Run out town – Manziel gone after less than two years

“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!”
-Edna St. Vincent Millay

After just under two tumultuous years, Johnny Manziel’s tenure in Cleveland is finally over, and I don’t think anyone will be shedding any tears over it. The Browns have had 24 quarterbacks since they returned to Cleveland but Manziel has arguably been the worst. Everyone knew that there was a bit of risk in taking Manziel but no one could have predicted such disregard by Manziel for his own career because right now Manziel is untouchable.

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Manziel getting drafted at #22, the same number as fellow busts Brady Quinn and Brandon Weeden

Manziel came in looking like a maverick, promising those who didn’t draft him would regret it for years to come and looking like the biggest star to enter the league since Michael Vick. The Browns passed on him once to Justin Gilbert, which looks almost as bad now, but made sure they got him the second time around. This despite their $100,000 study telling them that Teddy Bridgewater was the best quarterback to draft. I felt strongly at the time that Bridgewater was the right option and everything that has happened since has has only made it clearer. How was a 5’10” QB who relied so heavily on improvisation going to be the long term answer? That’s before you even consider the off field questions.

Before his first season we were told that Manziel had what it took to start straight away and would be competing for the starting job with Brian Hoyer. In the end Hoyer won the job and we didn’t get to see Manziel until week 13 in Buffalo and when we did it was electric for his one drive. Arguably that was the highlight of his career because it never got as good as that again with a rude awakening for Manziel at Cincinnati.

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Johnny Manziel living it up in Austin after getting drafted by the Browns

Then during the off-season, the surprising news that Manziel was voluntarily entering rehab to get treatment. It looked like a positive step and Manziel came back more mature promising to improve and retiring his Money persona. There was some positive steps in play after Josh McCown went down but as soon as he lost the starting job he reverted back to his old play boy antics including partying in Vegas during the season and not telling the team. By the end, his position just became untenable as his impact on the team because of his off field antics meant that until he matured and sorted out his personal life once and for all he couldn’t play again in the NFL and was finished in Cleveland.

That was before things started getting really ugly with his recent legal troubles. After a domestic dispute with his girlfriend Colleen Crowley, a police helicopter had to be used to try and locate Manziel. Crowley had her eardrum ruptured after Manziel had reported hit her and still has yet to reach court. In the end Manziel became an embarrassment to the Browns and became the very antithesis of what the Browns stand for. Fans had turned on him and he became a hate figure in Cleveland. On Wednesday the Browns finally waived Manziel and no one claimed him, so for now his NFL career is over.

In many ways the story of Johnny Manziel reminds a little of Amy Winehouse’s. Manziel like Winehouse had two spectacular editions which broke all records and by the time most of America knew them their best was behind them and they began to become defined by their partying. On a human level I hope that Manziel unlike Winehouse can get the help he needs and utilise the immense talent he has.

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Manziel to start, McCown still out. Browns-Titans preview

The Browns return home to Cleveland to play the Titans this week after a disappointing loss away to the Jets in New York. The Browns are hoping for a better performance on both offense and defence after last week’s poor showing. The Browns will be hoping for a repeat of the win they got last year when Brian Hoyer lead a big comeback for a one point win.

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The big news for the Browns is that Josh McCown hasn’t passed the NFL mandated concussion protocol so Johnny Manziel will be starting Sunday. Coach Pettine had said that if McCown was passed he would start despite not having practiced all week. With McCown out all week, Johnny Manziel has been taking first team snaps as he prepared to make only his third start, only one more than Titans QB Marcus Mariota. Manziel seems a lot more prepared this year than he did for his first start last year against the Bengals, saying so himself earlier in the week, “I think it was a good week. I am extremely comfortable. I think everyone that has been in there this week feels really good about what our scheme is and what our plan is and looks forward to Sunday and getting ready for the game.” Manziel vowed to improve after last week’s impromptu performance where he had no time to practice due to his elbow soreness. Austin Davis who is only two weeks with the Browns will be Manziel’s backup against the Titans.

