Tag:Cleveland Browns
Posted on: December 30, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: December 30, 2011 10:50 am
 

Robert Griffin III to make Draft decision 'soon'

RG3 says he'll decide on the draft "pretty soon." (AP)
By Will Brinson

Though he was technically outplayed Washington quarterback Keith Price on Thursday, Robert Griffin, III, still looked outstanding in a shootout for the ages at the Alamo Bowl.

2012 NFL Draft

Next up is the decision about whether RG3, a projected top-10 pick and the second-rated quarterback on Rob Rang's big board, will leave Baylor for the NFL. And the Heisman winner says a decision is coming 'soon.'

"Pretty soon," Griffin said when asked when he'd make his decision, though he didn't know what the decision would be. "I have no idea. I'm going to enjoy this right now with my teammates and we'll get to that later."

Griffin's stock probably couldn't get much higher than it is now and, unlike Matt Barkley at USC, Griffin won't be one of the favorites to win the BCS title in 2012. But he's pretty clearly a fan of the school that's given him a chance to shine on the national level.

"I want Baylor nation to enjoy this," Griffin said. "It's not about me. I've got about two weeks. I'll enjoy this the next day, and then the next day, and then I'll make it."

From a business perspective, Griffin would be wise to leave for the NFL. Teams are enamored with his skillset and there's a shortage of elite quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft -- only Stanford's Andrew Luck also ranks in the top 20 overall prospects.

If both the Browns and Redskins end up with top-10 picks, it would be an absolute epic upset to see RG3 drop past both of them.

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 6:02 pm
 

Colt McCoy talks to press, wants to play Sunday

McCoy

By Josh Katzowitz

Colt McCoy might end up being a pioneer in NFL history -- or at least talked about as the impetus for when the league decided it needed to curb concussed players from returning to games in which they’ve been injured. Because if it wasn’t for that hit by Steelers linebacker James Harrison on Dec. 9 and the inability for anybody on the Cleveland sideline to see that McCoy had sustained a head injury, we might not have the NFL policy that states that an independent monitor must be in the press box on game day in order to make sure team trainers don’t miss potential concussions.

But that doesn’t mean McCoy can take much solace in his forefathership. Since that hit, he still hasn’t returned to a game, and he’s barely even practiced (it seems like every day we get another report that says McCoy again was sent home from practice because of post-concussion symptoms).

McCoy's post-concussion aftermath
Today, McCoy talked to reporters for the first time since the Pittsburgh game, and really, he didn’t have much to say. According to Rapid Reporter Marty Gitlin, McCoy declined to talk about what he remembered from his last game and he said he’d like to play in the season finale Sunday*.

*This, I imagine, will be a tough sell to the Browns trainers, who have to be tip-toeing through the night after what happened last time he played.

Almost immediately after the Dec. 9 game, you’ll recall, McCoy’s father, Brad McCoy, ripped the team for allowing him to return to the game after it was clear to everybody but the Browns trainers that his son was punch-drunk.

"He never should've gone back in the game,” Brad McCoy said. "He was basically out [cold] after the hit. You could tell by the rigidity of his body as he was laying there. There were a lot of easy symptoms that should've told them he had a concussion. He was nauseated and he didn't know who he was. From what I could see, they didn't test him for a concussion on the sidelines. They looked at his [left hand].”

In response, Colt McCoy said he “addressed some things” with his father, but declined to talk specifically about what they discussed.

McCoy also made clear that he wants to stay in Cleveland and be part of the Browns “resurrection.”  Asked if he thought the front office wanted him to return, McCoy said, “Speculation has never gotten me anywhere. I'm a factual person.”

And what about Harrison, who said he believed he didn’t deserve to be suspended for the hit but then had to take a one-game vacation anyway?

“I really have no opinion,” McCoy said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I think the league has handled that. And I'm doing the best I can to move forward and to get healthy and get back and help our team.”

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:05 am
 

D'Qwell Jackson a fan of his hyperbaric chamber

By Josh Katzowitz

If you ever wanted to know why an athlete would want to sleep in a machine that looks like a big duffel bag, check out this NFL.com video of Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and his hyperbaric chamber. He is, without a doubt, a firm believer in its merits.

