Cleveland You Have A Problem …

Cleveland You Have A Problem ….

Expectations were high in 2014, when the Cleveland Browns drafted Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel . After a successful college career with the Aggies, within many circles it was felt if Manziel could reproduce the form seen with Texas & AM and then the Browns’ future would be secured with a franchise quarterback. In the ensuing years Johnny Manziel’s notoriety around the NFL has more to do with his off-the field antics than anything achieved on the field for the franchise. Granted, Cleveland Browns are now on their second head coach during Manziel’s short career with the Browns , but the players lack of maturity , sobriety issues and his having been dropped by his agent the LeBron James’ owned sports management company , should indicate the ongoing problems of the player and the fact he hasn’t shown the propensity to change his behavior.

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Even in light of the front office upheaval, with the firing of former GM Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine , it became abundantly clear, the Browns’ issues stemmed beyond Johnny Manziel’s inconsistency and the incompetence shown by Mike Pettine and his coaching staff. During the 2015 season, at no point was Johnny Manziel able to lead the Browns with any degree of success , where the team’s best player either on defense and offense, were Karlos Dansby and Gary Barnidge being the team’s best option on offense. Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel shared the quarterback duties for much of last season , but neither player truly proved to be productive when called upon to lead the team.

The Cleveland Brown’s financial commitment thankfully, has been nothing more than Johnny Manziel’s rookie contract and their likely releasing the player as of the 1st March , provides them with the chance to move forward without the troubled quarterback. Seeking to resurrect the fortunes of the Cleveland Browns will be the team’s new head coach Hue Jackson and his coaching staff . Jackson’s tenure with the Oakland Raiders was well-chronicled and the sheer ineptitude shown by the front office of the AFC West based franchise led to his being blamed for the Raiders’ misfortunes and subsequent firing . From my own perspective , I believe the Cleveland Browns wasted a draft pick on Johnny Manziel when they were far better options for the Browns at the time of making their choice. Such was the hyperbole over Manziel , that forgotten in this all, was the player’s lack of maturity , intelligence and temperament. I certainly don’t believe it would be in a team’s best interest to acquire Johnny Manziel as a backup or a as a third string starter on the roster of any NFL franchise. There are far too many distractions which come along with the player as well as his lack of command and skill-set as a player in the league.

LeBron James is not a coach-killer ? Well it remains to be seen , but with the firing of David Blatt , and the subsequent promotion of Tyronn Lue , leads me to believe things were not smooth as first thought. Cleveland Cavaliers’ team owner , Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin made the decision to fire the embattled head coach. What may well have brought about Blatt’s demise were the recent performances and the Cavalier’s embarrassing loss to the Golden State Warriors . During a brief spell in mid-January , the Cleveland Cavaliers struggled as they lost to Golden State and the San Antonio Spurs , the top-two teams in the NBA. The real issue for the Cavaliers I believe , is the very fact they are not getting any real productivity from their bench and we have also seen a real lack of productivity from Kevin Love throughout much of this regular season.

If the Cavaliers are to have any chance of making a successful return to the NBA Finals , then their record against their conference rivals as well as the Western Conference will have to be considerably better than their current record indicates. The return of Kyrie Irving to the Cavaliers’ lineup should help the team a great deal and add to what Tyronn Lue will be seeking from his players in the lead-up to the All Star Break . Cleveland will be back on-court tonight when they face the Charlotte Hornets on the road in an Eastern Conference clash .

David Griffin may well seek to keep the Cavalier’s roster intact rather than perhaps move an impending free agents or make an ill-advised salary dump , or simply look to bolster the lineup , but the one thing I believe which cannot be denied, will the LeBron James’ ‘ factor ‘ as to his wants and needs for this team. f the Cavaliers do take the plunge and make a play for a marquee free agent , then we could see Cleveland make a big play for one of the presumed elite players likely to be on the open market. With a payroll currently set at $109.2 million the highest in the NBA , the Cavaliers also find themselves $39 million over the NBA salary cap and they are likely to be taxed at the league mandated $1-50 for every dollar the franchise remains over the cap . A luxury tax bill of $53 million could make a serious dent in the operational costs and profits of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is something I am sure Dan Gilbert and the members of the front office are keenly aware of.

Terry Francona seems to have settled in nicely as the manager of the Cleveland Indians , but last season had to be seen as a tremendous disappointment for a team with postseason ambitions . The Indians came up short , playing ‘second fiddle’ to the likes of the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins within the AL Central this past season. Fortune favors the bold and the Indians have not waded into the water to make any major moves , but the front office know the fans of the Cleveland Indians will be expecting more from their team this season. It will be interesting to see if team owner , Lawrence J Dolan seeks to fulfill their wishes of bringing a World Series title to the city of Cleveland and this respected franchise . Postseason appearances for the Indians have been rare in recent seasons and their last appearance in the Fall Classic was in the 1997 World Series which ended in a 4-3 series’ loss to the Florida Marlins, later to become the Miami Marlins .

Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff has expectations too and he expects Terry Francona and his managerial staff have this team ready and prepared for the onslaught of a rigorous regular season schedule . Granted, before entering the fray , the Cleveland Indians’ coaching staff will be assessing the team’s strengths and weaknesses during their Spring Training schedule , as they pour over their forty-man squad as well as their non-roster invitees. The team additions which have come by way of free agent signings and waivers will be seen as beneficial for the ball-club.

The Cleveland Indians ended last season on a losing streak , but had won six of their last ten games to close out the regular season. Cleveland’s final game of the season would result in a 3-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox , with the Indian’s record for the year being 80-81 , with one game being postponed due to bad weather and never fulfilled as part of their regular season schedule. The players on the Indians’ roster who Terry Francona believes can lead the team to success will be seasoned veterans , Mike Napoli , Carlos Santana , Rajai Davis, Josh Tomlin and Corey Kluber. This roster is very young at its core , but great things are expected from this team over the course of the season. Whether or not the Cleveland Indians can contend against their divisional rivals will be based on the mindset of the players and the coaching acumen shown by the managerial staff.

Over the past two seasons the Kansas City Royals have proven to be the cream of the crop and I believe they are the team to beat within the AL Central this year ! As the defending World Series’ champions the title remains theirs to lose and while I believe there will be a spirited challenge from the Cleveland Indians , I do not believe it will be enough to derail Royals divisional or postseason aspirations ! The Indians will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park , Arlington , Texas on 1st April , but their home opener for the regular season will be on the 4th April against the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio,. Both games should prove to be interesting contests for the Cleveland Indians.

The Cleveland Browns have not been able to bring a Superbowl title to the city of Cleveland , the NBA franchise within the city in spite of the superstar status of LeBron James , as the Cleveland Cavaliers remain nothing more than an alluring attraction, while the presence of the Cleveland Indians within MLB , seems to be that of a franchise longing to belong , but repeatedly failing to meet expectations. Suffice to say, Cleveland , “ you have a problem “ , because other than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame there is absolutely nothing on show to offer the visiting sports’ fan by way of real entertainment.

