No quick takes just a take …….

No quick takes just a take

The NBA postseason still remains a mess , with the clouds still hovering over a rather unsavory episode that neither the press or the fans fully comprehend . Instead it has been the constant apathy among both parties, that continues to be clear as everyone tries to make sense of Donald Sterling’s comments and the fact the NBA hierarchy chose not to reprimand the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner for his prior actions. This whole incident, has cast a giant shadow over this entire postseason , where the quartet of teams now remaining and now playing in the Conference Finals must now be wondering if there are likely to be any other events likely to overshadow the postseason , as it meanders towards a conclusion.

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With the Eastern and Western Conference Finals now taking shape , it is becoming clear that the defending NBA champions the Miami Heat are going waltz their way towards a third consecutive Finals’ berth , with their opponents the Indiana Pacers , having all but given up in making the series an actual competitive contest . The first game of the Eastern Conference Finals was won by the number one seed, with the belief being that Frank Vogel’s players were ready to avenge last season’s Conference Finals’ loss , but within the space of five days this Pacers’ team has fallen back down to earth and have shown the competitive nature of a docile cat afraid of their own shadow.

Now up 3-1 in their series, LeBron James must now be relishing the fact, that he and his teammates are now five wins away from securing a third consecutive NBA title.

If the contest in the East is said to be lacking in drama, then game three has breathed life into the Western Conference Finals with Serge Ibaka’s presence for the Oklahoma City Thunder and their contest against the San Antonio Spurs. Ibaka’s presence has given renewed energy to the Thunder , who now seek to overcome a 2-1 deficit , where a pivotal game four contest tonight , will tell us a great deal about the makeup of this team and whether or not they are indeed capable of defeating a Spurs’ team looking to make a quick return to the NBA Finals and seeking to avenge last season’s loss to the Miami Heat.

The coaching merry-go-round has begun in earnest with Steve Kerr having shunned the overtures by Phil Jackson to succeed Mike Woodson as the head coach of the New York Knicks . If that situation was not as asinine as it now looks , consider the fact that for the second time in four years Mike Brown has been fired by Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert and that particular organization. I am beginning to feel that Gilbert , has little acumen, when it comes to owning a professional sport’s franchise , much less knowing what it is needed to make that an outright success ! As for this idiocy , that LeBron James would seek to rejoin that franchise to play alongside Kyrie Irving now makes about as much sense as James joining the Sacramento Kings because in being paired with DeMarcus Cousins would make that particular franchise a legitimate contender for an NBA title.

As if the comedic travails of the Cavaliers were not idiotic enough as they now seem to be , in conjunction that with of the New York Knicks , then consider the ongoing idiocy now unfolding within the front office of the Los Angeles Lakers . Anyone now believing that the Lakers would now be a desirable destination for anyone seeking to further their NBA coaching career either has to be delusional or a downright idiot to believe that the franchise under the auspices of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss has any inherent idea about what they are actually doing. These past two seasons alone, should prove to anyone with an ounce of common sense that a great deal of intelligence is lacking within the alleged acumen of both front office executives. Mike D’Antoni’s resignation and the next fallout with his actions , speaks volumes about the sense of unrest , that there was said to be within the Los Angeles Lakers as a franchise this past season. Beyond the team being uncompetitive , excuses in part could be made for the absence of Kobe Bryant , but the team was lacking heart and there was never any leadership forthcoming from the coaching staff or seasoned veterans on the team’s roster . Buss’ search for a successor to D’Antoni , is now likely to be a long drawn out protracted process that is likely to be speculated upon by an ever-growing circle of fans and observers alike.

Well, so much for the NFL Draft , the expectations thereof and the first round of the process, befitting the idiocy of the hyperbole and drama that surrounds this annual event, now becomes one of the teams now looking to sign their draftees to their rookie contracts. If that was not enough, the one player where a there was said to be great deal of scrutiny of and where he would likely be picked, still draws a great deal of news , for all the wrong reasons . The Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel seems to be drawing as much undesired attention to himself without yet having proven himself worthy of the stories now unfolding .

Manziel’s maturity level was continually questioned throughout this NFL Draft process and it may well have led to what many believed was the justification his being drafted so low . From being thought to be the likely first quarterback taken in the Draft , the player was taken as the twenty-second overall pick by the beleaguered Browns , who were in search of a passer for more competitive than the now departed Brandon Weeden than many of the quarterbacks to have filled the position for the franchise over the past eight seasons . As to why Johnny Manziel would feel it necessary to be seen in Las Vegas at a UFC , albeit , that it was on the weekend , but with the player and his agent trying to suggest, that the party and “Playboy Image” was said be surrounding Manziel was nothing but a creation by the press and his detractors , in no way should be seen as a detriment about his skill-set as a player. Those issues, may well be overlooked, if the rookie can lead the Cleveland Browns to a successful season in 2014. For head coach Mike Pettine and his coaching staff , their futures as well as that of the Browns’ fan-base, will be looking to the young rookie to bring about what they feel to be some long and overdue success to a franchise, that has seen very little success over the past decade.

Johnny Manziel will be given every opportunity to display his craft over the Browns’ preseason where he is likely to share a great deal of the playing time with the team’s likely starter Brian Hoyer . Though on the team’s depth chart , Manziel is likely to be seen as third in that role behind Tyler Thigpen , with a fourth alternative being Connor Shaw. Cleveland’s opening regular season schedule , begins with a week one contest at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania, against their AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers on the September 7th , 2014. Manziel, as the Heisman Trophy winner , undoubtedly has a great deal of expectation to live up to and without the other added distractions, the player must now prove his detractors that he is indeed capable of leading this franchise to some semblance of success, while also displaying the skill-set we all witnessed during his collegiate career with Texas A&M and his tenure with the program.

I am sick and tired of hearing repeated and the most banal of excuses, about why a team that becomes hamstrung by injuries cannot compete during the MLB season. Unless, that the players lost to the roster represents more than one half of their front-line starters , then there should be no reason for the constant whining of the fans. And therein lies the idiocy recently and claims concerning the under-achieving Tampa Bay Rays and a team that was said to have the best pitching roster within the Majors , as well as being capable of winning ninety to ninety-five games this season. A languid start has seen this team fall short of what many felt that Joe Maddon’s playing staff were capable of achieving at this point of the season , albeit, the Rays compete in one of the most competitive divisions in all of baseball . As contentious as the AL East is known to be , several of the teams there can now be judged and now be said to be under-achieving, including the defending World Series’ champions the Boston Red Sox , who now find themselves rooted at the bottom of the division , eight half games behind division leaders, the Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto for its part, coming off a rather lopsided victory over the Tampa Bay Rays , were never thoroughly tested at any point , during the game played at the Rogers Center , in Toronto , Ontario , on Sunday afternoon . If the Rays are said to be a flawed team , then this contest against the Blue Jays , gave the fans every reason to see why , with their being mental lapses throughout the game, both competitively , as well as mentally . The two teams are set to meet again on Tuesday afternoon , with Alex Cobb of the Rays facing the Blue Jays’ Mark Buerhle in what should be a very good pitching contest .

Call me naïve, but I have always felt that “spending big “ , does always necessary means a team will , ” win big “ , when it comes to the World Series ! Case in point , has to be , both the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees , as this season’s two biggest spending teams by way of their payrolls. This season alone the two ball-clubs will combine to surpass almost 20 % of the over $ 3.1 billion that will be committed in team payrolls , with several of their players being among the highest paid in the game by way of their annual salaries or the contracts or contract value .If that is not an ongoing indicator about how out of whack the game of baseball has become, by way of the economic imbalances . Then I for one , would like to hear a concise explanation from any baseball fan, who now believes that the game can be self-sustainable with the ever-increasing contracts among the top teams , while their mid and small-market counterparts, are left in their wake !

In 2013, both the Dodgers and Yankees were atop of the spending pile , in terms of payroll commitments , with only the Los Angeles’ based franchise making the postseason , where they fell to the St Louis Cardinals in a rather lopsided NLCS Pennant Series. Out-managed and outmaneuvered by a stealth Cardinals’ team in the series , that Don Mattingly, as the manager of the Los Angles Dodgers, will be under even greater pressure and scrutiny to take this team further into the postseason this year , than he was able to do in 2013. That stinging failure, still lingers deep within front office of the Dodgers, with owners Peter Guber and Magic Johnson among the partners showing their concern , as to the team’s failings this past postseason.

