Can new Browns capture magic of old?

Posted by Vic Carucci on October 31, 2012 – 11:08 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Ron – Trent Richardson is the greatest draft pick since the Browns’ return. With Jimmy Haslam there now, we will build on Richardson and Brandon Weeden. Gonna be like when I was a kid with Kosar, Mack, and Metcalf. Richardson is those guys in one package.

Love your enthusiastic thought process, Ron.

Not sure I’m quite as ready as you are to make such a comparison. After all, the NFL “careers” of Richardson and Weeden consist of all of eight games.

But I can see the same type of dynamic forming with the two of them and Josh Gordon and the other Browns rookies who look as if they’ll make an impact.

I also like your point about Haslam’s impact. I think there is every reason to believe that he not only will see through what was put in place with the drafting of these talented players but enhance it by adding more talented players.

Richardson clearly does have the difference-making ability of the past Browns difference-makers you mentioned. Now, he simply has to do it over a long and distinguished career.

Cody – Good stuff, T-Rich!!! You’re the future of our team. I really think we’re going to be the powerhouse of the AFC North within a year or two.

That’s a reasonable expectation, Cody.

You need a foundation to build a contender, and Richardson is a good one for that. Presuming that the Browns get a substantial contribution from the majority of their young players, and some of all of the other teams in the division go through some retooling of their own in some areas, the door could swing wide open to the Browns to become, as you put it, a powerhouse.

Dennis – I’d love to have seen both D and O do it together against the Chargers, but it’s a W.

The D clearly did the bulk of the work in that victory, Dennis.

But let’s not forget that the O did do its part with Richardson’s 122 rushing yards and an efficient performance by Weeden, whose greatest contribution was avoiding a turnover.

David – Anyone in America can praise their team all they want, but the bottom line is the Cleveland Browns’ fans are the most loyal through thick and thin. If you show us you will give it your all on the field, win or lose, we’ll back you a hundred percent. Been a fan for 40-plus years!!!

You nailed it, David.

I saw about 50,000 people sitting through absolutely miserable weather to watch a defensive slugfest. And they were cheering the Browns on until the very end.

D’Qwell Jackson was spot on with his shout-out to the fans after the game. That crowd was the very definition of what the 12th man is all about. And I’d love to see about 20,000 more on hand with the better weather conditions expected for Sunday’s game against the Ravens.

>>Carucci’s Corner is presented by Panera Bread.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/browns_daily, Twitter.com/viccarucci, e-mail: Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com, or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Desire to keep working shows maturity

Posted by Vic Carucci on October 30, 2012 – 9:11 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Chris – I head after the Chargers’ game that Pat Shurmur was going to give the players a “Victory Monday” off, but that they decided to forgo a day off to go back to work on the Ravens. FREAKING AWESOME!!! Love the lunch-pail mentality. They may not win Sunday, but Joe Flacco & Ray Rice better bring a lunch pail, because it isn’t gonna be easy!

Chris, it is, as you put it, “awesome” that the players showed a clear understanding that they need all of the work they can get to prepare for their next game – that they aren’t good enough or accomplished enough to give up an opportunity to study as much tape as possible and meet with their coaches and be as ready as they can be for Sunday.

It’s even more impressive when you consider how young this team is. That shows that these players have the maturity and sense of accountability and desire to do everything they can to try and build some much-needed traction after winning two of their last three games. That also shows that the players aren’t focused on the fact they have lost six games, which could easily discourage a team from wanting to do anything extra. I think there is a core belief within the squad that something good is being built, not only for the long-term future but for the present as well.

And, yes, it is very much a workmanlike, “lunch-pail,” mentality, which is what Cleveland is all about.

James – Go Browns! We’re not there yet, but we’re only a few key pieces away from being legit! We need Jordan Cameron to step it up, and some experience at the linebackers and wide receivers and we should be good!

You’re absolutely right, James. I don’t think the Browns are nowhere near what they want to be, but can definitely get there by adding those “key pieces” you mentioned.

A dominant pass-rusher would be a huge help to this team, and I could see that being a focus in the draft and/or free agency.

Cameron continues to make strides as a play-making tight end. He is learning more and more about what it takes to excel at the position in the NFL. He is trying to rely more on strength rather than simply athleticism. But as an athlete, he is capable of being a dynamic force.

Keep in mind, though, that the tight end is not a primary focus of the Browns’ passing game. This is still very much a wide-receiver-driven attack, and as the young players at that position develop, they are going to continue to see more and more passes, along with Trent Richardson. But Cameron definitely can increase his role and impact by showing steady improvement.

Marc – Personally I think it was the brown jerseys that allowed us to beat the Charger. About damn time! Go Browns!

Let the record show that the Browns are 1-1 in their brown jerseys this season, Marc.