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News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …


News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …

Well once again as we approach a festive period , in this case, Christmas and all of the alleged joy it is meant to bring .Sports’ fans are left to ponder what is happening within the realms of professional sports. The NFL remains a complete farce and once again we had a Thursday Night Game which failed to live up to expectations. The Arizona Cardinals (11-3) found a way to eke out a victory over the rather inept St Louis Rams. Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians , believes incumbent starting quarterback Drew Stanton has what it takes to lead the team all the way to the Superbowl . Based on the events of the last night’s contest , I believe the head coach is delusional and definitely jumping ahead of himself !

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For the present Arizona has the best record in the NFC and will be looking for home field advantage throughout the postseason. The NFC West, where Arizona has a comfortable lead over their closest rivals , is now a division, which is theirs to lose . As to the continued idiocy and buffoonery by some, who believe the San Francisco 49ers (7-6) were good enough to gain double-digit wins for the season , well their year has been completely turned upside down with the head coach Jim Harbaugh no longer being seen in a favorable light by the front office led by CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke. Whether not Harbaugh returns next season is now open to a great deal of debate and conjecture. The Niners have a divisional clash on Sunday afternoon against the defending Superbowl champions the Seattle Seahawks and that contest will certainly be a ” make or break game ” for the team.

Colin Kaepernick will certainly have to now prove his worth beyond his audacious contract , one which he now has to live up to in more ways than one.

With the Cleveland Browns (7-6) still in the thick of things within the AFC North and fighting for their very lives, looking to make the postseason for the first time in almost twelve years , it remains to be seen whether or not this team can make that premise a reality. Head coach Mike Pettine has decided to sit starting quarterback Brian Hoyer in favor the team’s draftee Johnny Manziel and so the era begins for a player, many believe lacks the maturity to play in the NFL. The Browns’ coaching staff may well live to regret this decision, should the team fall at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) when these two AFC North teams meet in a decisive and pivotal division game on Sunday afternoon. Manziel will get the chance to show what he is made of and perhaps persuade his doubters and actually prove to them , he is the future of this franchise.

The NBA season continues with a number of teams already in complete disarray. The Toronto Raptors (16-6) and Golden State Warriors (20-2) are the respective conference leaders within the league as we reach the first quarter of the NBA’s eighty-two game schedule. Undeniably , there is still a long way to go before the season reaches its climax , but already we are beginning to see the frustration among the fans as well as a number of players , because of the continued poor play of the teams. Needless to say , teams such as the New York Knicks (4-20) , Philadelphia 76ers (3-19), Detroit Pistons (3-19) , Charlotte Hornets (6-15) , Minnesota Timberwolves (5-16) and Los Angeles Lakers (6-16) are no longer having to prove why they are so inept . Just take my word for it they are and will remain so over the course of the season based on their current play. Neither of the teams mentioned, have shown any signs of real competitiveness and clearly that has been shown in the results seen this season.

For all of the praised heaped upon Phil Jackson as a head coach , it has to be said, the expectations and his being able to work a miracle by turning around the misfortunes of the New York Knicks have been way beyond his control. The team is in complete disarray , with no signs of life now being shown. The situation will not be helped with Carmelo Anthony being sidelined due to an injury and as the team’s best player and offensive threat , it becomes easy to understand how dire the situation has become for the franchise. Jackson was brought in to head up the Knicks’ operations and now as the Head of Basketball Operations as well as holding a position as a Senior Vice President, the former head coach is witnessing the fact , the job of an executive is not as easy as first thought. Add in the culture of the New York Knicks’ fans and fan-base who have been starved of success for years and weight of expectation from the perceived savior, may well be now in doubt.

The indignity now being suffered by the New York Knicks apart from their dire record and the fact they are on a ten-game losing streak adds to the ineptitude witnessed from this team. Their last victory came in defeating the lowly and even less effective Philadelphia 76ers in a 91-83 win , which took place on the 22nd November , 2014. Hard to say where there are meant to be any positives to be found concerning the Knicks without delving further into the fact, they have a rookie coach , Derek Fisher and a coaching staff who are clearly out of their depth . The team’s next game will be on the road when they face the Boston Celtics (7-13) at the TD Banknorth Gardens , in Boston , Massachusetts on Friday evening .

To now understand how dire things have become for the New York Knicks , consider the fact at the start of the season the franchise did their utmost in getting Carmelo Anthony to re-sign with the team with the player signing a five-year $124 million deal , tying him to the Knicks for the next years. Now comes word, the front office is said to be contemplating trading the NBA All Star and former scoring champion , but the premise would be based on Anthony waiving his no-trade clause. Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 and his $ 22.5 million salary is not necessarily cap-friendly to a team wishing to acquire the player much less obligate themselves to the remaining four years on his current deal. Undoubtedly, Anthony would be a desired player by a franchise looking for offensive firepower , but it is my belief the forward’s desire would have wish to be traded to a credible contender. The New York Knicks for their part are obviously seeking pieces which would complement their roster while looking to the future , whatever that may well be. Though this current situation is by no means the fault of Phil Jackson, it is my belief his arrogance and sheer complacency in not seeking improve the roster during the off-season, has led to this current debacle. For years this franchise has stumbled with their repeated pratfalls and lack of sheer insight as to what what was needed to improve their plight , without delving into the fact team owner James Dolan remained negligent in his responsibilities as the senior executive within the Knicks’ hierarchy. Come full circle and the New York Knicks are now heading aimlessly nowhere and an organization without a clue as what to do next .

It becomes asinine when fans try compare the careers of players from one generation to the next , before one of the athletes in question has actually retired .Yet like the ever anal retentive idots within the sports’ world, there will always be the fan or pundit seeking make an argument as to the merits in such a case . With Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant recently passing the plateau of 30,000 career points , the lead among active players and placing him among the top-ten all-time scorers in NBA history. Now as Bryant inches closer to the career points’ total of the player the greatest in the game’s history , the comparisons are now being made between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan . The former Chicago Bulls’ great, his career being well-chronicled , as been littered with accolades at every level of the game and it should be noted Jordan won an NCAA title at the collegiate level , whereas, Bryant made the jump straight from high school directly to the professional ranks of the NBA, forgoing a college career. Both players have won multiple NBA titles , Jordan’s six to Bryant’s five. Each has been a recipient of the Finals’ MVP Award and League MVP Award. Yet, the comparison should end there , because Bryant has become an anathema and petulant child, now resorting to chastising his teammates and the Lakers’ organization , publicly . Something, Jordan chose not to do publicly , and it was only with the advent of the breakup of the championship winning team in the Bulls’ last triumph under the auspices of general manger Jerry Krause , where the player was critical of the Bulls’ organization. specifically of Krause and his wish to breakup the winning team from that season. The similarities can end there , in-as far as the players may well have been critical of their respective hierarchies .

