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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Colt McCoy”

Browns decide to close the corral on Colt McCoy

2013_04_colt_mccoy_tradedThe Cleveland Browns severed another link to the Randy Lerner & Mike Holmgren era on Monday, trading third-string quarterback Colt McCoy to the San Francisco 49ers.

Along with McCoy the Browns threw in their sixth-round selection (173rd) in this month’s NFL Draft. In return they get San Francisco’s fifth- and seventh-round draft picks (numbers 164 and 227, for those of you keeping score at home).

Even by Cleveland standards, McCoy’s story was a strange one.

For the full story, head over to The Cleveland Fan.

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America’s Love Affair with Uncle Drew

America has fallen in love with Uncle Drew.

During the NBA finals, more than 11.7 million people went online to find out that Uncle Drew, a character in a Pepsi Max ad campaign, is really the Cavs’ Kyrie Irving, according to The New York Times:

The video was filmed at Clark’s Pond Court in Bloomfield, N.J., which is close to where Irving’s father lives. Local players were gathered and told that Pepsi Max was filming a documentary on a character named Kevin who they claimed was a youth basketball coach. Other than Irving, Kevin and the player whose injury leads to Uncle Drew entering the game, no one on the court knew that it was actually Irving under the makeup.

The video was posted two days after Irving was officially announced as the rookie of the year. With no media behind it, the video garnered 10 million views. With 80 percent of the viewers watching four minutes into the five-minute video, and the key target demographic of males from 25 to 54 accounting for most of those views, Pepsi Max decided to create a series of trailers to the video to be shown during the N.B.A. finals, representing a significant advertising purchase. Even so, the decision was made to stay true to the viral roots of the video by not giving away anything in the 30-second spots.

The paper reports that the ads received a 98 percent like-rate on YouTube and made the front page of Reddit. During Game 5 of the finals, Irving was trending worldwide on Twitter, under both his name and Uncle Drew’s name.

Read more…

When there’s nothing to write about …

write about the Cleveland Browns!

As the team closes out the final week of Organized Team Activities, the focus has turned to who will be the No. 2 and No. 3 quarterbacks on the roster this fall.

It’s been clear since draft night that, barring an injury, Brandon Weeden is going to be the starter. Which leads to speculation over which lesser of two evils – Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace – will be holding the clipboard come game day.

As a decision doesn’t have to be made today, coach Pat Shurmur isn’t really worried about it.

“I don’t see the urgency right there, but in terms of the backup situation, I can see a scenario where all three of the players you’re talking about will be here,” Shurmur said earlier this week. “I think that’s fair.

“I favor that, keeping three. I like that model. I know we’re nearing half of the teams in the league that keep two, but I like having three.”

Wallace, a noted team player, isn’t really on board with the three quarterback scenario.

“No not really (I don’t want to be third),” Wallace told The Plain Dealer. “That’s something for no reason you go down to the third guy and we all know the third guy doesn’t dress on Sundays and if that comes down to that decision, obviously neither (he or McCoy) wants to be that third guy.”

While Shurmur may not be in a hurry to name his depth chart at the position, one of his comments may have offered a clue.

Read more…

Keep Colt, cut Brad

Lots of chatter today on the theory put out by ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi that the Browns soured on Colt McCoy after Brad McCoy, Colt’s father, went off about the circumstances surrounding Colt’s concussion at the hands of Pittsburgh sociopath James Harrison.

Grossi wrote that: I was told at the time that Brad McCoy’s comments meant the end of McCoy in Cleveland, but I didn’t believe it then. The comments did not drive the pursuit of a new quarterback, but I believe they contributed to McCoy’s demise.

OK, this is all pretty simple.

First off, the Browns need to tell Brad McCoy to bugger off. This isn’t a high school game in Texas, it’s the NFL. The front office has enough problems trying to rebuild the Browns into a viable NFL franchise without worrying about what the back-up quarterback’s daddy thinks.

Second, because he is six years younger than fellow quarterback Seneca Wallace, the Browns needs to dump Wallace and keep McCoy as the backup to new starter Brandon Weeden.
 
There, problem solved and the non-story is put to rest.

Only in friggin’ Cleveland do we have to deal with this kind of nonsense.

