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:
- Trent Richardson trade. (Yes, it’s good value. Don’t care. You punted the season and didn’t have to.)
- 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.)
- Since when did a high draft pick become a guarantee of team success? (The myth of magical first round QBs exposed.)
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.
Don’t think the Browns could have competed this year? Really?
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?
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:
- Do not dump 4-3 defense;
- Sign CB Keenan Lewis;
- Sign OG Andy Levitre;
- Sign TE Dustin Keller;
- Trade back with Rams;
- Draft QB EJ Manuel;
- Draft OLB Jamie Collins;
- Draft OG Brian Winters;
- Draft FB Kyle Juszczyk;
- Draft FS Bacarri Rambo;
- Extend C Alex Mack.
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…)
The Cleveland Browns had five wins last year. They’ve had four wins or five wins in each of the last five seasons. The recent Browns teams have been pursuing mediocrity in vain. Average would be a step in the right direction for 2013. Trending upward would be something to be excited for. Fill some holes, get some luck, and who knows, maybe playoffs. It’s happened before.
But instead ennui has set in. The offseason preceding the 2013 Browns season saw another new regime and another spewing of horseshit from another group of carpetbaggers. To wit:
- The Browns were active in free agency signing one big name, two big contracts to bolster the strongest part of the 2012 team, the front seven. At the close of free agency, the Browns had the most cap space available but rather than spend it, Berea spewed horseshit about not wanting older players, not wanting too many new players, not liking available free agents, and wanting to build through the draft.
- The Browns draft saw them bypass an opportunity to swap their #6 pick for #16 and #47 in order to draft a player to bolster –even more– the strongest part of the team, the front seven. Horseshit spewing ensued with bromides including “can’t have too many pass rushers.” Even more bold, by trading out of rounds four and five, the Browns insinuated that they’re smarter than the league in general and, in particular, smarter than 2x SB Champ GM, Kevin Colbert (Steelers) and last year’s Executive of the Year, Ryan Grigson (Colts). After all, those two fools actually wanted to draft players at our slots.
- The draft shenanigans included horeshit about not wanting too many young players on the team since it was already young. But that too is now revealed as yet still more horsehit because here we are today at the waiver deadline… and yep, they got younger. From Grossi:
The cumulative effect of the transactions was that the NFL’s second-youngest roster – as of Saturday night – was made younger and less experienced.Less than 24 hours after the “final” roster cut, the following players were sent packing: Running back Brandon Jackson (27 years old), tight end Kellen Davis (27), linebacker L.J. Fort (23), offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann (22), offensive lineman Jarrod Shaw (25) and fullback Brad Smelley (24).They were replaced by: Tight end MarQuies Gray (23), running back Dennis Johnson (23), offensive lineman Patrick Lewis (22), linebacker Brandon Magee (22), tight end Keavon Milton (23) and running back Bobby Rainey (25).
- And finally there’s the never-ending crowing about renovating offices and painting the Successories catalogue on your walls as though this is somehow something your fans care the slightest about.
There’s really no way to look at this off-season and derive that even the modest goal of “average” is a Berea goal for the ’13 Browns.
For me, and for other fans, it’s become something of a chore to muster optimism that this could be the year. Berea ain’t trying to win this year; why should I try to get fired up? So I’ve tuned out this Browns team and the Browns regime. They want to punt this year, fine. They want to talk in circles, fine. I’ll go watch the games and root for them like I always do. But the continued insults to my fandom’s intelligence has left callouses and I’m more indifferent to the opening of this Browns season than any I can remember.
The structure of the preview is this:
The problems with the Mangini-era drafts have been well documented. (Not even gonna link.) But less widely acknowledged is that he won the Sanchez trade.
The actual trade was the Browns’ #5 pick in 2009 (Sanchez) for #21 (Mack), #52 (Veikune) plus Jets vets Coleman, Ratliff, and Elam, plus two trade-backs for late picks (Davis and Francies). Never mind that the Seahawks saved Mangini from himself by taking Aaron Curry at #4. Never mind that he traded #17 (Freeman) for the #19 (Maclin) before settling on #21. Seems foolish to talk about Percy Harvin being taken with the pick after Mack… can you imagine Harvin in the Shurmur offense? Hell, never mind that six of the seven players coming the Browns way are no longer factors in the league.
Alex Mack straight-up for Mark Sanchez is a win.
