Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thoughts on Belichick, Trubisky, Garrett and Pryor

Thoughts as the National Football League Combine, a.k.a. the NFL’s annual meat market, drones on in Indianapolis . . .

Thank you, Bill Belichick. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for doing what’s best for your team and not trading Jimmy Garoppolo.

Thank you from preventing the Browns from making a big mistake and dealing at least one high draft choice – and who knows how much else – for your yet-to-prove-he’s-ready and untested quarterback.

Several heavyweight members of the media have reported that Garoppolo, long thought to be on the market as he approaches the final season of his contract as Tom Brady’s backup in New England, will spend that final season in the same role.

Adam Schefter, Peter King, et al predict Garoppolo will stay put as Brady’s caddy. Those heavyweights are almost never wrong.

Oh and belated thanks, coach, for helping the Browns midway through last season when you shipped outside linebacker Jamie Collins to Cleveland.
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Why was Browns coach Hue Jackson so excited to learn North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky checked in at an eighth of an inch taller than 6-2?  As if that fraction of an inch made him a more desirable candidate to be the club’s top pick in the college draft.

“I think a guy has to be about 6-2 to play in this league,” said the coach, who recommended the Browns select 6-1 Cody Kessler in the third round of last year’s draft. “. . . the majority of guys who have played are 6-2 or a little bit better and that’s just what I like in a quarterback.”

The “little bit better” might include Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, the 6-4 quarterbacks who faced each other in the last Super bowl game, and 6-5 Ben Roethlisberger, who owns a pair of Super Bowl rings.

Read between the lines. Jackson is not going to knock Trubisky or any quarterback coming out of college for that matter, no matter how tall or short they are.

Don’t believe Jackson’s excitement at Trubisky’s vertical measurement. It’s all part of the hype. He knows the overall talent quotient on this team is lacking and other more vital areas need to be improved first.

Mark this down: The Browns will not make Trubisky the No. 1 selection in the entire draft. Do not take seriously all the rhetoric about the kid from Mentor that will emanate from Indianapolis this weekend.

Some media reports indicate the Browns are seriously considering just that. Considering means just that. They also most likely are considering Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes.

There will be some crazy rumors put out there in the next two months to whet appetites. The latest one has Belichick changing his mind on keeping Garoppolo if the right deal comes along. It’s all nonsense.

If the Browns, who need help everywhere on the roster, even think about trading the 12th overall pick for Garoppolo, they need to hire a team psychiatrist for the front office.
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Right now, Myles Garrett of Texas A&M is the name you can expect Commissioner Roger Goodell will intone first on April 27 in Philadelphia and the Browns will finally get the edge rusher they so desperately need.

The two departments that are absolute musts to improve on for this team are rushing the quarterback and protecting the quarterback. All of which means significant attention must be paid early and often to the trenches.   

Teams that effectively rush the opposing quarterback and protect their own more often than not are successful. Cleveland’s trenches are among the worst, maybe the worst, in the league. Ignore that aspect of the game and you are asking for trouble.
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The Browns have wisely chosen not to slap the franchise tag on wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. Smart move. He is a latecomer to the position and while he gained more than 1,000 yards receiving last season, he is still a relative neophyte and does not deserve that kind of money.

Pryor is smart, learned the nuances of a new position quickly and displayed strong hands, especially in jump ball situations. But the league caught on to him late in the season and slowed him down considerably.

In the first 12 games of the 2016 season, the 6-4 receiver had 62 receptions for 855 yards and four touchdowns. In the final four games, he was held to just 15 catches for 152 yards and no touchdowns, including a three-game stretch where he caught just eight balls for 58 yards.

The former Ohio State quarterback is not yet an elite receiver and should not be paid like one. But there is no question he has made a successful transition from failed NFL quarterback to quality receiver. And the best part is he says he wants to return to the team next season.


  1. I still have my doubts about Garret based on his work ethic and tendency to take plays off.

  2. Not this year. Weak class. Much better and deeper class next year. Fix everything else first.