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The Browns will get a boost this week with the return of GM Ray Farmer’s prized free agent receiver Dwayne Bowe. Bowe missed week one with a hamstring injury but will definitely play in week two. Bowe could be a big help to a Browns offense that really struggled with red zone offense last week with his size creating a difficult matchup for any defender.

Defensively, the Browns suffered a blow with the news that OLB Scott Solomon will be out for 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain after injuring it against the Jets last week. Solomon had been one of the stars of this year’s camp after being picked up as free agent last season and working his way into the rotation as the season progressed. Solomon will be replaced by first round pick Barkevious Mingo and rookie Nate Orchard, who sacked Titans QB Marcus Mariota last year when Utah played Oregon.

The Browns will be hoping to stop Marcus Mariota from performing like he did last week against the Buccaneers when he threw for 4 touchdowns. It is however important to say that this is a Bucs team that will adamantly come out playing the same Tampa 2 defence for the entire game even when it clearly isn’t working. The Browns managed to keep the Jets from completing any passes to their tight ends but they will face a much bigger challenge this week when they face Delanie Walker who is one of the better tight ends in the league.

The match up also includes an early return to Cleveland for RB Terrence West, only two weeks after he was traded to Tennessee for a seventh round draft pick. West never really fit in with the Browns after maturity and consistency issues and might have been cut if wasn’t traded.

Hopefully with a week of practice Johnny Manziel can help lead the Browns to victory over the Titans who finished with the second worst record in the NFL last season.

Browns lay an egg, Manziel plays and Benjamin shines

It didn’t take long for the Browns to give up the pretence that they’d improved over the summer, it only took them two quarters of moderately good play before they began playing like the Browns again.

The Browns got off to a pretty good start, working the ball methodically down the field and spread out the targets. The Tight Ends in particular were very involved. The Browns controlled the ball and worked it down to the Red Zone but after a false start and two incomplete pass the Browns were left with 3rd & Goal from the 14.

Then disaster struck. As Josh McCown, who was scrambling for the third time on the same drive, dived for the end zone he was hit by two Jets Linebackers, fumbled and got concussed. Who was to fill the void?

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Johnny F****** Football. After not having practiced with the first team since the third preseason game due to a sore elbow, Manziel was called upon to come in and lead the Browns. Things got off to a good start as Manziel connected with Travis Benjamin, who was streaking down the sideline after Antonio Cromartie bit on a hesitation move. The 54 yard pass was only Manziel’s second of the game. The Browns then proceeded to break the record for the longest PAT in NFL history after having two penalties called.

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The Jets scored on their next drive despite a Tashaun Gipson interception. Gipson managed to pick off Ryan Fitzpatrick but in the ensuing return lost the ball after Brandon Marshall ripped the ball off him.

The Browns scored a field goal and conceded a touchdown to leave the score at 14-10 entering halftime.

The Browns offense slowed down a lot in the second half as Manziel showed that he was only making his third ever start. The Browns first drive ended with a poor throw and interception before a couple of successive punts. On both sides of the ball, the Browns struggled with the run. Manziel began to get sloppy in the fourth quarter, fumbling on successive drives. The Jets started to run up the score a bit after benefiting from numerous short drives from turnovers.

Overall it was a disappointing loss for the Browns with plenty to take forward to Tennessee. There are some concerns though.

One of the main concerns I have is the offensive line which seemed to constantly be in trouble, whether it was with penalties or with not creating any lanes in the running game. This is supposed to be one of the best in the NFL and I expect them to improve but they won’t be happy with the way they played.

The secondary had issues too with Joe Haden not living up to his high standards. He seemed to be constantly over matched by Brandon Marshall who used his size and physicality to his advantage. Tashaun Gipson will also be disappointed to have dropped that interception.

I know some people were critical but I thought that Johnny Manziel and Jon De Filippo both had good games. Manziel hadn’t taken a snap in two weeks and was better than expected. He made a poor throw on the INT but I wouldn’t be too worried about the fumbles as he still won’t be fully at NFL speed after 3 games. We also saw signs of his new found attitude to preparation with him going through his reads rather than scrambling. De Filippo called a nice game with plenty of quick passes which helped Johnny avoid holding onto the ball for too long.