Since 2009 Alex Mack has started every game at center for the Browns. That’s 48 in a row; rather a major accomplishment for an NFL player. In so doing, Mack has gained a reputation as being one of the top five centers in the league. We won’t cite the pro-bowl appearance since that was an injury-replacement on the third team. But still pro-bowl appearance and effectively 4th team AFC center in his second year. In short: Mack has done all that could have been expected from him. In fact, he’s exceeded reasonable expectations. (Here’s one re-draft of the 2009 first round that rates only Brian Cushing ahead of Mack for best value.)
Mack is a UFA at the end of this year.
Why are the Browns’ dragging their feet in extending his contract? Why are the Browns leaving the door open for him to leave as a free-agent?
I’m not the guy who pours through the game tape looking at footwork, push, low center of gravity, knee bend, and explosive hands. And don’t even start with the fluid hips talk, I have enough of an internal struggle with hand-size measurements.
No I prefer to find reputable evaluators and defer to them. If that means the dreaded Pro-Football-Focus ratings, so be it. Matt Miller is one such resource. Here’s rating of centers Bleacher Report*: Alex Mack #4. It goes:
1. Chris Myers, Texans
2. Mike Pouncey, Dolphins
3. Max Unger, Seahawks
4. ALEX MACK, Browns
5. Jonathan Goodwin, 49ers
6. John Sullivan, Vikings
7. Nick Mangold, Jets
23. Matt Birk, Ravens, retired. Well come back to this.
Not buying Miller? Here’s what Pat Kirwin has to say in his o-line ratings:
1. Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers
2. Ryan Kalil, Panthers
3. Chris Myers, Texans
4. Max Unger, Seahawks
5. Mike Pouncey, Dolphins
Honorable mention: Alex Mack
Brent Stehlik, Browns EVP-Revenue, tweeted out a picture last week showing how the some of the renovations of Berea are coming along. The latest renovation was one of the first orders of business for the Banner regime after taking over. As it was for the Mangini era prior to that. And by the Lerners in 1999. All this for a facility built just over 20 years ago.
The building, which originally opened in August 1991, was renovated in the spring of 1999, while further renovations and expansion commenced during the 2009 offseason. The most recent improvements include an expanded locker room, a lobby restoration that pays tribute to Browns’ Hall of Famers and a complete renovation of the cafeteria, video room, and meeting rooms, including a new 2,300 sq. ft. auditorium featuring 120 theater seats.
It’s been hard for me to capture my reaction to the investments the latest regime has put forward in Berea. I’m not against eating healthy, so what’s the harm in improving the cafeteria? Maintenance of the physical plant is important for any business, so why not spruce things up? It’s not my money, it doesn’t eat cap space, what’s the problem?
I part company with the goodness of all this when these improvements are presented to the Browns’ customers (us) in a guise of “look what we’re doing for you.” The logic that it’s “for us” relies on a very broad set of guides for “implementing culture change.” That is, comfortable environs make for happier employees make for successful organizations leads to winning football. It’s stretch, for me. If this is all “for us,” what’s next? Pictures of Norv Turner’s new Escalade? Quinton Groves’ new house? They’re now happier and they’re Browns’ employees… should we the fans expect to be treated to some selfies in front of garages?
“Look and feel.”
So…, I’m not quite on-board with the embrace of renovations as being meaningful accomplishments of the new leadership team. But Joe Banner wants me to think this is progress:
Everything we do — the type of foundation we’re going to have, the type of events we’re going to run in the community, the renovation of the offices upstairs … there’s going to be a completely different look and feel. Over the next couple of years, for instance, we’re going to change the logo and uniforms in a way that will respect the history but will be forward looking. We’re going to do a major renovation project at the stadium, too, the details of which are still to be determined. So it’s going to be a completely different place.
If culture change is what’s being sought, what is the new culture exactly? It looks like they’re missing the mark or haven’t defined one. What’s the new “look and feel?” From here, the message reads: You athletes –and also you VPs of Fan Experience– are super special and sixty years ago the Browns were really good. By dint of having signed a contract with the Browns, you are heir to the mantles of Otto Graham and Jim Brown.
In other words, the renovations seem to me a furtherance of the entitled athlete thing and not at all useful if “culture change” is the goal.
The message should be: you have to earn it.
Browns ≠ Barca
To the right is the tunnel from FC Barcelona’s lockers to their pitch. It seems the Browns made have taken their design cues from here.
That’s a problem.
Barca has earned their tunnel.
