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Cheddar Bay Leaderboard

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No complaints here.

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I’ll admit that my “Browns Troll” piece currently in the ‘Draft’ category might be aways away from publication.

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I got nothing.  Not right now.

Is Andy Dalton a bag of suck?  Oh sure, you bet; but now’s not the time.  Have I said that Buster Skrine plays good positionally and my greivance is with his size?  Yeah* sure, but who cares… cover your ass posts are boring in general and particularly self-centered if done after such a glorious weekend.  Squeeze in just a smidgeon of juxtaposition between Dolan’s off-season and Haslam’s…?  Oh HELL NO!

No, no, no.  Not now.

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Lots of space there Braxton.

Because it’s lovely lovely lovely to have a solid Buckeye win at home over a top team; a Browns domination of a perennial playoff team; and the Indians blowing everyone’s mind and getting into the playoffs.

Let’s offer some comment on all three.

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1.  The Buckeyes.
I sure have some solid memories of national spotlight games in Columbus not going according to plan.  That wasn’t the case Saturday.  Braxton Miller looks poised running an offense who just won their line of scrimmage battle all night.  On defense, who knew Joel Stave had that game in him?  The Badgers were just good enough to provide a lot of coachable moments for Coach Meyer and none to soon with the at Northwestern game coming up.  The Bucks look good — but not great — and certainly shouldn’t be overconfident going to Evanston.

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NFL: San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns

Don’t overthink it, Joe: sign em both.

2.  The Browns.
First off, I have to say that watching in a bar is sub-optimal.  But my vibe from the game was that it never felt like the Browns weren’t dominating.

Err..  I can’t not write SOMETHING about Jay Gruden’s odd non-use of Gio Bernard and bizarre fixation on five yard under patterns for AJ Green.  How a team can have Gresham, Eifert, Green, Sanu matched up against the shortest secondary and not go up top is .. it’s a poser, I’ll tell ya.  If I do the Bengals’ blame pie, I’m settling in of equal parts Gruden weak OC, Dalton-bag-o-suck, and Browns defense that good.

Wait a sec, let me kick up the Browns’ defense credit from 33% to 50%.  Because Joe Haden’s performance on AJ Green a COUPLED WITH just the right amount of smack talk was so money.  I can’t think of a cornerback I’d rather have.  Revis? Peterson?  Sherman?  Nope, I’m good with Haden thanks.

And Hoyer, yes you can be quarterback.  You executed the best (only?) screen pass by the Browns in the last 20 years.  I actually don’t think that’s an exaggeration.  Hoyer is proof that ‘good’ QB is meaningless in the face of ‘smart’ QB or at least ‘competent enough to remember he has a tall tight end who can win jump balls’ QB.  Jordan Cameron… didn’t see that one coming either.

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Note teammate Perez up front.

3.  The Indians.
Like many of you, I lost interest after that Tigers series in August and in particular after that brutal blown save shutout in the first game.  (Cripes, it’s painful even to look at that boxscore.)  The responsible blogger/journo in me wants to remind you of some stat on how the Tribe does against good teams.  But the fan in me won’t even google it and says in boldface:  NINETY-TWO WINS.  15-2 to close the season.  Yessir, good things can happen when try to win now and that’s nuf ‘ced on that for now too.

Salazar is a revelation.  In fact, the rotation looks like a real rotation with Ubaldo-Kazmir-Kluber-Salazar and what’s up with Masterson?  Is he our closer now?  See?  I really haven’t been paying attention closely enough.  The games are on in the background and my ears perk when personal fave Michael Brantley does something awesome.

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Cheddar Bay week 5: Wisconsin +7.5 at Ohio State.

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IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Cheddar stalwarts CheddarClay, Probitive Favorite, CapGG, and Brosef seen at Bengals game tailgate.

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^^^ Brings me sheet music for obscure Godfather piano pieces.  (Click to hear.)

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LATE LINE:  AFA +10 at Nevada.

THIS WEEKS LINES ARE LINKED HERE.
THIS WEEK’S ALL PLAY IS WISCONSIN +7.5 AT OHIO STATE.
IPAD/MOBILEDEVICE USERS:  THE STANDINGS ARE LINKED HERE.
AND REMEMBER TO DOUBLE CHECK MY ENTRY OF YOUR PICKS ON THIS SPREADSHEET.

