Clearing the decks.

shaka_smart

It’s past time to put on the full-court press on Shaka Smart.

I haven’t cleared the decks in a months, so here’s three sporty nuggets on this snowy day…

RIP Reboot.

We’re all a bit poorer since Dave Kolonich closed up shop on one of our favorite blogs, Cleveland Reboot.  DK is superb at seeing through jive and marries that with a gift for interesting writing.  I particularly enjoy that he brings his history of having covered many Ohio sports teams for real news outlets.  It’s like having a reporter without filter; unchained to speak his mind without worry of losing access and/or pissing off editors/advertisers.  The site will be missed.

But there’s good news too:

Eventually, I’ll throw an article at someone – probably Kanicki – or maybe the OBR people, assuming they ever check their email.1

sportswriter-1

Just make him your avi already, DK.

YOU BET!!

We’ve done back-and-forths with Dave in the past and we’ll do it in the future.  This platform is always available.  Maybe we’ll even look into licensing the “Five questions in five minutes” feature if RedRight hasn’t already claimed the rights.

Speaking of special guest stars, we hope to have an exclusive interview with the reigning king of Cheddar Bay up next week.  TPF has agreed to share some of the keys of this year’s remarkable handicapping:  57% ATS in regular season; 69% ATS on his locks; 77% ATS in the playoffs (including 4-0 on the essays) –> that’s 70-48-2 ATS for the season and 16-5-1 on essays.  You’ll want to take heed and hone your capping skills with Frowns.

Gack, Mike Brown.

17-placid-mike-brown

Me too, MB.

I was no Mike Brown fan in his first iteration here.  I found his lack of offensive play calling to be the tip of the problem.  He didn’t just not diagram plays effectively in game; it was as though they didn’t run more than one set play in practice.  Remember that Magic series when Orlando chased the ball out to mid-court on high pick and rolls?  It went on all six games in that 2010 series and his response is shown at right.

And this was known about him at time of hire but, hey, DEFENSIVE SPECIALIST.  Welp we’re giving up 102.2 points/game (23rd out of 30 teams).  So that’s a train wreck and I really don’t recall anything ‘special’ about Mike Brown’s defense in the first go round anyway.  I do remember that LeBron is a beast on defense and which was awesome in itself but also inspires his mates to step up their D too.  Really unclear what Mike Brown brought to the table there, but ok, DEFENSIVE SPECIALIST.

But the worst?

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 10.33.23 AM

This season’s game differential chart.

Look at the blowout (20+ points) losses.  That’s seven losses by more than 20; 15% blowout losses.  Byron Scott was widely shat upon on his way out the door and the common accusation was that his team didn’t compete.  But last year’s Cavs only had six blowout losses in the whole season.  Bear in mind, Kyrie missed 23 games last year; AV missed 57 games.

I wish I’d written something about it at the time because Byron Scott really got dicked and Mike Brown is precisely the same coach we didn’t like in his first stint here.  Instead I wrote an homage to Chris Grant.

bradstevens

For the defense-ophiles:  9th in points allowed.

I still like Grant.  Obviously Anthony Bennett doesn’t look like great pick and the Mike Brown hiring, I guess, is on Grant.  But he’s still the guy who found Shaun Livingston on waivers and conjured Marresse Speights and Wayne Ellington out of Jon Leuer.  We still have a Lakers’ pick coming back to us for Ramon Sessions.  There’s no Luol Deng here without Grant.  I don’t think Dion Waiters sucks, I actually like him.  The fact that he and KI won’t play with one another just seemed to happen this year, no?

So what’s different between this year and last year?

Right.

Shaka-Smart

LOCAL TIES!!!

Meanwhile, here in my neighborhood the team lost a super-awesome coach and replaced him with what seems to be a super-awesome coach.

Let’s not miss out on the next obviously super-awesome coach to jump from the mid-majors to the NBA, Dan Gilbert.  For crying out loud:  Kenyon College magna cum laude!

Obligatory draft question to ponder.

