15 min

2014 Cleveland Browns

Even though preseason does not count, it appears that the Browns are headed toward another major losing season, unless some surprises occur on offense. I think that the Browns hope its defense and rushing offense can keep Cleveland in games late.

Sep 2, 2014

The 2014 Browns offense may be worse than the 2013 version. Cleveland may be headed toward another four-win season. Five or six wins tops.

Actually, a 6-10 season would be some improvement.

One year ago, Brian Hoyer was listed as a third string quarterback for the Browns, and now, he's the starter.

As of Sep 1, 2014, the Browns are only carrying two QBs. If this was a year ago, would Hoyer have made the team as the number three?

Last week, the NFL suspended all-pro wide receiver Josh Gordon for the entire season. Last year, he missed the first two games, but he still put up amazing numbers. That was partly due to the fact that Cleveland threw the ball more than any other team, which was probably due to Cleveland trailing most of the time. Still, Gordon has raw talent, but apparently, he has little interest in playing in the NFL.

The Browns will have to rely on rookie WRs. TE Cameron won't be the main receiver.

The Browns leading rushers last year, such as they were, are not on this year's team. That's probably not a big loss. The Browns hope to feature the running game this season, but we'll see.

At the moment, it appears that the Browns do not have any legitimate deep threat wide receivers, and Hoyer was not impressive this preseason, so it seems that opponents will jam the line of scrimmage to stop the Browns running game, and dare the Browns to complete a pass down field.

The Browns strength will allegedly be its defense. Last year, fans and media felt the Browns had a good defense, but Cleveland ranked near the bottom in third down defense and near the bottom in red zone defense. Cleveland must improve a lot in those areas.

Johnny Manziel may not have an NFL arm worthy of being a starting quarterback. He may be able to run around behind the line of scrimmage or run down field, but it's unsustainable in the long term. Completing less than 50 percent of the passes won't cut it.

First game, Cleveland at Pittsburgh. The Steelers have a big edge over Cleveland in quarterback and in the running game. Defense? Don't know.

Predictions

Sep 2, 2014:

Assuming no major injuries, I think the Bengals will win the division again with 11 or 12 wins, and the Steelers will finish second. Ravens third. Browns last.

The Steelers may be good enough this season to make the playoffs as a wildcard. They finished 8-8 last year, and they nearly made the playoffs. If the Bengals stumble a little, then I think Pitt will challenge for the division title.

Schedule and my predictions in caps as of Sep 2, 2014:

1 Sun, Sep 7 @ Pittsburgh 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS
Cle 27 - Pitt 30

2 Sun, Sep 14 vs New Orleans 1:00 PM FOX - LOSS
NO 24 - Cle 26

3 Sun, Sep 21 vs Baltimore 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS
Bal 23 - Cle 21

4 BYE WEEK

5 Sun, Oct 5 @ Tennessee 1:00 PM CBS - WIN
Cle 29 - TN 28

6 Sun, Oct 12 vs Pittsburgh 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS
Pitt 10 - Cle 31

7 Sun, Oct 19 @ Jacksonville 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS

8 Sun, Oct 26 vs Oakland 4:25 PM CBS - WIN

9 Sun, Nov 2 vs Tampa Bay 1:00 PM FOX - WIN

10 Thu, Nov 6 @ Cincinnati 8:25 PM NFL - LOSS

11 Sun, Nov 16 vs Houston 1:00 PM CBS - WIN

12 Sun, Nov 23 @ Atlanta 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS

13 Sun, Nov 30 @ Buffalo 1:00 PM CBS - WIN

14 Sun, Dec 7 vs Indianapolis 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS

15 Sun, Dec 14 vs Cincinnati 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS

16 Sun, Dec 21 @ Carolina 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS

17 Sun, Dec 28 @ Baltimore 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS

Prediction: 5 wins and 11 losses.

I think six wins would be the tops for Cleveland this season. The Browns do not have a top 16 QB, so they'll struggle. The other three divisional teams have QBs that lead their teams to the playoffs.

I have the Browns going 0-6 within the division. The Browns should win at least one and maybe two divisional games. Maybe the home Ravens game. Divisional games are unpredictable. If the Browns go 2-4 within the division, then Cleveland would finish a respectable 7-9. Respectable for Cleveland.

The problem is that Cleveland plays Pittsburgh twice in the first five games. Cleveland will need time to improve. Pitt finished last season well, so they may be significantly better than Cleveland at the start of the season.

It's unfortunate that Cleveland's bye week occurs after only the third game. I would think teams would like that bye week to occur in the mid to late part of the season.