Well that’s a lot of capital letters.

Hey ladies and gents, this is your Cheddar Bay open thread for week five.  Treat it lovingly.

Well done on the LOBSTERFEST to player It’s Only Money.  His winning ticket looked like this:

  • Browns +6 – essay
  • Bengals +6 – allplay
  • Lville -42.5
  • OSU -49.5
  • Wisc -24.5
  • Mizzou -3.5

Oh sure, it looks easy and smart now.

And speaking of the Browns, I seem to have staked out a position on Joe Banner and his plan for 2013 which is somewhat unpopular and that has been challenged on several fronts.  (I see you Zara!)  I apologize for not tending to this with replies or a follow up post… but hey, mom’s in town.  She came out from Colorado to play my piano and see some Seacoast and of course making sure I’m good.  So salty Banner critiques are on hold for just a bit.  Having a morning Matcha Tea with someone playing “the mattresses song” from The Godfather renders one without salt.

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@ClevTA's Skanky Fish Picks.

@ClevTA’s Skanky Fish Picks.

Skank Time:  8-2-1 since inception using Cheddar lines, 7-3 with real time wagers. True to the title of this post, there are a few special “hold your nose” picks below but just remember awful teams cover too.

College:

  1. Idaho +7.5 v Temple (Temple opened -9.5 down to 7, 65% of public on Temple) Pick: Idaho
  2. USC +5.5 v ASU (ASU opened -7 down to 4.5, 64% of public on ASU) Pick: USC
  3. Buffalo +1 v UCONN (UCONN opened -2.5 down to PK, 64% of public on UCONN) Pick :Buffalo

NFL:

  1. Rams +4 v SF (SF opened -4 down to 3, 68% of public on SF) Pick: Rams
  2. Browns +5 v Cinci (Opened Cinci -5 down to 4, 69% of public on Cinci) Pick: Browns
  3. Jax +9.5 v Indy (Opened Indy -9.5 down to 7.5,75% of public on Indy) Pick Jax
  4. Buffalo +3.5 v Baltimore (Opened Balt -4 down to 3, 67% of public on Balt) Pick: Buffalo

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Okay Cheddars, we’re due to regress progress to the mean eventually, but still we batted .417 last week so:

Let’s be careful out there.

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The Banner Plan.

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The floggings will continue until morale improves.

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I wrote a post Thursday/Friday that was triggered by the Trent Richardson trade.  It was emotional, hot, angry, pleading, salty.  But yet it seems its point was not made effectively.  I’ve read several responses to it where the reaction centers on the trading Trent Richardson (and what value the Browns got for him).  That not just misses the primary point it ignores a whole section with a boldface heading that says, “Richardson trade *is* good value.  But that’s not the problem here.”  So let me try again and do better this time.

Joe Banner’s plan is a figurative keelhauling of Browns fans.  You have been harnessed and thrown over the bow of the smokey oil slick of a 18th century whaling ship that is 2013 Berea.  You will be pulled up from the stern after a long salt-water immersion-waterboarding and scoured by the thousands of barnicles on the vessel’s hull under water level.  You will emerge in 2018 proven worthy and absolved of past misdeeds.  If you aren’t dismembered or drowned by the process.

Still too allegorical?  Ok.

Joe Banner is writing off the next three/four years on a 50-50 bet that the team will be better then; on the much smaller chance that the Browns-with-Joe-Banner’s-guys will show up in the playoffs in 2018.

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OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.

You think Trent Richardson is the start?  You think Teddy “My-God-Teddy-Bridgewater” Bridgewater is the end game?

Smarten up and grow up, you foolish child Browns fan.

Trent Richardson heralds the midpoint of the first step in the process:  be just good enough to be competitive but just bad enough to lose.  Bad enough to lose every game, that is.  The Trent Richardson trade is the part where the strategy is non-verbally, formally announced to Browns fans.  “Hey Browns fans, this is Vegas.  Yeah, you’re not gonna be favored in a game until December and even that Jets game is looking iffy.  Just thought you’d want to know.”

Fans are waking up to the reality of a tanked season and that is why they are pissed.

