Can you feel the void, Cleveland? The emptiness. The blackness. The desolation. There is no more football being played here, at least not for a long time. Not like this is anything new, there hasn’t been Browns football in January anywhere since 2003, and January football in Cleveland since what, the mid 1990’s? It’s a normal right of passage around here, fine, but that doesn’t mean that the transition from Gameday to nothingness on Sundays is any easier. It sucks. It sucked last season, it sucked the season before that, and it sucked twelve seasons ago. Such is life as a Browns fan…


That does not mean, however, that there’s no Browns news to talk about, because there is. The search for Rob Chudzinski’s replacement is in full-swing, and we’ll discuss that – at length – of course. Also, we’ll look at the “Press Conference Heard ‘Round the World” and talk about the media, access, and hiding behind social media comments in an NFL press conference. Oh, and the Cavs and whatever the hell they’re doing…we’ll get in to them a bit as well.


All that and the Week in Pictures as the Cleveland Sports Week in Review: We’re Dancing All-Night Doing the Curly Shuffle! turns the volume up to 10 and gets pumping as we brace for the coldest air to hit Northeast Ohio in 20 years…right now.



Cleveland Browns


Yeah, I was kinda stunned too.





Dan DeRoos, news reporter for the local TMZ CBS affiliate WOIO is the reporter in the video who asked, possibly, the dumbest question in the history of dumb press conference questions. It’s one thing to bring a list of “hit piece” Facebook comments to the event with the intention of letting Joe Banner and Jimmy Haslam know what the fans are really saying about their decision to fire Rob Chudzinski after only one season or whatever, but it’s another to then rephrase a question in your own words with the sole purpose of making a name for yourself by asking Banner, Haslam, and (by proxy) Lombardi “Whether or not the “3 Stooges” were running the Cleveland Browns?”.


I’d like to say that the fan base was divided on this issue, and that people were adamant on both sides of the argument regarding the professionalism and appropriateness of what went down Monday in Berea…but that’s simply not the case. As it turns out, long-suffering Browns fans have been looking for a champion, and apparently Mr. DeRoos fits the bill quite nicely.



Despite the rather convincing win in the PR column for Dan DeRoos and his decision to hide behind Facebook comments in an attempt to make a name for himself, I feel that a stunt like this does nothing but hurt the already difficult blight of the blogosphere in their attempt to legitimize themselves in the eyes of the NFL. Stay with me for a minute here:


The Browns (and the NFL as a whole) are, without question, the most difficult entity to cover for the non-traditional media. “non-traditional” meaning people like yours truly, but also encompassing entities like Waiting for Next Year, Dawg Pound Daily, cover32, and More Than a Fan…non-traditional sports “media” sites that take themselves seriously, and have, literally, zero access to the Browns in any meaningful way. It has been a long-standing rule for the Browns to only credential traditional media outlets (think local TV, radio, newspapers), and ignore any other media source that originates locally or nationally. The Indians and the Cavaliers, by the way, are far more open in embracing non-traditional media sources, and will credential and grant access to established Internet sites and reporters with cautious, but open-minded, regularity. The Browns though…that’s a locked vault without some kind of traditional media tie-in. A 1980’s attitude doing business in 2014…and it’s as backwards as it sounds.


So when someone who is not a “sports guy” (his words) gets into a Browns press conference and hides behind social media to embarrass the brain trust of the team, no matter how deserved it was, all I see that accomplishing is justifying an already frustratingly archaic policy regarding team coverage. The fact that Dan DeRoos used social media as a weapon is damaging, since most non-traditional media outlets rely heavily on social media to get the word out regarding them and their coverage. At the very least, it muddies the waters a bit, not that there was a ton of progress being made in that area anyway, but now you can basically rule-out any non-traditional media outlet getting any meaningful access to the Browns for the foreseeable  future as the Browns will, no doubt, lock their media events and access down even further than it already was, in order to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. And that sucks.


I realize that a lot of you are probably thinking that my take on this is completely self-serving, and I guess as the host of a Browns-centered Podcast and writer at a Cleveland-centered sports website that it probably is to a point, but for as much as everyone complains about the horrific reporting that gets done about the Browns day-in and day-out from the traditional media embedded with the team, you can pretty much guarantee now that the net will not be widening to be more inclusive to non-traditional outlets anytime in the near future, I can promise you that.


