No signs point to Manziel starting week one.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 11.35.58 AM

All signs point to Florio:  click seeker. (Click.)

We all know Mike Florio is not a great reporter right?  I ask because it seems like his brand is growing and we’re seeing him on network shows and I hope we know to take him with a grain of salt.

This came up last week in connection with his peculiar reporting of the Maurkice Pouncey extension.  Florio wrote that Pouncey’s package exceeds Alex Mack’s … and neglects to mention that Mack’s guaranteed dollars (26M) are twice that of Pouncey (13M).  In other words, Pouncey’s contract exceeds Mack’s in pretend dollars.


Anyway… he’s wrong again here: Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 11.05.14 AM

What a surprise indeed.  What a surprise that such a hack would take a Head Coach’s thoughtful comments completely out of context in order to get page hits. Here’s what Pettine said:

” … Brian had been here for those seven, eight weeks before the draft even started,” Pettine said. “That was essentially a head start and I don’t think it’s insurmountable.  Brian is securely ahead of him right now, but we will compete and we will decide.

Does that sound remotely close to the same solar system as “All signs point to Manziel starting Week One?”

Not only is Pettine comment misreported, but actual reporters who actually watched the practices are saying Hoyer is way out front (and reading between the lines, also saying Manziel hasn’t looked that good).  The most frank assessment was provided by theOBR’s Lane Adkins to his subscribers:1

– Quarterback Brian Hoyer is easily the best quarterback in camp. Hoyer reads, recognizes and gets the ball out much quicker than any other quarterback in a Browns uniform. When it comes to head-to-head reps, Hoyer has been throwing a better ball, with better ball placement and timing than the other signal callers in camp.

Another report from camp makes the same assessment:

And finally Ron Jaworski watched some practice and arrived at the same conclusion:

Jaworski watched Manziel from the sideline for the first time in person and … predicted Manziel would not beat out Brian Hoyer for the Browns’ starting job.

“He won’t,” Jaworski said. “Because of Hoyer.”

… his nod to Hoyer in this competition is mostly due to his appreciation of Hoyer’s ability and experience.  “It’s noticeable when you watch the offense when he’s running it or any of the other quarterbacks,” Jaworski said. “He’s a veteran quarterback. The machinations at the line of scrimmage, the understanding, the command, the calling of the plays – you can tell he’s a veteran quarterback.”

I shouldn’t be surprised anymore when national reporters ball-wash for the national brand name players… but yet I still am and still like to set things straight when I can.

The message as always:  sign Hoyer now.

Notes on Zara’s AFC North piece.

I stepped all over Zara’s piece by posting the World Cup thread six hours later.  I went back to comment on it yesterday but since no one’s checking those comments now, here it is.

i didnt get to dig into to the meat of this great piece (and feel badly for having stepped on it with the World Cup post.. but hey, World Cup). So here’s some comments.

1. >>>confidence in Mike Pettine dwarfs any positive feelings I had toward Chud.>>>
Agreed. Ditto that on ONeill over Horton. Horton talked aggressive attacking hybrid defense; with Pettine-ONeill I think we’ll actually see some.

2. re: Hawkins over Edelman, I’m liking what I’m seeing/hearing about Hawkins. If youre going to be a short receiver you must be able to get your release at LOS. here is evidence that Hawkins can do this.

3. I should be more interested in seeing Tate than West but I’m not: I’m really excited about the prospect of Terrence West.

4. After years of trying and failing to insert random WRs into offenses, Josh Gordon last year made me buy in that WR is a position where talent trumps system. If this were last year I’d be spinning a yarn about Austin-Burleson-Bennett being just fine (and in fact I did just that, kinda, with a Greg Little post). A true stud WR is a major impact on wins and so our WR corps shapes up pretty poorly meh. I think Mike Evans was who Farmer wanted and yeah sure Gilbert is a great consolation prize but missing Evans was a miss.

5. I sure would like to know why Quentin Groves was released. I smell off-field shenanigans as the driver. Agreed on DQ is an over-rated Brown of the expansion era. ILB still seems shaky even with the Kirksey kool-aid I’m drinking.