Fans are not pissed because (the possibly/probably overrated) Trent Richardson was traded for a first round pick in 2014.  They’re pissed this transaction crystallized several vague thoughts for them:

  1. We’re really not trying?  Damn Kanick was right:  we’re REALLY not trying.  TRich may not be all he’s hyped, but he is our best offensive weapon or so we’ve been programmed for the last two years and if he’s not our weapon then who the fuck is?

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    If you think Joe Banner holds on to Reggie Wayne after the Peyton Manning trade, you’re simply not paying attention.

  2. The Colts organization embodies all the Browns are not.  You say they got lucky with Andrew Luck.  No doubt.  But they’re supposed to be a crap team this year, just ask anyone at Grantland.  This is the team that brought “regress to mean” into the football fan’s lexicon.  In the face of the staggering analytical analyses of joyless stat nerds masquerading as football people, the Colts say:  “Eff that, we ain’t regressing, we would we?”  Colts have $3M in cap space which is also approximately their 2012 rollover amount.  The Colts just acquired the third pick in last year’s draft to go with their #1 pick.  The Colts are doing all they can to win.  And as to the trade itself, who’s to say TRich doesn’t turn into Steven Jackson playing for a playoff team… Marshawn Lynch seemed to improve after he left Buffalo.
    • Sidebar to all who believe Banner’s cap horseshit and think not competing and spending this year is sound financial planning and to do otherwise will condemn the Browns into a morass of cap hell:  Colts 2014 cap is 30th in the league, $82M
  3. And finally, they’re pissed because it’s dawning on them that this is just the start of the gutting.

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Just the start of the gutting.

It was Kolonich who got me thinking about the idea that this is just starting.

Richardson was probably only the beginning of this new reboot.  I can’t imagine Gordon, Little, Schwartz, Weeden (obvious), Lauvao, Pinkston, etc. survive into 2014 and beyond.  Not to mention Mack, Rubin, Ward and possibly even Haden.

For those who didn’t figure this out way back in January, we’re in the beginning stages of a total reset.  Just like Savage wiped out Davis and Mangini wiped out Savage and Heckert wiped out Mangini, and so on and so on. (more…)

Banner to Browns fans: EFF YOU; National Wags to Browns fans: Smarten up and be patient longer.

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Skins get mobile QB now with blown ACL.
Rams get Michael Brockers + Janoris Jenkins + Isaiah Pead + Alec Ogletree + Stedman Bailey + Skins’ 2014 first round pick.
Remarkably, most think the Skins won that trade.
Remarkably, some still think the Browns whiffed on this deal.
This is one of the many ways betting everything on a first round QB can go wrong.

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Looking for at least one post that doesn’t tell you how fucking smart Joe Banner is?  Just one write-up that doesn’t tell you, Mr. Browns Fan, that you’re a petulant child for expecting a competitive team this year?  One piece that calls bullshit on the Banner regime’s performance to date?  And what in the hell does the Carmen Policy era have to do with any of this???

Look no further.

Three items today and I’ll sum up the Kanick take up top for you:

  1. Trent Richardson trade.  (Yes, it’s good value.  Don’t care.  You punted the season and didn’t have to.)
  2. National types and local schoolmarms telling us a 1-15 season is smart.  (General disdain for media lapdogs telling every Browns fan who expected a season of improvement that we’re idiots for being pissed.)
  3. Since when did a high draft pick become a guarantee of team success?  (The myth of magical first round QBs exposed.)

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Richardson trade *is* good value.  But that’s not the problem here.

I actually think Browns got good value on T-Rich.  I haven’t been a Richardson fan and I’ve pointed out why on several occasions.  Basically, I think he runs soft.   Got no Beast Mode.  Stops before contact.  Been like this since his Bama days.  See below and below that.

So I’m ok with the value received in return for the trade.  I would also say the Browns got good value on their auction of 2012 draft picks.  Browns also have an efficient payroll structure as demonstrated by their $25M in cap space.

