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“Grading” the Browns 2018 Draft

The 2018 NFL Draft came and went this weekend and as a Browns fan, I’m optimistic about the team’s future for the first time in a long time. The theme of the draft for the front office was to address obvious and specific needs, which they did. They drafted a QB they believe in, a potential shut-down CB and a hometown kid at that, a versatile offensive lineman who will hopefully fill the void left from Joe Thomas’ retirement, and a downhill running back to round out what I believe will be one of the more interesting backfields in the NFL in 2018. Like I said, I’m optimistic.

That being said, having an opinion anything short of definite or extreme doesn’t move the needle in this day and age. One can no longer be “optimistic” or “leery,” but instead must be able to assign an exact letter grade to a team’s draft mere hours afterward without having seen any of the 256 players taken physically play a snap of football in the NFL. Think about how patently ridiculous that is. That’s the equivalent of a movie critic writing a review about a movie they haven’t seen yet:

“Mission Impossible has all the makings of a potential hall of fame action movie, but I question going with Tom Cruise as the lead role. While Cruise certainly has the acting chops and experience, he’s just not what I want in terms of a prototypical action movie star. Being only 5’7″ and a known scientologist are big red flags for me, I would’ve rather they pick a Statham or Reeves type actor instead. 6 out of 10 stars.”

Can you imagine living in a world like that? Yet NFL fans everywhere will give merit to the Mel Kiper’s and Mike Mayock’s of the world, reading article after article about how they think their team did and let it either ruin or make their day. It’s both stunning and disappointing to me that in a time where two major sports leagues are in the second rounds of their respective playoffs, sports writers and fans argue until they’re blue in the face about a team receiving a C- when they should’ve been at least a C+.

But alas, that is the world in which we live. And here at Second String, we’re not ones to be left in the dust in the sports media realm (sure, we’ll take a few months hiatus here and there to do other stuff, but that’s not the point). So without further adieu, here’s the 2018 Second String Official Draft Grade for the Cleveland Browns:

Baker Mayfield: 8 out of 8 stars

Denzel Ward: Three scoops of ice cream

Austin Corbett: 88% fresh tomatoes

Nick Chubb: Full chub

Chad Thomas: Double gold record

Antonio Callaway: A half pack of cigarettes

Late Rounders: I don’t know they’re probably fine.

OVERALL GRADE: Good.

Sorry if this offended some, if you disagree feel free to call in or comment so we can discuss something that will have no tangible payoff for another five months.

 

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The Browns Had a Good Draft Last Night, Don’t @ Me

Throughout the day today I’ve heard from sports pundits and idiots in my office alike that they don’t like what the Browns did last night. “I would’ve gone Darnold and Chubb.” “How did they not draft Darnold??” “You guys passed on Chubb??” To which my response is:

Image result for eye roll gif

Why, you ask? Well allow me to explain to those of you who a.) don’t watch the Browns religiously b.) don’t watch college football or c.) base all of your opinions based on outdated media personalities who use outdated metrics and measurements to grade prospects.

Why Baker Mayfield was the Right Pick

To put it simply, the dude has been nothing but a stud throughout his career. He has the largest sample size of any quarterback in the draft, and the best stats of any quarterback in the draft. Take a look at how Baker graded out in college:

The guys at PFF have watched and graded every snap since 2009 for every player on the field, and since recording these analytics, Baker has been a top QB in 3 different seasons. He’s a proven winner, with a gritty attitude that the Browns need to serve as the face of this franchise. His timing and anticipation need improvement, but he’ll have a year to learn under an experienced QB in Tyrod Taylor to figure out timing and the playbook.

Those things are not difficult to teach a QB. Things that ARE hard to fix are throwing motion (Darnold) and accuracy (Allen and Jackson). The only other QB I would’ve been okay taking is Rosen, but the front office loved Baker and quite frankly, so do I.

Why Denzel Ward was the Right Pick

He’s the best cornerback in the draft. Period. End of statement. Couple that with the fact that the Browns drafted a premier talent from Ohio St. and I didn’t understand what Browns fans were so mad about. Sashi got KILLED for missing out on top Ohio St talent like Michael Thomas, so now you’re all going to flip flop on that point?

More than that, the Browns don’t NEED an edge rusher. Key word there is NEED. Yes, another top talent rusher would have been NICE, but it wasn’t a MUST. I know that’s difficult to comprehend, but if you watched the Browns last year you’d realize their sack issues started in the secondary. Gregg Williams LOVES to blitz, more than I’m comfortable with quite honestly, and if you’re going to blitz you need a secondary that’s locking down receivers and keeping the ball in the QB’s hands. As it was, the defense going into last night was incapable of doing that. Now, with Randall and Ward, we have two solid young CB’s that take pressure of Peppers at FS and allow Garrett and Ogbah more time to rush the passer.

The way the game is played now, the most important positions are:

1.) QB – Tyrod and Baker

2.) Edge Rusher – Garrett and Ogbah

3.) Left Tackle – Too soon

4.) Left Cornerback – Randall or Ward

Last night the Browns used their top picks to address needs for the betterment of the team, and if you can’t see that then I can’t help you. PLUS, we have three picks in the second round tonight to use on either a wideout, running back, defensive line, offensive line, or another edge rusher. In that spirit, if the Browns draft any of the following guys tonight at aforementioned positions, I’ll be completely satisfied with the draft this year:

WR – Cortland Sutton (SMU)

HB – Derrius Guice (LSU)

OL – Connor Williams (Texas)

EDGE – Harold Landry (Boston College)

NT – Maurice Hurst (Michigan)

Any of those guys will make us better this year than we’ve been, and that’s the point of the draft. It was the logic behind last night, and if the Browns are serious about this turnaround, it will continue to be the strategy in the draft moving forward.

To all the people who complained about Baker being drafted #1 overall last night, you’ve officially made my list and are kindly excused from the bandwagon. We are taking off and heading for Super Bowl 2022 without you.

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THEY DID IT!! THEY ACTUALLY DID IT!! Browns Draft Baker Mayfield with #1 Overall Pick

I can’t believe it. I really. Can’t. Believe it. The Browns have done something that they haven’t been able to do since Braylon Edwards was catching passes from Der Anderson — make me happy. I know, I know, but it’s true they really did by drafting Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Now gambling implications aside, if you read my blog earlier you already know how much I love Baker Mayfield. He leads this class in just about every on field statistical measurement in this quarterback class. The Analytics era is not dead in Cleveland, not by a long shot.

I’ll write more about the first round tomorrow because I love Denzel Ward, but I’m still shaking from screaming at my TV about Baker. To all the Darnold advocates and Allen Apostles, I have two words for you.

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Reports are Saying Baker Mayfield Will Be Drafted #1 Overall and *looks down to check pants* yes, I’m Hard

ESPN – The Browns continue to keep the decision about their No. 1 pick a secret, but there is a mounting belief from head coaches and general managers around the NFL that Cleveland will take quarterback Baker Mayfield, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday.

The Browns hold the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in the draft, which begins Thursday at 8 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Browns general manager John Dorsey didn’t provide many hints on the team’s draft strategy when he met with reporters last week, saying he expected at least four quarterbacks to be picked in the first round.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has projected the Browns to select Mayfield at No. 1 in his final mock draft, while ESPN’s Todd McShay believes USC’s Sam Darnold will be the pick. Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen and UCLA QB Josh Rosen also could be in the mix.

Mayfield, who won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma, recently visited with the Browns and Dorsey referred to him as a “pleasant fella.”

Image result for it's happening gif

IT’S HAPPENING! IT’S FUCKING HAPPENING!!

After months, MONTHS, of hearing absolute nonsense leading up to the draft, my patience and restraint may finally pay off. Baker Mayfield is rumored to be going to our beloved Cleveland Browns with the first overall pick tonight.

Image result for baker mayfield gif

live look at me and all my Baker Believers

In my months of month like silence, I’ve been preparing myself for this very moment because inevitably, the following things will happen if my dreams come true and Baker goes first overall.

1.) People will say they should’ve drafted Darnold. Honestly, I’m okay with this, because I understand the logic. Darnold seems to be the safest bet of all of these guys. He’s a big guy, the youngest of the class, and is not the worst at any category when it comes to on the field play (except turnovers *rolls eyes at Darnold advocates*)

That being said, he just seems so…blah to me. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good quarterback. But that’s it. Good. I don’t see him being a stud QB at the NFL level, I think max his ceiling is serviceable with 2-3 Pro Bowls. People keep comparing him to a young Big Ben, but Ben has had more talent on his offense for the past 4 seasons than arguably any team in the NFL and hasn’t won a Super Bowl with them, so maybe that’s not what you want out of a QB in today’s game..? Just a thought.

Bottom line is if they draft Darnold I won’t be mad, but I won’t be thrilled.

2.) People will say they should’ve drafted Rosen. Again, I don’t have a problem with this take either really. Rosen by all means is the most “NFL Ready” of the bunch. His accuracy is the best of the class, and that is the one thing you can’t teach a QB. You can fix mechanics, you can fix timing, but you can’t fix whether or not a guy can put it on the back shoulder going up the sideline.

I also don’t care that Rosen is smart and/or has other interests outside of football. It seems patently ridiculous to me that someone being smart would be a shortcoming for them as they begin their career. I mean, Myles Garrett is into like dinosaurs and anime and shit and nobody had a problem with that, so why is it relevant now?

The biggest issues I have with Rosen, though, are escape-ability and injuries. Losing Joe Thomas this offseason, the Browns now have a Hall of Fame sized gap at left tackle that they need to fill. Considering that the O-Line is bound to be at the very least slightly worse than last year, so they need a QB that can move to a.) make them look good and b.) prevent himself from getting killed back there. Rosen is great in the pocket, and has the ability to make off balance throws, but the NFL is surely a lot faster than the D-Line’s of the Pac 12, and I think he’ll struggle in any offense that does not have a premier offensive line.

Hand in hand with that, are the injury concerns. Rosen suffered two concussions that caused him to miss time within the last year. All it takes is one or two more of those for doubt to begin creeping in. With all of the information that we now know about brain injuries, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to think that if he sustains head injuries at the NFL level, he may be forced to consider giving up the game, whether he wants to or not.

3.) Psychos will make a case for Josh Allen, and this one I simply don’t have time for. Yes, he’s big, has a rocket arm, and fits the mold of an NFL QB. But his accuracy is cause for concern, particularly on underneath routes.

josh allen accuracy

When you compare that to one Baker Mayfield’s, the argument should end there:

baker mayfield accuracy.JPG

A 70% passer in the Big 12 or a 56% passer in the Mountain West…

On that note, I’d like to address the “Big 12 defense” argument before we move on. I know defense is considered optional in that conference, but it’s not like the Pac 12 is some defensive powerhouse. The Big 12 and Pac 12 both had 4 teams in the conference that were up the NCAA Division 1 average in terms of total defense, so it’s not like Rosen or Darnold were playing against absolute shutdown units either. So, kindly, miss me with that argument.

4.) People will *sigh* compare him to Johnny Manziel. This, of all the consequences, bothers me the most, because in my mind it’s such a lazy comparison. Yes, I get it, Baker had that run in with the Arkansas PD and messed up. He owned up to the mistake, and hopefully learned from it.

