Cleveland Browns 2019

Part B started Nov 22, 2019:

Mon, Jul 22

Training camp begins this Thursday, July 25.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Jalen Strong, RB Kareem Hunt (University of Toledo), DE Olivier Vernon, DL Sheldon Richardson, S Morgan Burnett, TE Demetrius Harris.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: G Kevin Zeitler, S Jabrill Peppers, LB Jamie Collins, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, DB Derrick Kindred.

PRESEASON OPENER: [Thu,] Aug. 8 vs. Redskins, 7:30 p.m.

EXPECTATIONS: Browns are season's trendy team. They haven't made playoffs since 2002 — league's longest current drought — and more difficult schedule will place more pressure on Kitchens to deliver success to fan base believing Super Bowl trip closer than ever. Vernon's arrival makes Pro Bowl DE Myles Garrett (13 1-2 sacks in 2018) more dangerous. Mayfield's biggest test may be getting Beckham, WR Jarvis Landry, RB Nick Chubb and others enough touches to keep all happy.

Fri, Aug 9

Browns hosted their first preseason football game last night against the Washington Redskins. I missed it.

Baker played well, during his brief tenure. He threw a 24-yard TD pass to Hollywood Higgins on their first possession.

The Browns did not play starting wide receivers OB nor Landry, yet Baker had a near perfect passing rating. He was 5 of 6 passing for 76 yards or something like that.

Anyway, all indications are that the Browns, minus many starters on both sides of the ball, played well for an opening preseason. The Browns returned a punt for a TD.

All this decade, the Browns have been terrible in the punt return game.

Earlier in the day, the Browns traded RB Duke Johnson to Houston for either a 3rd or 4th round draft pick, depending upon how Johnson performs in Houston. That's too bad. Duke was a bit unhappy during the off-season.

Last year, the new offense rarely utilized Johnson for some reason. Duke was a damn good player for Cleveland, during tough years. Duke is versatile. Duke is durable. He ran between the tackles. He ran outside. He ran pass routes from the backfield. And at times, he was split out like a wide receiver.

I think that it's still uncertain whether RB Hunt will play this year for Cleveland.

Thu, Aug 15, 2019

"Browns Camp Day 16: Fired-up Browns meet coach's challenge to not back down against Colts"

Fri, Aug 16, 2019

"Five questions about the Browns' second preseason game"

Sun, Sep 8, 2019

Titans defeated the Browns in Cleveland 43 to 13 to start the regular season. This has to be one of the worst home-openers in Browns history, especially considering the hype, and this has to be one of the worst-played Browns games for any point of the season this decade.

Cleveland made 18 to 20 penalties that were accepted for around 180 yards. They were flagged more times than that, but some penalties were declined, and on two or three plays, Cleveland committed two different penalties, but the Titans could only accept one.

The Cleveland defense surrendered a few big plays, otherwise, the Titans offense could not do much. But those big plays were enough. The Browns offense committed too many turnovers that led to short-field scores, and one Baker int was returned for a TD.

The Browns looked to be in week one preseason mode and not week one regular season mode. Embarrassing is an understatement.

Tue, Sep 17, 2019

Last night, the Browns defeated the Jets in New Jersey 23 to 3. The Jets were minus multiple starters, including their QB. I did not expect this to be a good game, and it wasn't. It was a needed win for Cleveland to get to .500. The Browns did nothing special, except defeat a bad team. The highlight was a short slant pass to OBJ that he ran for about 80 yards for a TD.

Mon, Sep 23, 2019

The Browns hosted the Rams on Sunday Night Football. It was the Browns first SNF appearance, since last decade.

The Rams defeated the Browns 20 to 13.

This was a would-have-could-have-should-have game. Twice in the game the Browns offense had first-and-goal, and the Browns scored only three points.

In the first half, Cleveland had first and goal at the Rams nine-yard line, and the drive stalled at the six-yard line.

At the end of the game, Cleveland drove for a game-tying TD. Cle had first and goal at the Rams 4 or 5, and Cle still had all three timeouts. Under a minute was left on the clock. Cle ran four pass plays and netted no yards.

Earlier in the 4th qtr with around 9 minutes to go, Cle went for it on 4th and 9 from around midfield. The Browns ran a draw play that gained two or three yards. Allegedly, Baker changed the play at the line of scrimmage. Baker might have chosen to run the draw play.

The Browns defense played great. The offense still has not got its game rolling yet. This game should have at least gone to overtime, but it available for the Browns to win.

Mon, Sep 30, 2019

Yesterday afternoon, the Browns played their best game of the season by drubbing the Ravens 40 to 25 in Baltimore. A road divisional win against the defending divisional champs is huge. This increases Cle's chances for going at least 4 and 2 within the division.

The score was really 40 to 18. For some idiotic reason, the Ravens starters were still slinging the ball around the field with under a minute to go and the score 40 to 18. The Ravens offense padded their stats and scored a late, junk TD.

The Browns dominated in all areas. In passing, Baker Mayfield was 20 of 30 for 342 yards. In rushing, Chubb carried 20 times for 165 yards. Browns defense intercept Ravens QB Jackson twice. It was a complete team effort.

Tue, Oct 8, 2019

The home opener dreadful loss to the Titans was embarrassing, but last night's Browns' loss to the 49ers in San Francisco was magnitudes worse.

San Fran thrashed Cleveland on Monday Night Football 31 to 3, and the game was nowhere near as close as the score indicates, and the score was bad enough.

It felt like San Fran had 40 to 50 points. SF had multiple chances to add more points with four or five drives starting in Cle territory, but credit to the Browns defense for stopping most of those drives. SF place kicker missed two field goals, and the Browns blocked a field goal.

Baker had a QB rating of 13.4. Baker was 8 of 22 passing with two interceptions, and Baker fumbled at least twice, losing one to SF.

Cle's offense made only one first down in the second half. The Browns defense muscled up when SF started drives in Browns territory, but the Browns defense surrendered three long TD scoring drives.

SF ran over the Browns. The 49ers rushed for 275 yards!!! That's a drubbing. That's a thrashing. That's dominance.

Browns radio announcer Jim Donovan called it a "Monday Night massacre."

It was a mismatch. It was a good NFL team toying with a college team. The Browns did zip on offense and defense, except for holding the 49ers to "only" 31 points, although the SF kicker helped with that too.

Chubb rushed for 87 yards on 16 carries, which was 5.4 yards per rush average. And the Browns rookie punter, the Scottish Hammer, Jamie Gillan had another good game.

Baker got pounded. He was under a lot of pressure. Cle head coach Kitchens pulled Baker from the game with about five minutes ago. The game was over. No sense for Baker to keep chucking and getting hit.

The Browns might finish around .500 this year by defeating teams with losing records and losing to teams with winning records. The AFC North division is weak. I doubt that an 8-8 record wins the division, but 9-7 might be enough for the division title. The key for the Ravens and the Browns will be who has the best divisional record.

The Ravens defeated the Steelers on Sunday in overtime in Pittsburgh. Bal made a field goal near the end of regulation to send it to overtime. The Ravens play the winless Bengals this week.

Cle will need to go at least 4-2 within the division. That means going at least 5-5 outside the division. Maybe Cle will need to go 5-1 within the division.

Cle's schedule supposedly is easier in the second half of the season. The thinking is that if Cle is 3-5 at the break, then that's okay. Cle would need to go 6-2 over the second half, and that would be a darn good stretch of football for most of the teams in the NFL.

Based upon last night's performance, I don't see Cle going 6-2, regardless of the schedule.

This is classless on Baker's part. Players shake hands during the coin toss. Sherman intercepted Baker.

"Respect the game," Sherman said, referencing Mayfield's pregame behavior. "You can have rivals, but pay your respect in that moment -- especially when you're young.

"He hasn't earned anything in this league. How many games has he won? He's acting like he was the MVP last year. If (Patrick) Mahomes did that, it would be one thing. But he would never do that, because he has too much respect for the game.

"And when you see a guy who doesn't? You humble him every chance you get. Because eventually, he will have respect for the league -- or he'll be out of it."

The Niners' schematic edge on the other side of the ball was equally significant, with defensive coordinator Robert Saleh implementing a plan designed to keep Mayfield in the pocket, but brute force also played a role. And the man causing the most havoc up front was Bosa, who sacked Mayfield twice, hurried him on five other occasions, recovered a fumble (after Buckner's first-quarter sack), forced another after a third-quarter takedown of Mayfield (which the Browns recovered) and taunted the quarterback with words and deeds.

In Bosa's case, it was personal -- and it had nothing to do with the quarterback's refusal to shake hands before the game (though the rookie did roll his eyes at that). Two years ago, after Mayfield led Oklahoma to an upset victory at Ohio State, he'd celebrated by waving a Sooners flag and planting it at midfield on the "O" logo. Bosa, who played for the Buckeyes, was in the locker room with the rest of his teammates when that happened, later seething as he saw videos of the flag-plant on social media.

"I've been mad for two years," he told me after the game. "And I was gonna get him back tonight."

Late in the first half, after pressuring Mayfield into an intentional grounding penalty, Bosa taunted the quarterback by miming the flag wave and plant. After the game, he waved and planted an actual 49ers flag in the end zone.

During the game, Bosa let Mayfield know all about it, chanting "Ba-ker, Ba-ker," and barking out, "Come on -- pick it up. I want a challenge."

As Bosa told reporters after the game at his locker: "I don't know how anybody thought he'd be able do see over Arik (Armstead) and Buck. But he was panicking, rolling back and forth, double-clutching all game... We've been rattling all the quarterbacks we play. I just knew he would hold onto it and we'd get to take some shots."

And when Mayfield took shots downfield, the Niners were also ready. On his second pass of the game, on the Browns' first possession following Brieda's long touchdown run, Mayfield unleashed a throw under heavy pressure from Bosa over the middle that was intended for receiver Antonio Callaway, but Sherman jumped the route and came up with an acrobatic interception.

Baker likes to dish it out, especially on social media. That's fine. But he better be able to take it too.

Tony Grossi:

Handshake-gate continued. Baker slapped Sherman's hand before the coin toss, but Baker ran off the field after the coin toss. Typically after the coin toss, players shake hands again. Seems like petty behavior by Sherman.

Fri, Oct 17, 2019

Seattle defeated Cleveland 32 to 28 in Cleveland last Sunday. It was a good game. Seattle showed that it's a fine team. Of course, Seattle QB Russell Wilson continued to show why he's one of the best QB's in the game.

But it was also an infuriating game for Browns fans because Cleveland's offense committed three or four turnovers, and Seattle blocked a Cleveland punt. Browns defense forced only one turnover, a fumble, and the Browns defense forced the Seattle punter to shank a punt.

The Browns were victimized by some of the worst officiating that I have ever seen. I don't know what reality the refs wallowed in, but some of their calls and missed calls were atrocious. I don't know how the refs would be qualified to officiate high school games.

But the bad calls did not cause the Browns to lose. The Browns lost that game more than Seattle won it. Baker is still throwing inaccurate passes on short slant and crossing patterns. It's bizarre. He continues to throw these short passes behind the intended targets.

Despite the chaos, the Browns took the lead late in the game. But the Browns defense surrended another long TD drive to Seattle.

This week's media and fan attention focused on the questionable coaching decisions and the shaky play by the offense. Lost in all of that was the bad play, yet again, by the defense.

The Browns defense played well against the Rams, but the Browns defense has failed to live up to off-season expectations in the past two games.

Seattle scored a TD on its opening possession after long drive. Seattle scored the game-winning TD late in the game on a long drive.

But the worst defense of all occurred right before halftime. The Browns were deep in Seattle territory, appearing at least to make a field goal, but Baker threw a bad pass in the endzone that was intercepted. The defender brought the ball out to the Seattle 12-yard-line.

Only 1:29 was left in the half, and Seattle only had one timeout. No problem. Seattle went 88 yards in several plays to score a TD. Seattle used its timeout, but the drive only took 1:07. That's pathetic defense.

