Browns

Cleveland Browns Week 14 Winners and Losers

Cincinnati Bengals Fans in Cleveland
Associated Press

Editor’s Note: Apologies for the delay in getting this week’s Winners and Losers out. My Monday was definitely a Monday.

If you’re Myles Garrett, what is going through your head? Not that Texas A&M is exactly immune from losing football games, and that being the potential No. 1 overall pick has some added cachet to it, but say you use this (absurd) four-week break in the college football schedule to start scouting your potential employer… What do you think when you see them getting embarrassed in front of a home crowd that is actually pretty split between home and road fans?

If you scour the other high-drafting teams, there’s something positive you can glean from any of them. The New York Jets are a mess, but their issues are largely on the offensive end, and in addition to—you know—being in New York, you’d get to join a solid front seven. The Los Angeles Rams are a disaster, firing a head coach one week after signing him to a contract extension, but in addition to—you know—being in L.A., the defensive front seven is among the best in the league.1 There are some things you can take away from San Francisco and think it may not be that bad. Jacksonville provides great cornerbacks and a stadium where folks with three percent body fat hang out in an end zone pool. The Panthers, who could pick as high as seventh at this point, are a year removed from the Super Bowl, Chicago is in Chicago, and the Saints are some defensive prowess away from contending. The Browns? Yeah, I got nothing.

The hardest of hardcore believers will tell you cap space and the like should allow for the young players to grow while the team can supplement the rest, when the time comes, with veterans to plug the holes. They’ll bring up Corey Coleman’s numbers and how they could be so much better if his reception rate increased modestly. They’ll mention Terrelle Pyror and/or Jamie Collins and how productive they’ve been (while ignoring their impending free agency). They may even mention how previously unknown guys like Briean Boddy-Calhoun have stepped up in the wake of a horrible, rotten, no-good season. If you’re Myles Garrett2 is any of this enough to make you excited? In other cities, you can slide in as a well-compensated edge rusher whose job is almost exclusively to rush the passer. In Cleveland, you become the face of a defense that, outside of Danny Shelton’s hair, is largely faceless. The spotlight shines bright and the criticism is loud and frequent. Every highly-drafted player has come into Cleveland talking a good game about turning a franchise around and casually dropping in mentions of a Super Bowl, but few truly understand what sort of undertaking that is it and none have actually succeeded.

If you’re Myles Garrett you were a five-star recruit who also happened to be a state qualifier in track and field, the No. 2 recruit in the entire country. It took you all of nine games to break Jadeveon Clowney’s freshman sack record. You were a All-American as a sophomore, and a consensus All-American as a junior. Do you want the odds to be stacked against you right out of the gate? If so, I got just the team for you.

LOSER: Robert Griffin III

When you’re a five-year veteran who earns the top spot in Pro Football Focus’ weekly column surrounding the worst performances on a Sunday, you know you had one hell of a day. In the loss against the Bengals, Griffin completed just 42.9 percent of his passes, managed only 104 yards through the air, and had a passer rating of 38.4. Worse, of those 43 percent that were completed (we’ll round up here), there were just a handful that felt designed in the way of a three- or five-step drop with an immediate release of the ball.

We bagged on Cody Kessler for much of the season due to his desire to hold on to the football for way too long, eventually leading to multiple injuries. Griffin, on Sunday, looked even worse, scrambling around in the backfield and only hitting receivers after they had broken off of their initial route. That’s no way to compete in an NFL game, let alone win one.

LOSER: Hue Jackson

When you have two weeks to prepare for an injury-riddled divisional opponent and you go into halftime down 20-0, your winners/losers categorization writes itself.

As he has for the last three months, Jackson shouldered much of the blame for what took place on Sunday. While it’s tough to fault a guy who’s relying on Robert Griffin III to complete touchdown passes to guys Danny Vitale, we certainly can fault a guy who decides to call a desperation-laced flea-flicker from his own end zone, knowing full well what could go wrong.

 

A fumbled snap, a botched handoff, a botched flip back to Griffin, or a holding penalty would have all resulted in points for the Cincinnati Bengals. In the grand scheme of things, a punt-like interception was the least impactful of the super bad things that could have actually occurred.