Johnny and Baker also have similar college stats. People have been using that as a knock, but when Johnny Manziel came out of college he was viewed as the most intriguing QB prospect we have ever seen, and did things in the SEC that were before not possible from a QB. So how is that fuel against Baker? If anything it shows that Baker can be everything that Johnny couldn’t, because their make up is entirely different.

Johnny Manziel loved the perks of playing football (which ironally, may have been percs) Baker Mayfield just loves playing football. Yes he’s a loudmouth, and yes he’s cocky, but I’d rather have a guy that encourages people to rally around him and owns his mistakes over a guy like Kizer or Manziel who would pout after every INT and treat this organization like a joke.

FURTHERMORE, Baker and Johnny’s paths were completely different. Johnny grew up with money, connections to A&M, made the most of them then got lost in the sauce. Baker grew up in Texas, walked on at Tech, then walked on to Oklahoma, won the starting job, and won the Heisman. He’s fueled by people who doubt him, and he has a track record of making everyone eat their words.

So when Baker gets drafted first overall tonight, I’ll rest easy knowing that all of these journalists with nothing better to talk about will bring up the aforementioned consequences ad nauseam leading up to the season. Trust me Browns fans when I say, just sit back and let them talk, because the more they talk the more motivated Baker will be when his time comes.

If you’re reading this, consider this your last chance to jump on the Browns bandwagon, because when it gets rolling we’re not stopping for anyone. Prepare yourselves everyone, because the journey to Super Bowl 2022 starts tonight.

Image result for baker mayfield crotch grab gif

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Handicap Stall 3/16/18

Sorry loyal readers, my BM came a tad later than expected today, but we still have a full day of March Madness games to bet on here. As I type, it looks like Providence outright won’t come through, and I’m guessing the gentleman in the stall next to me picked PC too, because he’s now grunted twice unlike any human being I’ve ever heard before.

But enough of that, let’s get to the games.

Winners:

New Mexico St outright

– Ride the hot mascot. Texas A&M just won and their mascot are the Aggies, so why not?

Butler Arkansas under 153

– Scottie Pippen played for Arkansas and played great defense. I feel like Butler has a history of being defensive and annoying. So look out for a 65-63 final.

West Virginia -10

– Teams that have to play WVU in the first weekend are fucked. Your excited to even make the tourney, then have to play 40 minutes against a full court defense. Little schools can’t handle it.

Auburn -9.5

– Alabama crushing Auburn was an effort to get more SEC teams into the tourney. 68% of public money is on CofC so fade the public here.

UNC Lipscomb under 165.5

– I actually don’t remember picking this game and don’t love this pick.

Have a Friday everyone.

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Handicap Stall

Every day at work, typically more than once, I poop. That is may be a tad gauche to talk about so freely, but the fact of the matter is we all take time out of our day to expunge waste via our rectum and scroll through Twitter for 20 minutes.

Additionally, ever time I have to relieve myself at work, I choose to use the handicapped stall. It’s spacious, has a nice bar you can use to hoist yourself up when finished, and is the furthest stall away from the door (interesting to think about when considering handicapped parking is always closest to the door). In the words of George Constanza, “I feel like a gargoyle perched on the ledge of a building.”

And yet, while I’ve never actually seen a handicapped person working on my floor, there’s a part of me that feels guilty for occupying the stall specifically built to aid the disabled. What if an emergency happens, or if our VP breaks both his legs and needs to use this stall? I’d be toast!

Then it hit me. The other day I was betting NHL overs at my desk and realized that I am, in fact, handicapping. So, if I start making my daily wagers in the handicap stall while pinching one off, I’ll a.) be more efficient and b.) technically justifiably be allowed to use this stall since I am “handicapping.”

Thus, I give to you the “Handicap Stall.” Every day while producing my homemade Nutella, I’ll write a blog covering who I’m betting on that day. Considering March Madness starts today, I see no better time to start than now.

Winners:

Loyola Chicago moneyline

– a wise man (me)  once said, Miami STINKS. Plus, I’m from Chicago.

S. Dakota State moneyline

– Haven’t really seen Ohio St play much this year, but I watched S Dakota St win the Summit League

Kentucky 1H and -5

– Everyone seems to be on Davidson, which maybe the Steph Curry effect,  but UK has some amazing athletes on that team

Arizona -8

– I just don’t see them losing to Buffalo

There you have it, that’s who I like today. Everyone hustle and get those bets in now so you can focus on something other than work the rest of the day. Everybody say it with me,

WHOSE GOT IT BETTER THAN U$??

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Thank You Joe Thomas

April 2007. A young boy sits in his living room on the edge of his couch cushion in anticipation, waiting for Roger Goodell to announce who the Browns drafted third overall. The boy is a Notre Dame fan, and praying Cleveland chooses the hometown kid Brady Quinn to be their quarterback of the future. The bell rings, the room falls silent…

The boy was crushed. “A left tackle?? What the fuck?? HOW COULD THEY NOT PICK BRADY??” Little did he know, that would be the worst Browns take the boy would ever have.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, that boy was me. I remember so vividly watching this draft wondering how the Browns could take this big lineman from Wisconsin over my golden boy golden domer with perfect hair. But to their credit, it’s the most right this organization has been this millennium. We didn’t deserve someone like Joe, we still don’t.

He was the consummate professional. He played every game to the best of his ability, and regularly dominated any edge rusher that dared to face him 1 on 1. Here are some of the things Joe accomplished in his time in Cleveland:

  • 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting behind Adrian Peterson
  • 10 Pro Bowl appearances in 11 seasons
  • 1 of 15 players to make a Pro Bowl in each of his first six seasons
  • The second Brown other than Jim Brown to make the Pro Bowl in their first 7 seasons
  • Consistently voted a top 25 NFL player by other players in the league despite the Browns’ incompetence
  • Played 10,363 consecutive snaps, the only player to do so in the history of the league

But while his accomplishments and accolades on the field are incredible, what was more important to we in the Dawg Pound was how he was off the field. By all accounts Joe was a great teammate, and even better person. In an era defined by super teams and leaving to win rings, Joe stayed in Cleveland despite the black hole of talent and coaching in which he constantly had to combat. He believed in Cleveland even though this organization never gave him a reason to.

Joe Thomas will go into the Hall of Fame with a lower winning percentage than any Hall of Famer before him (48-128, 37.5%). He will also have blocked for the most quarterbacks of any Hall of Fame lineman (21). But it brings a smile to my face to know that when I take my kid to the Hall of Fame someday and we look at Joe’s bust, I’ll be able to teach them a lesson that as long as you’re doing what you love and doing it right, that brilliance will always outshine the failures.

A lot of people have been joking that the expectation in Cleveland is so low, that a QB that wins 5 games in a season will get a statue outside First Energy. But if any man is to to be idolized and immortalized as a representation of this organization, it’s Joe Thomas.

So here’s to you Joe. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being the one guy we could always count on, and proving that boy from ten years ago wrong.

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Is LeBron James’ Alcoholism to Blame for DeShone Kizer’s Lackluster Tenure in Cleveland?

The other day I was scrolling through Twitter while taking my first of three daily shits when I came upon this tweet from (now ex) Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer:

On the surface, nothing seems too out of the ordinary here. We’ve all had our issues traveling before (cc: any sports journalist), but as I reread Kizer’s complaint I picked up on some lingo I’ve seen before…

sheesh

Sheesh…sheesh…where have I heard that before? Then, it dawned on me:

lebron sheesh

LeBron. Fucking. James.

At this point, the smell of my bowel movement began to permeate from the handicap stall that I indignantly use for all of my stools. I wiped, washed my hands, and exited the restroom in a huff.

I should have known something was wrong  with DeShone this year.  Sure, his footwork is often times awkward, and yes, he chooses to hold on to the ball with a grip as loose as finger grabber handshake, but no one person can be that naturally bad at quarterback and start double digit games in the NFL.

I plopped back down at my desk and began to do some research. I followed Kizer at Notre Dame and did not recall any alcohol related issues or suspensions taking him off of the field, only his performance on the field did that. So, maybe alcohol wasn’t the problem after all?

Then I remembered week 2 against the Ravens when he was pulled because of a “migraine.” Five weeks later, Kizer was caught partying at a bar late Friday night, causing the team to drop to 0-7 on the year that following Sunday. Partying seemed to become an issue in Kizer’s life once he arrived in Cleveland, after meeting the most famous, least likable Clevelander since Drew Carey.

drew carey cleveland

Now, I’m no conspiracy theorist — hell, I’m not even a regular theorist — but here are the things I now know.

1.) LeBron James is an alcoholic (allegedly)

2.) LeBron James likes to say, “sheesh”

3.) DeShone Kizer was never on record saying, “sheesh” before his time in Cleveland.

4.) DeShone Kizer had no record of substance abuse until he moved to Cleveland.

And if that’s not enough, take a look at the banner that dawns the facade of the Quicken Loans Arena:

lebron-james-banner

Look closer…

we are all wines

It seems the proof is in the pudding, or should I say the tannins, folks ,,

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WE’RE GOIN’ TO THE PLAYOFFS!!! – Browns Trade For Jarvis Landry, Damarious Randall

 

Wow wow wow wow wow. Wow. I honestly don’t even know what to say right now. I’ve had some time to process everything and still don’t even know where to begin. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s start at the beginning:

Jarvis Landry:

I was sitting at my desk at work, mindlessly staring at my computer waiting for 5 o’clock when I received the notification that the Browns traded 2 picks for Jarvis Landry. At the time, I didn’t know what to think:

My thoughts were if one of these two picks is one of our first or second rounders this year, then it wasn’t worth it. I’ve been harping for a long time that draft picks are intangible assets, and that we should be trading these picks for tangible assets, aka players that have proven their ability to play in the NFL. But you also need to be able to sell hope to these teams and trade picks that are not used for supposed “premier” talent.

Now that it’s come out that this trade was for next year’s seventh rounder and a fourth round pick this year, then this was totally worth it. That seventh round pick was acquired by Sashi for our punter Andy Lee last season, so essentially Dorsey traded a punter and a fourth round pick for a consistent wide receiver. So consistent, in fact, that he led the league in receptions last year despite the fact that Jay Cutler and Matt Moore were throwing to him.

So, if the Browns sign Terrelle Pryor in free agency in three days, their receiving corps becomes:

Jarvis Landry

Josh Gordon

Corey Coleman

Terrelle Pryor

David Njoku

That’s a mouth wateringly satisfying group right there. That’s a crew that can contend with any defense in the league, straight up. The only problem is, they don’t have a solid, viable quarterback giving them the football. Until…

Tyrod Taylor

This is when I started freaking out.

See?

This move really got my mind going. Tyrod Taylor is a special quarterback. I know, I know, that may seem like an overreaction, but relative to what we’ve had in the past he may as well be Warren Moon. I also truly believe that he has the skill set to be a top 10 QB in this league in the right situation. He’s able to escape the pocket, throw the ball on the run, pick up yards with his legs, and doesn’t turn the ball over.

Pair these trades with a defense that’s not as bad as 0-16 showed, and a top 15 O-Line, it seemed this team has set themselves up for success in 2018-2019 and DeShone Kizer finally has a mentor from whom to learn. Except…

Damarious Randall

That somewhat solid defense I just mentioned, just got even better. Damarious Randall is a solid QB that everyone in the Packers organization was high on. Hence, why all the Packers scouts we brought in this offseason more then likely advocated for this deal. But our secondary was lacking last season, so the front office made a deal to rectify that and sent DeShone to an organization where he can learn and hopefully hone his skillset. I stand by the fact that Kizer is super talented and will be a starter in this league, so I’m happy for him. All the best DeShone.

