While We’re Waiting… Previewing Peyton, Time Consuming Replays, and Waiting on Swisher

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Peyton Manning versus a Browns team full of lame ducks… I’m scared. “We’ll worry about the Steelers after the Christmas cheer dies down. For now, the Broncos await.

Peyton Manning has bounced back from his year away from the game and appears to be the Manning of old. Since starting 2-3, the Broncos are 11-3 and Manning has thrown for 4,016 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

“He’s clearly headed for the Hall of Fame,” Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. “He’s one of the best that has ever played the game. He’s very smart. He studies, prepares himself well. It’s difficult and about everything has been tried, that’s for sure. He doesn’t win every one of them so we’ll prepare and we’ll go out there and try to play our best game.”

The Browns pass defense is coming off a game in which Kirk Cousins, who was making his first NFL start, shredded them to the tune of 26-for-37 passing for 329 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.” [Don Delco/Orange and Brown Report]

Unless I’ve missed one, Jason Lloyd wrote our first “LeBron could return to Cleveland” column of the season. “There is a timeline. Scott said last week there will come a time when the Cavaliers have to shift into win-now mode, but he said it might not come this year. It won’t. It will come next year.

The clock is ticking on the Cavaliers to improve, but it isn’t Gilbert standing over the organization impatiently tapping his foot. It’s the calendar and the fast-approaching summer of 2014.

Yes, it’s the sequel to “The Decision,” and it’s coming faster than you think. James is widely expected to opt out of his contract after next season, if for no other reason than to sign another max contract.

And yes, believe it or not, he will give Cleveland a close look. He has a relationship with Irving and Thompson. His new agent, Rich Paul, is a local guy who has long been a close friend. Paul also represents Thompson. A number of pieces are aligning, but the biggest draw is missing.” [Jason Lloyd/Akron Beacon Journal]

Between the replays and the constant commercials, NFL games can get pretty disjointed. “The National Football League is America’s passion. Dominating the Top 10 of Nielsen television ratings, estimates are that 180 million people watched part of a game last week, packed stadia, fantasy fanatics, betters, our collective obsession. This was the marriage made in heaven for contemporary appetites for quick bursts of action in tightly contained segments, made for television and every platform of content supply. But this pacing and immediacy are being severely impacted by endless instant replays and late calls. And the sport is starting to drag.

Scoring plays carry a thrilling ending. There is a buildup and development to a long pass pass play, a dramatic return, or a brutal struggle by a runner to score. The player dives over a pylon or breaks free into the endzone and the in-stadium crowd and television viewers erupt in exultation or frustration. It is a moment of extreme excitement that separates the sport from others. But, not anymore. Every touchdown is reviewed by a team of supervisors upstairs in the stadium. None of the process is visible on the screen or in person. There is an endless and boring delay. The excitement is replaced by uncertainty. And then comes the announcement: “upon further review”, disconnected to the play and anti-climatic. This destroys the immediacy inherent in every scoring play. Zzzzzzzzzzz. These delays give defenses a subtle a edge over offenses. They can break the rhythm of a quarterback’s play and destroy momentum while giving the defense extra time to rest.

Turnovers are impactful moments in NFL games. A frenetic scramble for a fumbled football is untangled to reveal which player and which team has recovered.

Since turnovers can completely alter momentum and the course of a game, they lead to collective reaction. A key interception is exciting. Not any more. The play is reviewed. Young men turn old, autumn turns to winter, and still there is no decision. Boring. And virtually every pass reception or incompletion seems to engender an interference call. On pass play after pass play either the wide receiver or the defensive back seems unable to conform to the standard of legal conduct and flag after flag after flag ensues. This destroys the immediacy and flow of most pass plays. It is impossible for a fan to display emotion without the referee altering the result. There is no certainty. Zzzzzzzzz.” [Leigh Steinberg/Forbes]

With the injuries, the schedule, and all the young kids, it’s hard to get a good beat on this team. ”

So, it seems that the problem is that an identity doesn’t exist. But, although the city of Cleveland points its finger at Scott, isn’t Cleveland general manager Chris Grant at fault?

Creating a team identity is not difficult; it starts with a philosophy and ends with acquiring players who fit that style. Over the last two drafts, Grant had four first-round selections to do exactly that, so constructing an identity should have been easy.

With the first pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cavs selected Kyrie Irving, who was labeled as a player with a high basketball IQ who shows good balance between scoring and passing and that he can get to the rim. Some analysts called him a “pure point guard,” but, in my opinion, Irving always came across as a scorer rather than a facilitator.

Grant followed up his selection of Irving with that of Tristan Thompson, who most analysts saw as a raw, athletic, poor-rebounding power forward who had no offensive game and a weak defensive one, although he was a good shot-blocker, at No. 4.

From the beginning, it was clear that Thompson was a reach at that spot at that there was not a definite direction for the team. The vision for the Cavaliers became even cloudier this past June when Grant selected Dion Waiters with the team’s first pick.” [Sam Drew/More Than a Fan]

It’d be kind of funny if the only reason Swisher signed here was because of the money. Although, it’d be funny if the Ohio State product took less money to sign with a better team. Not ‘haha’ funny. “The Indians continue to sit and wait for free agent outfielder Nick Swisher and his decision, while the Tribe reportedly has a four year, $50 million contract offer on the table. Swisher was in Cleveland with his wife this week and wined and dined with Indians brass and Buckeye alum including, Jim Tressel and Dustin Fox. The Indians tried to show Swisher Cleveland’s small town feel, yet Hollywood touch and Buckeye ties to entice the couple.

Swisher left town without signing, reportedly to visit another city, but has not had contact with other teams. He previously indicated he had no interest in the Seattle Mariners or San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers are currently pursuing Michael Bourn and Cody Ross to replace Josh Hamilton.

That may leave Swisher with just Cleveland or the Boston Red Sox as possible landing spots. If the Red Sox finally complete their contract with Mike Napoli, the Sox may not have room in their lineup for Swisher, whether they want him or not.” [Mike Brandyberry/Did the Tribe Win Last Night]