Monthly Archives: November 2013

Manager Charlie Manuel – Reads the Nursery Rhyme – The Itsy Bitsy Spider

President Bill – Reads the Nursery Rhyme – Little Miss Muffet

Brad Daugherty – Reads the Nursery Rhyme – Humpty Dumpty

Browns Lose To The Steelers Yet Again!

The Browns had a golden opportunity at home to beat a very bad Steelers team and improve their playoff positioning in the division and the wild card, instead they let that chance literally slip through their fingers. With three fumbles, dropped passes, five sacks given up, a “Pick 6” and their best player getting beat for a long touchdown pass, the Browns lost to Pittsburgh for the 25th time in the last 30 games. The Final – 27-11.

The game was lost in the final 2:41 of the first half when Steelers wide out Antonio Brown beat Joe Haden for a 41 yard touchdown pass to give Pittsburgh a 10-3 lead. On the Browns next possession, Chris Ogbonnaya was hit by Troy Polamalu fumbled and that led to a Pittsburgh field goal right before the end of the 2nd quarter and a 13-3 Steelers halftime lead.

After a Jason Campbell fumble in the 3rd quarter (he had to leave the game with a head injury), Ben Roethlisberger increased the Steelers lead to 20-3 when he hooked up with Emmauel Sanders on a 4 yard TD pass to put the nail in the coffin for Pittsbrugh. Brandon Weeden poured gasoline on the Steelers fire, throwing a “Pick 6” to William Gay in the 4th quarter. That was the Browns 4th turnover of the game. Pittsburgh did not commit a single turnover.

Both of these teams aren’t very good but the difference was at the quarterback position. The Steelers have one, and the Browns don’t.  “Big Ben” improved to 16-1 lifetime against the Browns by getting rid of the football quickly, throwing underneath the Browns defense forcing linebackers and safeties to do something they can’t, cover.  Jason Campbell showed you why he was a free agent and why he really is nothing more than a back-up QB.

So Pittsburgh improves to (5-6) on the year and even though they’re a bad football team, they are still in the AFC Wild Card race. The Browns record dropped to (4-7) this season and are trending more towards another very high draft pick.. In a losing cause, Josh Gordon set single game records for the Browns with 14 catches for 237 yards and scored Cleveland’s only touchdown.  Next up for the Browns, the Jaguars at home next Sunday at 1pm.

10 Reasons Why The Browns Should Beat The Steelers Sunday in Cleveland

Steelers Can’t Run – Pittsburgh is 30th out of 32 teams in the NFL in running the football. Rookie 2nd round pick Le’Veon Bell is only averaging only 3.1 yards per carry. The Browns defense, ranked 8th against the run this year, should be able to stop the Steelers ground attack and make Pittsburgh a one dimensional on offense.

Pressure Big Ben – The Browns D-Line should dominate a very poor Steelers O-Line and be able to put pressure on Ben Roethlisberger and gets some sacks and force Big Ben into a few turnovers. Roethlisberger already has thrown 10 picks and fumbled 5 times this season. Plus if anybody can shut down Antonio Brown it’s Joe Haden, forcing other receivers to make big plays. Heath Miller could be the one guy who really hurts the Browns on Sunday, because Cleveland’s linebackers don’t cover well. But you can double up on him if you have to.

Pittsburgh Steelers 24 - Cleveland Browns 10


Horton’s Familiarity – Ray Horton’s 7 years with the Steelers as an assistant coach should come in handy. His knowledge of Big Ben and the Steelers offense and as well as Dick Lebeau’s defense, should help the coaches and players be better prepared for the Black and Gold on both sides of the ball.

Run, Run, Run – If there was ever a game where the Browns should be able to run the ball, it’s this game against the Steelers who are ranked 26th in the NFL in run defense. If the Browns can establish some type of running game, it will allow Jason Campbell to use play action to his advantage, and suck up the linebackers and safeties of the Steelers and connect on some big plays down the field to Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron.

Road Woes – The Steelers are a totally different team on the road this year than they are at home. Pittsburgh is just (1-4) away from Heinz Field and giving up 27.2ppg on the road.

Banged Up – With S-Shamarko Thomas out and DE-Brett Keisel and LB-LaMarr Woodley both questionable due to injury, along with other season ending injuries to key players, the Steelers are hurting big time and their backups are not very good!

Who’s Calling The Plays? – Will Mike Tomlin insist that offensive coordinator Todd Haley call the plays, or will Tomlin let Ben Roethlisberger go more no-huddle and call the plays? The Steelers have proved to be more effective on offense this year when they go hurry up and Big Ben is in control. If Haley is in charge, advantage Browns.

