Cleveland Sports Roundup: 10/22


David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

This is another high-profile example of how the “punt to win” philosophy doesn’t make any sense. The difference in field position between where the Colts would have gotten the ball if the Browns failed on 4th down (the 41 yard line), and where they got it from the punt (the 20 yard line), was barely significant.

In the space of one decision, Cleveland gave away the chance to take the lead and gave Indy a chance to either run out the clock or put the game away with a TD.

The numbers don’t lie. On 1st and 10 from Indy’s 50-yard-line with 7 minutes left, Cleveland had a 44% chance of winning. After the punt, they had a 21% chance of winning. If they get the first down on 4th and 1, those odds shoot up back toward 50-50.

Ultimately, the Colts didn’t score and the Browns got the ball back. But that doesn’t change the fact that they made a move that reduced their chances of winning the game.

After the decision to punt, the CBS cameras cut to Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who just bought the team, and he looked less than pleased.


The Browns opened the season with five losses: 17-16 to the Philadelphia Eagles; 34-27 at the Cincinnati Bengals; 24-14 to the Buffalo Bills; 23-16 at the Baltimore Ravens; 41-27 at the New York Giants.

The Browns defeated the Bengals, 34-24, on Oct. 14 in Cleveland, then lost to the Colts, 17-13, on Sunday in Indianapolis.

The Chargers are coming off a bye week. They have had since Monday night, Oct. 15, to reflect on their last game, a 35-24 loss at home to Denver. San Diego led, 24-0, at halftime, before being outscored, five touchdowns to none, in the second half.


Pinkston, 25, was rushed to the emergency room on Thursday, where doctors discovered a life-threatening blood clot in his lung. He was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic, where he’s being aggressively treated. Doctors are also trying to determine the cause of the clot, which will dictate the course of treatment, and whether or not Pinkston will be able to return to football.

A blood clot in the lung, or pulmonary embolism, can occur for many reasons, including trauma to an extremity or lack of circulation due to a long plane ride. They’re also common after surgeries, but Pinkston hasn’t had undergone a procedure. Clotting can also be heredity, or be a symptom of Lupus or cancer.


Richardson has had two surgeries on his left knee during 2012, both of which were described as “minor.” The first surgery was performed a few weeks after Richardson helped Alabama to a 21-0 win over Louisiana State in the national championship game. He finished with 96 yards in 20 carries, highlighted by a 34-yard scoring dash with 4:36 left in the game.

Richardson’s second surgery was on Aug. 9. He didn’t play in any of the Browns’ four exhibition games. He made his NFL debut in the Browns’ season-opening 17-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 9 in Cleveland, running for 39 yards in 19 carries.


According to sources around the league, Cleveland’s new CEO Joe Banner, not the Browns’ braintrust of president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert, will have the final say on whether or not the Browns make any trades.

It is the surest sign of a shift in Cleveland. Any team that calls Cleveland to inquire about the availability of quarterback Colt McCoy or any other Browns player will need the input and approval of Banner.

In the past, Holmgren would have to approve any deal and he relied heavily on Heckert to engage in any trade talks, like the failed ones to trade up in April’s NFL draft for Robert Griffin III or the successful ones to trade up for Trent Richardson.


This season, with Varejao back and averaging 7.5 boards per game, they were ranked 16th in offensive rebounding and tied for 24th in defensive rebounding after their preseason loss at Philadelphia last Wednesday. They are getting outrebounded by an average of four a game, grabbing only 27.6 percent of the available offensive rebounds and 66.7 percent of the available defensive rebounds. They need more help from youngsters such as Tristan Thompson, Samardo Samuels, Jon Leuer and rookie Tyler Zeller.

“It’s a big-time concern,” Scott admitted.


The Candidates:

Despite the overall youth and inexperience of this Cavs team, there aren’t all that many players still competing for roster spots. We can reasonably determine that five players are trying to make the team and that two of them will be let go.

Michael Eric, center:

Michael Eric is one of the guys that most people probably expect to get cut. We have hardly gotten to see him in preseason games at all. What we have seen was pretty raw, but he hasn’t gotten any shorter or less athletic. The things that the Cavs liked about him initially are still there. Obviously, Byron gets a much closer look at what Eric can do in practice. Still, he’s a good bet to be cut.


Looking back, they really were not that bad, only 3.5 games out of first place in late July, but finishing a terrible 5-24 in all of August—their worst record in a single month in franchise history—sealed the deal.

The Indians haven’t been to the postseason since 2007, when they went all-in with CC Sabathia and lost in the ALCS. Before that? Just one winning season in 2005—somehow didn’t even make playoffs—and nothing since 2001.

It will be tough, but Francona has the pieces in place to get this team back to the postseason.