Blog : Browns Beat

Browns Reason To Celebrate

Reason to Celebrate?

Victories are hard to come by in any sport. Anytime a team has crossed the threshold of winning, a different level of confidence is gained. It’s a minor miracle. In the NFL those victories are precious! Especially when you have lost 14 games in one season.
The Cleveland Browns won their first game in over a year. We were “Partying Like It was 1999.” (ok a Princeism) Hue Jackson said “Gameballs for everyone in the organization.” The celebration was on!

I wonder what will be painted on the game ball. “First victory of 2016 Browns” or “Whew! Off the snide 2016.”

I almost wanna say “Really?! We/the Browns are celebrating one win?! Well hell Yes! It was a hell of a long ride baby. You could see the relief come out of First Energy Stadium!

The loyal long suffering Browns fans endured this heartache with dignity. Even Dee and Jim Haslam showed their relief and excitement after the final kick was missed by the Chargers.

Yes, we loved the team and the game they played even after each of the losses while subconsciously trying to figure out, “What the hell is going on out there?!”(Lombardi)

While there is hope that all has been figured out and the staff, players and coaches have chosen the right rudder to right the ship, the reality is that it’s going to take more to get all rowers rowing the ship in the direction of winning.

It takes a hell of a lot to lose 14 straight. It takes a hell of a lot to win one. It’s going to take a hell of a lot more directional development and determination to be a true winner.

One win leads to two then leads to three. Celebrate each victory that is gained… They are precious. Continue to develop and expect winning while understanding the foundation that will manifest the future outcomes.

For The Love Of The Game






They never lose hope. They never die. They always encourage their players. It can be football, basketball or baseball. It matters not to the fateful and loyal fans of Cleveland.

I had a connection to Cleveland/Believeland before I was summoned there by the game that I grew to and still love.

I was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 10th round of the 1984 NFL draft. It was actually the end of the 10th and almost the 11th round. I get the call after two long days of waiting by the phone, alone on the second floor of Belk Hall on ECU’s campus. There was no TV, radio or video games to pass the time. It was just me and the phone.

The first voice I heard was Art Modell. He welcomed me then handed the phone to Sam Rutigliano. He did the same. I had a good feeling when I spoke to both.

I can’t say I was excited, but I can say I was pleased to be drafted because I was assured of a signing bonus. I search the memory bank and find the first time I tasted Cleveland.

I was in mine and my oldest brother’s room at Granny’s house watching football. It so happened that the Browns were on. It stood out to me because the Pruitts made some plays. Greg broke off one of his tear away punt returns and Mike showed some quickness and power while getting a much needed first down. It felt like some type of indicator to me. It registered and as I normally did, went on outside to play some. Later in my life, I would end up on the same team, in the same meeting room and blocking for Mike. That moment at Granny’s house comes to mind.

When I got to Cleveland, I did not understand the type of history in sports I was surrounded by and walking into. However, I found out quickly what type of weather I was going to be dealing with. As I stepped off the plane, sleet and wind hit my ass in the face. I was also hit in the face with some of the grand history that weekend by the Browns. They had a meet and greet with some of the “Past Greats.” It was a pleasure to meet Lou Groza and others. The more you are around the Browns, the more you understand the tradition that exist. The more you are around, the more you understand the connection that the players and the fans have.

I started to get a feel for what that felt like myself. My family and I stayed around after the season. We learned that on some type of winter days it was everyman for him/herself. That meant I was getting out of the car and there was no waiting or opening doors. I’m gone and you get there as best you can. During those times we bought Cleveland Cav season tickets.

I recognized that we had become fans when after we left a game, in which they had lost, I felt like I had lost. Well dam! Why is that? It gave firsthand knowledge and understanding regarding how Cleveland fans felt after we lost a game. It’s we won or we lost. It’s real ownership and real kinship of and to the team.

The new ESPN 30 for 30 movie “Believeland” does a hell of a job connecting the grand history of the Cleveland culture while intertwining the grand history of Cleveland Sports. You see, they are one and the same. Some of the stories that I heard about Cleveland I totally disregarded. I disregarded them because I lived there and stayed there after the seasons were over. My oldest daughters started their early schooling there. We made Cleveland our home and found nothing lacking.

While I was living there, I knew that the city had a incredible energy about it. That energy I felt when attending some of the play-off games of the Indians. I felt it first hand when we were on our run of playoff appearances from 1985-88. During those times, I felt jolts of energy when I just went out to walk the neighborhood. It was so real, I decided during some of those times to not venture to the malls or go to stores. I would stay close to home. I learned to capture that energy and direct it into my practices, then ultimately into the games.

The connection with the fans and excitement associated with each team provided a fabulous vibration. It created a tremendous bond that transcends the passing of time and shows a devotion that is like no other.

