Browns Fans Deserve Better

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The Browns have been disappointing every year since their return in 1999 with the exception of one season. That year was 2002, which featured the team’s only playoff appearance since the resurrection of Cleveland’s beloved football team. This offseason has been arguably the worst the team has had in my lifetime. In the time since the season ended on December 28, the Browns have experienced a scandal with the general manager and two incidents with key players.

The problems began in January when a report revealed that a “high-ranking personnel member texted from the press box to the sidelines about play calls” during a game. That official was general manager, Ray Farmer. As a result of “text gate,” Farmer is facing a fine and a multi-game suspension. The Browns could also potentially lose a draft pick because of the incident. On February 2, it was announced that quarterback, Johnny Manziel had entered a rehab facility. It was a step in the right direction for a talented player who spent too much time partying off the field last season. Two days later his teammate, Josh Gordon took a step in the wrong direction. Gordon was suspended by the NFL for one year for once again for violating the substance abuse policy.

As NFL free agency opened on March 10, the Browns continued to struggle by failing to bring in any big talent. Cleveland missed out on big free agents such as Trent Cole and Charles Clay. The Browns made some small signings by adding two journeymen quarterbacks in Josh McCown and Thad Lewis. Cleveland also signed veteran wide receiver, Brian Hartline to prepare for Gordon’s absence. The Browns seemed like they were ready to go into tank mode by sitting back quietly as some of leagues best players signed elsewhere. Cleveland has since woken up by signing some good, veteran talent this week. On Monday, the Browns agreed to deals with cornerback, Tramon Williams and defensive linemen, Randy Starks. Williams will replace former Browns corner, Buster Skrine, and he will undoubtedly be an upgrade. Starks is known as a run-stopper and is a sack master. He has 17.5 sacks in the past four seasons. The Browns continued to improve their receiving core by signing veteran, Dwayne Bowe. Bowe’s numbers have declined over the past couple years, but he still averaged 58 catches for 713 yards with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The signings of Williams, Starks, and Bowe show promise, but the Browns are far from a playoff contender. Johnny Manziel’s second season will prove if the team must continue to address the quarterback position. The Browns will also have to decide what future Josh Gordon has with the team after he returns from his suspension. There are so many issues in this organization not only on the field, but in the front office that it is extremely concerning. To have your general manager get in trouble for texting during a game is just pathetic. I have never been a fan of Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam, and it is evident that he may be incapable of restoring this franchise. If Haslam wants this team to win he needs to think of his fans. Browns fans are some of the most passionate in the NFL, but no one wants to go down to First Energy stadium to watch Josh McCown start at quarterback. Haslam and Farmer must improve this team now before they continue to lose their fans. Browns fans have suffered for far too long and we deserve better.

March Madness: Cavs Rolling Towards Playoffs

Since returning from the All-Star break, the Cavaliers have lived up to the expectations that were put on them at the beginning of the season. The Cavs have been dominate since January 15, posting a league best 24-5 record. Cleveland’s success has largely been due to the trades for J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timofey Mozgov. The brilliant play of Kyrie Irving and LeBron James has also been key during the Cavaliers run.

The Cavs have been hard to beat at home, winning 13 straight at The Q. However, Cleveland’s toughest challenge of the second half of the season has been it’s grueling road schedule. The Cavs have had to play of 10 out of the 13 games since the All-Star break on the road. They have proven to be road warriors by notching huge wins in Washington, Toronto, Dallas, and San Antonio. The Cavaliers wrap up a four game road trip tonight in Miami. After the game, they will return home for a quick two game homestand, before heading back on the road for three more games.

Cavaliers forward, LeBron James, in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 25, 2015. Creative Commons

Cavaliers forward, LeBron James, in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 25, 2015. Creative Commons

The Cavaliers big three are finally starting to come together. The three stars connected for a big play during the Cavs 89-79 victory over the Suns on March 7. Irving chased down a loose ball and kicked it out to Love, who then passed it behind his back to James for the layup. The hustle play was a thing of beauty and it showed what this group is capable of. LeBron is having a great season and is still in the discussion for MVP. Since ditching his trademark headband against the Suns, James has been all business. He has scored over 20 points in each of the Cavs last 3 games, including a 31 point performance in San Antonio. Kyrie has been spectacular during the Cavs current four game win streak. Irving put on a show in Thursday’s 128-125 overtime win against the Spurs. He set a franchise record with 57 points and was 7 for 7 from 3 point range. Irving drained a three pointer as time expired to force overtime. He went to hit another tough 3 pointer in overtime to lift the Cavs over the Spurs.

In order for the Cavs to make a long postseason run, they must stay healthy. The Cavs have managed to avoid major injuries since the All-Star break. Shawn Marion suited up on Sunday night in Orlando after missing 12 games with a hip injury. Kevin Love was given the night off in Orlando to rest. He has suffered from back spasms since November and experienced a flare up during the game in San Antonio. James suffered a minor injury in Sunday’s win as he tweaked his knee. He finished the game and will receive treatment before tonight’s game against the Heat. Cavalier fans should not be too worried about the injuries as there are only 14 games remaining in the regular season. The Cavs starters will soon get some much needed rest as the team prepares to make a deep run into the playoffs.