Comprehensive Mike Lombardi Analysis for Browns Fans

by Matt Borcas on February 6, 2013

Matt Borcas is a journalism student at Ohio State and a Mentor, Ohio native who recently emerged from a field of 4,000 competitors to land a part-time job writing about the NFL for ESPN’s Grantland. Matt will be writing a weekly column on the NFL Draft here all the way up to the 2013 edition and through its immediate aftermath. Today, he starts with a comprehensive look back at new Browns VP of Player Personnel Mike Lombardi’s career in search of clues as to what we should expect this April. Enjoy! — Ed.

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In 20 years, will anything on television – save for the inevitable Rex/Rob Ryan Cialis commercial – offer more entertainment value than political attack ads? As much as it might be comforting to think that things couldn’t get any worse along these lines, the answer is, irrefutably, no, for one simple reason: social media. Future candidates will face the grim reality of rival Super PACs unearthing skeletons in their digital closet – status updates, tweets, Instagrams, and DISQUS comments, containing all manner of entreaties to “Turn the f*** up!”, death threats directed at former Browns cornerback Eric Wright, and graphic metaphors likening T.O. to a woman’s delicate parts. (IT’S TRU!)

For instance, assume (and why wouldn’t you?) that Browns linebacker Craig Robertson decides to run for executive office after his playing days were over. Is there any way that what seems like an innocuous tweet today, wouldn’t end up igniting a firestorm across the heartland and derail his campaign?

CRobTweet

It would certainly cost him Kansas and Missouri’s combined 16 electoral votes, anyway, as much as Incarcerated Bob, Stephen Hawking, and fake Solomon Wilcots all agree there was an excessive number of Chiefs in the Pro Bowl — enough to warrant a full-on Carl Monday investigation.

Please know that I am not overstating this BOLD PREDICTION a bit. Anthony Weiner-type scandals like the one outlined above are the wave of the attack ad future, and this is an eventuality we must embrace. Still, with the generation that comprises the current political establishment having made exponentially less extensive use of social media than those who came of age in “the facebook generation,” years will pass before said wave crashes fully into the shore. Welp. Patience is a virtue, I guess.

And thankfully, as we wait for the next Weiner, new Browns VP of Player Personnel Mike Lombardi can serve as a microcosm of what’s to come in this new paradigm. As many know here, after leaving the Raiders in 2007, Lombardi spent five years blogging, podcasting, and tweeting up a storm, providing fans a rare glimpse into what Jim Nantz wants you and Tony Grossi to believe is America’s second-brightest football mind. Consequently, we have a general idea of the draft day decisions Lombardi would have made had he been running a team. Let’s judge him for it!

As Frowns consigliere @jimkanicki has pointed out, that many of Lombardi’s drafts with the Browns, Eagles, and Raiders fell on the wrong end of Mel Kiper, Jr.’s grading curve. Even Lombardi admits that he and Bill Belichick commiserate over their lackluster selections from time to time – I picture the two of them aboard a sailboat off the Nantucket coast, huddled over a bottle of Ciroc, cursing Tommy Vardell, Eric Zeier, and Craig Powell. However, in his introductory press conference, Lombardi also claimed that working in the media improved his talent evaluating talents (mostly via an office at NFL Films) and broadened his perspective of the league. Was he telling the truth? We remember Lombardi’s facepalm-inducing opinions of Joe Haden and Josh Gordon, but surely he got something right, right?

Well that’s what your intrepid correspondent set out to discover. For three days I did nothing but eat, sleep, drink, read, and listen to Michael Lombardi, the man, the myth, the legend, circa 2008-2012, going where the mainstream media refuses to go. What I uncovered was equal parts mesmerizing, gut-wrenching, and flabbergasting, and I encourage all of you to read on to see for yourself – it’s basically your civic duty:

Artifact: The B.S. Report, 4/18/08 (Lombardi’s segment starts at 26:50).

Quotes of Note:

First, a disclaimer: I’ve only included quotes that stuck out as a) especially interesting or b) contrary to conventional wisdom. Lombardi doesn’t deserve props for exalting Andrew Luck when anyone with semi-functioning retinas could see his greatness; conversely, we shouldn’t knock him too hard for calling Glenn Dorsey “the best player in the [2008] draft” when such a belief was prevalent at the time. OK, on to the quotes.

