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Indians fire Eric Wedge

This news was expected, though I’m surprised that they announced it before the end of the season.

There was no way that the Indians could go into next season with Eric Wedge as the manager. The fans are already in open revolt, and the Tribe needs something to get fans excited.

I have no idea who they should hire, but one factor ought to be charisma. The Indians need a voice that projects some level of optimism and enthusiasm. Let’s see what happens.

One name that will certainly get consideration would be Mike Hargrove. Hargrove isn’t a perfect manager, but he knows how to put together a successful team and pitching staff. Let’s see if he even gets an interview.

John Farrell will get plenty of attention, but he has a clause in his contract with the Red Sox that prohibits him from taking a manager job until 2011. Of course, the Tribe could provide compensation if they want him.

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Derek Anderson will start against the Bengals

Derek Anderson 1

The Plain Dealer is reporting that Derek Anderson will get the start at quarterback for the Browns against the Bengals.

This is the right call. After watching the first three games, I don’t think Eric Mangini had much of a choice. I supported the decision to start Brady Quinn, and I fully expected him to get a fair shot to show what he could do. I think Mangini expected to give Quinn plenty of time as well. Unfortunately, Quinn has been absolutely terrible. After watching the first three games, it’s hard to imagine how Quinn ever becomes a consistent starter in the NFL.

NFL coaches are often criticized for becoming enamored with big-arm quarterbacks, but after watching Quinn for several games, followed by just one half by Anderson, it becomes very clear why arm strength is critical. NFL quarterbacks have to be able to consistently hit receivers on the deep out pattern, and they have to be able to rifle passes down field. Without that, defenses can cheat by having a safety play up in the box, which then places great pressure on the running game. Quinn has trouble making those throws, but even worse, he will usually pass up opportunities down field and take the easy dump-off throw.

We were having similar conversations last season with a different offense and different coordinators. Was the offensive scheme different for Brady Quinn? Were the Browns going more with a short-pass strategy when Quinn was in the game? The coaching staff always said that was not the case. I didn’t really believe them last season, but now we’ve been seeing the same thing.

As soon as Derek Anderson entered the game, it looked like we had a completely different offense. Anderson was able to get the ball down field, and he was able to move the offense.

Now, we all know that Anderson has his own problems, and the three interceptions looked terrible. But at least coaches can work with him on those problems, and at least the defenses will now have to respect his arm. With Quinn, however, no amount of coaching is going to improve his arm strength or accuracy on the loner throws. With time he might gain some confidence and be more aggressive with his first or second option, but the opposite seems to be happening.

With Quinn, there seemed to be little upside, and we ran the risk of having the entire season become a disaster. Other players would also be affected. The young receivers wouldn’t develop as fast if Quinn wasn’t getting them the ball. The running game would also be a huge problem as defenses would continue to crowd the box and dare Quinn to throw deep.

Mangini did what he had to do. Now let’s hope Anderson takes advantage of the opportunity.

Photo by Bill Moore. Copyright Bullz-Eye.com, LLC.

One more reason to hate Micheal Jordan

OH – “hate” is a strong word, but true Cleveland fans have little love for Micheal Jordan. How many times have we had to watch replays of “The Shot?”

Now, Michael has entered the Basketball Hall of Fame, but instead of giving a gracious acceptance speech, Jordan decided to show his true colors – i.e., the stuff he tried to hide for years for fear of ruining his million dollar image. Rick Reilly’s reaction was spot-on.

Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame talk was the Exxon Valdez of speeches. It was, by turns, rude, vindictive and flammable. And that was just when he was trying to be funny. It was tactless, egotistical and unbecoming. When it was done, nobody wanted to be like Mike.

And yet we couldn’t stop watching. Because this was an inside look into the mindset of an icon who’d never let anybody inside before. From what I saw, I’d never want to go back. Here is a man who’s won just about everything there is to win — six NBA titles, five MVPs and two Olympics golds. And yet he sounded like a guy who’s been screwed out of every trophy ever minted. He’s the world’s first sore winner.