The Browns defense needs to minimize these long TD drives. The defense needed to force a punt or at least a field goal attempt.

Despite the mistakes on offense, the Browns offense did enough to win that game. The Browns offense failed to do enough in the Rams game, but the in the Seattle game, the Browns defense failed.

Two straight poorly played defensive games by Cleveland could be a trend. We will see against the Patriots. I think that the Browns offense will start scoring 28 to 35 points a game on a fairly regular basis, but I'm concerned that the defense has been figured out by opposing teams.

The Browns have their bye week this Sunday. They play the late afternoon game on New England on Oct 26. That should be interesting. I think that Baker's slightly inaccurate short passing can be corrected. WR Higgins should be playing full-time against the Patriots. Chubb is running well.

If the Browns can reduce the penalties and obviously reduce the turnovers, the offense will be one of the best around. I'm more concerned about the defense. If the defense cannot force more field goal attempts or punts, then it will be a season with fewer wins than last year.

Cleveland Browns (2-4)

Week 6 ranking: 18

Biggest weakness: Does continually shooting oneself in the foot count?

The Browns top the league in penalties (57), penalty yardage (506) and interceptions (11). They are tied for second in red zone turnovers (3) and are fourth in drop rate (4.7%). With those numbers, it's actually rather remarkable that they even have two wins, with chances to win in two of their losses as well. The schedule gets easier for Cleveland after the upcoming bye, but the Browns are going nowhere unless they eradicate the bevy of self-inflicted mistakes first. -- Jake Trotter

Great post by Pat McManamon who includes a lot of data in his post. Tony Grossi has been on this dumb kick lately about Chubb not running the ball enough. Grossi has convinced others at WKNR that Cleveland is a "pass-happy" team? Huh???

It's a passing league. The Browns cannot run Chubb into the ground. Grossi and others at KNR are clueless about how NFL franchises use their star runningbacks.

There also is an argument that Chubb is not getting the ball enough. OK, then, Bob Barker and Janice Pennington, let’s go to the numbers. Through six games, Chubb has 114 carries. That averages out to 19 per game. If Chubb averages 19 carries per game through the entire season, he’d finish with 304. That number would have tied Ezekiel Elliott for the league lead in 2018, finished second to Le’Veon Bell in 2017 and second to Elliott in 2016.

Three hundred carries in this era of NFL play makes a back a workhorse. You can argue that the timing of Chubb’s runs can be better, that he needs more carries in the red zone. Well, Chubb has gained 59 yards and scored five touchdowns on red zone runs; the yards are fourth in the league, the touchdowns tied for third. His 18 red zone carries? Tied for fourth.

The argument could be made that Chubb should get 25 carries a game. Based on ability alone, sure. Chubb is a tremendous running back. But 25 carries a game equals 400 for a season. That has not been done in the NFL since Larry Johnson had 416 for Kansas City in 2006. Johnson had 1,789 yards that season and did not top 1,000 yards in any of his final five seasons following.

Four hundred carries for a back is simply not realistic. Since 1920, only five backs have run more than 400 times in a season. Jim Brown, the greatest football player ever, averaged 20 carries per game for his career.

In a passing era, Chubb is averaging one fewer per game. It’s not a question of running Chubb enough. Avoiding the errors that have short-circuited this team (penalties, turnovers) in the first six games is the key to changing the final 10.

AFC North standings:

Pitt, like Cle, prob believes that it should be at least 3-3. Pitt lost the lead and eventually the game, late in regulation at San Fran, and at home against Bal. The Raven game went to OT.

Those two tough Pitt losses were without Big Ben. In fact, Pitt is down to its third-string QB. Pitt will be a tough opponent for Cle.

I think that the only AFC North team to defeat an opponent that currently has a record of at least .500, is the Browns who defeated the Ravens at Bal.

Bal has played three consecutive divisional games. In the first half of the season, Cle will have only played one divisional game.

I'm unconvinced about Bal being a good team. When Bal plays more better teams, then we'll know.

My prediction for how the season ends:

Cle's remaining schedule and my predictions:

3-5 record at the break

6-2 record in the second half

9-7 overall record. Cle could win the division even with losing at home to Bal.

If Cle loses at New England and starts the season 2-5, Den, Miami, AZ, and Cin twice equals 5 wins. That's 7 total wins. Cle only needs to go 2-2 vs Buf, Bal, and Pit twice. That's doable.

I'm not convinced that New England will defeat Cle. The Browns have shown that when they minimize mistakes, they can play with anyone. With the benefit of the bye week, I think that Cle can finish the first half of the season with victories against New England and Denver. And I think that Cle can go 6-2 in the second half of the season.

Cle should finish with at least 9 wins with a definite possibility of 10 wins.

In the second half of the season, 5 of the 8 games will be played at Cleveland, and 5 of the 8 games will be divisional games.

Regardless of the New England outcome, Cle MUST win at Denver, and Cle must win the three straight home games. Losing to Buffalo, a good team currently at 4-1 with a solid defense, will be bad because to be considered a good team, Cle MUST win a home game against a good team.

Playing Pitt two out of three games will be tough. I'll cede to Pitt at Pitt.

Cle MUST win both Cin games and at AZ. The home game vs Bal could decide the division winner.

Baltimore's remaining schedule shows that the schedule gets tough, starting this week. 6 of the next 7 games will be against teams that currently are .500 or better. That's rough. Now we will see how good Bal is. Cle lost all three NFC West games.

7-6 overall record after the above stretch.

A 3-4 record in that stretch would be damn good football for Bal, but I think that the possibility exists that Bal could go 2-5, unless they are better than I believe.

If Bal is 8-6, then that Cle game could decide the division. But if Pitt continues to improve, then Bal's last game could decide it. That's why Bal winning in OT at Pitt was a huge win for Bal.

Pitt's remaining schedule and my predictions:

4-4 at the break. ?!?!


8-8 is possible, but I think that Pit will lose a game that they probably should have won and finish 7-9. If Pit had won either the SF or Bal game, then they could be serious contenders late.

At the break, Bal and Pit could be 4-4 and Cle 3-5. The Indy game will be tough for Pit, but Pit will need to hold court at home to have a shot. Cle is 0-3 at home thus far.

The AFC North may boil down to which team has the best divisional record. Bal beat Pit at Pit and Cle beat Bal at Bal. In my opinion, Cle has the slight edge for the best divisional record.

For this week:

The teams will play 8 games at different weeks, but the records at the respective half-way points will tell a lot about which team will win the division. If Pitt gets to 4-4, and if Bal falls to 4-4 (both are realistic), then Pitt has to be considered a contender for the division title.

Sun, Oct 27

Pats defeat the Browns in New England 27-13. The game felt worse than the score.

Pats led 17-0 in the first quarter and before Cle had a first down.

Cle committed three turnovers in the first quarter. One Chubb fumble was returned for a TD. After a long Chubb run, Chubb had the ball knocked from him around the Patriots 15-yard line and New England covered. At least three points lost on that play.

The Browns committed 13 penalties, and five or six were false starts. The Patriots committed only four penalties.

After a bye week, nothing has improved.

Browns head coach made two bizarre challenges on plays that are rarely challenged and replays showed that the calls on the field were easily the right calls.

I think that Cle leads the league in penalties. I would not be surprised that Cle leads the league in false starts.

Regardless, more Cle false starts today than New England had total penalties.

Same old rhetoric from Cle players and coaches. Same rhetoric since the Titans game in week one. But the Browns still commit too many penalties and make too many turnovers, and the vaunted Browns defense fails to get takeaways.

Mon, Oct 28

Either way, it’s embarrassing that Kitchens changed his mind after sending the punt unit onto the field, putting his team in position to screw this up. And it’s especially embarrassing because Kitchens only felt obligated to save his timeouts because he had previously blown one challenging a pass-interference penalty, which, well, never works.

Of course, this is just a drop in the bucket in Bad Cleveland Browns Things. After all the preseason hype—WHOOPS!—Cleveland is 2-5 and pretty clearly didn’t belong on the same field as New England. They weren’t going to win whether they had a fourth-and-11, a fourth-and-16, or a fourth-and-1. They’re a mess right now, and it all seems to stem back to the decision to promote the running backs coach from a 7-8-1 team to head coach. Good head coaches make smart decisions the first time, instead of ordering their offense to commit an intentional penalty first.

August 2019 post:

The Cleveland Browns are the NFL’s “it” team this preseason. How did they go from leaguewide laughingstock to potential model franchise of the future?

Last Wednesday, Baker still referenced the bad officiating in the Seattle game that occurred about 10 days earlier. Early last week, Baker received a $12,000 fine from the league because Baker complained about the refs on the day of the Seattle game or the day after the game.

I can see complaining within 24 hours after the game ended, but not 9 to 11 days later. And players whining about refs accomplish nothing. In fact, it could make things worse fro Cleveland.

But the Browns bad play this season is mostly due to the Browns and not the officiating. No bad ref calls occurred yesterday in that New England debacle. The errors were all on the Browns players and coaches.

The Browns have lost five of seven games. After their latest loss, quarterback Baker Mayfield made some pointed public comments regarding mistakes that are causing too many penalties.

“It’s just non-disciplined,” Mayfield told reporters regarding the rash of penalties, “guys not being focused on doing their job. It starts first and foremost with me, to be a leader every single down. Get our guys lined up, make sure that we’re set, we’re paying attention because if we can’t use cadence we’re hurting ourselves. Any time we try to use a double count, it seems like we’re false starting a little bit, but we’ll get the discipline part fixed, the accountability.

But the season will be at the half-way point next Sunday for Cleveland. Seven games and that's what Baker is saying? Those errors occurred in week one, and they still have not been corrected. Why would we believe that the errors will be corrected by next Sunday. Those errors should only occur in preseason games.

Whether it’s Mayfield, the coaches, or the makeup of the individual players, something is wrong with a Browns teams that entered the year with unreasonably high expectations. These lingering mistakes show just how unreasonably high the expectations were — and how badly the Browns failed to get them under control.

Ultimately, the Browns didn’t accidentally become one of the worst teams in football. While much progress has been made, years of dysfunction can’t quickly be wiped away, just because the team won some games it wasn’t expected to win after ownership fired coach Hue Jackson. The team still needs the right collection of players and coaches to become what it was presumed to be — and the more players they acquire with a mindset like Mayfield’s, the sooner they’ll get to where they’re trying to be.

Last year, the Browns finished with a 7-8-1 record, which was a .469 winning percentage.

This year, if the Browns finish with a 7-9 record, that's obviously a worse winning percentage than last year. That would be a huge failure.

In my opinion, winning fewer than 9 games this year is a failed season. Even if the Browns win 9 games this year and miss the playoffs, I would consider this season to be a mild success, since the Browns added to their win total.

And going 7-2 over the rest of the season would be a fine performance, but it would be tagged with an asterisk, since we know that the next 9 games for Cle are considered to be the 2nd easiest schedule in the NFL.

The Browns are 1-5 against good or decent teams this season. Cle defeated Bal in Bal. The Browns lost the home opener to the Titans who are now 4-4. ???

The Browns lost close home games to the Rams and the Seahawks. The Browns should have won at least one of those games. The Browns were slaughtered by the 49ers in San Fran, and it seemed that the Pats toyed with Cle yesterday, since Cle gave the game away in the first quarter.

The other Browns victory came against the hapless Jets who were without their starting QB and without part of their secondary. The Jets are 1-6.

Browns fans won't be impressed if the Browns beat up on current winless teams the Dolphins and the Bengals twice. We expect the Browns to win those three games.

The Browns play at 2-6 Denver next week. We expect Cle to win that game. And if Cle does win, then okay. The season is still alive.

Browns fans, however, want Cle to at least be .500 against good teams.


Browns are losing. Beckham’s talking. This will end well.

It could be argued that the AFC North is the weakest division in the NFL if basing the decision by only the total number of wins within the division.

AFC North standings after tonight's MNF game where I assume that the Steelers will win at home against the winless Dolphins.

Even if Pit wins tonight, that will be a total of 10 wins for the division, which will be the fewest in the NFL.