We’ve got our coaches and coordinators in tow.  That’s good.  Pettine, Shanahan, and the apparently 23 year old Jim O’Neill as DC.  Those who were concerned about a dearth of qualified assistant coaching candidates this late into the off-season didn’t reckon on Pettine’s premium membership in the Central Bucks West classmates.com page.2

oneil_headshot--nfl_thumb_130_95

But there’s really nothing not to like here and even reason for optimism, at least coaching-wise.  But since the coaching wasn’t the problem last year we’re going to adopt Winston Wolf’s wait-and-see stance before getting too excited.

Likewise, there’s lots and lots of time in front of us to pour through the free agents, bemoan the possible/probable losses of our own, and write prescient draft analyses.  So stay tuned.

But in the meantime here is a question to think about:  if Jadeveon Clowney drops to us at #4, do you take him?  

Let’s say the first three go:

  1. Texans:  Bortles/Manziel/Bridgewater
  2. Rams:  Matthews/Robinson
  3. Jags:  Bortles/Manziel/Bridgewater.

So you have one of the three QBs (or Derek Carr if you like), Sammy Watkins (or Mike Evans if you like) to choose from at #4 … and Clowney.  You just spent last year’s #6 on Mingo, Sheard remains your best edge lineman; the d-front was not a problem in 2012, and not the problem last year.  You’ve got the baggage of out-of-shape/taking-plays-off and of course driving really fast.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 11.48.24 AM

Welp.

Do you take Clowney?

I like to think of myself as a hard-core draft-for-need guy, particularly when you’re coming off four win seasons.  BPA is luxury that playoff teams can afford, not hole pluggers.

And I say:  Oh hell yes, I’m sprinting to the podium for Clowney.

_____

  1. See?  It’s digs like that one that make Kolonich must read. [back]
  2. Remember what a big deal it was when Chud was able to score Turner and Horton last year?  Yeah, that was just a year ago, see at right –> [back]
  • Pingback: Who I’m watching at the combine. - Kanick()

  • actovegin1armstrong

    My apologies if this is the wrong venue. but it is time for a prediction that is blatantly obvious

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Brandon Weeden will be signed by the Patriots to become Brady’s replacement. He will go on to win 4 Stuporbowls. He is perfect in that role, he is Tom Brady but with a stronger arm.
      Also to add to current events, or more appropriately non-events…. Why is it a big deal that there is a gay player about to enter the NFL? There have been hundreds of gay players in the NFL. The only thing that i have wondered about is why so many of them have been O-lineman, or fullbacks. There are also at least four gay guys who now work as commentators. Why is this suddenly a big deal?

      • weeden is tom brady with a stronger arm and a 3x longer read/release. attached is a PFF QB page sorted by average time to throw. brady/manning make their lines look good. weeden/campbell, not so much.

        re michael sam: all i know is that he was fairly invisible in his biggest games (vs TAMU, vs auburn). kony ealy OTOH…

        i should probably get catch-all post up just to let everyone’s the comments out. my ‘mingo at safety’ and ‘#freeincognito’ posts are not writing themselves.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          Could release times depend on the play call? How about the respective “system”?
          Although I did enjoy Manning’s fastest release ever on the first play of the Stuporbowl.
          I will be waiting for the “Mingo at Safety” piece. However I think you heard it here first.
          I was rethinking your large corner theory, one of the reasons I quit playing was because Earl Bruce and company were not going to let a 6’2″ 240+#, WHITE kid play corner. Dam racists!

  • GRRustlers

    Part of being a man is coming before a community and admitting fault.

    I was wrong on Mike Brown.

    Really really really wrong.

    My logic was that I never really thought the guy had a chance to coach a team without an Icon and thought his style would really help this young team.

    Moving on…

    Shaka is fascinating to me as I love his style and the way his teams play but I think we have to figure out who the new GM is to have a feel for what direction they go.

    • i want a guy who isnt afraid to run an offense. by offense i mean lots of screens to give players open shots. by offense, i mean this: http://youtu.be/-LIwwxRYjyg

      it’s not a great highlight reel but if you can stay with it, note how every god damn one of ray allen’s threes result from a screen. the cavs have never done this or if they have it was with fitch and jim brewer was freeing up dick snyder.

      i don’t watch as much nba as some. ive heard some jive about ‘spacing’ and how no one in the nba runs plays. welp. perhaps they should. as pertains to mike brown, the dribble dribble shoot hope offense got him 60 wins when he had a particular player but it didnt work so great in the playoffs and we’re seeing what the mike brown coaching style looks like without lebron.

      given that gilbert doesnt want to give mike brown $20M to go away… is it time for the position of NBA Offensive Coordinator?