So what does this all mean? The Browns got exponentially better today. They traded for a Pro-Bowl caliber wideout, a mobile experienced QB, a promising young corner, and still have 5 of the first 65 picks in the draft this year. They’re now set up to draft Barkley first overall, Mayfield or Jackson at 4, and focus on continuing to build the defense.

To the Dawg Pound, contain yourselves, but it looks like there may at last be a light at the end of this septic tank of football we’ve been climbing through. Who would’ve thought, after all these years of mediocrity, all it would take to fix the Browns is, well, a Brown.Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals

Thank you Sashi, you were the hero we didn’t deserve.

PS – Is Dorsey done making moves yet? Word on the street says he isn’t…*eyeball emoji*

earl thomas trade

h/t @DommyTweeter

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At 4:15am EST, the USA Men’s Curling Team Made History

I honestly don’t know what to say. Partly that’s because I’ve been slamming gin all night, but more so because I didn’t really believe this could happen. Our Curling Team just went from 2-4 to the gold medal in seemingly the blink of an eye.

The match was close the entire night, but the US completely turned things around with a 5 POINT eighth end that will go down in history as Shuster’s best shot of his career. It’s hard to describe what this means to the curling community, especially since I joined it ironically around eight years ago.

But in all honesty, I feel such an overwhelming sense of pride for what this team just accomplished. Team Shuster for life. Team USA for life. USA. Your 2018 Men’s Curling Olympic Champions.

Just. Wow.

 

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At 1:35am Tonight, the USA Men’s Curling Team Will Make History

Well, this is it folks. Tonight at 1:35am, as some bars begin turning the lights on for last call, Team Shuster and the US Men’s Curling team will take the ice for the last time in these 2018 Olympic Games. This time, though, they play for a chance to go home Olympic Champions for the first time in US history.

I know, I know, we in the states are decidedly the best at pretty much every athletic spectacle worth caring about in the world. But in the bizarre, cult-esque world of Curling, we’re typically an after thought. We’re competitive, sure, but never really close to being the best. What Northwestern is to B1G football, we are to the men’s curling circuit.

In fact, these Olympics were shaping up to be a lot like our last two showings. We were in every game, but always had that one bad end where we let an opponent steal a few too many points. After conceding to Japan and then losing to Norway to fall to 2-4 in Round Robin play, hopes of a podium spot seemed pretty much shot.

Instead, the unthinkable happened. This team rattled of five straight victories to finish 5-4 with the 3 seed in the playoff bracket, including wins over Canada and Great Britain. Shuster was leading this team in a way I hadn’t before seen in the Olympics, and this team was playing like they had nothing to lose.

To make the semifinals seemed like an accomplishment in of itself. I didn’t think we had a prayer of beating the Canadians, three time defending gold medalists, twice in the same week. I mentally prepped myself for the bronze medal match that would take place Friday morning. But again, Team Shuster proved me wrong. A big 2 point steal in the 8th end with a solid hammer throw in the tenth clinched a 5-3 victory over Canada that left me wondering, “what did I just watch?”

So tonight, come 1:35, this group of men will do something that no US Men’s Curling Team before them has done – play for an Olympic gold medal. I implore everyone to make it their civic duty to yell at their bartender and make sure this match is on every TV in the establishment. Gather your friends, buy a bunch of Rolling Rocks for the sake of the pun, and watch this group of beauties stomp all over the Curling world. If the Cubs and Astros can win the World Series, if the Eagles can win the Super Bowl, if Kirk Cousins could become the highest paid player in NFL history, then truely anything is possible.

Why. Not. Us?

NBCSports 1:35am. See you all on Twitter. @threejay03

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Should Fergie be Arrested for Treason After Her Performance at the All-Star Game Last Night?

Last night Fergie, you may remember her from the Black Eyed Peas or if you attended a bar mitzvah in the late 2000’s, had the honor of performing the National Anthem at the NBA All Star Game. I know what you’re thinking, no big deal right? Fergie was a MEGA star for a hot minute, who undoubtedly has performed the National Anthem for numerous big venues before. Surely she’s just gonna keep it simple, be right down the middle with it, and not perform it like she’s in a New Orleans burlesque house circa the 1930’s, right?

Wrong!

Now, I know I use a lot of hyperbole on this site. Often times I deem people completely psychotic or accuse them of being borderline murderers. However, I don’t think I’m overreacting here when I say that this rendition of the National Anthem not only the WORST rendition these ears have ever heard, but possibly the most offensive as well. I feel like the moderator of the academic decathlon in Billy Madison during the debate scene. “Ms Fergie, in no point in your incoherent rambling did you sing anything close to resembling the National Anthem. Everyone in this room is less patriotic after hearing your incoherent rambling. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.” 

But given the tumultuous year that the Star Spangled Banner has had, I don’t know what reaction is warranted after last night. Kaepernick led the charge in protesting the National Anthem and won Time’s Person of the Year as a result. If that’s the precedent we’re setting, then Time should award Fergie the Grammy for “Best Remix to an 18th Century Composition.” In that same vein, if some Americans consider Colin Kapernick’s and other NFL Player’s protest disrespectful, then you HAVE to consider this treason. Lock her up and throw away the key, because the fact that she was delusional enough to practice the Anthem that way and go, “yup, nailed it,” indicates to me that she is not of sound mind or reason.

Granted, you could argue the treatment she received on Twitter last night was punishment enough…

 

and I don’t see the ridicule stopping anytime soon.

But, as I’m writing this, I’ve realized that maybe I have this all wrong. Maybe Fergie is the Patriot we need, but not the one we deserve right now. Other than the fact that this clip will probably be played on loop in Guantanamo Bay for 20 hours a day until it closes:

Fergie has done something that no man or woman has been able to do in the past year — unite this country’s feelings on the National Anthem. For the first time in over a year, people on both sides of the aisle came together to ridicule Fergie’s National Anthem in the spirit of laughs and retweets.

So, in a weird way, I tip my cap to you Fergie. Bombing on a national stage to bring this country together again is one of the most courageous things I’ve ever seen. But maybe in the future let’s leave it to people like Roseanne, okay?

 

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RGIII Was Ugly on Instagram, on Valentine’s Day No Less!

Last Wednesday felt like any other Valentine’s Day for me — I went into work, awkwardly said Happy Valentine’s Day to a bunch of coworkers because apparently that’s normal, looked at other people’s flowers on Instagram since snap stories are now a thing of the past, went home and sat in my room alone. Ya know, vintage romantic type stuff.

But to my surprise, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed in my unisex night gown, I saw something rather troubling. No, it wasn’t RGIII’s post / caption that made no sense that shook me to my core, but a comment he made in reply to a fan!

rg3 insta comment

What the hell is this?? RGIII clapping back at my guy brown_nation_ so hard he may re-injure his wrist! On a day that’s supposed to be about love and care, RGIII is out here bullying we lowly Browns fans off of social media. Sad!

Now to be fair, @brown_nation_, you could’ve just unfollowed him and internalized that thought. Really could’ve avoided this heat being brought on you by just keeping that question to yourself. As for me, I still follow RGIII because I know one day he’s gonna slip and throw a nude up on his feed that he meant to send to his “Estonian Beauty.” When/if that day comes, it is my DUTY  as an unpaid Browns blogger to let everyone know if he has a sweet dick or not.

Anyway, I digress. While I agree that brown_nation_ for sure had that coming by being a loser in the first place and commenting on a celebrity’s post, let’s chill out for a second RGIII. Yes, you are technically correct and responsible for the franchise’s last win, but you’re also responsible for 4 of these 31 losses and threw 2 TD’s in five games as a starter. Your incompetence also lead us to the Kizer era, so by the transitive property you’re responsible for all of last year’s losses too.

So why don’t you slow your roll a bit, huh guy? I would say people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but if you’re the one throwing said stones  there’s no shot any house is getting hit. Also, you should totally put your dick on the internet.

PS – Can somebody explain to me the emoji usage from @baylor.updates? I get the bear, but what’s the fire and ice emoji? Is that a Game of Thrones Reference? I don’t get it.

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What the Alex Smith Trade Means for the Browns Going Forward

 

JFK’s Assassination, the morning of 9/11, and receiving the notification that Alex Smith was traded to the Washington Redskins. Three events in history that Americans will remember exactly where they were when they heard the news forever. Me? I was taking a rare evening dump, perusing through Twitter when the notification banner buzzed in at the top of my screen.

Conflicting emotions began to flow through me as I flooded my toilet with my bowel movement. On the one hand, I really wanted Alex Smith. He’s coming off a career year in Kansas City, reuniting with a GM who believes in him, and gives this team veteran leadership that it is desperately missing. I let myself believe that the Browns could get Smith, draft Barkley #1 overall and Minkah Fitzpatrick at #4, sign Terrelle Pryor in free agency, move Duke to slot wideout, and have a team that goes at least 6-10 next year. It’s not perfect, but it’s a competitive team that allows the Browns a window to continue to develop their young talent.

On the other hand, this was kind of a bad deal for the Redskins. They gave up a starting CB and draft pick for a 33 year old veteran QB who does not have nearly the talent that he had available to him in Kansas City, and signed him long term with $71 million guaranteed over the next 4 years. They also already have this guy:

kirk cousins

who by all accounts would be a better move:

So yes, we could’ve gotten better, but Smith also had just as much potential as being a bad signing and a flop. Which leaves the Browns with these options:

1.) Sign Kirk Cousins to something to the tune of 5 years, $24 mil per with $90 mil guaranteed. It’s a bigger deal than the Skins gave Smith, and there’s no better place to start a redemption campaign than saving the Browns from sinking in Lake Erie. However, Cousins indicated in an interview with Mike Florio yesterday that winning will play a factor in his signing decision. Smith also said something similar in an interview with Dan Patrick, that money isn’t the only factor.

To which, I respond with this — winners win. No matter what team, no matter the circumstance, if you’re a winner, you find a way to win. Alex Smith lost his starting job in SF to Colin Kaepernick and has a career playoff record of 2-5. Kirk Cousins has a losing career record as a starter (26-30-1) and is 0-2 in the playoffs, both losses by double digits. So newsflash, NEITHER of you are proven winners, so for you to demand that of your future team is patently ridiculous. But I digress…

2.) The Browns lose out on Cousins and draft Baker Mayfield first overall. Mayfield is my favorite QB in this class and has the right kind of attitude to play for this team. He’s a proven winner, is comfortable moving around the pocket, and is an accurate thrower. Yes there’s baggage and off the field risk associated with him, but when you go 0-16 and 1-31 over the last two years, you’re kind of in a position to take a risk. Hell, even Johnny Manziel won 2 games for the Browns.

3.) The Browns draft Josh Allen or Sam Darnold first overall, which unfortunately seems like the most likely scenario. Both of these guys are big, and that’s just about it. Allen has a cannon for an arm, but also has zero touch, zero accuracy, and was injured throughout his senior year. Darnold is going to be Bortles 2.0 in my opinion. A big dude that was recruited as a TE but athletic enough to play QB, his release is bad, and from watching him play in college, the NFL is going to be too fast for him to succeed as a QB.

