Tag Archives: Cleveland Browns

New Regime….Same ole’ Browns

The agonizing existence of  being a Cleveland Browns fan has taken an even darker turn with the performance of Carson Wentz for the Philadelphia Eagles.  You know Wentz ? The guy that the new Browns brain-trust publicly stated would be no better than the 20th best quarterback in the NFL at his peak.

After three weeks of games, the Browns have lost two mediocre quarterbacks to injury and have watched Wentz win three straight games for an Eagles team that suddenly looks like a squad that has a chance to be something special. To add insult to injury Wentz beat Cleveland in the season opener flawlessly dissecting the Browns secondary. Wentz has been superb in his three starts resulting in three wins. He has thrown FIVE touchdowns with no interceptions and has completed 64 percent of his passes. What has been even more impressive is the veteran-like poise he has shown in leading a squad that was left for dead by most before the season started.

The Browns netted several draft choices in dealing the number two pick in the draft to the Eagles. At first glance it “seemed” like a good move for a team that is deficient at virtually every position where someone named Joe Thomas isn’t playing. But, when digging deeper we should have known this move would be a mistake.

From 2011-2014 the Browns accumulated picks. The previous regime took pride in the fact they could flip high draft picks for multiple picks, telling the faithful that these selections would provide the depth to make the Browns a contender. Here we sit with not ONE player taken in the first or second rounds of 2011-2014 drafts still on the roster. Do you realize how difficult it is to screw up THAT many selections. If you were actually trying to fail, you couldn’t miss on that many. Those picks turned into bird droppings. All the while teams selected players like Odell Beckham Junior, Khalil Mack, Derek Carr  and now Carson Wentz.

As a Dodger fan I watched current Browns money-ball guru Paul DePodesta gut the Dodgers for cheaper and what he deemed more efficient options. He opted for depth instead of true talent. Some of it can be forgiven since he worked for Frank McCourt, but it was the DePodesta philosophy on full display and he lasted only two years before being laughed out-of-town.

I wonder how long this experiment lasts before the number crunchers are ridden out on a rail. New Head Coach Hue Jackson said before the season the goal is to “win the Super Bowl.” Pump the brakes buddy. This team hasn’t finished above .500 since 2007 and continue to fluctuate between 3-and 5 wins. This franchise is an abyss. I am sick of hearing all these new Browns regimes talk about how things are going to be different. They need to show me. The product they are delivering is pathetic. The time for talk is when you aren’t an embarrassment to the sport.

We won’t know the full extent of the Wentz to Philly for picks trade until the Browns actually make the picks. Wide receiver Corey Coleman from Baylor seems like a pretty good receiver but he is now going to miss several weeks with a broken wrist. When all of the picks are made, then and only then will we be able to adequately judge the Wentz deal.

But, I got to tell you, early indications are telling me, Carson Wentz was a quarterback that would have worked in Cleveland, and the brainiacs in Brea, screwed it up again.

Quite the conundrum for someone who resides in the DubNation but loves the Dawg Pound

Unlike many in Cleveland who felt a tremendous surge of joy and glee when LeBron James finally brought a championship to The Land, my feelings took a much more circuitous route.

I am a life-long Golden State Warrior fan who grew up a stones throw from the former Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, as well as a life-long Cleveland Browns fan who lived and died with the team through Red-Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Move. So, here I sit, devastated from a fan’s perspective that my Dubs could have silenced all the doubters and nay-sayers, but instead lost three straight games at the most important time of the year and succumbed to Cleveland and King James along with his merry group of bandits.

I see friends who I correspond with during the football season rejoicing with that joy that only being an invested supporter of a franchise can bring, yet I have nothing to say to them. Their joy is my pain.