Browns Hope

There may be a little disappointment in the Browns runners at this point. It has been said that “Guys don’t want to be the lead bell cow guy.” Ooooo another feather got ruffled! The Browns are looking for a leader and some ownership from the backfield participants. There is disappointment but, there is hope for recovery.

My hope is in the position coach they have. He has been through many wars, as a player and as a long standing and good coach. He understands how to get into the minds of his guys and find out what motivates them.

My hope is also in the guys that are trying to play the position. West, based on interactions that I have seen, has to mature. At times, don’t spend time trying to prove you know what you are doing while showing that you don’t. Based on tape studied, he also has to develop his overall understanding of the run concepts so he can best help his lineman be better players. Setting up you lineman is one of the best things great runners do. I do feel that he will get it, after his brief example that the game can be taken away from you.

There may need to be more examples of that to keep him inspired.

Isaiah Crowell has been the healthiest so far. I liked his demeanor over all. I have felt he has the ability to step in. I like his overall demeanor and feel he can develop into a leader for the Browns team. Also, he may be the best pass protector.

Duke seems to have the best overall talent. After my brief encounter with him, I sense he has another gear mentally. When the games get bigger, he may be the one that can go to that next level. His best ability will be available.

Wilbert has been able to motivate, inspire and teach good players. Look for that to continue as the season progresses.

As for now Wilbert is >>>

Full Commentary>>>

Browns’ Runners

Two out of the three running backs that the Browns are counting on this year have had to miss time because they have soft tissue injuries.

This is a position, in my estimation, that will be counted on more so this year.

The possibility that the QB position will be inconsistent looms larger than before. (Although, they practiced pretty good Sunday.)

Two of the possible guys that can be major contributors were watching practice instead of developing their respective games.

That ruffles my fricking feathers!

(possible frustration)

Yes… injuries happens to all players at one point or another. But, from all indications, these guys failed to arrive in the necessary physical condition.

When this kind of stuff happens there is a tendency to wait for it, it’s coming. Boom! The other shoe drops.

Should their mental shape be questioned as well? Dang!

With the reduced load in training camp already lightened and the possibility that they won’t get enough reps to really be ready to carry the load, they are getting further behind and in worse shape then what they came into camp.

Shiggadee!!!! It can be a dangerous and slippery slope.

Now they are going to have to be given more milk and nursed into playing, instead of being fed the meat that would truly develop them into the leaders and studs that can galvanize an entire team.

Extra running after practice needs to be mandatory. Going in early and getting extra non-impact cardio is important so they build up their mitochondrion, which helps them recover more quickly when they get tired.

Let’s go young bucks. Take the bull my the horns and don’t let go. It could be in your wheelhouse. All love

Game Within The Game…Passing Game



In all of the passing play designs, the route depths, pass protection and QB drops(3,5/7 steps) are tied together. It doesn’t take much to throw off the timing. If someone is not on the same page, disaster looms. But, sometimes when they break down, players make plays. That’s what Hoyer and Gabriel did for a TD vs Tampa.

Excellent job by Hoyer and Gabriel on this play. It initially started out as a three step hitch to TG. As you can see in the picture below, he ran about a six yard route and Hoyer is about 5yds deep. Hoyer may have felt the line backer so he didn’t throw the hitch. Both he and the receiver adjusted and the protection held up long enough to make the play. Let’s take a look at the pass protection.


The pass protection starts out being a three step protection. The fullback motions out of the backfield and leaves West (34) almost 7 1/2 yds deep. That’s toooo Deep! for a three step pass. West should be no deeper than 6yds… 7yds max… He should take his alignment first or make the FB move up so he can get to an appropriate depth. He can use the fullback as camaflogue, so the defense can’t pick up his alignment.


I break down the pass protection responsibilities below. The lineman have the 4 down lineman and the weak backer (Will #51) and the back has the middle (Mike #59) and the strong side backer (Sam#54) One to two. The Sam backer is the most dangerous in this situation because he’s on the line of scrimmage (L.O.S.) and is an immediate threat. The runner needs to go get him right away, so he doesn’t meet him right at the QBs heels. #34 didn’t seem like he expected the Sam to come. He should be cocked and ready to explode to the blitzer.


Any delay by the runner will give the rushing defender an advantage. You can see below, David is almost to the QB. West has a right to cut on a three step and in case of emergency, but this is real iffy here. West false stepped coming out of his stance and gave #54 a head start. Cutting this close to the QB is dangerous to the QB and the play. West should be cutting the defender now as opposed to where he ends up. On this occasion he gets away with it. I heard the commentator say great job and good block, but in actuality, he was lucky this wasn’t disasterous.

Players making plays is a great thing. Love to see it when it comes together. I hope this gives you more insight into the “game within the game.” Hoyer felt the pressure, rolled to his left and found the open receiver. Win!