6. Tall Long cornerbacks. That is all.

7. >>>Ray Farmer hire. The default response was jubilation … I wish that the default opinion in these matters were more neutral, not completely devoid of opinion mind you, just a little more patience in rendering stark judgements.>>>
On Farmer, I didn’t catch the same cheerleading but to the extent that there was nothing tangible to base an opinion on… yes, it was over the top. My issue with the local reportage isn’t bouncing between polarities.. it’s that they’re usually flat wrong. I remember MKC waving pompoms for demonstrably bad OC Pat Shurmur; I remember a lot of loving for the Mingo pick and not a hint of criticism for passing on Buffalo’s trade back offer nor for overstocking the already strong d-front. Really really simple analysis is just not happening in CLE media.

8. >>>I am of the opinion that it is not necessary to attempt to plug every roster hole in the draft as it is a fool’s errand.>>>
Well said. For the record my thing with Banner’s draft last year wasn’t that they didn’t attempt to plug EVERY roster hole, it was that they didn’t attempt to plug ANY holes. Really mind-boggling. Seemed cynically designed to buy that regime time, i.e., “rebuilds take at least three years so you can’t eval us until then.”

9. >>>JFF is an entirely different animal. He possesses the potential to completely undermine the direction of the franchise. … Will all of this relent if Hoyer clearly beats out Manziel in training camp? Of course not.>>>
He does have that potential but yet see Pettine/Farmer as strong enough to manage social media shitstorms. They managed to pull off the draft without tipping their hands in spite of incessant bludgeoning (OMG SAMMY WATKINS!!!). Everything I’ve seen from camp says Hoyer is light years ahead of Manziel. And frankly, most of what I’ve read between the lines says Manziel doesn’t look very good. It might not relent immediately post-camp but it will relent when they’re 3-0 going into the bye.

10. 3-0 going into the bye? You’re high Kanick.
Welp what if you didn’t know the names of the teams and I told you team one was 8-8 last year; team two was 4-4 on the road (losing last three road games); and team three was 8-8 (2-6 away from home). That’s some middle of the pack football teams. It’s not way out there to see them as beat-able.

World Cup stuff.


Or the “Maldives” according to the US president.

I’ve caught most all of the World Cup games so and here are some random thoughts.

1.  The breathless praise for Lionel Messi is way over the top.  Brilliant!  Artistic!  Genius!  To borrow Acto’s thing, I’m just a dum American but… the play of Messi has never matched the hype.  Not when I’ve watched.  Neymar?  Yeah, I can see it.  Ronaldo?  Definitely.  But Messi… meh.  Argentina looked lethargic against a slow and sloppy Bosnia yesterday.  Messi made one play and got a goal but really his play wasn’t worthy of the acclaim.

2.   That’s another bit of expert commentary that didn’t square with my eyes.  BIH’s touches were sloppy and passes off-target and pace was plodding.  But ABC –Martinez in particular– was raving about them.

3.  WTF ECUADOR?  If you missed it:  tie game, in extra time, Ecuador gets ball in the box, their guy dribbles and turns it over, now maybe 15 seconds of extra time, Switzerland runs down and scores.


Les Bleus are the best team no one is talking about.

4.  Through Sunday 6/15, teams that look good:  Brazil, Mexico, Croatia, HOLLAND, Chile, Costa Rica, France.

5.  Teams that look decent:  Cameroon, Australia, Ivory Coast, Italy.

6.  Teams that look like shite:  Spain, England, Honduras, Bosnia, Argentina.

7.  France is going to make their presence known this cup.  They seem to have been overlooked in the pre Cup reviews.

8.  All in for Germany today.

9.  I don’t hate USA against Ghana as much as I did last week.  Mexico and Costa Rica did CONCACAF proud.  Honduras, not so much, but on the other hand, I think France is also that good.

  1. Adkins provides the best ‘insider’ reporting of the Browns that I’ve seen and I think subscription has been good value. [back]
  • mgbode

    Who needs a good laugh today?

    That’s right. No Johnny Football starting week1. No Brian Hoyer starting week1. Nope, it’s gotta by the great Tyler Thigpen starting week1 even though I doubt he makes the 53man roster (Connor Shaw for QB3!).

  • actovegin1armstrong

    The retread wonder has begun his ascent! Jer-rah has been very impressed with Brandon Weeden, his arm strength, his rapport with Dez and his ability to just show up.
    Orton is staying home, Romo is good, but he has an interception on his fingertips just waiting to happen.
    I am considering this Wrigley Field, (or Wrigley stadium with all due respect to Jeff Gordon), and I am calling my shot. Brandon Weeden will lead the Cowboys to the playoffs this year!

    • mgbode

      Weeden has another year of eligibility with Oklahoma State?

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Touche’, well played bode.