I am still numb. A win in either Game 5, 6 or 7 would have meant that the Charles Barkley’s, Chris Russo’s and Colin Cowherd’s of the world would have had to shut their traps and give the Dubs their due. A title would have validated a team, a franchise that had been questioned from the very moment they won last year’s championship. All the DubNation heard was, “if Cleveland was at full strength they would have schooled the Warriors.” That was hanging in the balance over the final three games of the series. Yet the Warriors couldn’t deliver. I am not one to believe the Warriors title needed validation, but I did want for all the noise-makers around the country.

A week ago the Warriors were sitting with a 3-1 series lead knowing that no one in the history of the NBA had blown such a lead in the NBA Finals. At the time the Warriors had blitzed Cleveland in Ohio and it appeared the Warriors would wrap it all up at home. Then Draymond was suspended, Kyrie Irving and James combined for 82, Cleveland jumped out to a 31-9 lead, and James had a block for the ages while the Warriors went scoreless for the final 4:39 of the season and it was over.

Poof ! Done

This whole meltdown thing had to be shocking for the bandwagon crowd, but for those of us that love this game we knew this thing wasn’t over, even after Game 4. But none of us actually thought it WOULD happen. It was shocking. It was stunning.

The Cavaliers will have a parade on Wednesday where the loyal fans of Cleveland will celebrate their first championship of any kind in 52 years. Many of those celebrating will be Dawg Pound faithful, for them I am thrilled. They have had to endure a wretchedness that only Art Modell can bring. Sitting in one of those cars being honored will be Earnest Byner. One of my favorite Browns of all time, he was stripped by Jeremiah Castille at the 3-yard line in the waning moments of the 1987 AFC Championship game resulting in a second gut-wrenching AFC title game loss for the Browns. Byner will be applauded and honored by a fan base that simply wants to cheer for a man who gave his all but came up on the wrong side of history. I will applaud and cheer for Byner, a Cleveland Brown legend.

The rest of it will be too much, the wound is still open, the emotions still to raw. As Steph Curry said on Monday when asked when he will get over the Game 7 loss, “I will get over when we win another one.”

So true Steph, so true

I live in the DubNation but proudly reside in the Dawg Pound

Factory of Pain: Browns tortured history of trading down in the draft

The Cleveland Browns are being almost universally lauded for trading the second overall selection in this weekend’s NFL Draft for multiple selections this year, next year and in 2018. On the surface it looks like a shrewd move that will help this languishing franchise replenish their talent pool and become relevant. But, trading down doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. Just ask the loyal Dawg Pound faithful….

Three times over the past seven years the Cleveland Browns have traded a top-ten first round draft choice to move down in the draft and garner multiple selections. And, almost every time the Browns screwed it up.

2009

In 2009 the Browns had the fifth overall selection in the draft. Sitting on the board were several key players including USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Browns traded the pick to the New York Jets for their first round selection (#17 overall) and the Jets second round selection (#52 overall) plus three players including Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam and Brett Ratliff.

With the first round selection which eventually turned into the 19th pick the Browns selected center Alex Mack out of Cal. Roundly considered one of the best centers in the league, Mack was a lynch pin for the Browns offensive line for several seasons before signing a free agent contract with Atlanta this off-season. The Browns chose linebacker David Veikune out of Hawaii with the second round selection. Veikune played only 10 games for the Browns before being released.

Coleman was a solid performer, a defensive end for the Browns for two seasons but then left after two years signing with Dallas. Safety Abram Elam played one year for Cleveland and played well before leaving  for Dallas as a free agent. Ratliff was Cleveland’s third-string quarterback and never saw the field.

In analyzing this deal, I think Cleveland did fairly well. Alex Mack for Mark Sanchez was a steal and even though Veikune was a flop, the Browns got some nice production from Coleman and Elam. This trade was not a slam dunk for the Browns but I believe they definitely won this trade. As you will see, this is as good as it got

2011

In 2011 there was new regime at the helm and they realized they needed depth. They made what they thought was blockbuster deal that would fill several holes. Whoooops !