None of these “good management practices” add up to even an attempt at winning football in 2013 and thus these “smart moves” amount to a steaming crap in the middle of the Munilot.  All of these moves say, “We assume you will continue coming to losing games because we’ve improved the ‘fan experience.'”  Banner don’t care if he wins this year, next year, or the year after that.  (Has anyone heard a timetable or a tangible goal for this organization?)  All I read is that he has to get ‘his own guys’ on the roster like that’s normal.  (He’s no Don Shula.*)  To expect him to win Heckert’s guys is unreasonable.

I say bullshit.

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Don’t think the Browns could have competed this year?  Really?

Think again.

You know how this could have played out in 2013?  If Berea actually wanted to win this year?  If Berea actually gave a more fucks about their fans than their god damn office furniture and the murals, my god, the murals?

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Would you look at how proud he is?
Hey Joe: NO ONE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT THE BEREA WALLS.

Because this is a formula that was available to Banner thanks to the pristine salary structure bequeathed him by Tom Heckert.  It goes like this:

You had six holes (CB2, OG, LB, FS, TE, FB), they’re now all patched.  You’ve got your o-line set for the next five years.  You’ve got two lock-down CBs.  You’ve added speed at LB.  You’ve got a playmaking TE.  And you’ve got your QB.

Tell me that’s not a playoff team.

How hard was that? (more…)

Cheddar Bay week 4: We [are now no longer] goin’ to Ypsi.

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White smoke seen rising above the Basilica of Cheddar Bay.

LATE LINES:

Arkansas +2 at Rutgers;
Toledo -13 at CMU;
FAMU +49.5 at OSU.

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After an emergency session of the Cheddar Bay Executive Committee, the all-play for this week is no longer the sleeper sneaky MAC game between Ann Arbor and Detroit.

We are now asking our pickers to choose this game:

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Packers -3 at Bengals.
1pm Sunday.
Game matchup link.

Three time playoff team and undefeated 1-1 Bengals a home dog?  Residual MNF football effect?  Should be a strong game.

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Week four lines here.

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UPDATE, Thursday PM:  ClevTA’s Rotten Skanky Fishstinky-dead-animated-fish-with-flies
Last week, TA’s formula went 4-1-1.  Let’s see how it goes this week:

CFB:
– SJSU v Minn (opened Min -5, now -3.5. 65% on MIN) ADV: SJSU
– Memphis v ARK St (opened -6, now -4. 69% on ARK st) ADV: Memphis
– SDSU v Oregon St (opened -11, now -8.5. 67% on Oregon St) ADV: SDSU

NFL:
– ATL v MIA (opened PK, now MIA -2.5. 68% on ATL) ADV: MIA
– Buf v NYJ (opened NYJ -1, now NYJ -2.5. 64% on BUF) ADV: NYJ

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———DISREGARD LOVELY YPSILANTI———

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Ypsilanti, MI:  Home to EMU and rumored to be a pretty cool place.

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Other news.

Welcome Swerb.  I granted new player Swerb a late entry bogey of one point.  There is precedent for this from past years, not a biggie, and congrats on coming out strong.

Hell yes we can still accept late entries.  In case you know anyone on the fence.  Get em in touch with me.

Cheddar public service announcement.  If anyone missed yesterday’s post, Be a better bettor, it’s probably worth your while to check it out.  Many thanks for Petefranklin, ClevTA, and Squeekycleen for their insights.  If you know real handicappers, you know discretion and low-profile are two cornerstones in that personality profile… so we appreciate the info they were willing to share.

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Michie Stadium is terrific.  

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The Stanford man.

Army’s home games have been played at Michie Stadium since the 1920s.  You cannot ask for a better venue.  Good people, beautiful scenary, the parking –my god– the parking was executed like a miliatary operation, and Army played their balls off.  Army was hanging in, down 20-13 with five minutes left in the 3rd quarter.  Stanford had to out weigh Army by forty pounds at every position on the line and that eventually took its toll.  But the Army TD with seventeen seconds left was hard-earned and very tasty.

The game was a sell out with many Stanford types at the game and they all looked like this guy.

The only complaint, and it’s minor, was the the Corps of Cadets were in the visitor stands.  Don’t know if this is a new thing but have to say it could have been louder on our side of the field.  The Corps was loud.  Good thing too, because with the camo unis, you’d completely miss them but for the sound.

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Camo works.

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Be a better bettor.

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The picture of Petefranklin in my mind.

