Defense will once again win championships… Mark my words!

Remember this phrase?  “Defense wins championships.”  For some past Super Bowl champions; Ravens 2000, Buccaneers 2002 and 2015 Broncos…  This philosophy does not ringer louder.  These three teams do not compare with other great defensive teams that were Super Bowl winners for one main reason: the quarterback.  Without offending the actual players and their fans, Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson and maybe even the 2015 version of Peyton Manning, they cannot be compared to the likes of Russell Wilson or Terry Bradshaw.  The 2013 Seahawks and 1978 Steelers had great defenses and better than average quarterbacks at the helm when they won on the biggest stage.

Over the past years there has been a stigma of not being able to contend for a title without that “franchise” quarterback.  This has been something that the media has been dogging the Cleveland Browns on for so many years and drafts gone by.  The media endlessly carries on about the need for a team to have or find the next; Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger or Aaron Rodgers in order to win a Super Bowl.  Two of these four names have won more than one Super Bowl; Brady and Roethlisberger.  Does that make them better QB talents than Rodgers or Brees?  Not necessarily…  What it does mean is that they may have been blessed with better talent around them or defenses.

There are other “franchise” QB’s that have won multiple Super Bowls.  Most of them, had a defense that was better than average, if not rated in the top ten defensive ranks.  There are also many other “franchise” QB’s that have never won OR even made it to a Super Bowl.  There are the likes of Jim Kelly (0-4) and Fran Tarkenton (0-3) who never won on the biggest stage.  Some may argue that it was a different type of league…  True!  But are these players NOT “franchise” QB’s?  How about Phillip Rivers?  I would say he is better than just an average NFL QB.  He has yet to play in a Super Bowl and sadly may never get that opportunity.

So you may be wondering how this affects the Cleveland Browns future?  It is simple in my eyes and maybe the eyes of the organization.  Now is the time to build your defense of the future!  Take a look at the QB’s that are going to be left once guys like Brady, Roethlisberger, Rodgers, Rivers and Brees retire.  Not that QB’s such as Luck, Wilson and Newton aren’t great “franchise” QB’s…  But they are no Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger.  “Sorry guys!”  Some of those elder statesmen have transformed the NFL into a passing league.  What happens once they are gone?  My prediction is that once again there will need to be a better balance of great defense and a solid running game.

So far, the Browns have their rebuild going in the right direction by drafting potential game changing defensive players.  Personally, I would have liked to have seen them draft the DB from UCONN, Obi Melifonwu and put him at free safety.  If you look closely, there are other teams within the AFC North who have decided that defense was the way to go in the draft, namely the Ravens.

The next question I have involves the future of their running game.  Isaiah Crowell had a pretty good 2016 and became an restricted free agent for 2017.  Next year, unless he is signed to an extension, he will be an unrestricted free agent.  Will the organization be willing to pay the money Crowell will be seeking?  I would think that analytics say to trade him this year for some draft equity.  To trade him sooner or later is yet to be seen.  Unless the Browns have a replacement in mind for this season?  Crowell holds the advantage for the moment.  Looking ahead to the running back class of 2018 there are some names that could be in play for the Browns, depending on their draft position.  There are only 1-2 names that may garner the use of a high draft pick, maybe mid to late round is more realistic.  The highest rated player so far is; Saqoun Barkley of Penn State followed by Bo Scarborough of Alabama and then Nick Chubb of Georgia.  This based on WalterFootball.com rankings.  Until the games are played, it is hard to predict who, if any will be worthy of being a top-ten pick.

If you are a Browns fan, you hope that the organization stays the course and continues to draft in the same manner as this years selections.  Additionally, Browns fans should hope that the likes of Brady and Roethlisberger opt for retirement sooner rather than later.  Finally, the Browns fans should hope that the NFL landscape changes back to the principles that the AFC North was built on…  Dominant and punishing defenses.