If the Browns finish this season with only 7 or 8 wins, that will make this season worse than last year because of the off-season changes, another year of experience for the young players, and the high expectation. It's made even worse by the fact that the division, thus far, is the weakest in the NFL.

Here is Cle's schedule through yesterday with the actual outcomes and the current record of those teams that Cle played.

Six of those seven opponents currently have a record of .500 or better, and Cle went 1-5 vs those teams. Ouch. 3-2 is what was expected.

Two more victories would have put Cle at 4-3, which would be acceptable, based upon the schedule. And if Cle was 4-3 now, then Cle could be 5-3 at the half-way point after next week's game at Denver. And with a relatively easy schedule in the second half of the season, the Browns could comfortably win 9 games with a good chance at 10 or even a 11 wins.

But it's obvious that after seven games, Cle is not good enough to be better than 1-5. The Rams, Seahawks, and the Pats games WERE within reach for Cle to win, but Cle makes far too many mistakes.

If a mistaken-ridden game occurred once in a while, then we could say it was bad game. The planets were misaligned.

But the mistakes occurred in game one and the mistakes continued in game seven. That's poor coaching and/or poor player execution. The would-have, should-have, could-have game no longer applies when Cle leads the league in penalties and maybe turnovers.

Now I'm confused at how Cle drubbed Bal in Bal. That seems like a huge abnomily.

Cle's remaining schedule and my predictions:

3-5 record at the break

This is an interesting stretch. Pit twice in three games and two teams that are currently winless.

The final stretch. Jeesh. Even AZ currently has a better record than Cle.

Of those final 9 games, only two opponents currently have records of .500 or better: Buffalo (at home) and Baltimore (at home).

But I could see Pit getting to be around .500 when the Browns play them. And we'll see about AZ are close to .500 now.

Browns could end up having four games with opponents that have .500 or better records. Still, it's a perceived easier schedule than the first seven games.

And with 5 of the 8 final games at home, Cle will have no excuses for not winning at least 9 games, outside of major injuries.

I predict that the Browns will go 7-2 over the final 9 games. 6-2 in the second half of the season.

A 7-2 stretch within a season is an excellent stretch of football for most of the league, regardless of the perceived strength of schedule.

We'll know more about Pit tonight at home vs Miami and then after their next game, which is home vs a good Indy team.

To win the AFC North, Cle may need to climb over Bal and Pit.

Bal surprised me two Sundays ago by defeating Seattle at Seattle. Bal's defense scored two TDs, I think. This past weekend, Bal had its bye week.

Next Sunday's SNF game on NBC features the 8-0 Pats at 5-2 Bal. It will be interesting to see how Bal handles the first quarter after a bye week vs the Pats. It should be an interesting game. New England enters a tough part of its schedule, and I could see the Pats losing two or three games across November and early December.

We can't whine that Cle played at New England and Bal played home versus New England because Cle lost at home to Seattle while Bal defeated the Seahawks in Seattle.

Anyway, Cle's potential 9-7 record starts this Sunday at Denver. If Cle loses to Denver, then Cle will be fortunate to win 7 or 8 games, which basically matches last year, which means this season would be a massive disappointment, actually a failure.

I have the Browns going 7-2 over the final 9 games and that includes a loss at home vs Bal. If Cle stumbles vs Buf or AZ, then Cle will need to win that home game vs Bal.

And if Bal struggles during their current rough schedule over the next several weeks, then that Bal game could be for the division.

It was announced this afternoon that Denver QB Joe Flacco will miss this Sunday's game vs Cle due to a neck injury.

Yesterday, CBS showed the end of the Broncos-Colts game, and Joe got hit hard from behind near the end of the game, and he got up turning his head, like he had a problem with his neck.

Denver's new starting QB against the Browns will be someone who has never thrown an NFL pass. I forget his name, but he was a sixth round draft pick by the Jags.

When the Browns played at the Jets, the Jets were without their starting QB Sam Darnold. And now the Broncos are without their starting QB.

The Browns defense should be able to hold Denver to fewer than 17 points. The Browns offense only needs to score 17 to 20 points. It will probably be ho-hum Browns win like when Cle defeated the depleted Jets. Expected but nothing to get excited about.

It will be assumed that Cle will win this week at Denver, giving the Browns a 3-5 record. If Cle wants to impress fans, win the gimme game this week at Denver and win at home the next week versus a good Bills team. A 4-5 record and finally a win against a good non-divisional opponent will get the fans excited again.

More afternoon news.

Browns GM John Dorsey now given up on 2 in his 1st draft of 2018 - Austin Corbett & Genard Avery.

The Corbett release/trade/whatever occurred last week.

Genard Avery forced a Tom Brady throwaway on 1st defensive series, then appeared on only a couple more snaps. Getting that one play on tape apparently was enough to entice the Eagles to trade a late ‘21 pick for him.

A late pick in the 2021 draft. Will Dorsey still be with Cleveland? I doubt it. I still think that Dorsey will exploit success with the Browns, if it occurs, to obtain a similar job with a franchise that Dorsey perceives to be better than Cleveland. I'm guessing that Dorsey leaves on his own after the 2020 season.


Tony, what was the disconnect this year for Avery? He was regarded a success last year.

Last year, the Haley and Kitchens offenses did not use or rarely used Duke Johnson, and in the off-season, the Browns traded or ditched Johnson to Houston.

This year, Browns WR Higgins got injured at the start of the first game, and then he has been supposedly healthy enough to play in the past two or three games, but he's not used. When Landry got injured yesterday and missed a few plays, Higgins entered the game and caught a pass. Nobody understands why Kitchens uses Calloway more than Higgins.

Also this afternoon:

Sources: The #Redskins are now open to dealing star LT Trent Williams. They have begun the process of looking at potential suitors, and the #Browns have been one. Unclear how high they set the asking price, but they’ll at least listen.

More from Ian:

Patriots QB Tom Brady, on his coach Bill Belichick earning his 300th win by beating the #Browns: "Amazing to think that he coached for another place and they didn’t think he was good enough, and then he comes here and does a great job.”

Good trivia. Belichick was fired by the Ravens and not the Browns. Technically speaking. His last season with Cleveland was the 1995 season, which was the last season that the Modell Browns were in Cleveland.

The Modell Ravens had their first NFL season in the fall of 1996. In early 1996 after the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, Belichick was fired.

Remember, it was the Baltimore Ravens that fired Bill.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio says QB Joe Flacco won’t play this week because of a neck injury. So, Brandon Allen will start against the #Browns.

The #Browns are working out edge players today, including Damontre Moore. This is why.

We've traded LB Genard Avery to the Eagles Details »

DE/LB Genard Avery

Originally drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Avery has been active for two games as a reserve and has recorded two tackles on the year. Last season as a rookie, he started five of 16 games and finished with 39 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

NFL stats:

Nick Chubb is the 3rd leading rusher in the league with 738 yards.

Joe Schobert is 4th in the league for tackles.

Myles Garrett is 2nd in sacks

For league team stats:

That's terrible for both sides of the ball.

Cle is ranked the worst in the league for giveaways. Cle averages 2.4 giveaways per game. Ranked 32nd in a list that shows the fewest to the most. Over the last 3 games, Cle averaged 3.7 giveaways per game.

NFL Team Penalty Yards per Game

Ranking from the fewest to the most, Cle is ranked 32nd. Cle averages 84.4 penalty yards per game. Winless Miami is ranked 1st at 45.7 penalty yards per game.

NFL Team Penalties per Game

Listed from fewest to the most, Cle is ranked 32nd. Cle averages 10.0 penalties per game.

Defensive stat:

NFL Team Opponent Yards per Game

Ranked from the fewest to the most. Cle is ranked 21st. Opponents are averaging 365.4 yards per game. Over the last 3 games, opponents are averaging 406.0 yards per game.

Denver is ranked 4th. Opponents average 304.5 yards per game against the Broncos. Over the past 3 games, however, opponents have averaged only 264.3 yards per game.

Browns trending toward the bottom while the Broncos are trending toward the top. But the Broncos start new QB this Sunday against Cle.

For the Broncos, they will be hoping for a low-scoring game, similar to their game yesterday in Indy when the Broncos led 13-12 until Indy made a field goal with under a minute left in the game.

Cle needs to score 20 points against Denver. That might be enough to win.

This evening, I'm listening to the Dolphins at Steelers game on the radio. At the end of the first quarter, the Dolphins lead 14-0. !!!

Halftime score was 14-10.

In the 3rd qtr, Pit took the lead 17-14.

Steelers won 27-14.

End Oct 28, 2019 post.

Oct 29, 2019

It's funny to hear the three dudes on the Cleveland Browns Daily radio show criticize teams like the Titans and Colts who have better records than the Browns. They said that AFC South is unwatchable, except for the Texans. Well, the AFC North has the fewest wins of any division in the NFL. In other words, the AFC North is the weakest/worst division.

If the Titans are unwatchable, what does that say about the Browns when the Titans have a 4-4 record, and the Titans defeated the Browns.

Oct 30, 2019

"Here’s A Trade That Might Help The Browns More Than Acquiring Trent Williams"

1.The one trade John Dorsey could make to help his undisciplined team is swap Freddie Kitchens to the Jets for Gregg Williams. OK, I’m not 100 percent serious. It pains me to even write that. I thought it was best to not keep Williams. Like the Browns, I didn’t consider him a serious candidate. I thought his interview for the permanent job was merely a courtesy for a job well done as interim coach. I never thought it would come to this, but Williams’ profane exhortations at his players apparently were more effective than Kitchens’ whoopty-hellisms.

2.Williams was a better head coach than defensive coordinator. No matter how much more likable Kitchens is, the undeniable fact is the final eight games last year were eminently more organized and better managed under Williams. There was more accountability with players who made repeated mistakes and more attention to detail.

3.The insane pace of penalties and turnovers are the big topic again this week after another embarrassment in front of a national TV audience. But I don’t agree with Kitchens that those are the only things keeping the Browns from winning. Game management, coaches challenges, play-calling and overall game-planning always leave you saying, “What did they do that for?” For example, why after four hours of steady rain in Gillette Stadium prior to kickoff did they come out throwing the ball? Then there’s the mystifying drop-off in Baker Mayfield’s game, the inability to maximize play-makers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and the disturbing routine by the defense of giving up the back-breaking or loss-sealing play in the fourth quarter. These are all recurring problems. I’m dying to see a game with few or no penalties and no turnovers. I just don’t think it will cure everything.

4.Speaking of Mayfield, his “Go ahead, knock it off!” attitude was refreshing until teams started knocking it off.

5.The only way I can explain what’s happened with Rashard Higgins is the Browns must have decided they’re not bringing the future free agent back after his contract runs out and have chosen to sink or swim with Antonio Callaway as the third receiver. Kitchens’ explanation that “Callaway is doing better [than Higgins]” just doesn’t pass the smell test. Callaway has had negative plays in each of his three games back after his league suspension.

7.How is it that the two players most everyone was worried about – rookie punter Jamie Gillan and kicker Austin Seibert – consistently do their jobs well while so many experienced players do not?

8.For the life of me, I can’t understand why the coaches are so averse this year to up-tempo offense and jumbo run formations. They seem blind to the fact the offensive tackles are killing almost every offensive possession. Help them out, for crying out loud.

The Browns don't need to run a hurry-up, no-huddle offense, during the slow portions of the game, but why not run some no-huddle offense where the Browns take their time snapping the ball? And at times, they could change it up by snapping early in the play clock. Maybe even mix in a little hurry-up.

Through the first seven games, apparently the Browns played the toughest schedule in the NFL. So what? We didn't expect the Browns to beat only bad teams and lose to good teams.

Over the last nine games, apparently the Browns have the easiest schedule or the second easiest schedule. Yesterday, the Bengals benched veteran QB Andy Dalton. Cin will start a rookie. AZ starts a rookie QB. Den starts a QB who has never played a down in a regular season NFL game. Pit is back to playing their 2nd string QB after he came back from injury.