“[A quarterback’s] accuracy is very difficult to improve, and if he can’t improve it, the player won’t ever make it [in the NFL].”

“[Al Davis] ran every draft…That’s his baby.”

“[My least favorite draft] was 1995 in Cleveland, and we had the tenth pick, I believe. There were ten really good players in the draft, and we got some information on Warren Sapp that wasn’t favorable – it wasn’t accurate, but we believed it – and when the Jets picked Kyle Brady in front of us, everyone thought we were going berserk [because Sapp was still available]…However, we would’ve picked Sapp, but had some wrong intelligence…So we move to the bottom of the first round; we were gonna pick Curtis Martin there, but thought, ‘Nah, we’ll sign Lorenzo White in free agency and pick a defensive player.’…When I got home that night, I burnt all the clothes on my body.” [Worth a link here: Jon Gruden Is Gonna Get Two Hotel Rooms For All His Bitches, Bill Belichick’s D*ck Is Hard, And Other Things We Learned From Warren Sapp’s New Book.]

“People talk about taking Darren McFadden [with a high draft pick] like he’ll make a difference, but the Minnesota Vikings had the number one ranked run offense and defense [in the 2007 season], and they watched the playoffs.”

“Vernon Gholston, I think, [is missing something] in the sense that he doesn’t do it all the time. A lot of the sacks that he gets in college are against running backs, and he won’t have that luxury in the NFL.”

Verdict: Not the worst showing for Lombardi, for having to man up on landing Craig Powell/Lorenzo White instead of two first ballot Hall of Famers in ’95 (can we really blame him for pulling a Ray Lewis with his draft day gear?) The remark about a quarterback’s accuracy bodes poorly for Brandon Weeden, and while the Al Davis quip may come across as self-serving, I tend to believe him. Finally, kudos to him for doubting non-difference makers Darren McFadden and Vernon Gholston. (If only Gholston had dropped his gym membership and joined a yoga studio…)

Artifact: The B.S. Report, 4/19/2010.

Quotes of Note:

[When asked for sleepers in the top 40]: “I like Maurkice Pouncey from Florida…I think he’s a guy that’s gonna go to the Pro Bowl for a long time; if somebody takes him in the first round, that’s a smart pick…Dan Williams, the nose tackle from Tennessee will be a really good player, and I like Jason Pierre-Paul – he’s got unique skills. If he gets with the right coach and the right team, he can become a great pass rusher.”

Verdict: Put Lombardi on a Wheaties box for this effort. Pouncey is a three-time Pro Bowler, Williams if not at the top of Frownie’s wish list next to things like “free corndogs” and “unicorns,” is nevertheless a solid anchor to one of the best defensive lines in football, and after J.J. Watt (and maybe Aldon Smith), there isn’t a defensive end I’d rather have than Pierre-Paul.

Documents: Diner morning news: Fins make the right move, 4/26/2010; Diner morning news: A new draft philosophy, 4/27/2010.

Quotes of Notes:

“I really think wide receiver Arrelious Benn of Illinois is going to struggle to play the game fast. He moves better in a workout than when he’s playing the game, and he might struggle to get on the field quickly for the Bucs. He’s a workout player, not a natural player.”

“The Dolphins were not going to fall in love with combine players or anyone who had a great workout. They wanted to focus on football players and not let a 40 time or individual workout alter their thought process. They made it a point to have their draft board completely graded before they went to the Indy combine. They weren’t going to be swayed by workout warriors, and they were going to make sure they stayed true to their philosophical beliefs. Those beliefs are centered on size and speed football players — but the speed is functional football speed.”

Verdict: In these articles (especially the second one), Lombardi expresses a vehement disdain for “workout warriors.” If a player’s stock skyrockets at the combine because of extraordinary measurable (like Dontari Poe’s did last year), I wouldn’t expect the Browns to draft him at 6.

Document/Artifact: Uncertainty about Tebow leaves Broncos with draft dilemma, 2/21/2011; Lombardi on Mike and Mike in the Morning, 4/26/2012.

Quotes of Note:

“I think if I was still in the league and needed a quarterback, instead of chasing [Kevin] Kolb, I would chase Brian Hoyer of the Patriots. If teams evaluate New England’s Week 17 game against Miami, they’d see that Hoyer demonstrates the skills needed to be a starter.”