“A lot of guys don’t really know how well this works,” said Jackson, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle that kept him out of 26-straight games but has responded with a comeback player of the year award type season. “It’s like anything else. You have to use something enough to understand if it’s for you or if it’s not for you. It’s definitely for me.”

Jackson isn’t the first player to use the chamber -- Maurice Jones-Drew and James Harrison also are big believers -- and the people who use it extol the contraption’s ability to circulate the blood flow throughout the body that helps energize the player and keep injuries at bay.

Claustrophobics, beware. This video is not for those who fear being buried alive.

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 11:45 am
 

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

By Ryan Wilson

Mark Sanchez - Jets

Is Sanchez in NY's future? Rex says yes. (AP Photo)
With each passing game, Sanchez confirms what everybody already suspected (even if Rex Ryan won't admit it publicly): he's an average NFL quarterback. There are worse fates (he could be Tyler Palko or Caleb Hanie), but Sanchez's success is contingent on the formula the Jets had working during the 2009 and 2010 seasons: ground, pound and a stifling defense.

In 2011, the rushing attack and the vaunted defense has been inconsistent, New York has fallen behind, and Sanchez hasn't been able to get the Jets in the end zone late in games. The result: eight wins against seven losses -- the latest coming Saturday against the Giants -- and the very real possibility of missing the playoffs for the first time in Rex Ryan's tenure as head coach.

“They were definitely the better team this year,” Ryan said after the 29-14 loss to the Giants. “Clearly, I was wrong. I will take the responsibility. It is on my shoulders and it should be. That’s just the way it is.”

That's what Ryan has to say -- the buck stops with him, after all -- but he's not calling offensive plays. That falls to Brian Schottenheimer, who dialed up 59 (fifty-nine!) pass plays. Sanchez completed just 30 attempts (51 percent), threw one touchdown vs. two interceptions and was sacked five times. By the end of the day, he looked out of sorts and out of confidence.

It's so bad that we're again hearing murmurs that Sanchez may not be the longterm answer at quarterback for the Jets, sentiments that come up a half-dozen times each season. CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman writes Monday that Schottenheimer's job is probably less secure than Sanchez's at this point.

"The inevitable Sanchez microscopic exam started immediately after that Giants loss. The site Profootballtalk.com reported the Jets were having doubts about Sanchez. The New York Post loosely reported that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer might be coaching for his job this week. The latter, I’m told by someone I trust, is more likely the truth."

Wherever reality lies -- and Rex has both Mark and Brian's back-- the point remains: Sanchez has yet to prove that he's a capable NFL quarterback. He thrives as a complimentary piece within a system but he's not the guy you want trying to bring the team back from a late-game deficit. Maybe he'll evolve into that player someday, but through nearly three NFL seasons, he's more game manager than game winner.

Tim Tebow - Broncos

After seven wins in his first eight games as Denver's starting quarterback, Tebow has now dropped two in a row and the Broncos are 8-7. A Week 17 win gives them the division crown and a home playoff game, but that will likely be against the Steelers or Ravens.

For now, though, the big issue is if defenses have figured out how to stop Denver's option attack and whether the offense has an answer to it.

The Bills, with nothing to play for after having lost seven in a row, intercepted Tebow four times (returning two for touchdowns). And while Tebow's numbers are troubling (13 of 30 for 185 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs and 3 sacks) he wasn't the same guy who was manhandled by the Lions back in Week 8. That Tebow looked confused all afternoon; this Tebow struggled with the Bills' scheme but wasn't overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. That scheme, by the way, wasn't some complicated Dick LeBeau zone blitz concoction. It was a stout four-man rush with seven men in coverage (including a quarterback spy). Tebow wasn't allowed to run for large chunks but was forced to stay in the pocket and win the game with his arm. Obviously, he couldn't do it.

Now the Broncos have a week to work out the kinks and hope everything's clicking should they make it into the postseason. Because if they don't … well, God help us because we're going to spend the spring and summer wondering who will be Denver's starting quarterback in 2012. And, really, nobody wants that.

Phillip Taylor - Browns

Taylor's gaffe was costly. (Getty Images)
Saturday's loss isn't entirely Phil Taylor's fault. The 2011 first-round pick wasn't solely responsible for the Ravens jumping out to a 17-0 lead. But it was his offsides penalty late in the fourth quarter with Cleveland trailing 20-14 that guaranteed the Browns would lose their fifth straight and remain winless in the AFC North this season.

