Jul 26, 2013; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns linebacker Craig Robertson (53) and defensive back Tashaun Gipson (39) high five during training camp at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

MMQB Features The Browns Once Again


Jan 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Sports illustrated sports writer Peter King reports during the Baltimore Ravens media day in preparation for Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Peter King, pictured above, has launched his new website TheMMQB recently. Very earlier in the site Greg Bedard posted a great article looking at the Browns’ new leadership, which we reviewed. Today the Browns’ training camp has been reviewed on his site by Andy Benoit. The article is insightful but with little or no new information. The way Benoit decided to breakdown the team though was interesting and a few notes from the article that we thought Browns’ fans would find of interest:

  • The team is looking to temper expectations, and that was before the 2-0 preseason start.
    • Psychologically and PR this makes sense. Lower expectations that way if you exceed them fans/media celebrate.
  • He makes a vague comparison to the 2001 New England Patriots who won the Super Bowl with a team many didn’t think talented enough to beat the Rams
    • Lets still temper our expectations. 8-8 or a winning season would be a dramatically good season
  • Benoit reports Norv Turner’s goal is to speed up QB Brandon Weeden and make him less mechanical.
    • Retraining muscle memory is hard. In my counseling career I often give clients homework: Figure out what pant leg you normally put on first, then for the next 2 weeks put the opposite one in first every time. They struggle.
  • As apt to do, he compares the Browns’ offensive players with Turner’s past San Diego teams.
    • Physical and skill comparisons are surprisingly similar, except for Antonio Gates missing but we covered that.
  • The Browns’ offensive line is pretty good so it should hold up for the longer developing pass patterns. (Though he switched who was at LG and RG)
  • Benoit points out that Ray Horton, new DC, hasn’t had this type of OLB rushers in the past and can use them well.
    • Horton is a known commodity whose defense is predicated on pressure, but hasn’t had dynamic OLBs to create pressure. If I was the other teams I would be scared. Browns’ front 7 is very capable.
  • The Browns’ cornerback position is very limited after Joe Haden.
    • Yep. But Haden and Safety TJ Ward are pretty darn good.
  • He discussed the changes in special teams including new kicker and punter. He failed to note Travis Benjamin’s exploits as a returner, merely stating “…replacement is being determined in training camp.”
    • In the old regimes of low scoring, safe game planning the specialists were greatly important. It seems the team, from owner down, want more aggression across the field possibly minimizing specialists importance.
  • Benoit ends, like many columnists have, predicting the Browns’ could go 5-11 or could have a winning record.
    • The Browns seem to be one of the great unknowns this year. FoS hasn’t yet predicted anything but will certainly struggle the same way others have in predicting the outcome of this team.

Tags: MMQB SI

  • DylonW

    I feel like we read two different articles.

    • Jared Mueller

      Well thats not good. How so Dylon?

      • DylonW

        I felt the majority of the article was based off of dated material or a lack of insight into common knowledge topics. To wit:

        “Greg Little drops far too many balls.” A simple comparison of the first 8 weeks of 2012 versus the final 8 would belie this comment. A cursory review of the countless articles reviewing his off-season efforts to correct this coupled with his camp performance would be far more insightful.

        “So does Josh Gordon (drop balls),…” What?!?

        “…which is alarming given that the man ahead of him was Ben Watson, who hindered Cleveland’s offense…: How did he hinder the offense? He was consistently open and caught nearly everything thrown his way. He was a mentor to Cameron who was progressing as an incredible athletic specimen out of the oft successful basketball to football player transition at TE. Cameron seems to be showing signs of coming into his own at the start of his third year in the NFL. Was it alarming that a savvy vet earned the starting role while a converted player learned the ropes of what it takes to succeed at the highest level. When did it become the norm that every player must succeed out of the gate or be questioned as a possible bust?

        “At least all of the tight ends are adept blockers.” In fact, this is exactly the opposite of the current situation in Cleveland and a significant part of the conversation about Cameron and Barnidge.

        The article was published yesterday yet you reference Lavaou as the starter with barely an acknowledgement that he is lost for at least the first few games of the season as well as Pinkston who is also lost for probably the first quarter (“Though he is currently battling a high-ankle sprain Pinkston is now healthy all in all.” (You know, because high ankle sprains are the cornerstone of ‘healthy all in all.‘). A rookie appears to be the starter at RG; kind of a big thing to gloss over…

        “Third-round rookie Leon McFadden will get a good crack at the starting spot.” Considering how much camp he’s missed and how well he performed, or didn’t, during the time he was in camp this is almost 100% guaranteed not to be the case. Again, how can you write an insight article and not be aware of this relatively common knowledge?

        “…as ex-Falcon Christopher Owens is most comfortable as a slot No. 3…” Again, numerous pieces have been produced describing how Cleveland sees him as a number 2 rather than the slot and Atlanta misused him in the slot. All the tape on this guy shows his strength on the outside while Skrine excels in the slot.

        “At safety, T.J. Ward has shown a newfound talent for guarding tight ends man-to-man.” You mean in camp? There is no game tape showing this.

        “But who will start alongside Ward? There’s an unappealing three-way competition between…” It’s just unappealing?!? No reason or further extrapolation of why you’ve reached this conclusion?

        • Jared Mueller

          Well done there were things that were concerning. I focused on mostly positives, so easy to focus on negatives with the Browns so I tried to go in the other direction.

          • DylonW

            I actually took note of that and meant to/wish I had said so in my comments. I really appreciate the positive vibe in your writing. I just found the MMQB piece so late to the dance and out of touch that I lost my sunny disposition. Keep up the great work!

          • Jared Mueller

            Thanks Dylon. Good to have readers who are willing to call me out on things when wrong or disagree but also willing to back up their disagreements. Look forward to many more interactions.

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