OBR Blog: 3/2/2010

Blogging away, inspired by the events of the day and the continuing quest for free beer. Anyone who has free beer can feel free to contact us at their earliest convenience.

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Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 11:47 PM ET

What's a Pre-Czar?

John Czarnecki's column tonight throws a potential Lions-Browns trade into the spotlight. Not because the Browns are in love with Suh, which was tossed around on local radio earlier this week, but rather because they would want to claim a quarterback, presumably Sam Bradford

Like I said last week on the radio, I feel the "school solution" is for the Browns to try to see if Quinn can grow into the role under Holmgren's tuteledge, but don't ignore exactly how well Bradford would fit into a quarterback role on a West Coast-variant offense. He's got just about everything you could ask for: quick release, good footwork, accuracy. If Holmgren thinks he's got what it takes, the cost in picks that it takes to get him might be a good investment for a franchise quarterback. 

Also mentioned in the Czar's column tonight is rampant speculation that Taylor Mays might be a better fit at linebacker than at safety. It reminds me of this article by Chris Steuber, where he argued the same case. Nine months ago. Props to Chris for being well ahead of the curve on this one. 

Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 11:42 PM ET

Chat Transcript, Radio Replay Coming

Fun evening tonight on the OBR. From 8-9PM. the OBR Radio Show enjoyed the presence of ex-Browns Assistant Director of Pro Personnel James Kirkland, who offered his insight into how NFL execs prepare for free agency, and how players are evaluated. Even before the hour was over, folks were asking when we could have him back. Hopefully, we'll have a chance to talk to James again in the coming weeks. 

We may - repeat may - do a special edition of the OBR radio program on Friday depending on whether or not a special guest can join us, and whether or not there's the sort of activity on Friday that needs to be talked about. Watch the front page.

Last but not least, Sobo wrapped up the Combine Trilogy of draft chats, offering his thoughts on what he saw in Indy and the Browns draft strategy.

Look for the radio replay and chat transcripts to be available soon. Sure thing tomorrow on the podcast, and we'll get the transcript turned around as quick as we can.  

Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 06:47 PM ET

Why Vick Won't Be a Brown

Michael Vick is a name that occasionally gets associated with teams in "quarterback flux", and his name has been bandied about with the Browns a few times over the past year. This is usually an excuse for some sort of weak "dawg" joke, but I may have just read too many Twitter posts. 

Vick doesn't seem like a likely Brown because of, well, brown. Turns out that he would like to play for the Carolina Panthers for several reasons, among them "I like the uniforms".

Panthers? Really? Michael, Michael, Michael.  

If there are any NFL uniforms that are the antithesis of the mid-90s aesthetic of the flashy cyan-and-black Panthers uniforms, it would have to be those worn by our local squad. While orange, white and brown (except for pants) uniforms, and logo-less helmets are the choice of discerning football traditionalists like ourselves, Michael Vick doesn't sound like one of us.

Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 05:20 PM ET

Browns Talked to McCoy

This is somewhat less than surprising, but NT Gerald McCoy admitted on the NFL Network that he had talked to a number of teams, including our beloved Cleveland Browns. Given McCoy's presence near the top of a lot of draft boards, the odds of him lasting until the seventh pick is about as good as a Ho-Ho's chance of existing for seven days in the same room as a webdork. Nothing has reached us yet indicating that the Browns are so in love with McCoy that they would be willing to pay the high price to go up and get him, but weirdness always seems to break out at the end of April, so the team has to do their due diligence, don't cha know. (Thanks to Jon for the heads-up). 

Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 03:31 PM ET

Cribbs Contract Situation...

Developing news on the Cribbs contract situation for OBR subscribers. Click here

Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 02:58 PM ET

Look! Another McNabb Rumor!

UPDATE 3:35PM: Oh noes! The other Post-Dispatch columnist slaps that McNabb rumor right down. This is fun to watch.  

Remember back to those hazy, crazy days of, oh, mid-February, when the off-season seemed so full of promise and Donovan McNabb? Yep, the local and national media got all hyped up about the prospect of McNabb heading to Cleveland for a day or two. Then it went to whatever place most headlines go, and hasn't been mentioned much of late. 

Sam Bradford showing up to the Combine looking smart and, importantly, bigger and more durable from the NFL perspective has changed the focus of the McNabb rumors a bit. 

With some in the national media claiming that the Rams have fixated on Bradford as their first pick, look for the McNabb discussion to head to Missouri for a few days as speculation about the Rams QB intentions heats up. Starting us off is Bryan Burwell of the Post-Dispatch, who relays that there have been "intense discussions" between the Rams and Eagles regarding McNabb.

