OBR Daily Blog 1/29-30

Can you feel the excitment? Best weekend of the year... Pro Bowl Sunday!

OBR Newswire updates for January 29th through January 30th
OBR Newswire on January 30th, 2011 AT 6:00 PM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for January 29th through January 30th:

Daily Affirmation
Dave Kolonich on January 30th, 2011 AT 12:40 PM

Normally, the Pro Bowl is not a time of joyous celebration in Cleveland.  And today, it's really no different.  With the exception of Joe Thomas and Alex Mack, the Browns were basically shut out of the Pro Bowl for another year.  Of course, given another 5-11 finish, such a thing was to be expected. 

However, thanks to the insightful minds at ProFootballFocus.com, perhaps things are not as bleak as they may appear.

Pro Football Focus – 2010 AFC Pro Bowl – Our Perfect Team In a Perfect World

Running Back: Jamaal Charles (Chiefs)

Backups: Peyton Hillis (Browns) and Arian Foster (Texans)

The whole PFF team went with the exhilarating Charles and his 6.3 YPC average. It's amazing to think what he could do if he didn't have to share the load quite so much with Thomas Jones. Foster was unanimous as well, though it should be noted his offensive line earned him a lot of those yards. There was a bit of debate as to whether Hillis or Maurice-Jones Drew would earn the final spot, but Hillis won out (much to my chagrin) where I couldn't debate that they he was superb in every aspect (except ball security).

Special Teamer: T.J. Ward (Browns)

Edged out Kassim Osgood (how did the Jags' Montell Owens make the team over him?) with some excellent work. Even though Ward didn't work as a gunner, he still made plenty of tackles and blocked a field goal.

Hillis is an obvious choice here.  Despite the fact that he wore down during the final month of the season, Hillis is the most promising running back to arrive in Cleveland in nearly two decades.  The thought of the 2010 offense without Hillis is a scary proposition.  And on an ideal note, if the Browns can finally revive some type of passing attack in 2011, Hillis could prove even more valuable.

Of course, the Pro Bowl being what it is – a celebration of high profile teams and gaudy statistics – it's safe to assume that Hillis' Pro Bowl future is tied to the overall development of the Browns.  In this sense, an actual winning record could have delivered Hillis to Hawaii, along with fullback Lawrence Vickers and possibly even Joe Haden.

However, at least we have some building blocks – like this guy….

Pro Football Focus – All Sophomore Team

Center – Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns

At times you watch Mack and you see what all the fuss is about. He's a guy who can dominate a chap by the name of Vince Wilfork, but for too much of the season he was struggling against guys like Remi Ayodele. He's good, but he's not the finished product yet.

I'll take that last statement to heart.  Mack was easily the second-best center in the AFC in 2010 – behind only New York's Nick Mangold and light years ahead of Pittsburgh's Maurkice Pouncey.  Much like Hillis, if the Browns can deliver some quality guards to play beside him, Mack could be a Pro Bowl lock for years to come.

And finally, a message of hope….

Pro Football Focus – Why It's Okay Not To Be In the Super Bowl

Cleveland Browns

OK so who predicted that Peyton Hillis would work out as arguably the best trade in the NFL and in the process make the Cleveland offense viable? While we're at it, who would have predicted that from an Arkansas backfield that produced Felix Jones and Darren McFadden, Hillis would be the best HB of the bunch? It remains to be seen if it stays that way, but you really can't overstate the importance of Hillis to Cleveland.

When he was healthy he was dominant, able to make good cuts and run clean through (or just jump over) people when necessary. He gave the Browns an identity on offense and really took the pressure off their sub-standard receivers and young or questionable passers. Time to load up for Cleveland and get back aboard the Hillis Express for 2011.

But of course, it's never "okay" to not be in the Super Bowl.  But then again, considering how the past decade has gone, I would at least settle for the playoffs.

10:51 AM

(Subscriber) Senior Bowl: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Here is a position-by-position breakdown of what we saw Saturd… http://bit.ly/eujLoi

4:36 PM

Free draft chat with Sobo and Zac going for the next half-hour on FoxSportsOhio.com. Join us! http://ow.ly/3MBst

4:20 PM

Live Senior Bowl draft chat rolling on Fox Sports Ohio until 5PM! http://ow.ly/3MBst

4:19 PM

Live Senior Bowl draft chat rolling on Fox Sports Ohio until 5PM! http://ow.ly/3MBsG

Latest Links from the OBR Newswire
OBR Newswire on January 29th, 2011 AT 9:00 AM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for January 29th from 08:28 to 08:30:

9:15 PM

4PM: Senior Bowl Draft Chat: Sobo’s back from Mobile… pick his brain Saturday on Fox Sports Ohio. This is a fr… http://bit.ly/f5FlZL

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