Category Archives: San Diego Chargers

Tackling the Browns chances of trading down

The key to figuring out the Browns best option in a trade-down scenario in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night is probably a position that isn’t in the Browns plans at all.

This draft has three marquee offensive tackles in Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson. There’s also an available veteran left tackle in Branden Albert, who’s been franchised by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have the draft’s first overall pick and could use it on a left tackle, making Albert expendable.

The Chiefs gave Albert’s representation permission last week to work out a trade. From what we assume we know about this draft, the Browns best hope of moving down from their spot at No. 6 and picking up a second-round pick (at least that much) in the process probably depends on a team — like the Chargers at No. 11 or the Dolphins at No. 12 — coming up to take a tackle.

The Cardinals, at No. 7, know the Browns aren’t taking a tackle and wouldn’t have to trade up if one of three top tackles in the draft is still there. Though there are two prized guards in this draft, too, teams are much, much more likely to trade up for a tackle than they are for a guard.

It’s been reported that the Chiefs asking price for Albert is a second-round pick. What suitors must decide is if they’re willing to pay that plus the kind of hefty contract Albert is seeking as an established player at a money position.

We don’t have anything besides guesses as to what the Browns are thinking heading into the draft and seeking once it starts, but it’s clear that they’ll more likely have trade options if one of the top tackles is still on the board. If they’re all gone, the Browns will be in position to take a top defensive player — if there’s more than one they truly love. Again, we don’t know. The Eagles and Lions, at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, could be interested in offensive line help, a pass-rusher or a cornerback.

If all three of the top tackles — Fisher, Joeckel and Johnson, in some order — go in the first five picks, the Dolphins or Cardinals (or some other team) might be more inclined to give up a second-rounder for Albert; it wouldn’t be the first time necessity drives a draft-night trade or drives the price for such a trade up or down. In that all-the-tackles-are-gone scenario, the only way the Browns are trading out of No. 6 is if some team wants to come up to get Tavon Austin, Geno Smith or a pass-rusher — unless the Browns go into Mangini Mode and trade way, way down the board.

That’s possible, too, and it’s also not a terrible idea in a draft that’s deeper than it is top heavy.

The Browns, right now, are neither. Which is why, at least for the sake of options and maximum value, they’re rooting for at least one of those three offensive tackles to slip past the Lions at No. 5.

From the NFL Combine: Will the read-option offense be around forever?

The read-option offense clearly will be the topic of the week.

Several coaches and GMs were asked about it, and surprisingly not everyone was in favor.

San Diego coach Mike McCoy, who ran the read-option two years ago with Tim Tebow, said defenses now have the advantage of time in figuring out how to defend it.

“Without a doubt now defenses are going to start preparing more for it through the offseason program, through training camp,” McCoy said. “Two years ago we were the first ones really to get into this on a game by game basis. Now a lot of teams are doing it. So there’s a lot

more time in the offseason to prepare.”

Bruce Arians of the Cardinals also said that the emphasis in every defensive meeting room this offseason will be studying how to stop the offense that Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III ran so well. Arians said he even hired a defensive coordinator from college (Nick Rapone) who has dealt with the read-option to help his staff.

He also is not a big fan of the read-option.

“I’m not a believer in putting my quarterback in harm’s way,” he said. “I believe a lot of harm will come to him. I’m more of a traditionalist.”

New Panthers GM Dave Gettleman pointed out that only two playoff teams had the read-option.

“Ten of the 12 teams in the playoffs this year had true pocket passers,” he said. “At the end of the day, the quarterback has to make plays from the pocket. I think the read option is an option.”

One of the read-option teams did make the Super Bowl, but Kaepernick does not get enough credit for his ability to throw. He happens to be a throwing quarterback who can also run.

Cribbs tells fans ‘I know what I’m doing’

Josh Cribbs evidently took a lot of heat on Twitter from his followers for letting a punt roll with 7:49 left. The ball rolled down to the three, where San Diego downed it. Cribbs was close to the ball, but the swirling winds and sideways rain made catching the ball an adventure.

Cribbs said possession of the ball was much more important than taking a chance on a return, so he let it go because the ball was moving and his chances of catching it were not great.

In the end, the Browns were able to get a couple first downs and move the San Diego 49.

Had Cribbs tried for the catch and fumbled, he’d be the goat of the game.

As Cribbs said on Twitter: “when the wind is blowing & it’s pouring possession means everything, so enough with all that catch the ball etc I know what the H I’m doing!”

OK, then.

The battle count

There was only one, single, solitary, stinking battle reference in Pat Shurmur’s postgame presser following the 7-6 win over San Diego.

If this keeps up it may be time to cancel the battle watch.

Shurmur’s only use of the word came early when he said: “The guys battled.”

Yes indeed.

They certainly did.

And perhaps given that there was no need to add another battle to the tally.

Maybe it was the Browns turn to be on the other end of a drop

Turnabout is fair play, I guess. The Browns have had a few games this season when they’ve had to deal with agonizing dropped passes that could have been touchdowns. Greg Little had a couple — against Philadelphia and Baltimore. Josh Gordon had another against Indianapolis.

Any of the catches could have won a game and done wonders for the Browns won-lost record, which sits at 2-6 at the midway point of the season (which equates to 4-12 for 16 games).

Sunday in windy, rainy, nasty Cleveland Browns Stadium — anyone but me notice how miserable Jimmy Haslam looked sitting outside his suite? — it was the San Diego Chargers’ turn to be generous.

Robert Meachem’s third-quarter drop of a Philip Rivers pass right in his hands when he was wide open has to be in pantheon of top dropped passes in Browns games this season.

Meachem probably scores on the play, and he probably scores easily.

And if the Chargers go up 13-6, their chances of winning increase greatly.

Yet he dropped it.

These guys practice all week doing what, exactly?

Read Meachem’s words and you can hear Little talking.

“Those are just plays you have to make,”Meachle said. “You can’t make any excuses. You can’t blame this person, that person. You have to make the play.”

Meachem admitted he took his eyes off the ball. His coach Norv Turner said guys have to make the catch when it’s a possible big play on the line.

Yet Meachem didn’t.

It just seems like the Browns will take it.

That it might just have been their turn.