 

Below are two links that help support my theory…

http://www.thesportster.com/football/defense-wins-super-bowls-top-15-greatest-defensive-units-to-win-it-all/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_quarterbacks_with_multiple_Super_Bowl_starts

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/lifestyle/”>Lifestyle</a&gt;

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No chance or second chance? Crimes against women by athletes…

This weekend the NFL completed their 2017 draft.  Many teams did well to help themselves both in terms of talent and credibility.  Then there were some teams that might have helped their franchise in one aspect at the expense of the other.  For some reason, it seems that NFL players; past, present and future have a connection to crimes against women.  These crimes occur in the form of sexual assault, physical assault and their have been an instance of murder.  The questions I pose today is whether or not athletes who commit these crimes should be allowed to participate in professional sports?  Additionally, at what point does talent overtake morality?

There are two teams that I will focus on for my article.  One team is the Cincinnati Bengals who have a history of troubled players and the Cleveland Browns who are struggling to change the success and the culture of the franchise.  The Bengals and Browns are both from the state of Ohio, rivals in their division.  These teams have been running in opposite directions for a good amount of years.  The two players that come into question that were drafted are Joe Mixon (drafted by the Bengals) and Caleb Brantley (drafted by the Browns).  The similarities between these two players are physical assaults on women by both men.  One happened in July 2014 and the other April 2017.

Joe Mixon’s incident occurred during his freshman year at the college of Oklahoma in 2014.  There is a video showing him striking a female who was involved in an altercation with him.  He was suspended for his entire freshman year but allowed to continue playing the next season.  Mixon went on to have a very successful college career on the field.  He was considered a lock to be drafted in the first round but his status was affected by this incident.  Mixon fell to the second where he was drafted by the Bengals with pick number 48.

The next player I will discuss in Caleb Brantley who played his college career at the University of Florida as a defensive tackle.  A defensive force on the field, Brantley was tempered to be drafted in the late first round or early second until…  According to numerous sports reports, Brantley allegedly was involved in an altercation with a woman in which he struck her.  The woman was knocked unconscious and may have suffered a damage/loss of some teeth.  This happened a couple of weeks before the NFL draft.  Once highly regarded draft pick, Brantley fell to the sixth round before being drafted by Cleveland with pick number 185.

Within each organization the question that needs to be answered is; where do we draw the line on talent VS. moral character.  Is the bottom line winning with players regardless of the type of backlash it could bring?  For many teams, these players and others who committed crimes of violence against women were no longer on the draft boards.  These teams wanted to either send a message to these players and the fan base saying; “we will not tolerate this behaviour, regardless of your talent.”  Maybe both?  For a team like the Bengals, drafting Mixon was no surprise based on player history.  This goes on and off the field.  For the Browns, there is a bit of a shock and let down.  You would think that a team that has endured and still is haunted by the “Johnny Football” debacle would like to keep the arrow trending in the right direction.  The pick of Brantley seems to give this new regime a bit of a black eye.  No pun intended.

According to an online article by Bleacherreport.com, “Joe Mixon, Dede Westbrook, Jourdan Lewis and Dalvin Cook have all been charged with crimes related to striking women during or after their collegiate careers.”  (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2706730-caleb-brantley-drafted-by-browns-in-6th-round-after-battery-charge-before-draft)  When teams draft these players, what message do they send?  Are they saying that everyone deserves a second chance or we have a chance to improve the roster at any cost?  Maybe it is time that rules be put in place to ban players that commit these types of crimes.  In my opinion, it would not be unreasonable.  Whether it is a college or professional player, if you are convicted of assault (sexual or otherwise) against a woman…  That is the end of your career.  Harsh?  Maybe…  But I read a quote from an owner stating playing in the NFL is a “privilege.”  That owner is correct!  As far as second chances?  There are still many jobs outside of professional sports for them to make an honest living.  The second chance they can ask for may be given, just not as part of the NFL.  It is conceivable that until there is a serious change to NFL rules?  The problem of violence against women will still be debate of morality VS. talent.

What’s your thoughts?  Please let me know.  Thanks for reading and take care!

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/control/”>Control</a&gt;

 

 

The Cleveland Browns: It’s rebuild or regret for the 2017 draft…

So the 2017 NFL draft is about an hour away and most likely even closer by the time this gets published.  But no matter…  Whatever I write here won’t change any of the minds that are about to draft future NFL players.  Future players that will hopefully be able to help rebuild a failing franchise or can be that missing piece that carries them one step closer to the promised land.