>>Carucci’s Corner is presented by Panera Bread.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/browns_daily, Twitter.com/viccarucci, e-mail: Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com, or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Learning to cope with the elements

Posted by Vic Carucci on October 30, 2012 – 2:03 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Craig – Glad we have Trent Richardson, and that he delivered against the Chargers Sunday!! Now if our quarterback can learn to play in those wet, windy, cold conditions we might have something.

Yes, Craig, Richardson definitely handled himself well on a day meant for running.

He ignored the brutal weather, put his head down, and had the best day of his young NFL career. The Browns’ offensive line also played with the same sense of focus and determination, ignoring the elements and consistently opening holes for the running game.

Brandon Weeden does need to develop the ability to overcome conditions that are far from ideal for passing. But the fact is the former Oklahoma State star has had very little exposure to moisture during a football game, let alone the torrential rain with which he dealt Sunday.

His first real football encounter with wet weather came during the Browns’ Sept. 23 game against the Buffalo Bills.

Daniel – Last year people complained about Colt McCoy. Brandon Weeden has an arm that allows him to throw downfield. Let’s give him a chance. Changing quarterbacks every year doesn’t get it done. Glad they are playing who they drafted.

Agreed, Daniel.

Weeden merits the opportunity he has been given, and I think he has what it takes to remain a long-term starter. He is a big reason why the Browns are producing more explosive pass plays (20 yards or longer) than they have in a long time. His strong, accurate arm puts him ahead of several other quarterbacks in the NFL.

But he must continue to prove himself.

As I mentioned above, Weeden is still learning how to handle adverse weather conditions. And he needs to accelerate that process because the weather in Cleveland isn’t likely to get a whole lot better in the coming weeks and months.

Still, I like the fact that he did a good job of taking care of the ball against the Chargers. He is gaining a strong grasp of the critical importance of avoiding turnovers and not being overly confident in that big, strong arm.

>>Carucci’s Corner is presented by Panera Bread.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/browns_daily, Twitter.com/viccarucci, e-mail: Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com, or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Final thoughts from Browns-Chargers

Posted by Vic Carucci on October 28, 2012 – 9:28 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

Here are some final thoughts on the Browns’ 7-6 victory against the Chargers at Cleveland Browns Stadium:

>>As ugly as this game might have been, there is something downright beautiful about watching a strong defensive performance. The Browns’ defense did some bending, but managed to keep the Chargers out of the end zone. Dick Jauron put together an excellent plan to befuddle Philip Rivers and minimize the damage from San Diego’s running game.

>>The Browns’ offense might not have turned in a sterling performance, but it does merit plenty of praise for how effectively it ran against the NFL’s top-ranked defense. Trent Richardson had the best day of his rookie season with 122 yards on 24 carries, and an impressive 5.1-yards-per-carry average. Despite recovering from a rib injury, he ran with tremendous power and authority. And the offensive line did its part to help provide holes.

>>The Browns are steadily demonstrating their understanding of the importance of closing out a game. And for the second time in two weeks, a defensive back was involved in the decisive finishing moment. Cornerback Buster Skrine broke up a fourth-and-10 pass by Rivers from the Browns’ 44 with 1:20 left on the clock. The Browns had worked on covering the play during practice, and were ready for it with the right coverage. Kudos to Jauron and the entire defensive staff for having the group well prepared.

>>With two victories in three games, the Browns have a chance to gain a little bit of traction. Their confidence has received a huge boost. And it’s especially important that they have back-to-back home wins and a reason to believe that playing at Cleveland Browns Stadium is truly an advantage. That could come in fairly handy with the Ravens coming to town Sunday.

>>Brandon Weeden’s numbers don’t tell a story of a whole lot of production in the passing game. But there is one key stat to note: Zero turnovers. This was a game where it was ultra-critical for Weeden to take care of the ball, and he did. The Browns didn’t have a single turnover, although there were a couple of close calls with Montario Hardesty and Josh Cribbs fumbling but the Browns not losing possession (thanks to Hardesty recovering his own fumble and Travis Benjamin recovering a fumble by Josh Cribbs on an end around). Meanwhile, the Chargers lost a fumble.

>>It was nice to see Jim Brown in attendance on a day when Richardson had his best performance as a rookie. And it was even better that the two had a chance to talk in the locker room after the game, with the 77-year-old Pro Football Hall of Famer offering words of encouragement to Richardson. Brown’s description of Richardson as being “ordinary” after the Browns made him the third overall pick of the draft has clearly served as a form of motivation for the rookie, who seems to have enjoyed the chance to spend a little time with a legend. The same was true for several other Browns players shaking Brown’s hand and posing for photos with him.

>>So impressed with the stout-hearted fans who braved the cold, wet, windy conditions to watch the game. So glad they could take home a win.

