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Monthly Archives: July 2014
On how he’s progressed this week:
“Some ups and downs. I don’t think that I have it figured out by any means, but it’s training camp; some of the things we’re going over for the first time or we briefly went over through OTAs. Getting the reps on the field, seeing it and really just learning as I go on. It’s a progress. It’s really reverse the playbook right now, just getting reps and getting comfortable with it. That’s what you have to do. You know it, but until you really get comfortable with all of the stuff, it’s’ still a struggle.”
On if it will be more natural for him in game situations:
“For me, I’ve been better in game situations than I feel that I have in practice, but I have to come out here and get better at the plays and get better at the reps that I’m getting. That’s my main thing, just keep getting better, and when it’s time to go out and play football, then it’s time to play football.”
On being upset that he hasn’t gotten reps with the first team:
“No, not at all.”
On his competitive nature and today’s goal-line session for the orange jerseys:
“It’s a competition that Coach Pett (Head Coach Mike Pettine) obviously threw in to get spirits live at the end of practice and to get people energized and bring a competition factor to it because we sit out there and go against each other all day, and then when it’s time to go, there’s another level that it gets to. Right now, we’re 0-2, but we’re striving to change that. Offensively, we have to execute, run our plays and do what we need to do get the ball in the end zone or get the ball where we need to win the competition.”
On if practices are difficult due to his competitive nature and not being able to let loose:
“No, practice is time to get better and hone in on your craft. There will be times in games and situations in games where things break down, and obviously it’s not practice so there aren’t coaches on the field. It’ll be a lot different, but practice is what it is, and we have to get better.”
On if offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s comments that neither QB is in the lead are encouraging:
“He’s the coach so what coach Shanahan (says) goes. I don’t know if it’s necessarily encouraging, but I’m not worried about one or the other being ahead or anything. Right now, it’s me making sure I know what I need to know to get out here, execute and run the offense and not have any mistakes. Once I go through a couple of days with no mental errors or getting to where I need to be every single time, then I’ll feel a lot better. Nothing that really one ahead of the other, who’s here, who’s there, that’s not really on my mind at all right now. It’s me versus the playbook, and there’s nothing else. Got to know the stuff to even be able to come out here and execute everything.”
On why the offense has seemed to struggle during practice, and if learning the playbook contributes to it:
“Specifically with my group? I’m a rookie. I don’t have all of this stuff figured out. I don’t know the ins and outs and every little nook and cranny. Sometimes there’s a little twist on a play, and you can go in and forget to say it in the huddle, and from that, it changes the whole dynamic. Some of those times, some of the plays I’ve ran for the first time and really gone back into it. We run them again and just make sure not to make the same mistakes twice. It’s a process for me. It’s not something that I should just come in here and naturally because I played well in college just know how to run this offense. It’s a complete 180 [degrees] from everything that I’ve been used to, and it’s going to take time. It’s a process coming from a spread air-raid system in college to a pro style system that’s very unfamiliar with me in terms of terminology, routes and being under center a lot more. It’s not something that I can’t handle; it’s not something that I’m not going to continue to strive and work for to try and get better at.”
On types of plays that he excels and struggles with:
“I can tell that I’m a lot more comfortable and familiar with Day 1 and Day 2 install stuff just based off of we’ve done that a couple more times than we’ve done stuff toward the back end of the install. The things that we’ve put in first and got to come around three or four times of doing it, obviously, I’m going to be a lot more comfortable with that. The things in the early stages, I’m obviously more comfortable. Getting in shotgun on third down obviously is just a comfort zone for me, but I’m not saying that I’m not comfortable under center or anything like that. Obviously, it’s what I‘ve been used to for the couple years, and really, that’s where I’m at right now.”
On if it’s true that the Aggies didn’t really have a ‘true playbook’ at Texas A&M and how it affects his adjustment:
“It’s definitely a bigger playbook. We had installs and the same stuff at A&M that we do now. It’s just one play can be this big [holds hands up measuring distance] and then be this big [holds hands further apart] in our playbook now with tags. One little tag can change the whole dynamic. It’s just different. That’s really all it is. It’s just different – different wordage and different verbiage than what I’m used to.”
On if he can win the starting QB job:
“Right now, I’m not really even concerned with that. I’m just concerned with making sure I lead my group, try to get in there and get more comfortable with these guys. Everything else will take care of itself. Whatever the case may be, I want to be a team player and a guy that can help this team get better, whether it’s not playing this year or playing this year. Whatever the situation may be, I’m about this team and I want what’s best for this team.”