Value The Football – The Steelers are a (-8) in the give- away/take-away stat. The Browns aren’t real good either at (-3), but if they can get Jason Campbell to protect the ball and manage the game and win the field position battle, that would go a long way in helping the Browns beat the Steelers for just the 6th time in 30 tries since the Browns came back to the NFL in 1999.

Lack Of Focusness (Jim Thome term) – While this is supposed to be one of the most hated rivalries in the NFL, it has lost it’s luster in recent years because of the Steelers total domination of the Browns. At one point Pittsburgh won 12 straight. The Steelers real rival these days is Baltimore and they play the Ravens on Thanksgiving night. So it’s very possible the Steelers could be looking ahead to that game more than they are focusing on this game.

Mother Nature – With the projected high temperature being 27 degrees on Sunday and with the chance of snow and winds at around 20mph, the weather in my opinion would favor the Browns in this game just like it did back in 2009. In subzero temperatures in that game the Browns sacked Ben Roethlisberger 8 times in route to a 13-6 win at Cleveland Browns Stadium as running back Chris Jennings scored the game’s only touchdown on a 10 yard run in the 2nd quarter.


My Prediction –     Browns 16     Steelers 13


Bennett’s Struggles Continue For Cavs

As I finished up my one-on-one interview with Anderson Varejao and the “Wild Thing” was heading out the door after last night’s 98-91 loss to the Wizards I looked around the locker room and noticed that I was the last reporter left and there was only one player left as well, Anthony Bennett. 

The number one overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft was still sitting at his locker, no shirt on, just shorts, staring at the wall. He looked dejected, confused and bewildered because of another night of ineffectiveness and very little playing time. The hometown fans had just booed him earlier in the night after he shot another air ball from long range. I’ve covered the NBA for over 20 years now, and yes they get paid a lot of money to play a game and it’s hard to feel sorry for them because of that, but as I made my way out of the locker room, that’s exactly how I felt for Bennett.

photo (49)

I disagreed and was shocked when the Cavaliers selected Bennett with the first pick. I would have taken Ben McLemore or Otto Porter Jr. or Alex Len over Bennett and I have voiced my displeasure about it numerous times. So far it looks like a horrible selection by Cavs G.M. Chris Grant. Bennett is so bad through the first 12 games of this season, that undrafted players like Henry Simms and Mathew Dellavedova are playing more minutes now and averaging more points per game than the top “Lottery Pick”!

Bennett’s numbers are frighteningly bad – 1.3 points per game and 2.5 rebounds per game. His shooting numbers are even worse, a dismal 13% from the field, only 7% from 3-point range and just 50% from the free throw line. Those shooting numbers are all last on the team in every category. Hard to fathom from the top player picked in the draft.

Because of his struggles Mike Brown has pretty much taken him out of the rotation at this point, and it’s the right move.  This kid’s head is spinning right now. He’s working hard, trying hard, but nothing is going right. No athlete wants to fail, or wants to lose, so it’s not like he’s playing  poorly on purpose, he’s just not good right now and there aren’t any signs that he’s going to get better any time soon.

So what should the Cavs do with him? I talked to a few people last night to see if the D-League was an option, but everyone agreed that’s not the answer at this point. It may do more harm than good to his already fragile psyche. So all the Cavs can do is tell him how important practice is. Tell him to keep working hard. Tell him to get in better shape and that it’s going to get better. Hell, it can’t get any worse! There’s only one way to go and that’s up. Mike Brown needs to pick his spots for Bennett in games so he can have some success. Either in a blowout win or loss, make Bennett the focal point on offense in garbage time just so he can see the ball go through the hoop and maybe gain some confidence back.

There’s a long way to go in this season and in Bennett’s career, and while it’s not time to panic, it is time to be very concerned about the short comings so far of Anthony Bennett’s game. I really don’t want to say I told you so on draft night and maybe 12 games is too small of a sample size, but so far it’s looking that way. Here’s hoping that Bennett is just a slow starter and learner and will eventually figure this thing out for his sake and the Cavaliers sake. If not he’ll been mentioned forever with the likes of Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi and LaRue Martin as complete busts in the NBA. But more importantly he’ll set the Cavs organization back a number of years as they try and become relevant again and challenge for an NBA championship. If that happens, there’s no way anyone, including myself, will feel sorry for Anthony Bennett.