[When asked about Brandon Weeden possibly sneaking into the first round]: “Brandon Weeden’s got a great arm; everybody talks about his maturity, his age…There’s gonna be some uncertainty with Weeden. I think there’s a long separation [between Andrew Luck/RG3 and Weeden]. Look, I’m a Brian Hoyer fan…I would’ve rather given up a second round pick for Brian Hoyer than select one of these quarterbacks after [Luck and RG3] get drafted.”

Verdict: I respect Lombardi for using his national soapbox to pimp a Cleveland native (St. Ignatius stand up!), but since these comments were made:

  1. The Patriots cut Hoyer on August 31, 2012.
  2. The Steelers added Hoyer on November 20, 2012 after Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich went down with injuries.
  3. The Steelers started a decrepit, 38 year-old Charlie Batch over Hoyer in Cleveland, where he was intercepted thrice and finished the game with a QBR of 20.8.
  4. The very next week, the Steelers started a decrepit, 38 year-old Charlie Batch again over Hoyer in Baltimore.
  5. The Steelers cut Hoyer on December 8, 2012.

If Lombardi was our GM VP of Player Personnel a year ago, there is a very good chance that Hoyer would have affixed his name to this storied list by now:

onlytheCurseofWahoocoulddothis

Document: Feeling prepared to rewrite ‘one of my least-favorite’ drafts, 4/12/2011.

Quotes of Note:

To fully exorcise the sizzurp-sipping demons of JaMarcus Russell and his astronomical contract with the Raiders as the top overall pick, Lombardi took it upon himself to redo the 2007 draft. Understandable. Here is his revised top 10:

  1. Raiders: Darrelle Revis
  2. Lions: Calvin Johnson
  3. Browns: Adrian Peterson
  4. Bucs: Patrick Willis
  5. Cardinals: Joe Thomas
  6. Redskins: LaRon Landry
  7. Vikings: Jon Beason
  8. Falcons: LaMarr Woodley
  9. Dolphins: Joe Staley
  10. Texans: Leon Hall

Verdict: This was published in April 2011, at the height of the Revis Island phenomenon, but I’m still surprised that Lombardi would (re)draft Revis over Johnson and Peterson. First, in 2007, the Raiders already had the NFL’s best cornerback in Nnamdi Asomugha, yet their offensive skill positions were atrocious – like, 2009 Browns-level atrocious. Second, I believe Johnson and Peterson help their teams win more than Revis does. (I.e., I don’t think the 2011 Lions/2012 Vikings would make the playoffs if they lacked Johnson/Peterson but had Revis.) Perhaps this lends credence to the idea that the Browns will eschew a pass rusher at 6 in favor of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. Though a Haden/Milliner tandem is enticing, Ziggy Ansah, Jarvis Jones, and Barkevious Mingo are better options in the eyes of this amateur draftnik.

Documents: Owens has only himself to blame for his struggles finding a team, 7/18/2010; Josh Gordon’s emergence is solidifying GM Tom Heckert’s young receiving corps, 12/7/2012; New Browns VP Mike Lombardi backs off Brandon Weeden comments, 1/19/2013.

Quotes of Note:

“According to coaches around the league, Browns first-round pick Joe Haden has not been very impressive in camps and might not have enough speed to play corner. Maybe all that talk about some in the organization wanted to take Kyle Wilson over Haden was true.”

[On the Browns selecting Josh Gordon in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft]: “A wasted pick.”

[On the Browns selecting Brandon Weeden with the 22nd pick in the 2012 draft]: “A panicked disaster.”

Verdict: Oddly enough, two of Lombardi’s worst evaluations during his stint in the media involve current Browns. We can probably chalk up the Joe Haden hate to Lombardi’s unabashed loathing of Eric Mangini, but the Josh Gordon hate is a bit harder to quantify. Tony Grossi theorizes that, “Lombardi could not find a scouting report on Gordon to commit to his encyclopedic memory; thus, his uninformed opinion on Gordon,” so I’ll go with that, unless anyone else has a better explanation. On the other hand, the Brandon Weeden selection, like this pass, might in fact go down as a panicked disaster.

Document: Saints, Raiders, others find good value with late draft picks, 4/29/2012.

Quotes of Note:

“[Billy] Winn was a medical concern coming out of Boise State, which is why he slipped to the sixth round. But if his health checks out, he is capable of being a good rotational inside defensive lineman.”