Kobe Bryant now finds himself in something of a dilemma as he plays on an uncompetitive team short on talent and coaching prowess being brought to the table by Byron Scott and his coaching staff. One could go as far as to suggest, Scott might be doing an even worst job than his two previous predecessors, Mike D’Antoni and Mike Brown , two former Lakers’ coaches who simply struggled to lead the franchise to any type of meaningful success during their respective tenures. Steve Nash remains unavailable to the team and Jeremy Lin , has proven to be about as useful as a dish-cloth being used to mop up an oil spill in the middle of an ocean. Beyond Lin, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill , there is very little to suggest the Lakers can survive the long haul of an eighty-two game schedule , let alone remain being competitive.

With a 6-16 record the Lakers find themselves at the bottom of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 13 1/2 games behind the division leading Golden State Warriors . To put it mildly , the Lakers are no longer the best NBA franchise in the state of California , a mantel they have held for a number of years , in particular in recently history , up until the 2012-13 season .

The Los Angeles Lakers are equally abysmal at home as they are on the road , further enforcing the fact they cannot win anywhere , let alone provide an opponent with some meaningful competition . Coming off a 98-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings their next opponent will be defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs in a game to be played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The resilience shown by Los Angeles could go a long way in defining the remainder of their season and whether not drastic changes are likely to be made at the trade deadline by GM Mitch Kupchak .

You have to admire rapper, entrepreneur , budding media mogul and now owner of an upstart sports’ management empire , seeking to challenge the likes of CAA , Top Rank , IMG , Golden Boy Promotions Inc as the next big thing in sports’ management and promotions. Jay-z , having accomplished a great deal as a musical artist , has now set his sights on becoming not only a boxing promoter , but also the manager of a stable of fighters. His fledgling agency RocNationSpotrts under the umbrella of parent company RocNation has entered the field of boxing promotions and management. Having been granted a license by the New York State Athletic Commission , his company will now seek to sign up and coming fighters to his stable of established sports’ personalities and athletes. Nevermind his coterie of renowned musical talent within the RocNation empire. Anything, which furthers the profile of boxing and can drag it out of the depths of mediocrity has to be seen as a welcomed thing , but given the lack and dirth of talent , I am not so sure, Jay-z will be as successful in this endeavor as he has been with his other commercial enterprises . Far be it for me to suggest , with the likes of Victor Cruz , Geno Smith , CC Sabathia , ,James Young said to be having indifferent seasons within their respective sports. It has to be said, an upswing of sorts , is needed for the agency. The biggest high-profiled athletes within the agency remain , Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant , Ndamukong Suh and Dez Bryant .

Boxing needs a dose of fresh air and creativity, because the likes of Don King and Bob Arum have been about as beneficial for the sport as the US Congress can be likened to have been of benefit to the country over the past six years. Inactivity, continued partisan bickering and infantile behavior, have become synonymous on Capitol Hill , just as much as it can now be witnessed within the sport of boxing. Needless to say, there are those who might think otherwise , perhaps due to their ongoing stupidity and complete lack of intelligence.

MLB’s Winter Meetings are not yet in full swing , but there has been abundance of trade activity since the postseason came to an end. A newly crowned World Series’ champion in the San Francisco Giants , and the witnessing of the largest individual contract being signed in professional sports’ team history, when Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins signed an outrageous $325 million deal , far dwarfing the next biggest contract in baseball. Needless to say, there are those , now questioning the wherewithal within an organization , which has been just as quick to jettison high-salaried players , as it has been to feign poverty , while team owner and billionaire art dealer Jeffrey Loria continues to pull the wool over the eyes of the Marlins’ fans as well as the league hierarchy , whom it appears have willingly let Loria get away with his unscrupulous behavior. Yet, baseball remains a law unto itself , with their being very little financial prudency being shown by the teams let alone with some of the most senior leaders within the league’s management .

Can anyone actually justify the $25 million salary paid to outgoing commissioner, Bud Selig , this past season or the fact , his successor Rob Manfred is likely to be paid in excess of that sum in 2015 ? All of this, coming at a time when a number of teams can barely survive on their gate revenues and still turn a profit even with endorsement deals from major corporate sponsors and that is without taking into account the ever growing payrolls around the league .

The Miami Marlins were far from convincing last season within an NL East division, which was sub-par and mediocre . One only has to understand that fact , in seeing how easily the the division’s winner , the Washington Nationals were brushed aside with the utmost ease during the postseason. Miami for its part, will continue to make good on its promise, to bolster their roster for the upcoming season with a number of deals, as they seek to make themselves competitive , in face of the alleged stiff competition within their division , the NL and the league. This might be just as good as it gets for the franchise, before they are back to ways of old , and the jettisoning of high salaried players.

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Picture gallery.

During 2014, which major sporting event has provided you with the greatest pleasure and which to your mind has been the most disappointing ? Chime in with a comments as you see fit on this and anything else you believe of merit concerning the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
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(1) St. Louis Rams’ Kenny Britt (81) sits on the field following an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam ..

(2) St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill (14) reacts after the Rams turned the football over on late downs late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam …

(3)St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher left, talk with Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians following an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

(4) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scrambles from Oakland Raiders linebacker Miles Burris (56) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. San Francisco would go on to lose the game 24-13 . to the Raiders. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ..

(5) Johnny Manziel will be making his first professional start in a regular season game when the Cleveland Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals in an all AFC North clash on Sunday afternoon , the 14th December during week fifteen of the NFL regular season schedule. AP Photo/ Reece Carr …

(6) New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony reacts after a foul in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 4, 2011. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 119-115 . There now seems to be mounting speculation the Knicks might be willing trade the player with their season now spiraling out of control , but it would take Anthony to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate such a deal, likely to involve multiple teams and several players. UPI/John Angelillo

(7) Michael Jordan, left and Kobe Bryant whose careers are not intertwined by a great many meetings on the court , but clearly Bryant’s game was modeled on Jordan’s iconic stature . UPI / Roger Powell ……

(8) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins having signed the most lucrative deal in baseball history hopes lead the franchise to greater glory this upcoming season . The organization has also signed their NL Rookie of the Year , pitcher , Jose Fernandez (16) to a long-term deal , using both players as marketing chips to lure fans back to Marlins Ballpark , in Miami , Florida . A venue, which in recent seasons has been sparsely attended . Miami Herald / Octavo Figueroa …

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You can’t squeeze those to make lemonade, but you can get a whole lot of milk and a great deal of pleasure from giving her an assist .

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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Picture gallery .

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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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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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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It’s not Rocket Science , so why turn it into something it is not ?

It’s not Rocket Science , so why turn it into something it is not ?

Was there really any doubt that the Houston Texans were not going to make Jadeveon Clowney to the number one pick in the 2014 NFL Draft ? The South Carolina Gamecocks’ linebacker was a consensus top pick among general managers , analysts , draft geeks and even those, who were not even intense football fans. It is pretty much safe to suggest, that had Texans’ GM Rick Smith chosen to forego the choice of Clowney , then there would have been a number of questions raised concerning the inner workings within the front office of the AFC South based NFL franchise. We all know what Clowney brings to the table as player, even where there have been questions concerning his maturity level.