The Browns return to Cleveland next week to host Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

Power Ranking Starting Quarterbacks 2015 Part 3 (1-10)

Part three of ranking the starting QBs in the NFL (10-1). Part one is available here and part two here. Last years rankings are in bold next to the players name.

10 Russell Wilson (12)
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Wilson come close to becoming the first QB since Tom Brady to win 2 Super Bowls in a row. But like Brady back then it far more of the credit deserved to go to the defense rather than the young QB. Wilson offers a lot especially with his mobility and is constantly improving but as of now he still has plenty of work to do in the pocket. Too often Wilson makes just one read and either forces it or gets antsy and runs. If you want an example just have to look at Seattle’s last play in the Super Bowl.

9 Drew Brees (3)
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New Orleans is in an awkward situation right now as they try to escape salary cap hell while also trying to remain competitive in a weak division. Caught in the middle of this is Drew Brees. With All Pro TE Jimmy Graham gone along with Kenny Stills, Brees receiving corps has been decimated without having any real replacement. Now Brees who is 36 will be relied on to do more with less despite a clear regression since his Super Bowl winning years.

8 Matt Ryan (6)
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Matt Ryan is every inch the franchise QB but plays on one of the worst offenses in the league. Seriously, bar him and Julio Jones how many other guys on that offense would be starting on other teams? Even on this shoddy team, Ryan continues to show shy he is one of the best in the league with 28 TDs last season.

7 Tom Brady (5)
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Fresh off a fourth Super Bowl win, Brady will be out to prove his doubters wrong when he comes back from his four game suspension. While Brady is no longer the same QB he was when he threw for 50 TDs a couple of years ago, he is still among the best in the league. With Gronk or Edelman, not going anywhere anytime soon, Brady should be primed for another couple of successful years.

6 Phillip Rivers (4)
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If last season had ended week 8, Philip Rivers would surely have been the frontrunner for MVP. Unfortunately for San Diego LA fans, it didn’t but there still should be plenty of optimism as the franchise relocates to their new home. RB Melvin Gordon gives Rivers a partner in the backfield that he has been missing since LT retired. This coupled with Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen means that the Chargers should be as loaded ever on offense.

5 Peyton Manning (1)
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This was one of the toughest calls in the whole process as I tried to view Manning without rose tinted glasses. While his performance in the latter half of last season was impacted by injury. With that considered I thought around 5 was the fairest place to put him. Manning as ever remains highly talented and has most defenses pegged before the ball is even snapped but no longer has the same arm since his surgery in 2011.

4 Tony Romo (9)
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Behind a dominant line and paired with the defensive nightmare that is Dez Bryant, Romo proved all his doubters wrong as the Cowboys finally got over their 8-8 hump and made the playoffs. Although people like to credit DeMarco Murray for creating balance, its really the other way round with Romo’s ability to pick apart a defense that let Murray face so many 6 men fronts. One quick fact about Romo that never ceases to amaze me is that he has the second highest passer rating of all time behind only Aaron Rodgers.

3 Ben Roethlisberger (7)
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The man who is behind from a top 10 to an elite QB, Ken Whisenhunt, very nearly got fired for how bad it looked at first as Roethlisberger was going through some growing pains. Unfortunately for the Browns and the rest of the NFL, the Steelers stuck by Whisenhunt and have seen Roethlisberger become even better. No longer relying just on his strong arm and his ability to avoid getting sacked, Roethlisberger has developed more touch and skill as he comes to master Whisenhunt’s West Coast offense.

2 Andrew Luck (10)
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Coming into the league, Luck was heralded as a once in a generation passer and so far he has lived up to the hype. Despite being only in his third season, Luck managed to throw for 40 TDs and 5000 yards. With the Colts offense only getting better with the acquisition of Phillip Dorsett and Andre Johnson, Luck will only get better. With the Colts playing 10 games indoors this season, Peyton Manning’s record of 55 TDs may not be out of reach.

1 Aaron Rodgers (2)
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NFL MVP for the second time and owner of the best QB rating of all time, Rodgers is firmly entrenched as the class of the NFL. In complete control of what really is a pseudo-spread offense in Lambeau, Rodgers makes plays regardless of who is playing receiver and seems to know exactly who is open before the play begins, for me Rodgers is the number one QB in the league for 2015.