In a division where now, three of the four teams are above .500 , the Los Angels Dodgers find themselves 4 ½ games behind the hard charging San Francisco Giants , who themselves have the best record in baseball with a 33-19 mark . Now in spite of Josh Beckett’s recent superlative outing in pitching a no-hitter in the team’s 6-0 trouncing of the Philadelphia Phillies . I still believe that the Dodgers will be hard pressed to equal their feat of last season , in running away with the NL West divisional title . It will indeed, take a great deal more than the Dodgers’ pitching , of which the rotation is plentiful in terms of their starters , if the team is to be truly successful this season . The effort will have to be collective one , with the offense being the primary emphasis , if Don Mattingly’s players are to obtain their first World Series’ appearance in over twenty-five years , with that feat being accomplished in 1988 , with their 4-1 triumph over the Oakland Athletics .

The Dodgers followed up that victory over the Phillies , with two positive results against the Cincinnati Reds . Those teams will meet again on Wednesday the 28th May at Dodgers’ Ballpark in Los Angeles , California , with Homer Bailey (4-3) taking the mound for the Reds against his NL counterpart Clayton Kershaw (3-1). As the Dodgers go this season, so rests the fate possibly of Don Mattingly’s long-term future with the ball-club , with the likelihood, that the team’s failure might well lead to his ultimate dismissal . However, his leading the franchise to that long-awaited World Series’ triumph would certainly cement his legacy in the annals of Dodgers’ postseason history , as being one of the few managers to have led the ball-club to a series’ victory in baseball’s showcase finale.

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The sports’ world is forever in search of stories that will whet the appetite of the fans and generate the debates , discussions , call them what you will. For the most part, without those tidbits to actually to nibble on, there is simply nothing to lure us in and to keep us galvanized on the events taking place at any given moment . What recent events, have piqued your interest in the world of sports and has there been a sports’ story , that you feel that has in some way been over exposed in terms of its coverage ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit on this and anything else you feel to be relevant.

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(1) MIAMI, FL – MAY 26: Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers looks on against the Miami Heat during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 26, 2014 in Miami, Florida. The Pacers face the Miami Heat in a pivotal Game Five , on the brink of elimination from this season’s NBA postseason with a 3-1 deficit now staring them in the face. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …

(2) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) drives to the basket over Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) during the second half of Game 4 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series, Monday, May 26, 2014, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Pacers 102-90 . AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ……

(3) Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against Kendrick Perkins of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first quarter during Game Four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 27, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This series is now tied at two games apiece (2-2) with the Thunder having overcome a 2-0 deficit . Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images …

(4) Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder look on in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 27, 2014 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City,Oklahoma. Getty Images / Andrew D Bernstein ….

(5) Cleveland Cavaliers’ team owner Dan Gilbert ,left, is seen here with Mike Brown , center and team GM Chris Grant . Brown was fired for the second time during his second stint with the Cleveland based NBA franchise . Likewise , Chris Grant was not given a contract extension by the Cavaliers with his being succeeded by David Griffin , who has now has sole responsibility for player personnel decisions as well as seeking a new successor to fill the vacant coaching position. AP Photo/ Gary Mason …..

(6) Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns is seen here on NFL Draft Day , having just been selected by the franchise , where he is likely to be third on the team’s depth chart . Manziel has been the center and focus of news’ media attention in recent weeks , but over the past weekend the player was seen at UFC event in Las Vegas Nevada , in the lead-up to the Browns’ OTA’s (organized training activities) , with many questioning his willingness to be team player and shying away from the constant glare which he seems to seek out at almost every opportunity. Erik Burkhardt , Manziel’s agent , has suggested , it has been the press seeking out his client, rather than the player placing himself in front of the media . In a recent turn of events, a lawsuit has been filed against Johnny Manziel by an unnamed victim . claiming sexual harassment in which the plaintiff is seeking $25 million in damages . Burkhardt claims that the lawsuit is frivolous, without merit and will be challenged within the Florida courts , where the suit was originally filed. AP Photo / Martin Jones ….

(7) Toronto Blue Jays’ Adam Lind celebrates a home run with third base coach Luis Rivera , left, during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim ……

(8) Tampa Bay Rays’ Alex Cobb reacts after getting hit by a ball from Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Reyes during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim ……

(9) Starting pitcher Josh Beckett (61) of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the ninth inning during a game in which he threw a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 25, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Dodgers won 6-0 . Getty Images North America /Hunter Martin ….

(10) Starting pitcher Josh Beckett (61) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with teammates after throwing a no-hitter during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 25, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Dodgers won 6-0. Getty Images/ Hunter Martin …….

(11) Starting pitcher Josh Beckett (61) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with teammates after throwing a “no hitter” against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 25, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Beckett became the first MLB pitcher to throw a “no-hitter ” this season, joining select group of players to have accomplished the feat in baseball history. Getty Images /Hunter Martin …..

(12) From left to right , seen are Peter Guber , Stan Kasten , Mark Walter and Magic Johnson , who make up part of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ senior managing partner and ownership group for the Los Angeles’ based franchise . The ball-club was purchased for a record-breaking sum of $ 2.156 billion in 2013 , making it the largest purchase in North American sports’ history for a professional sports’ franchise. AP Photo / Matt Peters ….

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So what went wrong ?

So what went wrong ?

I’ve read with a great deal of interest a number of articles of fans and analysts alike, who are now somewhat bemused by the Cleveland Browns’ (0-2) sudden decision to trade Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a selection of future picks . Given the start of the AFC North franchise and the very fact that the growth of the quarterback Brandon Weeden appears to be moving at a snail’s pace . It seems to give credence that the Browns’ front office are now looking to head in a completely new direction with the arrival of Joe Banner as the de-facto general manager and Head of Football Operations . Team owner Jimmy Haslam outside of owning the team, has some serious legal issues of his own still to deal with, that could be indeed far-reaching if an amicable out of court settlement cannot be reached with a dearth of nationwide plaintiffs , seeking to sue Haslam’s company Pilot Flying J for grand larceny , breach of contract and fraud .

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The fact of the matter is , with the sale of the Browns to Haslam , it seemed only natural that the new owner would deem to bring in his own people into the into executive and managerial structure of the organization . Outgoing Head of Football Operations Mike Holmgren along with former GM Tom Heckert , departed under a somewhat somber and sour note , along with former head coach Pat Shurmur , whose two-year tenure and record of 9-23 would have gotten any head coach with that type of mediocrity , fired , no matter who the hell, they might have been . Shurmur’s successor Rob Chudzinski is off to an inauspicious start with the team already having posted an 0-2 record , leaving the franchise afoot of the AFC North . And going into this weekend’s fixture with the equally abysmal Minnesota Vikings , this match-up of two win-less teams , might just be one of the worst games on the weekend schedule of the NFL during week three .

In terms of the challenges facing the Cleveland Browns, it is abundantly clear this organization and team are definitely lacking confidence on both sides of the ball. Acquiring a seasoned veteran such as Willis McGahee may well buffer the team’s offensive woes , but I do believe that the offense is at best, mediocre and the defense suffers from a lack of veteran leadership. . In my honest opinion, I believe that the Browns have simply given up on their season and are using everything within their PR arsenal to alleviate the understandable anger of their fans after this trade of Trent Richardson , who was by far the team’s best player . Yet , in this day and age, the fans should not be surprised at all , by anything a professional sports’ franchise tends to do , and then seeks to offer an explanation that simply makes no sense whatsoever . Given the recent draft choices made over the past three seasons by this franchise , there is nothing to suggest that in 2014 they are likely to make the picks that are likely to make the franchise considerably better .

Speaking of teams taking a downward slide, within the state of Florida , two of the NFL franchises residing within the state, remain win-less. The NFC South’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and from the AFC South the Jacksonville Jaguars , who are spiraling out of control, faster than a passenger aircraft in a tailspin . If things continue as they are, both of these teams are likely to finish with sub .500 records . Greg Schiano is now at a crossroads concerning his starting quarterback , with Josh Freeman’s play continually being indifferent , but if there is any blame to be apportioned, then it would have to rest squarely on the shoulders of an ill-disciplined defense and the complete lack of maturity being shown by those players. My question for Greg Schiano and the fans , if acquiring Darrelle Revis was meant to bolster the team’s secondary , is he also being asked to take on the role of a leader not only on the defense, but also for the team as a whole ? It was clearly never provided by Freeman , once seen as the future and the face of the franchise . Four years into his NFL career and Josh Freeman continues to be more of a conundrum and an enigma all rolled into one.

Seeking to avoid an 0-3 start , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face not necessarily a daunting task, but still a tough one, when they take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon . Tom Brady and the Patriots, have yet to find the form shown throughout much of the 2012 regular season . The Buccaneers might just prove to be, the perfect adversary for Brady and the Patriots’ offense to tee-off on, as Tampa’s secondary remains extremely weak .

. With rumors now swirling as to an apparent trade request made by Josh Freeman , which has not been substantiated , there clearly seems to be a tepid relationship between the coach and his starting quarterback. The options for Schiano , by way of a backup, are his rookie first round draft pick of this year , Mike Glennon or former Detroit Lions’ starting quarterback , Dan Orlovsky . Not as enticing an option as one might think, given the limitations of both players in a non-too familiar role as a starter in the NFL . Orlovsky’s career is best summed by saying field awareness, is not one of his most accomplished traits. In the case of Glennon , a baptism of fire at this stage of his career in the NFL , would be like leading a lamb to the slaughter.

Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick and Greg Schiano are said to be close personal friends, strange when one thinks that the famed head coach is not viewed as someone who has a wide circle of friends within the NFL . Yet, much of that may well lie in the fact that Buccaneers’ GM Mark Dominik consulted with Bill Belichick before making the final decision to hire the former Rutgers’ head football coach. Add in the fact that Belichick’s son, Stephen Belichick , now an assistant on his father’s coaching staff, played his college football at Rutgers under having been a walk on under Schiano , but originally being a member of the school’s lacrosse team , and one can well understand why that bond of friendship has been maintained beyond Bill Belichick endorsing Dominik’s choice of hiring Greg Schiano . Yet, it should also be noted that a number of players having played under the Buccaneers’ head coach are now established stars in the NFL, with one or two now on the Patriots’ roster . That friendship is likely to be put aside on Sunday, when these two head coaches square off , in one the day’s more intriguing adversarial match-ups . A loss for the Buccaneers, would indeed prove to be dire and there would likely be calls for Freeman to be removed from his starting role, based upon his performance on Sunday. At the same time , I cannot help but wonder, what this might also mean to the psyche of a team , where the head coach has himself shown, just as much a lack of discipline, as his defense is also said to lack, as well as their being, a complete lack of leadership on the team altogether.

I will say this for the Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan and his intentions to make the franchise more a family-friendly atmosphere and more welcoming not just to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ fans, but also the opposing fans who may well have traveled to see their team play at Ever-Bank Field in Jacksonville , Florida,. As I much as I admire his mission and gravitas, I do believe he would be better served, if the on-field product would be considerably better , if it is his intent to grow the team’s fan-base within the local area, as well as statewide , nationally and globally. Over the past two seasons , the Jaguars have just been a franchise aimlessly, going nowhere. The team’s quarterback Blaine Gabbert has continually struggled to find his game and it would appear that at this point, head coach Gus Bradley and his coaching staff will use this season to assess whether not the player is simply good enough to lead this team in the long-term. Given the player’s results since being inserted in his present role as a starting quarterback , having been selected as the tenth overall pick in the first round by the Jaguars in the 2011 NFL Draft . The meager returns for the franchise has to now be a cause for concern , beyond the obvious financial implications for the franchise in terms of Gabbert’s contract.

A loss , in week one to the vastly improved Kansas City Chiefs and a subsequent week two defeat, suffered at the hands of the Oakland Raiders , and the manner of those losses, must have sent a loud and clear message to GM David Caldwell, that this team simply does not possess the depth , talent or quality players needed not just to compete in the AFC South , the AFC itself , but also the NFL as a whole . What clearly is so disturbing about the Jaguars, is that the team’s defense is so bad , and that the offense , is as equally abysmal . With those type of displays, the last team that the Jacksonville Jaguars would desire to meet would be the Seattle Seahawks and their high-octane offense and their equally as devastating batting ram of a defense . Anyone who witnessed the Seahawks` dismantling of the San Francisco 49ers cannot deny that this team might now be the most balanced in the entire NFL and undoubtedly to my mind, the best team not just in the NFC , but the entire NFL, and that is with due respect to the rest of the unbeaten teams in the league . The Jaguars will have the pleasure of visiting Q-West Field in Seattle, Washington , where Russell Wilson and his teammates await their opponents like a school of sharks, ready to circle their prey, before devouring the entire carcass. I am sorry, but this could very well be a contest, where the inevitability of the result is already a foregone conclusion, before the game has even kicked off . I wonder what odds, they are now offering on the over and under, as well as the spread ?

Off to a 2-0 start , the . Miami Dolphins and their head coach Joe Philbin are likely to be the sternest test to New England Patriots o making a successful defense of their AFC East title. Philbin and the coaching staff have the team playing with a great deal of resolve through the first two games of their season.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill finally seems to have a team around him that complements his skill-set , alongside what now appears to be a very good all-round offense . Yet the Dolphins’ biggest improvement may well be on the defensive side of the ball and the fact that they are now holding opponents to fifteen points a game by comparison to last season’s 19.8 points per game . Reggie Bush’s off-season departure to the Detroit Lions , may well have come as a surprise to many ,but the running back’s unfulfilled expectations were never really met as a player with the Dolphins.

Dolphins’ GM Jeff Ireland sought to use the 2013 NFL Draft as a blueprint to improve the roster in the necessary areas of need, and using his astute acumen plied the free agency market for a number of players looking for a fresh start as well as looking to be productive . Sunday afternoon, the Dolphins will host the Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at Sun Life Shark Stadium in Miami , in a meaning infra-conference game , which pits Matt Ryan against Ryan Tannehill , in a match-up of two very pass oriented quarterbacks . A victory today for Miami, over a Mike Smith coached Atlanta Falcons’ team would do a long way in signifying that the Dolphins are heading in the right direction and push the Falcons into a somewhat unlikely position of being 1-2 and amongst the lesser lights within the NFC South and NFC as a whole.

If Major League Baseball (MLB) , is said to have handled the issue of banned substances haphazardly and at times almost with utmost incompetence . Then it has to be said, that the NFL’s failure to initiate in and out of season testing for anabolic steroids and human growth hormones (HGH) is a testament to Roger Goodell’s continued incompetency and the NFLPA’s (Players’ Union) continued excuse making, as to why a policy that was agreed to, voted upon and ratified by the union in their collective bargaining agreement in 2010 , has yet to put into place. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, has his reservations , albeit, that they are nonsensical and without merit . Smith believes that there is no full-proof test available for steroid testing or any other illicit substance mandated by the league. In reality , the union’s top-ranked executive knows that there is widespread use among his members and is simply looking save himself and that of his union, further embarrassment and an already unwanted PR image , as it relates to the NFLPA’s treatment of some of their senior most retired veterans , which has been well-chronicled down the years . In the case of Roger Goodell, he is simply too afraid to further anger the union and create an even wider impasse and situation of distrust between the two parties.

While this issue is now placed on the back-burner , much to the annoyance of the House Commerce Committee , the commissioner’s latest cause-celebre’ would appear to be, having additional regular season games be played outside North America. With an increasing presence in Europe by way of the league’s fan-base and support, as well having offices in London , Paris , Rome and Berlin. It must be said that the European Union’s 325 million population , is likely to the NFL’s next target for expansion, before looking towards the Far East and Pan Pacific Basin. Having reached saturation point in the North American market and with the advertising dollars now even less accessible, because of the growing competition and presence being provided , most notably from the NBA and Major League Baseball. Growth, outside the North American market, now seems to be the obvious choice and the way to go. Add in the very fact, that there seems to never ending dialogue that continues , concerning the establishment of an NFL franchise in Europe , and a case could be made that the commissioner will now seek to make this a reality , if he is unable to get a franchise reestablished in the Los Angeles area , the nation’s second largest ad-market .

With uncertainty said to be surrounding the San Diego Chargers’ future in the San Diego area and the organization’s dialogue with the city of San Diego concerning Qualcomm Stadium . Team owner Dean Spanos could very well come to the decision to uproot the franchise and relocate it to the more lucrative market of Los Angeles. Cases were also being made that the Jacksonville Jaguars with its low fan-base of support and lack of attendance , would be the franchise interested in relocating . That now seems to be out of the question as team owner Shahid Khan has made the commitment to remain in the city of Jacksonville, for the long-term . Khan has actually shown his commitment to that issue, by spending $15 million of his own money in refurbishing the team’s training facilities as well upgrading many of the amenities at Ever Bank Field. Although, I am more inclined to believe that the Jaguars were unwilling to break the lease agreement with the city of Jacksonville , which would bring about a steep financial penalty for the franchise , were they to break that agreement . And as asinine as it may seem, one major journalist insisted that the NFL was considering the move of actually relocating the Jaguars to the the United Kingdom , with the team playing their home games at Wembley Stadium in London , England. Would the NFL actually consider such a move ? Given the input, but more so, the right financial inducement , then just about anything is possible . Let us not forget, who we are dealing with , in terms of the NFL commissioner, as Roger Goodell is lured by the lust of money and his avarice in that context, simply knows no boundaries . If pushed, Shahid Khan could be amenable to such a proposal, with the league making it worth the franchise’s wile, , by way of an additional financial incentive and then adequately reimbursing the city of Jacksonville for the team’s departure from the city.