Over the next nine games, I don't think any of the current list of starting QBs for the Browns opponents have played in a playoff game, except for Jackson, the QB for Bal. The names of the QBs for the seven teams are practically unknown, except for Fitzpatrick at Miami.

Going to AZ could be tricky. Playing Pit twice in three games could be tricky. And playing the Ravens at home should be the toughest game.

The Browns can afford only two losses. At minimum, Cle needs to go 7-2 over the last nine games. 6-3 is a failure, considering the weak schedule and the QBs that Cle will face.

6-3 gives the Browns an 8-8 season, which is no better than last year's 7-8-1 record, especially since last year at Oakland, the game was over, and the Browns won, but somehow, the refs saw another reality and overtuned a first-down call that was made on the field, which ultimately permitted the Raiders the ability to win that game. Sure, Cle's defense could have stopped Oak late. Sure, the blocking could have been better on Hyde's 3rd and 1 run, and maybe Hyde could have fought harder. It was a matter of inches. The call was a Browns first down after Hyde's run. That was it. The game was over. The refs reversed it without conclusive evidence. And instead of going for it in their own territory, the Browns punted.

That Raiders game last year was at least a half a win. That's why fewer than nine winds this year is a failure. Seven (eight) wins last year was a huge success, compared to the previous three seasons.

If the Browns finish this season with a 6-3 record and 8-8 overall, I'm guessing that Browns players, coaches, and management will champion the Browns' strong finish, and the rhetoric will contain crap like the Browns overcame adversity. Blah, blah, blah. If that happens, that kind of crap rhetoric won't impress anyone because we know that Cle played the easiest schedule over the last nine games. Fansn will wonder why Cle lost three of those games. Fans will wonder why Cle lost to all of the good non-divisional teams in the first seven games.

Eight wins will be a failure. 8-8 is .500. Last year's team at 7-8-1 was .469. With all of the changes made in the off-season, how would that only be worth a .031 improvement in winning percentage.

9-7 might not put the Browns in the playoffs, but at least Cle will have its first winning season since 2007. Browns fans would still be wondering why Cle failed to defeat at least one of the good teams in Sep and Oct.

Cle's remaining schedule and my predictions:

Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens's tough guy talk began back in January 2019 with his introductory press conference as the Browns head coach. - Monday, Jan 14, 2019 02:47 PM

“In saying that, I will end with this: our only goal ever – 7-8-1, it drives me crazy that people are happy with 7-8-1. It drives me literally crazy. If I was in a different setting, my vocabulary would demonstrate that. That is not acceptable. Nobody here wants that. We all understand that it was an improvement, but under no circumstances is that ever going to be acceptable. We only have one goal here and that is to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Everything we do moving forward, if it is going to benefit us moving in that direction, we will make that decision – from a coaching staff perspective. Everybody is going to be on the same page, from a coaching staff perspective.

I heard Freddie say that when his presser was broadcast over the radio. I took offense at first, since I've been a Browns fan for about forty years, and I will continue to be a Browns fan until I die.

Freddie's first year with Cle was last year, 2018. Freddie was not here in 2015 when Cle went 3-13. He was not here in 2016 when Cle went 1-15. He was not here in 2017 when Cle went 0-17.

Freddie said again:

7-8-1, it drives me crazy that people are happy with 7-8-1. It drives me literally crazy. If I was in a different setting, my vocabulary would demonstrate that. That is not acceptable.

My initial thought was "What world did Freddie come from?", but then I assumed that Freddie was exhibiting phony, tough-guy, bravado talk in his first presser as a Browns head coach.

7-8-1 is unacceptable for Freddie. It's relative. 7-8-1 was glorious last year. 8-8 IS unacceptable this year. Improving by a half game is failing if I'm using Freddie's thinking.

9-7, okay. I'll accept that, even if Cle misses the playoffs, but we won't be as excited in the offseason as this past offseason, since we know the weak schedule that Cle now plays.

Cle SHOULD go at LEAST 7-2 over the next nine games. If they don't, then Cle will go down as one of the biggest hyped busts in recent memory.

Oct 30, 2019

Baker Mayfield has entered full-blown unhinged category. The dude is overly sensitive, and it's obvious that he can be rattled easily.

On Wednesdays after practice, Baker avails himself to the media. Tony Grossi asked Baker about the Browns inept offense at the end of the first half. Baker exploded on Tony and walked away from the media.

Baker told Tony to "stop saying 'but'" because Tony was trying to get Baker to answer his question.

The Browns had time to make a 2-minute drive for at least a hail mary attempt or a long field goal. After all, the Seahawks scorched the Browns defense in the previous game with a 1:07, 88-yard TD drive when Sea had only one timeout and only 1:29 left in the half.

But in the Pats game, naturally the Browns committed an offensive penalty. The Browns were in no hurry during that initial series or its second series. They huddled and wasted a lot of time. Then they got a first down and then they sped up their offense, which scored nothing.

The reason why the Browns wasted time was because the Browns did not want to give the ball back to the Pats with too much time left if the Browns did not get a first down after committing a penalty. The Pats defense did not call timeout with the hopes of getting the ball back.

It sounds like a coaching philosophy. The Browns showed no hurry until they got a first down. Apparently, Tony Romo who did the CBS broadcast with Jim Nance, said that what the Browns did was the smart move. I wonder if it's a set-in-stone, universal rule, or will the strategy differ among QBs, head coaches, and offensive coordinators. Maybe another team would have been aggressive, regardless of committing a penalty. Romo might have agreed with Kitchens, but does that make it a universal football rule? It seems a little self-defeatist.

When chatting with Tony, Baker also played the "you don't play" card. Baker said to Tony, "You don't play so you don't know."

Baker ended with, "What? Jesus, Tony" and Baker walked away.

Tony has been covering the Browns longer than Baker has been alive. Tony is not going to back down to Baker or any player.

Sports media are conduits between fans and players and coaches. We fans don't know all the intricacies of the game. Journalists ask questions for explanations.

Last Wednesday, Baker was still whining about the refs in the Seattle game that occurred about 10 days earlier. Today, Baker gets rattled by a question. Maybe this explains why Baker seems unsettled in the pocket this year.

Go back to the San Fran game.

During the game, Bosa let Mayfield know all about it, chanting "Ba-ker, Ba-ker," and barking out, "Come on -- pick it up. I want a challenge."

Did Bosa rattle Baker? Is it known around the NFL that defenses can trash talk Baker and make him jittery?

Since probably before the spring 2018 draft, Baker has disliked Tony Grossi. It's well-known that the two don't get along, but it's more obvious with Baker who cannot control his emotions.

We know that the Browns are 2-5 with a 1-5 record vs teams that currently have a record .500 or better.

It's funny that the excuses are coming out now.

I don't recall those concerns being expressed back in June and August, except for maybe Freddie's lack of head coaching experience.

I recall fans, media, and Vegas expecting the Browns to win between 9 and 12 games, making the playoffs and going deep into the playoffs.

9 wins are still possible. The Browns finish the season with the easiest schedule in the NFL. At minimum, the vaunted Browns should go 7-2.

Maybe the Browns will be the new Bengals: defeat bad teams, lose to good teams, make the playoffs, and lose every playoff game.

Baker and Freddie talked tough before the season, but now, it seems that they are both struggling to deal with the heat of performing well below expectations.

Many Browns fans are defending Baker and criticizing Tony. But I question the logical capabilities of most Twitter users.

This is why I thought that Tony's question was okay.

The 2 minute drill was ran horrifically. Especially after the Seahawks game where they wanted to score TWICE in 1:37. Line of questioning was more than warranted even if his choice of words wasn’t the best

Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens likes to tell the media that the Browns will always be aggressive. They were not aggressive at the end of the first half in the Pats game.

I understand that a fine line exists between what's considered to being aggressive and stupid.

After the Sea game, Kitchens's explanation of what the Browns had hoped to do in the final moments of the first half seemed bizarre and fairy-tale hopeful. Browns threw an interception in the end zone that Sea returned to their own 12-yard line. And as mentioned above, Sea was aggressive and went down the field and scored a TD in 1:07.

Baker Mayfield storms away from media after “dumbest question you could ask”

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is getting testy with reporters asking him about the team’s offensive struggles.

Mayfield was speaking with the media today when longtime Cleveland sports reporter Tony Grossi questioned him about a Browns drive that stalled in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots. As Grossi interjected with a question, Mayfield got short with him.

“Stop saying but,” Mayfield told Grossi. “I just told you the clock was running and we had a penalty. You want to give them the ball back? No. You don’t play, you don’t know. That’s just plain and simple.”

Grossi asked, “Were you happy with that drive?”

“Was I happy with the drive? No, we didn’t score points,” Mayfield said. “That’s the dumbest question you could ask. What? Jesus, Tony.”

With that, Mayfield stormed off, ending his media session.

When Tony asked, "Were you happy with that drive?" Baker should have replied, "Yes, I was happy because I did not throw an interception," which is what happened near the end of the first half in the Seattle game.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield isn’t sorry for storming out of his media availability today.

After walking off following a question that wasn’t to his liking, Mayfield went on Twitter and addressed the matter.

“Everybody wants to hear the truth until they actually get it,” Mayfield wrote. “I am who I am and always have been. Don’t call it emotional when it’s convenient and then passion when it fits. I care about winning, so yeah I’m frustrated. If I was to act like it’s okay to lose, then y’all would say that I’ve gotten complacent. My sense of urgency is at an all time high. And if I offend anybody along the way, that’s too bad.”

Mayfield certainly doesn’t have to act like it’s OK to lose, but he would be wise to channel his frustrations differently. Storming off while talking to the media isn’t going to get him anywhere.

Baker acts infantile when he feels disrespected, but he shows disrespect of others. He loves to dish it out, but he cannot take it back, and that's weak.

The reporter who felt the wrath of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield today after asking what Mayfield called the “dumbest question you could ask” says that it wasn’t the first time he and Mayfield haven’t seen eye to eye.

Veteran Cleveland sports writer Tony Grossi said on ESPN 850 in Cleveland that he’s not trying to pick a fight with Mayfield but also feels that Mayfield is needlessly antagonistic when he asks questions.

“I didn’t want to be in a confrontation with the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, but he had been disrespectful so many times in the last couple weeks in response to simple questions by me,” Grossi said.

Grossi and Mayfield have a history: Grossi reported before the 2018 NFL draft that Mayfield had demanded first-class airfare when making pre-draft visits and suggested that made Mayfield a prima donna, something people close to Mayfield took issue with. Grossi said today that Mayfield’s issue with him stems from that.

“I think it goes back to the pre-draft conversations we had, things I said, things I wrote. OK, fine, but you have to move along,” Grossi said. “I tried to talk to him twice, alone, but he just wants no part of that. If he’s not going to do that I have to do my job as best as I can.”

Holy crap. Mayfield is perturbed with Tony over something like that, which occurred 18 months ago. ?!?!?

This shows that Mayfield lacks maturity. That's so childish and brat-like. And weak. Defensive coordinators and defensive players must be salivating over Baker's infantile attitude.

Baker is not a leader of men to reference a Dave Mamet play.

Cowherd has been a Baker ankle-biter all year and maybe longer, but this is good take.

"Colin Cowherd reacts to Baker Mayfield walking out on reporters"

When Cle lost to the Rams, it's believed that dumb 4th and 9 draw play was called by Baker who changed Kitchens's play.

Baker continues to exhibit poor decisions making.

Oct 31, 2019

Chubb ithe best offensive weapon for the Browns. I hope Cle limits his touches (rushes and receptions) to 20 to 25 per game to keep him healthy into the future. Chubb catches little passes too that can be similar to running plays when he catches a swing pass in the backfield.

Hunt will return soon, and he can handle some ball carrying and pass-catching duties too.

Not that any more evidence is needed, but for grins, the comments to Tony show why Twitter is the cesspool of the internet.

Here's one of the reasons why it's hard for local journalism to survive. This kind of asinine thinking is too prevalent.