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Cheddar Bay is off to a slow start this year.  Our weekly win rate has gone from 48.7% to 44.6% to 44.0% as of Monday night.  Compare to last year (49.0-40.2-49.7) and 2011 (49.5-48.8-45.4) and we’re down a tad.

(Note:  we always figure it out after the slow start.  We closed positive in those last two years:  2012, 50.9%; 2011, 51.0%)

These numbers got me thinking about ‘systems.’  I try a ‘system’ every year.  This year I studied the ATS records of college head coaches.  Last year I forget what it was but it didn’t work.  Year before that it was random blue grass pioneers.  (e.g., Bill Monroe is from near Bowling Green, Kentucky so take WKU and UL-Monroe. I swear it was as good as anything else I’ve tried.)  I keep biting hard on a fail-safe way to pick games but dammit there either isn’t one or I’m not leveraging my resources.

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My ‘system’ starts with writing down games I like on envelope backs.  **thinks**  Nope, this is the max level of sophistication going on over here.

Wait a sec.  “Resources.”

I’m a g.d. Executive Committee member for Cheddar Bay.  I have m.f.-ing resources out my ass.  I know I’ve got one Cleveland-based handicapping maven and another guy who’s Vegas-based now but I wouldn’t be surprised to find he’s got some Steubenville or Youngstown roots.  And then there’s Squeekycleen… he quietly goes his own way and does his own thing but I’ve been booking plays here long enough to know a sharp player when I see one.

So I asked these players to help a brother out.  It went like this:

I view you as top handicappers in our group and just excellent handicappers without any qualification.  This is out of left field but would any of you be willing to give Cheddar a couple paragraphs on ‘handicapping’ things you look at?  Not football-related things, but stuff like line movements, public action, sharp action, consensus, what they mean (if anything) to you, where to find that data.  I know I’d be interested, I’m sure the group would be too.   Like I said, don’t want it to be a heavy lift.  Let me know if you’d be up sharing.

They were up for sharing.  I’ve excerpted their comments below.

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Resources

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Cle-dot-com not a go-to for up-to-date injury news… even for the Browns.

Petefranklin (PF):  As far as resources, Covers I use to track line movements and team stats and that’s about it.  Most of their articles are too generic, the forums are terrible, and their touts suck.  SBR and RX forums I use to see who the pro touts are on (good ones and bad ones).  Sportsmemo.com used to be my favorite show on AM out here but is only on the internet now; they have solid all around info.  I knew the Peedee was bad but there’s still no verification of Weedens sprained thumb at 12:30 AM EST.  I hadn’t been there (PD) for a while and it’s reasons like this that I have stayed away.  ESPN reported on its ticker three hours ago that he was out.

ClevTA (TA):  I love using Covers.com.  It’s a great resource for trends and an easy way to hit up box scores from the current and prior seasons.  I also rely on their consensus betting percentage trends as a guide for public wagering.  As a backup check on the public percentages, I also use an iphone app called iOdds to make sure the numbers jibe.  My third check on the public action is simply using Yahoo! and their NFL and College Pick’em contests.  You can see what yahoo.com users are entering in terms of ‘just win and ATS confidence.  (It’s also a good resource for anyone out there who play in survivor pools.)  For stats, the best site for both NFL and NCAA is teamrankings.com.  There’s a multitude of statistics for NFL and CFB and it’s easy to navigate.  I pay particular attention to yards per play and first downs per play.  But any stat that you are looking for, teamrankings has them.

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Line movement

PF:  My biggest criterion for a good bet is getting the best of the closing line.  I look for at least a point in college sides and more in totals, less so in the NFL.  I also work hard to get those numbers that are good, I made three laps around town yesterday in my truck and pulled a calf muscle sprinting into a casino only to have the # gone.

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Browns/Ravens preview.

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Oniel Cousins matches up today with Chris Canty… a member of the Ravens’ depleted defense.

I doubt I’ll be in the business of previewing games but in this case, it seems like a lot of points are being missed.  Since it’s not fun or fair to point these out after the game here are the factors the will lead to an easy Ravens -7 cover.  (And super easy current Ravens -6.5.)