- 22 La Liga winners;
- 12 UEFA Cups;
- 2 FIFA Club World Cups;
- Countless international stars from Rivaldo to Ronaldinho to Messi and now Neymar.
The 2013 Browns have earned nothing. They’re NOT part of something special until they create something special. (more…)
I’ve been at this short d-back thing for months. I know it seems like I’m beating this horse and I promise, I’ll let it go once my twitter timeline can go 24 hours without telling me that Leon McFadden was a smart pick. More precisely, that McFadden represents addressing the issue at cornerback.
My problem is that I keep finding data that confirm what my gut already knew: when you’re the 26th shortest d-backfield in the league, you’re not addressing the problem by becoming the 32nd shortest.
Without even talking about whether or not drafting a rush linebacker at #6 after signing two FA OLBs and converting a third so you’ve just drafted your fourth OLB at six overall… without even going there, let’s review the d-backfield thing. Let’s review the number one need of this off-season.
This whole exercise began with a simple observation. A basic truth. Water is wet. Sky is blue. Buster Skrine is short. Short cornerbacks struggle against tall receivers. There are more tall receivers in the league.
WRs 6′ 3″ or taller who started three or more games:
It just seems to me that a
5′ 9″ sorry, 5′ 9.5″, CB is going to have problems no matter how fast he is or how many games he started in the WAC. I’m surprised this is controversial. So I decided to look at the data. How are other teams dealing with a short backfield? (more…)
Instead of flogging that dead horse, I thought it’d be interesting to compare the Banner draft with some other GMs. Other, proven, really good*, GMs:
- Jerry Reese (Giants GM, 2007)
- Ted Thompson (Packers GM, 2005)
- Kevin Colbert (Steelers GM, 2000)
- Tom Dimitroff (Falcons GM, 2008)
- Ozzie Newsome (Ravens GM, 2002)
How did they approach their draft? Did they look for holes in their roster and fix em? Did they go for luxury picks (a.k.a, BPA)? If so, in what rounds did they ‘splurge?’
And as an academic matter, I’ll add in the needs assessment for the teams that I derived by looking at their depth chart on April 5. It’s not comprehensive.. but if I can identify a need, it’s probably a need.
I’ll just cut to the chase. All of these GMs who are smarter than me, you, and -if we’re looking at the records- Joe Banner,
They share these commonalities in their drafts.
- They addressed team needs in their first two rounds.
- None of their top picks will un-seat a young productive player.
- Their first rounders are projected as immediate three down starters.
The Browns’ draft can’t tick the box on any of these goals.
[Note: I did NOT cherry pick these five. These were the first five GMs that came to mind as the best.]
Jerry Reese (Giants GM, 2007).
LB, O-line, S
1 19 Justin Pugh T
2 49 Johnathan Hankins DT
3 81 Damontre Moore DE
4 110 Ryan Nassib QB
5 152 Cooper Taylor S
7 225 Eric Herman G
7 253 Michael Cox RB
No one had Pugh rated that highly but Reese is the guy who ‘reached’ for Jason Pierre-Paul. And it addresses a need with Diehl’s age (and DUI). Protect the franchise QB. Smart.
Marvin Austin has been disappointing and Hankins looks like a shot fired across the bow. Getting a top five player on game film in the 3rd is good; getting a possible franchise QB in the fourth is good.
And the need-addressing safety is 6’4″. (more…)
Traded out of 4th and 5th rounds? No biggie.
In case there’s any lingering confusion about the value of 4th/5th picks, here are alumni of those rounds who were significant contributors to last year’s playoff teams:
- J.Rodgers, Nicholas (Falcons);
- Sopoaga, Goldson (Niners);
- Lang, Sitton (Packers);
- Cousins, Riley, Lichtensteiger (Skins);
- Wright, Sherman, Chancellor, Giacomini, R.Bryant (Seahawks);
- Brinkley, Robison (Vikes);
- Dumervil, Koppen, Tamme (Broncos);
- Hernandez, Mesko, Gostkowski, Ninkovich, Lloyd (Pats);
- Jones, Quin, Casey, O.Daniels (Texans);
- Pitta, L.McClain, McPhee (Ravens);
- Ballard, Mathis (Colts);
- Boling, Atkins, Peko, Geathers (Bengals).
So let’s cool it on the jive that those picks don’t matter.
Walking away from that talent pool with all the red on the depth chart is tantamount to punting on the 2013 season. (more…)