The land on demand sucks. The PD writers and the Beacon Journal writers are far better to read. Anything written in landodemand will eventually show up in the PD and Beacon FOR FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Free? It's not free. People are paid to produce content for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Akron Beacon Journal. And when the money is not available, the newspapers get downsized.

No doubt that Twitter boneheaded user is ignorant about the newspaper industry's downsizing over the past 20-plus years. I bet that the person is unaware of the layoffs that have occurred over the past year or so at the Plain Dealer.

For Free??? Wow. No wonder the newspaper industry struggles to get subscribers. The PD and the Beacon Journal should put all of their content behind a paywall.

The Browns’ 2-5 start to the season has been plagued by a league-leading 70 penalties for 591 yards. They have committed at least 10 more penalties than every other team that’s played the same number of games. (The seven clubs ranked directly behind the Browns have played eight games.)

What does this bevy of false starts, illegal shifts, offensive holds, defensive offsides and passers getting roughed say about the Browns? And how do they go about remedying it?

The mistakes, particularly the alarming number of pre-snap penalties, reflect poorly on Freddie Kitchens and his staff. After all, they are the ones ultimately tasked with teaching fundamentals and disciplining violators.

Others suggest it speaks to a lack of leadership in the locker room and huddles. The Browns are young and talented at the skill positions but don’t have many vocal veterans with a winning pedigree.

As the Browns head to face a 2-6 team, the worst thing they can do is feel they have an advantage because Denver is starting a quarterback who has not played a game.

Because Denver does two things that are the best friend to a young quarterback: They have a strong defense, and they run the ball.

Regardless of what it might say on paper and in the depth chart, this game will not be easy.

I predict that the Browns win 17-14, which would be similar to last year's score.

Denver’s two-headed tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman have accounted for 847 yards and six touchdowns. And though their passing game isn’t ranked high, Courtland Sutton has more receptions and receiving yards (39 for 636) than both Odell Beckham Jr. (34 for 488) and Jarvis Landry (30 for 504).

Defensively, the Broncos rank fourth overall in yards per game (304.5), fourth in passing defense (194.8) and eighth in points allowed (18.9 per game). The rushing defense ranks 19th, 10 spots ahead of the Browns.

Four of the Broncos’ six losses have been by a combined 14 points, and Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett said after Indianapolis’ two-point win Sunday that the Broncos were the best defense he’s faced this season. A Colts team averaging 22.6 points per game got 15 against Denver.

This is not to say that the Browns are preparing to face the Orange Crush of days gone by, or that Denver should be favored. Most sportsbooks have the Broncos as three-point underdogs, but even that is hardly a one-sided margin. ESPN’s Analytics site ranks the Broncos the 23rd best team in the league, the Browns 25th. Football Outsiders has the Broncos 21st, the Browns 23rd.

Individually, some [Browns] players seem calm and professional, but as an aggregate and on the field they have been beset by sloppy play; in the last three games they have 11 turnovers and 29 penalties, an average of four and 10 per game. The palpable tension and tightness have built with each loss.

Freddie Kitchens isn’t very good at managing games. The Browns as a whole aren’t good at managing the message or controlling the outside perception, which largely is that the first-year coach is at least a bit in over his head and the roster as a whole isn’t ready to handle a return to relevance.

The on-field product and results are proof the Browns have maturity and discipline issues. They also have blocking and tackling issues, and all have played a part in their three-game losing streak.

On Wednesday, quarterback Baker Mayfield ended his midweek media session angrily and early. Mayfield has a long (and legitimate) beef with veteran reporter Tony Grossi, and after an exchange about the Browns failing to score in a two-minute situation Sunday in New England, Mayfield told Grossi he was asking “the dumbest question you could ask” and essentially telling Grossi he doesn’t play so he doesn’t understand the situation he was referencing.

That’s poor form by Mayfield, even if he saw the question as personal and biting — which he did. He’s never forgotten some of the things Grossi wrote and said dating back to the pre-draft process in 2018, and for whatever reason, he let his anger boil over Wednesday.

Mayfield closed with “Jesus, Tony,” before hastily exiting the podium.

Presentation matters. Leadership matters. The message matters, all of which makes Mayfield’s exit a bad look. If everything is as fine or as quickly correctable as Kitchens has said it is, the Browns would and should present themselves more as poised and professional and less as irritable and fragile.

In some games, Coach Kitchens looks befuddled. Baker looks less confident in the pocket this year, compared to last season.

The Browns are 2-5 with two no-shows and three losses by 14 or more. Mayfield has thrown 12 interceptions, most in the league. There have been years the Browns were due patience, their new head coaches were allowed wiggle room and a couple of mulligans, that those invested — internally and externally — understood losses, gaffes and poor quarterback play were going to be part of the learning and growing process.

This was not supposed to be that year. The Browns were supposed to be ready for prime time. Instead, they’ve racked up most of their wins in media (or social media) beefs.

Browns lead the league in penalties, and Baker leads the league in interceptions.

But hey, it was the second toughest schedule in the first seven games. And now the Browns have the second easiest schedule over the final nine games, which means the Browns should go at least 7-2 with the penalty and turnover numbers reduced by at least 50 percent.

Cowherd called the Browns remaining schedule "Charmin tissue soft."

Let’s recap the season: Before Mayfield took on Grossi, Kitchens chose to take on public comments and criticisms made by a member of last year’s staff. In recent weeks, Mayfield and the Browns have taken on officials and the league’s uniform police. Mayfield loves a fight and has always been fueled by slights. He’s thrown his share of jabs and taken them. He’s polished, smart and edgy. He should know he can’t win some of those battles. He should know most of his quarterback peers would never partake in such things.

Baker definitely lost the verbal and physical battle on the football field to Bosa in the San Fran game. It counts on the football field and not elsewhere.

Maybe the Browns lack the poise and maturity to go on the road and win, to adjust on the fly, to block out the negativity that comes with bungling things in big spots and going on prolonged losing streaks. In a few days, we’ll find out.

Nov 3, 2019

Den defeated Cle 24-19 in Den.

Den QB Brandon Allen made his first NFL start after veteran QB Joe Flacco got placed on IR having being injured at the end of last week's game vs Indy.

Allen played well. Against the porous Browns defense, Allen looked like a veteran, future hall of famer QB, especially after a 95-yard TD drive late in the 3rd qtr that sealed the victory.

The Browns offense moved the ball, but they settled for field goals too often. Four field goals to start the game. The Browns could not score TDs when they entered the red zone.

When the Browns went for it on 4th and 1 around the Den five-yard line, Baker ran a QB sneak, and it appeared that he got the first down, but the refs spotted the differently. The Browns challenged, and no shock that the play was not overturned.

That's when Allen and the Broncos went on their 95-yard TD drive. The Browns defense is possibly more disappointing than the offense. The Browns defense was highly hyped before the season, but the Browns defense surrenders too many long, TD drives at the wrong time.

The Browns got out-coached because of Allen's play. Den ran some creative offensive plays. Allen never turned the ball over. Den's coaching staff did a great job preparing Allen and for scheming an offense that led to 24 points.

At 2-6 and with Bal looking good early on SNF at home vs the Pats (10-0 Bal), the Browns will need to go at least 7-1 in the 2nd half of the season.

Today, Pit defeated Indy in Pit. The Steelers are 4-4.

The AFC North is down this year, yet the Browns are in third place, two games behindi the Steelers and 3.5 games behind Bal. If the Ravens defeat New England tonight, then Cle will be 4 back. Cle is closer to winless Cincy than Bal.

For Cle, next Sunday's Buffalo Bills game at Cle could be a tussle. Nothing easy for Cle.

Cle plays Pit twice. At minimum, the road game will be tough.

The game at AZ will be tough. The Cardinals looked good last Thursday night in losing a close one to undefeated San Fran.

And the Ravens game in Cle will be tough too.

4 of the 8 remaining games will be toss-ups. The two games vs Cincy and the game against Miami should be victories. That's 5 total wins. Then defeating Pit at home equals 6 wins.

Early 2nd qtr, the Ravens are dominating the Pats on offense and defense. The Ravens lead 17-0. Pats head coach Bill is huddled with the defense.

The Pats entered a tough part of their schedule, starting last week against Cle. It would not surprise me that NE loses two or three games this month.

Anyway, Cle defeats Cincy twice and the Dolphins and Pit at home, that's 6 wins. Getting 3 more wins out of those four other games will be tough. Maybe winning at Pitt and defeating Buf this Sunday. That's 8 wins. Winning at AZ or winning at home vs Bal seems too much.

Uh, oh. Ravens muffed a punt, and the Pats covered deep in Bal territory. 3rd and goal at Bal 4. Brady completes a TD pass. Wow. Bal had NE down, but teams cannot give NE chances.

  1. How ‘bout a mock?: Now that was a quick season. It sure looks over for the Browns as they fell to 2-6 with their fourth straight defeat, 24-19, to the Denver Broncos. They made Denver quarterback Brandon Allen a winner in his first NFL appearance in his fourth season. The Browns settled for field goals in three trips inside the Denver 20 and turned it over on downs another time on a failed quarterback sneak. Their hopes of a win were dashed when Baker Mayfield’s fourth-down pass for Jarvis Landry was broken up by a pair of Broncos cornerbacks inside the Denver 20 with 3:19 to play. The loss dropped the Browns to 2-6 with home games on tap against Buffalo and Pittsburgh. The Broncos, 3-6, looked ripe for the taking, but the Browns couldn’t make the plays. They lost to an inferior team despite not turning the ball over, reducing their penalties and running almost 30 more offensive plays than the Broncos.

The CBS TV broadcast showed that the Browns have the 2nd easiest schedule over the last nine games. The Jets have the easiest. That was based upon the current winning percentage of the remaining opponents.

The Broncos were suppose to be one of those easy opponents that translated to a victory for Cle. The Browns might go on a four-game winning streak, which would be good football for most teams in the league, and after such a streak, Cle would only be .500.

More from Grossi's post-game story:

  1. Never learns: Freddie Kitchens made some bad decisions on a possession deep in the Denver end in the third quarter. On third-and-3 from the 7, he took Chubb off the field and called a draw play to Dontrell Hilliard, who ran two yards to the 5. Electing not to kick a field goal to close the Denver lead to 17-15, Kitchens kept Chubb off the field and had Baker Mayfield try to sneak over right guard for the first down. It was close, but a bad spot left him inches short. After delaying as long as he could, Kitchens tossed the challenge flag. It was impossible under the sea of bodies to get a change in the spot and the challenge failed. Denver then went 95 yards in seven plays for a touchdown. Phillip Lindsay scored the TD on a 30-yard run on which no Browns defender laid a hand on him.

  2. Sloppy tackling: Two big Denver offensive plays were the result of terribly bad tackling by the Browns. Tight end Noah Fant turned a 10-yard pass into a 75-yard catch-and-run when he flicked off feeble tackle attempts by Jermaine Whitehead, Greedy Williams and Adarius Taylor. Later in the second quarter, running back Phillip Lindsay broke into the Browns secondary with a handoff on first down and, again, Whitehead looked allergic to tackling. Lindsay was brought down at the Browns’ 28 after a 40yard run.

  3. Red zone woes: The Browns entered the game ranked 22nd in red zone efficiency, scoring 11 touchdowns in 21 trips inside the 20. More failures contributed to their deficit in the first half. The first actually occurred at the Denver 21 (and won’t add to their bad percentage, of course). On third-and-3, the call went to Dontrell Hilliard on a handoff. No gain. Field goal. Next time, they got to the Broncos’ 12. Mayfield’s third-down pass for Antonio Callaway was broken up. Field goal. After a Joe Schobert-Denzel Ward fumble and recovery, they got a third opportunity. They had first-and-goal at the 4. First down, they tried a new jumbo formation with Justin McCray tackle-eligible on the left side with third-string tight end Stephen Carlson lined up as a fullback. Chubb ran right behind them and was felled for a 5-yard loss. On second down, Mayfield threw high (and late) for wide open Demetrius Harris, who caught the ball over the end line. On third down, Mayfield was incomplete for Landry, who lost his footing. Field goal. One more opportunity emerged in the final 2 minutes. They got to the Denver 19 and then went, incompletion for Rashard Higgins, throwaway, and short completion to Rickey Seals-Jones. Field goal. That’s four short field goals. Instead of 28 points, they netted 12 and trailed at halftime, 17-12.