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What if anything , has been the biggest surprise for you as an NFL fan through the first two weeks of the NFL regular season ? In your honest opinion do you believe the league to be overly ambitious and are setting their sights too high in possibly seeking to establish an NFL franchise outside North America ? Finally , who do you believe that the league hierarchy and union have yet to initiate regular and off-season testing for anabolic steroids and HGH ? Is it a matter of the NFL not wanting to face a legal challenge in the courts by or a multitude of players , or was it simply the NFL seeking to appease the federal government in the first place ? Chime in with your thought on this and anything you believe to be of relevance concerning this subject matter .

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(1) Trent Richardson is seen here on Draft Day , alongside NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . The running back , having been drafted by the Cleveland Browns as the third overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft . One year removed from that day , the player has been traded by AFC North franchise to the Indianapolis Colts . The explanation offered by Team President and Head of Football Operations Joe Banner does seem to be filled with a great deal of rhetoric and Banner’s statement that the trade was done in the Browns’ best interest , as they seek to get better. It does seem to ring “hollow” in so many ways . As to how the fans may well about this trade , well the sports’ talk radio within the greater Cleveland has been abuzz , with many leveling their criticism at the management and team owner Jimmy Haslam, in particular , whose first year as the team’s owner has been littered with a great deal of controversy and suspicion . Cleveland Plain Dealer / Mitch Hughes ….

(2) Cleveland Browns’ Head of Football Operations Joe Banner , left, is seen here alongside team owner Jimmy Haslam . The two remain defiant by way of the decision to trade Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for future draft picks’ consideration . Fans of the Browns have called into various local radio sports’ talks shows to voice their criticism of the team owner and the front office executive , in particular . Cleveland Plain Dealer / Tucker Reeves ….

(3) Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Brandon Weeden attempt a pass during the game against the Baltimore Ravens during week two , in a match-up of the two AFC North teams, which was played at the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore , Maryland on the 15th September , 2013. Weeden has struggled this season and with the loss of running back Trent Richardson , his options do appear to be limited and that is even with the signing of veteran rusher Willis McGahee . AP Photo / Patrick Semansky ……

(4) Saints’ kicker Garrett Hartley is congratulated by teammates after kicked the winning field goal during the waning moments of game that they seemed destined to lose against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was the second such loss for the Buccaneers , having suffered a heartbreaking loss to the New York Jets during week one after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalized the team allowing the Jets to make a last minute field goal to win the game . Penalties , stupidity and a lack of disciplined by Tampa’s defensive players have been a boon for the team this season . Head coach says all of the right things , but noting seems to change concerning the defensive errors made . AP Photo / Phelan Ebenhack …… .

(5) Running back Doug Martin (22) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers takes a hand-off from quarterback Josh Freeman (5) against the New Orleans Saints September 15, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images / Al Messerschmidt ……

(6) Blaine Gabbert (11) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by Dontari Poe (92) of the Kansas City Chiefs during the game at EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. A game time decision will be made as to whether or not Gabbert or Chad Henne will be the starting quarterback on Sunday in the game against the Seattle Seahawks, to be played at Q-West Field in Seattle , Washington . Getty Images / Sam Greenwood ,

(7) Missouri Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert answers questions during a media session at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 25, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gabbert was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2011 NFL Draft and his career with the franchise has been nothing short of exacerbating and a major disappointment for fans of the team. Getty Images Joe Robbins ….

(8) Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan , foreground , is seen here along the team’s general manager David Caldwell . Both executives have reiterated it is their intent to have the franchise remain in Jacksonville for its long-term future . Continuously, rumors swirl that the team is likely to be relocated because of a poor fan-base and a lack of attendance for the team’s scheduled home games at Ever Bank Field in Jacksonville , Florida . Home games for the Jaguar’s regular season have been blacked out in the local area market , because of their failure to meet the league’s requirements of having sold 85% of general admission tickets within 48 hours of the commencement of a scheduled regular season game. AP Photo / Marcus Hilton …

(9) From left to right Miami Dolphins’ general manager Jeff Ireland , team owner Stephen M Ross , quarterback , Ryan Tannehill and head coach Joe Philbin . After a somewhat inconsistent rookie season in / 2012 , Tannehill now seems to have found his footing in 2013 , leading to the Dolphins for a 2-0 start and the team sits atop of the AFC East alongside the New England Patriots . Miami Herald / Matt Dominguez …..

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Autopsy of A Season …. The Cleveland Browns

Autopsy of A Season …. The Cleveland Browns

By tophatal …..

With the NFL regular season ending with the usual inevitability of the playoffs and the added suspense brought to the postseason. I think it can only fitting that we look at the reasons why a number of teams failed to live up to expectations . For the Cleveland Browns theirs was a season of missed opportunities , poor play and in large part and injury prone team that saw the loss of Colt McCoy in the latter part of their schedule and no real leadership from any of the seasoned veterans on the roster .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Coach Pat Shurmur and his coaching staff struggled to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve . Mike Holmgren as team President in conjunction with GM Tom Heckert during this off-season will have a number of decisions to make as it relates to roster in terms of their free agents and specifically the impending future of Colt McCoy.

With the rumors percolating as to whether or not the Browns will go into next season with McCoy as the team’s signal caller forces the front office into making a decision that many feel is now a priority for the organization. Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert know that is imperative that some sort of decision be made as to Brown’s future. Having to compete in the ultra competitive ….. AFC North alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers , Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals . And with the team having finished at the bottom of the division with little tangible to show for a rather poor season . For players such as Josh Cribbs , Peyton Hillis and Cedric Benson this sort of failure must grate on their nerves as professional football players.

The real struggles for the Cleveland Browns this season has not only been the lack of a cohesive unit in terms of team defense and offense . Within the AFC and league as a whole , one would have to ask how Holmgren and Heckert will go about repairing the issues that the team presently has. If nothing else it would appear that the team struggles in almost every facet of the game .

Granted , the team has drafted prudently over the years with their being hits and misses along the way . However, with there being a lack of real growth in the talent in a number of the players the Cleveland Browns’ struggles have been magnified with a succession of ill-timed moves in terms of the managerial carousel that has taken place in recent years. Romeo Crennel had his problems , only to be succeeded by Eric Mangini whose firing was justified , given the ineptitude shown by the coach ! Pat Shurmur in his first season , has seen some growth and confidence from his players but if they are to contend within their division ( AFC North) and within the league as a whole .

With the upcoming NFL Draft and the likelihood that there will a solid collection of quarterbacks having made their declarations to enter the process , it will be interesting to see if the Cleveland Browns do in fact take the opportunity of making a quarterback their first overall pick in the initial round of the 2012 Draft. The consensus seems to be that the Indianapolis Colts will indeed make their choice of taking Andrew Luck as the number one pick . With the likes of other declarees at the position , may well include Robert Griffin III , Landry Jones , Case Keenum and Denard Robinson . Are the coaching staff and front office prepared of the Cleveland Browns prepared to draft a quarterback in the first round albeit that the full health implications of Colt McCoy. The player having suffered a concussion during a regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after what a appears to be have been determined an illegal hit by James Harrison . McCoy’s on-field injury wasn’t determined by the Browns’ coaching staff or medical contingent to that serious at the time. But in the aftermath of it all , we learned that the player had suffered a grade two concussion with momentary memory loss . However , the player was determined that he was safe enough to re-enter the game , albeit that Colt McCoy stated he was OK , when clearly he was not . The player’s father , Brad, angered by the decision made by the coaches at the time spoke openly of his disgust towards the Browns in endangering his son’s long-term health and career.

Courtesy of NFL.com wire reports …..

McCoy’s dad says Browns QB ‘never should’ve gone back in’

In the aftermath of the Cleveland Browns’ Thursday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, much of the post-game talk in the visiting locker room did not center on the game’s outcome, but instead, the vicious fourth-quarter helmet-to-helmet hit Steelers linebacker James Harrison administered to quarterback Colt McCoy .

McCoy, who returned two plays after going down, told reporters that he did not remember the hit. According to McCoy’s dad, however, the second-year quarterback’s mental state was far worse than he originally let on.

“I talked to Colt this morning and he said, ‘Dad, I don’t know what happened, but I know I lost the game. I know I let the team down. What happened?’ ” Brad McCoy told The Plain Dealer on Friday.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur admitted during his Friday press conference that Colt McCoy began to exhibit concussion symptoms after the game, and he now is being treated as if he suffered a concussion. Shurmur originally said during his post-game press conference Thursday that McCoy was “fine to go back in.”

That admission could be too little, too late for the NFL and Brad McCoy, who coached his son throughout junior high and high school. McCoy blasted the Browns organization for allowing McCoy to return to the game, and a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that the NFL will speak to the Browns and gather information on the possibility that McCoy returned to the game with a concussion.

