Losing has grappled the best of Cleveland city sports.
Locked in the frigid cellar of the brutal, bruising AFC North, the Cleveland Browns have been asphyxiated, tarnished, and squashed. The Browns have been consistently weak, and offer no competition to the NFL elites.
Constant coaching and front office shuffling has put this team in a never-ending cycle of dismay and loss. Dating back to 2008, the team has not surpassed five wins in a regular season.
However, two prodigious signs are pointing to at least minimal improvement for the Browns. QB Brandon Weeden and RB Trent Richardson both have a year under their belt and will mature as football players, the new front office/head coach group is strikingly smart.
Weeden and Richardson were the Browns’ 2012 first round picks. In 2012, Weeden threw for 3385 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. Expect those numbers to rise/sink to around 3800 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Last year, Richardson rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns, and expect 1250 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Secondly, the Browns have a new owner, CEO, GM, and Head Coach. All this turnover will change the direction of the team. Why?
Owner Jimmy Haslam has been in the business world for years, and understands the important nature of growing a unit. CEO Joe Banner has been in football front offices since 1994. GM Mike Lombardi has worked in front offices from 1981-2007, before becoming an analyst and writer. HC Rob Chudzinski has been coaching since 1994, most recently as offensive coordinator of the explosive, Cam Newton-led Carolina Panthers.
Haslam, Banner, Lombardi, and Chudzinski are smart and innovative. Weeden and Richardon’s maturity tagged with the new front office/head coach quad will generate improvement in the win column. They won’t be in the playoffs this January, but expect between seven to eight wins for Cleveland.
A thrilling Super Bowl undoubtedly, this game will be a classic for years to come.
The Baltimore Ravens have defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in a thriller. We saw a power outage, bewildering halftime show by Beyoncé with a reunited Destiny’s Child group, and a late 49er push. Ravens LB Ray Lewis rides into the horizon with a ring, meanwhile the 49ers left with a loss. John Harbaugh beat out his brother Jim.
It was a fantastic game, where the Ravens flat-out dominated early on. Niners QB Colin Kaepernick energized his ball club following an agonizingly long power outage. The Ravens stayed strong and will be receiving their rings.
Two days ago, we picked Ravens QB Joe Flacco to be MVP along with a Ravens victory of a 3-point margin.
Recently, US President Barack Obama stated that if he had a son, he would have to look very carefully at letting him play the sport of football in an interview with the New Republic.
Football is a dangerous collision sport. Physical pain and neurological damage is almost ubiquitous from all levels of play. Parents are even starting to not let their children play the wonderful sport despite letting them watch it on TV.
To make the game safer, kickoffs were moved from the 30 to the 35 yard line. New, innovative helmet technology has surfaced in recent years, and pads are getting lighter yet more protective.
Drastic changes could be made, however, and they will shape the future of football. There could be a one-and-done rule, meaning one concussion could take a player out of the season. All professional and collegiate football teams should have sideline concussion testing and concussion experts during games and practices. High school teams should be required to get new helmets every five years and new pads every seven years.
Middle school teams and below should eliminate kickoffs, and also utilize the equipment and helmet revamping systems stated above. This will ensure top-tier quality and technology is constantly flowing from the lower levels of football to the NFL.
More parents would be much more comfortable with letting their children play real, tackle football with these rules in place. It would not hurt gameplay and would ensure consistent play from all levels.