“[Tank] Carder, of TCU, is an instinctive three-down player who can become a starter for the Bills, giving them a linebacker with much-needed speed and athletic skills.”

“[Vick] Ballard is a productive back with burst acceleration and the ability to play on all three downs. The ex-Mississippi State star might not be the fastest back on the Colts’ roster, but he will be the best very soon.”

Verdict: Lombardi didn’t hate every Tom Heckert draft pick, see. Here he lists Billy Winn among the twelve best value picks of last year’s draft, along with current Brown Tank Carder and Vick Ballard, who had a nice season in Indianapolis.

Artifact: The B.S. Report, 4/27/2011.

Quote of Note:

“The guy I think who’s the sleeper in this draft, the guy who’s gonna be the DeMarcus Cousins of this draft, is Ryan Mallett. He’s gonna turn out really good for somebody, or it’s gonna be a disaster…Mallett’s got unbelievable ability…I was told this by somebody in the league: Mallett is a better Drew Bledsoe. Nobody wants to admit this because everybody has Bledsoe up on this pedestal, but Mallett throws the ball more accurately, he’s got more toughness than Bledsoe had, he’s a better leader than Bledsoe [was], and he can do everything Bledsoe can do.”

Verdict: Ryan Mallett is the future!

Other documents/artifacts a Mike Lombardi enthusiast should consume:

If you want to hear Lombardi praise Trent Richardson and lambaste Mike Holmgren for botching the RG3 situation: 4/23/2012 edition of The B.S. Report.

If you want more insight into Lombardi’s draft philosophies: Six lessons from the master, 4/16/2012.

If you want to see Lombardi go Jon Gruden on Brandon Weeden: Brandon Weeden chalk talk, 4/20/2012.

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YouTube of the Week

“This is a day that’s probably gonna go down as the day the fortunes of the Browns turn[ed],” prophesied a supremely confident Phil Savage on April 28, 2007. The rest, of course, is history. A rocket-armed, horse-balled quarterback named Derek Anderson (along with a schematic savant named CHUD) led the Browns to a 10-6 record and the brink of the playoffs. For the first time since 2002, things were looking up. In the offseason, Savage concluded that Anderson’s season was an anomaly and shrewdly moved him for a first round pick in the 2008 draft. While Anderson had developed a cult following among Browns fans, making the trade was an easy call, especially with Brady Quinn, star of the above video, waiting in the wings. Or at least that’s what should have happened.

/profanities re: rooting for Buffalo

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Prospect of the Week

Our first prospect of the week is someone whose name you’ll become very familiar with if you end up reading this column regularly: BYU defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah. I’ll spend the next three months pounding the table for the Browns to draft Ziggy at #6 overall, and I hope you join me. Ziggy is fast, rangy, raw – rawer than the carrots in my refrigerator – and, being a big man that can both run and hit, a better than perfect fit for Ray Horton’s defense, who’s drawn comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul and Clay Matthews, Jr. Read Jeff Benedict’s tremendous profile of Ansah, watch this highlight video, and tell me your mouth isn’t watering. Which is where I’ll leave you for this week.

Just 78 days until the draft. The most wonderful time of the year!

  • BIKI024

    re: Haden, he did run a 4.53 40 at combine (Patrick Peterson ran a 4.34) so the questions about his speed were somewhat valid, even though Joe was a bit nicked up.

    he was also pretty high on Russell Wilson, had him ranked 3rd best QB in the draft..

    • http://twitter.com/ChrisInCLE Chris Mc

      PrimeTime was standing right there and said (paraphrasing) Oh no, his technique is all wrong. Someone show that man how to run a 40.

      Which is why if you watched Haden play in the SEC, there were never any legitimate concerns by anyone about Haden’s speed.

      • BIKI024

        just concerns about his character..

        • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

          as there were for janoris jenkins who would look super in seal brown.

          • BIKI024

            he did finish season strong after a 1 game suspension in Week 10.. but Joe had a 4 game suspension that most likely costed us at least a couple wins.. hopefully he keeps his nose clean and have a pro bowl season next year.

        • http://twitter.com/ChrisInCLE Chris Mc

          Where did Lombardi mention his character?

          • BIKI024

            Where did I say he did?

          • http://twitter.com/ChrisInCLE Chris Mc

            Sorry, I thought this post was about Lombardi.