I love option 1, like option 2, and hate option 3, but regardless, the Browns need to address their QB situation with the first pick this year. I’m a huge proponent of you need talent around a QB to win in this league, but ultimately to reach that second tier of success, you need to have a QB that can lead you there. If the Browns go out and bring Pryor back, a receiving corps of Gordon, Pryor, Coleman, and Njoku with Duke playing out of the slot is enough talent to win on offense. Refocus on the defense in the coming years, and build out a sustainable system of success.

But realistically, the Browns won’t sign anyone except AJ McCarron, let Hue coach until he’s 75 and average a 4-12 record for the next 20 years. Thus is life as an assembly worker in the Factory of Sadness.

PS – Kendall Fuller live tweeting all of this, then finding out that he was getting traded to KC was peak Twitter.

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This Weekend Proved Why The College Football Playoff Needs to Include Eight Teams

If there’s three things I know to be true in life, it’s these: eating too many Junior Mints in one sitting will give you diarrhea, the stripper is never actually into you, and college football is the best. Period. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it.

After last weekend’s slate of games, I don’t know how anyone could possibly argue that there’s a better time of year/sports season. You like points? Oklahoma and Georgia scored 102 of them. Is defense more your thing? Notre Dame and LSU was competitive until the end. Like seeing an underdog pull off a heart-warming upset? Look no further than the UCF Golden Knights my friend.
But I’ve been thinking, with ratings up for this year’s playoff and so much controversy year after year about who’s in and who’s out, how has the NCAA not bumped the playoff up to 8 teams? Obviously there’s contracts with sponsors and networks, but couldn’t we do away with these conference championship games that apparently hold no water anyway (i.e. Ohio St, USC, Penn St last year) and put eight teams into the playoff?
Picture this: you have the quarterfinals December 23rd as the Peach, Cotton, Orange, and Fiesta Bowls; the semis as the Rose and Sugar Bowls on New Year’s Day, and National Championship on the 8th. No scheduling conflicts, better competition, and some bowls that matter throughout the entirety of bowl season.
So let’s say the NCAA did the right thing this year and put in 8. Imagine this slate of games:
#1 Clemson vs. #8 Wisconsin
#2 Oklahoma vs. #7 UCF
#3 Georgia vs. #6 Alabama
#4 Ohio State vs #5 USC
My mouth is watering just looking at that lineup. That may as well be a centerfold in the Playboy Edition of College Football Weekly.* There still would be controversy over the #8 seed, as I fathom Auburn and Miami would be pissed this year, but this playoff gives UCF a chance against Baker Mayfield in a game where the ball  may never touch the ground, a matchup of this year’s Cotton Bowl anyway between USC and Ohio St., and the National Championship this year in the first round! I mean come. on.
Plus, you’d still have a smattering of shitty degenerate bowls to wager on throughout the holiday season, so there is quite literally no reason not to expand this out to eight. If you don’t like it, well then you have a big ole dump in your pants.
*doesn’t exist, but not a bad idea
PS – For the record, in that lineup I’d have Clemson vs Ohio St and Oklahoma vs UGA in the semis, and UGA over Ohio St. in the final. Tell me I’m wrong @threejay3
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Notre Dame Does the Least Notre Dame Thing Ever and Wins a Bowl Game in Dramatic Fashion

You see that baby?? It’s not quite the Orange Bowl, but oranges are most definitely a citrus fruit so I’ll fuckin’ take it!

This win was so unlikely for so many reasons. Sure, I took ND outright as 3 point underdogs, but it was only due to a great value in a somewhat coin flip game. Coach O can barely put a sentence together, but he’s always good to get his guys up for any game and play some smash football. Conversely, Notre Dame under Brian Kelly is a team that historically lays down in big spots. We saw it this year in their last three games: a loss to Stanford, a horrible loss to Miami, and a win they squeaked out against Navy. Couple that with the fact that Josh Adams and Brian Wimbush would be subbed out? If I had to bet a toe or something, I’d need find a new bookie but best believe I’d be screaming “Geaux Tigers.”

The game wasn’t pretty, and there were definitely some concerning moments. The fact that Wimbush and Adams played so poorly not only in this game, but the last three games of the year is disheartening. I hope they were injured, or maybe there’s circumstances outside of football that are distracting them, but the difference between the backfield’s play between the first two thirds of the season and the final third was horrific.

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That being said, the good moments far outweighed the bad for me today. Ian Book is a somewhat legit QB, that has looked progressively better with every game played. 14 of 19 for 164 yards, 2TD’s and 1 pick is a really solid day for a true sophomore backup. As soon as the game ended word spread that the starting QB job is up for grabs this Spring, and I’m honestly very okay with that. Let’s see what Book can do now that he’s fighting for the job.

Then, of course, there was the play of the day. Nay, the year. NAY, the millennium.

Miles Boykin, who entered the day win under 200 receiving yards on the year, goes up with one hand, trucks a CB, jukes out another, and sprints slower than anyone I’ve ever seen into the endzone. It was un.be.lievable. I jumped off of my couch and just put my hands on my head without saying a word. We realistically will probably never see a Notre Dame player make a play like that in the fourth quarter for a win over an SEC team, let alone just make a play like that ever again. Miles Boykin became a legend in South Bend yesterday; he’ll never have to pay the $5 cover for keg access ever again.

What a game, what a win, and honestly, what a year. Looking at Notre Dame’s schedule this year, I saw a 6-6 year. But time and again, this team proved that Notre Dame football is still very much relevant. Double digit win at Michigan State, double digit win against USC, dominating the NC State D-Line. If before this season I told you the Irish would go 10-3 with wins over Michigan State, USC, and LSU, and that their three losses would be against a Miami team who played in the ACC Championship, a Stanford team who played in the Pac 12 Championship, and a Georgia team who won the SEC and is playing for the National Championship, would you take that? I know I absolutely would.

So as we close the book (pun unintended) on the Notre Dame 2017 campaign, I’ll leave you with something I didn’t think I’d be saying at the end of this season.

#BringBackBrianKelly

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They Did It: Browns go 0-16

4th and 2, two timeouts, under two minutes. Kizer escapes a collapsing, rolls left, and has his #2 wide receiver, first round pick Corey Coleman, wide open. And then, this…

Right. Through. His. Hands.

I’m really at a loss for words. When that ball went through Coleman’s hands I laughed, but my heart really did sink for a minute. After the loss to Indianapolis in week 3, I joked this team may go defeated, but never truly believed it. So when it actually happened, it was about as low as I’ve ever felt as a football fan.

People will say if you’re going to tank, then you may as well go all the way and lose big. They have the #1 and #4 pick in the first two rounds of this year’s draft. But they would’ve had that if they won one game as well. All I wanted was one win. One, lousy win. But now this organization has reached a level of mediocrity that only the Lions have experienced in this age of the NFL. The line from the parody Cleveland tourism video, “At least we’re not Detroit!” has lost all merit now.

There will be a lot of noise in the coming days. The terror zone that is Browns Twitter will yell at each other all the way to Draft Night. I’ll read articles that condemn Hue despite the front office’s confidence in him. And, as if we already weren’t, this team and this fan base will be the butt of every NFL fans’ jokes for the coming year.

I plan on posting a season recap in the coming days, highlighting worse plays of the year and my thoughts on Hue and the draft moving forward, but there’s so much to get into that it may take me a few days to craft, so bear with me. As for now though, I’m just, well, sad.

The fumble. The drive. And now? The drop. Welcome to the Hall of Humiliation Corey.corey-coleman-fbbb86c91eea24ba

PS – Adding insult to injury, the fact that this team had to pull this off in 2017 instead of 2016 is such a kick in the dick. These shirts would’ve sold like hot cakes.Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 1.35.45 PM

PPS – If Hue doesn’t follow through and jump into Lake Eerie, that has to be a fireable offense (ya know, along with a 1-31 record in 2 years).

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Local Man Gives Dollar to Homeless Person; Internally Justifies Self for Being Piece of Shit for the Entire Year

BALTIMORE, MD – Walking down Light Street to purchase some pajamas from Marshall’s as a last-minute Christmas gift for his wife, area man Dave Andersen heard a raspy plea from the ground.

“Any change sir? I’m just trying to catch the bus.”

Having grown up and now living in the suburbs outside of the city limits, Dave knew the bus didn’t stop anywhere near here. Nevertheless, after a brief moment of assuming his money would be used for more dastardly purposes, Andersen reached into his wallet and pulled out a dollar bill.

“Merry Christmas,” Andersen said with a smile, as he reached out his crumpled George Washington that he previously tried to use on the vending machine in the breakroom at work to no avail.

“God bless you sir,” replied the homeless man graciously, who now hobbled his way to a new location down the street.

Andersen smiled proudly, and made sure to take note of any bystanders who may have noticed his act of generosity. It had been a long year for him, filled with stress from both his home and his work.

“With the kids starting school, and that one night at that conference in Memphis I still haven’t told my wife about, this year has kind of been weighing on me,” Andersen informed us, as he tossed the new pajamas into the trunk of his Kia Optima. “It’s days like these that remind me that it could always be worse, and to focus on the positives in my life.”

When asked if days like today inspired him to open up to his wife, Andersen did not comment, but was sure to wish us a Merry Christmas.

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Browns Lose Last Possible Win to Bears 20-3

I’m not gonna lie, this is tough to swallow. We all joke and say how we’re looking forward to the perfect season and the parade, but if we’re being honest I really wanted just one win. It feels like just yesterday I was going into the game at M&T Bank in Baltimore telling myself that  if they win this game they could be 4-1 going into week 6. But this team has proved time and time again that they are literally incompetent of doing anything well with any consistency.

I wrote earlier a list of reasons why the Browns would win this game today, and I was wrong on pretty much all accounts. Trubisky ran all over us and we couldn’t get a single thing going on offense. Josh Gordon looked like he didn’t want to be there, the pocked was constancy collapsing on Kizer, and Crow continued to run straight into the line of scrimmage every time he got the ball. It’s a mystery why Duke Johnson doesn’t get the ball 60% of snaps, but this team has a knack for putting the ball in the hands of players who shouldn’t have it.

https://mobile.twitter.com/DellyFact/status/945025045553958912/video/1

The only bright side in all of this is that the worst has literally happened. It can only go up from here. I’ll see you all at the parade, now excuse me while I pour myself another scotch.

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Josh Rosen Goes on Record Saying He’d Rather Play for the Giants than the Browns. In Related News, the Sun Will Set in the West this Evening.

I couldn’t be happier that this news came out. It’s a better stocking stuffer than I could’ve ever gotten myself. Josh Rosen came out this morning and said he’d rather play for the Giants than the Browns.

Uhhh no shit dude, nobody wants to play for us. But by coming out and saying that, Rosen has affirmed everything I’ve been saying about this kid all year. He’s S-A-W-F-T sawwwwft. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Had everything handed to him. He’s the kind of guy who loses a game at UCLA, then makes his way over to Beverly Hills Gold Club to sneak in a quick nine with his embroidered golf bag.

The opportunity to play in Cleveland is unique. You have the chance to be the savior of one of football’s oldest and traditional franchises. You can be the Phoenix that lifts this team from the ashes in which it currently resides. Hell, if you go 10-6 in Cleveland you probably will never have to pay for a drink again in your life.