  • Tron

    Also, love the choice photo of Florio. He looks like a well-trained dog obediently waiting to be told when he can put the microphone down so that he can be fed a treat (i.e. attention/approval from fellow national media douche-bags who perpetuate similar narratives).

    Cracks me up every time.

  • mgbode

    did you happen to mention the need for a big time stud WR? hmmm, wonder if there are any disgruntled ones lying around that we could get.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Really Bodhisattva?
      “Although Johnson hasn’t exactly pinpointed his reason for staying away, he has hinted that he’s frustrated with losing and fears that the team will be mired in a rebuilding situation under new head coach Bill O’Brien.”

      Andre Johnson was overheard to say, “I have got to get out this frying pan. Where is the fire?”

      Johnson was promptly contacted by Browns’ management staff.

      • mgbode

        oh, I understand that side. but, if you are the Browns FO, then it doesn’t hurt to make the call, right? not many teams have $10mil in cap room they can just absorb this time of year and a gaping hole at WR1 to fill.

  • bupalos

    There is one thing that points to a week one “here’s Johnny”– they haven’t signed Hoyer to anything. They really need to. Even if they’ve made up their minds to cast their lot with The Swanrider, they also clearly want to create an actual culture of competition. If Hoyer goes in to the year with no deal, I’m not sure that competition is all that convincing. Everyone is already acting like the writing is on the wall, and it’d be hard to deny with no deal. At the least they need to sign him to top-tier backup money, like 3MM or something. We are still going to need a backup even in the case that Monsieur Football actually does crack the roster and does work out– which I don’t think is even as good as even money.

    • Alex

      I read an article, forgot where, that said Hoyer and Flacco share the same agent. It quoted the agent as basically saying he thinks it’s smarter for him and Hoyer to gamble and see what the year brings rather than signing a contract now. He did the same thing with Flacco and it paid off. Completely different circumstances, I get that, but if Hoyer plays well this year he can demand A LOT more than 3M. I’m sure the Browns would love to sign him to that right now, but Hoyer and his agent would say no thanks.

      • bupalos

        Browns have a lot of leverage right now. As in hmmm, you won’t sign? Suddenly we feel like that big gap between you and Manziel is shrinking quicker than we thought.

        • Alex

          So the Browns basically threaten to start Manziel over Hoyer if he doesn’t sign a contract? I mean it’s not outside the realm of possibilities but that seems like (for the lack of a better phrase) really bad business.

          It’s definitely a gamble for Hoyer’s camp to turn down a 3Mish contract in the hopes that he starts and outperforms that value. But just from what I read of the agent’s quotes it sounds like a gamble they want to take. Can’t trust everything you read/hear, but thought it was interesting.

          • i saw the same report and had same reaction: ‘eff me. of all the agents hoyer would have flacco’s.’

            im hopeful this is standard june posturing where the browns dangle a chad henne number in the water and the muses about the flacco chicken game ozzie played. 3M would be easy to walk away from given he’s the starter on what looks to be a playoff contender. but double that and youre in the alex smith neighborhood which is a fair slot (imo) and harder for hoyer to turn down.

            that’s all provided his wife isn’t marcee tidwell and the scene doesn’t play out like in maguire:
            [Looking over an inadequate contract]
            Jerry Maguire: I’ll go back to them.
            Marcee Tidwell: And say what? “Please remove your dick from my ass”?
            and then tells him he’s a strong, proud, surviving, splendid white man. etc., etc.

          • bupalos

            I wouldn’t be that simple or straightforward about it, but I don’t think it’s wrong to be candid about the payoff we’re looking for in giving Hoyer his chance. He’s basically an advanced rookie, and there’s nothing wrong with being candid about the economics of us slotting him into the starting position versus the raw rookie we just drafted. It’s a much bigger payoff for us if the true rookie that is going to get 2M per for the next 4 does well than the free agent.

            I imagine he can do the math for himself without it even being made explicit. If he and the Browns are doing mediocre midseason, say 3-5, but has no contract he’ll be headed to the bench and have to hope to catch another situation next year, which might not happen. If he’s got a contract that still offers the Browns a payoff if he grows, he’d be much more likely to stay in.

            Like I say, he can do the math, but he’s with an agent that already won this gamble and that could help influence things in the wrong direction.