After stuffing running back Ray Rice on third down, Baltimore faced a fourth-and-2 at the Browns' 37-yard line with just under two minutes to go in the game. The Ravens' options: attempting a 55-yard field goal, going for it on fourth down or punting. After a timeout, Baltimore's offense took the field, presumably to draw the Browns offside and keep the drive alive. Cleveland's defensive coaches warned players of as much … moments before Joe Flacco hard-counted and  coaxed Taylor into jumping early. First down Ravens, game over.

"It was the first hard count and we stayed onside. The second time, I just jumped," Taylor told The Associated Press. "Of course you feel bad but you just got to move on."

For the Browns, that means moving on to Week 17 where they will face the Steelers in a game Pittsburgh would like to win, even if it means doing so without starter Ben Roethlisberger, who was injured the first time these teams met in Week 14. (If the Ravens lose to the Bengals and Pittsburgh prevails in Cleveland, the Steelers would win the AFC North and get a first-round bye.)

Flacco, who has taken his share of criticism this season, was shocked Taylor fell for the hard count (it's the NFL equivalent of falling for the "pitcher fakes to third before throwing to first" routine in baseball).

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been in position for that to happen," Flacco said. "It’s never worked.”

There's a first time for everything, especially when you're facing the Browns.

Early Doucet - Cardinals

Poor Early Doucet. He was attacked by the seldom seen Paul Brown Stadium turf monster at the worst possible moment, and instead of hauling in possibly the easiest touchdown pass of his career, he was instead picking himself off the field as the ball skipped out of the end zone incomplete.

The specifics: facing 4th and 5 from the Bengals 17-yard line with 1:16 to go and trailing 23-16, Cardinals quarterback John Skelton threw to what appeared to be a wide open Doucet. Except he tripped and fell, as did Arizona's dwindling playoff hopes.


Turf monster avoids the pass interference call despite tripping Early Doucet.

It gets worse: the father of teammate Larry Fitzgerald called Doucet out, first on Twitter ("Doucet bombed this year he drops to many passes not a dependable No.2. Needs to work harder at his job. He dropped 5 TDs this year.") then to ESPN.com's Mike Sando.

“I just know that Larry invited him to come and work out with him this summer and some guys take initiative and do it, some guys don’t,” Larry Fitzgerald Sr. said. “But with the lockout, I thought he would have worked on it a little harder. That is me. People criticize me because they think I talk too much. That is just how I see it.”

On Monday, the Arizona Republic's Kent Somers wrote that "from previous conversations with Doucet and coaches, the Cardinals were happy with Doucet's off-season work. He was rehabbing from sports hernia surgery, and the Cardinals approved of his program. Receivers coach John McNulty complimented Doucet on reporting to training camp in shape."

Not to worry. Fitzgerald Sr. says he "wasn't picking on" Doucet. “I track when he drops the ball in critical situations. They use Larry the way they are going to use him, so they know others are going to be singled [in coverage]. The Ravens game, he dropped one on the goal line. I remember other games. Now that they’re out of the playoffs, I’m putting it out there.”

Can't wait to hear what Senior thinks about Kevin Kolb and/or John Skelton.

LeGarrette Blount - Buccaneers

Like Phil Taylor, it's unfair to point to Blount and say, "Yep, it's all his fault." But head coach Raheem Morris thought enough of Blount's performance to call him out after Tampa Bay's latest no-show performance, this time against the Panthers. On the Bucs' very first offensive play, Blount muffed the handoff from quarterback Josh Freeman. When an NFL team struggles with something as basic as a handoff it's probably time to hit the reset button. Which is exactly what will happen to Morris shortly after the season ends, and possibly to plenty of names currently on the roster, Blount included.

"To not get that play executed on the first play of the football game is unacceptable,'' Morris said according to the Tampa Tribune. "You're obviously not ready to play. I'm not ready to give up on him (Blount), but you can't let your team down that way.''

Blount was just as frank when asked about the play and the subsequent benching.

"It happens. Whenever you feel like something is not going your way, you've got to look somewhere else. If a back's been giving up the ball the whole season, you've got to find someone else to do the job. It was a miscommunication. We fumbled the ball.''