Cleveland's home game versus Baltimore occurs in week three, which is probably too early for Cleveland who I expect will improve as the season wears on. If the home games against the Ravens and Steelers occurred late in the season, then I could see Cleveland winning.

I think the Browns will struggle a lot in the first 3 to 5 games.

Browns Roster Info

http://www.clevelandbrowns.com

The Browns will start the season with 21 undrafted free agents. I have no context on that. I don't know if that's a high, low, or average number.

Roster as of Sep 2, 2014

Offense

6 Brian Hoyer QB 28 6-2 215 6 Michigan State
2 Johnny Manziel QB 21 6-0 210 R Texas A&M
48 Ray Agnew RB 23 5-10 247 R Southern Illinois
34 Isaiah Crowell RB 21 5-11 225 R Alabama State
44 Ben Tate RB 26 5-10 220 5 Auburn
20 Terrance West RB 23 5-10 225 R Towson
31 Glenn Winston RB 25 6-2 220 R --
19 Miles Austin WR 30 6-2 215 9 Monmouth (N.J.)
11 Travis Benjamin WR 24 5-10 175 3 Miami (Fla.)
80 LaRon Byrd WR 25 6-4 220 3 Miami (Fla.)
18 Taylor Gabriel WR 23 5-8 167 R Abilene Christian
12 Josh Gordon WR 23 6-3 225 3 Baylor
16 Andrew Hawkins WR 28 5-7 180 4 Toledo
17 Jonathan Krause WR 22 5-11 190 R Vanderbilt
15 Marlon Moore WR 26 6-0 190 5 Fresno State
82 Gary Barnidge TE 28 6-6 250 7 Louisville
84 Jordan Cameron TE 26 6-5 249 4 USC
81 Jim Dray TE 27 6-5 255 5 Stanford
87 Andre Smith TE 25 6-5 270 2 Virginia Tech
55 Alex Mack C 28 6-4 311 6 California
57 Christian Yount C 26 6-1 250 4 UCLA
75 Joel Bitonio OT 22 6-4 305 R Nevada
62 Michael Bowie OT 22 6-4 332 2 Northeastern State (Okla.)
74 Caylin Hauptmann OT 23 6-3 300 2 Florida International
74 Paul McQuistan OT 31 6-6 315 9 Weber State
72 Mitchell Schwartz OT 25 6-5 320 3 California
73 Joe Thomas OT 29 6-6 312 8 Wisconsin
77 John Greco OG 29 6-4 318 7 Toledo
62 Ryan Seymour OG 24 6-4 301 2 Vanderbilt

Defense

95 Armonty Bryant DE 24 6-4 265 2 East Central (OK)
92 Desmond Bryant DE 28 6-6 310 6 Harvard
93 John Hughes DE 26 6-2 320 3 Cincinnati
71 Ahtyba Rubin DE 28 6-2 325 7 Iowa State
90 Billy Winn DE 25 6-4 300 3 Boise State
67 Ishmaa'ily Kitchen DT 26 6-1 330 3 Kent State
98 Phil Taylor DT 26 6-3 335 4 Baylor
59 Tank Carder LB 25 6-2 235 3 Texas Christian
56 Karlos Dansby LB 32 6-3 251 11 Auburn
50 Darius Eubanks LB 23 6-2 222 2 Georgia Southern
58 Christian Kirksey LB 22 6-2 235 R Iowa
99 Paul Kruger LB 28 6-4 270 6 Utah
52 Eric Martin LB 23 6-2 250 2 Nebraska
51 Barkevious Mingo LB 23 6-4 240 2 LSU
53 Craig Robertson LB 26 6-1 234 3 North Texas
97 Jabaal Sheard LB 25 6-3 264 4 Pittsburgh
24 Johnson Bademosi CB 24 6-0 200 3 Stanford
26 Pierre Desir CB 23 6-2 206 R Lindenwood
21 Justin Gilbert CB 22 6-0 202 R Oklahoma State
23 Joe Haden CB 25 5-11 195 5 Florida
33 Jordan Poyer CB 23 6-0 191 2 Oregon State
22 Buster Skrine CB 25 5-9 185 4 Tennessee-Chattanooga
38 Aaron Berry DB 26 5-9 190 5 Pittsburgh
30 Jim Leonhard DB 31 5-8 188 10 Wisconsin
42 Robert Nelson DB 24 5-9 175 R Arizona State
35 Isaiah Trufant DB 31 5-7 170 4 Eastern Washington
36 K'Waun Williams DB 23 5-9 183 R Pittsburgh
31 Donte Whitner SS 29 5-10 208 9 Ohio State
39 Tashaun Gipson FS 24 5-11 205 3 Wyoming

Special Teams

8 Billy Cundiff PK 34 6-1 212 9 Drake
5 Spencer Lanning P 26 5-11 200 2 South Carolina

NFL 2013 Stats

Week One

Sep 3: I'm guessing that the Steelers defense will jam the line of scrimmage and dare the Browns to complete a pass downfield. The Browns offense would like to feature the run, but the Browns passing game may need to succeed first to get the Steelers to play back some, and then Cleveland may be able to run the ball.