LOSER: Ray Horton

The tight end is a position in the game of football that is oftentimes played by an individual with a larger physical stature than a wide receiver, but somewhat less so when compared to an offensive lineman—Wikipedia categorizes them as a “hybrid.” These tight ends traverse between lining up on the line and off of it. They can be used as additional blockers, or can motion into places like the slot or, when on the line, somewhat closer to the sideline from which they can run various types of routes and become pass-catching options. Some tight ends specialize in one versus the other while others can be used as a running back when a head coach is in a pinch.

Can someone let Ray Horton know this position is also one that also requires defensive attention?

 

WINNER: J.R. Smith

Cincinnati running back Jeremy Hill has a knack for celebrating touchdowns in ways that get under the skin of opposing fans. As if the standard array of LeBron-based celebrations—The Silencer, a powder toss—weren’t enough, Hill was the one who attempted to jump into the Dawg Pound a few years back, only to be rejected like half-assed lay-up.

Cavs fans should be well-versed in J.R. Smith’s three-point celebrations as they come in all shapes and sizes, but this one from his days with the Knicks is undoubtedly the most popular.

Well, leave it to Hill to pay homage to the Cleveland hero, giving the air guitar threes after his first quarter touchdown.

Congrats to J.R. who has now been elevated into rare air.

WINNER: Isaiah Crowell

Despite being down, the Browns were willing to put the ball in Crow’s hands and he rewarded them handsomely with 115 yards. In a game where the quarterback play was dreadful, and the weather was playing a factor in some of the passing game, having Crowell produce against a team that typically controls the line was very good to see. The trick, of course, will be whether or not Hue Jackson puts the ball in his hands again as he did only have 10 carries.

WINNERS: Emmanuel Ogbah and Cam Johnson

Had it not been for the early 20-point deficit, the pressure applied by the Browns’ edge rushers would have been a substantial, game-long highlight. Emmanuel Ogbah produced two sacks and a QB hit to go along with two hurries while Cam Johnson had a sack and hurry to go along with a tackle and two assists in run defense. While many rookies could be hitting the proverbial wall, it was great to see Ogbah making waves while Johnson’s production was a nice, added bonus.

LOSER: Danny Vitale

I mean, come on.

WINNERS: Joe Thomas, Jonathan Cooper

Thomas yielded nothing in the way of sacks, hits or hurries while Cooper was awesome in run-blocking, being a big reason why Crowell was able to bust a few of those bigger runs.

WINNER: Jamie Collins

Thirteen tackles and a sack is exactly what this team signed up for when they acquired the linebacker from New England. While I wish he would be in coverage more often—you know, maybe on the tight ends?—we could be looking at the anchor of this defense for years to come. This, of course, assumes the Browns don’t botch his impending free agency…

LOSER: Terrelle Pryor

Speaking of… Pryor could be botching his own. One reception for three yards and a whole lot of barking is not a way to win over a front office. There is still no doubt in my mind that this team needs to keep his play-making ability on their roster, but I have a feeling these next few months will be very, very interesting.

  1. Tennessee has their pick anyway. []
  2. If you really are Myles Garrett, by the way, hit me up. Would love to chat. []

  • Sam Gold

    Losers: local Cleveland reporters.

    Those fatuous, knuckle-dragging, TMZ wannabes who have authoritatively determined that the inability of this FO to undo 17 years of profound flustercluckery 13 games into their first season is proof positive that the only solution to the constant change at the heart of this organization’s long standing dysfunction is more “better” change.

    https://media.giphy.com/media/dOJt6XZlQw8qQ/giphy.gif

  • CB Everett

    Losers: DirecTV’s sales pitch.

    We’re moving, and I called to cancel service this week. Dude was desperately trying to convince me to relocate their service to the new house. And then he said, “Well, what about Sunday Ticket? You don’t want to lose access to that. I see you’re a Browns fan.”

    At least they have good notes in their system…I’ll say that.

  • mgbode

    I see you’re a Browns fan.

    Please tell me this was your response: “Explain to me why that makes me more likely to want to continue Sunday Ticket.”