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Power Ranking Starting Quarterbacks 2015 Part 2 (11-20)

Part two of the ranking the starting QBs in the NFL (20-11). Part one is available here. Last years rankings are in bold next to the players name.
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20 Colin Kaepernick (15)

Kaepernick hasn’t changed all that much from this time last season which is fine if you’re Aaron Rodgers and you’re NFL MVP but not when your main plus is your potential. Kaepernick has all the physical attributes in the world with his build, speed and arm strength but lacks in the mental and mechanics departments. Without quarterback whisperer Jim Harbaugh and RB Frank Gore to lean on, things could get ugly this year in San Francisco.

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19 Cam Newton (17)

In many ways, a lot of what I said about Kaepernick also applies to Cam Newton. Newton is a phenomenal athlete who tends to struggle with the more traditional aspects of the quarterback position. If you want proof of this look at how the Panthers have drafted two receivers over 6’4″ (Kelvin Benjamin and ) in the last two years to give him big targets to aim for to help combat his inaccuracy. With that being said Newton has helped lead the Panthers to back to back playoffs and has plenty of potential to improve.

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18 Nick Foles (11)

Last year, Foles came back down to earth after his stellar numbers (27 TDs to 2 INTs) the year before. A large part of this was due to the loss of DeSean Jackson and opposing defenses reacting to Chip Kelly’s innovative scheme. That’s not to say Foles is blameless as he certainly did struggle at times. Now with a new offense that relies more on running the ball it will be interesting to see how Foles plays this year.

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17 Eli Manning (20)

Last year was a bit of a renaissance for Eli Manning under Ben McAdoo. Between the welcome change in Coordinator and the addition of Odell Beckham we saw Manning a lot to the Superbowl winning teams of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks from a couple of years ago. With the Giants defence no longer being the dominant force it once was, the Giants will hope this continues.

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16 Carson Palmer (25)

Carson Palmer really was a surprise package last year, looking completely at home in Bruce Arian’s system after a couple of rough seasons in Oakland. Palmer helped to lead an impressive Cardinals team to the top of the NFC West before he went down with an ACL tear. Palmer was a major part of why the Cardinals down field offense was such a success and could have another two or three good seasons left yet.

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15 Sam Bradford (19)

Bradford is quite tough to rank in this because he hasn’t played a full season in two years. Bradford is highly talented and is a class act when he is on the field but is coming off a second ACL tear and is in a new system in Philadelphia. This should be a good move for Bradford though as he Chip Kelly is one of the league’s top offensive minds and the Eagle’s medical staff are probably the best in the league.

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14 Matthew Stafford (14)

Stafford really is a bit of an enigma, a number 1 pick with plenty of talent and a once in a generation wide receiver but yet it feels like Stafford has been a bit of a disappointment. I’m certainly not saying Stafford is a bust but two really good receivers in Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, Stafford should be doing better than 22 TDs and 12 INTs. With former franchise DT Ndumakong Suh, the pressure will be more than ever on Stafford.

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13 Joe Flacco (16)

While Flacco continues to get paid as if he were a franchise quarterback, he still has to truly live up to his $20 million a year salary. Flacco while definitely more than a game manager he has yet to make to the leap to the elite group quarterbacks. His imposing physique and a rocket of an arm lend to him being able to take the next step but the loss of WR Torrey Smith and having to learn a new offense with Gary Kubiak gone to Denver, make it difficult for me to see it happening.

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12 Ryan Tannehill (22)

Part of the 2012 QB class that was one of the best ever, has really made some big steps to become one of the best young QBs in the league. Mobile with great accuracy in the short and medium area but Tannehill does struggle with the deep ball. With Jordan Cameron and Kenny Stills added to the offense and Ndumakong Suh to the defense, Dolphins could finally get back into the playoffs and Tannehill could be a big part why.

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11 Alex Smith (18)

Finally after shedding all the expectations that bogged him down in San Francisco, Smith has gone on to thrive in Andy Reid’s West Coast scheme in Kansas City with 41 TDs to 13 INTs. Smith is more than just a game manager who will have a top WR in Jeremy Maclin this season to help balance a team that has been very reliant on Jamaal Charles.