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Slideshow .

The first round of the Draft played out with a little drama, but the greatest surprise of the night might well have been the fact , highly praised Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had dropped to become the twenty-second pick of the first round , when he was taken by the offensively challenged Cleveland Browns , who were most definitely in need of dynamic passer and someone who could bring back fans to Paul Brown Stadium , in Cleveland , Ohio. Brandon Weeden’s short stay with the franchise was not a memorable one , with the quarterback rarely achieving anything of note during his two-year stay with the franchise. Whether or not Manziel can engineer something of a rebound will be completely dependent upon how quickly the player can acclimatize himself to the rigors of playing in the NFL . Head coach Mike Pettine is likely to use his rookie quarterback throughout much of the Browns’ preseason schedule and then into the regular season .

Johnny Manziel will also have to prove his doubters wrong , many of whom believe that the player because of his size, will not be an overall resounding success in the NFL . My take on it all, we will never know, until Manziel steps unto the turf and makes that first successful pass and his then being able move on from there. One game , is such a small step to take , but it could end up being the first of many , to the level of success that is likely to be achieved . Well, that will be dependent upon the player, his teammates and the coaching staff of the Cleveland Browns.

If the shock of Johnny Manziel not being taken as the first quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft was not enough of a surprise. Then Blake Bortles being the first passer announced, was stunning, given that , the UCF Golden Knights’ passer plays in a newly established conference where the play is still being assessed , are the teams that now make up the American Conference . Blake Bortles has been placed in the not too enviable position, being asked to succeed Blaine Gabbert of the Jacksonville Jaguars and to lead that franchise to some semblance of success.

Gabbert’s tenure , as the starting quarterback, for that particularly moribund franchise, can be best described as being mediocre , if not downright incompetent. Yet for some reason, it was felt that he still offered the best opportunity possible for the Jaguars to win throughout much of last season . Jacksonville’s year-end record was enough to suggest that they are nowhere near where they needed to be and quite possibly team owner , Shahid Khan may well be overreaching and overly ambitious, in suggesting the team would be capable of winning a Superbowl title within five years of his taking ownership of the franchise . The owner now entering the third year of his tenure and I would to think, that Khan’s strategy and plans are now being revised.

Teddy Bridgewater was the second quarterback taken behind Blake Bortles and he too , will be asked to succeed another failing quarterback , in Christian Ponder , whose tenure with the Minnesota Vikings has been a unique failure , beyond the incompetency shown the successive general managers of the franchise and the very fact that Zygi Wilf’s efforts in recent years , have been strictly been about strong arming the state legislature in Minnesota to finance the building of a $ 1.4 billion venue for the franchise , further endangering the state’s precarious financial situation , where they now have a burgeoning deficit and a number of municipalities are having to choose to cut much-needed services within their communities or simply seek bankruptcy reorganization protection. This is now a situation that several cities around the country are now facing, as they are being asked by the hierarchies of the NBA , NHL , NFL and MLB to finance what those bodies claim are newly required venues , while the revenues and profits within football , baseball and basketball are now on the rise . In the case of hockey , Garry Bettman and his teams still find themselves behind the “black ball “ , as well as between a rock and a hard place .

Bridgewater may well be just what is needed for the Vikings and for the team’s long tenured running back , Adrian Peterson , a player of Teddy Bridgewater’s ability could be the make or break decision for the franchise’s most revered player over the past six seasons . It has long been rumored, that Peterson would have sought a trade, if the front office was unwilling to bolster the Vikings’ roster . The departure of Jared Allen may well have been seen as a prudent move, but I cannot help but feel that GM Rick Spielman still has not done enough to make the team in its current guise a legitimate contender within their own division, much less the rest of the NFC as well and the league , itself !

The Minnesota Vikings will open their regular season schedule with a game against the St Louis Rams at the Edwards Jones Dome Stadium in St Louis , Missouri . on the 7th September , 2014 . As what we ought to expect , could very well be determined by what we are likely to witness by the rookies on show that day, when these two teams face each other .

With the first two rounds of the NFL Draft now having passed, the remaining four rounds now become about , teams simply doubling up by way of players they now feel perhaps, may well meet a need , in terms of a third or fourth depth choice on their respective rosters.

Offensive players were said to be in abundance in this particular NFL Draft, by way of the running backs and wide receivers said to be in play. I have no doubt, that players such as Sammy Watkins , Mike Evans , Marquise Lee , Odell Beckham and Kelvin Benjamin will find their way onto the rosters of teams who are in need of very good receivers . The same can be said also , for the running backs seeking to make their mark in the NFL this upcoming season and whether or not they are capable of taking advantage of the situation that they are likely to be placed in. The first running back taken in this particular draft, the Ohio State Buckeyes’ rushing sensation Carlos Hyde , albeit, that there are those who believe that there were number of players at the position with far greater productivity than Hyde has shown over the course his career. Yet, clearly Jeff Fisher , the St Louis Rams’ front office and the Rams’ coaching staff saw something in the player that they believe will be to their advantage , as they set about their season in 2014 , with their preseason and regular season schedule . Hyde will no doubt, be given every opportunity to prove himself a worthy successor to many of the franchise’s great running backs in recent years , most notably the Rams’ all-time leading rusher, Steven Jackson . A tough act to follow indeed, but Jackson no longer part of the franchise, and their being little power to the franchise’s rushing game last season , something is needed to reignite the team and Carlos Hyde may well be the player, in this case.

Trent Baalke , general manager of the San Francisco 49ers , having seen the franchise’s failed attempts in recent years, to add a sixth Superbowl trophy to the Niners trophy cabinet and to bring some joy back to the faces of the fans. Well, the front office executive , is now seeking to stock his team roster, with an abundance of offensive players by engineering a number of trades without yet , delving deep into the NFL Draft. The additions of Brandon Lloyd and during this draft process, in obtaining Buffalo Bills’ receiver Stevie Johnson might on the face of it seem a debatable risk , but clearly, Baalke , team CEO Jed Yorke and head coach Jim Harbaugh believe the moves worth taking. San Francisco’s divisional rivals the Seattle Seahawks reached the pinnacle of NFL team success in winning their first Superbowl , by bulldozing the highly rated Denver Broncos and along the way making five-time League MVP and Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning seem like a rookie in his third Superbowl appearance , in what has been one of the great NFL careers of recent years within the league.

Baalke fully realizes, that the NFC West has now become by far the best division in the entire NFL , with the likes of the San Francisco 49ers , Seattle Seahawks , Arizona Cardinals and St Louis Rams now jockeying for divisional supremacy. Take into account also the caliber of the quarterbacks within the division and you can now understand why that claim is now justified beyond the overall play of the quartet of teams in question. .