Delayed Gratification

The Cleveland Indians cleaned up some roster questions on Tuesday, optioning Lonnie Chisenhall and Matt LaPorta to Columbus.

Neither move should come as any big surprise, although there is the requisite grumbling from some fans about the move to start the season with journeyman Jack Hannahan at third base over Chisenhall.

Chisenhall hit just .205 during spring training, however, with 16 strikeouts and only one walk in 16 games. Chisenhall needed to hit to win the third base job as Hannahan has a major edge when it comes to defense, something the Indians are going to need plenty of if the offense struggles to score runs as expected.

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It’s a passing man’s game

In 1994, the NFL celebrated its 75th anniversary and, as part of the festivities, released a documentary on the history of the league.

One of the people interviewed was Sammy Baugh, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1963. Baugh played for the Redskins from 1937 to 1952, and help bring the forward pass to prominence in what was then a run-oriented league.

We still remember the look on Baugh’s face when he talked about the modern game and how much he would have loved playing in the modern era. “It’s a passing man’s game,” he said with obvious joy in his voice.

Fast forward 17 years and we can only imagine what Baugh would say about the passing game of today’s NFL.

The rest of the story continues at The Cleveland Fan.

NFL gets it right with Browns

The Cleveland Browns will not be disciplined by the NFL for their handling of quarterback Colt McCoy’s concussion.So after all the hand wringing, the cries from some Browns fans using McCoy’s injury as a call for coach Pat Shurmur’s job, the proclamations that the Browns will pay for what they did, the NFL told us what we knew from the start:

While the team obviously mismanaged the situation, the Browns did not intentionally ignore an injured player and put him back in the game.

Rather than punish the Browns for no reason, or simply for a public relations move, the NFL decided to further strengthen its efforts to help teams and players deal with head injuries by deciding that certified athletic trainers will be stationed at games starting this weekend to monitor players for possible concussions.

“We believe these are positive steps in enhancing overall player safety, and the Browns fully support any measures that can help the medical staffs at games,” Browns vice president of media relations Neal Gulkis told The Beacon Journal.

No surprise that there is one person in all of this who still doesn’t get it – Pittsburgh’s James Harrison.

“Something should be done to them, I would think,” Harrison told NFL.com. “I don’t know. I got a game, what should they get? I guess he’s a little shorter, who knows? I don’t know. When it came down to it, my helmet hit his. Oh well.”

Oh well, indeed.

***

Two interesting notes, one good, one bad, at Pro Football Focus, first on defensive end Jayme Mitchell:

You may not have realized this, but Jayme Mitchell (-4.7) actually played 53 snaps against the Cardinals. A Cardinals team that features Levi Brown, the lowest rated left tackle in our Pass Blocking Efficiency ranking heading into the week. So Mitchell, who had two sacks against Jake Long earlier in the year (just how injured was Long?) may have expected to turn around his slumping season. He didn’t. In fact he didn’t even make a contribution on the stat sheet as Brown swallowed him up in the pass game, and Jeff King had fun moving him about in the run game. I hate to say such definitively negative things but Mitchell is hands down the worst starting defensive end in the league. It’s frankly ridiculous the Browns thought that Mitchell, who managed ten snaps last year as a Viking, could hold up to the heavy workload they’ve expected of him.

The Browns only gave up a seventh-round pick for Mitchell. This year is all about finding out who can play and who can’t; if Mitchell can’t cut it the Browns didn’t really lose anything.

Then there is this on Shawn Lauvao:

I didn’t expect to be writing such positive things about Shawn Lauvao (+4.5) given he had a match up with Darnell Dockett. However Lauvao, who did have some help dealing with him in the passing game, more than held his own and comprehensively won their battle in the run game, using Docketts’ desire to get up field against him. The Browns right guard will look back at his best performance as being one where he started exceptionally well, managing to take out two Cardinals defenders with a cut block on Clevelands’ second offensive play.

If Lauvao and Jason Pinkston can continue to improve, the Browns offensive line starts to look a little bit better for next season and, while they still need to draft lineman to build depth, this could allow them to focus on other areas of need come April.

