Cleveland Browns 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 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.