Quick study: Denver quarterback Brandon Allen made his first NFL appearance in his fourth season. It took him all of seven passes to throw his first touchdown pass. Allen connected with Courtland Sutton from 21 yards when Sutton plucked the ball from going into the breadbasket of cornerback Denzel Ward. On the previous play, Sutton beat Ward on an inside move for a 19-yard play on a third-and-11 conversion. D-coordinator Steve Wilks left Ward singled on Sutton the whole first half (three catches for 42 yards).

  1. Wardrobe change: The Browns were informed during the first half that Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. were wearing shoes in violation of league uniform code. Landry wore gold shoes, Beckham white. Both changed at halftime.

According to the TV broadcast, the officials told Landry and Beckham, that if they did not change their shoes at halftime, then they would be banned from playing.

One of the TV announcers criticized Landry and Beckham for acting like individuals on a 2-5 team.

Early in the game:

Brandon Allen has as many TD to WR as Baker Mayfield. He’s played two drives.

Landry scored a TD on a pass and run later in the game.

Beckham and teammate Jarvis Landry were told by NFL officials in the first half that they were wearing non-conforming cleats and would have to change at halftime to be allowed back on the field for the second half.

“To be honest, obviously you guys know I have a deal with Nike. I really wasn’t going to say nothing, but if I don’t say something then it’s just going to be used against me so. . . .,” Beckham said, via video from Jake Trotter of ESPN. “I have a deal with Nike. We were supposed to wear white jerseys this week. In the offseason, before the season even starts, in June and July, we sit down and we map out the cleats. ‘All right, this is it. Bam! This is the jersey you’re going to wear. Cool.’ This week, on Wednesday or Thursday, we switched jerseys from the white to the all brown, so I had no cleats left to wear. I had none I could have wore, and the black ones I was wearing for the rest of the game for some reason was just hurting my feet, so I went to the ones that was most comfortable. I’m pretty sure they changed the rule and cleats wasn’t a big deal. It’s only a big deal to the people who are talking about it.

Holy hell. That much concern over shoes helps the Browns how?

Landry said he didn’t “really understand” what the NFL’s problem was with the cleats.

Who cares? It might be a dumb rule, but it IS a rule. Simply follow it and move and play FOOTBALL. Worry about the fashion show away from football.

Landry wore golden slippers, and Beckham his Joker shoes in the first half. Both switched at halftime.

Beckham has complained at least twice this season about uniform violation letters from the NFL.

Bechham has more uniform violation complaints than caught TD passes.

At halftime, Ravens lead Pats 17-13. In the final seconds of the first half, the Pats drive stalled at the Ravens half-yard line. NE chose to kick FG.

Why are the Browns running short-yardage and goal-line plays with one of the NFL’s most gifted young running backs standing on the sideline? If it happens once, there might be some sort of rotational explanation. When it happens three times (at least) in the same game, it points to larger issues. At 2-6, the Browns have large issues. Supersized issues. They weren’t ready to play Sunday, again, and at the halfway point they’ve pretty much been eliminated from playoff contention.

Either this roster was never nearly as good as most of us thought it was, or the game-day and game-week operations are so poorly managed that the Browns can’t gain any traction, let alone sustain it. It’s probably a bit of both, but the head coach has to answer for it. That’s just how this goes.

No semi-sane person expected the Browns to be 6-2 at the midway point. But 2-6 is awful, and it’s been a collective effort. The Browns consistently seem less than prepared. They keep failing in big spots, on both sides of the ball.

Against a first-time quarterback with obvious limitations, the Browns needed their defensive line to dominate. It did not happen.

We don’t know what happened exactly as of yet, but the CBS broadcast reported that Landry and Beckham were told in the first half that they would not be able to play in the second half unless they changed their shoes. Landry was wearing gold shoes. Beckham was wearing white shoes with some sort of clown design. Both were in violation of the league’s uniform policy. Clown stuff, bro.

It’s going to be a long flight home, a long Sunday night and a long Monday morning for the Haslams, for John Dorsey and for Freddie Kitchens. I don’t know what happens next. I know the ship currently appears to be sunk.

No team has made the playoffs after starting a season 2-6 since realignment to 32 teams in 2002. The Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs after a 1-6 start in 1970.

“Stats like that are meant to be broken,” Mayfield said. “The guys in our building are going to be highly focused and highly detailed in doing their job. We don’t need to look up and have [any] regret about how we attacked and finish the season.”

The Browns are 2-6 and for the first time coach Freddie Kitchens had to address a question about his job security.

“It really doesn’t concern me,” Kitchens said. “It’s not my decision. I’ve never worried about it before. I won’t worry about it now. I won’t worry about it in the future. I’ll just do the best job I can do.”

Baker Mayfield said, “It’s a topic for you guys [in the media]. In our building, we know exactly what’s the problem. We had a good plan. We just haven’t executed.”

Yeah, we know what the problem is. Freddie did a good job as an offensive coordinator last year, but he has shown no improvement as a head coach this year, since week one. Baker has played worse than last year, which would be fine if Baker was still a top 16 QB, but he's not. The players are unruly. It's a chaotic team. Poorly coached is an understatement. The defense is no better and maybe worse because the highly-hyped Browns defense was suppose to be one of the best in the league this year. The Browns defense got out-coached by the Broncos offense yesterday, and Denver QB Brandon Allen made is NFL debut.

Kitchens will catch heat, no doubt, for eschewing a short field goal with the Browns behind, 17-12, and 5:16 left in the third quarter.

The previous play, the call went to Dontrell Hilliard with Nick Chubb on the sideline, and Hilliard’s 2-yard run set up fourth-and-1 from the Broncos’ five. Then Mayfield tried a sneak over right guard, and a poor spot left the Browns inches short.

After delaying as long as he could, Kitchens tossed the challenge flag for a better spot, which proved futile under the pile of bodies. Mayfield told Kitchens to challenge the spot.

“When I looked over the ball was crossed [past the first-down marker],” Mayfield said. “I’m sure the TV [replay] showed I turned my body a little bit. The ball was a little bit closer than the measurement portrayed.

“I told Freddie to challenge it. I was pretty sure I got it. He has full trust in me. I said I got it. They didn’t have enough evidence to overturn it.”

Denver quarterback Brandon Allen, in earning his first NFL win, then took the Broncos 95 yards in seven plays for the crushing touchdown that made it a two-score game. Running back Phillip Lindsay scored the touchdown on a 30-yard run on which no Browns defender laid a finger on him.

Nov 4, 2019

Ravens mauled the Pats in Bal last night, 37-20.

This story came out last night, soon after the game. I heard it on WKNR AM 850's post game talk show.

Browns safety Jermaine Whitehead probably needed more than the standard 10-minute cooling off period.

Whitehead went on a social media rant only minutes after the Browns’ 24-19 loss to the Broncos, taking out his anger on his critics.

Allegedly, Whitehead was still dressed in his uniform when he searched Twitter for reactions about him, and then he reacted. WTF?

Whitehead, who wore a brace on his left hand, struggled to tackle Sunday. He finished with no statistics.

Allegedly, he has a broken hand. Sometimes DBs have to make tackles. If he cannot tackle, then why was he playing?

His threatening tweets got his Twitter account suspended and promoted a statement from the Browns.

That all happened within an hour of the game ending.

“Jermaine Whitehead’s social media posts following today’s game were totally unacceptable and highly inappropriate,” the team wrote, via Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan. “We immediately spoke with Jermaine upon learning of these comments. The Browns in no way condone that type of language or behavior. This matter will be further addressed internally.”

Whitehead’s account is not verified by Twitter, but the Browns confirmed it was his.

“Don’t get shot at lil b—- …can you whoop my a–. f— football… let me know when you need the address,” Whitehead replied to one critic.

He also tweeted to another, “Imma kill you b—-… that’s on blood.”

The Browns have no adults trying to lead the players.

Whitehead went after Dustin Fox of 92.3 The Fan who had tweeted, “Whitehead’s effort tackling today is a joke.” That prompted Whitehead to reply, “Come get it in blood b— made a– lil boy. I’m out there with a broke hand …don’t get smoked f— a– cracker”

Whitehead didn’t follow rule one after a loss: Stay off social media.

The team might have been different if this year's team retained most of the coaching staff from last year with Greg Williams as the head coach and possibly the defensive coordinator, unless he would have hired someone to take those duties, and Freddie as the offensive coordinator, except Freddie was not Greg's pick. Greg and Freddie were appointed to their respective positions last year. Forcing Greg to accept Freddie as OC might have caused issues, but regardless, the Browns played well after head coach Jackson and OC Haley were fired early last season.

This story got published a short while ago this morning. This had to happen. Whitehead's violent, racist social media posts last night were the end of him with the Browns.

After safety Jermaine Whitehead sent off a series of threatening tweets on Sunday, the Browns issued a statement saying that they were “totally unacceptable and highly inappropriate” and that the matter would be “further addressed internally.”

The Browns went public with how they addressed the matter on Monday morning. The team announced that Whitehead has been placed on waivers.

Whitehead started and played every snap in the 24-19 loss to the Broncos on Sunday, but did not record any tackles during the game. That was fodder for critics on social media and Whitehead responded to them with a tirade that got his Twitter account suspended before it cost him his job.

Whitehead was in his second season with the Browns and started every game for the team this year.

Whitehead threatened 92.3 The Fan’s Dustin Fox, others on Twitter following loss to Denver

Whitehead, who missed multiple tackles in the loss to the Broncos, took exception to criticism on social media, including threatening 92.3 The Fan’s Dustin Fox.

Fox tweeted “Whiteheads effort tackling today is a joke” to which the safety responded after the game, “Come get it in blood b** made a* lil boy. I’m out there with a broke hand ...don’t get smoked f** a** cracker”

Whitehead wore a large black brace on his left hand during the game, which may have led to the difficulty wrapping up opponents.

Fox wasn’t the only tweet Whitehead responded to, and he continued the threatening behavior.

“Don’t get shot at lil b** …can you whoop my a.. f*** football… let me know when you need the address,” Whitehead tweeted at another account.

Whitehead also tweeted “Imma kill you b**… that’s on blood” before his account was suspended by Twitter following the posts.

Whitehead then went on his Instagram account and continued sparring with fans after posting, “Crazy world. They line it up and say anything in the book too you. They tell you take the high road, when yo whole life you was taught to meet fire with fire. I do apologize for my performance, but having a broke hand and a strong fear of letting my team down is my downfall. Whatever happens happens. Ain trippin. They probably gone still talk crazy but this me getting smoke off my chest. I don’t need one like.. this from me to me! Keep ya head up homie, can’t nobody f*** with you. I dare em to try.”

After a fan responded, “you aren’t about the smoke,” Whitehead replied, “80 Lou Groza Blvd let me know if you’d like to find out.” The address is the Browns’ training facility.

Clown shoes, death threats, QB tantrums and incompetent football. It isn’t all Freddie’s fault, but the Browns’ culture of chaos is proof he isn’t the answer

Lloyd: Eight is enough to know time is up on Freddie Kitchens as head coach

Tue, Nov 5, 2019

At 9:03 a.m. today, I place myself in the minority by believing that head coach Freddie Kitchens needs to remain the Browns head coach through this year and through at least the midway point of next year. Cle needs to end this absurdity of replacing head coaches approximately every one to two years. Freddie should receive two full seasons as a head coach before deciding.

If Dorsey or the Haslams fire Freddie now or after this season, then that means Dorsey made a massive error, and maybe Dorsey should be let go.

Not all of Dorsey's player moves have been successful. That's not unusual. Some work out and some don't. The successful GMs do better than 50 percent.