***

It’s not all bad news for the defensive line, as Cold Hard Football Facts points out:

The defense at least continued to show some promise for the future. The rookie defensive end Sheard added two sacks to his team-high total, which is now at 7.5 sacks. With both him and defensive tackle Phil Taylor playing every game and combining for 68 solo tackles and 11.5 sacks, the defensive line continues to show signs that it can become a force for years to come with a few more improvements.

With Sheard, Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin all under the age of 25, the Browns are finally building a defensive line that can keep opposing quarterbacks up at night.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

Holmgren speaks, but is anyone listening?

Cleveland Browns team president Mike Holmgren spoke to the media on Wednesday about the manufactured controversy surrounding Colt McCoy’s concussion and showed more piss and vinegar with the media than the Browns have shown on the field this year.

While the headlines will scream “Browns did not test McCoy for concussion” the reality is far different.

According to Holmgren, team doctors did not administer the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 test because McCoy “was talking, answering, knew how much time was left. So, following our normal protocol, (his responses) did not dictate they administer the test.”

Just as important, when McCoy started feeling strange after the game, he was seen by trainer Joe Sheehan who sent him to a doctor. That doctor administered a concussion test, which McCoy passed.

After returning home, McCoy’s conditioned worsened and he was diagnosed with a concussion on Friday.

Holmgren explained the team’s decision to not talk until Wednesday because they were meeting with NFL and NFLPA officials about the situation.

“There’s a lot of speculation, there’s a lot of things that have been written and said and the reason that we’ve waited as an organization to have this meeting is that we had to have those other meetings before so I wouldn’t say something and then I’d have to come back and change it,” Holmgren said. “Now, we’ve had those meetings so now here it is. I also want to comment that on the schedule and how we have these, it’s going to be our decision. It’s not going to be your decision.”

Holmgren’s going to get roasted by the local media for that last part, but he’s right. He doesn’t have to put on an act like a dancing monkey just because the media starts whining.

He also made a very important point that – the current regime simply can’t be held responsible for what went on before they arrived in Berea.

“The problem is and the tough thing for you guys and our fans is it seems it’s business as usual, which is very easy to write and say, but I’m telling you that it’s not,” Holmgren said. “You can choose to believe me or you can say, ‘I’ve heard it before.’ That’s your choice, but when it does happen, don’t come to me for extra tickets to a playoff game or something. Don’t do that. You’re either with us or you’re not. I’m telling you it’s different now.”

In hindsight the Browns obviously should not have let McCoy return to the game. And they certainly didn’t do a good job earlier in the week explaining the situation – they should have gotten out in front of the story by explaining the upcoming meeting with league and union officials.

And if you are one of the fans who is predisposed to thinking everything the Browns do is wrong, then it really doesn’t matter what Holmgren says because your mind is already made up.

But to think the team intentionally ignored an injured player and put him back in the game is preposterous and not supported with any kind of facts.

One final thought: Why are the Steelers getting a pass on all this? Why isn’t someone in the media demanding that Art Rooney II come forward and explain why they continue to let James Harrison act the way he does on the field? Somehow they get a pass because the Rooneys are an “old football family that does things the right way.”

Just another reason to hate the Steelers.

(Photo by The Plain Dealer)

NFL hits Harrison where it hurts

The NFL got it right on Tuesday, suspending Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison one game for his blatant illegal hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.

According to the NFL press release announcing the suspension, this is Harrison’s fifth illegal hit against a quarterback in the past three seasons.

In addition to four fines for illegal hits against quarterbacks in 2009 and 2010, Harrison also was fined twice for unnecessary roughness during that period. Harrison totaled six fines in that two-year period.

According to the NFL’s 2011 League Policies for Players manual: “Players who were fined for violations in 2009 or 2010, and whose fines were either partially or fully upheld, will be considered second and/or repeat offenders under this policy.”

If that doesn’t describe Harrison, we don’t know what does.

Read more…

Shurmur needs to work on his PR skills

In light of the ongoing discussion about Colt McCoy’s concussion and whether or not he should have gone back into the game last week against Pittsburgh, we’ve discovered one more thing that team president Mike Holmgren needs to add to his off-season checklist to go over with coach Pat Shurmur.

Media relations.

Shurmur didn’t come off very well on Monday when addressing the media on the circumstances surrounding McCoy’s injury.