1.  Chris Canty versus ONeill Cousins.  
It’s amazing what you can do when you can sign 30 year olds, when you don’t have to save salary for some unknown reason and when you don’t paint yourself into a corner with rigid get younger edicts.  The Ravens spent $2.8M in guaranteed money for a guy good enough to start 16 games for a SB winner two years ago.  He’s 30.  He’ll be occupying ONiel Cousins as a 34 DE.  Canty got a +2.3 rating from PFF last week; Cousins .  And this likely leaves Mitchell Schwartz without help against Terrell Suggs.  Does any of this sound familiar?  (PS, Oniel Cousins is 29.  IRONY!)

Click for full size viewing of the hole Ozzie dug himself. Consider that he drafed Matt Elam (for Reed) and Arthur Brown (for Ellerbe) and, hate to say it, but he actually did pretty well filling the holes.

Sidebar notes re:  Ravens’ defense
1a.  Ravens defense depleted myth.
Ravens lost a lot of players on defense.  Yes I know this, see graphic at right.  It was created for my written-not-published “Ozzie Newsome, not a genius” piece.  Why didn’t I publish it?  Why didn’t I share the time and toil that included making funny Wile E. Coyote graphics?  It’s that part with the green boxes where Ozzie pulled two studs and a decent piece part out of his ass to patch holes in his defense.
Do recall that the Ravens were in cap hell after their Super Bowl win.  Hard to kill them for that because, well, Super Bowl win.  This is why Boldin is gone.  Repeat:  the salary cap hell precipitated by winning the Super Bowl and thus needing to overpay to sign now Super Bowl Winning Joe Flacco created a problem.  In March, I thought it would be hell for them now I don’t think so.

1b.  Kruger was the most expendable of all the Ravens’ FA losses.
We all know we were bidding against ourselves for Kruger right?  I know Banner was at risk of breaking his arm patting himself on the back for this signing, but Kruger –he of six starts in his career– was backed up by the Ravens’ top pick in 2012, Courtney Upshaw.  He was never part of the plan for the Ravens.

2.  Ravens have a fullback.
Much has been made of the Browns’ front seven and yes it’s pretty to look at.  But the Ravens have multiyear all-pro Vonta Leach back and he’s playing the dinosaur fullback position.

Lol, don’t the Ravens know that position is obsolete?  Lol, Maroons!

Well I guess we’ll see if Ozzie and Jim Harbaugh know what they’re doing by keeping that position funded.  You know because it’s like they didn’t just win a Super Bowl.  But in considering fullbacks, they don’t win three all-pros for ‘rush yards gained.’  Fullbacks win all-pros for blocking, either lead blocking for the feature back or picking up blitzes and protecting their QB.  Oh wait a sec,,, doesn’t the Browns’ DC have a thing about attacking, blitzing  aggressive, something something?  Yes, I’m sure a read a report about the Browns front seven and blitzing.  But haven’t read too much about how having the best blocking fullback in the NFL might blunt that attack.  A rare miss by Cleveland sports media. (more…)

Cheddar Bay Week 3: Browns +7 at Ravens.

This week’s lines are posted here.

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Late lines:  OSU -15.5 at Cal; Ole Miss +3 at Texas.

Reminder:  use the “Current” column for your point spreads, not the “Open” column.

NFL Star Terrell Suggs Chooses Ink, Not Mink

Ball So Hard U will be represented Sunday.

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All-play is Browns -7 at Ravens.

We had three solid candidates for the All-Play this week.  My pref, I admit, was the Niners/Seahawks.  A great case can be made for Bama/TAMU.  But the Chairman Emeritus makes a compelling case for the Browns/Ravens:

Who will have the balls to take those points this week is  far and away the most interesting test of Cheddar Bayers this week.  Bama/A&M would be a second.  Niners/Seahawks is a great game, but I don’t think it’s nearly as compelling an All Play.  You’ll get a lot of “Mangini Mangini Mangini (spoiler alert!)” and the rest surely (at least mostly) just bland rehashing of preseason punditry on one side of the Niners/Seahawks debate or the other.

My ‘thing’ is not wanting to have to bet against the team I’m rooting for.  But that’s my thing and I have lots of things that I won’t inflict upon you up to and including an all-play of SunBelt powers WKU vs. ArkySt. at some point.  (Wait.  Actually I can’t rule that out.)