Meanwhile, veteran cornerback Ronde Barber, wholly unimpressed with the Bucs' defense, says that the same team that won 10 games last season is now full of players looking out for themselves. Such is the destiny for four-win clubs.

"That was an embarrassing performance, really, in the run game," Barber said after Tampa Bay allowed 270 yards rushing. "It's frustrating to watch because you know what the problems are. It looks like guys want to do their own thing. You've got to believe the guy next to you is going to do his job. … They didn't even need [Steve Smith] today. That just shows how far they've come and how far we've gotten away from what we used to be.''

(To be fair, the Panthers did have Cam, who has come so far, so fast, he's already ascended to one-word-name status). Which is why when we see the Bucs in 2012 they'll look nothing like the team that limped to the finish in 2011.

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Posted on: December 24, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Video: Browns-Ravens recap


Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes, and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns 20-14 on Saturday to move one step closer to winning the AFC North. CBS Sports Spero Dedes and Rich Gannon have the recap.

By Ryan Wilson


Follow all the Week 16 action live: Inactives | Scoreboard

1 p.m. ET games:
CLE-BAL | DEN-BUF | TB-CAR | ARI-CIN | OAK-KC | MIA-NE | NYG-NYJ | STL-PIT | JAC-TEN | MIN-WAS

4 p.m. ET games:
SD-DET | PHI-DAL | SF-SEA



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Posted on: December 24, 2011 11:08 am
 

Gannon: A lot of things to like about Colt McCoy

In a shocking development, linebackers can't cover Johnson. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson


Follow all the Week 16 action live: Inactives | Scoreboard

1 p.m. ET games:
CLE-BAL | DEN-BUF | TB-CAR | ARI-CIN | OAK-KC | MIA-NE | NYG-NYJ | STL-PIT | JAC-TEN | MIN-WAS

4 p.m. ET games:
SD-DET | PHI-DAL | SF-SEA



Good news: there are people in the NFL who think that Colt McCoy can be a competent NFL starter.

Bad news: it's not clear those people are in the Browns' organization.

A year after starting 13 games as a rookie and showing glimpses of potential, McCoy headed into 2011 with a new head coach and expectations. It's been a rough four months; the Browns' offense has been predictable and inept, the team has managed just four wins through 15 weeks, and McCoy, who suffered a concussion against the Steelers two weeks ago, has yet to return to the field.

And there's a chance that, two seasons and 21 starts into his career, he may find himself out of chances in Cleveland.

"I know people are saying, 'Is this guy a player?' but there's a lot of things to like about him," said CBS Analyst and former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon, via the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. Gannon has studied most of McCoy's games this season and will be calling Sunday's game against the Ravens where Seneca Wallace will make his second consecutive start. "I mean, there's something about him that makes me think he's got a chance. I like him. ...

"People don't understand that you've got develop the quarterback position," Gannon said. "We're making a huge mistake in the NFL with these young guys. These coaches come in and say, 'He's not my guy, I want to get rid of him,' and then they bring another guy in. Then it takes a couple of years to develop that guy. Meanwhile, they fire that head coach, and the next guy comes in. It's a terrible cycle."

There could be the slim possibility that McCoy gets another chance at the starting gig. USC quarterback Matt Barkley announced last week that he was returning to college for his senior season, foregoing the NFL Draft where he would almost certainly be a top-10 selection. That means the Browns, Redskins and Dolphins -- all teams in desperate need of a franchise quarterback -- will either have to move forward with the status quo or try to find a stopgap via free agency or a trade.

Gannon, meanwhile, thinks McCoy could benefit from some Jim Harbaugh-type mentoring.

"When you have a talented kid like Colt who can do some things, you put your arm around him like [coach] Jim Harbaugh did with Alex Smith and show him some love," Gannon said. "You tell him you believe in him and that you trust him, and that you're going to win this thing together. Now you're seeing a different guy in Alex Smith. He has five interceptions this year. He's not throwing 40 touchdowns [Smith has thrown for 16], but he's playing winning football."

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Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 4:07 pm
 

Colts loss to Jaguars clinches No. 1 overall pick

Andrew Luck applauds the effort of teams trying to land the top pick. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Thursday night, the Colts theoretically -- as Gregg Doyel noted in his lose-lose column from the game -- shot themselves in the foot by beating Houston 19-16. After all, even though we play to win the games, you don't want to win so many games that you lose out on once-in-a-generation prospect Andrew Luck.