“Sideline procedures to determine whether the man can play. We followed them and I think that is what’s important,” Shurmur said in his Monday press conference. “Hopefully that clarifies it. Our medical staff works with the player and they determine whether he can play or not. That’s what they do. They work with them. There’s communication. They look at him. They talk to him and that’s what they do.”

Well as long as it’s clear what everyone does.

We still don’t think Shurmur is lying about what happened Thursday night, nor do we think that the Browns intentionally broke any rules or willingly put McCoy at risk.

Shurmur probably should have erred on the side of caution with McCoy, but if he kept him out and McCoy would have questioned the move afterward, it would have been more fuel for the anti-Shurmur crowd. Shurmur was focused on the game and relied on his medical staff; if he had ignored what was happening on the field and attended to McCoy instead, people would have criticized him for that as well.

But Shurmur needs to be able to explain the situation more clearly – especially if the Browns have nothing to hide. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that everyone involved made a mistake; just own it, there’s no shame in that.

Shurmur is still growing into the job as head coach, which includes dealing with the media. He doesn’t come across as someone who would outright lie about something this serious, but he has to do a better job when he’s questioned about things.

***

Peter King had some pretty strong thoughts on Colt McCoy in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column at SI.com.

King writes that:

The Browns should build around Colt McCoy, not draft a quarterback in 2012 to replace him. I’d seen snippets of McCoy flailing around this year, but hadn’t watched every throw of a game. And so I watched Thursday night to get some sense of the near- and long-term prospects of the former University of Texas quarterback. And I came away thinking the Browns should stick with him and use a rich 2012 draft to finally build the kind of offense around McCoy that any quarterback would need to succeed.

Mike Holmgren is a disciple of Bill Walsh. I remember when Walsh was shown a few plays of Charles Haley rushing the passer at James Madison; he told his scouts he really wanted him. “If we see him make a few plays like this, we can coach him to do it all the time,” Walsh said, and he was proved a prophet — Haley became a top NFL pass-rusher for San Francisco and Dallas.

Well, on Thursday night, I saw McCoy, with limited help from grade-D skill players, make enough plays to convince me he’s not the problem. Now, I realize he made two or three idiotic throws in the second half — and you’re not going to win doing that consistently. But one of the bad throws came after he was concussed and should never have been put back in the game. And those throws have to be addressed.

But he did enough good things that I came away thinking: Use the three picks in the top 40 next April (Cleveland has its own first- and-second-round picks, plus Atlanta’s first-rounder from the Julio Jones deal last April) to help McCoy, not replace him. Three plays showed a mature quarterback making good decisions:

1. On the first series of the game, using play-action, McCoy set up, looked over his options and found tight end Evan Moore down the left side on a crossing route with a step on linebacker Lawrence Timmons. The high-arcing pass settled into Moore’s arms. Gain of 33.

2. Also on the first series, Josh Cribbs found a gap downfield in the left seam and McCoy made a great touch pass over cornerback Ike Taylor. Gain of 25.

3. In the third quarter, on third-and-eight, down 7-3, McCoy faced a five-man rush and moved up in the pocket. Feeling pressure, he threw the ball about five feet to the right of tight end Alex Smith, because that was the only window open to make the throw — Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark and William Gay converged on Smith and seemed ready to pancake him. But the throw was zipped in perfectly, Smith made a diving catch, and the Browns had a first down. Good judgment, great throw.

Of course, we wouldn’t be talking about any of this if McCoy didn’t make some brain-fart throws. But I believe he can be coached out of those — it’s what Bill Walsh would believe, watching him — and I believe some of that stems from the fact that the Browns are a poor offensive team as a whole.

McCoy has holes. He also has a coach, Pat Shurmur, who can correct those, and is in an offense he’s so well-suited to run. He’s well-liked and respected in the locker room. If I’m Browns GM Tom Heckert, I’m looking for an offseason upgrade at wide receiver (the Browns need two), guard, running back and tight end … before I even think about replacing the quarterback.

***

Finally, Brian Daboll is the NFL’s Typhoid Mary, as his crappy play calling as an offensive coordinator got his head coach fired for the second year in a row.

(Photo by The Plain Dealer)

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