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With the league hierarchy under the leadership of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell simply not clarifying how the officials are to determine on-field hits and the players themselves not understanding the instructions it creates a grey area in terms the legalities of what is allowed and not allowed. Harrison , the Steelers’ defensive player has been repeatedly fined over the course of his career and again sustained a monetary fine for the hit that incapacitated the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback . With the NFLPA (union) now wanting clear clarification from the league and the lack of real communication not forthcoming from the commissioner , it does create a great deal of ambiguity for the defensive players around the NFL as they seek to perform with their usual determination, without being viewed as seeking to place an opponent in imminent danger . Given the health risks and the very fact that the NFL itself , along with the union over the years has done little to avert such situations , much readily admit the cause and effect of blunt head force trauma suffered during a game . It were as if the league and union believe that it is a small price to play , as the risk reward is simply a bye-product of the game. Somehow , were this a long-term injury that curtailed and prematurely ended the career of a quarterback named Drew Brees , Peyton Manning , Tom Brady , Ben Roethliberger or Aaron Rodgers , then perhaps there would be a tremendous outcry by the NFL fans and the public at large .

Now inasmuch , as I would like to see the Cleveland Browns succeed in becoming a competitive franchise within the NFL . It is pretty safe to say that they are fighting an uphill battle given the fact that Shurmur’s inexperience as an NFL coach and the numerous problems he faced in his rookie season indicates that this team is far from being where he and the coaching staff feel that they need to be. Moreover , while the Browns seek to return to respectability their divisional rivals such as the Baltimore Ravens , Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals now seem to be heading in the right direction . One could claim that the Steelers after their loss in the wildcard round of this postseason , it could be stated that with an aging roster at its core Mike Tomlin and coaching staff might now seek to assess the team in terms of its liabilities . The defeat by itself at the hands of the Tim Tebow led Denver Broncos may not be all that detrimental to the Pittsburgh Steelers overall but by no means should anyone undercut what this defeat has done the organization . Has it made the front office now rethink their strategy and how they will now go about seeking to reassert their themselves as a perennial contender for the Superbowl within the NFL ? It would be remiss to write off the Pittsburgh Steelers given the franchise’s lauded history . A six-time winner of the Lombardi Trophy the organization is still one of the most admired and revered franchises within the NFL.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What do yo believe to be are great strengths and weaknesses of the Cleveland Browns as a team ? Also do you believe the organization capable of becoming a truly competitive organization and a perennial contender within the NFL ?

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) CLEVELAND, OH – JANUARY 01: Seneca Wallace (6) of the Cleveland Browns runs by Safety Troy Polamalu (43) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game played at Cleveland Browns Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images ….

(2) Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (89) of the Pittsburgh Steelers catches a ball in front of defensive back Dimitri Patterson (21) of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images ….

(3) Colt McCoy (12) of the Cleveland Browns lays on the ground while speaking to athletic trainers after a helmet to helmet hit from James Harrison (92) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ………

(4) : Peyton Hillis (40)of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the sidelines during the closing moments of the Browns 20-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……

(5) Browns’ team President Mike Holmgren , left, is seen here alongside GM Tom Heckert. The two have numerous decisions to make concerning the team’s roster makeup but noticeably the future as it relates to quarterback Colt McCoy. Courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer ……..
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The Determining Factor ……………………..

The Determining Factor

It’s crazy but with the end of the NFL Draft and we already have the analysts and draft geeks assessing which team actually had the best draft class from this most recent endeavor . Now don’t get me wrong but the draft has its merits but in reality until those players actually have played down in a regular season game within the NFL we will never truly know what these players are or will be actually capable of. Can’t miss players are merely speculation and conjecture . And now where a first round draft pick especially one that is picked in the upper echelons of the first round, the financial cost and commitment for a player to a team can be well into tens of millions of dollars over the course of an initial contract. Do you think that the Oakland Raiders regret making that initial $ 65 million commitment to JaMarcus Russell right about now ? One simply has to look to their front office of the Raiders to see the cause of their demise . To put it more succinctly Al Davis no longer knows how to assess talent in spite of the continued idiocy that’s misplaced by an overbearing oaf such as radio personality and employee of the organization the nationally syndicated sports talk radio host J T The Brick . Here’s a guy who when it comes to showing any form of impartiality to an issue concerning the Raiders , well let’s just say he’d make a Klan member feel proud !

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In reality success has been fleeting for the Raiders over the last decade and half and that is in spite of the organization’s rich history within the NFL . But as with a number of teams and in particular with each generation of fans it’s not merely about those by gone years but what you have you done for me lately by way of success ? And to my mind the determining factor and in relation to the success that any organization wishes to attain be it within MLB , NBA , NBA , or the NFL itself .. It is predicated upon the front office of each organization ,from the ownership on down to the executives and coaching staff. Consider this , think of the most successful franchises within each of the four major sports and what has each got in common apart from winning ? It is the fact that each has had an owner who has remained consistent with what works for it as an entity . The Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils within the NHL , the Pittsburgh Steelers , New York Yankees , the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have simply stuck to that tried and tested method of having sound fiscal policies , as well as competent coaches and executives within their respective organizations.

During the NBA Playoffs without a doubt the most disappointing display to my mind was that of the Orlando Magic and their lopsided 4-2 series loss to the Atlanta Hawks . Anyone who was witness to the sheer ineptitude of the Magic’s performances throughout this series would realize that without Dwight Howard this team simply isn’t worth a damn . What might be even more perplexing was the sheer idiocy and the belief shown by GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy that the mid-season trades made would in fact improve the team . If anything the team simply became even more inconsistent , lackluster and completely devoid of creativity on either end of the floor . Not only that but they were simply those who labored under the fact Dwight Howard because of his stats made a viable MVP candidate while his teammates simply were mediocre .

Anyone who actually has an ounce of common sense would know from the very fact that the vast majority of the winners of the league’s regular season trophy to the individual recipient has in fact made those around him considerably better as their respective teams statistically have shown signs progress during that season. Case in point , was this season’s runaway winner of the league MVP trophy , Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and the 21 game turnaround engineered by Tom Thibodeau from last season to this where the team became a 62 game winner and the top seed within the Eastern Conference never mind the fact that they’ve now made the Eastern Conference Semi Finals where they face the Atlanta Hawks who as I explained earlier dethroned the Magic with effortless ease.

The Orlando Magic and its front office in conjunction with Otis Smith I feel were capricious. Smith and Bob Vander Weide team President & CEO made a gamble that simply didn’t pay off . Not only that but in acquiring Jason Richardson , Hedo Turoglu and Gilbert Arenas the organization is financially on the hook for $65 million in salary for the players in question over the remaining years of those contracts. Call me naive but the productivity by the players during the regular season as well as the postseason has been minuscule and not deserving of the Magic’s fans undoubted expectations. And with this loss the Magic and its management have a great deal of contemplating to do as it regards the moves that need to be made in order to make this team better. Dwight Howard whose contract expires at the end of 2012 can actually opt out of the contract prior to its culmination rather than seeking to start the whole negotiation process. Clearly Van Gundy and Otis Smith will have to be very persuasive in convincing Howard that he ought to remain with the organization. And at this juncture that scenario isn’t as clear cut as some would believe or would like it to be.

In baseball we have all seen the idiocy of the team owners there and their ostentatious spending. Is it any wonder Los Angeles Dodgers and in particular the New York Mets are in a mess financially with regard to their own existence and financial viability ? Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt seems to be under the misapprehension that he will be successful regaining control of the team he bought in 2003 from the local > News Corp through their wholly owned Fox Inc subsidiary. Since then, even though the team has averaged 3 million attendees per season the organization has struggled to remain financially a viable concern . Now with collateralized and none- subordinated debt in excess of $ 1.2 billion McCourt feels that the team and organization still remains a viable concern. He must feel that the his creditors will continue remain lukewarm to his overtures should they feel that he’s having problems paying down that debt. In this sort of economic climate there tends not to that type willingness from many of the nation’s major financiers and their respective institutions. And even with the league hierarchy having assumed control of the Dodgers I would like to think that Bud Selig is closely monitoring the situation as it now unfolds with Mets , in particular with co-owners —- Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon !

Success for both the Dodgers and Mets seems to have been fleeting over the past decade and it remains to be seen whether or not their aspirations remains the same and that is to win a World Series title . And as ambitious as those front offices appears to be it seems that they have lost sight of their ultimate goal . Much of that malaise has to be laid squarely upon the shoulders of McCourt and his executives within the organization . Ned Colletti may well be enjoying the prestige of running the personnel side of the organization but he too like McCourt may well have lost site of the organization’s goals. It certainly most telling that when questioned by the press as to who now controls the Dodgers and its day to day running Colletti’s response was one that seems to be an individual who just doesn’t care either way . If that is indicative of how this organization is being ran then it shows that they’re completing deserving of their fate.