          • BIKI024

            i was talking about Haden, but whatever comment police. seems like all his flashiness at florida off the field had more to do with his contributions or lack thereof on the field for the Browns this past season.

    • Matt Borcas

      As noted in the post, Lombardi fancies himself as someone who can differentiate between “workout speed” and “game speed”. One would think that Haden’s ability to cover guys like AJ Green and Julio Jones in college would put concerns about his game speed to rest.

  • trashycamaro

    Nice work. Glad someone was able to go through his stuff from the past several years. I did not remember him being as bad as Cleveland seems to be thinking (although he is more than a little awkward on the microphone and he does not have much skill as a writer).

    Couple points:

    1. A 2nd round pick on Hoyer would have been less wasteful than a 1st round pick on Weeds.

    2. I think most everyone was down on Josh Gordon, especially as a second round pick. I may be mis-remembering that a little, but most of the stories/columns about it I just looked at used words like “desperate” and “gamble”.

    3. Biki already took up the Haden and Wilson thoughts, so I won’t repeat.

    4. That 2011 re-draft is splitting hairs talent-wise, although your assessment of team needs is worthy. And it should be noted that the Jets did not make the playoffs this year, the first time they have not had Revis Island.

    Again, thanks for the good work! Welcome to Frowns.

    • http://twitter.com/ChrisInCLE Chris Mc

      1. A 2nd round pick on Hoyer would have been less wasteful than a 1st round pick on Weeds.

      Explain this further please? Hoyer couldn’t beat out Grandpa Batch and was cut twice in the same season. You would have been better soaking the 2nd round pick in gasoline and lighting it than spending it on Hoyer. Weeden at least has some sort of a chance in a system that lets him throw the ball, instead of dink and dunk 4 yard passes all day.

      • trashycamaro

        Fair enough. The tl;dr summary – drafting Weeds was soaking a first round pick in gasoline and lighting it on fire, and the difference in ability between Weeds and Hoyer is negligible, while the value of the 22nd pick and the 37th is not (I acknowledge this is my opinion and I am in no way qualified to judge NFL players other than comparing published statistics and Madden 13 ratings).

        The longer version:

        Hoyer couldn’t beat out Batch. Well, Hoyer was signed one week before the game against the Browns after the injury to Leftwich. Meanwhile, Batch had been on the Steelers roster since 2003 and presumably was very familiar with the offense. While he laid an egg against the Browns, with a solid Weeden-like performance, I am sure the Steelers were looking more towards what they got in his 2nd start against the World Champ Ravens, a solid 89.6 QB Rating and a 53.1 QBR. I am assuming the Steelers were not super-impressed with Hoyer as they cut him as soon as they did not need a 4th string QB anymore.

        Hoyer did get picked up by the amazing Cardinals. And they did give him some run, and he did put up a better QBR, but lesser Rating than Weeds. I know, I know, sample size blah blah blah. The point is, same ballpark. Also, 2 years younger, and probably some quality football IQ (which is Lombardi’s reasoning). The idea is they are comparable.

        There are also plenty of questions about the coaching Weeden got this year, which is of course fair. But consider this: how many of the players progressed under Shurmur versus how many regressed? Part of that has to do with, as much as I don’t want to admit it, the coaching done by the staff.

        Do I think Hoyer was worth a 2nd round pick? No. Do I think Weeden was worth a 1st round pick? No. Is it possible that Weeds will have more value in a not West Coast dink and dunk offense? Of course. But I’m not counting on it.

        At the end, it is better to incinerate a 2nd round pick than a first round pick, and aside from Weeds, I think Heckert did a solid job finding talent in the draft, so the difference between the two is not marginal.

        (As always, I hope my negative opinions about current Browns player turn out to be ghastly, absurdly wrong. I hope Weeden turns into a hybrid of Testaverde and Steve Young the passer, starts the next 9 pro bowls and wins three Super Bowls. But I’m not counting on it.)

        • http://twitter.com/ChrisInCLE Chris Mc

          As admittedly bad as the quarterback coaching (and QB play at times) and offensive system was last year, I’m still in the boat that wants to see what Weeden can do if he’s coached up. Firing the coaching staff and dumping Weeden seems to me like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

          I’d propose conducting it like a scientific experiment: make Weeden the constant, Shurmur was the variable. Change the variable, see what happens. Weeden was at his best at Oklahoma State when they spread the field, gave him the option to audible at the line, and he was throwing the ball all over the field. For whatever reason, Heckert and Shurmur decided to draft a guy like that and completely throw his strengths out the window.