To come out and say you don’t want to play in Cleveland means you have no drive. You have no grit. You have no heart, no backbone. You’re not ready to step up to the biggest challenge in professional sports and grind your way to greatness. Rosen would rather play with OBJ over Josh Gordon? Play in the Big Apple over the Mistake by the Lake? That’s fine with me. Go ahead and take him. We all already know who will pull this team out of the dumpster.Baker-Mayfield-crotch-grab-832x447

So while baby boy Josh goes to to sleep tonight with dreams of Cleveland heartache and dread, visions of Mayfield lifting the Lombardi Trophy will dance through my head.

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Browns vs. Bears Preview: Today is the Day

Merry Christmas Eve Second Stringers, and to my members of the Tribe I hope Channukah (you like that?) treated you well. In the spirit of the season, allow me to give you the greatest gift of all: a blog in which I convince myself the Browns will win a game.

Here’s why I like the Browns in today’s spot:

1.) It’s gonna be cold today in Chicago, vintage Bear weather some would say. That means both of these teams are going to run the ball, run the ball, and run the ball again. That plays to the Browns strength. This Browns rush defense is historically good, only giving up 3.3 YPC on 408 rushing attempts this year. If the Browns make Trubisky win this game, then I like our chances.

2.) I’d feel better if this game wasn’t on a Sunday considering the Browns haven’t won a game on a Sunday in two years, but the game is on Christmas Eve. The Browns only win in the last two years? Last year on Christmas Eve.

3.) The Bears will have no home field advantage today. 20 degree weather and snowing on a Christmas Eve game? I take it most Bears fans will watch the game from home. Plus, the wave of doubt and dread that overcomes First Energy Stadium when things go wrong for this team will not exist today, so I think this team fares better in someone else’s house.

4.) John Fox is 0-7 during his tenure with the Bears in games in which the Bears are the favorite. Not just 0-7 ATS, straight up 0-7. Lost every single game he’s coached as a favorite. For the first time in years, the Browns are kind of a smart bet today.

5.) People are already preparing for the “Perfect Season Parade” so it would be quintessential Browns to ruin everyone’s plans and actually win a game, just like last year. If nothing else, you can always count on this team to let you down somehow.

I doubt the Browns beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh next week, so this is their last shot at a win in 2017. Let’s get a win today then send Hue off in a Viking Funeral-esque ceremony on Lake Michigan.

Browns: 16 Bears: 13 LET IT RIDE BABY

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Browns Keep “Perfect Season” Alive, Lose to Ravens 27-10

More of the same for the Brownies this week — brief flashes of ability, head-scratching play calls, and turnovers in the redzone. Watching this team play every week for the last two years has pretty much devolved into three hours of me muttering to myself in dirty sweatpants, a ritual so sad that the writers of Manchester by the Sea would cry watching.

0-14 and 1-29 in their last 30, we are just 2 games away from the imperfect season and the parade that follows it. Here’s what’s worth noting and what we learned from this week’s loss to the Ravens:

1.) You probably won’t win a game when you let Joe Flacco run for a TD.

2.) This offense is very bad without Joe Thomas.

3.) The “WHY?” sign won the day.

4.) The Browns have single handedly made Benjamin Watson relevant in 2017. 12 of his 45 receptions have come against this secondary, as well as 165 of his 347 yards (47%), and 1 of his 3 TD’s this season.

5.) Bill Mitchell is an idiot. People don’t go to Browns games due to depression, not political parties.

6.) Someone should inform Gregg Williams that it’s helpful if you’re SS isn’t starting plays 100 yards back from the line of scrimmage.

7.) Hue Jackson on the sidelines somehow gets more and more laughable every week.

8.) As it turns out, tickets to Browns games are quite literally worthless.

Another day another L for the Factory of Sadness. The Bears game next week is winnable, but more than likely another L to another QB passed on. It feels like no team will lay down against the Browns because they don’t want to be the ones to lose to one of the most incompetent teams ever assembled. Get your tickets to Cleveland now, because the parade is well within our grasp.

PS – A million dollars to who ever can explain to me what the fuck is going on in this photo.

3E60F5CF-E99F-47EB-8C2B-6DBFD9B61856

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Browns Lose Laughably 27-21 in OT; Life Continues to Have Little to No Meaning

A few things:

1.) This is one of the worst losses I’ve been a part of with this garbage organization. To be up 21-7 going into the fourth and hand a backup QB a game at home is unforgivable.

2.) This front office simply cannot justify keeping Hue Jackson and his staff around next year. Here’s a list of things they did to hand the Packers that game:

  • Dumb penalties on third down that bailed Green Bay out in every quarter
  • Letting Hundley throw roughly a billion underneath routes once up two scores by not playing press coverage on an anverage receiving corps
  • Not targeting Josh Gordon once in the fourth quarter
  • Throwing on a 3rd and 4 with 2:50 left in the game, leading to an incompletion that stopped the clock
  • Punting the ball in the middle of the field, allowing for a 65 yard punt return to bail out a Packers offense that was putrid the entire day

3.) DeShone Kizer will get heat for this loss, but he played a hell of a game today. It’s great to see what he can do with actual targets to throw to. Gordon, Coleman, and Njoku are solid, further solidifying that we need more playmakers, not necessarily a new QB.

4.) That interception Kizer threw in OT is unforgivable, but those are the moments that come with a 21 year old QB.

5.) Kizer’s first INT should have never happened — a DPI went uncalled on Gordon in the endzone because they’re the Packers and we’re the Browns. Unfortunate to see but that’s what happens when you’re winless.

6.) Josh Gordon is the truth.

7.) Touchdown sunglasses were awesome. I hope that doesn’t go away, but it’s also possible this team doesn’t score the rest of the season.

Not much else to say really. At least the #1 pick and the Perfect Season Parade are now all but guaranteed? The game was firmly in the Browns hands and they let the Packers control the entire second half. Week in and week out I watch this team find a way to lose, each more heartbreaking than the last. This life is miserable, but it’s the life I chose. On to the Ravens.

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Browns Drop 27th of Last 28 in the Return of Josh Gordon

Sigh. Yawn. Whatever.

That’s pretty much how the entire game felt on Sunday. That’s pretty much how every Sunday feels when you’re a fan of this team. It’s a numbness that comes with going 1-27 over two seasons, the worst 28 game stretch in NFL history for what it’s worth. A depression that comes with not seeing your favorite team win on a Sunday in over two years, another NFL record. The front office has been incompetent, the play calling questionable, and the offense just plain terrible.

The only thing that was even remotely worth cheering for in the Browns 19-10 loss to the Chargers on Sunday was the return of #12, Josh Gordon. After almost three years of being on the sideline, Gordon showed flashes (pun intended) of brilliance on Sunday, validating the Browns’ decision to keep him despite the fact that instead of leading the league in YPG and YAC, he led it in THC and DUIs.

My big problem however, with what I from here forth will refer to as “The Gordon Game,” is just that – the entire gameplan revolved around Josh Gordon. Josh Gordon finished with 4 catches on 13 targets for 88 yards. I get it that he may be the best receiver on the Browns depth chart, but he’s only been playing with the offense for a little over a week. That’s not nearly enough time for a rookie QB with a battered offensive line to get in a rhythm with a receiver in week 13.

Quite literally everything about the Browns is different from the last time Gordon played a down. New head coach, new offense, another new QB, and an O-Line with no Joe Thomas. To expect this level of production from any receiver his first week back seems like too much to me. I understand wanting to get him the ball and make sure he’s comfortable in the offense, but Gordon would be just as effective as a decoy to set up plays to Njoku or Coleman.

Speaking of Coleman, shall we address how brutal his final series was? Down 9 and the offense is driving with the ball on the 3 yard line. They run a HB stretch to Johnson where Coleman get blamed for a hold. Run a similar play and are stopped for a loss due to a missed block by Coleman. Then, like clockwork, Kizer holds on to the ball for three minutes and is strip sacked, turning the ball over in the redzone for what feels like the millionth time this season.

The fact that these turnovers haven’t stopped is coaching, plain and simple. The same mistakes this team made week 1 they’re still making week 13. It’ll be tough to justify keeping Hue around after this season, so if I’m him I’d go balls to the wall with the last two winnable games in his tenure coming up: vs the Packers this week and at the Bears on Christmas Eve. But as I write that, it seems ridiculous to me to think that this team will go anything other than 0-16. *Sighs heavily* The fuckin Browns man.

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Terminal Blog: Browns Lose to Bengals, Officially Eliminated from Playoffs

As I sit here at the quaint, yet modern, Philips Seafood at Bradley International Airport, I can’t help but wonder where it all went wrong. This is a thought I’ve had a lot this weekend after my 5 year high school reunion, but in this capacity, I am of course referring to my Cleveland Browns.

Spirits were high after a perfect preseason. The offense looked functional, the defense respectable, and for a fleeting moment I thought, “Hey, this could be a 6-10 team!” But since the Week 3 loss to Indianapolis, this team has looked like nothing other than more of the same.

Today’s loss was the type of loss that is all too familiar if you root for this team. They start up 3-0, give up a TD immediately, then shoot themselves in the foot. Today that bullet came in the form of Treggs, who was penalized for taunting with the Browns in the red zone. After that the offense stifled, and Gonzalez missed a 43 yard field goal wide left.

A fan of a normal team would view that as a setback, but for Cleveland, that’s the game. Another footnote in the almanac of despair that is Cleveland Browns football. And just because it’s familiar, doesn’t make it any less depressing.

There’s not much left to root for at this point for the Brownies. Either tank for a pick that we have a proclivity for getting wrong, or root for a win or two to save ourselves from total embarrassment. The only winnable games left on this schedule are home against the Packers and at Chicago on Christmas Eve, but if that Green Bay game is a loss then that’s it for the year.

These are dark times indeed for we Cleveland faithful, and they don’t appear to be changing soon. My faith is not lost, as no team can be this bad for this long. But until things start to turn, I’ll have another round please.

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A Word on Baker Mayfield’s Punishment

I don’t know when this happened, I don’t know how this happened, but I am COMPLETELY head over heels for Baker Mayfield. He’s got the body and arm of a Drew Brees or Russel Wilson, the bust potential of a Colt McCoy, and the attitude of that one guy at the party who takes beer pong way too seriously.

Apparently, however, some folks are not as fond of Baker Mayfield as I. It was announced earlier this week that after his actions against Kansas, and by actions of course I mean grabbing his crotch and yelling “FUCK YOU” at their bench, that Oklahoma would not start Mayfield on Senior Day against West Virginia and rescind his captainship. Mayfield formally apologized in a press conference, seen below.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=baker+mayfield+apology&&view=detail&mid=0A92C43870740F9283150A92C43870740F928315&FORM=VRDGAR

Let me tell you something. How DARE the University of Oklahoma pull this shit. Not only has this kid brought in millions upon million of dollars in revenue to this university and program, but he embodies everything a good captain should. Earlier this year on the Dan Patrick Show when Dan asked Mayfield if he plays with a chip on his shoulder, he said he, “plays with a boulder on his shoulder”(which rhymes, but was not brought up at the time and I’m sure was unintentional). He wears his heart on his sleeve and inspires his teammates to get up and go kick the teeth in of every opponent on their schedule. He’s the best player in college football this year and EASILY the most reputable, and yet you’re going to punish him for being the guy on the field who’s not gonna sit back and take shit from another team? FUCK. THAT.