The New York Mets face a civil suit that at present is being determined through a mediator appointed by the US Federal Courts and at the heart of it all appears to be whether or not the organization knowlingly gain financially from the monies received as profits from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme of which several thousands of investors were defrauded of $59 billion. Irving Picard the plaintiffs’ lead attorney in this suit has filed a motion seeking to recoup some $750 million from both Katz, Wilpon their Sterling Equities as well as the New York Mets. The lead defendants Katz and Wilpon deny any wrongdoing on their part but have stated that they are victims of the fraud perpetrated by Madoff and his associates. However , it has been the Mets unwillingness to open their books up for public scrutiny that casts a doubt upon the veracity of the argument now being put forth by the Mets as the defendants and in particular by Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon . A federal subpoena has a way of making the truth be known in the end and hopefully several of those will be put to use in the course of this case. And inasmuch the Mets once again are having a mediocre season one can’t help but feel that through the connivance and mismanagement from the executives and managerial level over the past few years that this organization is thoroughly deserving of its present predicament.

I’ve long maintained that the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns as teams within the NFL clearly have some way to go before they can be thought of as serious contenders within the league and as a legitimate team to win the Superbowl . Bengals’ owner Mike Brown and team coach Marvin Lewis are now having to deal with Carson Palmer’s petulant behavior and his wanting to be traded to a contender . If this is what is indicative of what was now being produced by USC as to quarterbacks from the Pete Carroll era then clearly there are some questions that really do need to be asked . I think that things are now likely to get a great deal murkier with the team’s drafting of Andy Dalton as the de-facto successor to Palmer as his reign is about to come to an abrupt end with the Bengals . From AFC North champions in 2009 to a team with a lackluster 6-10 record last season .

The Browns for their part have been in more of a tailspin having dumped Romeo Crennel and hired Eric Mangini only too see the team fail miserably under Mangini’s tenure . And given Mangini’s coaching record in the NFL I’ve got to ask myself what the hell was Mike Holmgren thinking as the team’s President ? Last season this team competed gallantly but in large part they faced an uphill battle trying to usurp the dominance of both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers within their division (AFC North ). Now with Pat Shurmur as the team’s head coach and there being a revamped assistant coaching staff it remains to be seen what this upcoming season may well have in store for the Browns. The team had a breakout star in Peyton Hillis and as always the dependable Josh Cribbs was at his very best and it would appear that team now has a quarterback in Colt McCoy who can actually commands the respect of his teammates.

In stark contrast to the teams that have been consistent and have attained success, much of that can be put down to the fact that apart from making the right personnel decisions . It has been the continuity not only from within their coaching regime but primarily through the fact that at the executive levels as with regards to the general manager that is in place , there has been little , if any , real turnover in that staff. It’s not always been about the coaches because that in essence comes down to the coach’s resume’ and his ability to communicate with the players and if anything above all with his general manager. Simply look at the success attained by the Steelers and New England Patriots over the years and the one constant there has been the ownership , the fact that the general managers there have been tenured with those respective organizations for a number of years and the actual willingness of the owner to defer to subordinates within the organization. And even though Scott Pioli has since left the Patriots to assume a similar position with the Kansas City Chiefs we’ve seen that even there also once Pioli was allowed to show his acumen in assessing talent the team has progressed showing a marked display last season in winning the AFC West (10-6) and making the playoffs where they would succumb to the Baltimore Ravens —- 30-7 in the wildcard round. And for head coach Todd Haley and his coaching staff though the loss had been been a tremendous disappointment , it also points to the fact that the organization has to be now heading in the right direction after so many barren years in the wilderness .

The Patriots for their part having seen their postseason woes continue with their lackluster performance in losing to their divisional rivals the New York Jets —- 28-21 in a game that pretty much summed up the team’s season. In light of that however they’ve gone about things in their usual business like manner garnering picks for future drafts and at the same time picking up the usual talent they’ve been accustomed to down the years . Much of that by design as Bill Belichick has worked in conjunction with Floyd Reese the team’s senior consultant charged with the task of dealing with personnel matters for the team.

We may well feel that in large part that success is actually achieved on the field of play because of the performances of the players. But it does essentially start with the eager willingness of the owners and their front office executives actually having the right staff in place being able assess the talent that is there to be had and as necessary spend prudently in order to get the best possible player available . How often have we seen a situation where in fact a team that simply looks good on paper just tends to implode because of the undue pressure and the very fact that the coach simply hasn’t done their job adequately ? At times we can blame the players for their lackluster performances but doesn’t that also have something to do with the coach not being able to get his point across as to what needs to be done at a given moment ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In coming to this conclusion I do firmly believe that any professional sports organization has to have all integral parts on the same page working in cohesion . If that isn’t evident within an organization then by the very evidence we tend to see the vast majority of the time that team does tend fail in its endeavors. We’ve seen it this postseason within the NBA , NHL , also within the NFL and MLB as well . What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And as such do you feel that I may well have missed some pertinent factor that should have been included ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson (L) looks on as Raiders owner Al Davis (R) speaks to reporters after introducing Jackson as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders on January 18, 2011 in Alameda, California. Hue Jackson was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing the fired Tom Cable. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ……

(2) JaMarcus Russell (2) of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California. Jed Jacobsohn/ Getty Images ……

(3) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic questions a call by the official during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia . Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(4) In this photo taken on April 14, 2010, from left, Orlando Magic president and chief executive officer Bob Vander Weide, chief operating officer Alex Martins and general manager Otis Smith chat prior to an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Orlando, Fla. Smith, by his own admission, is a risk-taker. He’s the general manager who traded three starters from an NBA finals team, moves that either will show Smith’s brilliance or become a symbol of a gamble gone wrong for the Magic in the playoffs. AP Photo/John Raoux …….

(5) Andre Ethier (16) of the Los Angeles Dodgers swings and loses his bat in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on May 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 4-1 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ……

(6) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren ……. ……..

(7) Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick A.J. Green, right, speaks at a news conference with head coach Marvin Lewis, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Cincinnati. Green, a wide receiver from Georgia, will wear number 18 for the NFL football team. AP Photo/Al Behrman ……..

(8) Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren watches from the back of the room as first-round draft pick Phillip Taylor holds a news conference at the NFL football team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Mark Duncan ……

(9) Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert, right, presents a jersey to first round-draft pick Phillip Taylor during an NFL football news confernce at the team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. The Browns took the Baylor defensive tackle with the 21st overall pick Thursday night. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …….

(10) FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2009, file photo : Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley, left, talks with general manager Scott Pioli before a news conference announcing Haley’s hiring in Kansas City, Mo. Pioli and Haley are deservedly drawing praise for taking the Chiefs from 10 wins in three years to 10 wins in 16 weeks. But they don’t deny they were blessed with a core of solidly talented young players when they got to Kansas City after a 2-14 2008 season. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……

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It’s Not About The Way You Start But How You Finish ……….

Well, we’re almost three quarters of the way through the NFL season and it’s pretty much safe to say that even the most ardent NFL fans have something to be pleased about. While others mightn’t be feeling all that happy about their team or teams as the case maybe. Suffice to say, that if you’re team isn’t in the midst of things with of aspirations of making a playoff push. Then you might as well call it a day.

The delectable  Taryn Manning  who  in Craig Brewer's  critically and commercially  acclaimed film  'Hustle & Flow' played the  hooker  with  a  'heart of gold'  .   She co-starred alongside  Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges  and  Anthony  Anderson .  For which  Howard  received  an  Oscar  nomination  nod  and went  on to 'leading man status'  after the role.  Given the Giants'  fortunes of as of late , this'd  be   the  Manning that  I'd prefer to  see  instead  of  their  quarterback , Eli  Manning.   picture appears courtesy  of  FHM / Chris Howard ............
The delectable Taryn Manning who in Craig Brewer's critically and commercially acclaimed film 'Hustle & Flow' played the hooker with a 'heart of gold' . She co-starred alongside Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges and Anthony Anderson . For which Howard received an Oscar nomination nod and went on to 'leading man status' after the role. Given the Giants' fortunes of as of late , this'd be the Manning that I'd prefer to see instead of their quarterback , Eli Manning. picture appears courtesy of FHM / Chris Howard ............

Suffice to say that while sitting with my notebook computer in my lap, watching ESPN’s Monday night broadcast of the game between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints. I’ve come to a new found admiration for the undoubted talents of Saints’ quarterback, Drew Brees. To my mind, with his play as of late and as a matter of fact over the last three or four years. He has in essence, become one of the ‘elite quarterbacks’ in the league. And that is of course with due respect to Manning Brady and Favre. He ranks up there alongside that noted triumvirate. And just in case you’re wondering which of the Mannings, I’m talking about , it’s not Eli or that rather ‘fine actress’, Taryn Manning but Peyton Manning. Eli is just proving once again what I’ve always thought about him. He can’t string together, back to back, to back, a set of consistent performances in this league. In many ways it’s liking watching an Alcoholics Anonymous participant repeatedly fall off the wagon. $100 million certainly doesn’t buy much in the league nowadays, does it ? Albert Haynesworth, you need to call your accountant as Daniel Snyder is about to come a calling, asking for his money back, in order for him to actually reinvest that money into something that’d resemble a team ! Because at the moment, what you’ve actually brought to Washington Redskins bears nothing that of a player, who was said to be ‘one of the most feared defensive players’ in the entire NFL. There’s more ferocity shown by a bunch of pre-op male trans-sexuals, than you’ve shown on an NFL field this season !

