Orbiting Cleveland: The Cleveland Browns and the art of winning

Orbiting

Houston Texans v Cleveland BrownsSometimes it feels so good to be wrong.

With two minutes and 51 seconds left to play in yesterday’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons, quarterback Brian Hoyer threw an interception that was picked off in the end zone by Desmond Trufant. The score at the time was 23-21 Browns, but can you imagine the thoughts going through my head?

Profanity aside, they were something along the lines of, “Well, this is setting up to be a typical Browns loss. Same-old Browns…”

It appeared as if my worst fears became a reality during the next drive when the Falcons drove down to Cleveland’s 35-yard line, and kicker Matt Bryant converted a 53-yard field goal to give Atlanta a 24-23 lead.

My thoughts at that moment? You guessed it: “Same-old Browns…”

Except that’s where I was wrong. Shame on me for even thinking that as well.

There have been plenty of themes that have developed throughout the course of this season, but none more significant than this one: These are not the same-old Browns. Continue reading

Browns Edge Falcons 26-24: That’ll Age Ya

th3XAUXIWXWow, that game was painful to watch.

The Cleveland Browns went down to Atlanta and did everything they could do to give this one away. Well, Brian Hoyer did his best as he threw three interceptions and missed on several throws. When he threw his final interception, I was done with him. Bench him. Bring in Johnny Manziel. And I promise you that I am the last person saying that.

But Hoyer came through on what would be the game-winning drive, making nice passes down the middle to get the Browns into field goal range where Billy Cundiff sent it through the uprights for the win. Continue reading

The Sunday Drive with Gordon’s return, a weak Browns’ defense and a Cavaliers conundrum

He's baaaack!

He’s baaaack!

As 50 degree weather breaks up the ‘Polar Vortex,” or the “Bomb Cyclone” here on the North Coast, I find myself pondering the conundrum that all of our sports teams seem to find themselves in on a weekly basis.

The Browns get all-world wide receiver Josh Gordon back this week, and he’ll likely push our offense from a meandering unit into something a lot more than that, while our defense is missing four key starters from a unit that was struggling anyways.

The Cavaliers have their big three in place, and for stretches look like the best team in the NBA, but somehow every worry we had (rim protector, no defense, no understanding of the offense) at the beginning of the year has come true, and the team is struggling mightily.

The Indians truly seem to have a solid foundation in place, but also seem to be to close to their internal cap to do much about it except hope they don’t regress, and improve on last season.

Seriously, it should be easier than this, right?

Let’s get driving, before I start comparing Cleveland sports to tennis.

Josh Gordon is back with the Browns, and he’s going to really do some damage against a really bad Atlanta defense.  Atlanta’s defense currently ranks last in total yards per game (403.4 yards per game), and more importantly, they are dead last in passing yardage per game (281.2). While that certainly makes things look bleak for the Falcons, it actually gets worse. Starting cornerback Robert Alford broke his wrist last weekend, and will be out two-to-four weeks, so they actually could be worse (or better, depending on how you look at it) than they’ve been. Continue reading

10 Orbservations: Cavaliers’ 5-6 start, Coach LeBron James, Josh Gordon’s return, Sting in the WWE

10 Orbservations is a regular Saturday piece at Everybody Hates Cleveland where EHC Managing Editor Steve Orbanek offers 10 quick sports takes, both on Cleveland topics and national ones.

i-11. “It’s only 11 games… It’s only 11 games… It’s only 11 games…” Have an idea of my thought process after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 91-78 loss to the Washington Wizards last night? As a whole, the team just looked in disarray in the contest. The Cavaliers had 18 turnovers and seemed incapable of finding their groove on offense. It was the third consecutive loss for the team, and LeBron James now sits under .500 more than 10 games into a season for the first time in six years. We knew it was going to be a process, but I’ll be honest, at the start of the season, if you would have told me their record would be 5-6 after 11 games, I would have laughed. There’s something about the losing record that just sticks out; even 6-5 would look and feel a lot better right about now. Continue reading

Picking Browns-Falcons, Talking Josh Gordon and Offensive Upside

Josh GordonThis is more conversation than column as Rich and I email back and forth about a collection of things that interest us for the remainder of the season.