This right here is the reason future generations are doomed. Everyone is so worried about needing players to be role models and acting within their realm of what’s deemed appropriate, that we now discourage a leader for doing what he does best – lead. So while the rest of the world is backing the Russel Wilsons and Peyton Mannings of the league, hiding behind their canned responses and played out catchphrases, I’ll be flipping and ripping birds with Baker Mayfield as we step over those too spineless to stand. 

PS – Baker’s gonna look so good in a Cleveland Browns uniform.

baker brown
*swoon* (yes, I’m still learning photoshop)
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The Browns Will Get Their First Win Today! – Live Blog

Today’s the day everyone. One of those days where people will ask where you were when the Browns won their first game in 2017, and you’ll remember. Me? I’m resting a bowl of hummus on my stomach with reduced fat Wheat Thins slamming water hoping to shock the hangover out of my system.

I know my confidence in the Browns is often misguided and unrewarded, but hear me out. This Browns team was in the game last week. The offense will learn from their mistakes and look viable again, with Corey Coleman playing in his first game since Week 2 against the Ravens.

This rush defense can play, and will not get dominated by a hurt Fournette. Jacksonville isn’t a cold weather team, they haven’t been able to handle the swirling winds of Lake Eerie since the days of Byron Leftwich.

With Josh Gordon set to return in a few weeks, the tides will turn for this misfit group of disappointment, starting right. Now.

Browns: 16 Jaguars: 10

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The Browns Hung Tough, and then Were the Browns Again

This was a tough one. The whole game I was waiting for that “Browns moment,” but it just wasn’t coming. Going into the fourth quarter tied at 24 I wasn’t convinced that the Browns would win, but was convinced that maybe this won’t be a total and complete embarrassment like it usually is.

Of course, I was wrong. The fourth quarter started, I blinked, and the Browns were down two touchdowns with Cody Kessler in at quarterback. They reverted back to their mean, which is garbage, and gave the game away. Cody Kessler missed Treggs on a fade by about 200 yards. Kizer threw a pick in the endzone to cap off the Browns last offensive possession. DeValve fumbled earlier for  TD. Myles Garrett jumped offsides on third down twice, the second time leading to a TD on the very next play. And somehow worse than all of that, with 8 seconds on the clock before halftime on the 2 yard line, the Browns failed a QB sneak with no timeouts, didn’t line up in time and didn’t put any points on the board.

When you watch an entire Browns game, you truly realize how bad this team is. They do so little right and are completely unable to grab/maintain any semblance of momentum. They find new ways to completely take themselves out of games every week. But this week proved for the millionth time this year that the QB is not the issue on this team.

Sure, Kizer had that pick at the end of the game, but for 80% of the game he looked poised behind a line without Joe Thomas as a 21 year-old. He made some NFL throws today and kept this team in the game. If it weren’t for this hit after David Njoku entirely missed his block, I think the Browns could have at least covered the spread today.

So I will say it again: please, for the love of God, do not pick a QB this year. We need TONS, and I mean TONS, more talent on the offensive side of the ball. Take a playmaking WR and get Barkley in our backfield. Hell, even get some O-Line help for when Joe Thomas decides to leave or retire. But this team is not even CLOSE to being relevant even with a stud QB. Get some playmakers and give this kid a chance.

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The Key To Winning this Game Against Miami Will Surprise You

Let me set the scene. New Year’s Eve 2010 started like any other day in the quiet town of El Paso, Texas. The sun was shining, there was a bite in the late December air, and the world was beginning to pull itself out of the recession (I think?). The citizens of El Paso would soon learn, however, that this would be a New Year’s Eve that they would never forget.

For that fateful day in December, the 7-5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish would be facing off against the also 7-5 Miami Hurricanes in the 2010 Hyundai Sun Bowl. In a game that college football personalities and experts everywhere had already written off as a battle between two has-been programs, one man silenced his haters. Not for good, but for as long as the game went on.

That man was none other than #11 in blue, Tommy Rees. The offense EXPLODED like a roman candle and caught the lackluster Hurricane defense totally asleep. Rees went off for an overwhelming 201 yards passing and two TD’s to Michael Floyd, who probably drove to the game drunk. The Irish won the game 33-17 in a game that proved to be the perfect start to what would go on to be a fuzzy new year at best.

Since that historic Sun Bowl victory, the Irish have yet to lose to Miami (go ahead, look it up). This so-called “rivalry” is about as lop-sided as Michael Scott’s mattress with his diary beneath it. And in a year where the Irish could find themselves in the College Football Playoff for the first time since its creation, guess who’s the QB coach. That’s right, Tommy Rees.

People are warning me to be wary of this Miami team, to not get too ahead of myself, but listen — as long as we have good ole Tommy Rees up in the booth I have ZERO doubt in my mind that Notre Dame wins this game Saturday.

Don’t get me wrong, the start of this game will suck. Miami will force an early turnover, flaunt the turnover chain, and for the first time in a long time, Miami fans will arrive on time and be LOUD. But that energy won’t last. Notre Dame will do what they’ve done all year and wear down the Miami defense with a balanced attack, before delivering the final blow with their punishing ground game.

So I’ll let the Miami fans chirp me, try and get in my head. But the reality is I’m much more scared of this Navy game next week than I am of this Miami team. In a rematch of the 2010 Hyundai Sun Bowl, Notre Dame will win by the EXACT. SAME. SCORE.

Notre Dame: 33 Miami: 17

Go Irish. Beat Miami.

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Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest Preview: Trap Game 1 of 2

What a week to be a part of the ND faithful huh? The first college football playoff rankings came out and despite being 5th in the AP Poll, the College Football Playoff Committee seemed the Irish deserving of the 3rd spot in the playoff behind ‘Bama and Georgia, and realistically one Justin Yoon missed field goal away from being first.

Not only that,  but Josh Adams continued to climb the Heisman rankings (#33Trucking), and Vegas even has Wimbush on their short list now going off at 100-1 odds to win the Heisman.

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All of this combined makes this the PERFECT opportunity for a let down game at home against Wake Forest. It’s a normal 3:30 start, Wake Forest is coming in unranked but sneaky good, with a big win against Lamar Jackson and Louisville last week.

Additionally, Elko used to be the defensive coordinator for the Demon Deacons, so this offense knows his scheme. They’ve no doubt had this game circled on their schedule all year and will be amped up to play in South Bend. Could this be like the Pitt game of 2012 that gave all of us a heart attack?

Ultimately….no. While the offense is familiar with Elko’s defensive scheme, the same argument works in favor of Notre Dame. I’m sure we’ll see some trick plays from this WF offense today, but as a whole this defense has been dominant and should continue to be today.

The bottom line is whether ND haters want to admit it or not, this year’s team is one of the most athletic in the country. They’re skilled on defense, fast on offense, and overall way more talented than everyone else they play against (minus UGA). This will prove true today, and the Irish will head to Miami 8-1.

Notre Dame: 45 Wake Forest: 20

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The Browns Did Another Browns Thing Today

The Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns failed to work out a trade that would have sent quarterback AJ McCarron to Cleveland, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

According to Schefter, the Bengals notified the league of the proposed trade at 3:55 p.m. ET, and the Browns notified the league shortly after 4 p.m. ET. Because the Browns were late, the league denied the trade. Cleveland protested with the league asking that the trade be approved. The NFL rejected the Browns protest.

The proposed compensation for McCarron would have been a second- and third-round pick in 2018, a source confirmed to Schefter. The Cincinnati Enquirer first reported the compensation.

McCarron has been the subject of trade rumors since the 2016 offseason after he filled in for an injured Andy Dalton and almost led the Bengals to their first playoff win under Marvin Lewis. He completed 66.4 percent of his passes in seven appearances during the 2015 regular season, throwing for six touchdowns and two interceptions. In his lone playoff start, he completed 23-of-41 passes for 212 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The Bengals said they would listen to offers for McCarron for the right price, and it seemed almost certain that McCarron would be elsewhere by the time the 2017 season came around. The team claimed quarterback Jeff Driskel off waivers last year with the intention of developing him if they got an acceptable offer for McCarron.

At the end of last season, McCarron expressed his appreciation to the organization, which sounded like he was preparing to say goodbye. However, a trade never materialized, and McCarron once again entered the season as Dalton’s backup. He has taken three snaps in 2017.

McCarron, taken in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, is in the final season of his rookie contract. However, the Bengals could retain his rights next season because he did not spend enough time on the active roster as a rookie to accrue a year toward free agency. An arbitrator will have to decide whether he is a restricted or unrestricted free agent in 2018.

 

“I am out of carrots. I am out of sticks. The Cleveland Browns front office have time and again proven themselves to be an unmanageable team. I recommend they be removed their position and reassigned to signing minor league baseball players where they belong.” – Jan Levenson’s Recommendation as it applies to the Browns

Of all the Browns things that have ever happened, ever, this is the most Browns. To celebrate a trade you haven’t even made yet, then call in said trade late, get that trade denied by the league, protest that decision and have it unanimously denied by the league again is a special level of incompetent. It borderline needs to be admired. To be THAT bad at your job is unparalleled.

Here’s the other thing: the Browns were about to trade more for AJ McCarron than the 49ers did for Jimmy G. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?? AJ MCCARRON?? That bible thumping, tattoo chested LOSER?? An article I read today said he almost won a playoff game two years ago when Dalton was injured, like that was some sort of fucking accomplishment. He was throwing to AJ Green, Mohammed Sanu, and Tyler Eifert, and still LOST a playoff game.

In Cleveland? He’d be throwing to Ricardo Louis, David Njoku, and Kenny Britt. He couldn’t win a game with this team! NO ONE CAN! For the billionth time, a quarterback can’t solve a problem when your team has ZERO playmakers. LITERALLY NOT ONE!

So all in all, I think the Browns somehow saved themselves by screwing this up. To get rid of two draft picks for this fucking guy

aj mccarron

Would be vomit worthy. What hurts though, is that this is a new all time low for an organization who lives to redefine the phrase rock bottom. Do what’s right Sashi and co., and please just cancel the rest of this year for your sake and ours. Draft playmakers in this draft and THEN trade your picks for a sub par QB if you want. But please, for the love of God, avoid doing or saying anything for the rest of this year.

 

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Watching Joe Thomas’ First Experience as a Browns Fan was more Heartbreaking than the Game Itself

 

Poor, poor Joe. Having to go through a Browns game as a spectator on Sundays is a fate I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. The day usually starts with a glimmer of hope, which slips in to an aura of doubt, and by halftime is typically full blown depression followed by reading six different mock draft articles.

But the Browns were particularly brutal to Joe this week, by going into halftime with a lead. To a novice Browns fan, a halftime lead usually results in an internal debate where the Browns fan convinces themselves that if the second half is played EXACTLY like the first half, then maybe, just maybe, the Browns can pull this out. This was where Joe Thomas found himself yesterday.