Part three (10-1) will be out next week

Power Ranking Starting Quarterbacks 2015 part 1(21-32)

This is the first of a three part series of ranking NFL starting QBs. All rankings are relatively objectively done by me and reflect my opinion and if you disagree leave your thoughts in the comment section below. First up is 32-21, with 20-11 next week and the final 10 the week after. Last year’s rankings are in bold after their name.

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32 EJ Manuel/Matt Cassell (30)

Are the Bills really going to do this again for the third season in a row? The combination of EJ Manuel and a 30+ journeyman just doesn’t work. For the last two years the Bills should have been able to reach the playoffs but Manuel has held them back their ferocious defence with poor play and just a clear lack of aptitude to be a NFL quarterback. The trade for Sammy Watkins will continue to be a waste until the Bills have a competent starting quarterback, just look at Josh Gordon’s record breaking run last year, he had 700 yards in 4 games but the Browns lost all 4 games because of Brandon Weeden. Cassell played well enough last season in a bad situation so don’t wait two games and then change, make Cassell the starter in training camp and at least give yourself a chance this season.

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31 Geno Smith/Ryan Fitzpatrick (31)

2013 was such a terrible quarterback class, it’s not even funny. Smith was the better of the two and should have been chosen first but really both were going to be backups or borderline starters at best. Smith could still progress somewhat this season with a decent receiving corps of Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Jace Amaro but at the same time could be benched after two games for insanely frustrating Ryan Fitzpatrick who seems incapable of throwing a touchdown without throwing an interception to cancel it out. Regardless of who starts they’ll be holding back Todd Bowles and his defence they same way Rex Ryan was held back. Rex shouldn’t have been fired for John Idzik terrible management, is there anyway we can bring Rex?

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30 Robert Griffin III (21)

I actually don’t know if Robert Griffin even has legs anymore because last time I saw them was in 2013. Without that game-changing speed, Griffin isn’t all that special and certainly wasn’t worth three first round picks and more that Dan Snyder thought he was. All of Griffin mechanics need work, his attitude stinks and his closeness to the owner is going to hurt Washington. Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy aren’t the answer. Although a weird part of me wants McCoy to succeed there to show the Browns that he deserved more time. Anyway replace RGIII and CHANGE YOUR GODDAMN NAME, WASHINGTON, IT IS NOT OK TO USE A RACIAL SLUR AS A FRANCHISE NAME.

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29 Brian Hoyer (27)

Man, I wanted Hoyer to work in Cleveland and it did for the half of the season but after Alex Mack’s injury and the subsequent lack of run game, it was clear it wasn’t going to. What the Browns wanted was a veteran with starting experience who was willing to mentor Johnny Manziel and eventually make way for him. Hoyer was neither and the Browns opted to not resign and let him walk. I have a feeling that he could do very well with Bill O’Brian as his head coach having worked with him before in New England but he will have a very short leash with Ryan Mallet waiting in the wings.

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28 Blake Bortles (NR)

Bortles had a rough first year as Jacksonville opted to play him rather than keep him behind Chad Henne for a year as originally planned. Bortles showed more of the same inaccuracy he showed at Central Florida, particularly under pressure, which he faced a lot. Bortles was sacked a league high 55 times last year but the Jags have gone all out to give Bortles the best chance at succeeding signing Julius Thomas and drafting Allen Robinson and Marquis Lee. It might be unpopular to say this but if you look at Denver circa 2010 with a certain Mr Tim Tebow under center and Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker out wide, there’s a lot similarities, just Tebow was hyped out of all proportion. Both were big, raw, mobile quarterbacks with bad footwork who struggled under pressure.

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27 Josh McCown (24)

I’m giving Josh McCown a bit of slack because he faced a ton of pressure last season and that team was pretty bad, going 2-14 and I think he is capable of bouncing back to Chicago days. McCown will be playing behind arguably the best line in the league and will be reunited with John DeFilippo who was his quarterback coach in Oakland in 2007. The Browns are a lot better than most people think and if McCown can be a solid game manager and avoid turning the ball while continuing to groom Johnny Manziel to potential start in the future they could have a winning record this year.

