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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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.

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

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.

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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.

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.

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.