On his relationship with QB Brian Hoyer:
“It’s good. We have a very friendly, very fun quarterback room. Brian, I’m obviously learning from him. He’s a guy who was in a system that demands a lot in New England. He’s a very intelligent guy. He knows his stuff really well. You can tell that he’s a professional and he’s been doing this for a while. For me, it’s encouraging to have a guy like that in the room, him and (QB) Tyler (Thigpen). Both have been in different systems and know how to adapt and how to go through training camp. This is my first time, obviously. I’m not used to this amount of length during the day of being up here, all the film, all the stuff so it’s different. To have Brian and Tyler in there has been really nice. My and Brian’s relationship has been just as normal as everybody else’s in the room. I don’t feel any tension or anything like that. He’s helped me in situations, and I’m trying to learn from him.”
On if he’s picked Hoyer’s brain and how receptive Hoyer to that:
“I think I pick his brain more by just seeing him get on the board. When he asks questions, it’s always better for me to take reps even when I’m not in. Whenever he’s asking a question – why he saw this, this and this – I can learn just from being in the room and just hearing what he says and the type of questions he’s asking.”
On if it’s asking too much for him to be ready to play Week 1:
“I think I’ll play whenever these coaches decide that I’m ready. I don’t think there’s any rush. For me, it’s whenever Coach (Mike) Pettine, (offensive coordinator) Coach (Kyle) Shanahan decide that. I don’t think they ever want to throw me into a situation that I’m not ready for or something that I can’t handle. I don’t know if they drafted me necessarily thinking that I should come in and start week one. I think they wanted to see where I’m at and see how I progress, and hopefully, they’re happy with how I’m progressing. If not, then obviously I need to take it upon myself to step my game up and continue to learn the stuff at a more rapid pace.”
On how much freedom he’ll have to run and do what he wants in scrimmages and games:
“I think I’m going to go through and I’m not going to have a lot of freedom. I think that I’m going to go through, go run the plays that I’m called and checks that we can do that are allowed within our offense, and then, if something’s not there, if something breaks down, then I think I’ll be able to do what I did in college a little bit and be smart about it. Obviously, in preseason games the goal is to move the ball down the field at all costs, and obviously, try to play within the offense, and then when things break down, that’s obviously where I’ve been good in the past. I think it will just come natural. It’s just go out and play football and try to execute the offense.”
On if he’s learned anything about Hoyer that’s surprised him:
“Coming in, I didn’t know much about him at all. I just kind of knew who he was. I got to watch him play pretty well in the games that he played last year, just briefly. I didn’t really know a lot about him. I knew he’d been in the league for a little while and he was a veteran. I didn’t have any preconceived thought or anything about Brian. When I got a chance to come in and meet him, he’s been great towards me, he’s been a great teammate and I’m just continuing to learn from him.”
As I’ve been saying for a while now, it’s not a matter of if Kevin Love will be traded to the Cavs, it’s a matter of when and for who. It’s funny how when some local media members report this, it doesn’t carry much weight, but when some national media members report it, after being late to the party again, it’s gospel. Just remember a lot of those same national media members with the exception of Chris Sheridan, didn’t think LeBron James was coming back to Cleveland when a number of us local media members had it on good authority that “The King” would return.
My sources tell me that Cavs G.M. David Griffin is still trying to do everything he can to not include Andrew Wiggins in the Kevin Love deal. However, the Cavs understand that it may end up costing them this year’s number #1 overall pick, as well as last year’s first overall choice, Anthony Bennett along with at least one first round pick in 2015 to get Flip Saunders of the T-Wolves to channel his inner Monte Hall and say, “Let’s make that deal!” As I’ve been saying for weeks now, don’t be surprised if the 76ers and the name Thadeus Young surface should the Love trade need to involve a third team.
Saunders, who is Minnesota’s “Mr. Basketball” now – part owner, president of basketball ops and head coach, realizes he must replace a franchise type player in Love with another franchise type player in Wiggins. None of the other deals from Chicago or Golden St. include a player who has the potential to be a franchise caliber player like Wiggins, who they can control for a while with a player friendly contract. Remember the earliest a deal could happen involving Wiggins because of the 30 day NBA rule involving rookie players who have signed their contracts is August 23rd.
The Cavs are trying to convince the Timberwolves that Dion Waiters is also a franchise type player and they’re hoping his play during the Team USA select squad practices will back up their argument. So here’s hoping Waiters is performing well in “Sin City”.