The Browns had the #6 overall selection and Cleveland was in desperate need for a wide receiver. Sitting on the board was Alabama stand-out Julio Jones. Instead of taking Jones the Browns traded the pick to the Atlanta Falcons for Atlanta’s first round selection (#27 overall) the Falcons second rounder (#59 overall) their 4th round selection (#124 overall.) Cleveland also got Atlanta’s first round pick in 2012 (#22 overall) and their 4th rounder.

This trade was hailed as a heist for Cleveland. Most analysts believed the Falcons mortgaged their future for Jones and they weren’t wrong. While Atlanta was a Matt Ryan interception away from going to the Super Bowl,  the last few years have not been kind to the Falcons. Their lack of interior line help and defensive depth has hurt them badly. But, in the end they win the trade because Cleveland so badly botched their selections.

With the 27th overall choice the Browns chose Baylor NT Phil Taylor as they looked for a lineman who could stop the run. Taylor played well when he was on the field, but he couldn’t stay healthy and was released in 2015. He is now out of football. With the 59th selection Cleveland chose a player who had some of the worst hands we have ever seen on a wide receiver….EVER. Greg Little out of North Carolina. Little had an amazing body with great strength, there was just one tiny problem. HE COULDN’T CATCH THE BALL. He was released by Cleveland in 2014 and in January signed a contract with the Buffalo Bills. Good luck with that Buffalo.

With the 124th selection Cleveland chose Stanford line-backer/running back Owen Marecic. One of the enticements about Marecic is he could play offense and defense. Sadly for Cleveland he couldn’t do neither at the professional level. Marecic was out of football by 2013 and is currently finishing his pre-med requirements at Stanford where he will get into medical research. Good for him, bad for the Browns.

With Atlanta’s 2012 first round selection the Browns chose quarterback Brandon Weeden out of Oklahoma State. Yes, I know what you are thinking here……it just gets worse and worse, well, you are right !!!! Never mind that the guy was almost 30 years old, the Browns thought he was their quarterback of the future. Weeden played two years for the Browns showing a cannon arm but no feel for the position. Sometimes he left fans wondering if he had any peripheral vision. He spent two years with Dallas, starting several games after Tony Romo got injured. Dallas fans will also tell you he might have some peripheral vision problems. In January Weeden signed a two year deal with the Houston Texans.

The 4th round pick Cleveland got in the Julio Jones trade was flipped in the Trent Richardson deal to Indianapolis……guh !

So, if you are keeping score at home the Browns got Phil Taylor (out of football) Greg Little (hands of stone) Owen Marecic (in medical school) and Brandon Weeden (no peripheral vision) and Atlanta got Julio “freaking” Jones. Uhhhh, that would be a win for Atlanta. MAJOR WIN for the Atlanta Falcons.

If you thought the Browns had learned their lesson and decided not to trade down again, you don’t know or understand Cleveland’s fascination with misery. in 2014 there was a completely new regime in charge of football operations and they decided to put their money on the roulette table and try this trade down thing as well (they are like addicts.)

2014

In 2014 the Browns had the number 4 overall selection and once again they needed a wide receiver. On the board were Sammy Watkins and Odell Beckham Junior. Instead the Browns traded the #4 pick to Buffalo for the Bills number one pick #9 overall AND the Bills first round pick in 2015 and their 4th rounder in 2015. Buffalo chose Watkins, when the Browns pick came they selected a guy who many felt was a reach at number 9. The “many felt” were right, the Browns brass was wrong. With the #9 pick the Browns chose Oklahoma State defensive back and kick returner Justin Gilbert. Put Gilbert’s face on a milk carton. He has been MIA since he arrived in Cleveland. He has been plagued by sub-par play and questions about his work ethic. The Browns could have had up and coming receiver in Watkins or superstar Beckham, instead Gilbert. Horrendous selection.