      • GRRustlers

        I’ll freely admit that the NBA is my least favorite of the 4 major sports. I’m the guy frantically trying to find the Blue Jackets game when the Cavs are on the main FSO channel.

        However…from what I do watch the amount of drawn up offense is basically non existent. It’s all basic motion and isolation. The offensive coordinator idea is interesting but I’ll admit to not knowing who the great offensive minds are since the media seems obsessed with defense when it comes to coaching (See Shaka).

        Gilbert put himself in a tough spot here. I always wondered if Brown was his call or the call of Grant. We have our answer. Lucky for the Cavs though that at the end of the day they are a distant third in popularity in the town and with spring training and the draft coming no one will really care.

        Now I’m going to figure out how long the Browns should wait before pulling the trigger on Aaron Murray and why not Khalil Mack at #4? We will need someone to replace Jackson and he may be the best player in this draft. Sorry, I’m scared off by Clowney…I see Gerard Warren part 2.

        • i was all about anthony barr at the beginning of the year, but he was invisible in the ucla games i watched this year.

          as far as the roll out the balls and hope for the best with spacing and iso and such as.. the fact of other teams doing the same is not working for me. but even if spacing-iso-motion is something you want, brown’s team this year does less than anyone. you can get 60 reg season wins doing an iso offense when your iso guy is lebron james; but as we saw that doesnt work when the other team is good and motivated. but leaving even the barest mininum offesnive planning aside: mike brown cannot even consistently diagram a inbounds play coming out of a timeout. he really is the romeo crennell of nba coaches.

          now then as far as canning chris grant, it appears the brown hire is on him. scott raab pointed out in his wfny podcast that brown and grant played together at u of san diego. i didnt know this and it changes my whole world view on chris grant’s competency.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Hard to believe I would ever dismiss a guy on the important side of the ball, but I do not like Clowney.
    I do not like him on a boat. I do not like him with a goat. I do not see him atop a parade float
    I would not like him to come here. His lack of passion I truly fear.
    If Jake Matthews in no longer there
    I would like to see Justin Gilbert pluck balls for the air

  • Woods

    Interesting question regarding drafting Clowney.

    More will be known after free agency. If the Browns can fill their many holes (QB, G, WR2, RB1, ILB, CB, S, QB3, RB2, TE2, ROT, ILB2) in free agency, then maybe they can go for Clowney. If the Browns go this route I would hope that they have a plan to pick up a QB to develop behind Hoyer. It would be a real shit sandwich if they picked Clowney while hoping to pick someone like Garoppolo in the second or third round and he was gone.

    If the QB left over at Pick 4 is not considered a viable pick, then I would guess that a trade down could be lucrative. Looking at the Drafttek 2014 pick value chart, I would gladly offer to trade down with any of the teams 8-12 for their first and second picks this year. Then my target would be CJ Mosely.

    Last thoughts – I am in favor of more posts here on Kanicki. Welcome Dave Kolonich. I wouldn’t mind if the Cavs “made it rain” for Shaka Smart.

  • Dan

    Oh no no no Kanicki. The Cavs better not come anywhere near Shaka Smart. He is earmarked (at least in my fantasies) to be the next head coach of my Wake Forest Demon Deacons. And really I think we all would rather see him coaching in the ACC, playing spoiler to teams like Duke, NC, Notre Dame, and Syracuse, than coaching a disappointing Cavs team and rubbing elbows to Dan Gilbert, who seems to poison every player or coach he comes into contact with.

    Shaka Smart for the Deacs!

    • hang on a sec, shouldnt you be happy enough with acquiring dave clawson from bgsu?

      • Dan

        Meh. Kind of an underwhelming hire. Lets be honest, football is not where WFU’s bread is buttered. Jim Grobe basically did the best you could for a school like WFU, and still had a losing record in his career there. He did deliver the ACC Championship in 2006, and that was a truly magical season, but FSU was terrible then, so was Miami. Now we would be hard pressed to get to a bowl game each year.