Colin Kaepernick the Forty Niners’ starting quarterback has proven himself to be a worthy successor to Alex Smith , who himself, now appears to have made a name for himself with the Kansas City Chiefs . Kaepernick’s failings , if there are said to be any, may well be derived from the fact that he comes across as too brash and arrogant . Yet, he cannot be faulted for the team’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Superbowl XLII(SB47), a game that still remains clouded by the incompetency of the league and host site, the New Orleans Superdome , home to the New Orleans Saints . That debacle still has not been explained adequately by the league office , in spite of the post-game comments made , to the resounding success in the staging of the event . A showcase for the NFL’s biggest game of the season was something of a shambles, with the organizing committee fully aware of the ongoing problems concerning site’s electrical infrastructure and an hour-long interval, as repairs were made to the electrical power generator supplying power to the Superdome.

Over the past two seasons , the New England Patriots have proven themselves to be the class of the AFC East twice succeeding to defend their divisional title, but it has been their postseason forays in 2012 and 2013 , that have many questioning whether or not Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have lost their “magical touch” when it comes to the postseason. The window of opportunity for both to add a fourth Superbowl title to their respective resumes’ seem to be slowly closing , in spite of Brady’s ongoing zeal to seek perfection with each postseason game , and the performances thereof. The Patriots’ quarterback remains one of the most successful passers in postseason history, over the past fourteen years and his three Superbowl victories are unmatched by any of his peers currently playing.

Tom Brady has never been outspoken or demonstrative in making demands of the Patriots’ front office , having placed his trust in the coach , the coaching staff and GM Nick Caserio to do what is in the best interests of the franchise. This draft could very well be the one, where the organization chooses to load up on both sides of the ball , while also availing themselves of the best available free agents on the open market . Caserio has sought to be prudent, in terms of the cap room , in the buildup to the NFL Draft and once the contract negotiations begin for the rookies, you can be sure that he will drive a hard bargain with their respective agents , representing those clients.

Finally , all of the gloating and self-righteous hypocrisy of the NFL remains on show , with the league’s drafting of its first openly gay player. Michael Sam will become of a member of the St Louis Rams , having been drafted in the sixth round by the NFC West based franchise. Head coach Jeff Fisher in addressing the issue , has stipulated that he does not want the actions of organization of the Rams to be the sole focus of this season. Also, he has stated, Sam will be made available to the press to discuss his place on the team and not the social relevance about his sexuality and what this all means to the NFL . Yet , for all of this hyperbole, to the importance of the decision by the Rams , one simply hide the fact the league remains not only homophobic , but it has to be said there still remains a great deal of racism hidden and obviously open in the aftermath of the Richie Incognito “ affair” within the Miami Dolphins’ organization .

In the aftermath of his being drafted by the Rams , Michael Sam was given a congratulatory kiss by his partner of several years , when Vito Cammisano , kissed the player on live television, with countless millions watching nationally and millions more globally . Now, while there has been some public outrage, about the act, and the fact there may well have been children watching the NFL Draft. It begs the question, if children can witness hours of gratuitous violence, during prime-time hours on national or syndicated programming, never mind the fact they also witnessing acts of war where victim’s global conflicts are sometimes being shown. Then why now, of all the situations possible, is there such outrage to the act of Sam kissing his partner ? Political correctness or not , unless one can either be respectful one’s right to freedom of expression , but dare I say it, show an ounce of common decency , rather than allude to the fact that this country remains without an ounce of bigotry . Those espousing such beliefs simply have no goddamn idea in actuality , concerning what is happening in the real world , much less realizing that times have changed , be it for the better or the worse . Common decency and respect ought to overshadow , intolerance and bigotry . Obviously, there are fans of the NFL , who remain ignorant and bigoted , while trying to behind some falsehood created in their own psyche .

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Picture gallery.

Do you believe there were any major surprises, during this NFL Draft? Which teams in your opinion may well have pulled off a coup, in terms of the players drafted and likely to be seen as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl this upcoming season?

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .
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(1) Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans is seen here with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodel , after the defensive line was taken as the number one overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft by the Texans. Getty Images / Loyd Carr ….

(2) Jadeveon Clowney makes his arrival for the 2014 NFL Draft alongside his Mom, Joseanna , to the prelude for the night’s events . AP Photo/ Dinesh Patel ….

(3) Johnny Manziel , thought to be everyone’s consensus pick as the first quarterback taken in this draft , the player was taken as the twenty-second overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. Team GM Tom Heckert hopes that the Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy winner can show the type of form that made him one of the dynamic players at the collegiate level during his tenure with the Aggies . AP Photo / Tom Johnson ….

(4) Blake Bortles is seen here with Roger Goodell . The player was taken as the first quarterback in the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and is deemed the likely successor to Blaine Gabbert whose tenure with the franchise has been somewhat sporadic and uneven since being originally drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft by the AFC South based franchise. AP Photo/ Tom Johnson …….

(5) Teddy Bridgewater now of the Minnesota Vikings . The former Louisville Cardinals’ quarterback will be hoping to make a successful jump from the collegiate level to the NFL ranks for the Vikings’ organization. AP Photo / Phil Devlin …..

(6) Michael Sam is seen here in a congratulatory embrace, as he shares a kiss with his partner Vito Cammasino after the announcement was made that the SEC Defensive Player of the Year had been drafted in the sixth round by the St Louis Rams . Sam is the first active and openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL . As to whether or not this will be met with a “seal of approval” by ardent Rams throughout this season remains to be seen , but that first preseason home game , as well as regular season contest , should prove to be an indication , as to whether or not the fans will be supportive of Michael Sam. Already those within and outside the NFL have begun to voice their disapproval of the player’s embrace and the kissing of his partner on live television. Courtesy of ESPN @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …………

(7) Michael Sam is seen here addressing members of the convened press as takes questions concerning his thoughts on the upcoming NFL Draft. Sam was taken in the sixth round of the Draft by the St Louis Rams and hopes to be a productive member of the team as they embark upon their season in the NFL . AP Photo / John Pettite ….

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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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Picture gallery .

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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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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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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The Sporting Weekend That Was ……… Misfires And Positives ………..

The Sporting Weekend That Was ……… Misfires And Positives ………..

Well the MLB season has kicked off in full swing and oh yes , the baseball fans are simply now in heaven . Two things have caught my eye , the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry will be ‘as heated as ever’. And low and behold ESPN has made the announcement that former Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling will be joining their staff as an on air analyst for their pre-game and radio shows covering baseball. Now don’t get me wrong if ESPN feels that someone as opinionated as Schilling, is what they need to lure even more fans to watch their coverage . Then , so be it ! Schilling will also be providing live analysis , giving his undoubted experience and some might say in depth analysis of the game. I’m wondering if Curt will try to pass himself off as baseball’s answer to Charles Barkley ?

Schilling the entrepreneur .

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

ESPN hires Curt Schilling as analyst

Bristol , Conn. (AP)—Curt Schilling has been hired by ESPN to work as a baseball analyst.

The network says that the former pitcher, who won World Series titles with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox, will appear on “Baseball Tonight” and ESPN Radio, in addition to contributing to ESPNBoston.com and the company’s main Web site.