Rich: Mr. Hattery! What a week we are in the middle of, Browns-wise. We had the deflating loss to the Texans; The Return of Josh Gordon; and The Departure of Ben Tate. And, oh yeah, they play a game this coming Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. So much to talk about.

So let’s start with that loss on Sunday. I wrote afterwards that to me it was one game where the Browns were flat, and not a reflection on the team itself overall. What was your takeaway?

Continue reading

Corner of Carnegie with Kluber-extensions, still chasing Headley, and some Diatribe

1The only thing happening here at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario involves near-miss-lake-effect snow, and watching from afar the unfortunate citizens of Buffalo who were buried under enough snow to fill the old Municipal Stadium to it’s very eaves. Could baseball season be any further away?

With the holidays staring us in the face, to go along with house-sized snow-drifts, baseball seemed a pipe dream, like clutter in the back of my mind…until I opened up my email prior to writing today’s corner.

There it was…

…news that the Third Annual TribeFest will be kicking into full gear on January 24th and January 25th of 2015. While my personal homecoming to the North Coast wasn’t met with the same fanfare of another local native Ohioan, this will be my first experience at this Winter Specacular. While I can’t wait to meet up with all the friends that I’ve made over the years writing for the Indians, as well as strolling through the clubhouse, listening to the players, coaching staff, front office and Hammy  talking about the upcoming season.I’m most excited to see this Indians’ culture first hand.

It’s hard not to think about the Manny Acta-era, when the clubhouse was a bit fractured, and Chris Perez was running rampant, and compare it to now. I liked Acta a lot. He really was a good guy, and I enjoyed talking to him, but things are just so far past what it was like when he was here. Terry Francona is very different. He brought with him the experience of managing in that Boston powder-keg, and he managed to bring a World Series to a town starving for it.

Cleveland probably seems like a slice of heaven in comparison. Continue reading

Trend Spotting: Should the Indians Trade Nick Swisher?

Nick Swisher has at moments represented the very climax of the revitalization of Indians baseball and in others a highly polarizing, swaggering athlete whose abilities appear to be degrading faster than his mojo. To date Swisher has been paid 26 million dollars by the Cleveland Indians, according to WAR value he has been worth 3.1 million, according to eye value in 2014 I would have preferred to watch Casey Kotchman or Ryan Garko. So far the Indians have sacrificed 23 million in dead money and owe Swisher 3o million more over the next two years.

Of course one can argue that based upon the Indians playoff appearance alone in 2013, Swisher has been worth the investment, outside of what we can measure on the playing field.

The question remains should the Indians move Nick Swisher? The answer is yes. The answer is also no.

Continue reading

After the Game: San Antonio beats the Cavs, Brother

IMG_2866Over the course of the season, we here at Everybody Hates Cleveland are going to try and post some quick-hit thoughts on the game, in real-time fashion. I don’t know what it will end up looking like when it’s all said and done, but we’re all about throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. With the Cavaliers struggling to find themselves, this is going to be an experiment in sanity, and an equal experiment in writing.

It should be fun, even if the games aren’t so much these days.

The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the game against the San Antonio Spurs with a 5-4 record, and a 2-2 record at home. The team is clearly trying to find itself, and the process is proving to be an up-and-down affair that resembles more a roller coaster from Cedar Point, than an NBA basketball team with three of the best players in the NBA.

LeBron came out in the press yesterday discussing the minutes of their Big 3, and how they absolutely have to have their minutes cut. I don’t disagree, but still feel that David Blatt needs to figure out his lineup. With the Spurs in town, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I sincerely doubt that this is the game Blatt cuts the minutes of his best players. Continue reading