In 2015 the Browns completed the trade by choosing Florida State offensive lineman Cameron Erving with the 19th pick of the first round. The choice made sense since the Browns assumed Mack would be leaving via free agency this year, which he has. Cleveland believed Erving was the heir apparent at center, which he probably isn’t. In Erving’s first year he was over-matched and out-played and looked out of his element. He could barely get on the field.

The Browns new regime, feels Erving had a great off-season and are prepared see what he can bring this year at either center or tackle……Yeesh ! With the 4th round pick the Browns chose Vince Mayle a wide receiver from Washington State. Mayle was released by the Browns before the season even started after it was discovered he had a broken thumb that was mis-diagnosed. He spent 2015 on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. Wow !

So, in the seven years I analyzed the Browns have had numerous drafts with plentiful picks and have moved down three times. Only once it can be argued did they win that trade. And, even with that victory, Alex Mack has moved on. The Browns are on their fourth different front office regime since 2008. This isn’t stratomatic people, this is the Cleveland Browns way !

After reading this I hope you understand why Cleveland’s trade that netted them picks number 77 and 100 in this weekend’s draft and an extra first round pick next year to go along with a second round selection in 2018 doesn’t titillate me.

Cleveland has 6 picks in the top 100. They have 12 picks in this draft, tied for the most in the league. While all of that is good news, it doesn’t do any good if you have the Three Stooges making selections.

Do I have any faith that Cleveland will have a great draft and they will net several All-Pro performers ? No. Do I have any faith that Paul DePodesta and his analytics nerd boys will pull the Browns out football’s abyss ? No. Do I have any believe that the Browns football franchise and their owner have any clue of what they are doing ? No.

I have reached the point where platitudes and talk ring hollow. They need to show me. Show me on the field that you know how to run a football team. Show me that you aren’t completely devoid of any football knowledge. So, while some Browns fans cheer the accumulation of draft picks, forgive me while I sit back, put on a wry smile and expect to see some guy walk across the stage who will probably be flipping burgers in 24 months.

 

Browns MUST tank against Pittsburgh to ensure Goff is QB of future

Browns Dawg

If the Cleveland Browns want to correct recent wrongs and get better their path is clear. They need to lose this weekend.

The Browns need to lose this weekend to their arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. While this is sacrilegious for any Cleveland fan to embrace, hear me out. A win this weekend could drop the Browns from, at worst, the second overall selection in the NFL Draft to the fifth spot in the draft. For the Browns to get the player that I think they should target (Jared Goff from Cal) they must crumble against a motivated Steelers team that must win and get some help to get into the post-season. If the Browns have the number two pick in the draft, and Tennessee sits at number one, the Browns have no worry since the Titans have Marcus Mariotta and won’t be looking in Goff’s direction. A loss this weekend ensures Goff lands in the Browns laps.

With every fiber of my being I can’t stomach hoping the Browns lose to Pittsburgh. But, I am a big picture guy and the Browns big picture is a messy, convoluted mess of mis-judgements, hard headed-ness and plain swings-and-misses in the player evaluation process.

Those close to the Browns anticipate Ray Farmer will be relieved of his General Manager duties after Sunday’s game. This move is necessary. It’s actually vital. Farmer’s tenure has been one of the most injurious in the history of the franchise. The Browns were bad for a long time before Farmer was handed the keys to the franchise, but never have we seen a GM handed so many multiple first-round selections and completely muff them. Farmer has made mistake after mistake in the draft. His disastrous 2014 draft which netted complete bust Justin Gilbert at number eight and Johnny Manziel at 22 will go down as his worst. The Browns needed a wide-receiver in the 2014 draft after learning that Josh Gordon would face suspension for drug infractions. Instead of picking Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins or LSU’s Odell Beckham, the Browns went with Gilbert, a Missouri defensive back with kick return capabilities. Never mind the Browns already had a shut-down corner in Haden or a returner in Travis Benjamin. An inexcusable mistake.