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26 Zach Mettenberger/Marcus Mariota (NR)

This should be an interesting camp battle in Nashville with Mettenberger going in with the experience from last year and Mariota being this front office’s poster child. I feel that as of now that Mettenberger is better and more ready to because it is essentially his fourth season in a pro system after playing in OC Cam Cameron’s offense at LSU. Mariota is the more likely of the two to be under center at the start of the season as the number two pick from this year’s draft but still has yet to sign his rookie contract.

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25 Jameis Winston (NR)

It’s hard to judge how any rookie will play in their first season, let alone a number one pick with this much hype and off-field baggage. Winston should be capable of having some success in Tampa provided the Bucs can sort out a line that gave up the second most quarterback pressures last season. Winston has a receiving corps which is ideal for any rookie with two 6-4 receivers with massive catch radii in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. It will interesting to see Winston reaction as this Bucs team will be losing plenty of games as they try to rebuild given how badly Winston took Florida State losing to Oregon last year in the Rose Bowl getting into a fight with coach Jimbo Fisher on the sideline.

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24 Derek Carr (NR)

Derek Carr rookie season was surprisingly good when you consider how devoid of talent Oakland was. Carr was the best natural thrower in the class and showed it last season in the Raiders. Whether the Raiders will be better or not this year is tough to know but Carr should continue to improve as the Raiders try to build around him.

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23 Jay Cutler (8)

I am done with Jay Cutler. He is an injury prone turnover machine who seems to be indifferent to whether Chicago win or not. Hell, I can picking him here alone on the fact that he got benched for Jimmy Clausen at one point this season. Cutler is 30 and will surely not improve even though Chicago tried hiring up and coming OC Adam Gase after their offense regressed in Marc Tresstman’s last season. With his favourite receiver, Brandon Marshall, traded to the Jets and Matt Forte unable to continue to carry most of the offensive load, it could get a lot rougher in Chicago for Jay Cutler.

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22 Teddy Bridgewater (NR)

Teddy continued from where he left off at Louisville and had a surprisingly impressive rookie season when you consider that the Vikings best player Adrian Peterson sat out all but one game last season as he dealt with legal issues. Bridgewater should continue to improve and has a new deep threat to occupy defences in Mike Wallace. If only the Browns had taken the advice of their $100,000 QB research project and drafted him over Manziel when they had the chance.

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21 Andy Dalton (13)

Andy Dalton really, more than anything else, is holding back this Cincinnati team from competing for a Super Bowl. The Bengals have done everything to put him in a position to succeed on a very talented team but he continues to be wildly inconsistent and unreliable. He was the least pressured quarterback in the league last year and still managed to have a game where he had a passer rating of 2.0 and threw 14 less touchdowns than the previous year. Until the Bengals replace him there is no way they can win the Lombardi Trophy.

QBs 20-11 coming next week

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Tashaun Gipson signs RFA tender, is it a good or a bad sign?

FS Tashaun Gipson will sign his restricted free agent tender on Monday and be in Cleveland on Tuesday to join up with the rest of the Browns for OTAs. Gipson had already skipped voluntary workouts and stayed at home in Texas in the hopes of getting a new long term contract worked out with the Browns. Gipson was reportedly upset that the Browns had only put a second round tender on him rather a first round tender which saved them around $650,000. The reason Gipson decided to resign now was that if he didn’t by Tuesday the Browns would have had the option of decreasing the tender to 110% of Gipson 2014 or $660,000. Obviously resigning Gipson for at least one more season is a good thing after his breakout season but I can’t help wondering if it is a good or a bad thing?

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Tashaun Gipson returns one of his 11 interceptions over the last two seasons – second only to Richard Sherman

It could be a good sign because it’s shows that he wants to be in Cleveland and is willing to work out a deal before or during the season. Rather than holding out through the rest of the OTAs and into training camp, he has decided to come back and help the Browns improve from last season. It also shows he doesn’t absolutely despise Cleveland and want to get out of here and there’s been no links with him to any other team either despite having the option to negotiate like Alex Mack did last year. This can only be seen as a positive in my eyes and shows how to Gipson wants to stay a part of one the best secondaries in the league.