If the Browns have a new head coach to start the 2020 season, that means that Baker will have his 4th head coach, and Baker would be starting only his 3rd season in the league.

Stability. Learning. Gelling. The Browns as a franchise have none of that. The Browns don't know what it means to develop players and coaches.

Replacing Freddie now or at the end of the season is an indictment on Dorsey. Maybe this roster that Dorsey has assembled is not very good. I doubt that to be true, but the record and much of the play on the field thus far shows a massive disconnect from what was expected and what has occurred.

Freddie and Dorsey should remain in their respective positions, if they want, through the 2020 season. I'd like to see some stability and a chance for something to grow.

Thu, Nov 7

Bills are 6-2, and the Browns are the favorite, according to Vegas.

Are the Bills at 6-2 playoff-bound or paper tigers, beneficiaries of a weak schedule with five wins against teams (Jets, Giants, Dolphins, Bengals, Redskins) with combined record of 5-37? We may not find out until the playoffs. Ten wins should net them a wild card. They have two more games with the Jets and Dolphins, in addition to the Browns and Broncos.

The Bills would get more respect if quarterback Josh Allen were the reason they won games. He’s not. Not yet. They win with a very sound defense and generally don’t beat themselves. That’s a good combination to get above water. But until Allen is the reason for winning they are going to be doubted.

Frank Gore is still producing.

We are seeing the end of the line for the remarkable career of 5-9 running back Frank Gore. At 36 and in his 15th season, Gore’s 15,185 rushing yards are fourth all time and he needs 85 to pass Barry Sanders for third. Gore still tops the Bills in rushing this season (437 yards, 4.1 average), but he has given way to rookie Devin Singletary as the feature back.

Although Josh Allen hasn’t really posted a “signature” performance in his 19 NFL starts (11-8), he has made seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter in his 11 victories, including four this year.

D.J. HazMatt's song after last week's game.

What the H is going on with the Browns? Jim Donovan and I try to figure it all out on #100YearsPod. Episode 82 looks at the state of team & the Buffalo Bills game.

Mon, Nov 11

Yesterday, the Browns won ugly, but it was a victory, 19-16 over the visiting Bills. Take it and move on. The Browns offense, however, left a lot of points on the field, instead of putting them on the scoreboard. This game should not have been close.

Thu, Nov 14

Browns win an ugly violent game at home vs the Steelers. Jeesh.

Fri, Nov 15

"Anyone who saw that and was not appalled, then you are not civilized." - Tony Grossi this morning on the Really Big Show.

Troglodytic Browns fans want to blame Steelers QB Mason Rudolph for initiating the assault-like reaction by Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett.

Watching the video of the full play, Garrett should have been flagged for roughing the quarterback because of his late tackle of Rudolph after Rudolph threw the ball out to the left. Browns media are ignoring this glaring fact. Browns media need to watch the video more closely.

Garrett wrapped up Rudolph almost at the same time that Rudolph released the pass. Garrett had a bear hug on a vertical Rudolph after the pass was thrown. But instead of Garrett releasing Rudolph, Garrett dragged Rudolph to the ground, tackling him, long after the pass was thrown. Rudolph tried to stay vertical, but eventually Garrett got Rudolph down.

Steelers offensive lineman number 71 watched the Garrett's late tackle, and number 71 faced the referee who was behind the play, and number 71 stretched his arms out in a manner like, "What the hell is Garrett doing with the late tackle of the QB?"

Rudolph and Garrett tussled on the ground. It appears that Rudolph tried to remove Garrett's helmet or tried to get Garrett off him after the late hit/tackle that went unflagged.

Then Garrett got up on his feet but he was bent over, and he grabbed Rudolph's face mask while Rudolph was still lying on his back on the ground, and Garrett dragged upward or lifted Rudolph off the ground by Rudolph's face mask. I don't think that I have ever seen someone lifted off the ground by the victim's face mask.

When Garret forced Rudolph to his feet, Garrett had Rudolph bent over because Garrett still had a hold of Rudolph's face mask. Then Garret yanked on Rudolph's face mask multiple times in order to remove Rudolph's helmet. It's not like Rudolph's helmet came off in one pull. It took repeated pulls and effort for Garrett to remove Rudolph's helmet.

If Garrett had dropped the helmet at that point and walked away, then he probably would not have been ejected, and maybe he would not face suspension. That was my initial thought. But after see how Garrett pulled Rudolph off the ground by Rudolph's face mask and yanked multiple times to remove it, then it's possible that the NFL might have suspended Myles for a game or two because of thuggery.

But Myles took it to a whole new level when after a few seconds of holding Rudolph's helmet, he decided for some moronic reason to swing the helmet wildly downward, clonking Rudolph on his unprotected noggin.

But miraculously, Rudolph did get hurt. He did not go down. After the cranium bonking, Rudolph turned toward any official with outstretched arms and a "What the hell was that" expression.

While Rudolph stood around after the helmet strike, Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi came running up and body checked Rudolph to the ground. More thuggery. Ogunjobi and Garrett were ejected from the game with only 5 seconds left in the game. !!!!

Rudolph stayed in the game for the final play. He seemed healthy. Unless he has a delayed reaction, he's fine health-wise.

If Garrett's helmet strike had knocked Rudolph out, or if Rudolph had been knocked the ground with a bleeding gash, then this whole thing would have gone to another level. It's magnified somewhat because it was a Thursday night game on Fox, broadcast by Buck and Aikman who verbally broadcasted their disgust over what they saw by the Browns.

What might be lost in all of thus was the brutal late, goon, thug, non-football hit by Browns DB on a Steelers WR.

Rudolph's downfield pass along the left sideline to Diontae Johnson was overthrown or whatever, but it was incomplete. The pass went beyond Johnson. The football play is over. But in from the side, running full speed came Browns DB Damarious Randall who led with his helmet and hit Johnson in the side of Johnson's head. A vicious non-football play. Johnson looked bad when he crumpled to the ground. He looked bad when he was helped off the field. And he looked bad when he was carted into the locker room.

Who knows how many games Johnson will miss. Rudolph seems fine. That does not diminish what Garrett did, but the NFL needs to levy a severe punishment onto Randall too because that kind of hit can end careers or put players out for several games.

I was surprised that Randall got ejected, but it was the right call. He should be suspended for at least a couple games. If the NFL truly cared about player safety, and I don't believe that the NFL is serious, then the league needs to send a message about head-hunting plays like that.

If opponents did that kind of cheap shot thuggery to Browns receivers Landry and Beckham, then Browns fans, coaches, and management would be rightfully outraged.

Earlier in the game, Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster was knocked out of the game when TWO Browns DBs used their helmets to hit Smith-Schuster in the helmet. No flags were thrown, which surprised me. But it was a bang-bang-bang play.

The ball, Smith-Schuster, and the Browns DBs arrived at the same point at the same time. Even though no flags were thrown, the league can still review video and levy fines later. That could happen in this case, but the league could also say that the collision and the concussion injury to Smith-Schuster were an unfortunate accident of what can occur during a football game. Lots of collisions occur. The game is mostly about collisions. "Legal" collisions. Some are accidental.

But the Randall collision or hit on Johnson was not an accident and it's not a part of football.

Immediately after the game, the Fox TV broadcast interviewed Baker Mayfield on the field, and I thought that Baker gave a great response to the Garrett incident. Some fans, however, believe that Baker "threw Garrett under the bus."

Baker was critical of Garrett, and Baker was critical of the Browns offense, which was also a great observation by Baker.

Baker showed fine maturity and leadership in that interview, especially since the interview occurred so soon after the incident.

The Browns lack leadership. About two weeks ago, a Browns DB made death threats or a death threat on social media that was directed toward a media person.

The Browns released Calloway who will face a 10-game suspension from the NFL for using a banned substance.

In last night's game, several Browns players went head hunting in a disgusting manner. The Browns are going to be the most hated team in the league non-Browns fans, if they are not the number one hated team now.

Back in the preseason, the Browns had a scrimmage with the Colts prior to playing an actual preseason game with the Colts. Browns analyst Tony Grossi said that the scrimmage was weird because of the fighting that the Browns engaged in. Freddie wanted his players to be tough. It appeared that the Browns initiated the fighting in a scrimmage.

In the first regular season game, which was a home game against the Titans, the Browns were clearly not ready to play NFL regular season football by being flagged for more than 20 times.

In the past few games, the Browns have dialed back the penalties and the turnovers, and the Browns defense has finally started getting takeaways.

But based upon last night's game, the Browns are clearly a lawless team too often.

I was opposed to the idea of replacing Freddie Kitchens after one season, but unless a marked improvement is noted over the final 6 games, then he must go. This team is spiraling out of control and that's after WINNING TWO STRAIGHT GAMES for the first time this year.

But the Browns offense is still too woeful to play against good teams.

I'm surprised that the NFL acted this quickly. Only about 12 hours after the game ended, the league issued penalties.

The NFL has moved swiftly to remove Browns defensive end Myles Garrett from the field of play.

The league has suspended Garrett without pay “indefinitely — at a minimum for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.” He will miss at least six games, and up to 10 if the Browns somehow make it to the Super Bowl.

Garrett will be required to meet with the Commissioner prior to a decision on his reinstatement for violating “unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, as well as fighting, removing the helmet of an opponent and using the helmet as a weapon.”

A commenter made the correct observation on that PFT article:

Rudolph did not start this disaster so anyone trying to use that as an excuse please stop. Garrett hit him well after the throw and didnt let up even though he had time to do so. Cheapshot team.

For some reason, Garrett lost his mind when he tackled Rudolph immediately after Rudolph threw the pass. And for whatever reason, Garrett did not let go of Rudolph even though the play was over for Rudolph as a passer. Garrett held onto Rudolph and tackled Rudolph well after the pass was thrown. And for some moronic reason, the ref did not flag Garrett for roughing the QB. In the past, I've seen that same type of continuation tackle after the pass was thrown flagged for roughing the QB.

Here's another good observation by a commenter in that PFT article:

Guy who escaped criticism a bit is the Browns DB who crushed Diontae Johnson earlier in the game and was thrown out.

I'm curious to see if the league will rule more on Randall.

In the comments attached to that article, too many lamebrains blame Rudolph for starting it. Obviously, those lamebrains did not watch the full video about how Garrett roughed the QB after the pass was thrown.

The NFL has levied its punishment for Thursday night's altercation between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, and the penalties are significant.

The league suspended Browns defensive end Myles Garrett without pay indefinitely, adding that at minimum Garrett will miss the regular season and postseason as a result of his actions in the conflict, which included violations "of unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, as well as fighting, removing the helmet of an opponent and using the helmet as a weapon," per a statement from NFL senior VP of communications Michael Signora. Garrett also was fined an additional amount for his actions Thursday night.

Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended three games without pay and fined an additional amount for his actions, which included "punching and kicking an opponent."

Garrett's teammate, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, was "suspended without pay for one game and fined an additional amount for unnecessary roughness, specifically for shoving an opposing player to the ground during an altercation." NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Ogunjobi is appealing his punishment, per a source with knowledge of the situation.

Each organization is also facing a financial penalty, as the league has fined both the Browns and Steelers franchises $250,000 each.

"We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game," Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement Friday. "There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization. We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Myles Garrett has been a good teammate and member of our organization and community for the last three years but his actions last night were completely unacceptable. We understand the consequences from the league for his actions."

With other players from both sides also getting involved in the conflict to varying degrees, the league added that "additional discipline for other players will be forthcoming through the standard accountability process, including those players that left the bench to enter the fight area."

Rudolph's conduct in the brawl will be reviewed for a potential fine, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.

It is expected that each player involved will appeal their punishments, which is typically standard practice when it comes to league-administered discipline, though the outcomes of such appeals are difficult to predict. Thursday night's events left an ugly mark on what is supposed to be one of the league's three showcase nights of the week. Instead of talking about the Browns' second straight win, all anyone was left to discuss was the fight that marred the entire night.

This video shows the play at the 25-second mark.