(And besides:  on second look at the schedule, Wisconsin at Arizona State might could be the best game of the weekend.)

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Sketchy updates this weekend.

Your loyal commissioner is usually on top of the scoring throughout the weekend, taking time out Sunday to catch the Browns (at The Riverside Lounge in Amesbury, Mass if you’re in the neighborhood).

But this weekend the scoring may lag as we’re picking off a low level bucket list item and catching an Army game at Michie Stadium, West Point, NY.  The fact of Stanford playing there is incidental   So look for pateslvrblk and me under the big Kanick logo as shown below.

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Not going to West Point expecting to witness the greatest upset in college football in the last 100 years.
Going because, just look.

Dammit just noticed who’s in front of our seats and I’ve already called the Browns Stadium ushers to make the cadets sit down.

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Drop your picks in the comments below and happy handicapping!

Breaking faith with Browns fans.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 8.21.25 AM

Speaking only for myself:  I found my Browns fan experience yesterday largely unchanged from past years.  How was yours?

The CSAT numbers can’t be good; perhaps a note to the VP of Fan Experience is in order.

Because, I kid you not, the Browns can afford such an executive although apparently they cannot afford a probowl, never-missed-a-start center.  (We’ll get to Alex Mack.)

After an off-season featuring the implementation of new office furniture and the adoption of analytics-to-improve-personnel talk (if not use); after healthier cafeterias and improved stadium cell service; after the junking of the dinosaur 4-3 defense in favor of the the current preferred turbo/hybrid attacking aggressive 3-4; after prudently eschewing free-agency use in favor of building through the draft (albeit next year’s draft); and dee-jays don’t forget dee-jays … it turns out that when you don’t significantly improve the roster of a 5-11 team, they continue to look like a 5-11 team.

And yet in yesterday’s #CheddarBay work, our generally savvy pickers threw down a collective 39 points on the Browns versus one point on the Dolphins.  It goes to show how the reportage on the Browns has been wanting for objective, sober analysis.

The question I have is who let you down more:  The Banner regime and its dedication to window dressing or the Cleveland sports media and its fawning over it?

They both thought you were pretty dumb; they’re soon to find out you can be pretty pissed before lapsing into wholly apathetic.  It’s a longshot but:  the Browns and their sycophantic reporters are actually at risk of losing the best sports fan base in the country.

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I’ll work the media angle today.

Buster+Skrine+Cleveland+Browns+v+New+York+QYYvAWcpvonx

Stop me if this looks familiar.

I’m not going to dig into the problems we saw yesterday.  Thin offensive line?  Pass rush not a panacea?  Vulnerable secondary?  Nope, I’ve done some work on the problematic talent acquisition strategy of this off-season.  Just some.  Here’s a taste of what’s been written here at Kanick and you can dive into it at these links:

2013 Brown preview (Indifference); TRich, Dancing Bear; The Fallacy of Attacking 3-4 defensesHaving a short secondaryParsimonious Joe BannerAlex Mack, Y U NO SIGN HIMNo one cares about Berea’s makeoverJoe Banner’s window-dressing strategyNorv Turner, paid gun for hireGimmicky defenses reliant on personnel packages for specific down/distances are soon to be obsoleteShort d-back issue not tended to in draftThe lunacy and hypocrisy of trading out of the fourth and fifth rounds after eschewing free-agency with the ‘Build through the draft’ mantraShort d-backs (with math)Drafting redundant pass-rusherCommitment to non-ExcellenceHow did a front line with Taylor, Rubin, Sheard become a focal point for renewal? Short d-backs (Kerry Rhodes please)Explaining salary cap rollover and Banner’s hoarding of sameWhat a smart draft looks likeILB depth (draft Alec Ogletree)Defining the needs of the team and addressing them through free-agency and draftO-Guard depth (sign Andy Levitre)Short d-backs (sign Keenan Lewis); Why the 4-3 is inherently better.

No since I’ve done that already, today it’s worth looking at how people who are actually paid to cover the team are serving their readers.

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An ominous beginning.

The day started on a sour note with a La Canfora’s tweet.