48 Minutes Of Maximum Effort – “48MOME”

Mike Brown is asking for it. Jarret Jack knows it is needed.  Kyrie Irving was discussing it. Anderson Varejao usually provides it every night. That “IT” that everyone is talking about, but not giving, is EFFORT.  Better yet, 48 Minutes Of Maximum Effort, or “48MOME”!

The Cavaliers are not a good enough team, not even close, to think they can just  go through the motions and flip the switch late in a game against an equal or lessor opponent and come away with a victory. They need to give maximum effort for 48 minutes, every night, or they’re going to get beat.

Case and point,  Anderson Varejao’s comments to me following the 98-91 home loss to the Wizards on Wednesday night, “We went to Washington, we beat them there. We came back to Cleveland, we thought we were just going to show up and beat them. It’s no way.”

(Anderson Varejao 1 on 1 Interview with Kenny Roda)


Varejao is one of the veterans on the second youngest team in the NBA and he usually leads by example with his all-out play on the floor, but he told me that he’ll pick his moments when he feels the need to step up and say something and I’m guessing that time is now.

Yes it’s only 12 games in to an 82 game schedule, but at (4-8) the Cavs look like a team that is totally lost, or not united, or both. They held a players only meeting already, and while it has been rumored that the meeting got physical, there is no proof of that. Here’s an idea, how about getting physical on the floor with the other team from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

“48MOME”! That’s what’s going to be needed every night to win games from the all-star Kyrier Irving, to the veteran Anderson Vareajo, to the number one overall pick in the NBA draft Anthony Bennett, to the undrafted rookie point guard Mathew Dellavedova and everybody else. And the sooner the Cavalier players realize this and actually go out and do it instead of just talking about it, the sooner they can turn this season around.

If not, trades will happen, heads will roll, and we’ll be looking at another non-playoff, losing season with plenty of ping pong balls in the hopper. So Cavs players how about giving “48MOME” so we can avoid playing for  “APPBITH”! 

Jarret Jack Post-Game after 98-91 loss to Wizards


I don’t know about you, but as I watched the Browns blow a 13-nothing first quarter lead yesterday by giving up 31 consecutive second quarter points, I started having an Ohio State/Nebraska flashback from two seasons ago.

That’s the last time I can remember a team being in total control and then just losing all momentum in route to losing the game.  In case you didn’t have the same flashback I had, Luke Fickel’s Buckeyes led Bo Pelini’s Cornhuskers 27-6 in the third quarter only to lose the game by giving up 28 unanswered points in a 34-27 loss. Fickell and his staff had no answers on how to turn “Big Mo” back around and that’s how I felt with Rob Chudzinski, Jason Campbell and the Browns yesterday.

With the way the Browns defense was playing, all Campbell had to do at 13-zip nearing the end of the first quarter was manage the game, don’t turn the ball over and there was a pretty good chance the Browns would have beaten the Bengals yesterday.  Instead, Campbell starts the “Avalanche of Negativity” by throwing the first of his three interceptions deep in his own territory that Cincy would eventually turn into 7 points to get them back in the game and get the ball rolling in their direction. 7 points became 14, which became 21, then 28, and before the end of the half, 31 consecutive Cincinnati points for a 31-13 halftime lead. BALLGAME!photo (47)

While Campbell started this disastrous process, Chud’s inability to make adjustments on the fly, especially on special teams was just as costly. You can’t let your special teams get two punts blocked in a single game let alone in one quarter. Chud also has the veto power to step in if he doesn’t like the way Norv Turner is calling the game and to abandon the run like they did after the first quarter proved  to be part of their demise as well.

This was the biggest Browns game in years. You had a chance to get back to .500 overall and be only a half game out of first place in your division heading into a home game against the arch rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Can you imagine what the atmosphere would have been like at First Energy Stadium had that happened?

Instead you squander a dominant first quarter performance and a 13-nothing lead and turn it into a demoralizing loss that puts you at (4-6) and now tied with the Steelers and Ravens for second place in the division, two and a half games back of first place Cincinnati.

Yes there is still time to turn this around and get back in the wild card race and maybe the division race, but a golden opportunity was missed yesterday by the Browns to not only put themselves in position in the division to make the playoffs, but to also galvanize a fan base who has been waiting for years to have something to believe in on the lake front.

Now it’s back to the drawing board to see if you can correct the many mistakes that were made in the Queens city in time to get ready for the hated Steelers, who have won two in a row and will be coming to Cleveland with a lot of momentum, and after watching yesterday’s Browns/Bengals game and thinking back to that Ohio State/Nebraska game, momentum is a dangerous, and sometimes an unchangeable thing!

“Instant Analysis” – Bengals 41 Browns 20