The jury is still out on 2015 first round selection Danny Shelton. Much was expected and little has been returned. I advocated the Shelton selection and am not ready to declare him another bust.

One thing is clear, the Manziel experiment should end. The Browns can not depend on Manziel staying clean and being the leader the franchise needs him to be. I have no problem having Josh McCown leading the club in 2016. Let’s be honest, McCown is the least of the Browns problems.

Their run defense is a sieve. Their secondary is aging. Their linebacking core is average at best. Cleveland’s wide receivers may be the worst collective unit in the game. Their running backs are pedestrian and their special teams has allowed four field goals to be blocked  this year, including a game-winner against the hated Ravens.

This franchise needs a lobotomy. Farmer needs to be the first domino to fall. The Browns need to select Cal quarterback Jared Goff with the first round selection. But, to guarantee that, Cleveland needs to (gulp) lose to the Steelers this weekend.

Do I trust the Browns to do the right thing ? What do you think ?

The Browns are the Dante’s Inferno of professional sport

In Dante Alighieri’s 14th century poem “The Divine Comedy” the Italian philosopher tells of his allegorical journey through hell. He depicts hell as nine circles of suffering.

Dante had nothing on the Cleveland Browns.

In an all to familiar refrain the Browns lose tonight on Monday Night Football when Travis Coons 51-yard field goal is blocked and returned by Will Hill as time expires giving the hated Ravens a 33-27 win. Not only do they steal our team and win two Super Bowls but they deal the Dawg Pound faithful the cruelest of losses in front of a national audience.

While many fan bases would “experience” such a defeat and call it one of the worst all time, us Browns fans know better. Honestly tonight’s loss doesn’t even rank in the top-20 for me. I am not kidding. I can rattle of dozens of other games that were more excruciating and I’m not even talking about the The Drive or The Fumble.

It takes stones to cheer for the Browns. While I call it “stones” my mother calls it stupid, but for the sake of this here blog let’s stick with STONES. The Browns are the one constant in my life where I know exactly what will happen. Fleeting moments of happiness and joy will be dashed by unexpected lightning bolts of searing pain. Searing as in frying a scallop on an open flame.

I cheer for them because I am either insanely loyal or insanely stupid. Until the gas man owner Jimmy Haslam and the texter n’ cheat Ray Farmer are gone the Browns will be second-rate. Even since their return in 1999 Browns fans have had one playoff appearance. A loss to the hated Steelers in 2002. A game in which the Browns went into Heinz Field and had a 33-21 lead with a little over five minutes left and somehow gave the game away. The past 13 years have been littered with have-nots and never-was’

I love them. I always will. But, I realize this pact I got myself into is a one-way street. I give and they always take.

On Dante’s ladder of suffering I have to believe the Browns are on the 7th or 8th circle. If we aren’t close to that 9th circle of suffering. Heaven help me, I don’t know how much more this faithful Dawg can take.

Cleveland Browns 2015 Draft Day…..Here we go again

When draft day is the biggest day of your season, you aren’t a very good team or organization. For the Cleveland Browns, once again, draft day is the biggest day of their season as they try to build a team that can compete for relevancy. Yeah, I said it. I don’t think the Browns are in a position to compete for a championship. This organization needs to succeed in this draft to put themselves in a position to be relevant. For the past several seasons the Browns have been that dude who tells you how great he is, but can’t show you.

The Browns miscues on draft day are epic. Cleveland has not had a franchise quarterback since Bernie Kosar, and yet they continue taking major gambles on draft day to try to find that signal-caller that can lead them. The problem is this franchise doesn’t seem to understand that what they really need are pieces that can complement a serviceable quarterback. That is the first step to relevancy.