He will make his debut Sunday during ESPN’s pregame coverage of the big league opener between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

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Well it appears that the Donovan McNabb saga wasn’t going to be drawn out as the fiasco that’s now once again unfolding in Minnesota with Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings . The Eagles sent the Pro Bowler to the Washington Redskins for second round pick and a third or fourth round pick next year.

Donovan  McNabb  of  the  Philadelphia  Eagles.   The  player  was   traded  to  the  Washington  Redskins  a   divisional  rival     in the  NFC  East.   It  adds  to the  flavor  this   upcoming   season    when   the  player  meets  <u> his   'former   team' </u>.    photo appears  courtesy  of   Getty  Images/ Hugh  Malcolm ....................
Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles. The player was traded to the Washington Redskins a divisional rival in the NFC East. It adds to the flavor this upcoming season when the player meets his 'former team' . photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Hugh Malcolm ....................

For the Eagles , their coach Andy Reid , GM & President Joe Banner this now becomes about the immediate future and the handing over of the reins to Kevin Kolb . And given the fact that the Eagles’ fans have never truly accepted McNabb and embraced him openly. I’m now wondering what they’ll make of the fact that the player has been traded to a divisional rival ? Will there be effigies of both Banner and Reid hanging outside the stadium should the team not fare well at all during the upcoming season ? Now call me naive but would it not have been far more advantageous for the organization to trade the player to another team outside the division (NFC East) ?

Mike Shanahan and team owner Daniel Snyder , they may well view this as their coup-de-gras in obtaining the Pro Bowl quarterback. And for Jason Campbell , he now must be left wondering as to what his immediate future may well be within the organization. My own opinion is that he’s no more or less , your rather average backup quarterback ! He simply can’t be entrusted to lead the Redskins with any great aplomb. Granted , he’s had to deal with the revolving door of coaches and offensive coordinators from his very first day with the team until now. And no player mentally or physically should really have to deal with such a situation. But this is simply what makes the Redskins one the NFL’s more comical organizations in terms of their managerial and executive structure .

Courtesy of The Washington Post

Washington Redskins’ trade for Donovan McNabb is a perfect fit

By Michael Wilbon , Sports Columnist

The only reservation in Donovan McNabb’s voice Sunday night was over finding and talking to Jason Campbell. After all, when things were going rotten for Campbell, when he was being benched and booed, it was McNabb, after an Eagles-Redskins game in Washington, who sought out Campbell to buck him up, tell him he’s got the tools to be a fine quarterback in the NFL. The quarterback fraternity is small, and the black quarterback fraternity is even smaller, and McNabb didn’t want Campbell to think for one second he’d been lying in the weeds for weeks, waiting to take his job.

McNabb, for the record, didn’t know until the last second where he was going to wind up. The rumors that the Vikings were atop his list were erroneous; McNabb told me that himself last week. The Raiders were a team that was interested, but not the only team. McNabb and I talked about the business of football the other night in Arizona, a totally off-the-record conversation. But I was reminded that night, with all due respect to Campbell, why McNabb is about the best fit around to be the quarterback of the Washington Redskins . . .

…Because Donovan McNabb has done most of it and seen all of it. Even on an evening when the Eagles, the only team he has played for, were trying to trade him, he was completely unfazed. We’re talking about an 11-year veteran who was booed by Eagles fans from the moment he was selected. He’s dealt with injury, the harshest criticism imaginable, idiot teammates such as Terrell Owens, roiled up locker rooms. He’s watched his team draft his replacement, taken the field with few if any Pro Bowl-caliber weapons. He’s shrugged off controversies involving race that were none of his doing. Yet, McNabb has always been able to speak his mind, keep his dignity and keep his team in Super Bowl contention.

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Click on link to read Michael Wilbon’s article in its entirety.
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Baylor's   Brittney  Griner  and   U Conn's  Maya  Moore  are  seen  here   during  the  women's   Final  Four   game   between the two  teams.  Geno  Auriemma's   Huskies  would   go  on  to  defeat  the  Baylor Lady  Bears    <u> 70-50</u>  in  the   game  played  at the  Alamodome in   San  Antonio  ,  Texas , Sunday  April 4th  2010.   photo appears  courtesy  of  Getty  Images/   Alicia  Mack  ...........
Baylor's Brittney Griner and U Conn's Maya Moore are seen here during the women's Final Four game between the two teams. Geno Auriemma's Huskies would go on to defeat the Baylor Lady Bears 70-50 in the game played at the Alamodome in San Antonio , Texas , Sunday April 4th 2010. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Alicia Mack ...........

I’m not really hyped about women’s sports but I’ve caught a glimpse of one or two of the games in the women’s NCAA basketball tournament. And it’s now becoming clear that it’ll take a cataclysmic event to derail the U Conn Huskies as they “seek perfection” to end their season. All that now stands in the way of Geno Auriemma’s team are the women of Stanford . And as good as the Lady Cardinals appear to be , I do believe that they face an uphill task in trying to derail this Huskies’ team. Head coach Tara VanDerveer must either pray for divine intervention or that her team can catch lightning in a bottle and pull off the biggest upset ever to have taken place in women’s collegiate athletics. That’s the size of the task now facing the overwhelming underdogs in this contest , as they battle for the national championship.

Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers and his lawyer Patrick D'Angelo, center, talk to reporters after leaving Cleveland Police Headquarters where Rogers was charged with one felony count of carrying a concealed weapon on Friday, April 2, 2010, in Cleveland, Ohio. Rogers was arrested at Cleveland Hopkins International airport on Thursday after he tried to take a loaded handgun through airport security. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Jason Miller .....
Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers and his lawyer Patrick D'Angelo, center, talk to reporters after leaving Cleveland Police Headquarters where Rogers was charged with one felony count of carrying a concealed weapon on Friday, April 2, 2010, in Cleveland, Ohio. Rogers was arrested at Cleveland Hopkins International airport on Thursday after he tried to take a loaded handgun through airport security. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Jason Miller .....

Another week and “another dumb ass move” by an athlete ! It must be me but NFL players either believe that they’re impervious , invincible and above the law. Let me pose this question to you ? Knowing what you know, concerning the security measures carried out by the TSA (Transport & Security Administration) at all domestic airports , why in hell’s name would you want to carry a concealed weapon in your carry on luggage and then to board a domestic flight ? Cleveland Browns’ nose tackle Shaun Rogers pled not guilty to such a charge when he attempted to board a flight at Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport , Cleveland ,Ohio. Rogers through his attorney Patrick D’Angelo pleaded not guilty to the charge but has already offered an apology to the fans and to the Browns’ organization . If found guilty he faces up to eighteen months in prison and a fine . The case should it go to trial would take place within the Cleveland Municipal Court and it is bound to not only to just add one more “black eye” to the image of the NFL but also to the entire Browns’ organization.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Browns tackle pleads not guilty to gun charge

Cleveland (AP)—Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers(notes) has pleaded not guilty to a concealed weapons charge after authorities say he tried to carry a loaded handgun through airport security in a carry-on bag.