I think the Browns will need to hold Pittsburgh to 20 or fewer points in order to have a chance to win. Cleveland will need to keep it close in the first quarter / first half. Pitt will probably bring a lot of defensive pressure early. If the Browns put up a lot of 3-and-outs, and the Steelers passing and rushing games continue like the last half of 2013, then the game could be over before half time.


Sep 2:
http://www.teamrankings.com/nfl/matchup/browns-steelers-week-1-2014
Browns at Steelers
Sunday Sep 7, 2014 - 1:00 pm - Pittsburgh, PA | Odds: Pittsburgh by 6.5, Total Points: 41
Their "Likely Score" prediction: Pitt 23 - Clev 20.
"Vegas Implied" prediction: Pitt 23.8 - 17.2.

Sep 1, 2014 - Tony Grossi - Almost 40 percent of Browns roster -- 21 of 53 players -- entered the NFL as undrafted free agents

Six rookies – receiver Taylor Gabriel; running backs Isaiah Crowell, Glenn Winston and Ray Agnew; and cornerbacks Robert Nelson and K’Waun Williams.

Veterans – quarterback Brian Hoyer; receivers Miles Austin, Andrew Hawkins and LaRon Byrd; defensive backs Tashaun Gipson, Johnson Bademosi and Jim Leonhard; linebackers Eric Martin and Craig Robertson;defensive lineman Desmond Bryant and Ishmaa'ily Kitchen; and offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann.

Ed. note: The number keeps growing. After re-checking and counting a third time, cornerback Aaron Berry was omitted. So that makes 22 players of 53 who entered the NFL undrafted.

Sep 2, 2014 - Tony Grossi - Browns Game 1 Scouting Report: Pittsburgh Steelers

QB Ben Roethlisberger: The native of Findlay, OH, is 17-1 in his career against the Browns, including 9-0 in Heinz Field.

WR Antonio Brown: Joe Haden calls him the toughest receiver for him to cover. He is coming off a huge season – 110 receptions, 1,499 yards and 8 touchdowns.

RB Le’Veon Bell: After missing his first three games as a rookie because of injuries, he turned in 860 rushing yards and added 45 receptions, establishing himself as the foundation for the offense this year.

Sep 2, 2014 - Tony Grossi - Browns' stockpiling of cornerbacks reflects Mike Pettine's belief that pass rush starts at the back of the defense

Rookie Quarterbacks

News info as of Sep 2, 2014.

Derek Carr will be the only rookie QB to start week one.

From the CBS Sports story predictions for this season:

1. At least seven rookie QBs start games this season: As I write this, the entire rookie class of quarterbacks was still slated to open the season holding a clipboard. But soon enough that will change. Their teams will struggle, the veteran incumbents were always on a short leash and as the weeks go by more and more of these kids will be flinging the ball. I still wouldn't be shocked to see Derek Carr be the first to start, though his injury has slowed that process, while Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel will be starting by October, I reckon. Teddy Bridgewater is there by midseason, I say. And, due to injuries or otherwise, I bet at least two more do as well. Zach Mettenberger and Tom Savage would get my early nod to be those guys.

5. One North rises; One North Falls: The AFC North is back, ya'll. Three of those teams will reach the postseason -- which we've seen before. The Bengals are loaded and the Ravens and Steelers are getting back to where they are accustomed to being. On the NFC side, however, the Packers will run away with things and the rest of the group will be shuffling along.

Media Predictions

Sep 2, 2014 - ESPN Power Rankings

Before any games have been played, ESPN ranks the Browns 30th out of 32 teams.

Sep 2, 2014 - ESPN - NFL Nation writers predict 1-15 for Browns

This morning I predicted the Browns results on a game-by-game basis, and came up with a 6-10 record. It's honestly generous, but in theory the team should get better as the season progresses, and that’s reflected in the predictions.

Let’s turn those predictions around, though. What did the writers from the teams the Browns play predict in those games?

One win.

According to the other NFL team writers on ESPN.com, the Browns will be a 1-15 team.