          TL;DR – I believe that Weeden will take a big jump forward with Norv Turner’s offensive system.

          • BIKI024

            not to mention it being his 2nd go around at it where most QBs have some natural progression gained from experience in the league.

          • http://twitter.com/ChrisInCLE Chris Mc

            Also an excellent point.

  • jpftribe

    Super post, really enjoyed reading that.

    Weeds is undoubtedly on a short leash.

    The first pick will be an interesting one, possibly defining.

    Also interested in FA signings by Lombardi. There seems to be a very good crop of OLB’s. Be interesting to see if they go value or quality.

    I was a big fan of Heckert’s drafts, but Patterson and Rucker made little sense to me. Plugged holes at best.

    And where is Heckert going to land?

    • beeceeinla

      i think gocong will be more than adequate at one OLB spot; he was an undersized DE in college but because he showed decent pass coverage skills he got plugged into a 4-3 scheme at OLB where he was judged to have a fairly high floor though not necessarily a high ceiling. scouts think his ceiling is much higher in a 3-4 scheme. sheard might be able to make the transition, but given how the steelers groom their OLBs (woodley rode the bench for quite a while, worilds was drafted in 2010 and is the heir apparent to harrison) i think it would be wise to sign a OLB (shaun phillips is my preference) and give sheard the time to work on his skill set. the short sighted will undoubtedly howl when they see sheard go to part time role for 2013, but this could still work out.

      i was less enamored of heckert’s drafts. if lombardi’s endorsement of bill walsh’s approach to the draft is to be believed, there is no such thing as a reach IF the player ends up producing. i personally don’t buy that, i still think heckert reached on a lot of his picks, though winn turned out well; harbaugh thought kaepernick was the best player in the draft, but still waited to draft him in the 2nd round.

      i don’t get the observation on patterson & rucker. the point of getting FA’s is exactly that – to address needs that you couldn’t fill via the draft.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    bringing it strong out of the blocks. great work.

    one dot-connecting piece of business for the greater audience: borcas is aka willy loman from cheddar. frankly a pedestrian debut from borcas but still topped the exec cmte (slightly) and the consigliere (by wide margin) entries.

    count me in the ryan mallett fan club. sorry. i have never forgotten that sugar bowl against ohio state. paraphrasing fat bastard: mallett was dead sexy; his WRs were crap. last year, i wouldve flipped last year’s top pick for the two pats 1st rounders + mallett. whatever ‘head case’ issues he had at ann arbor and fayetteville, he’s now had three years of hanging out with tom brady and the chances are that some brady charisma rubbed off on him. (pre-emptive shhh: matt cassell analogies dont hold. mallett is a stronger armed, more accurate passer.)

    anyone else notice simmons intro lombardi in the 2008 clip as the former GM of the browns and raiders and lombardi not correct him? not that it matters now, but it sure would be nice to know exactly wtf he did with each team.

    • SteamingPileOfCraphonsoThorpe

      While I’d like to agree about Mallett, Belichick would rather saw off one of his arms than send actual valuable players to other teams. I am certain that part of his evil plan in acquiring extra draft picks every year is to pick up 1 or 2 Rope-a-Dope players to stash on the roster just to sabotage other teams foolish enough to trade for them. Make no mistake, he’s always thinking a couple years down the road and he knows that Tom Brady will have “diminishing skills” sooner rather than later; if he thought Mallett had any ability at all, he would quietly have locked him away in his basement already and we wouldn’t be hearing anything about him being available.

      I remember him spinning it well in the Sugar Bowl, too, and finishing said game by throwing one of the most heinous INT’s ever when feeling pressured. Of course, being a Buckeyes fan, I enjoyed that to no end – especially given the Michigan angle to the story.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    off topic:
    the ‘sign joe flacco and give ravens two first round picks’ is this years white whale for simpleton-media. like gruden or cowher talk in years past.

    discuss.

    • GrandRapidsRustlers

      The Ravens are in cap hell. If they pass on the exclusive tag in an effort to try and work something out more team friendly long term the Browns should absolutely offer the world only to make the Ravens sweat. It’s not like any rational person thinks he is actually leaving Baltimore but if you get a chance to mess with them or put a little doubt in the mind of Flacco…I say go for it.

      • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

        if the goal is jamming up the ravens, i think the better and more realistic play is to make a run at UFA dannell ellerbe.

        he carried lewis all year. theyre faced with plugging lewis’ hole already… if they lose both their starting ILBs it’ll crush them.

        plus we know he’s a 3-4 backer.

        ravens contracts here.

        • http://twitter.com/ChrisInCLE Chris Mc

          This is 100% accurate about Ellerbe. I’d like this twice if I could.

    • MichaelTheRed

      why would the Ravens get two first rounders from us? For Flacco? He’s UFA and he simply won’t be signing with us under any circumstances.

      • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

        this is the simpleton narrative. i heard some radio guys doing radio talk: WOULD YOU GIVE TWO 1STs FOR FLACCO?

        totally agree with you. there’s also a thinking out there that the browns could create a mkt for him and so bump up this price (to hurt the ravens cap). that too us far fetched.

        • MichaelTheRed

          yeah I don’t get it, no need to hype Flacco anymore than he already is. I’m very sure he’s going to get ridiculous offers from people no matter what. I just don’t understand why even bring up the prospect of giving up draft picks when there’s no trade involved he’s a FA.

          That being said, i would absolutely consider giving up this years and next years 1st round pick for Flacco if that deal was on the table and Flacco wouldn’t mind coming here and playing for us. It would be pre req’d on an interview with him to see how willing he is to play for Cleveland. I’m not gonna give up two drafts for a guy who’s gonna come here and phone it in for 2-3 years till he has to start playing for his next contract.

  • jaws.

    Ansah is an absolute athletic freak of nature. completely raw talent for sure but his upside is J.J. Watt-esque.

    • MichaelTheRed

      don’t know about taking him at 6. I mean at 6’6 270 can he play OLB in the NFL? If we’re drafting him for a DE spot I’d just as soon go with one of the SEC guys and see if we can hybrid them. He would seem like an alright pick if we stayed in the 4-3 AND Warner is off the board at 6

  • jaws.

    Gotta remember Media-Lombardi was always pushing an agenda. Haden criticism was pure Eric Mangini vitriol for ‘ratting out’ Belichick. Pushing Hoyer and Mallett was all about trying to help his buddy Belichick rope-a-dope some poor team into a “Kolb-Flynn-Cassel” type trade. Blasting Weeden and Gordon Picks was trying to push Heckert out the door to potentially open up the job for himself.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      These are good points that make me feel better about the whole thing.

      • nj0

        Relax. He’s not incompetent, just a petty, vicious man who has consistently used his office to punish his enemies and consolidate power for himself.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          I mean, it’s something. Diversity of petty viciousnesses might result in better thinking. Incompetence would just be completely consumed. I dunno. I’m trying.

    • Matt Borcas

      To an extent, I agree that Lombardi praised Hoyer to drum up trade interest for Belichick, but would he really put his credibility as an analyst/prospective GM candidate on the line just to help out a friend? I think he had to at least partially believe what he was saying. Perhaps Belichick told him that Hoyer looked great in practice or something and Lombardi ran with it.

      W/r/t Mallett, Lombardi was on the record as a Mallett-lover well before he was drafted by the Pats.(http://blogs.nfl.com/2011/04/27/lombardi-mallett-dedicated-to-football/).

      Also, I don’t see how there could’ve been an agenda with Lombardi’s Weeden analysis. When he blasted the pick – April 2012 – there was no reason for him to believe that the Browns’ GM position would soon open. Jimmy Haslam didn’t even know that the Browns were for sale until June: http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8228599/jimmy-haslam-iii-fired-new-owner-cleveland-browns

  • AlvaroEspinoza10

    Ziggy’s gonna have to learn how to tackle below the shoulder pads if he’s going to be worth a first-round pick.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      #shotsfired

    • MichaelTheRed

      Not up to date on who BYU has to play throughout the season but aside from ND has Ansah faced any real top talent? Because you know MIngo, Warner, Moore, Jones….they’ve all faced more or less teh best in college football as well as the best coaches scheming for them. Ziggy’s one of those guy that mght make someone real happy in the later rounds but he’s not #6 material unless we fill all our other needs through free agency…..and I mean “all” of them.