Fortunately, the Colts didn't totally sink their own battleship against the Texans -- the NFL confirmed on Friday, via Peter King of Sports Illustrated, that if the Colts lose to the Jaguars in Week 17, they will clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Currently, the Colts, Rams and Vikings all have two losses. The Colts have the "best" strength of schedule (read: they play a worse set of teams than St. Louis or Minnesota and yet are just as bad), so they'd likely win any tiebreaker for the top pick if all three two-win teams lose their remaining games.

If the Colts win, however, they won't just be working on a serious Hail Mary for Jim Caldwell's career as coach there; they'll also probably cough up a shot at Luck.

That presumes that the Vikings fall to the Redskins and Bears, of course. If they do, though, they'll hold the No. 1 overall pick and be faced with a fascinating decision.


If they're sure Christian Ponder, taken in the top 10 of the 2011 Draft, is the answer, they can move the top pick to a team that's desperate for a quarterback.

The Dolphins and Redskins would, by most accounts, be willing to give up an insane haul of draft picks in exchange for the rights to draft Luck.

Of course, the Colts could also trade the rights to Luck for a bevy of picks, but that would give Peyton Manning more leverage when it came to any attempted negotiations of the deadline for picking up his option than would missing out on the top pick. Plus, Indy has a need in the long term for a franchise quarterback, so seeing them deal the top pick in the draft is pretty unlikely.

Then again, a few weeks ago, so was the possibility of someone else landing it.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 4:12 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 4:22 pm
 

Barkley back to USC shakes up top of 2012 Draft

Matt Barkley's decision to stay at USC shakes up the 2012 NFL Draft. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Thursday afternoon, USC quarterback Matt Barkley, the No. 2 quarterback in the draft and the second-ranked player on Rob Rang's Big Board, announced that he would return to Southern California for his senior year. The news wasn't shocking given the heavy Wednesday rumors that Barkley would be a Trojan in 2012 (plus, when has Matt Leinart ever been wrong?), but it does dramatically change the landscape of the 2012 NFL Draft.

2012 NFL Draft

In 2011, a whopping four teams -- the Panthers, Vikings, Titans and Jaguars -- drafted a quarterback in the top 15. Even with that heavy influx of young quarterbacks, another three quarterbacks -- Barkley, Stanford's Andrew Luck, and Baylor's Robert Griffin, III -- were still projected to be drafted by teams in the top 10.

That's because a large number of NFL teams still need a franchise quarterback. The Dolphins and Redskins are desperate for a top-end signal-caller, the Browns are believed to be interested in upgrading from Colt McCoy, the Seahawks employ Tavaris Jackson and the coach who recruited Barkley to USC, the Bills might regret giving Ryan Fitzpatrick a pile of money, the Broncos aren't guaranteed to have Tim Tebow's back in 2012, 49ers are considered a prime suitor for a long-term solution, and the Cardinals could be interested in moving along from Kevin Kolb as early as 2012.

Of course, all these teams will be drafting from a board that won't likely feature Luck, as he's all but guaranteed to end up with the Colts, who have a better than 50 percent chance of landing Luck.

That's the definition of supply not meeting demand and other teams at the top of the draft were poised to take advantage of it -- the Vikings, Rams, Jaguars, Buccaneers and Panthers are all teams that currently hold valuable top-10 picks that would have been worth dealing down to other teams who wanted to move up and grab a quarterback in exchange for a package of picks

Instead, with Barkley out of the draft and RG3 reportedly not guaranteed to leave Baylor, the market could fall flat. The Colts aren't likely to move out of the top spot, and in order to nab Griffin -- if he comes out -- a team would probably have to hope to hop the Browns into either the second or third spot of the draft in order to grab the quarterback.

At the very least, someone desperate to get Griffin would need to leapfrog both the Dolphins and Redskins in order to get the second-best quarterback prospect, and that's not exactly a cheap endeavor.

There are other quarterbacks in the draft that are interesting, but not many that could warrant a first-round selection like Barkley. If Griffin ends up staying at Baylor another year, teams hoping to land a big-time quarterback prospect with their first-round pick are going to be left looking like the Monopoly man.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com