I saw it live, and while it was fascinating, honest and entertaining, it was also shocking as well. MJ is so full of himself, and so consumed by his legendary competitiveness, that he comes across as a complete dick. Perhaps LeBron James will never equal Michael Jordan on the basketball court, and perhaps his lack of this killer attitude will hold him back, but I guess nobody can match Jordan on that front.

The guy seems miserable, so one has to wonder if it was all even worth it. Frankly, I’ll be happy now to see him wither away and get all upset when he has to watch a new generation of players achieve great success. It’s another reason, also, to pull for LeBron to win a championship . . . IN CLEVELAND!

Perhaps this will also send a message to LeBron, who still hasn’t committed to staying in Cleveland. There’s more to life than money and fame, and turning your back on your home town and a team and fan base that has supported you will be a dick move worthy of MJ himself. Do you really want to be like Mike?

Same old Browns?

Yesterday’s loss was naturally disappointing, but hearing guys like Tony Grossi say that these are the “same old Browns” is just ridiculous.

First, it’s one game against a team that has Super Bowl talent. They got beat by the best running back in the NFL, and they held him in check in the first half. The Vikings made good adjustments and with the Browns offense folding in the second half the defense was put in a tough spot.

Next, the defense is completely new. The Browns got great pressure and they got four sacks. The vanilla defense from the Crennel years is gone. Kamerion Wimbley looks like a real player again, and Shaun Rogers was also a stud again. Also, we saw the cornerbacks playing the receivers very tightly. I thought I was looking at Dixon and Minnifield from the 1980′s. That was very refreshing.

The offense was a problem, and Brady Quinn looked terrible. We can’t draw too many conclusions after just one game, particularly against a tough Vikings defense. That said, he needs to bounce back and start looking like a pro quarterback very quickly. Hopefully he’ll get better with time, but if he doesn’t make real progress by week 4, they need to take a look at Anderson.

It was, however, refreshing to see them run the no-huddle offense. They also introduced a Wildcat formation with Josh Cribbs, though they made a mistake running it twice in the red zone, particularly on the one yard line. Why couldn’t they run a QB sneak with Quinn?

Things change dramatically from week to week on the NFL. The Browns have a new regime and a new starting quarterback, so drawing the Vikings in week one was a tough one. Next week they have the Broncos, we were lucky to beat the lowly Bengals yesterday, so the Browns have a chance to show what they can do next week.

Observations from the Ohio State – USC game

That was a tough loss for the Buckeyes on Saturday night. They had the game, but basically handed it to USC at the end. The defense played great all night, so you can’t blame them for the game, though the last drive was very disappointing.

-Tressel needs to give up the play calling. We’ve said this over and over again. Tressel can’t seem to manage the game properly. He’s been out-coached in big games that have turned into blowouts, and he’s also watched as his team’s have blown leads on the final drive. He needs to make a change.

-Terrelle Pryor has a long way to go. He’s a physical specimen, but his decision-making sucks. While we can criticize Tressel for his calls, Pryor had real trouble executing the game plan. He took way to many losses in the backfield. He never seems to know when he should throw the ball away. His accuracy also sucks. Based on what we saw on Saturday, this kid will never be an NFL QB. He needs to focus on being a good college QB first, and that means using his head AND his legs to move the ball.

-The D-line is awesome. We heard plenty of talk about the USC o-line, and how they had a bunch of NFL forst-rounders. Well, either their stock fell or the stock of the Buckeye d-linemen shot up as they made big plays all night.

-The o-line is pretty bad. This is a huge disappointment for the Buckeyes. They need to take a long look at their recruiting. They seem to find plenty of big white guys from Ohio, but few of them have real athleticism. Size isn’t everything, so they need to figure out how to narrow their focus on guys that can play the game.

This game was a tough one to take. Jim Tressel has been a great head coach, and it’s great to see the Buckeyes competing every year, but he needs to step up his game and adopt to the new reality. Find the best young coach out there and make him your offensive coordinator.

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