When you think of failing franchises, one cannot help but think of the Cleveland Browns.  Yes, there are other teams out there that have been battling through some tough times.  But you may be hard pressed to find one that has been worse than the Browns.  What was once a great and storied franchise has become the laughing stock of the NFL.  To be honest, much, if not all has been brought upon themselves.

I can trace it back to when the Browns were reactivated into the league as an expansion team in 1999.  They were given the first overall pick that year.  I remember it well…  For me it is like a bad dream!  I kept thinking to myself, why don’t they make a deal with the New Orleans Saints?  At that time, Mike Ditka was willing to give up the farm to be able to draft Ricky Williams.  They eventually traded with the Washington Redskins, giving up all their picks 1999 and a first & third in 2000. (http://www.espn.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/64262/saints-ricky-williams-trade-still-one-of-most-infamous-in-draft-history).   Just imagine what the Cleveland Browns could have done with a haul like that?  Especially for an expansion team which is basically a roster filled with throw-away players from the leagues teams.  In fact, they might have been able to acquire a little bit more based on the Saints position in the draft.  What a SOLID roster building move that could have been!  Instead, they drafted Tim Couch.  Most of us know where that went…  Maybe analytics could have been useful back then?  Or just plain common sense in terms of how to rebuild a franchise?

Fast forwarding to the infamous draft of “Johnny Football” in 2014.  The text heard round the world, sent by Johnny Manziel to the owner or someone in the Browns war room.  Well, Johnny didn’t exactly “wreck the league” as much as he wrecked himself and ANOTHER first round pick.  Now blame has circulated but the smart money says that the owner Jimmy Haslam was the driving force behind that pick.  To his credit, Ray Farmer did nab a couple decent players out of that draft; Christian Kirksey and Joel Bitonio.  But two good picks a rebuild does not make!  Neither does a meddling owner!

So here we are…  The Browns are on the clock holding the first pick in the draft.  Again there is the potential to either send this franchise into the right direction or even faster into the opposite direction.  A direction they and unfortunately Browns fans are WAY to familiar with!  The overwhelming favorite talent-wise is Myles Garret, a phenomenally gifted athlete, with astronomical potential!  Then there is a quarterback with a total of thirteen starts; Mitchell Trubisky.  His 206 season was very good statically speaking but…  Does that warrant the number one pick?  Even over an established resume such as Mr. Watson from Clemson?  But the Browns ownership and upper management seem to be ready to throw caution to the wind and a potential franchise changing draft pick to the trash.  Jimmy Haslam cannot just see that without a good/great defense, a franchise QB still won’t help you get too far.  Case and point; Andrew Luck.  While he has helped the Colts win more games than they should, they have yet to really contend for the Super Bowl.  Build the team, then get a QB that can help lead the team.  There are WAY too many holes to fill and too many potential defensive studs waiting to help solidify a defense!

The draft now being  1 hour away…  I will give you my picks on who I believe will help not only the Browns but, whichever team they land on.  The picks will be based on who I think will still be available and I am only going to go through their picks from rounds 1-3.  Let’s see if these old eyes can see any better than the so called “experts” and NFL GM’s.

Round 1

Pick 1:  Myles Garret

Pick 12:  Malik Hooker or Johnathan Allen (I think both will be gone by then but if not?) or Marshonn Lattimore.  If they are all gone?  OJ Howard

 

Round 2

Pick 33:  Obi Melifonwu (Imagine that secondary!) or TJ Watt

Pick 52:  If they miss on filling either safety position? Jabril Peppers (for SS) or Antonio Garcia (can possibly fill the RT spot) or Budda Baker (for SS).  Maybe even Joe Mixon?

 

Round 3

Pick 65:  Bucky Hodges (Helps rebuild the TE spot if Howard not taken) or Cooper Kupp or Gareon Conely (if he falls to this spot)

It is my belief that ANY of these players will be an asset to their teams.  For Browns fans, let’s hope some of these players are on the future roster.

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/knackered/”>Knackered</a&gt;