With 10 picks in this years draft the Browns, ONCE AGAIN, have the chance to bring in some quality players that can give them talent and depth at key positions. Cleveland has their own pick at #12 and they have the Buffalo Bills pick (2014 draft day Sammy Watkins trade) at #19. This would be an exciting proposition if we didn’t see this team completely screw up their two-1st rounders last year. You remember last year ? The Browns had a top-five pick and Watkins, the Clemson star receiver was sitting there. The Browns traded that pick for the Bills #9 and this year’s 1st round selection. Not a bad deal until you saw what the Browns did with #9. They chose corner Justin Gilbert who was so badly over-matched in his rookie season that Cleveland had to bury him on the bench. Then the Browns traded up from #26 to take quarterback Johnny Manziel at #22. It was flashy. It was exciting and Browns fans went crazy. Then they watched those two players actually take the field. They went crazy again.

Train-wreck

So now the Browns are presented with a similar scenario. Two-1st round picks and numerous holes to fill. The problem is we are hearing rumors that General Manager Ray Farmer and the front office are lusting for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Yep, another quarterback. Analysts say the Browns love Mariota’s make-up. The former Oregon Duck is the anti-thesis of Manziel. He doesn’t party. He is down-to-earth and is someone the Browns can develop and build around. It would take the two-1st rounders to get him, and even then it may not be enough. The Browns could trade to move up and get him and then flip him to the Eagles and possibly get Sam Bradford in return. While this rumor has been alive and well for weeks, it doesn’t solve the numerous other issues the Browns face with their personnel.

Lets look at Cleveland’s horrific history of drafting quarterbacks since re-entering the league. It started with their first overall selection in Tim Couch. While Couch may have worked out, the Browns didn’t get him an offensive line to protect him and nearly got the guy killed. Over the last eight years the Browns have moved up to select Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel all to play quarterback. Quinn and Weeden were disastrous selections and Manziel was headed that way before his long stay in alcohol rehab this off-season. I will give the kid another chance. I am not willing to close the door on a kid that was good in college just yet. Early reports say Manziel has been going in early and staying late to try and put himself in position to play the position. For that reason I don’t think the Browns should gamble again and take Mariota or any other quarterback early in the draft.

I believe the Browns need to hang on to their picks. Here are Browns trouble spots that MUST be addressed over the next three days.

First, the Browns must get a defensive tackle that can stop the run. The Browns ranked last, dead last in run defense last year. It was the Achilles heel of a team that features a strong secondary and better than average linebacker corps. The Browns must use one of those two first-rounders to get a multi-faceted defensive tackle. Danny Shelton from Oregon meets all the criteria. *Most prognosticators believe this where the Browns go if they don’t trade the pick* Malcolm Brown from Texas fits the bill. Michael Bennett from Ohio State would fit as well. This position must be addressed. While Phil Taylor is a beast on that defensive line he just can’t stay on the field and that is hurting this team. The injury prone Taylor can not be relied on for consistent production. The Browns primary need is a run stopping upgrade on their defensive line.

Second, the Browns have a very solid offensive line, but when center Alex Mack went down last year the Browns season went down the tubes. Mack is vital to this team’s success. With Mack the Browns were averaging nearly 4 yards a carry. Without Mack the Browns barely averaged over 2 yards a carry. His health is paramount and all reports suggest he is good to go. Mitchell Swartz is not getting it done at guard so Cleveland needs to look at offensive line. There should be some great options in the first round. Interior lineman aren’t sexy on draft day but it’s how you build your team, from in the inside out. The guts of your team needs to be addressed, then you have the protection for your skill guys. Cleveland has no depth on their defensive line or offensive line and those positions need to be filled and strengthened.

After those positions are addressed then and only then do you try to get some depth at wide receiver. Dwayne Bowe is now a Brown and he will help along with Brian Hartline. But, the Browns need more youth on the outside. Taylor Gabriel was a nice pick-up last year and became a reliable option but he is 5’8. Bowe gives the Browns size despite his age and Hartline as that gritty receiver who can go over the middle. While it would be nice to get an Amari Cooper or Kevin White at number 12, those two receivers will not be there. The guy who might be there is Davante Parker from Louisville. That would be a great selection, but it would come at the expense of an even greater need in the trenches.