Coach EB

Browns Beat…Defense

Browns Beat…Defense

Having a chance to look at the defense from a game within the game perspective has shown to be challenging. The defense looks for tips, clues and tendencies just like the O. There are wins and losses or victories and defeats on each play.

In the below picture the Browns defense is facing a 3 wides set by the Texans. The Texans have six blockers and the runner while the Browns D has the front 6 and the safety. The defensive play call is designed to funnel the ball back to #31Whitner. The arrows show the gaps that each defender has. If things work out right, Donte should be waiting for the runner in his gap.




In the below picture the blocking responsibilities have been drawn. You can see that everyone is accounted for in the front six. The seventh defender…#31… Belongs to the runner. The ball has been snapped and everyone has started to attack their assignment. Who will win this game within the game match up.




When you look at the picture below, you will see that all the gaps have been taken. The assignments are being executed by the Browns D. Everyone is in their gaps. Wait…Whitner is coming, but it seems as if he is breaking down instead of meeting the runner in the hole. Why is he having second thoughts?  He should be firing his gun.




Look in the white circle. You will see #31 bending down getting ready to cut the runner. Instead of this being a three yard gain…max…it’s a six yard gain. Instead of it being a tempo setter for the game, for the Browns, it’s a game within the game victory for the Texans.




Taking care of your responsibilities on each play and trusting your teammates to do the same is a crucial part of the game within the game. Once things break down, guys will try to do to much. Then that’s when play gets really ugly. Getting off to a good start is not critical but highly recommended. Blue was able to get a positive feel with his first carry instead of being stuck in the hole and feeling like it’s going to be a long one.


Coach EB

Browns Beat II

Browns Beat II

Game within the game for the Browns continues with this look at their third down pass protection. This is where they may miss the veteran presence of Ben Tate.


This is a six man pass protection which includes the 5 offensive lineman and the back. The center is working opposite the running back on this play. Ben has the linebacker left of the center.



After the snap the pass rush becomes a three man charge. Ben’s linebacker drops out. (Circled in red) He feels a stunt to his left. The stunt has worked for the Texans and picks Joe Thomas. Ben has experience enough to check this before he releases and saves a sack.




The play ends with Hoyer scrambling to the right and eventually throwing the ball away. Because the runner was aware it didn’t end with Clowney getting his first sack.


The game within the game play by Ben is going to have to be taken up by West and Crow. As you can see, playing the role of a starter has a lot of responsibilities that come with it.


Coach EB


Browns vs Falcons Game Within The Game

Browns vs Falcons Game Within The Game


Another feature for Browns Beats will give us a feel of how the players, if they so choose, can get better. The abilities of both Josh Gordan and Terrance West have tremendous value to the Browns. If they decide to use the strength of mind to focus on some additional details that will help them be bigger differences for the team.
First up is T West. The team has called a Power running play to the right. Terrance should attack the Right A Gap (between the center & right guard) and get behind the left guard. You can see based on the drawing of the blocking scheme that the o-line is turning everything to the right of the picture and #71 is free.

The red arrows say no to the runner. Based on the blocking scheme there is no way that running to the left be considered, UNLESS a free runner is on the front side. The yellow lines are the yellow brick road. Terrance should be in J Bitonio’s back hip. Don’t do it T West. Note #71 is still free on the backside. Based on the blocking scheme, practice and film review, Terrance should know this.
Oh hell no! He did it! He’s trying to go where the people are being blocked and where the unblocked defender is. If he stays with Bitonio, he has the potential use of his COD to get outside and perhaps do some real damage.

To me, this is a clear indication that he is taking the ball and just running. He either doesn’t have the ability to understand or just doesn’t consider the blocking scheme prior to getting to his assigned alignment. He is just getting basic direction in the huddle, lining up and not working a pre-snap read. This will take some want to and discipline from him but will help him be a better runner, pass protector and receiver, if he chooses.

Room to grow and hopefully motivation not to continue to work against his blockers as opposed making them better.
Now to Mr. Gordan. He was impactful in this game. As we all know, not playing all of the season has benefits health wise but we also know it takes playing football to get better at it. We all knew he would have a few plays he would want back.
Below he is running a fade route vs Trufant. The Falcons decided to match them most of the day. Gordan gets a easy release. He continues to fade towards the pylon. As you can see,Trufant stays with him and takes up the ground Gordan is giving him. (To easy) This gives no room for error and doesn’t help JG use his size and athleticism. The way he ran the route actually helps the defender. The black arrow is the death route. Even a back shoulder throw is dead here. The Red circle is the area where he should fight to get to. After the release he would have to straighten up Trufant. That may create some physical interaction.


You can see if he ends up at the tip of the yellow arrow, it will give him and Hoyer some additional options. Yes Hoyer can still throw a jump ball to him here. The other option brings in another variables. PI and perhaps a fade to the back pylon.
Coach EB