Rogers’ attorney Patrick D’Angelo says his client entered the plea Saturday in Cleveland Municipal Court. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison.

The 31-year-old apologized to his fans and his team Friday after spending a night in jail, saying he didn’t mean to take the gun into Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Rogers told police he forgot the gun was in his bag when he attempted to fly to Texas on Thursday.

D’Angelo says Rogers planned to fly to Houston later Saturday to spend Easter with family and will make sure “to check everything.”

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One clearly now must wonder what President & Head of Football Operations Mike Holmgren must be thinking about the mess that he finds himself in , as to the ongoing problems of this team both on and off the field of play ? Never mind the fact that he also has to deal with an under achieving coach in Eric Mangini and his coaching staff . The task now facing Holmgren in turning this organization around is a daunting one . But when he has players who use poor judgment not only on the field but also off it. It kinds make you feel that they’re completely deserving of anything that’s thrown their way , and that it is of their own making. Rogers may well try and deny his culpability , in his poor lack of judgment in traveling with a concealed weapon. But given the fact he was about to board a domestic flight and whereby passengers are routinely checked. You have to simply wonder what mindset he had at the time ? It is bad enough that he plays on a woefully inept team but his decision making off the field, in some ways indicates many of the woes that the Browns now faces as an organization in terms of its on field personnel. Common sense doesn’t appear to be part of the equation there at all ! Well at least when it comes to the Cleveland Browns . Their fans might as well accept the fate that is now within their midst. Because in reality over the last decade , what we’ve seen from the Browns is a lesson in abject futility both on and off the field ! Shaun Rogers’ actions only further endorse and enhance the fact as to how bad things are there with the NFL franchise .

And it has been suggested that the addition of Jake Delhomme to the team will add some much needed resolve for the organization and make them a legitimate contender within the NFC North ? I’d somehow like to think so but being on the outside looking and seeing how the Browns fared last year. Any advances made to my mind will only be incremental . After-all we are talking about a team that could only muster 5 wins all of last season in going 5-11 within its ‘own division. A far cry from the expectations of the Browns’ fans and ownership .

Butler head coach Brad Stevens, left to right, Gordon Hayward and Ronald Nored smile during an interview session for the men's NCAA Final Four college basketball championship Sunday, April 4, 2010, in Indianapolis. The Butler Bulldogs will face Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils in the championship game Monday night to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indianapolis, Indiana. This in many ways will be very much a "home game" for the small and in-obtrusive college team from Indiana. The furor over over their improbable journey has resonated within the state and across the nation. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Mark J Terrill ...............

Butler head coach Brad Stevens , left to right, Gordon Hayward and Ronald Nored smile during an interview session for the men’s NCAA Final Four college basketball championship Sunday, April 4, 2010, in Indianapolis. The Butler Bulldogs will “face” Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils in the championship game Monday night to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indianapolis, Indiana. This in many ways will be very much a “home game” for the small and in-obtrusive college team from Indiana. The furor over over their improbable journey has resonated within the state and across the nation. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Mark J Terrill ……………

Now as we all know the Butler Bulldogs have made it to the men’s national championship game in the NCAA Basketball Tournament . In tonight’s final, they’ll be taking on the ‘prohibitive favorites and three time national champions in the Duke Blue Devils . The thing I’d like to know is the fresh faced looking Brad Stevens , coach of this Butler team . Is he actually old enough to drink or vote ? He’s the only guy that I’ve seen during this tournament who actually looks younger than several of the players he’s coaching and many of the other collegiate players that have participated in the tournament for their respective teams. All kidding asides , even the team’s best player Gordon Hayward actually looks older than his coach . But that simply won’t mean anything once the two teams set foot on the court for the tip-off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The “storied Duke program” will be taking on the unexpected finalists in a game of contrasting styles but nonetheless a game that will invoke and elicit a great deal thought and fan support across the country. No doubt a great many fans will be looking to cheer on the “hometown heroes” of Butler. While opposing fans will be looking to see if Duke’s coach, Mike Krzyzewski can add to “his already illustrious” career by winning his “fourth national title” as coach of the Blue Devils. This will be the main plot-line of what will be an epic match-up of “David versus Goliath” on what is college basketball’s grandest stage. Tonight we shall see if Butler in its role as David can take down the mighty Goliath , in form of Duke, in front of a national tv audience of millions , as well as the thousands who’ll be in attendance to cheer on the “local hometown heroes” . And hopefully this will be a game that lives up to all of the perceived hype and expectations.

Los Angeles, April 4th 2010. <strong> Manu Ginobil </strong> (20) of the San Antonio Spurs goes to the basket against Luke Walton (4) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on   Sunday.    The   San  Antonio   Spurs  would   go  on  to  defeat  the  Los  Angeles Lakers  <u> 100-81 </u>  in a  game   played  at  the Staples  Center  in  Los  Angeles, California. photo  appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/ Getty  Images/  Noah Grahame  ................
Los Angeles, April 4th 2010. Manu Ginobil (20) of the San Antonio Spurs goes to the basket against Luke Walton (4) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday. The San Antonio Spurs would go on to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 100-81 in a game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Noah Grahame ................

Well those have been my takes on this sporting weekend. I’m still on “cloud nine” having seen my beloved San Antonio Spurs lay the ‘wood’ to the Los Angeles Lakers in their lopsided victory 100-81 . And with Manu Ginobli essentially, outplaying even Kobe Byrant on the day, with a thoroughly engaging display of offensive prowess in scoring 32 points ,in leading the team to victory at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles, California. Needless to say, there’ll be those who will say that one shouldn’t put much store in “the result”. But I look at this way, a team wants consistency and rhythm as the NBA postseason beckons. ‘No teams’ wants to go limping in the opening rounds of the playoffs where the ‘slightest mistake’ can put ‘an end to your season’ before it’s even started . Hopefully , this will be a sign of things to come from the Spurs after this rather engaging display. It should serve as a warning that they’re not dead and buried as of yet ? Writing them off as of now and you’ll be doing so at your peril !

What sporting events that took place this weekend have you thinking “hits and misses” ? By all means chime on in with a comment. And I’ll look to responding to them each ,in the usual manner. As always thanks for the continued support , it is definitely appreciated !


Alan Parkins

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Mystikal …. “Boucin’ Back Bumpin’ Me Against The Wall ”

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Babes of The Day . In order to view each picture up close and personal just click an individual feature . Have fun while perusing these “pics”.
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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

Click here ………………….

Eric Mangini ……..You Are The Weakest Link ………

It wasn’t all that long ago that the tv quiz show ‘The Weakest Link’ was all the rage on television. The show itself was an import was an import of the popular game show from the United Kingdom. And the then host of the show in the UK , Anne Robinson was brought stateside to see if her usual sardonic and acerbic wit would translate and make for good television here in the United States.

A scene from the eponymous show ‘ The Weakes Link’ featuring the show’s host Anne Robinson.