If the Browns feel they must get a quarterback there will be some solid options late in the draft in the 4th and 5th rounds. Josh McCown is slated to be the Browns starter and that is fine. With Johnny Manziel getting his nose clean in rehab maybe he finally shows the Browns something and improves. In my mind quarterback is not a priority in this draft. With 10 selections the Browns should just stay put and *gulp* trust their scouts and draft for need and depth.

Browns passing on Sammy Watkins hurts

Eyebrows were raised on draft night when the Cleveland Browns traded out of the number four spot to move down three spots and take Oklahoma State corner Justin Gilbert. While the Browns garnered an athletic defensive back and return specialist, they passed on the electrifying skills of wide receiver Sammy Watkins out of Clemson.

Now with Josh Gordon’s year-long suspension official, the move is even more dumb-founding. Why pass up on the special talents of Watkins for a corner who was getting mixed reviews? It’s clear the Browns graded Gilbert higher than most other NFL teams. The best part of the deal is Cleveland picked up Buffalo’s first round pick next year which could be a top-ten selection.

General Manager Ray Farmer and the Browns hierarchy had to believe the NFL would reduce Gordon’s season long suspension. They had to be even more sure of a reduction when Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was only suspended two games for battering his girl-friend. But, the collective bargaining agreement makes it clear, a third drug violation shall result in a year-long suspension.

Now the Browns are left without a number one target at wide receiver as they try to nurse Johnny Manziel into the starting line-up.

Gilbert may turn out to be a shut-down corner and a future star. But, having Watkins in the fold, especially with the NFL’s new secondary contact rules, certainly makes more sense. Most analysts are focusing on when Johnny Manziel will be given the starting reigns. The question to ask is wouldn’t it have been easier to bring Manziel along with a can’t miss mark in Watkins ?

The Browns, forever perplexing

Browns’ Haslam clueless when it comes to Manziel

 

It is so incredible watching my beloved Cleveland Browns screw up this Johnny Manziel court-ship. lt seems inevitable that this will not work.  The Browns are unhappy the guy is partying ? Owner Jimmy Haslam is surprised at the amount of partying by Manziel ? Browns have demoted Manziel to second-team after two practices ? Browns making him change his cleats on a daily basis as he saunters onto the field in neon cleats ?

Sit back and enjoy the train-wreck folks…..the train-wreck not being the 20-something precocious QB, but the franchise that drafted him. It hurts to say this because I truly do love the Browns and everything to do with Dawg Pound, but I find it nearly impossible for a franchise to be completely oblivious to the off-field activities of such a lightning-rod type of player in Johnny Manziel. Did the Browns think he would suddenly stop going to Vegas ? Did they not know who he was? Did their front office brass not pay attention to the last two years of college football ?

The rumor on draft day was that owner Jimmy Haslam was told by a homeless guy to draft Manziel. While it made a cute little story I am now starting to believe it. How can someone be so detached from football reality as Haslam. Yeah, I know his Flying J service stations were just fined 92 million dollars for gouging the faithful paying customer, but how does he not know. He said recently, “we expect better of Johnny.” Huh ? Really ? Personally as a Browns fan he should be happy we are all keeping tabs on Manziel’s social calendar. It takes the attention away from the horrid performance of this franchise since they came back to the league in 1999.

New head coach Mike Pettine has been tempered in his comments regarding Manziel, but GM Ray Farmer continues to elucidate on the professionalism of QB Brian Hoyer, who is in direct competition with Manziel.

This is not a pro-Manziel column. I am just amazed at how blind-sided the Browns appear with the Manziel circus enveloping Browns camp. How could they not see this coming ? And, if they didn’t, what were they thinking ?

Johnny Football coming to the Dawg Pound !!!