>>Carucci’s Corner is presented by Panera Bread.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Game Recap: Browns 7, Chargers 6

Posted by Matt Florjancic on October 28, 2012 – 8:05 pm

Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson scored a 26-yard touchdown on the team’s first possession of the game and had a career-high 122 yards on 24 carries in the 7-6 victory over the visiting San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The Browns (2-6) held a 7-6 lead over the Chargers (3-4) after three quarters of play.

Nick Novak’s 31-yard field goal cut the Browns’ lead over the Chargers to 7-6 with 2:33 remaining in the third quarter of play. The drive covered 30 yards in nine plays and took 4:36 off the third-quarter clock.

After the first half of play, the Browns held a 7-3 lead over the Chargers. Novak converted a 43-yard field goal attempt as the first half expired and drew the Chargers to with four points of the Browns, at 7-3, after two quarters of play. The 10-play, 55-yard drive took the final 1:48 of the first half.

The Browns held a 7-0 lead over the Chargers after the first quarter.

Richardson put the Browns in front of the Chargers, 7-0, with a 26-yard touchdown run at the 4:17 mark of the first quarter.

Richardson took a handoff from quarterback Brandon Weeden on second-and-10 from the 26 and ran to the right of the formation. After getting through the initial wave of defenders, with help from right guard Shawn Lauvao, Richardson scampered the final 20 yards for his fifth rushing touchdown of the season.

Two plays before the touchdown, the Browns converted a fourth-and-one from San Diego’s 28-yard line when Weeden ducked behind the right side of the offensive line for a two-yard gain.

After winning the toss and electing to defer, the Browns earned a defensive stop when San Diego running back Jackie Battle was stopped by Cleveland safety T.J. Ward for no gain on a fourth-and-one from the Browns’ 30-yard line.

After Richardson’s touchdown, Browns rookie defensive tackle Billy Winn recovered a fumble by San Diego running back Ryan Mathews at the Chargers’ 46-yard line with 41 seconds left in the first quarter.

On first-and-10 from San Diego’s 36-yard line, Mathews ran to the right of the formation for a four-yard gain before rookie linebacker James-Michael Johnson forced the fumble.

The turnover came on the play following Reggie Hodges’ 31-yard punt.

Game Recap is presented by Giant Eagle, the Official Supermarket of the Cleveland Browns.


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Browns lead after three quarters

Posted by Matt Florjancic on October 28, 2012 – 7:24 pm

The Cleveland Browns held a 7-6 lead over the San Diego Chargers after three quarters of play from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Nick Novak’s 31-yard field goal cut the Browns’ lead over the Chargers to 7-6 with 2:33 remaining in the third quarter of play. The drive covered 30 yards in nine plays and took 4:36 off the third-quarter clock.

After the first half of play, the Browns held a 7-3 lead over the Chargers.

Novak converted a 43-yard field goal attempt as the first half expired and drew the Chargers to with four points of the Browns, at 7-3, after two quarters of play. The 10-play, 55-yard drive took the final 1:48 of the first half.

The Browns held a 7-0 lead over the Chargers after the first quarter.

Running back Trent Richardson put the Browns in front of the Chargers, 7-0, with a 26-yard touchdown run at the 4:17 mark of the first quarter.

Richardson took a handoff from quarterback Brandon Weeden on second-and-10 from the 26 and ran to the right of the formation. After getting through the initial wave of defenders, with help from right guard Shawn Lauvao, Richardson scampered the final 20 yards for his fifth rushing touchdown of the season.

Two plays before the touchdown, the Browns converted a fourth-and-one from San Diego’s 28-yard line when Weeden ducked behind the right side of the offensive line for a two-yard gain.

After winning the toss and electing to defer, the Browns earned a defensive stop when San Diego running back Jackie Battle was stopped by Cleveland safety T.J. Ward for no gain on a fourth-and-one from the Browns’ 30-yard line.

After Richardson’s touchdown, Browns rookie defensive tackle Billy Winn recovered a fumble by San Diego running back Ryan Mathews at the Chargers’ 46-yard line with 41 seconds left in the first quarter.

On first-and-10 from San Diego’s 36-yard line, Mathews ran to the right of the formation for a four-yard gain before rookie linebacker James-Michael Johnson forced the fumble.

The turnover came on the play following Reggie Hodges’ 31-yard punt.


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Novak draws Chargers closer

Posted by Matt Florjancic on October 28, 2012 – 7:15 pm

Nick Novak’s 31-yard field goal cut the Cleveland Browns’ lead over the San Diego Chargers to 7-6 with 2:33 remaining in the third quarter of play from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The drive covered 30 yards in nine plays and took 4:36 off the third-quarter clock.

Novak converted a 43-yard field goal attempt as the first half came to a close.