      • AlvaroEspinoza10

        Agreed. I’m interested to hear Borcas’ and everyone’s thoughts on Jarvis Jones. Everyone seems to think this guy’s the truth, but his only game I was able to watch this year was his bowl game, and he didn’t exactly pop off the screen. Granted, he had two sacks, but more on a play-by-play basis he didn’t stand out much.

        • MichaelTheRed

          I still don’t know why we’d go after a “prototype” 4-3 DE at #6 and a project at that. Our needs are a hybrid OLB/DE and CB.

          and i have serious concerns about a 6’6 270 lb DE getting completely upended in the run game by 6’4ish 320lb tackles and guards.

  • nj0

    I know it’s probably unfair to parse a couple lines from an interview and draw far reaching conclusions, but *hey* it is the off season.

    “So we move to the bottom of the first round; we were gonna pick
    Curtis Martin there, but thought, ‘Nah, we’ll sign Lorenzo White in free
    agency and pick a defensive player.’”

    I am calling utter BS on this. It’s just name dropping. “Well, we were going to get the HOF RB, but decided not to….” Curtis Martin survived until the third round. If you were really so high on him, Mr. Lombardi, why didn’t you move up to get him?

    And who trades down with the plan to get one player and then decides in a moment – “hey, maybe Curtis isn’t so good. Lets just sign Lorenzo White!” So you’re admit to being short-sighted and not having a plan?

  • MichaelTheRed

    where was Lombardi’s quotes about Watt in this article?

    • Jim

      http://www.nfl.com/draft/story/09000d5d81facdc1/article/five-things-i-liked-about-draft-making-sense-of-what-i-didnt

      “The Texans will need to explain to me where J.J. Watt will play on passing downs and what impact he can make at that position. I liked Watt as a two-down player, not a rusher. And I preferred Cam Jordan as a more all-around player.”

      Not sure how articles/interviews were picked for this post. You can review every blog post Lombardi wrote for NFL Network online. There are some doozies that call into question his ability to perform the most basic function of his new job; selecting talent.

      • Petefranklin

        DRINK!!

        • MichaelTheRed

          indeed

  • SteamingPileOfCraphonsoThorpe

    At least this word from the Browns Front Office shows that they are not complete imbeciles…

    The money quote is: “Browns do not consider former starter Colt McCoy a ‘viable starting option’ for the vertical offense employed by newly hired head coach Rob Chudzinski”. We can argue endlessly about Chips’ ability and whether he was given a fair shake (as I have with other posters – I feel bad for the guy but I don’t see him as a viable NFL starter), but exactly zero Cleveland fans believe he’s a fit for a vertical passing attack. We ragged Shurmur endlessly for his “round-peg-meet-square-hole” approach, it’s refreshing to see that, in this area at least, we’ll see something different. Of course, if they sign Alex “Mr. West Coast” Smith, all bets are off. And before someone starts pulling out stats to prove that Smith can actually throw down field as well as Aaron Rodgers, just stop it – while his arm is marginally better than McCoy, I watched enough of San Francisco’s games to see that his ability to throw deep outs and sideline go routes was about the same. You would hold your breath every time begging that the CB wasn’t close enough to jump it – this would be Trent Dilfer/Jeff Garcia all over again. Kaepernick didn’t just change that offense with his wheels, he also opened the whole field with his arm. [Did every one hear the Super Bowl announcers bro-crushing arm strength? “Dude, look at that arm strength? I know, bro, that’s some sweet spiraling action!” – those are exact quotes, I think].

    And now I’m back from Tangentia. [End post]

  • Petefranklin

    Uni-watch has an awesome update to the Browns logo and uniforms on it’s site today.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    it looks like walter football reads borcas: they have now have the browns taking ziggy at 6.

    • MichaelTheRed

      If the steelers get Jarvis Jones i may take up drinking again.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    This is interesting… I went back to a few of the BS reports to hear what Lombardi had to say about former drafts as well. I came away feeling a bit better. After seeing everyone at DawgsByNature pull their hair out and light themselves on fire over the Lombardi hire, it was nice to get some balance. I thought he had some really good comments in the one from April prior to the last draft… IIRC his first round sleepers were Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower, the very two players selected by good buddy Bill Belichick in round 1. I’m not saying it’s the end-all-be-all, but it’s something positive.

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