Speaking of Waiters, while I wasn’t a proponent of taking him with the 4th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, I have to give the Cavs shooting guard credit for what I’ve seen and heard from him this off season. Waiters has lost weight and looks ripped. He is part of Team USA’s young select squad that is practicing against Team USA’s varsity squad if you will in Las Vegas, and at least sounds like he understands he’ll have to change and improve his game somewhat in certain areas to become a better player. The latter is based on these comments he made recently in Vegas –
“I have to make adjustments. I like to have the ball, and we have Kyrie, and he likes to have the ball. So I have to find ways to impact the game without having the ball. I’m planning to go watch tape to see what D-Wade did when he played with LeBron. I need to learn how to be effective out there with him.”
This is the same Waiters though who recently told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com that, “I want to start and I believe that I should at the two.” I don’t have a problem with that comment because almost every player in the NBA wants to start and believes they should. Plus if Andrew Wiggins has to be included in the Kevin Love deal, Waiters would be the Cavaliers best option to start at the two, even though I think his best role is coming off the bench as the 6th man.
If Kyrie Irving doesn’t make Team USA’s basketball squad, might that benefit him more in the long run because it should humble him and motivate him to work even harder on his all-around game? Uncle Drew is reportedly in a tough battle with Derrick Rose, John Wall and Damian Lillard for the two pure point guard spots that Team USA director Jerry Colangelo wants to fill on the squad. However, don’t discount the fact that his former college coach Mike Krzyzewski, remains as Team USA’s head coach, and that may carry some serious weight in the decision making process.
New Cavs head coach David Blatt spent some time recently talking about his new job with the gang from NBA-TV in Las Vegas at a Team USA practice. Watch Here – – http://www.nba.com/video/channels/aiming_for_gold/2014/07/29/20140729-usab-camp-blatt.nba/#$/video/channels/aiming_for_gold/2014/07/29/20140729-usab-camp-blatt.nba/index.html …
G.M. Ray Farmer and the Cleveland Browns feel they have made significant moves this offseason through the draft and free agency that will help them win football games in the NFL. But with the moves they have made, will it increase the value of any of their players when it comes to Fantasy football?
Here’s how I approach my Fantasy Football season and the player rankings. I have my own ideas on who I have ranked high and who I like for the upcoming season. I then go and buy my annual Fantasy magazine, which is Sports Illustrated and I also download information from two other highly reputable Fantasy outlets, ESPN.com and CBSSportsline.com. I then take the average of all four to come up with my rankings for my draft cheat sheet.
In starting my research it has become apparent to me that not many players on the Browns offense are being considered as starters or must haves on Fantasy rosters this year. With that in mind, here are the players and where the three major magazines/websites have Browns players ranked.
QB – Johnny Manziel – 34th
QB – Brian Hoyer – 19th
RB – Ben Tate – 21st
WR – Josh Gordon 70th
WR – Andrew Hawkins – 82nd
TE – Jordan Cameron – 10th
QB – Johnny Manziel – 23rd
QB – Brian Hoyer – 35th
RB – Ben Tate – 16th
WR – Josh Gordon – Not Ranked in Top 80
WR – Andrew Hawkins – 54th
TE – Jordan Cameron – 6th
QB – Johnny Manziel – 26th and 29th
QB – Brian Hoyer – Not Ranked in Top 32
RB – Ben Tate – 27th and 27th
WR – Josh Gordon – Not Ranked in Top 60
WR – Andrew Hawkins – Not Ranked in Top 60
TE – Jordan Cameron – 5th and 10th
So as you can see tight end Jordan Cameron, in the eyes of the experts, is your highest ranked Cleveland Browns player when it comes to expected Fantasy Football production this season. Josh Gordon would have been the top ranked Browns player if he didn’t have the potential season long suspension hanging over his head. However, not knowing his status at this point either has him ranked very low or not ranked at all. Should Gordon’s potential season long suspension be reduced, or if he miraculously is cleared to play in all 16 games this season, then he would once again be a top 10, if not a top 5 receiver on almost everybody’s boards and the top ranked Browns player.
In reading Mike Pettine’s comments post-practice today, the two responses below caught my attention in a good way. It’s something the Browns have not been good at since they’ve returned to the NFL in 1999 and kudos to the first-year head coach for emphasizing it early in camp and I’m guessing he will continue to pound home the importance of winning the turnover battle and finishing games strong.
Question – On every running play ending with two or three defenders trying to pry the ball loose and if that’s planned?