But to the jaded masses of us who spend Sunday wallowing in a haze of self-pity, we all knew what was coming. The Browns scored a whopping 3 points in the second half while giving up 21, resulting in yet another double digit loss. Another game of no halftime adjustments, nor designing quick plays to get the ball out of Kizer’s hands. I hate to be the one to have to tell you this Joe (even though the odds of you reading this are incalculably farfetched) but expect more of the same.

This year is pretty much devoid of all hope, other than the possibility of another #1 overall pick. You hate to have to see Joe go through this season like the rest of us, but hope that maybe he’ll find a new source of empathy to those who willingly choose to watch this team play. So, I’d like to address Joe’s tweets in the hopes that he’ll learn the error in his misguided hope and join the rest of us in the sewers of Browns Twitter.

1.) No matter how good of a stop the defense has, the offense will reset any momentum to the natural Browns equilibrium.

2.)  While I value the sentiment, teams probably run out of TD celebration ideas when they reach the endzone for the fourth or fifth time against this defense, so can’t really blame them for that.

3.) Yes Joe, we ALWAYS need a turnover. They’re the Cleveland Browns.

And finally, this one:

No they’re not Joe, and they won’t be for the rest of this year.

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Notre Dame Launches up to Fifth in the Latest AP Poll

It’s hard to be more right predicting a game than I was about the NC State Notre Dame game yesterday, yet here we are. NC State came out flying around the field and were clearly ready to go, striking first with a blocked punt for a TD, but when push came to shove Notre Dame was just way more talented/athletic on both sides of the ball. Another double digit win versus another ranked opponent, yawn.

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Meanwhile, former Notre Dame head coach finalist and current TCU head coach Gary Patterson was doing his part, as were the Diddly Lions in Columbus as both teams suffered crushing losses at the hands of lower ranked opponents. All of this resulted in the Irish moving up four spots in the AP Poll for the second straight week to fifth in the country, catapulting Miami and Clemson along the way. By all accounts, Notre Dame would be the favorite to win the ACC at this point if they didn’t decide they wanted to keep making money hand over fist instead.

Why this is good:

Notre Dame is without a doubt one of the most talented teams in the country right now on both sides of the ball. Usually I heir on the side of caution with Notre Dame, feeling that their name often times earns them a higher spot in the polls than deserved, but this is not one of those times. The only team that’s looked better is Alabama, and had it not been for a bad penalty on a third down that gave UGA that win in South Bend, Notre Dame would be the second ranked team in the country. If they win out they deserve a spot in the coveted top four.

Why this is bad:

Penn State’s loss really annoyed me yesterday. On the one hand, sure, them losing means the Notre Dame moves higher up in the rankings. But, it was a dramatic one point loss on the road. Wisconsin, sitting ahead of Notre Dame at fourth, is currently undefeated and will be due to their strength of schedule until the B1G Championship game. Barring Ohio State loses to Michigan, the Buckeyes will wax the floor with Wisconsin and secure their spot in the Final Four. Georgia should remain undefeated as well up until the SEC Championship game, where they will more than likely lose to Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide in what should be the first of many SEC Championship games between Georgia and Alabama.

If all of this happens and Notre Dame wins out, that means the teams with one loss and not conference champions in the country will be: Georgia, Notre Dame, Penn St., Wisconsin, and TCU. The Big 5 conference champions will be: Alabama, Ohio St., Clemson, Oklahoma, Washington. Alabama, Ohio St. and Clemson will be locks, leaving one spot left for one of those one loss teams. Wisconsin and TCU’s losses will be too ugly for them to overcome, so they’ll be out. Then you have Georgia, who beat Notre Dame by 1 in South Bend, and Penn St. who lost by 1 on the road. Seemingly, those two resumes would be better than Notre Dame’s, particularly Georgia’s. Despite the fact that Notre Dame will have beaten six teams who are or were ranked this year in the Top 25, the Irish will be watching the Playoff like the rest of us: drinking heavily, betting dangerously, and gently weeping into a couch cushion.

So Irish fans, enjoy this for now. Yesterday’s win and this spot in the rankings is another huge step in the right direction of becoming a perennial powerhouse again. But, be mindful of the fact that for this team to have a chance to hoist the Championship trophy in January, there are still many things that need to be done. The first thing that needs to happen: winning out.

Go Irish. Beat Wake Forest.

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Notre Dame NC State Preview: Stick to the Plan

Notre Dame takes on 14th ranked NC State today in South Bend in a rematch of one of the absolute WORST games of 2016. Actually, maybe not just 2016, but in all of football last year. This time in 2016 I was sitting on patio furniture in my studio apartment in Los Angeles watching these two teams attempt to play an entire football game during a driving hurricane. I was unaware that this hurricane had already hit North Carolina, and brazenly took the over of 51 in a game that finished 10-3 NC State, with the only touchdown coming from a blocked punt.

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But this year will be different than last, since a.) both teams are far more competent than they were last year and b.) to my knowledge, no hurricane is due to slam into South Bend, Indiana this afternoon. This game has potential to be a drop down drag out dog fight, with both teams running the ball in the trenches and trying to win battles at the line of scrimmage. Many articles I’ve read leading up to this week feel this is a “sneaky trap game” after the Irish absolutely pummeled USC last week and NC State coming off a bye.

Here’s the bottom line though: Notre Dame is just better than NC State. Sure, this game may stay close early, but to suggest that NC State is even remotely athletic as Notre Dame is on offense is insulting. Their defense is tough, but so is Notre Dame’s so they cancel out. Notre Dame has Wimbush and Adams running all over teams supported with arguably the best O-Line in college football, NC State does not. Advantage Irish.

At first, I told myself this screamed trap game, but the more I think about it I’m more worried about next week’s home game against Wake Forest being a trap. Coming off of two ranked wins and having to go to Miami the week after, that Wake Forest game scares the crap out of me. As for this week though, ND has too much talent for NC State to hang around all game. Plus, NC State may be looking ahead to their home game vs Clemson next week.

My words of advice are these: don’t panic if this game starts slow and stays close through halftime, this NC State team is good on defense. But the rushing attack of ND will win the day, as Adams will run for another 150+ yards and 2 scores. Go Irish. Beat Wolf Pack.

FINAL – Notre Dame: 38 NC State: 17

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If I Could Get Surgery that Ended my Season with the Browns, I Would.

Joe Thomas successfully underwent season ending surgery yesterday after tearing his triceps in Sunday’s game against the Titans. After 11 years and 10,363 consecutive snaps played, the only pick the Browns have ever gotten right will sit his first game this Sunday in London against the Vikings.

It’ll be weird seeing the Browns line up on the field Sunday without number 73 holding down the offensive line, but I, for one, couldn’t be happier for Joe. Sure, he’s had an unparalleled level of success during his tenure in Cleveland, but being the best player on the Browns is like being the best cashier at Sears. The work is worthwhile and you’re customer service is unmatched, but your organization has no plan for the future and just hired another young assistant manager, the 16th since you’ve been there.

No football player should have to endure what Joe has gone through. Since being drafted by the Browns in 2007, the Browns are a mere 48-119, a winning percentage of 24.3%. Joe was even quoted this year saying that he’s blocked for QB’s that he hadn’t yet met before they broke the huddle. That level of mediocrity is a cruel, Hell-like punishment for a player who by all accounts is just an all around great guy.

Prison guards in Guantanamo wouldn’t even offer their inmates a punishment similar to what Joe has gone through, so I thought I’d compile a quick list of things I’d rather do 10,363 times than play 10,363 consecutive snaps for the Cleveland Browns:

  • Rent 10,363 cars from Avis
  • Lay 10,363 eggs like a bird
  • Somersault 10,363 times through a rose garden
  • Wait 10,363 minutes for my soup to cool
  • Stub my toe $10,363 times against a metal bed frame
  • Accidentally push a pull door 10,363 times
  • Seal 10,363 envelopes with my tongue
  • Have to blow on a Nintendo 64 cartridge to get it to work 10,363 times
  • Eat 10,363 marshmallows, marshmallows are trash
  • Sit through 10,363 operas based off of “To Kill A Mocking Bird”
  • Scramble 10,363 eggs without burning a single one
  • Hear a flight attendant explain the Spirit Airlines Rewards Program 10,363 times
  • Listen to someone tell me I can’t get tickets to Hamilton 10,363 times

All of this being said, I truly feel for Joe. He’s stuck out his time in Cleveland in an era where players want nothing more than max contracts and championships. He’s better than this football team deserves, and hope he recovers as quickly as possible. Then, for his sake, he may want to ask for a trade…just a thought Joe.

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Notre Dame vs. USC Preview: The Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh

The setting: my living room. The date: October 15, 2005. The Game: #1 USC at #9 Notre Dame. The stage was set for Notre Dame to catapult themselves back into relevance with a win against the unstoppable USC Trojans, led by Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and Pete Carroll.

This game was different than any Notre Dame game I remember watching in my youth. For the first time in my cognizant life, Notre Dame looked good. It was a rare primetime night game in South Bend, Irish rocking their big game green jerseys that I had not seen in years. Charlie Weis and his Super Bowl pedigree had Irish fans excited, and you could feel the energy pulsing from that stadium through the TV screen. Notre Dame was up 4 late in the fourth and had USC pinned back to a 4th and 9 on their own 25. It felt at the time that everyone, even my family of cynics, was ready to believe again.

Then, he said it.

“All right, all we need to do here is not give up a 60 yard play.”

Whistle blows, the ball is snapped. Leinart drops back, and rops in a dime to Dwayne Jarret, who somehow got behind our secondary 61 yard play. The silence in my house was deafening. We couldn’t believe what we just saw. How do you let him get behind you? Did we never see this play on USC’s game tape? It was 4th and 9!

skip to 2:20

And you know the rest. Stopped on the 1, Leinart rolls left on a QB sneak, Reggie Bush pushes him into the endzone, Notre Dame loses 34-31. The infamous “Bush Push” then set off a butterfly effect timeline of misery for we ND faithful. Seasons of making BCS Bowls and losing in punishing fashion, losing to UCONN, people like Jimmy Clausen and Dayne Christ playing QB for us, and to this day still having to pay off Charlie Weis for his mediocre tenure as head coach.

At the time, a 10 year old me blamed my Dad for the loss to USC, claiming he jinxed us and ruined the season. But the jaded, weathered 24 year old me knows better than that. That’s just Notre Dame football. Whenever Notre Dame has you ready to “wake up the echoes” they throw a pivotal INT to lose the game. Whenever they have you convinced they’ll, “win one for the gipper,” they give up a 75 yard bomb on busted coverage late in the fourth. To be miserable is to be a Notre Dame fan, and that’s just the way things are.

But Saturday, things will be different.

USC enters this game battered and bruised, especially on defense. While they’re linebackers are solid (as is tradition), they’re defensive line is crippled. Both their starting and backup nose tackles are injured, and starting d-end Rasheem Green is not playing due to an ankle injury. Additionally, Sam Darnold looks like he’s regressed a little this year without as many weapons on offense, and while still dangerous, that unit is not nearly as intimidating as they were last year. They’ll put up points, but so will the Irish.

The bottom line is there are very few teams that are more athletic than Notre Dame on offense (hope you read that sitting down). Wimbush is the best dual threat QB that will become a wideout in the NFL in the NCAA, and I am of firm belief that Josh Adams is the best pure running back in the country. Considering USC comes into the game starting reserves on the D-Line, I expect Adams to have a HUGE day running in between the tackles.