So fine. Dan DeRoos gets his name in lights for a few days. Channel 19 gets a little more notoriety as a television news outlet that isn’t “afraid” to ask the “tough questions” and whatever, and Internet journalism gets set back years in the process. Yay. I don’t expect tears from traditional media, after all, since it’s in their best interest to discredit and otherwise eliminate the new media, but for Pete’s sake…those Facebook questions accomplished nothing of substance, outside of changing the shade of Jimmy Haslam’s skin color to a different shade of red.


So stand and cheer for Dan DeRoos and TMZ 19 if you want too, but understand that by doing so, you’re committing yourself to another year or two of this:



So…yeah…keep supporting stupid. Your call Cleveland.



Now, speaking of the Browns coaching search, here’s the latest list of *possible* candidates for the job, compiled from various sources:


Josh McDaniels

New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator



Gus Malzahn

Head Coach, Auburn Tigers



James Franklin

Head Coach, Vanderbilt Commodores



Todd Bowles

Arizona Cardinals Defensive Coordinator



Bob Stoops

Head Coach, Oklahoma Sooners



Dan Quinn

Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator




My pick? McDaniels. Josh’s main problem in Denver, as far as I can tell, was his inability to pick the players. He was in waaaay over his head wearing both the head football coach hat and the general manager hat at the same time. Without that stress in Cleveland, I think he could be a very successful frontman for the football team, and could take the Browns to places they hasn’t been in almost 30 years. To me, it’s a no-brainer, so it’ll probably be someone else…


Last note on the Browns, kinda….my Browns podcast The Orange and Brown Breakdown (with co-host Kate Arhar) just got linked from Cleveland.com, a fact we’re pretty proud of. If you have a second, check-out the last episode FIRED! either on MTAF.tv, iTunes, Stitcher, or the Zune Marketplace. Let me know what you think! We’re putting together our off-season broadcast schedule right now, so subscribe to it through your podcast client of choice and thanks a heap to the guys at Cleveland.com for the shout-out!


Now…onto the Cavaliers.




Cleveland Cavaliers


My opinion on the Cavaliers is starting to change…and not for the better, unfortunately.


Up until now, I was content to let the Cavs work through their problems on a reasonable time table. I know that Mike Brown has brought an entirely new way of looking at basketball to the team (defense first), and I’ve used the term “Bringing law to the lawless” before to describe what the Cavs are trying to do right now, which to me still sums it up quite nicely. And while I didn’t expect miracles early on, I did think we’d be farther along by now then we are. I have until recently been under the opinion that eventually, the players would buy in to a defense-first system, and that the pieces would eventually come together and that the Cavs would still, despite a really rough start, be able to piece together a pretty decent season, all things considered.





There is something wrong here. Something very wrong. I don’t know if it’s a chemistry issue between Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving, Mike Brown and Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Mike Brown, Anthony Bennett and his delicate psyche, Andrew Bynum and everybody, or whatever…but it’s becoming more and more clear that this roster has got to be modified in some way in order for things to get better.


I am a believer in Chris Grant, Anthony Bennett at #1 non-withstanding, so I do think that the Cavs will, eventually, figure this thing out. I’m not smart enough to know how or when, but I know think that they will eventually turn this ship around and get the team on track.



While we were all excited about Andrew Bynum, it’s obvious now that he’s never going to play for the Cavaliers again in any capacity, and whether they get Pau Gasol, Richard Jefferson, or a 3-pack of Hanes jockey shorts in return, that’s obviously going to be a plus. It’s really too bad that whatever happened with Bynum here happened, because just his being here was, in my mind, a step forward for the Cavs in getting to where they want to go. Young seven-foot big men with a skill set like Bynum has had don’t exactly grow on trees. Unfortunately, it is what it is, and the experiment was an abstract failure. Still, it’s not like any of you were against the Cavaliers signing Bynum, and I’d reckon that every one of you would have made the exact same signing given the same situation, so blasting Chris Grant for taking a flyer on the guy isn’t really fair. They went for broke, came-up with a face full of dirt, and are now actively trying to fix the mistake…much to the chagrin of Laker fan, I might add.



So stay tuned, it’s likely the resolution to the Andrew Bynum situation will become apparent by Tuesday at the latest – whether or not we’re gonna trade him, release him, or keep him stuffed in a closet. How Chris Grant handles this situation may be very important come review time with Dan Gilbert. As much as I like Chris Grant, I think he needs a few more feathers in the cap if he wants to keep his job past this season. Can’t lose forever, you know.



That’s the spirit!



 Cleveland Sports Week in Pictures



See you guys next week!