previous regime’s consecutive 5-11 seasons, there is the little matter of free agency, which begins on March 13.

And there are some interesting players the team should consider.

Head off to The Cleveland Fan to find out the rest of the story.

These things tend to work themselves out

It was just a little over a week ago that Cavs fans found themselves in quite the contretemps: would it better if the team made the playoffs, even as an eighth seed, or would the Cavs benefit more from another high lottery pick?

Well, as what generally happens in these situations, things worked themselves out, as first Kyrie Irving went down with a concussion that has forced him to miss the past three games, and now Anderson Varajeo will miss at least a month after fracturing his wrist Friday night against Milwaukee.

So, for the foreseeable future, we will get a steady diet of Semih Erden, Ryan Hollins and Samardo Samuels in the pivot, starting Wednesday night when Erden gets the start against Indiana.

“I gotta give him a chance,” Cavs coach Bryon Scott told The Beacon Journal. “I think (Hibbert) is a great challenge for him. I’m hoping that last game was one of those where he felt (depressed) for Andy, because a lot of our guys did. And this game he’ll look at as ‘I’ve got a golden opportunity here. I better try and take advantage of it.’ ”

Good times!

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