Coach Pettine – “Absolutely. To me, you look at the statistics in the league – what’s the biggest indicator of wins and losses? It’s the turnover ratio. We want to be one of those teams that takes the ball away and doesn’t allow teams to take it away from us. I think as frustrating as it is for our running backs, it’s great practice for them having guys pulling at it and hacking at it, and it’s good for our guys defensively. It’s a habit like anything else. Hopefully, it will carry over to Sunday.”
Question – On if he feels like the defense really dominated today?
Coach Pettine – “To me, it’s just knee-jerk reaction, and then certainly, at the end, it was upper hand to the defense. I reminded them in the meetings that we’re going to do those competitions at the end, and this could have been the day where the offense dominated all day and the defense wins it at the end where it counted. We want to train our guys to know it doesn’t matter what happens over the course of a game, we’ve got to make sure we can finish, whether it’s in practice finishing a drill at the end when we start doing our two-minute stuff, our red zone stuff. I think that’s important to realize. If I’m with a group who’s played well throughout the game, it still comes down to playing well at the end in virtually every NFL game.”
To say this was a unique promotion is an understatement, even for LeBron James.
The King who recently returned home to play for the Cavaliers, was on the road this time promoting his Nike brand and things got a little crazy.
Check out this story from SI.Com’s Extra Mustard –
LeBron James took off his clothes and threw them into a crowd in Taiwan:
It can’t be long now before the owners make it happen. No, not the Kevin Love trade to Cleveland that everyone is waiting on, but jersey sponsorship for big dollars with the professional sports teams in the U.S.
If 20 Premiere League teams can bring in $325 million for one season with jersey sponsorships, imagine what 32 NFL teams could bring in for one 16 game season. How about 30 MLB teams over 4,860 regular season games or the NBA with its world wide appeal for about 100 games, if your team makes it to the finals. Even the NHL would make a bundle with their multiple country appeal.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 18, 2014
After reading a story like the one posted here – http://www.cbssports.com/general/eye-on-sports/24641471/report-premier-league-jersey-sponsorships-worth-record-325-million – I’ve got to believe that owners in the NBA, NFL, MLB and the NHL will be talking to their league commissioners about making this happen sooner rather than later!
It could be a major plus for the small market teams in Major League Baseball where there is no salary cap and the have-nots can maybe make up some ground on the haves in creating revenue to then turn around and spend those dollars on big name free agents to become more competitive.
In the other leagues, owners may just want to sell jersey sponsorship to bring in more dollars so they can add it to their already growing bank accounts or possibly to put some of the money back into their stadiums, arenas or their farm system.
Owners of professional sports teams are usually smart, greedy business men and I can’t see them missing out on this cash cow for much longer. So get ready for your Cleveland Browns, Cavs and Indians to have more than their team name or city on the front or back of their actual game jerseys. You’ll get used to it after a while and if it allows Larry Dolan, Jimmy Haslam or Dan Gilbert to make their teams better, you’ll accept it just like soccer fans do.
1) Quarterback Braxton Miller is 100% healthy and in the best shape of his life and ready to roll for his senior year after having off- season shoulder surgery.
2) The offensive line is his biggest concern after losing four starters from a year ago. The battles continue for a few starting spots.
3) After the O-Line, the secondary is next on the list of concerns for the 2014 Buckeyes. Meyer said they have totally blown up the secondary from a year ago and started from scratch with the help of new co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Chris Ash.
4) The strength of this team will be its defensive line not only because of the stud players they have, but also the depth they have at those positions, and new defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
5) Meyer is expecting big things from his linebackers this year, calling it one his stronger groups based on chemistry and trust, the leadership of Josh Perry and Curtis Grant and some talented young players like Raekwon McMillan.
6) In order for his team to be a Big Ten Title contender, the trust and chemistry and development of some of the younger players will need to be there, as well as staying healthy.
7) Meyer feels that the Big Ten’s East Division is one of the toughest divisions in all of college football with Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, Indiana, Rutgers and Maryland.
8) I expect a larger and more impactful role from Dontre Wilson this year on offense after hearing Meyer talk about him today, saying he’s gained weight and is much stronger .
9) Even though Michigan State won the Big Ten Championship last year by beating the Buckeyes 34-24, Meyer still only sees one rival on Ohio State’s schedule and it’s “That Team Up North”. But in case you disagree with Urban, OSU plays at M.S.U. on November 8th at 8pm on ABC. The Michigan game is November 29th in Columbus this year, start time TBA.
10) Meyer is expecting the receiving core to take a major step forward and carry their own weight on par with the rest of the football team. Meyer said in his first year they didn’t, and last year they got much better, but he said he’ll be disappointed if that group doesn’t improve even more this year.