Clearing the decks.
I haven’t cleared the decks in a months, so here’s three sporty nuggets on this snowy day…
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
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.
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?
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.
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?
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
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:
- Texans: Bortles/Manziel/Bridgewater
- Rams: Matthews/Robinson
- 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.
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.