Rudolph flipped/threw the pass backwards to a running back right before Garrett wrapped up Rudolph. Garrett proceeded to hang onto Rudolph and drag him to the ground.

In defense of Garrett, he might not have realized that Rudolph had thrown the ball. Number 71 of the Steelers and obviously Rudolph thought that Garrett's continuation of the play/tackle was too excessive, since Rudolph did not have the ball.

Again, it seemed like that normally that would have been flagged for roughing the QB even if the defender did not realize that the QB had thrown the ball. The rules have a bias toward the QB and penalize the defense.

If Garrett did not know that Rudolph threw the ball, and if Garrett did not believe that he roughed the QB, according to today's NFL rules, and even if Rudolph took exception to be tackled after he threw the pass, Garrett could have simply got up off of Rudolph and jogged away, maybe point to the scoreboard. That's it. Simple end of.

The Browns-Steelers game became a snoozer in the second half with the Browns offense taking the rest of the game off after going up 14-0 early in the second quarter, and the Steelers offense nearly unable to move the ball, unless the Browns defense committed penalties.

But the game attracted a lot of viewers at the start, anyway, which is interesting.

Of course, with that fight blowing up on social media in real time, the 21-7 win for the Browns was a big hit with viewers.

Snagging a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49 and an audience of just over 12 million, last night’s TNF wasn’t quite a season high, but it was damn close in more ways than one.

Surging 30% in the key demo over last week’s 26-24 west coast showdown between the Oakland Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers, last night’s Browns’ win was up 28% in viewers in the fast affiliates. That November 7 game ended up with a 3.9 rating and 13.5 million viewers in the final numbers – a result last night’s primetime topping TNF is sure to soundly beat.

Fast affiliates to fast affiliates, last night’s TNF is even with the The comparable game of last year, where the Seattle Seahawks took down the Green Bay Packers 27-24. However, that November 15, 2018 match-up was down about 3% in total sets of eyeballs from last night’s game. That Seahawks’ win of 2018 eventually was adjusted up to a 5.0 in the demo and 17 million viewers – which is what we could see today.

We’ll update with more TNF ratings as the come in.

In the meantime, there was other things on TV last night besides UFC … sorry I mean, the NFL.

It was also a terrible look for the Browns as a team that behaves out of control. For all their swagger and all of their commercials, the Browns have always been a team of characters, not a team of character. Character has not been something General Manager John Dorsey values when building a team. He is a modern-day Al Davis, the former owner of the Raiders and a man I worked with side-by-side for 10 years. Davis, like Dorsey, only valued talent — he felt it was the coach’s job to get the players to play their best. If players fell asleep in meetings or showed up late, Davis was not concerned, he would instead get angry at the coach. And the poor coach could not discipline the poor behavior because Davis would overrule any decision. Dorsey is the same way; he does not care about the “off the field” character; he only sees talent. The other stuff isn’t important.

The Browns have no mental toughness as a team, in part because Kitchens cannot coach the team tough. Dorsey controls the roster, and it took an act of congress to send Callaway on his way. How many other players fall asleep in meetings and don’t care? Caring about the team is a sign of mental toughness. Doing what is right for the team when it might not be right for you is the best way to explain how mentally tough teams operate. They always put the team first, they always place winning ahead of anything else, therefore their preparation, their attention to detail is just as crucial as the game itself.

Garrett has already been fined this year for roughing the passer penalties against Trevor Siemien (one of which resulted in Siemien’s ankle injury) , as well as for hitting Delanie Walker in the face in Week 1. What he did last night was appalling. His actions will hurt his team — and in that moment, he cared more about himself acting tough than he did about his teammates. He deserves to have the book thrown at him, and it has been announced, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that he has been suspended indefinitely.

After the two or three times this season where Garrett has acted out violently and against NFL rules, people who are familiar with Garrett come to his defense and say things like this is the last person who I would expect to do this.

Here we go ...

Since the day Myles Garrett walked into the Browns building and until that awful moment on the field Thursday night, he has been respectful, polite, friendly and responsible. That’s not just my feeling; it’s the feeling of more than a few folks in the NFL who reached out to me or to whom I reached out to in light of the ugliness Thursday. The general consensus: Garrett is a good person. He’s not a bad person. He is a good person who made a terrible mistake. The attempted narrative that he’s a dirty player is not accurate. He’s not been a dirty player.

Garrett's personal fouls indicate otherwise.

No stories exist that are focused on Randall's non-football, cheap shot, head hunting, thug hit on a Steelers WR.

Steelers' WR Diontae Johnson suffered a concussion last night on the hit he took from Browns' S Damarious Randall, per source. Johnson, who was bleeding from his ear as he exited the game, will be in concussion protocol and the team will monitor before its Nov. 24 game at Cincy.

who invented this stupidity?

this is also true about last night's game. it's a reason that Rudolph is a backup QB in the NFL. the steelers would probably be at least 6-4 or maybe 7-3 if Big Ben was healthy.

If you watch the video before the fight starts, Mason gets tackled AFTER getting rid of the ball. Then he gets held to the ground. I hope Mason fights this and reverses his fine. He was not at fault.

Another comment:

He was NOT tryin to rip off Garrett’s helmet! Anyone who thinks so is a clueless IDIOT! He was trying to get Garrett OFF of him

Garrett hit him late
Garrett then laid on top of him
And Rudolph was doing anything he could to get Garrett off

Another comment:

Flag or not, Garrett’s late hit started it all. The ball was long gone. I have no problem with Rudolph fighting back or Pouncey defending him…. and I’m speaking as a Patriots fan…it’s generally not easy for me to defend the Steelers.

Mon, Nov 18

Patriots and Ravens won yesterday, continuing to surprise me.

I still don't see how Ravens QB Jackson's style of running and taking on defenders is sustainable in the NFL for the long term. He's a bigger than RGIII, but the hits accumulate over time. If not this year, then in a year or two. Cam Newton has probably shortened his career by taking on too many defenders with designed running plays. Russell Wilson slides or gets out of bounds.

I won't be surprised if Jackson is injured when the Browns play the Ravens in Cle in the 15th game of the season.

The NFL cares more about optics than actions in its fight against dirty play

The failure to suspend Damarious Randall for the gruesome hit that preceded Myles Garrett’s outburst shows the NFL cares most about the perception of combating violence

The Garrett incident was culmination of an nasty, violent game between AFC North rivals that conjured memories of the Steelers’ January 2016 clash with the Cincinnati Bengals that featured a host of violent helmet-to-helmet hits and altercations. As the NFL continues its public battle to prove that football doesn’t endanger the long-term safety of its players, Thursday night was a brutal reminder of the game’s inherent violence between whistles and after them.

Prior to Garrett’s abhorrent actions, however, his team-mate Damarious Randall was ejected for a ghastly helmet-to-helmet hit on a Steelers receiver. The NFL’s structuring of their suspensions further demonstrates what they care about when combating football’s violence problem: perception, not consequence, is what matters.

Oddly, the list of suspended players did not include Randall, who was ejected in the third quarter after a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on Pittsburgh wide receiver Diontae Johnson. For the NFL, indefinitely suspending Garrett is easy: weaponizing an opposing player’s helmet away from the play is an indefensible act of brutality that isn’t justified by any motive (some pointed out that Rudolph kicked Garrett in the groin before the attack). The bigger tell of how much the NFL cares about the game’s endemic violence and risk of head trauma is whether it cares to penalize Randall. After absorbing Randall’s full-speed helmet-to-helmet hit, Johnson left the game with a concussion and bleeding from his ears and could barely make it to the sideline injury tent for evaluation.

While the game doesn’t happen in slow motion, the play is every bit as dirty in real speed: Randall targets Johnson from some eight yards away and careens himself, helmet first, directly into Johnson’s head after the ball dropped for an incomplete pass. The NCAA introduced the “targeting” penalty in 2013, meaning intentional, forcible contact to a player’s helmet would result in ejection and suspension for a full half of the next game. While defensive backs must deliver hits at full speed to try and prevent or mitigate big plays on offense, players know not to use the crown of their helmets as weapons. The damage that Randall delivered to Johnson on that hit was real and terrifying, even if the NFL deems it more acceptable in the context of gameplay.

Unless a suspension is announced for Randall, however, the league seems to be content with the kind of hits that subject its players to forcible head trauma consistent with high-speed car accidents. Randall will likely be fined for the hit and will presumably play in Cleveland’s next game against the Dolphins.

The Garrett moment embarrasses the league because of the perception of lawlessness, so it hammered him with a historic (and deserved) suspension.

But when it looked at the Randall hit, however? To the NFL, that was just football.

"Damarious Randall Smiles Knocking Out Diontae Johnson & Gets Ejected"

Thu, Nov 21, 2019

Randall said the hit to Johnson’s head, which left the rookie with a concussion and bleeding from an ear, wasn’t intentional.

Not intentional? Yeah, right. I don't believe him.

A commenter posted:

Watch the videos of the hit, there’s plenty of angles of the play.
Johnson doesn’t have time to lower his head.
Damarious Randall comes in hot and high, and earholes Johnson.
Straight out.

I don’t condone fans making threats. I also don’t condone
so-called fans spreading mis-information to lessen the impact
of the play, and about how things unfolded in that game.
Save your alternate facts for your friends.

It was a dirty hit plain and simple. The official threw the flag
at once. A clear foul. He was ejected as he should have been.
With claims of player safety, I’m surprised he hasn’t been suspended.

Still suspended for the Dolphins game:

Myles defense tactics:

According to a report from ESPN, Garrett accused Rudolph of using a racial slur during his initial comments at the appeal hearing overseen by appeals officer James Thrash.

Garrett has made no public mention of Rudolph saying anything that provoked his response. He did apologize to Rudolph in a statement released last Friday. A previous report about Garrett’s appeal indicated it was focused on a suspension given to former Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith for swinging his helmet at an opponent. Smith did not make contact and was suspended for two preseason games and one regular season game.

Rudolph’s attorney issued a strong denial of Garrett’s claim, which he called “reckless and shameful.” Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten released a statement as well.

It’s not clear if on-field mics caught any exchange between the two players or if any such recordings have been consulted as part of the disciplinary process. A ruling on Garrett’s appeal is expected in the near future.

This entered new territory, and it might keep the story in the media longer. If no recordings exist, then it's a he-said vs he-said situation.

Will Rudolph file a defamation lawsuit against Garrett?

I would be shocked if Garrett's defense team chose to make up this name-calling story as a defense strategy. Either Garrett heard it clearly or misheard Rudolph say something.

Who has the burden of proof? It should be Garrett who has to prove the claim, but when strong accusations like this are made, the person accused has to go on the defensive. In this situations, the burdens seems to be on the accused and not the accuser.

The other possibility is that this story is bogus. The racial slur charge surfaced immediately after last Thursday's game. At least one person mentioned it during the Browns post-game call-in show, and that was seven days ago.

This is the story from today that the PFT story referenced.

That ESPN story was published at 1:17 p.m. EST. Is the story true? How does that kind of info leak out from a closed-door meeting?

During an appeal hearing with the NFL on Wednesday, Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett alleged that Mason Rudolph directed a racial slur at him just prior to last week's brawl on "Thursday Night Football," sources told ESPN's Josina Anderson and Adam Schefter. The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback strongly denies the accusation.

Contacted after the allegations were reported, Rudolph's attorney Timothy M. Younger said: "According to ESPN, in his appeal, Myles Garrett falsely asserted that Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur toward him, prior to swinging a helmet at Mason's uncovered head, in a desperate attempt to mitigate his suspension. This is a lie. This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game, never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett.

"The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason's integrity which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday. This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment."

Garrett made the allegation as part of his initial comments during the appeal hearing in New York, sources said. It created an argumentative exchange between both sides about whether the allegation was permissible to be used in the appeal at that time.

Sources told ESPN that Garrett had informed some in the Browns organization that he was going to assert some sensitive information as part of his appeal.

If Garrett's camp does not deny the ESPN story, then I guess that we can assume that Garrett made the claim in his appeal meeting yesterday.

Nov 22, 2019

Part B started today: