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Cleveland Indians decline option on Grady Sizemore

Cleveland Indians Grady Sizemore fails to make a diving catch on a hit by Alex Rodriguez during the ninth inning of the Indians MLB American League baseball game in Cleveland, Ohio July 6, 2011. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Grady Sizemore is now a free agent. The Cleveland Indians declined to pick up Sizemore’s $9 million option for 2012. Meanwhile, they picked up the option for Fausto Carmona for $7 million.

It’s sad to see Sizemore go, as the kid had so much promise and was a 5-tool player before he got hurt. But he’s a shadow of his former self after all the injuries. He doesn’t steal bases and he still has issues with strikeouts and walks. He might be able to rekindle his career with another team, but the Indians just couldn’t afford to take the chance with that much salary.

The Indians need offense, and they can use this money to get some reliable bats and beef up the lineup. The pitching is very solid. They can use some depth with the rotation, but the pitching is the strength of this team. If they can add some consistency to the offense, they can contend in the central division.

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Another tough game for Colt McCoy

Cleveland Browns QB Colt McCoy (12) looks for a receiver from his own endzone in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco 0n October 30, 2011. The 49ers defeated the Browns to go 6-1. UPI/Terry Schmitt

Colt McCoy had another tough game yesterday. Sure, the offensive line is a problem, but McCoy is also making bad decisions and missing open receivers.

It doesn’t help that the Browns keep losing running backs. Peyton Hillis didn’t play again, and Montario Hardesty got hurt early. If the Browns can get these guys healthy and start running the ball better, maybe McCoy will get better opportunities.

Braxton Miller comes of age against Wisconsin

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (R) celebrates with Devin Smith after a touchdown run against Wisconsin during the fourth quarter of their NCAA football game in Columbus, Ohio October 29, 2011. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

We’ve seen flashes of Braxton Miller’s talent, but last night we saw the freshman quarterback win a game with his ability and his moxie, as he beat the Wisconsin Badgers with his legs and his arm in spectacular fashion.

The kid has incredible cutting ability, so it’s fun to watch him run. He also has breakaway speed. And, last night he showed he can throw the ball. He may not be Andrew Luck, but he has the ability to be an excellent college quarterback.

Finally, the kid has ice in his veins. Here’s his response to a question from Doug Lesmerises:

Braxton Miller is remarkably unexcitable. When I asked him about his emotions as the players and fans stormed the field, he said his main focus was to make sure he didn’t get hurt in the scrum. When I asked if anything in his life makes him nervous, he said maybe giving a speech in class.

Word is he also winked to Coach Fickell before going onto the field for the last drive, signaling he had it covered.

Huge win for the Buckeyes

Ohio State players celebrate after their victory over Wisconsin in their NCAA football game in Columbus, Ohio October 29, 2011. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Few people gave them a chance, but the smart money in Vegas saw the opening line of Ohio State +9.5 and started pushing it down as money flowed to the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes reasserted their rightful place as one of the powers of the Big Ten by reminding Wisconsin who was boss last night with a thrilling victory over the Badgers.

The Buckeyes dominated the line of scrimmage all night long, and all the hype around Wisconsin melted away as the game went on. The Badgers then came storming back and almost won the game, but Braxton Miller came of age with a stunning 40-yeard TD with 20 seconds left to seal the victory for the Buckeyes.

Some idiots on Twitter tried to criticize Ohio State fans for storming the field after beating a 15th-ranked team, but this has become a real rivalry, and the Bucks had a score to settle after last year’s loss in Wisconsin. It’s also been a rough year for the Buckeyes, so the elation was real after Ohio State fans had to listen to the Badger hype all year long.

Luke Fickell deserves credit for his own growth in the job. He’s slow to figure things out, but he eventually seems to get things right.

Great win!

Cleveland Browns defense ranked #4 in NFL

Oakland Raiders QB Jason Campbell (8) is tackled by Cleveland Browns Chris Gocong (51) and Scott Fujita (99) in a play that resulted in Campbell breaking his collarbone at the Coliseum in Oakland, California on October 16, 2011. The Raiders defeated the Browns 24-17. UPI/Terry Schmitt

After six games, the Browns are 3-3 and have the #4 ranked defense in the NFL based on yards allowed per game. The defense is ranked 9th if you look at points allowed per game.

Given all the moaning and groaning we’re hearing from the fans, this stat might be a surprise. We’ll how the entire season plays out, particularly as the schedule gets tougher, but the Browns are seeing the payoff from drafting for defense. Tom Heckert has found excellent players in the draft, with Joe Haden, T.J. Ward, Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard leading the way. The Browns are better this year on defense, and much younger as well.

Colt McCoy and the offense gets all the attention, but the defense is important as well. So far, it looks like the Browns are building a defense that can be a force for years to come.

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