Early Monday morning, The Clevelamd Browns terminated the contract of LB Paul Kruger. This came as a surprise for the die hard fan, but inside of the Browns facility, this was no surprise at all.
Cutting Kruger from the team now puts the team over $50 million under the NFL salary cap which will help to resign the players that will make an impact for the team in the upcoming years and bring in the free agent players needed to help build a winning team and culture. The thing I’m starting to question is why Kruger?
Looking back on his stats, they may not be jumping off the page impressive, but Kruger never missed a game in his tenure here in Cleveland. He was never unproductive as he always did the job he came here to do. He virtually had no help from anyone else putting pressure on the QB so he was left alone to try to break through the line. He started in all 48 games in his three years in a Browns uniform. He also racked up 78 tackles and 18 sacks.
Compare those stats next to someone like Joe Haden and I believe that you have a case that Haden should’ve been an option to have his contract terminated instead of Kruger.
Joe only played in five games last year and didn’t even finish all of those games. He finished the season with only 18 tackles and four passes defended. Haden has developed the reputation of being injury prone an has not been as dependable as he once was a few years back. Even in his last Pro Bowl year, his stats weren’t impressive and probably got the Pro Bowl nod on name alone.
This is almost like a contract year for Haden. He has to prove to the new staff and the fans that he can come back from injury both mentally and physically and be a threat when he takes the field. His value right now will not get any higher the Browns, if they wanted to, could try and trade Joe before the trade deadline in October. I don’t see more than a third round pick for him, but it’s always an option.
Joe is a hometown favorite and has always loved playing for the city of Cleveland but if his play doesn’t hold up this year, he could be looking for a new home sooner rather than later.
It’s never a dull moment when it comes to Cleveland Browns football. LB Paul Kruger, among 10 other Browns, have been cut from the team while two have peen placed on injured reserve.
None of the names came as a surprise or shock with the exception of Kruger. K Travis Coons hasn’t been consistent enough to be the full time place kicker and QB Austin Davis was Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer’s guy. Hue Jackson has seen from this preseason that with the production he’s getting from veterans, they would have just as much impact with younger talent.
Kruger ended last year with 27 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Davis had 547 yards with only one touchdown and 3 interceptions while playing in 3 games.
It’s been reported today that Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is drawing interest from multiple teams but the Browns are not interested, according to ESPN.
Gordon set to make his preseason debute Friday night against Tampa Bay and if he shows that he hasn’t lost a step and can be the Pro Bowler he once was, expect the calls to keep coming. Gordon has been getting first team reps and has become one of Robert Griffins III’s favorite targets.
Of course, Gordon is suspended for the first four games of the regular season but that isn’t stopping teams from inquiring about the troubles wide out. He’s been suspended 27 of the last 32 games and was recently very close with former Browns QB Johnny Manziel. The hope is that he has finally realized the opportunity in front of him and is going to be a model citizen.
Gordon said that he is serious about his comeback saying that not only is he the same guy who led the league in 2013 with 1,646 yards, but that he could be even better.
As the last two preseason games have shown us anything, it’s that the Cleveland Browns’ defense has not improved much since last season. Missed tackles and miscommunication have been a theme for the team that’s put them in a 0-2 start but it is preseason and this time is used to see what your team can do and see if you have the right players in the right situations.
This brings me to the Browns 2014 eighth overall draft pick DB Justin Gilbert.
Gilbert was drafted by Mike Pettine because to run his defensive scheme, he needed two solid corners. With DB Joe Haden on one side, they thought that Gilbert would come in and hold down the number two receiver at bay as Haden would lock down the other side of the field. This was not the case as Gilbert was not a strong tackler and would get lost in coverage from looking at the quarterback until the ball was thrown, leaving a man open to catch the throw.
Gilbert has put up unimpressive numbers since his rookie year. In two years, he’s played in only 19 games which he started only started in three games, 35 tackles, nine passes defended, one interception that he ran back for a touchdown against Andrew Luck and no forced fumbles. Those are not the numbers of a eighth overall pick. Those are practice squad numbers.
Gilbert wasn’t even living up to expectations off the football field. He was a healthy scratch in four of the last five games of the 2016 season because he was showing up late for practices. He was also involved in a road rage incident when he cut off a driver on the highway and threw a drink at the car. The two drivers got off the highway in Brunswick, OH and drove into a ditch trying to get away from the enraged driver.