If any paid media member so much as asked Joe Banner about Alex Mack in a salary cap context, let alone got a meaningful response, I surely missed it.  As it stands, I’m pretty sure that some guy with a blog in NH is the only one asking the obvious question:  what the hell are you doing with $30 million in unused cap while Alex Mack is about to become the best and pretty much only UFA Center to hit the market in six months? (more…)

2013 NFL Preview: The year of Andrew Luck.

Andrew-Luck

This kid Andrew Luck is incredible. Don’t miss it by silly debates. He’s the best quarterback from last year’s draft class and he is ready to emerge as one of the league’s best signal callers, period. Before you know it, he will be the league’s most valuable player as well.

And honestly, it’s not too far fetched to imagine that happening as soon as 2013.

I agree with you Stampede Blue.

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I got a chance to listen to the Simmons AFC Over-Under podcast with his random-dude-buddy guest.

(Browns fans: when the national concensus is moving as a group in favor of the Browns and is moving as a group against the Steelers, how does that usually work out? .. Exactly.)

Anyhoozles, there were several other parts of their analysis that I found sub-par. But none moreso that the Pythogorean theory of football-predicting applied to the Colts. These two went through maybe five minutes on the Barnwell stat-boy data and out of division match-ups and blah blah blah and in their whole “UNDER 8.5 WINS” speil on the Colts, they forgot to mention one thing.

Andrew Luck.

How on earth does one evaluate the Colts and not account for Andrew Luck? You want to hang your hat on last year’s point differential? REALLY? Gonna do the pythorgoen jive to quantify ‘lucky wins?’ Is the term ‘regress to mean’ supposed to overwhelm?

Here’s Barnwell rationale for calling an team that went 11-5, made playoffs, with a rookie QB a “team in decline:”

Indianapolis Colts
2012 Record:
11-5

Pythagorean Wins: 7.2 (overperformed by 3.8 wins, luckiest in league)
Record in Games Decided by Seven Points or Fewer: 9-1 (0.900, second-best in league)
Strength of Schedule: 0.435 (easiest in league)
Turnover Margin: Minus-12 (26th in league)
2013 Out-of-Division Schedule: AFC West, NFC West, vs. Dolphins, at Bengals
I already wrote about the Colts and their chances of succeeding in 2013 earlier in our season preview; you can read that article here. Let me say this much: The Colts are going to start 2-0. They host the Raiders and the Dolphins during the first two weeks of the 2013 campaign, and those are games that the Colts are exceedingly unlikely to drop to inferior competition. That will get the fans going, but remember that their subsequent six games include trips to San Francisco and Houston and drop-ins from Seattle and Denver. If the Colts are competitive in those four games, we’ll all have a good idea that they’re a team to be reckoned with in 2013.

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Camelot of college football.

Best-Case Scenario: Andrew Luck overcomes all concepts of regression.
Worst-Case Scenario: Andrew Luck is overcome by all concepts of regression.

The Colts are 9-1 in close games and the deduction is that they’re lucky? Not that their rookie QB is extra-special? Oh-kay. Barnwell talks about regression but fails to realize that Andrew Luck has not regressed since he won the starter role as a freshman at Stanford four years ago. His analysis simply ignores that the Colts might just have the best quarterback of the generation.

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Not like you couldn’t see it coming.

When Jim Harbaugh took over the Stanford team in 2007 they were coming off a 1-11 season. Harbaugh’s first year, 4-8; next year 5-7. Enter Luck. Here’s the progression of Stanford’s offense in the Harbaugh years:

  • 2007: 4-8, 19.6 pts/gm (107th in country);
  • 2008: 5-7, 26.2 pts/gm (54th);
  • 2009: Luck wins job as [redshirt] freshman. 8-5, 35.5 pts/gm (12th). Lose Sun Bowl (Luck injured, doesn’t play.);
  • 2010: 12-1, 40.3 pts/gm (9th). Win Orange Bowl 40-12 over VaTech. Ranked 4th;
  • 2011: (Harbaugh leaves, David Shaw now HC.) 11-2, 43.2 pts/gm (7th). Lose Fiesta Bowl. End ranked 7th.

So, it’s not like he didn’t have a .795 winning percentage. Not like he didn’t grow the offense from 26 to 43 points a game. QB rating? 162.8 over three years with 9430 yards and 82 TDs.

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