Bengals'  wide  receiver  Chad Ochocinco (85) catches  a  5 yd  touchdown  reception  infront  of  Browns'   cornerback  Eric  Wright  .    The   Bengals   would   go  on  to   defeat  the  Browns   23-20   in  the  AFC North  divisional   matchup.       picture   appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Mark  Duncan  .......................
Bengals' wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (85) catches a 5 yd touchdown reception infront of Browns' cornerback Eric Wright . The Bengals would go on to defeat the Browns 23-20 in the AFC North divisional matchup. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark Duncan .......................

Well alas , despite the initial popularity of the show and the initial ratings’ bonanza that followed. The popularity of the show decidedly waned. As to where one might now find the show on the tv dial …..who really knows ? Using this as analogy , much the same can be said of the Cleveland Browns’ coach Eric Mangini and his foray into coaching within the NFL . There was a great deal of hoopla surrounding his introduction into the NFL. As he was viewed as some sort of ‘wunderkind’ – having being tutored under the auspices of New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick. Mangini was hired by the New York Jets and seemingly his task would be made somewhat easier it was believed by having that erstwhile veteran , Brett Favre within their domain.

Mangini’s three years with the New York Jets can be best described as an unmitigated disaster. The wunderkind proved to be nothing more than a coach who proved to be out of his depth , there in New York. And his record with the team with the team overall was (23-25 .479%) , with one playoff appearance over that period of time. Fired in 2008 and replaced by Rex Ryan. It can be said that the change in the tide of fortunes for the Jets took an upswing.

Browns'  coadh  Eric  Mangini  speaks  with  his   wide receiver Braylon  Edwards  on the  sidelines   during  their  game  against  the  Cincinnati  Bengals   this  past  Sunday.  The  game  was  played  at   Paul  Brown  Stadium  in  Cleveland  , Ohio.    The  AFC  North  divisional  matchup   between the  two  instate  rivals   ended  up with a  win  for  the  Bengals   23-20.    picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  Tony  Dejak  ........................
Browns' coadh Eric Mangini speaks with his wide receiver Braylon Edwards on the sidelines during their game against the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday. The game was played at Paul Brown Stadium in Cleveland , Ohio. The AFC North divisional matchup between the two instate rivals ended up with a win for the Bengals 23-20. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Tony Dejak ........................

For Mangini it can be said that the opposite of that can be true. As his fortunes have taken a turn for the worst . So too has the fortunes of the Cleveland Browns. But it’d be remiss to think that the blame for this all can be squarely laid on the shoulders of Mangini. As his predecessor Romeo Crennel and then team GM Phil Savage barely built the semblance of a team that it was thought that could compete and be competitive within the NFL. The franchise labored under Crennel and Savage . The two were duly fired by the ownership. In came Mangini and the thought process was that the young coach , given a second chance- he’d be able to turn things around. Well the Browns have been turning but not in the direction that they or their fans could’ve hoped for. In the highly competitive NFC North they now sit at the bottom of the division with an (0-4) record and seemingly nothing at all to play for at this juncture , other than that of their pride. And ahead of them in the divisional standings lies the Baltimore Ravens (3-1), the Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) and the reigning Superbowl champions in the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2).

Bengals'   kicker  Shayne  Graham (17)  kicks  the  winning  field   goal  in  overtime  that  enables  the  win  over  the  Cleveland Browns .      picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ The Repository,   Scott  Heckel   ..........................
Bengals' kicker Shayne Graham (17) kicks the winning field goal in overtime that enables the win over the Cleveland Browns . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ The Repository, Scott Heckel ..........................

It has to be said that the travails as to what ails the Browns has also something to do with the regression of both quarterbacks on the team. In Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn the franchise may well have two of the worst quarterbacks in all of the NFL as a duo of starters. But then again, is it really too harsh a term to describe both of these players ? The ineptitude shown by both borders on being comedic and the defense hasn’t proven to be that much better ! But if you thought that both Anderson and Quinn as players are solely to blame. Then let’s add the team’s wide receiver Braylon Edwards into the mix. More like playing with the assistance of braille …….. would be a better word to describe his play at times. Seemingly he becomes short of sight when the ball is thrown his way , as he repeatedly tends to drop more passes than he catches. And when I last looked legally blind players weren’t playing within the NFL. So unless Edwards , himself has a legal disability then his play itself can be described as being mediocre !

Browns'  quarterback  Derek  Anderson  attempts  a  pass in  the  game  played  against  the  Cincinnati  Bengals.   Brown  and  his  teammate  Brady  Quinn  ,  his   backup   have  proven  to  be  a  great   disappointment   for  the  franchise   at  the   position.    Each   have   yet to show the  promise  that  each  was  thought to  have  in  terms  of  leaderpship   and   productivity .      picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/  Jim  McIsaac  ................................
Browns' quarterback Derek Anderson attempts a pass in the game played against the Cincinnati Bengals. Brown and his teammate Brady Quinn , his backup have proven to be a great disappointment for the franchise at the position. Each have yet to show the promise that each was thought to have in terms of leaderpship and productivity . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jim McIsaac ................................

So what now awaits this team as the season progresses ?

Courtesy of nfl.com

Browns trade Edwards to Jets for Stuckey, draft picks

NFL.com

The Cleveland Browns traded wide receiver Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets early Wednesday morning for wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, third-year linebacker Jason Trusnik and two undisclosed draft picks.

In acquiring Edwards, a former first-round pick in 2005, the Jets receive a deep threat they had been lacking. Edwards will combine with Jerricho Cotchery to give rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez two proven playmakers as starting wide receivers.

Edwards had been rumored to be on the trading block since the draft in April. He’s off to a slow start in 2009 –- as are the rest of the 0-4 Browns — with 10 receptions for 139 yards and no touchdowns. Last Sunday, he went without a catch for the first time in his career in a 23-20 home loss to Cincinnati. His best season came in 2007, his third in the NFL, when he caught 80 passes for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The trade comes a day after the NFL has opened an investigation of whether Edwards violated the league’s conduct policy following accusations he assaulted a man outside a nightclub in downtown Cleveland. Edwards allegedly punched promoter Edward Givens, a friend of NBA star LeBron James, early Monday morning following an argument.

Edwards has been involved in other off-field incidents. In March, he was partying with suspended Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth in Miami the night Stallworth later drove drunk and killed a pedestrian. Edwards was not with Stallworth at the time.

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Jerome  Harrison  (35)  of  the  Browns  is  tackled   by  the  Bengals'   Domata   Peko  (94)   during  the  game.    picture  appears  courtesy  of getty  images/  Jim  McIsaac  ........................
Jerome Harrison (35) of the Browns is tackled by the Bengals' Domata Peko (94) during the game. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jim McIsaac ........................

NB : At the initial writing of this piece I was unaware of the trade that was going down between the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns for wide receiver Braylon Edwards. Hence the reason , I’ve now seen it fit to include the NFL.com article within this piece.