Which brings us to the “llave del partido.” If Notre Dame jumps out to an early lead in this game, like they’ve been able to against everyone all year, they’ll win this game. In a run happy offense, playing with a lead has been key for the Irish this year as they can control the clock and settle into a rhythm for the offensive line. If not, they’ll be forced to throw the ball in big spots and I’ve already said how I feel about Wimbush’s ability to throw a six yard in route. But, I don’t see the game going so poorly that it gets to that point.

If the definition of insanity is, “to do the same act over and over again expecting a different result,” then consider me a fucking lunatic, because I’m all in on Notre Dame to win this game Saturday night. Hope will be restored yet again in South Bend, Indiana, if only for a week.

Notre Dame: 38 USC: 27

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On the 20 Year Anniversary of Backyard Baseball, I Give You my Definitive Best Possible Lineup

A few days ago The Ringer wrote an awesome article chronicling the origin of the Backyard Baseball franchise. What started as a game with no professional cameos and only one playable field turned into a cult classic that was a pivotal part of my childhood. Not only was the game play unlike any sports game of its time, but the game brought my friends and I closer together. Just about everyone in my neighborhood, including a young Dubs, had a team on my computer. And whether you took it seriously or named yourself something sophomoric like “Coach Poopie,” we all had a love for Backyard Baseball that few other games have been able to recreate in my life.

Now, most people probably played for fun and used the game as an their alotted daily computer time. But in my house there was a level of intensity that proved you were the real deal. Every team generated on my computer had a random team name (i.e. Humongous Fishes), random team colors, random home field, and a random roster only consisting of backyard kids. No pros. If you used pros when you played this game, you’re kind of a huge pussy. There’s nothing more demoralizing than being named the Crazy Melonheads with all yellow uniforms, having your home field be Sandy Flats and having your first three picks be Billie Jean Blackwood, Lisa Crockett, and Jorge Garcia.

I can still recall hearing groans of frustration when someone clicked one space away from Pablo Sanchez and ended up with Sidney Weber instead. In fact, if you catch Dubs and me at a bar, there’s a shockingly strong chance we’ll be talking about something like the time Star Moonbeam hit a right hook into the gap that knocked in Lena Ng and cost us a game.

After playing the game for so many hours and having a wealth of player knowledge that is otherwise utterly useless, I figured on this most special of occasions that I’d throw together my perfect lineup. A lineup that I could actually pick with my eyes open, and one with which I’m confident I’d never lose a game. Here it is:

Coach Name: Paul Giamatti

Team Name: Mighty Wombats

Team Colors: Green and Orange

Home Field: Steele Stadium

Lineup:

1. Pete Wheeler, CF

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Obvious pick to lead off. You bunt with Pete down the third baseline, steal second and third. If he bunts foul twice, he still has enough ability to hit on line drive.

2. Vicki Kawaguchi, 2B

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Possibly controversial, but also lightning quick like Pete. Best case scenario Pete is on third with a 1-1 count to Vicki, you tell Pete to steal home and have Vicki bunt for a not so suicide squeeze because everyone will no doubt be safe.

3. Pablo Sanchez, SS

pablo

Bottomline, Pablo is too good to not have. I tried to get creative and make an ideal lineup without him in it because I think he’s a liability in the field sometimes being so short, but his raw power can’t be matched. He’d be mashing dingers into the pool in left every home game and that’s a quick 3-0 lead with no outs through three batters.

4. Kiesha Phillips, LF

kiesha

Kiesha does not get nearly enough love when people recall memories of this game, but she’s the perfect four hitter. If Pablo doesn’t clear the fences, Kiesha almost always does. Can hit for power and is a pretty decent fielder.

5. Achmed Kahn, C

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Besides having the best walkup music in the game, you gotta love Achmed’s spirit. Always listening to music and never to a word of encouragement I would tell him, he lives in his own world and you need a guy like that. One could argue Achmed Kahn is the original Beats by Dre commercial.

6. Stephanie Morgan, 3B

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Stephanie and Jocinda Smith are often times wayyyy overrated (especially Jocinda) but Stephanie is solid enough all around to make this team. Will never have the highest average but won’t have the lowest, and she has a cannon from third only bested by Tony Delvecchio.

7. Mikey Thomas, 1B

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It was between Kenny Kawaguchi and Mikey T for this spot, but with Achmed catching I needed a power hitting first baseman and Mikey fills that role beautifully. He hits for power and that’s pretty much it. He’s really slow but if you need a lefty pitcher for an inning he can also come in and do that.

8. Angela Delvecchio, P

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Nobody better than Angela on the bump, flat out. She has the meanest right and left hook in the game and gets a boost when she plays against her brother Tony. Everytime she’s on the hill you know you can get a solid four innings out of her, and you won’t waste her juice on hitting because she’s pretty horrific swinging the bat.

9. Luanne Lui, RF

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Love the old double leadoff strategy. Having Luanne round out this lineup and having her bunt her way on just sets up the top of the lineup to do their thing. Imagine having Luanne, Pete, and Vicki all on base with Pablo coming up? You may as well just forefit the game.

There it is folks, the definitive perfect Backyard Baseball 2001 team. No doubt in my mind that if there were a mercy rule I would reach it every game by the fourth with that team. Even a team of all Mr. Clanky’s wouldn’t be able to keep that game close. If you think you have a better lineup I’d love to hear it, because I love seeing people be wrong about stuff.

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Post Bye Week, Let’s Take a Look at Where Notre Dame Sits in the College Football Picutre

The bye week has come and gone for the Irish, so I thought I’d take this off week as an opportunity to reassess the year that’s been, and preview what’s on the horizon for the now 13th ranked team out of South Bend. Year in and year out Notre Dame’s bye week is typically my favorite week of the year, because it’s the only Saturday during college football season where I can act like a sane person, not stressed over how Notre Dame will find a way to lose this week. This bye week was particularly enjoyable, however, because with four ranked teams falling the Irish rose three spots without having to play a minute of football.

 

Truth be told, this year really hasn’t been all that bad watching Notre Dame. I’m often times too pessimistic about Notre Dame, so that’s about as high of a compliment you’ll get from me. But this team has won convincingly against teams they should beat, went on the road and beat Michigan St. soundly in a night game, and were one stupid penalty and two missed field goals away from beating Georgia, who’s now third in the country.

 

These wins have been team efforts too, which is stunning. A common trend for Notre Dame is one player or group shouldering the load that proves to be unsustainable (2012 defense, Brady Quinn, Michael Floyd). This year though, the team appears to be well balanced on both sides of the ball. Drue (crazy way to spell Drew) Tranquill has looked comfortable in the new defensive scheme as the Rover Linebacker, Wimbush is way more athletic than any QB has been in recent memory, and Josh Adams is having a sneaky Heisman worthy season without getting nearly enough love. He is ahead of Barkley in multiple rushing categories, including rushing yards and yards per attempt.

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All this being said, the second half of the schedule is BRUTAL for Notre Dame. They open up this week with a home game against an underachieving #11 USC, home again against #16 NC St which was the ugliest game of 2016 in a driving hurricane, Wake Forest, at #8 Miami, home against Navy who does nothing but score and run clock so that SCREAMS trap game, and finish the year at #22 Stanford. Four out of six opponents ranked in the top 25, and Navy just fell out of that poll a week ago.

 

If Notre Dame survives these six games and wins out there’s no conceivable way they’re left out of the playoff with their only loss coming from the SEC East Champion. The biggest issue facing this team will be stamina and I just don’t know if a run heavy offense will have enough gas to win all six of those games. Hell, having watched Notre Dame for almost 20 years of my life, it wouldn’t shock me if this team found a way to go 1-5 in these games and play in some bowl game I’ve never heard of like the Avocados from Mexico Bowl (which would actually be sick if a. it was a bowl game and b. they played it in Azteca in Mexico City).

 

But, because I seemingly refuse to learn my lesson, I genuinely believe this Irish team can pull this off. The games won’t be fun to watch, my Saturdays will be filled with stress and a looming threat of heartbreak, but I’m all in on this team finding their way into the four-team playoff. Run the ball, eat up clock, the defense will bend not break. It all starts this weekend with USC.

 

Wake up the fucking echoes.

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Meet Your New Browns Starting QB *sighs deeply* Kevin Hogan!

NFL – The Cleveland Browns have changed quarterbacks. Again.

The team announced Kevin Hogan will start Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans in place of rookie DeShone Kizer.

“I’ve made the decision to start Kevin this week,” Hue Jackson said in a statement Wednesday. “We’ve liked what Kevin has been able to do within our offense when he’s been in there and he will start on Sunday because that’s what we feel is best for our team at this point in time. This does not change the way we feel about DeShone going forward. He has worked extremely hard and still very much has a bright future. Right now, it’s better for him and his development to back up Kevin.”

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“I’m so fucking scared right now!” – Kevin Hogan playing football, me watching Kevin Hogan play football.

Ahh the Browns changing their starting QB, a fall tradition unlike any other (because no other team has to do this, ever). Yes, it may be hard to believe coming from such a storied franchise, but the Browns are unhappy with their 21 year old rookie’s performance up to date, and are switching to their savvy veteran* quarterback. Just in time too, I might add, because I’ve got a real good feeling this Browns team may just rip off 11 wins in a row!

In all honesty, I don’t really hate this move. Actually, let me rephrase. On the scale of emotions I use to rate the Browns’ decision that starts don’t hate and ends at a self-inflicting harm level of despise, I don’t hate this move. The Browns play the Texans this week in a game that has a shocking amount of levels to it.

This offseason, the Browns took Brock Osweiler and his ridiculous salary off the Texans’ book along with their 2018 second round pick, which are now so prevalent in Cleveland that they are used as a form of local currency in the city. The Texans used this as an opportunity to dump Osweiler’s salary and pick a proven winner, Deshaun Watson, to be their quarterback of the future. The Browns then later cut Osweiler, still have to pay him the money owed to him, and drafted Kizer to start who is now of course benched.

If Kizer plays in this game, all we’ll hear all game is how sick Browns fans must be that we didn’t draft Watson, and most likely we’ll probably still hear these comparisons even with Kizer on the bench. Even though Watson is throwing to Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller and Kizer is throwing to Seth DeValve and Ricardo Louis, announcers will mention how Watson is “a proven winner” as he inevitably torches the Browns’ secondary. By not playing Kizer, Jackson hopefully will save us some of this pain, although to be a Browns fan is to be one who feels pain all the time.

So, let’s meet the Browns 28th different starting QB since 1999, Kevin Hogan!

Name: Kevin Hogan

Alma Mater: Stanford

Years Experience: 2

Mobile?: He’s an 80 speed in Madden 18 so I guess so.

Handsome?: …eh?

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Concerning Fact: When you type in “Kevin Hogan” to Google Images, the fourth option that comes is his throwing motion, and I definitely see why…

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One scout even wrote, “God his mechanics are terrible.” Great!

Hogan definitely throws a weird ball, but he’s a smart QB that has looked a lot better than Kizer has in most spots this year. My hope is that Kizer will pay attention to how Hogan reads his progressions and makes decisions on when/where to throw the ball. My expectation, however, is that Hogan tears his ACL in the second quarter and the 0-16 bound season is right back on track.

Cleveland Browns football baby, catch the fever!

*second year 2016 fifth round pick