        Also, I am greedy and I want Shaka Smart. He would be perfect for WFU.

  • Warburton MacKinnon

    No on Clowney, already said I don’t follow the college Fball enough,still rom what I have read(almost impossible to not hear or read about him) he wtll either flop from the start,or atrt stellar and stay stellar till he asks for a contract exrension,about a year and a half in an takehis cash ab disappear. He is a more talented Gerrard Warren,but with nowhere to go but down,Warren supposedly could get better,
    Unless we are drafting or spending free agencey money on tall DBs,it’s a waste. Excluding only Joe T,what are we actually spending on our offense? (I think we spend a bit more on our D…aren’t DQ and Rubin gnna ost us 16 mil?)Mack is a free agent,which Bannermetrics might say he isn’t worth the money.We need play makers and O line studs not more D. If we can get the O to at least competant ,Then we can upgrade the D…..graned it’s highly possible we wasted draft picks and money on players not worthy of iy last year.

  • humboldt

    Very sorry to see DK close shop – his work was insightful and intelligent, part of the phalanx of reason and critical thought with this blog, Frowns, and others. I suppose it’s yet another unfortunate casualty of the Browns suffocating ineptitude.

    Here’s hoping Dave becomes an active contributor here.

    • To be considered part of the Phalanx of Reason is perhaps the greatest compliment this blog has ever received.

    • Dan

      Agreed. I will poor one out for Reboot. A damn good blog that will be missed.

  • jpftribe

    In an alternate universe, where the FO is actually competent, you take Clowney, wait to see what drops to 26, if the QB is there, take him, otherwise take your chances with Hoyer and 3rd round QB.

    In the Browns universe we take Johnny Football with the No 1 pick, give up our no 26 and 3rd rounder. Subsequently watch Clowney, the fourth pick, become an NFL superstar, and talk about the five guys we could have drafted 26-31, three of which have become pro bowlers. And the third round pick becomes the Texans franchise QB in 2-3 years.

    You read it hear first.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Never take a Quarterback or running back in the first two rounds!

      • mgbode

        never take a QB in the first 2 rounds?

        teams with QB starting that was NOT taken in first 2 rounds:

        Seattle (3rd round, Russell Wilson)
        NE (6th round, Tom Brady)
        Dallas (UDFA, Tony Romo)
        Tampa (3rd round, Mike Glennon – though I could see them taking Carr if he drops to them)

        Teams with no starting QB:

        Houston (widely assumed will take QB in 1st)
        JAX (same)
        Cleveland (same)
        Minnesota (unless they stick with 1st round Ponder, which I doubt)

        Oakland (unless I guess McGloin or Pryor?)

        Of 32 teams in NFL, only 4 are reasonably thinking they can go into next season with a non-1st or 2nd round drafted QB at the helm. Another 5 teams are completely unsure of their QB situation and there are 4 1st round graded QBs this year (regardless of my personal evaluations – Bridgewater, Manziel, Bortles, Carr).

        • actovegin1armstrong

          The average draft position of quarterbacks starting in the NFL this year was 38th. (This does not include undrafted free agents.). Would you rather have Russell Wilson, or RGINJURY?
          Since the Browns came back to the NFL here is a list of first round QB’s
          Tim Couch 1st pick 1999
          Chad Pennington 18th pick in 2000
          Michael “Piece of Shit” Vick, 1st overall pick in 2001
          David Carr 1st pick of 2002 draft
          Joey Harrington 3rd pick 2002 draft
          Patrick Ramsey 32nd pick 2002
          Carson Palmer 1st pick 2003 draft (I still hold on to the possibility of success for Carson Palmer but NOT with the team that drafted him.)
          Byron Leftwich 7th pick 2003
          Kyle Boller 19th pick 2003
          Rex Grossman 22nd pick 2003
          J. P. Losman 22nd pick 2004
          Alex Smith 1st pick 2005. I like the guy, but where is he now?
          Jason Campbell 25th pick 2005 draft, I want the Browns to keep him, but he is not worth a first round pick.
          Vince Young 3rd pick 2006
          Matt Leinart 10th pick 2006 Still think he can play, but not for the team that drafted him.
          Jay Cutler 11th pick 2006 I like Cutler, but he needs to be “coached up”.
          JaMarcus Russell 1st pick 2007
          Brady Quinn 22nd pick 2007 draft I know that some team could take a flyer and get 5 good years out of this guy. He is smart and still trying, but the team that pulls the trigger in the draft has little patience for 1st round QB’s
          Mark Sanchez 5th pick 2009
          Josh Freeman 17th pick 2009
          Tim Tebow 25th pick 2010