The worst teams, record-wise, in 2013:

  • Houston 2-14
  • Washington Redskins 3-13
  • Atlanta 4-12
  • Cleveland 4-12
  • Jacksonville 4-12
  • Oakland 4-12
  • Tampa Bay 4-12

The last team to win fewer than two games was the St. Louis Rams who went 1-15 in 2009.


http://mmqb.si.com/2014/09/02/nfl-2014-season-preview-extravaganza-the-mmqb-predictions/

We will see Johnny Manziel playing for the Browns in ...

Peter King: Week 12. I think the thinking of the coaching staff at this point in Cleveland has to be to let Manziel learn the offense and not get killed by putting him in with a bad offensive team before he’s ready.

Greg Bedard: At some point in the Sept. 21 game against the Ravens. Brian Hoyer will play well in the opener, but struggle against the Saints in Week 2. When he can’t move the team against Baltimore in Week 3, coach Mike Pettine will give the home crowd what they want. That will be the start of the Johnny Football Era.

Jenny Vrentas: Week 1, if we’re talking about a “Manziel package.” Week 5, if we’re talking about Manziel starting. Veteran Brian Hoyer is the better choice to lead the Browns into division foe Pittsburgh for the opener. Cleveland’s early schedule is unkind: Steelers, Saints, Ravens. By the Week 4 bye, the Browns may already be searching for the proverbial spark, his name Manziel.

Robert Klemko: Week 5. It’s just a guess, of course. So much depends on things we can’t see: How comfortable Manziel becomes with the offense and how happy the Browns are with his level of preparation. Wins don’t matter here. Manziel will play when the coaches feel he’s ready.

Emily Kaplan: Maybe they’ll give him a series or two before the Week 4 bye, but I don’t think he gets fully thrown into the mix until the season is (officially) a lost cause.

Andy Benoit: Is there anyone who isn’t saying Week 5 after the Browns’ bye? Anyone at all? Just for giggles, I’ll say Week 6, for the rematch against the Steelers. That way, Mike Pettine’s logic can be: “They creamed us in Week 1 with Brian Hoyer in there, let’s change it up this time.”

Oct 17, 2014

Cleveland Browns enter this weekend with a surprising 3-2 record. Some amazingly close games to start the season.

The Browns now begin what on paper looks like the easiest three-game stretch in the NFL all season. The opponents current records in parens.

  • Sun, Oct 19 @ Jacksonville (0-6) 1:00 PM CBS
  • Sun, Oct 26 vs Oakland (0-5) 4:25 PM CBS
  • Sun, Nov 2 vs Tampa Bay (1-5) 1:00 PM FOX

Current AFC North standings:

  • Cincinnati 3-1-1
  • Baltimore 4-2-0
  • Cleveland 3-2-0
  • Pittsburgh 3-3-0

Carolina tied at Cincinnati last Sunday. The Bengals missed a 36-yard-field goal on the last play of overtime.

It's interesting to hear Browns fans and media claim the demise of Pittsburgh even though the teams split their two meetings this year, and currently, both teams have three wins.

A year ago, I think Cleveland was 3-2 while Pittsburgh was 1-4. Browns ended 4-12 while Pitt finished 8-8.

It's a long season.

In theory, the Browns should win the next three games, which would give the browns a five-game winning streak and a 6-2 record at the halfway point. At minimum, Cleveland should win 2 of the next 3 games and be 5-3.

Cleveland needs to take advantage of this so-called easy schedule. If 6-2, then going .500 in the last half would give Cle a 10-6 record and most likely a playoff spot.

10 wins does not guarantee playoffs, but it's close. 9 wins puts a team in playoff contention.

The last half of the Browns' schedule is harder.

Thu, Nov 6 @ Cincinnati 8:25 PM NFL - LOSS
Sun, Nov 16 vs Houston 1:00 PM CBS - WIN
Sun, Nov 23 @ Atlanta 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS
Sun, Nov 30 @ Buffalo 1:00 PM CBS - WIN
Sun, Dec 7 vs Indianapolis 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS
Sun, Dec 14 vs Cincinnati 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS
Sun, Dec 21 @ Carolina 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS
Sun, Dec 28 @ Baltimore 1:00 PM CBS - LOSS

Current records of those opponents:

  • Cincinnati 3-1-1
  • Houston 3-3
  • Atlanta 2-4
  • Buffalo 3-3
  • Indianapolis 4-2
  • Carolina 3-2
  • Baltimore 4-2

Currently, only one team has a losing record. Six of those seven opponents could battle for playoff spots.

Five of the final eight games are on the road.

Tough second half for Cleveland. That's why 4-4 would be a good finish.

#sports - #nfl - #browns - #blog_jr

By JR - 2707 words
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