Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Montario Hardesty”

The legacy of Owen Marecic

Owen MarecicThe Cleveland Browns continued to make moves on Tuesday as they released several players to get down to the NFL-mandated roster limit of 75 players.

In a bit of a surprising move, the club released third-year fullback Owen Marecic, one of the players the Browns drafted with a pick obtained in the Julio Jones draft day trade with Atlanta.

Marecic had his ups and downs with the Browns, but what fan can forget that career-high three-yard run against Miami in Week 3 of his rookie season? Or how he matched that with another three-yard burst against St. Louis in Week 9?

Who among us could have imagined that run would be the last time Marecic would gain a rushing yard while wearing the Orange and Brown?

Read more…

Thoughts on the Browns exhibition season

When you arrive at the last preseason game of the year, as a fan and as a team you are just hoping to make it out of the game in one piece.

Unfortunately for the Browns and running back Montario Hardesty, that wasn’t the case Thursday night against the Bears.

After missing all of training camp and the first three preseason games with an injury, Hardesty finally got back on the field against the Bears only to see his season end with a torn ACL in his left knee (he tore his right ACL while playing in college at Tennessee).

“We are all very disappointed for Montario,” coach Eric Mangini said in published reports. “He’s worked extremely hard since he was drafted, he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, and I’m sure he will be just as diligent with his rehab. It’s unfortunate but it opens the door for other guys to step up and contribute.”

You have to feel sorry for Hardesty, who worked hard to rehabilitate to try and get on the field for the Browns this year. I was watching the game when he got hurt and immediately thought “he’s done for the year” because that’s how it works here in Cleveland. You can’t just have a twisted knee, when a player goes down it has to be a season-ending injury.

The only bright spot is that, if the Browns had to lose someone to an injury, running back was the one position they could afford to have it happen. With Lawrence Vickers and a top-notch offensive line leading the way, the trio of Jerome Harrison, Peyton Hillis and James Davis, the expected trio to man the tailback position, should be very productive.

And in the long run, maybe sitting out a year and letting his body completely heal will be the best thing for Hardesty.

As for the rest of the game, there’s not much to say about backups playing against backups. Colt McCoy held his own, going 13-for-13, which is certainly better than going 0-for-13. And while there has been some criticism that he “only” passed for 131 yards, that’s 10 yards per completion and, the last time I checked, you needed 10 yards for a first down. So that’s not too bad.

I’m trying not to be worried that the Browns could not create any kind of pressure on the quarterback during the four preseason games. We’re willing to chalk that up to the Browns playing a simpler defense since the games don’t count. But still …

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No surprise that Commissioner Roger Goodell cut Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension to four games. That means Roethlisberger will make his debut in Week 6 at home against the Browns, turning up the heat on what was already sure to be an intense game.

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Ndamukong Suh fined $7,500 for trying to decapitate Jake Delhomme. That’s it? Be interesting to see how much the fine is when he does that to Brett Favre.

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No they don’t. And no they didn’t.

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Caught some of John Gruden’s over/under predictions on ESPN this week. In both the AFC North and the NFC North he believes every team will surpass the projected over in wins. I haven’t seen him talk about any other divisions, but from his tone I’m guessing that he will peg every team for the over in wins this year. He may be a good coach (debatable) and a decent announcer on Monday Night Football (debatable), but one thing he clearly is not is a math wiz.

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Excellent start for the Three Lions with Jermain Defoe nailing a hat trick as England begins its quest to qualify for Euro 2012.

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What everyone else is saying:

Pondering Preseason Prognostications

With training camp just around the corner, the media is starting to compile its list of preseason “favorites,” working on “power rankings” and telling us what will happen this year in the National Football League.

All without the benefit of a single practice, preseason game or training camp injury.

OK, that’s a little harsh. Just like all of us they have space that needs to be filled, and since I’m actually reading what they are writing, I’m part of the problem, not the solution.

However.

Every year it seems as if 31 teams have a chance, have made progress in the off-season, picked up some significant players and are looking at a solid year. One team – Cleveland – is perpetually cited as the one and only team in the league that is absolutely void of all hope.

Consider ESPN’s power rankings, which put the Browns 28, which is somehow three spots lower than where they finished last year, saying “The first year of the Mike Holmgren era could be rough. This team lacks talent across the board.”

No one is realistically expecting the Browns to post an 11-5 record this year, not after what’s gone on here the past few years. But to actually drop?

The best one is SI’s Peter King, who in his Monday Morning Quarterback column writes that there are 28 teams that could make the playoffs, with the Browns, of course, one of the four that have no chance.

Somehow Detroit and Kansas City, in King’s eyes, have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs, but not Cleveland.

Let’s think about this a minute: the Lions were 2-14 last season, 26th in offense and 32nd in defense, but they can make the playoffs this year. Of course, one of their wins was against the Browns, but that was due more to coaching incompetence than the Lions having better talent.

Whatever you say Peter.

I know it doesn’t mean anything, but it’s still frustrating. The Browns can’t get this turned around over night, but with the addition of Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert to run the front office, another year in the system of Eric Mangini and Rob Ryan, and a powerhouse running attack (8th in the NFL last year!) to keep the heat off Jake Delhomme and the defense off the field, things are slowly moving in the right direction.

And no matter what happens, just by simply not having Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn around makes the team better.

I’m just glad things are about to start for real.

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More good news from Brownstown, as Montario Hardesty and TJ Ward have both reportedly agreed to contracts to they will be in camp when the veterans report this weekend.

Now the team just needs to work out a deal with Joe Haden and they will be set.

Sept. 12 can’t get here soon enough.

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