New Orleans-November 30th ,2009. David Thomas (85) of the New Orleans Saints runs for yards after the catch the New England Patriots at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 38-17. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Scott Halleran ........
New Orleans-November 30th ,2009. David Thomas (85) of the New Orleans Saints runs for yards after the catch the New England Patriots at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 38-17. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Scott Halleran ........

Monday night’s game itself, proved if anything that the Saints , Indianapolis Colts and the Minnesota Vikings are ‘the cream of the crop’ and ‘the class of the NFL’ this season. With both the Colts and Saints being (11-0) and the Vikings at (10-1). One can start to feel why their fans are chomping at the bit to see their teams in the post-season. If nothing else they’re looking to make it their rallying call to bare arms and support their team.

Randy Moss (81) of the New England Patriots is tackled after he made a reception in the second half by Darren Sharper (42) of the New Orleans Saints at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Scott Halleran .........
Randy Moss (81) of the New England Patriots is tackled after he made a reception in the second half by Darren Sharper (42) of the New Orleans Saints at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Scott Halleran .........

Inasmuch, as I continue to support the Patriots and bearing mind, I felt that if Tom Brady could in some way hold his own against Drew Brees. I felt that the team was in with a very good shot to derail the Saints’ effort in going unbeaten on the night. Boy was I wrong in a very big way ! The Saints harassed and hurried Brady into making several mistakes and errant plays that you wouldn’t normally associate with the normally cool, calm and collected quarterback. And it certainly didn’t that the team’s pass defense was about as noticeable as the ‘Invisible Man’. Brees was allowed to shred the team with all too accurate passing , on an offense that on their might just be the very best in the NFL. So good were they on the night, that the end result of the Saints’ 38-17 victory could’ve been of a wider margin, by far. To say I wasn’t disappointed at the end result , would be an understatement. The Patriots may well have went down fighting . But by no means was it a gallant effort by Bill Belichick’s team. Belichick and his coaching staff have a great deal of work to do , if this team is indeed to make the playoffs. And no, I’m not of the opinion that Charlie Weis should be brought by back to the team , to reassume the defensive coordinator’s responsibilities.It has been bad enough with Weis, having literally singled handedly destroyed whatever remnants there was left of Notre Dame football, as we know it. And what’d make anyone think tha Belichick would want him back to begin with ? His (Belichick’s) demeanor at times has been less than complimentary towards many of his former coaches that have left his employ. And with Weis it’d be no different !

The once remarkable Jim Mora Sr and his singularly most famous sound byte ever. ‘Playoffs’ ? ‘ What playoffs’ ? Need one say anymore ?

With the meat of the season now out of the way. Teams are now jockeying for positions in terms of a playoff berth. It looks pretty safe to say that the divisional leaders have their fates in their own hands. However those seeking a wildcard berth , most definitely still have something to play for. And who’d have thought that the now improbable , Vince Young led, Tennessee Titans (5-6) could still be in with a shot of making the playoffs ? Where’s Jim Mora Sr., when you need him ?

Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young (10) passes from his own end zone as Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) rushes him in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. Young led the Titans on a 99-yard drive to score the winning touchdown in the Titans' 20-17 win. picture appears courtesy of  AP/photo/ Mark  Goodwin   ...........
Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young (10) passes from his own end zone as Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) rushes him in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. Young led the Titans on a 99-yard drive to score the winning touchdown in the Titans' 20-17 win. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Mark Goodwin ...........

Now I’m not about to waste my time denigrating teams that’ve played some less than inspiring football this season and who are languishing in the depths of ineptitude. As those teams and their fans know who they are and how god-damn awful they’ve now become. Suffice to say, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-10), Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, St Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns really do need to show some pride ,not wallow in self pity and most of all not have their coaches come and give the public and the fans some asinine excuse as to the inherent problems of their respective teams. At the end of the day it doesn’t amount to a ‘hill of beans’ and it makes them on appearance look like a complete buffoon and a clown to top it all of !

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris yells instructions to his team during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Dave Martin  .......................
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris yells instructions to his team during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Dave Martin .......................

A word of advice for the inexperienced Bucs’ coach, Raheem Morris. All the sound bytes and excuses in the world can’t hide the fact that this is ‘your team’ . It’s the one that you and general manager, Mark Dominik, hitched your wagons to. So get over it , shut the f_ck up and do your god-damn job ! You’re now sounding like a damn child with each additional interview that you give to the media. And for god’s sake be man enough and stand up and be held accountable for the choices you made. You and those blithering idiots from the Pewter Report,instead of clogging up the local radio airwaves in the local Tampa market with your inane drivel, in trying make lemonade out of rat’s urine. At least have the temerity to admit that ‘the team’, just isn’t that good, at all . It does a complete disservice to the public and the NFL fans in general. They’re not all children and by the way ‘fairy tales’ went out a long time ago. Unless you hadn’t noticed ? So stop hitching your wagons to one !

Atlanta-November 29th, 2009. Roddy White (84) of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates his game-winning touchdown in the final seconds against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Eric Weems (14) and quarterback, Chris Redman (8 )at the Georgia Dome in in Atlanta, Georgia.  picture  appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .......
Atlanta-November 29th, 2009. Roddy White (84) of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates his game-winning touchdown in the final seconds against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Eric Weems (14) and quarterback, Chris Redman (8 )at the Georgia Dome in in Atlanta, Georgia. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .......

So as of now,for the teams of the NFL, it’s not actually how you start but how you indeed finish that’ll dictate and create the mindset of how determined you’re going to be. A reminder to you all, and that includes the fans of the NFL , as well.

NB: NFL Week 13 Schedule- Dec 3rd to the 7th …… Click the link provided to review in full.

Thu, Dec 03 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
NYJ @ BUF Rogers Centre 8:20 PM Tickets NFLN 212 126 (NYJ) 125 (BUF) Radio
Sun, Dec 06 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
STL @ CHI Soldier Field 1:00 PM Tickets FOX 710 151 (STL) 127 (CHI)
DEN @ KC Arrowhead Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets CBS 706 121 (DEN) 154 (KC)
TEN @ IND Lucas Oil Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets CBS 704 123 (IND)
PHI @ ATL Georgia Dome 1:00 PM Tickets FOX 708 129 (PHI) 126 (ATL)
NE @ MIA Land Shark Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets CBS 126 (NE) 127 (MIA)
NO @ WAS FedEx Field 1:00 PM Tickets FOX 712 123 (NO) 152 (WAS)
OAK @ PIT Heinz Field 1:00 PM Tickets CBS 707 157 (OAK) 122 (PIT)
TB @ CAR Bank of America Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets FOX 709 158 (TB) 130 (CAR)
HOU @ JAC Jacksonville Municipal Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets CBS 705 125 (HOU) 153 (JAC)
DET @ CIN Paul Brown Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets FOX 711 155 (DET) 91 (CIN)
SD @ CLE Cleveland Browns Stadium 4:05 PM Tickets CBS 713 121 (SD) 91 (CLE)
DAL @ NYG Giants Stadium 4:15 PM Tickets FOX 715 123 (DAL) 125 (NYG)
SF @ SEA Qwest Field 4:15 PM Tickets FOX 716 126 (SF) 130 (SEA)
MIN @ ARI University of Phoenix Stadium 8:20 PM Tickets NBC 714 122 (MIN) 127 (ARI) Radio
Mon, Dec 07 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
BAL @ GB Lambeau Field 8:30 PM Tickets ESPN 206 126 (BAL) 125 (GB) Radio
Byes: None

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave ………

“Oh what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive” ……. A quote from Sir Walter Scott .

At present I can’t help but wonder what is going on within the Cleveland Browns’ (1-7) organization. As sorry a team within the NFL you may not be able find in the entire league. Well , perhaps with the exception of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7) , St Louis Rams (1-7) , Detroit Lions (1-6), Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) and the horrendous Oakland Raiders (2-6). And can someone tell me when was the last time that you can remember seeing so many bad teams within the NFL all playing this atrociously , all at the same time ? It seem inconceivable that things could be this bad ! But as of now they are and there appears to be no end to this madness in sight.

