Cleveland You Have A Problem ….
Expectations were high in 2014, when the Cleveland Browns drafted Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel . After a successful college career with the Aggies, within many circles it was felt if Manziel could reproduce the form seen with Texas & AM and then the Browns’ future would be secured with a franchise quarterback. In the ensuing years Johnny Manziel’s notoriety around the NFL has more to do with his off-the field antics than anything achieved on the field for the franchise. Granted, Cleveland Browns are now on their second head coach during Manziel’s short career with the Browns , but the players lack of maturity , sobriety issues and his having been dropped by his agent the LeBron James’ owned sports management company , should indicate the ongoing problems of the player and the fact he hasn’t shown the propensity to change his behavior.
Even in light of the front office upheaval, with the firing of former GM Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine , it became abundantly clear, the Browns’ issues stemmed beyond Johnny Manziel’s inconsistency and the incompetence shown by Mike Pettine and his coaching staff. During the 2015 season, at no point was Johnny Manziel able to lead the Browns with any degree of success , where the team’s best player either on defense and offense, were Karlos Dansby and Gary Barnidge being the team’s best option on offense. Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel shared the quarterback duties for much of last season , but neither player truly proved to be productive when called upon to lead the team.
The Cleveland Brown’s financial commitment thankfully, has been nothing more than Johnny Manziel’s rookie contract and their likely releasing the player as of the 1st March , provides them with the chance to move forward without the troubled quarterback. Seeking to resurrect the fortunes of the Cleveland Browns will be the team’s new head coach Hue Jackson and his coaching staff . Jackson’s tenure with the Oakland Raiders was well-chronicled and the sheer ineptitude shown by the front office of the AFC West based franchise led to his being blamed for the Raiders’ misfortunes and subsequent firing . From my own perspective , I believe the Cleveland Browns wasted a draft pick on Johnny Manziel when they were far better options for the Browns at the time of making their choice. Such was the hyperbole over Manziel , that forgotten in this all, was the player’s lack of maturity , intelligence and temperament. I certainly don’t believe it would be in a team’s best interest to acquire Johnny Manziel as a backup or a as a third string starter on the roster of any NFL franchise. There are far too many distractions which come along with the player as well as his lack of command and skill-set as a player in the league.
LeBron James is not a coach-killer ? Well it remains to be seen , but with the firing of David Blatt , and the subsequent promotion of Tyronn Lue , leads me to believe things were not smooth as first thought. Cleveland Cavaliers’ team owner , Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin made the decision to fire the embattled head coach. What may well have brought about Blatt’s demise were the recent performances and the Cavalier’s embarrassing loss to the Golden State Warriors . During a brief spell in mid-January , the Cleveland Cavaliers struggled as they lost to Golden State and the San Antonio Spurs , the top-two teams in the NBA. The real issue for the Cavaliers I believe , is the very fact they are not getting any real productivity from their bench and we have also seen a real lack of productivity from Kevin Love throughout much of this regular season.
If the Cavaliers are to have any chance of making a successful return to the NBA Finals , then their record against their conference rivals as well as the Western Conference will have to be considerably better than their current record indicates. The return of Kyrie Irving to the Cavaliers’ lineup should help the team a great deal and add to what Tyronn Lue will be seeking from his players in the lead-up to the All Star Break . Cleveland will be back on-court tonight when they face the Charlotte Hornets on the road in an Eastern Conference clash .
David Griffin may well seek to keep the Cavalier’s roster intact rather than perhaps move an impending free agents or make an ill-advised salary dump , or simply look to bolster the lineup , but the one thing I believe which cannot be denied, will the LeBron James’ ‘ factor ‘ as to his wants and needs for this team. f the Cavaliers do take the plunge and make a play for a marquee free agent , then we could see Cleveland make a big play for one of the presumed elite players likely to be on the open market. With a payroll currently set at $109.2 million the highest in the NBA , the Cavaliers also find themselves $39 million over the NBA salary cap and they are likely to be taxed at the league mandated $1-50 for every dollar the franchise remains over the cap . A luxury tax bill of $53 million could make a serious dent in the operational costs and profits of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is something I am sure Dan Gilbert and the members of the front office are keenly aware of.
Terry Francona seems to have settled in nicely as the manager of the Cleveland Indians , but last season had to be seen as a tremendous disappointment for a team with postseason ambitions . The Indians came up short , playing ‘second fiddle’ to the likes of the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins within the AL Central this past season. Fortune favors the bold and the Indians have not waded into the water to make any major moves , but the front office know the fans of the Cleveland Indians will be expecting more from their team this season. It will be interesting to see if team owner , Lawrence J Dolan seeks to fulfill their wishes of bringing a World Series title to the city of Cleveland and this respected franchise . Postseason appearances for the Indians have been rare in recent seasons and their last appearance in the Fall Classic was in the 1997 World Series which ended in a 4-3 series’ loss to the Florida Marlins, later to become the Miami Marlins .
Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff has expectations too and he expects Terry Francona and his managerial staff have this team ready and prepared for the onslaught of a rigorous regular season schedule . Granted, before entering the fray , the Cleveland Indians’ coaching staff will be assessing the team’s strengths and weaknesses during their Spring Training schedule , as they pour over their forty-man squad as well as their non-roster invitees. The team additions which have come by way of free agent signings and waivers will be seen as beneficial for the ball-club.
The Cleveland Indians ended last season on a losing streak , but had won six of their last ten games to close out the regular season. Cleveland’s final game of the season would result in a 3-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox , with the Indian’s record for the year being 80-81 , with one game being postponed due to bad weather and never fulfilled as part of their regular season schedule. The players on the Indians’ roster who Terry Francona believes can lead the team to success will be seasoned veterans , Mike Napoli , Carlos Santana , Rajai Davis, Josh Tomlin and Corey Kluber. This roster is very young at its core , but great things are expected from this team over the course of the season. Whether or not the Cleveland Indians can contend against their divisional rivals will be based on the mindset of the players and the coaching acumen shown by the managerial staff.
Over the past two seasons the Kansas City Royals have proven to be the cream of the crop and I believe they are the team to beat within the AL Central this year ! As the defending World Series’ champions the title remains theirs to lose and while I believe there will be a spirited challenge from the Cleveland Indians , I do not believe it will be enough to derail Royals divisional or postseason aspirations ! The Indians will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park , Arlington , Texas on 1st April , but their home opener for the regular season will be on the 4th April against the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio,. Both games should prove to be interesting contests for the Cleveland Indians.
The Cleveland Browns have not been able to bring a Superbowl title to the city of Cleveland , the NBA franchise within the city in spite of the superstar status of LeBron James , as the Cleveland Cavaliers remain nothing more than an alluring attraction, while the presence of the Cleveland Indians within MLB , seems to be that of a franchise longing to belong , but repeatedly failing to meet expectations. Suffice to say, Cleveland , “ you have a problem “ , because other than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame there is absolutely nothing on show to offer the visiting sports’ fan by way of real entertainment.
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