          • mgbode

            first, I don’t need to tell you how flawed it is taking such a small number of QBs and allowing a couple of them with very low ranking skew the average starting draft pick. and, even with that skewing, it still averaged out to a high 2nd round pick when you said to not draft a QB in the 1st or 2nd round.

            yes, you can still miss on draft picks in the 1st round. I am not debating that and I doubt anyone would. However, your odds of finding a starting QB are much, much higher especially in the top10.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            I did not take a “small number”. I took all 32 starting QB’s.
            Taking a quarterback with a top ten pick is riskier than sending an email to an ex-girlfriend at 2:00am after a night of tequila shots. Either way you could end up with a high priced player that may be difficult to get rid of.

          • mgbode

            apologies, i didn’t word that all that well. let’s try again. if you have 2 QBs taken with the 1st overall pick and 1 QB with the 178th pick, then “on average” the QB is taken with the 60th pick. But, that doesn’t tell the real story there. While 38th is the average, I suspect the “mean” is somewhat lower.

            if we were still in the days of Sam Bradford making more money than Tom Brady (and most of it guaranteed where you are stuck with him for at least 4 years), then I would be more apt to agree with you. however, these days, the top picks make much less now.

            Andrew Luck signed a 4yr/$22mil deal 2 years ago with a team option for a 5th year (which will never happen, they’ll renegotiate longer as both sides will be happier).

            $5mil/season is not all that much in today’s NFL.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            You are correct mgbode, but, choosing Johnny Football, Teddy Bilgewater, or Blake Bortles is taking a much bigger risk and less help to the Browns than taking Jake Matthews. Or Anthony Barr if Jake Matthews is gone by the 4th pick.

          • mgbode

            Agreed. It is a much bigger risk to take QB than OT or LB, though there are still busts (Gallery, Hawk to name 2). However, there is also much less reward. You fix QB and all of a sudden everybody else looks better and we win more games. You fix RT (not nearly our weakest link IMO) and it’s possible we don’t notice much change.

          • https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArCP1PYtyMA8dG15eUJvMEp1U3U2Y2dCcHNYcTJ6Y0E&usp=docslist_api

            we’re going to update this and dive into the safest position to draft question (and its important cousin “home run ratio”). dont know when but soon.

          • In the entire history of the franchise, the Browns have never drafted a QB in the regular draft who has had any success in the NFL. The current regime is trying to buck 50 years of history. Something to think about when you start talking about the 2014 draft.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            How about a supplemental QB throwing to a supplemental WR?
            Bernie and Flash Gordon were both from the other draft.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            88,
            You forgot about the Brown’s illustrious 13th round draft pick Brian Sipe.
            To quote the great Meatloaf, (also a former Brown), “1 out of 17 ain’t bad”.
            Well…. alright it is bad.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            jk,
            Is no longer in the league a good quantifier?
            You know I am a big fan of re-tread QB’s. That applies to other positions and players as well, for example, Gerard Warren had a good NFL career, unfortunately it was not with the team that drafted him, (Who did the Browns get with that 4th round pick?)

          • actovegin1armstrong

            A QB does “touch the ball on every play”, but oftentimes it is to handoff to a running back who shall follow that monster O-line that we draft. On other plays I would rather have a good quarterback with 4 seconds to throw over a fantastic quarterback having serious pressure in 2.5 seconds or less.
            I would rater have Trent Dilfer behind a terrific O-line than Tom Brady behind an O-line that features Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston.
            Here are two of the Browns recent top picks, who would you rather have, Joe Thomas, or Trent Bitchardson?

          • I shall be updating this data.. but net I think there more wisdom in actos take than commonly known. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArCP1PYtyMA8dG15eUJvMEp1U3U2Y2dCcHNYcTJ6Y0E&usp=docslist_api

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