ESPN‘s Adam Schefter talks about the Browns’ recent woes on the cable network’s televised program ‘Right Now’. The Cleveland Browns has a bye this weekend before they return to the field in Week 10 for a Monday night game (16th November) against the Baltimore Ravens at home at Cleveland Browns Stadium , Cleveland , Ohio. (Scheduled time 8:30 pm ET – ESPN)

In the midst of this all is Browns’ owner Randy Lerner. In bringing in coach , Eric Mangini to take over from the fired predecessor Romeo Crennel. This team now seems to be no further along in its progression to being a competent and competitive NFL franchise. If anything, the team has taken a backward’s step and regressed under Mangini, entirely. And it certainly didn’t help that Lerner acquiesced to Mangini’s demand that he be the one to make his own choice as to who the team’s General Manager should be. If ever there was a recipe for disaster , then this was it ! Mangini’s choice was close personal friend , George Kokinis.
Of limited experience with regard to the assessment and development player personnel. It was hard to see how this maneuver would be of benefit to the Browns’ organization. If nothing else, it smacked of sheer impetuousness. And one where the maneuver may well have been done as a favor to Kokinis. The decision if anything, was completely irrational and without much justification.

Browns' owner   Randy  Lerner (right)  seen  here  with the  team's  coach  Eric  Mangini   at  the  team's  training  facility  in  Berea , Ohio.  Lerner  voiced  his   disgust  at  the  team's  woes  and  errant  play. He  has  refused  to  speculate  or  comment  on the   future  of  Mangini   at  the  present  time.  picture appears courtesy  of ap/photo/ Tony  Dejak  ..................

Brown’s owner Randy Lerner (right) seen here with the team’s coach Eric Mangini at the team’s training facility in Berea ,Ohio. Lerner voiced his disgust at the team’s woes and errant play. He has refused to speculate or comment on the future of Mangini at the present time. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Tony Dejak …..

Now with the and organization in turmoil, Kokinis has been relinquished of his duties as general manager and abruptly fired. Mangini for his part must now be looking like a fool ! His own position within the organization has to be under review by the owner. Simply put, this former assistant under Bill Belichick is clearly a bust as a coach within the NFL ! Mangini clearly can’t communicate with his players, nor does he appear to command their respect or attention. Proof of that can be seen with his all but brief tenure with the New York Jets as their head coach. Even with Brett Favre in tow , the Jets were simply just another team without much guidance or leadership. That same situation is now being replicated in Cleveland , much to the dismay of their legion of loyal and devoted fans. Kokinis may have been shown the door but the thinking must now be that Mangini can’t be far behind.

George Kokinis    the now former    Cleveland  Browns' General Manager.  Kokinis  was  relinquished  of  his  duties   and   abruptly fired.   Mangini  was  said   to  be  visibly  shaken  and  completely  surprised at the   turn  of events  that  suddenly  took  place.        picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/   Tony  Marshall   ....................

George Kokinis the now former Browns’ General Manager. Kokinis was relinquished of his duties and abruptly fired by the organization. Mangini was said to be visibly shaken and completely surprised at the turn of events that took place. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Tony Marshall ……………

At (1-7) and sitting afoot of the AFC North in what is turning to be a highly contested and competitive division . The Cleveland Browns’ season is for all sense and purpose essentially over. They’ll now be playing pride and a sense of honor. Most certainly there are a number of players on this Browns’ roster that will not be returning to the team next season. Either for financial reasons or from the mere fact that they’ve not been productive enough. Looking up at teams within their division such as the Baltimore Ravens (4-3) , Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) and the surprise leaders of the division, in the Cincinnati Bengals (5-2). Player on the team have to show the fans that they’ve still got the heart and passion to play with pride. And if Mangini can’t instill that into this team, then Randy Lerner has no other option but to fire him !

Chicago Bears' defensive end  Mark  Anderson puts pressure  on  Browns'  quarterback  Derek  Anderson   in an  NFL  game  played   at   Soldier Field  in  Chicago  , Illinois.   The  Bears   would   go  on  to  defeat   the  Browns   30-6   in a  lopsided  game.     picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Nam Y  Huh  ..................

Chicago Bears’ defensive end Mark Anderson puts pressure on Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Derek Anderson in an NFL game played at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois. The Bears would go on to defeat the Browns 30-6 in a thoroughly lopsided game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nam Y. Huh ………………..

Looking down the Cleveland Browns’ roster , one can’t help but notice the obvious that it is short on talent , leadership and players with play-making abilities. But for the exception of Josh Cribbs , Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie . There’s not really much that one could portend to say that the team can be competitive within the NFL. There’s no vocal or emotional leader on the team and their duo of quarterbacks in the guise of Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson are about as intimidating as Clay Aiken dressed up in athletic gear ! Now there’s a picture that could paint way more than a thousand words !

The Cleveland Browns as a team can’t help but shoot themselves in the foot , each time they take to the field for a game. They look ill prepared , lacking in confidence and in large part intimidated by their opponents, whomever they maybe. Add to the fact that on either side of the ball , their play has been completely inept and devoid of creativity ! And with all this talk of the ‘ wildcat offense’ . I’d sincerely doubt that with this team adopting that as a part of their playbook we would actually see a vast improvement in their form. Remember this is a team where a quarterback was only able to compete two pass in seventeen attempts over an entire NFL game. If that isn’t an indication as how monstrously awful this team actually is. Then I for one can’t say much else besides than the …. ‘Cleveland Browns suck and they suck awfully bad ! So there you have it may take on the Browns and the ineptitude they’ve shown so far this season. Like I’ve already alluded to earlier. Could you ever have imagined that there would so many god-damn awful teams in the NFL all playing so badly on such a consistent basis ,week in , week out ? I couldn’t have !

Courtesy of NFL.com and Associated Press :

Browns coach Mangini remains quiet about Kokinis’ departure

Associated Press

BEREA, Ohio — The convoluted ouster of George Kokinis as Cleveland’s general manager barely made a ripple in the Browns’ locker room.

These guys are accustomed to losses.

Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas hardly knew Kokinis, who was hired in January and left the club under unexplained circumstances on Monday.

“He wasn’t around too much, and when he was, he was pretty quiet,” Thomas said.

Everyone inside team headquarters at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. was pretty quiet on Tuesday. The Browns, who have a bye this week, went about their business as rumors swirled about Kokinis, the events that led up to his departure and who — or if — anyone will replace him.

Browns coach Eric Mangini offered no details about the team’s decision to move on without his longtime friend and hand-picked GM.

“Anytime a decision like this is made it is difficult personally and professionally,” Mangini said. “George is a friend of mine and I respect him and I wish his family well. I can tell you that for a variety of reasons things didn’t work out. You never go into a situation like this with the intention of it not working out.

“We felt that, organizationally, this was the best decision in order to move forward.”

That was about as deep as Mangini would venture into the Kokinis matter. Mangini spent most of his news conference politely deflecting questions about why the decision was made.

He was asked if there were legal reasons why he couldn’t address Kokinis’ exit.

“There’s really a variety of reasons,” he said, “and I’ll just leave it at that.”

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AFC North Standings :

AFC North Team W L T Pct PF PA Net Pts TD Home Road Div Pct Conf Pct Non-Conf Streak Last 5
Cincinnati Bengals 5 2 0 .714 163 128 35 21 2-2 3-0 3-0 1.000 3-2 .600 2-0 1W 4-1
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 2 0 .714 167 129 38 20 4-0 1-2 1-1 .500 3-1 .750 2-1 4W 4-1
Baltimore Ravens 4 3 0 .571 199 137 62 25 3-1 1-2 1-1 .500 4-2 .667 0-1 1W 2-3
Cleveland Browns 1 7 0 .125 78 209 -131 7 0-3 1-4 0-3 .000 1-4 .200 0-3 3L 1-4

Cleveland Browns’ roster in part – click on link below to view in its entirety.

Cleveland Browns
No Name Pos Status Height Weight Birthdate Exp College
20 Adams, Mike CB ACT 5’11” 200 3/24/1981 6 Delaware
3 Anderson, Derek QB ACT 6’6″ 230 6/15/1983 5 Oregon State
50 Barton, Eric ILB ACT 6’3″ 245 9/29/1977 11 Maryland
96 Bowens, David OLB ACT 6’3″ 265 7/3/1977 11 Western Illinois
90 Coleman, Kenyon DE ACT 6’5″ 295 4/10/1979 8 UCLA
54 Costanzo, Blake LB ACT 6’1″ 235 4/14/1984 3 Lafayette
16 Cribbs, Josh WR ACT 6’1″ 215 6/9/1983 5 Kent State
28 Davis, James RB RES 5’11” 218 1/1/1986 0 Clemson
4 Dawson, Phil K ACT 5’11” 200 1/23/1975 11 Texas
26 Elam, Abram SS ACT 6’0″ 207 10/15/1981 4 Kent State
83 Estandia, Greg TE ACT 6’8″ 265 11/18/1982 3 Nevada-Las Vegas
66 Fraley, Hank G ACT 6’3″ 310 9/21/1977 10 Robert Morris

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