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Browns lead at halftime

Posted by Matt Florjancic on October 28, 2012 – 6:32 pm

After the first half of play, the Cleveland Browns held a 7-3 lead over the San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

San Diego kicker Nick Novak converted a 43-yard field goal attempt as the first half expired and drew the Chargers to with four points of the Browns, at 7-3, after two quarters of play.

The 10-play, 55-yard drive took the final 1:48 of the first half.

The Browns held a 7-0 lead over the Chargers after the first quarter.

Running back Trent Richardson put the Browns in front of the Chargers, 7-0, with a 26-yard touchdown run at the 4:17 mark of the first quarter.

Richardson took a handoff from quarterback Brandon Weeden on second-and-10 from the 26 and ran to the right of the formation. After getting through the initial wave of defenders, with help from right guard Shawn Lauvao, Richardson scampered the final 20 yards for his fifth rushing touchdown of the season.

Two plays before the touchdown, the Browns converted a fourth-and-one from San Diego’s 28-yard line when Weeden ducked behind the right side of the offensive line for a two-yard gain.

After winning the toss and electing to defer, the Browns earned a defensive stop when San Diego running back Jackie Battle was stopped by Cleveland safety T.J. Ward for no gain on a fourth-and-one from the Browns’ 30-yard line.

After Richardson’s touchdown, Browns rookie defensive tackle Billy Winn recovered a fumble by San Diego running back Ryan Mathews at the Chargers’ 46-yard line with 41 seconds left in the first quarter.

On first-and-10 from San Diego’s 36-yard line, Mathews ran to the right of the formation for a four-yard gain before rookie linebacker James-Michael Johnson forced the fumble.

The turnover came on the play following Reggie Hodges’ 31-yard punt.


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1st-half thoughts on Browns-Chargers

Posted by Vic Carucci on October 28, 2012 – 6:31 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

Here are some thoughts on the first half of the Browns’ game against the Chargers at Cleveland Browns Stadium:

What I liked…

>>Trent Richardson’s extra effort on his 26-yard touchdown run for the game’s first score. He powered through and slipped past tacklers, and then got a friendly little shove from offensive guard Shawn Lauvao for clear sailing to the end zone. Richardson generally has run with considerable authority. Here’s a bulletin: He’s feeling better from the rib injury that caused him to be listed as questionable for the game.

>>The Browns scoring first and not playing out of a hole for a change. We know how things usually go for the Browns when they have to chase points … not well.

>>The defense playing a solid game, especially against the run. The Browns’ defense has been mostly stout and physical against the Chargers’ run-oriented offense. The unit also has done a nice job of pressuring Philip Rivers.

>>Billy Winn’s excellent reaction to Ryan Matthews’ fumble, pouncing on the ball and controlling it enough to be credited with a recovery before sliding out of bounds.

>>Pat Shurmur going for it on fourth-and-one from the Chargers’ 28 on the Browns’ scoring drive. It was easy to like because Brandon Weeden converted it on a quarterback sneak, but the decision to do so at home in the right spot on the field was the right one regardless of the outcome.

>>Shurmur’s successful challenge of a six-yard Chargers pass from Rivers to Robert Meachem.

What I didn’t like …

>>The Browns’ punting, although the whipping winds make pretty much anything in the kicking game an adventure.

>>The Browns getting a few penalties (including another on special teams) that should have been avoided.

>>Carucci’s Corner is presented by Panera Bread.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci


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Browns lead after first quarter

Posted by Matt Florjancic on October 28, 2012 – 5:50 pm

The Cleveland Browns held a 7-0 lead over the San Diego Chargers after the first quarter of play from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Running back Trent Richardson put the Browns in front of the Chargers, 7-0, with a 26-yard touchdown run at the 4:17 mark of the first quarter.

Richardson took a handoff from quarterback Brandon Weeden on second-and-10 from the 26 and ran to the right of the formation. After getting through the initial wave of defenders, with help from right guard Shawn Lauvao, Richardson scampered the final 20 yards for his fifth rushing touchdown of the season.

Two plays before the touchdown, the Browns converted a fourth-and-one from San Diego’s 28-yard line when Weeden ducked behind the right side of the offensive line for a two-yard gain.

After winning the toss and electing to defer, the Browns earned a defensive stop when San Diego running back Jackie Battle was stopped by Cleveland safety T.J. Ward for no gain on a fourth-and-one from the Browns’ 30-yard line.

After Richardson’s touchdown, Browns rookie defensive tackle Billy Winn recovered a fumble by San Diego running back Ryan Mathews at the Chargers’ 46-yard line with 41 seconds left in the first quarter.

On first-and-10 from San Diego’s 36-yard line, Mathews ran to the right of the formation for a four-yard gain before rookie linebacker James-Michael Johnson forced the fumble.

The turnover came on the play following Reggie Hodges’ 31-yard punt.


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