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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “NFL”

On the playoffs and the downside of veteran QBs

Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis ColtsIf Sunday really was the last time we see Peyton Manning on an NFL field as an active player – and it yesterday wasn’t the end, it certainly is coming soon – then the Denver Broncos are about to learn the same hard lesson that teams, including Minnesota and Kansas City, have learned before.

It is also a lesson that the Cleveland Browns and certain corners of the fan base should heed.

When you sign an aging veteran quarterback, no matter how good they are, rather than develop a quarterback, and don’t end up winning a Super Bowl, you run the risk of setting your franchise back even further than you were before you signed said quarterback.

The Chiefs learned that lesson back in the day with Joe Montana, the Vikings learned it a few years ago with Brett Favre, and now the Broncos are about to learn it as well.

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Browns vs. Titans – 3 things to watch for in Week 5

browns titans preview mainThe Cleveland Browns return to action today as they travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans.

This is the beginning of an important stretch as the schedule takes a decidedly favorable turn for the Browns. While it is never a safe bet to mark down any game as a win at this point, during the next five weeks the Browns face the Titans, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Oakland and Tampa Bay – all winnable games if the Browns can keep their act together.

The Browns have had two weeks to stew in the disappointment of a last-second loss to Baltimore, and the game against Tennessee offers a prime opportunity to reclaim the momentum. The Titans come into the contest riding a three-game losing streak where they have been outscored by a combined 66 points, giving the Titans the third-worst point differential in the AFC. (Jacksonville and Oakland are first and second, respectively, not that we’re looking ahead.)

“We can’t think about our schedule or look at our next opponent beyond Tennessee,” Browns head coach Mike Pettine said earlier this week. “That’s just not how we operate. I think it is a dangerous thing. I talked about being confident at 1-2, but it is so hard to win in this league. There’s so much talent parity-wise that your mindset, to me, is equally important or more important than how you are physically.”

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From the editor’s notebook …

Carlos Santana third baseWith the calendar turning over the weekend to February, that means we are only a little more than a week away from the start of spring training for the Cleveland Indians.

The one position that we are most interested in following is the one at third base, where Carlos Santana is attempting to transition from being the former starting catcher to a viable option in the field at third base.

Santana sounds like he is all in on the switch, telling ESPN Deportes a few weeks ago that he is preparing to “play third base, not other position,” as those are “the plans of the (Indians).” Santana spent his time in the Dominican Winter League working at his potential new position in the field.

While Santana seems convinced of the switch, general manager Chris Antonetti isn’t ready to hand the position over just yet.

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Some quick thoughts on Tim Tebow in New England

tim tebow patriotsWe’ve never minded Tim Tebow the player, it’s always been the hoopla that continually surrounds him that has grated on us.

And that hoopla reached a higher level the past couple of days after Tebow signed a two-year contract (with no guaranteed money) with the New England Patriots, with more than 80 media credentials issued for New England’s mini-camp practice on Tuesday.

It got even better on Wednesday when New England coach Bill Belichick was asked how much “improvement” Tebow had made from Tuesday to Wednesday.

“We’re not going to get into a minute-by-minute evaluation of a player,” Belichick said. “I don’t think that’s the way to go, especially at this time of year.” (That quote right there offers some insight into why Belichick failed in Cleveland. Forget minute-by-minute, we like to evaluate our athletes play-by-play.)

So rather than be part of the solution and just ignore all the mindless noise, we decided to join in, be part of the problem, and offer up a few thoughts on Tebow the NFL player.

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This is what concerns NFL teams about Manti Te’o?

0edb0e25f7a4fa00250f6a7067000ad2It seems clear that there is enough evidence out there to make NFL teams realize that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is not a first-round draft pick.

All they have to do is watch his performance against Alabama in the national championship game, where he was exposed every bit as much as Troy Smith in Ohio State’s 2007 game against Florida.

If they are still not convinced, they can check out his combine performance that failed to impress the coaches in attendance.

But that is apparently not enough for some people, as some teams reportedly are concerned about Te’o’s sexuality.

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Browns vs. Chargers – Week 8

The Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers both come into today’s game at Cleveland Browns Stadium off of disappointing losses.

The Browns dropped a winnable game against Indianapolis on the road, the franchise’s 11th consecutive loss away from home, while the Chargers went into their bye week after giving up 35 consecutive points in the second half of a loss to Denver.

Sunday’s game also marks the return of the brown jerseys, as Cleveland will drop the all-white look for the final five home games of the season.

Will that turn out to be the highlight of the day?

Full preview starts … now at The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by


Browns vs. Giants – Week 5

The Cleveland Browns return to action on Sunday, heading to the Big Apple (well, the swamps of New Jersey) to take on the New York Giants.

The Browns are looking to avoid their first 0-5 start since the expansion year of 1999.

On paper, pretty much everyone is chalking this game up to the Giants. They are the defending Super Bowl champions, the Browns are 0-4, no sweat.

But there are matchups that the Browns could potentially exploit and the Giants are known to leg an egg or two each season (see their two losses to the Redskins last year).

The full preview starts … now at The Cleveland Fan.

We could have had it all: Cleveland ’95 A Football Life

While watching the NFL Network’s presentation of Cleveland ’95: A Football Life on Wednesday night, we couldn’t help but think that Adele’s Rolling in the Deep would have made a perfect backdrop to the program.

The show did a good job highlighting the various staff members that Bill Belichick collected in his five years in Cleveland and the difficult circumstances they worked under – especially that last year.

The producers never really delivered, though, on the premise that the Browns would have unquestionably won a championship if the team never moved to Baltimore and Belichick would have been allowed to finish what he started.

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

(Photo by Getty Images)

Browns vs. Ravens – Week 4

The Cleveland Browns head to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in the NFL Network’s nationally televised Thursday night game of the week.

Should be a lovely time.

How will the Browns respond after a team-wide poor showing on Sunday against Buffalo? In some ways, having a short week could be a blessing for the Browns as they get a chance to wash the losing taste out of their months quickly.

Plus, facing a division foe should help with the game planning. As the teams face each other twice a year, there really shouldn’t be anything the Ravens can throw at the Browns that they are not expecting.

Of course, being the Browns, none of that may matter.

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

Browns vs. Bengals – Week 2

The winless Cleveland Browns travel to Cincinnati today to take on the winless Bengals in the 78th meeting of the so-called Battle of Ohio.

While much has been made of the fact that the Browns are 1-12 in opening games since 1999, they have actually been respectable in Week 2, going 6-7 in the same span – with four of those six wins coming against the Bengals. However, the Bengals have won three in a row in the series and six of the last seven meetings.

For the full preview of today’s game, head over to The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo courtesy of


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