I feel a little uneasy about as well because it’s only a one year deal. To see Gipson leave as he reaches his peak because the Browns won’t pay him when the Browns have one of the best situations in the league would very disheartening especially given how he has repaid the faith the Browns placed in him when they gave him a contract as an undrafted free agent and become a top 5 player at his position. To lose their Pro Bowl Free Safety would be a massive blow to Mike Pettine and his defence. While I understand that holding out is one of the few pieces of leverage a player has it still concerns me considering it has been about three months since the Browns offered the tender to Gipson and there must be a fundamental difference in how much Gipson should get paid. Gipson would probably be aiming at deal similar to Devin McCourty’s 5 year $45 million deal and I would be inclined to agree with him. GM Ray Farmer might be wary of giving such a deal though and might be thinking closer to $30/35 million over 5 years.

Although I do think that Gipson will get a new deal in Cleveland and will be here to stay, I think he may play out the tender to put pressure on the Browns to pay him.

Change of venue but college football will return to Ireland in 2016

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny and U.S. ambassador Kevin O’Malley at the launch of the Aer Lingus Classic

Despite the GAA announcing earlier that the game was cancelled and won’t be on this year, Boston College and Georgia Tech will play in Dublin in 2016 but in the Aviva Stadium rather than in GAA headquarters. The announcement was made with the sponsorship of Aer Lingus and additional government funding. This will be the third time in five years that college football has come to Dublin. Boston College will the home team with the Eagles already having a campus in Dublin. The game will kick off at 12.30(7.30 ET) on September 3.

The game counts as one of Boston College four conference home games. Georgia Tech leads the series 6-2 and just came off an Orange Bowl victory for the first time in 63 years.

Browns trade for Punter Andy Lee

December 20, 2014:  The  San Francisco 49ers vs San Diego Chargers. The 49ers lost to the a San Diego Chargers 38-35 at Levi's Stadium. Santa Clara, Ca (Photo © 49ers 2014) (49ers Photos)

Andy Lee punts from his own goal line

The Browns decided to upgrade their special teams on Friday by trading for former All-Pro Andy Lee of the San Francisco 49ers. The Browns sent a 2017 seventh round  pick to the 49ers who had used a fifth round pick on Clemson punter Bradley Pinion this year. Lee who is the fifth highest paid punter league is a three time ProBowler and a four time All Pro who will a major upgrade over Spencer Lanning as the Browns continue to overhaul a special teams that had major issues last seasons. Lanning, who achieved national fame last season after getting karate kicked by Antonio Brown, was waived after Lee was acquired but remained grateful for his time in Cleveland and tweeted his thanks to the Browns

Where will Cameron Erving play next season?

Some analysts were bemused when the Browns elected to choose Cameron Erving with the 19th pick of the draft. Erving whose play improved considerably when he moved from left tackle to centre was for some a strange choice when the two positions that he has played have two ProBowlers there in Joe Thomas and Alex Mack. While some believe that the Browns have him in case Mack decides to leave at the end of the season when his player option comes up, I think that the drafted the player they felt would be of most value to them. In all likelihood, if Erving leaves training camp a starter it will be on the right hand side of the line. Thomas, Bitonio and Mack are here to stay on the left but could unseat either John Greco or Mitchell Schwartz on the right.
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Greco who was the better of the two players before being asked to move to centre after Alex Mack went down. The big issue for Greco in keeping his job could be his age and the bias that Erving will get as this front office has to be invested in Cameron Erving after selecting him in the first round.
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Mitchell Schwartz blocks JJ Watt of the Houston Texans

As for Mitchell Schwartz he has had two up and down seasons but the coaches seem to have a lot more faith in him than the fans do. The Browns may opt for a very different look and move Schwartz inside to right guard and play Erving.

The Browns have also floated the possibility of Michael Bowie competing for the starting job after he was stashed on the injury reserve last season. Even if Erving doesn’t win the job he still guaranteed to see plenty of action both in goal line and short distance. It should be a pretty interesting training camp battle to decide who will starting next season.