This seems like Gilbert’s last chance to redeem himself. Head coach Hue Jackson will be paying close attention to the third year back and even gave him the start last week in the Atlanta game where he had two tackles and one pass defended. He was beat multiple times and missed tackles when the Browns needed them. With Haden possibly returning to action this Friday against Tampa Bay, Gilbert will have only about a game and a half to show that he can elevate his play and be a solid contributor to this team.
My guess is that not only will Gilbert not be on this team next year, but I doubt to see him in an NFL uniform again after this season.
For the first time since Thursday’s game against the Falcons, the Cleveland Browns returned to the practice field on Sunday for one last time before they head down to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers. The two teams have joint practices on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Familiar faces returned to the field for the Browns as Joe Haden is on pace to play Friday in Tampa. Haden has been sidelined most of the practices so far this year to protect himself from further injuring his ankle that ended his rough season last year.
Josh Gordon, who was nursing a lower leg injury of his own, participated fully in every drill and had a big day for himself catching a good number of passes. Along with Gordon, the Browns first round pick Corey Coleman returned and looks like he didn’t miss any time as he was just as impressive as he’s been so far this year.
It’s encouraging to see most of the roster starting to become healthy. The injuries played a big part of the Browns abysmal season. The third preseason game is the closest thing to regular season action we can get. The so called “Dress Rehersal” is when the starters play most of the first half of the game as the players try to find a rhythm and a connection with one another.
The Browns haven’t had Haden, Gordon or Coleman in a game so far in the preseason so we may see a bit more time for a select few. Look out for the RG3 to Gordon connection early. The two were teammates at Baylor and were very fun to watch. Let’s hope they can bring some of that magic to northeast Ohio.
The Arizona Rattlers completely dominated on both sides of the ball as they crushed the Cleveland Gladiators 82-41 in the AFL National Conference Championship game.
Continue reading “Arizona Embarrasses Cleveland In AFL NCC 82-41”
In the first round of the 2016 AFL Postseason, the Cleveland Gladiators hang on in the fourth quarter to beat the LA KISS on Sunday 56-52. With the win, the Gladiators advanced to the 2016 National Conference Championship Game vs. the Arizona Rattlers with the opening kickoff set for 9:30 pm EST on Saturday, August 13th in Phoenix, AZ with a trip to ArenaBowl XXIX on the line.
The Gladiators took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter when Cleveland QB Arvell Nelson connected with FB P.K. Manley for a 21-yard score before LA tied the game on a two-yard Rory Nixon rushing touchdown.
The very next Gladiators possession, Cleveland’s Larry Beavers returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards for a touchdown and on the very next KISS drive, LA QB Nathan Stanley was intercepted by Glads DB Joe Powell in the end zone before Powell ran it back 50 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-6 Cleveland.
Stanley found WR Donovan Morgan on a 44-yard pitch-and-catch to start the second quarter to make it 20-12 Gladiators before a long scoring drought ended with a four-yard Stanley-to-D.J. Stephens pass that drew the KISS within a point at 20-19 with four minutes remaining in the half.
Manley responded with a four-yard rushing score on Cleveland’s next possession to make it 27-19 before LA capped the second quarter with a seven-yard Stanley-to-Morgan passing TD made it a one-point game at the half.
In the third quarter, a nine-yard Nixon rushing score for LA led to a 27-yard connection between Stanley and Morgan that made it 39-27 KISS. The Gladiators got back in it moments later when Nelson found Cleveland WR Collin Taylor in the end zone from 16 yards out to make it 39-34 KISS and extend Taylor’s franchise-record streak to 33 consecutive games with at least one touchdown reception.
In the fourth quarter, LA started fast with a two-yard Nixon rushing touchdown that pushed the KISS lead to 46-34 before the Gladiators rattled off three straight scores, starting with a 27-yard Nelson TD strike to Devin Wilson that came on 4th and 15. Cleveland turned that momentum into a defensive stop that led to a lengthy drive for a one-yard Nelson rushing touchdown with a successful two-point conversion.
Beavers added a second special teams score with just 30 seconds remaining in the game when he recovered a Gladiators kickoff off the KISS net and ran it in for a critically-important score. Leading 56-46 in the final minute, Cleveland allowed an eight-yard Stanley-to-Fred Williams TD pass, but held on for the victory.
Next up for the Gladiators, it’s the National Conference Championship Game vs. the Arizona Rattlers with full coverage, live from Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, AZ..