  • RGB

    WINNER: Browns first 1st-round pick. Still #1!
    WINNER: Browns second 1st-round pick. Thanks Washington!
    I got nothin’ else.

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  • JM85

    Loser- Hue Jackson. Two weeks to prepare against a below average team and they’re down 20 that quickly? And please can we stop with the Griffin experiment?

  • CB Everett

    Would be curious to see their metrics…the Sunday Ticket unsubscribe numbers for those coded as Browns fans.

  • jpftribe

    Sadly, RGIII in not just the only option, but also the best one we have. Plan B, C, D and E weren’t any better.

    If at least three of our OL were NFL starters, it might be worth getting Kessler the reps. Maybe next year……

  • mgbode

    Not so sure RG3 is the best anything at anytime.

  • JM85

    I just hope it doesn’t go beyond this season.

  • jpftribe

    At some point next year, Kessler will be in the mix. And likely deservedly so. High floor, low ceiling. If we’re lucky, he could be a Hoyer without the turnovers. (Serviceable backup).

  • jpftribe

    We were forced to play Clipboard Jesus this year, which is still a vast improvement over last year’s telenovela.

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  • tigersbrowns2

    WINNERS : Ogbah , J.Collins , Crowell & the HBT (Eagles loss)

    LOSERS : RGIII , Hue & all the special teams units

  • tigersbrowns2

    after what i saw sunday , i think Kessler would be the best option … sure RGIII can throw deep , but he’s not very good at it.

    at least Kessler was keeping us in games by not turning the ball over & making stupid mistakes.

  • Natedawg86

    RGIII’s play looked eerily similar to my 7 year old playing madden. Scramble around in backfield then throw the ball to the guy who is the furthest down the field, with the result being a jump ball between the receiver and 1-2 defenders.

  • tigersbrowns2

    it’s not all bad … remember after week 3 when the Eagles were 3-0 & most were saying the Browns screwed-up by not taking Wentz ?? … since then , the Eagles have gone 2-8 & over the last 11 weeks Wentz has the lowest QB rating (45.0) in the NFL & has thrown 8 td’s 12 int’s & been sacked 26 times.

    Browns currently would have the 1st & 10th picks in the draft … don’t look so bad now , does it ??

  • Natedawg86

    LOSER: Browns second 2nd round pick. Really Denver? You let Tenn beat you?!?

  • BenRM

    I can’t even with this team anymore. Let me know when it’s over.

    OH WINNER: That taylor guy. Apparently the Browns resigned him (or signed him? He’s been here all year? Really?). I’m not sure who he is or if he’s played well…but I guess he’s a CB and ours are pretty bad. So cool? I hope he’s not one of the pretty bad ones.

  • BenRM

    It’s an effective strategy in madden!

  • BenRM

    He’s the best at dating pretty hot white women!

  • BenRM

    you’re saying a guy who’s at best a serviceable back up should be in the mix to be the Browns starting QB next year?

    This is what it’s come to.

  • Natedawg86

    They really need to look at signing Boddy-Calhoun. He has done fairly well this season.

  • Natedawg86

    Everything looks bad right now…

  • BenRM

    Yeah – I kind of like him. I don’t know if he’s more than average, but I like his attitude.

  • tigersbrowns2

    little things … i’ve also been noticing some minor things that may not add-up to anything for everyone else : they have been bringing in a stream of guys since the season began … this is obvious for a team devoid of major talent … but guys like Boddy-Calhoun , A.Reiter , J.Cooper , C.Johnson & J.Collins should all be starters / contributors to next season’s squad.

  • jpftribe

    No, I’m saying Kessler will make a good backup, and at some point next year, he will be called into service in that role.

  • jpftribe

    Football wise, I agree. Health wise, he should sit the rest of this year.

  • BenRM

    Ah okay. That is very true.

  • BenRM

    Collins, sadly, won’t be here. I bet he’s just counting down the days.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi BEN … he’s not gone yet , baby !! … you don’t think he’d stay if they made him one of the highest paid LB’s in the NFL ?? … and they could slap the franchise tag on him or Pryor.

    we have plenty of cap space … room-a-plenty … they had better show the fans they’re serious about keeping / signing the right players.