The Plain Dealer reports that newly acquired running back Reuben Droughns will compete with incumbent starter Lee Suggs during training camp for the starting job. Makes sense. Suggs and William Green, whose days in Cleveland are numbered, competed for the same job last year, and Romeo Crennel wants to make sure he’s got the best guy on the field this season. I like Suggs but with the kind of smashmouth offense Crennel wants to run, it sounds like Droughns may be better suited for the job, with Suggs being more of a change-of-pace guy.
“A season that began with controversy and excitement ended in pain and disappointment.” ~Salt Lake Tribune
A foot injury will keep Cleveland traitor Carlos Boozer out for the rest of the regular season. Boozer, out the last 20 games with the injury, most likely will not need surgery, though that remains a possibility if the injury doesn’t continue to improve with rest.
Ah, sweet redemption. The Jazz own the second-worst record in the West at 22-48 while Boozer, who dreamed of becoming the next Karl Malone in Utah, is averaging a mundane 17.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, the Cavs are battling for home-court advantage in the East and Boozer’s replacement, Drew Gooden, is scoring 14.3 points per game and pulling down 9.4 boards a night. Even better, Cleveland is paying Gooden $3.4 million this year while the Jazz are paying $10.9 million for Boozer’s 51 games.
After failing to land Baltimore second-string running back Chester Taylor, the Browns on Tuesday traded DE Ebenezer Ekuban to Denver for Reuben Droughns, the Denver back who rumbled for 1,240 yards and six touchdowns last year. Of course, the Broncos’ system inflated Droughns’ overall numbers but he still represents a significant acquisition for the Browns. A converted fullback, Droughns, 26, will back up Lee Suggs while also providing potentially explosive insurance for the Browns’ injury-prone starter. Another fantastic move by Savage and Crennel.
As for the Broncos, again, I’m having a hard time understanding why they insist on rebuilding their defensive line with Cleveland’s castoffs. That’d be like Martin Scorsese watching the cast of “Son of the Mask” and thinking, “Damn, I gotta get me some of that.”
ESPN is reporting that former Browns defensive end Courtney Brown will sign a multi-year deal with Denver after turning down similar offers from Washington, Jacksonville and Seattle.
Apparently, the Broncos haven’t paid much attention to what’s been going on in Cleveland the past few years. Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel couldn’t get rid of Brown and Gerard Warren fast enough, and now the Broncos have both first-round busts on their roster. Rumors have surfaced that Denver is negotiating with Butch Davis to have him replace Mike Shanahan as the team’s head coach, while Dwight Clark will be introduced as the new GM later this week.
Monday’s 109-108 overtime win in New Orleans may not look very pretty upon first glance, considering the Hornets are one of the sorriest teams in the NBA (actually, only the Hawks have a worse record). But at one point in the third quarter, the Cavaliers found themselves down 17 points. They had no energy, no heart and seemingly no chance, but then they turned on the defensive intensity in the fourth, LeBron and Sasha Pavlovic started hitting some clutch jumpers and, amazingly, the Cavaliers walked away with a big one-point win.
Of course, any road win is a big win for this team, but with the Eastern Conference standings so tight, a comeback like this could provide a late-season spark as the Cavs continue to fight for position and make their final playoff push.
Many of the mock drafts out there have the Browns picking Alex Smith (QB – Utah) with the #1 pick, including the latest Insider mock draft from ESPN. Most “experts” are specualting that the Browns would prefer to trade down, which definitely makes sense. Smith seems like an excellent prospect, though each of the top three quarterbacks from last year graded higher.
That said, the best player in the draft might be Braylon Edwards from Michigan. The Browns certainly don’t have a pressing need at that position, and it’s hard to justify picking a reciever that high, but my gut tells me that Savage will take the best available player, and that Edwards will be the pick if they can’t trade out of that spot.
Not surpisingly, Juan Gonzalez was named the starter in right field and Grady Sizemore has been sent back to AAA. With Gonzalez slotted to bat fifth, and Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez set to bat third and fourth, respectively, the Tribe has three RBI machines in the middle of the lineup. Also, with their 1-9 approach to building a strong lineup full of tough outs, the Tribe can compete with the most expensive lineups in the majors in scoring runs.
This might be the year that Shapiro cements his reputation as one of the best GMs in baseball. It should be fun.
After humiliating himself at the NFL combine with times in the 40 that barely beat the times of offensive linemen, Maurice Clarett has scheduled another workout, this one at his old high school. He wanted to work out at Ohio State during their pro day, but the Buckeyes told him he wasn’t invited. They did the right thing.
All of this drama surrounding the Cavaliers has taken our focus off one very important piece of information: Opening Day is just 12 days away.
Most publications say the Indians won’t pass the Twins in the AL Central standings this year, but as I’ve said in past posts, these guys have a legit shot. Whereas Mark Shapiro brought in some quality free agents, I just don’t see where the Twins significantly improved themselves this offseason. While it’s true that their young players are going to be another year better, guys like Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner and Coco Crisp are going to be that much better too.
That said, it’s time for C.C. Sabathia to mature into a true #1. If the Indians want to take down the Twins, they need an ace, and after four years C.C. needs to take that long-awaited step forward. True, he’s still only 24 but every year he gets you excited, flashes that undeniable talent, only to finish around .500 with an ERA higher than it should be and strikeout numbers lower than they should be. Kevin Millwood has put up ace numbers in the past, and you hope he can do it again this year, but it’s the big lefty who needs to finally lead this rotation right into the playoffs.
I didn’t get a chance to watch the game, but I saw the Cavaliers, under interim head coach Brendan Malone, waxed the defending champion Pistons 91-76 Tuesday night. A quick look at the box score is very telling, with Eric Snow getting the start over Jeff McInnis while McInnis, Lucious Harris and Anderson Varejao each logged 20-plus minutes off the bench.
But after all this talk yesterday about the team relying too heavily on LeBron, he still played 43 minutes, the most for either team, while hitting for 29 points, six boards and six assists. Snow, meanwhile, notched 10 assists vs. just one turnover in his 25 minutes while McInnis, despite logging comparable playing time, scored just four points with three assists and two turnovers. It’ll be interesting to see how Malone handles his point-guard minutes — he may keep splitting the time pretty evenly, though tonight’s stat line perhaps suggests that Snow should be seeing the bulk of the PT.
Finally, a couple other notes of interest: Tractor Traylor, one of Silas’ guys, played just 12 minutes while Sasha Pavlovic, who everyone seems to think Silas should’ve played more, only saw seven minutes of action. Still, a win’s a win, and with Washington currently getting blown out by Denver, the Cavs should find themselves tied for the fourth seed by night’s end.