  • nj0

    Were the CBs supposed to let Hawkins burn them like that? Was that the drill? Cause… just damn. That film makes him look really impressive.

    re: Florio – I think his rise to “guy who gets the inside scoop” is all machinations by NBC. ESPN has a few guys who, when they report something on the NFL, you know it’s mostly likely true. Think the National Broadcast Corp has hitched their wagon to Florio with hopes of the same. Create the hype and people will buy in (which many have, apparently).

    re: Groves – Yeah, I’m curious/suspicious too. Would be nice if this town had reporters who could get some sort of information on that…

    re: “really simple analysis” – Or how about just an honest, sincere opinion? I think PD sports reporting reached the level of self parody when MKC actually put down in print (or e-print or whatever) that she hypes the Browns and avoid criticism to make her elderly dad happy.

    re: JFF hype – It’s all on Hoyer. Play well, good sir, and make it so we don’t have to hear about Manziel. Or, if you suck, may as well throw JFF to the lions. At least that’ll be fun to watch. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

  • zarathustra

    Florio being Florio. Alas, this is only the beginning.
    I don’t think we disagree on much.
    1. I agree with your agreement with me.
    2. Edelman is water under the bridge for me. Hawkins–if he stays healthy–should be a far more dynamic weapon. I just wish they gave Hoyer a suicide slot guy–I have quoted bupalos at least a dozen times with that term.
    3. West is more exciting because he is an unknown. I am actually not super excited about any of them individually. What I am super excited about is just having decent backs in a run-friendly system. And I didn’t even mention Lewis or gray as a pretty interesting full back option.
    4. Yep.
    5. Agree very much–especially the part where you agreed with me about DQ. The groves thing doesn’t make sense though even if there were off the field issues. You need training camp insurance. What if Dansby goes down?
    6. Sure. It helps if they’re good though.
    7. I gauge these thing off my non-psychotic friends and family who are not obsessively plugged-in to these things as I. They get their news by occasionally listening to sports talk and maybe reading an article here and there all off-season. The difference was very apparent in my mind. You are right of course about MKC–who really merits her own classification. Let us never forget her Holmgren/shurmur super bowl prediction.
    8.. I disagree about last year. I have a funny feeling you may have already suspected that though.
    9. I believe in Hoyer and I trust Pettine to manage it as best as possible. It’s just that I don’t think that will be enough. The circus does not give any fucks if jff doesn’t look good in practice or if Hoyer clearly wins the job. That is the problem with the circus and why you shouldn’t invite it to town. There’s also the way they treat the animals but that is another matter. Frickin circuses.
    10. I can totally see it. And I don’t even need rose-colored glasses to do so. But to play devil’s advocate: team one finished 6-2; team two did manage a road playoff win and before that should have beaten Carolina on the road so they weren’t all that bad; teamthree also fiinished strong and improved this offseason–i think they are a.legit contender but that’s me. Even if they go 1-2 I think we will all mostly be happy with what we see as they will be right over there every game.

    • nj0

      “I think Colt McCoy will take this team to a Super Bowl within the next
      five years. There, I said it. Go bold or go home. I’ve never seen a more
      determined player or a harder-working one. I think he’ll excel in this
      system and do whatever it takes to win a championship. I think the
      Browns will surround him with the players to do it.”

      • zarathustra

        Oh my. I had forgotten the details. Not just Holmgren and Shurmur but she added Colt for the trifecta. It is truly a wonder that she remains employed.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Well, since we are not really on the subject….
        I am not a big Clot McChips fan, but, I am very certain that Weeden will have a terrific career, whether it is with the cowboys, or the next team looking for a re-tread.

  • Tron

    The national medias reporting on Manziel is so bad it’s a disgrace. From SI to ESPN to Mike Florios dumbass (yes he is a horrible reporter). They’re all style and no substance.

    • it’s a minor tragedy that being a blow hard is the safest path to take if you’re a journo who wants to get paid. adkins’ info behind theOBR’s pay wall is outstanding and useful. if you want to know what’s really going on — eg, who is looking good, what coaches think about players, potential draft picks or free agents, the vibe in the locker room — it’s really the only place you can get it. $10/month isn’t ‘really’ that much especially when you think about what newspaper subscriptions used to cost. but something about paying for content on the web is antithethetical to the whole web thing.. that goes for me too. i think the presumption is that you can find the same info somewhere for free. but in the case of lane’s stuff,,, you actually cant get it anywhere else. (btw, i asked and got lane’s OK to excerpt his hoyer blurb.)

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Tron I appreciate your sentiments, but I am not certain what you are watching. They are lacking in style as well.

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