The impact to the Browns is obvious. Beyond their supposed interest in McNabb, the Rams decision at the top of the draft starts the dominoes toppling down to the team's pick at #7. Picking Bradford increases somewhat the possibility that Berry could sneak down to #7. Picking one of the nose tackles would leave the Browns potentially interested in dealing up to snag either Berry or Bradford.

As dull as the Rams have been in recent years, we're going to have to keep a sharp eye on them between now and the draft.

Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 12:35 PM ET

Mays Raises Eyebrows

Word reaching us is that Taylor Mays just clocked an unofficial 4.24 40-yard dash at the combine. That's pretty amazing, and will help him move back up draft boards. It might also reduce demand for Eric Berry just a little if teams start to regard Mays as an acceptable consolation prize.

Joe Haden, suggested by many to be a probable pick for the Browns at the #7 spot, clocked a reported 4.58 and 4.57 40, which won't help him keep that lofty position near the top of draft boards.  

As Fred and I said last week on our Monday WKNR2 segment, the fact that so many mock drafts had Haden isolated as the Browns pick prior to the combine is nearly a guarantee that they'll wind up getting someone else. ;-)

Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 11:36 AM ET

The Real Deal with Cribbs

There's been some speculation and some local reporting that's been a little off on the Josh Cribbs situation. Lane Adkins dropped the 411 in the wee hours of the morning in the OBR Insider Blog. Check it out here

Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 11:21 AM ET

Set Aside 8-10PM Tonight

We've got two events tonight that you may want to attend. The first is the OBR Radio Program, from 8-9PM tonight. Lane, John and I will be talking Browns heading into free agency, and will be joined by special guest James Kirkland, until recently a member of the Cleveland Browns scouting staff. James attended the Indy Combine and shares some of his thoughts with us. We're also working on a special player guest, but don't want to jinx it. 

After the OBR radio program, Sobo will wrap up his combine chats with a session from 9PM-10PM tonight. If you're an OBR Subscriber, drop by the premium chat room and hang with us during the radio show, then stick around for Sobo's chat. 

Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 11:06 AM ET

The Combine Needs to Tighten Up

A sidenote from the recent Indy combine:

The NFL needs to tighten up on credentialing a bit, based on what I've been hearing. What's been happening is that some of the blogging networks, one in particular, have been able to forge alliances that are allowing them to get into some of these events. While I personally feel that there are some bloggers locally and nationally who legitimately deserve access to certain media opportunities, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the aggressiveness of the blogging network and the quality and the professionalism of the content they provide.

This year's Combine featured at least one "media member" asking Tim Tebow for an autograph. It also featured pool transcripts done by bloggers which were basically worthless. One independent draft site was taking cell phone video of interviews and posting it, which appears to be in direct contradiction to the NFL Network's monopoly on Combine video. 

The NFL Combine has always been a bit looser with credentialing than the teams themselves, and perhaps needs to revisit this. We're constantly battling plagiarism and other issues from a handful of bloggers on these networks, and I've come to conclusion that there's very little training, supervision, or management of individual bloggers on at least one of these. I've gone back and forth with bloggers who simply don't understand why it's wrong to take a copyrighted and subscriber-only article and copy it wholesale into their blog. I hope I'm not considered an elitist for saying this, but there simply some folks who aren't ready to be thrust into these sort of tightly coordinated media events.

If you need evidence of my own humility in this matter, look to how the OBR relies on experienced professionals to bring us news from events like the Combine and Berea. I don't think I know enough at this point to be an effective reporter, and rely on others who are much better at it than I. If bloggers want access, they might want to consider subscribing to the AP or services like The Sports Xchange, where they can get well-developed articles straight from major sporting events.

Posted by:  Barry McBride
at 03/02/2010 10:48 AM ET

Kokinis Back to B-More

Among this morning's items is an article by Mike Florio in Pro Football Talk where he claims that George Kokinis may be headed back to Baltimore because he was seen with other Baltimore Ravens personnel last weekend. 

This is fine as far as it goes... Kokinis left Baltimore on good terms, and that organization wasn't happy when the Browns swiped another personnel exec just to toss him away quickly thereafter. The Browns and Kokinis settled their differences, as Kokinis is certainly free to explore his career options.

While I don't have the problems with PFT that I used to have, Florio's comment that Kokinis was "thrown under the bus" is an oversimplification that isn't fair to the Browns organization. Based on that remark, most readers who don't know better would assume that Kokinis is simply an innocent victim of the Browns needing a scapegoat for their bad start.

There's more to it than that, and to paint it in such simplistic and disdainful terms is a disservice to the individuals who were involved in making the move. The truth, based on everything we know, is that there were issues on both sides.  

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