It was the bottom of the second inning of the Chico State baseball playoff game when the news hit. The pit hit my stomach. My beloved Browns had dodged the Johnny bullet two hours ago, it couldn’t be.

And with the 22nd pick of the first round of the NFL Draft Michael David Baca’s Cleveland Browns select…….”don’t do it, don’t do it,” I thought.

Johnny Manziel

So, now that the deed has been done it’s time  for me to buy into the hype and hop on board. While fans and critics either praise or pan the Manziel pick I am excited about how the Browns got to that pick and what it means for the future.

Going into the draft the Browns had the number four overall selection. When the Browns pick came, there were three distinct needs. A quarterback, an offensive lineman and a corner. While I personally wanted them to take the electrifying Sammy Watkins, I think it wouldn’t have addressed need, it would have been a luxury with Josh Gordon already on the roster.

So, the Browns did something smart. They traded the pick to Buffalo for the Bills number 9 overall selection. PLUS, they will get the Bills 1st round selection and 4th round selection next year. Wow !!!!  Upon further review this was a mind-blowing trade. The Browns trade from a spot they didn’t want and load up on next year’s draft. I would be stunned if Buffalo finishes above .500, which means Cleveland could be getting a top-10 pick next year for just simply moving down to get a player that better fits their need.

When their time came the Browns got a bit nervous and parted with a 4th round selection this year to move up one spot and select Oklahoma State corner Justin Gilbert. By all accounts this was a top -three corner in the draft and a guy who can help in coverage and as a kick returner. He runs a 4.3 40 and when you team him with Joe Haden on the other side of the ball the Browns are wicked good at corner right now.

The Browns still had another first round pick. it was the pick they acquired in trading running back Trent Richardson to Indianapolis. I will be the first to admit I hated that trade. I was wrong. Dead wrong. Completely horrifically wrong. Richardson flamed out for the Colts. He appears to be a short yardage guy who can’t break tackles. So, as the Browns sat and waited for the 26th selection to come their way, Johnny Football kept falling, and falling and falling and falling. So, when the 22nd selection was staring Philadelphia in the face the Browns pounced. They offered their 26th selection and a 3rd rounder this year for the 22nd pick. Philly took the offer. Once they did, we all knew what would happen next. When you think about it, the Browns just basically traded Trent Richardson and 3rd rounder for Johnny Manziel.

Despite declarations that the Browns liked Bridgewater and Derek Carr more than Manziel, the temptation to take a game-changer was too great. New Browns GM Ray Farmer went for it and chose Manziel. I have spent this long draft process lamenting the fact that Cleveland “might” pick him. I didn’t want him. I liked Bortles. I like Carr. But now that Manziel is a Brown, those of us in the Dawg Pound need to embrace this new reality while knowing the football will not be boring on the shores of Lake Erie. The Browns have some excitement coming to town. This guy is not boring and the Browns will be relevant again.

I can see Manziel running for his life, dodging tacklers and then seeing Josh Gordon break free and hitting him in stride sending the Dawg Pound into a frenzy. I can see it. I can feel it.

As happy as Browns fans feel about the pick, I am HONESTLY more excited about the draft picks acquired. The Browns still are stacked for this draft. They will have the third pick (35th overall) in the 2nd round. The Browns could get another stud receiver with that selection. They could go offensive line. There are a lot of needs for this team and the Browns can address them. The Browns will have a 3rd, a (2)-4th rounders, a 5th, a 6th and a 7th. And then next year the Browns have TWO 1st rounders, including Buffalo’s which could be a top-10 pick. The Browns also will have 2nd, a 3rd (2) 4th’s AGAIN, along with a 5th, 6th and 7th. If you are counting at home, the Browns have 9 picks this year and 10 next year. This is smart. This is so un-Browns like.

I may not have wanted him, but now that I have him. I will quote Johnny Football. “Dawg Pound, here we come.” And, for Johnny Manziel, you are now ON THE CLOCK !