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Will the Browns consider Quinton Coples at #4?

Todd McShay has some observations from the Senior Bowl at ESPN.com in the Insider area (you need a password). He’s high on Quentin Couples and thinks the Browns might look at him at #4.

North Carolina DE Quinton Coples (Scouts Inc. grade: 95)
Coples (6-foot-5¾, 281 pounds) did not have his best season in 2011, failing to play with the consistent aggressiveness we saw on his junior tape from 2010. That’s not to say he was dogging it, just that his motor wasn’t running in its highest gear at all times. That has raised some concerns about the work ethic he’ll show at the next level, but if a team can get him to work hard, Coples can be an elite difference-maker along the defensive front.

He’s a versatile lineman who can be disruptive as an interior pass-rusher. Although Coples doesn’t have elite top-end speed, he showed the ability this week to set up offensive tackles with his hands, using his initial quickness to get into power moves and flashing quickness and fluidity on both inside and outside pass-rush moves.

Coples also has the long arms and upper-body strength to be effective against the run, and he’s one of the top three or four natural talents in this year’s class. Depending on how things shake out with the top quarterbacks on the board, Coples likely won’t last long past the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 or the Washington Redskins at No. 6, where he would find his best fit as a 4-3 defensive end.

Coples would be an amazing bookend opposite Jabaal Sheard on the defensive line for the Browns, so this has to be a consideration for Tom Heckert. If the Browns can land a another premiere defensive end in this draft or in free agency, then they’re on their way to having a New York Giants-type defense that can pressure the quarterback without relying on the blitz. The motor issue has to be the big question mark here, but this is where Heckert earns his money.

McShay goes on to describe two more DE prospects in South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram and Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw. McShay likes Ingram a little better but thinks both can be excellent pass rushers in the NFL. Both could easily be gone when the Browns draft at the #22 spot with their Atlanta pick, but McShay suggests that Upshaw might be there if he drops a little.

McShay also loves North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins used to play at Florida until he was kicked off the team, so there are some character issues. He stands out as an elite talent at corner, and we might see the Browns grab him if he lasts until the 2nd round if his former teammate Joe Haden supports him and he convinces the Browns that he’s matured.

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Browns hire Brad Childress

Brad Childress. REUTERS/Eric Miller (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Other than a few angry people masquerading as “experts” on sports talk radio, most people seem satisfied with the decision by the Browns to bring in Brad Childress as the new offensive coordinator. The guy is clearly an expert in the West Coast Offense, and he’s been a part of very successful teams with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings over the years.

The perpetual critics will always be able to point to something in his record that supports their assertion that this hire is a “disaster.” He’s also known as “Chilly” for his sometimes tough demeanor. That, of course, misses the point. Pat Shurmur worked with him in Philly, so he obviously feels the two can work well together.

None of us know whether this will work out. Sometimes a young, innovative coach is the answer. Other times, an experienced guy like Childress who also has head coaching experience can be a great fit. Fans, writers and radio big-mouths will all have their opinions, but at some level it’s appropriate to give the organization the benefit of the doubt, even if they are coming off a bad season. Organizations take time to build, and I see Mike Holmgren putting together a good group of professionals who are all on the same page. Some might scream about irrelevant facts, like how these guys all share the same agent, but I don’t care about that at all if these guys can build an organization that is built to last.

Andy Reid is biased of course, but Mary Kay Cabot got some good quotes from him on this situation:

“Pat’s a heck of a play-caller, and Brad’s a heck of a play-caller, and I think that’s a heck of a combination,” Reid told The Plain Dealer. “Both of them can bounce things off of each other. That’s what Brad did here with me, and that’s what Pat did here with me. So, whether I was calling the plays or they were calling the plays, we had an open communication where we could talk and make the best of whatever situation there was.”

Childress, a former Minnesota Vikings head coach, was hired by the Browns on Friday to be the first offensive coordinator under Shurmur, who called his own plays last season. Shurmur and Childress spent seven years together under Reid in Philadelphia, going 70-42 in those years with four trips to the NFC Championship Game and one appearance in the Super Bowl, a loss to New England.

Shurmur will retain play-calling duties for now, but the two will have plenty of discussions about that, and nothing has been finalized yet, an NFL source said. Shurmur said during his season-ending news conference that he’d relinquish the play-calling duties if the right person came along.

“They were a great combo for me here, and we sure won a lot of games with those two at the helm of my offense here, and so I wouldn’t expect anything different,” said Reid, who ran the same West Coast offense the Browns have in place. “They work very well together, and it’s a great fit. The Cleveland Browns are getting a great person, No. 1, and a tremendous football coach. He’s got a great football mind, and he has a great relationship with Pat. It’s a win-win all the way around.”

Reid cited the tremendous job Childress and Shurmur did with quarterback Donovan McNabb, who went to three Pro Bowls with Childress as quarterbacks coach and three more with Shurmur in that capacity.

“They did a phenomenal job with Donovan,” said Reid. “Brad had Donovan when he was young, and Pat had him when he was a little older, and Brad never lost his relationship with Donovan when he became the coordinator. The two of them developed him very well. He was a great player, but they did a heck of a job with him.”

Reid is confident they’ll have the same impact on quarterback Colt McCoy, if the Browns decide to stick with him.
“Both of them understand it takes four years for a quarterback to fully mature or get close to full maturing in the NFL,” said Reid. “It’s not a bang-bang thing that happens overnight. They understand how to go through that process and how to teach quarterbacks and when to be a little tough on them and when you need to back off. They both have a great feel for that.”

Reid highlights many points that we all should understand. Coaching is about teamwork, and it’s critical that people can work together. Mike Holmgren stresses this all the time, and it’s also important that the coaches work well with the scouts and GM.

I want the Browns to build an organization that has continuity and that can rival the organizations in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. We’ll see how Childress works out, but he’s another expert in the system that this organization believes in. That’s a real positive to build on.

PD explains Tony Grossi decision

Here’s the explanation from The Plain Dealer about why Tony Grossi was reassigned from the Browns beat.

Here’s one part that’s worth noting:

• The Browns had nothing to do with the decision. None of the editors involved talked with anyone connected with the team before making the call. In fact, the Browns’ first communication with the paper’s leadership was not until Wednesday, after the decision had been made, when Egger met with Browns President Mike Holmgren and Lerner.

• The Browns did not threaten to remove Grossi’s media credential, nor did such a consideration play any role in the decision, as a radio talk-show host alleged last week.

What a shock! A radio talk-show host speculated that the Browns had something to do with this . . .

I think it was a bad decision. If I were working in Berea, I would argue that the Browns should come out and accept Grossi’s apology. But that’s their decision.

I’m not a fan of Randy Lerner. In many ways, I think he’s clueless on how to manage people. That said, he does spend money, and he’s at least trying to bring in experts to run the show. I think Mike Holmgren is his best hire, and I believe that Holmgren is building an organization that can be successful for the long term.

I also think that Grossi has been doing a good job. Most of the loud voices on Twitter seem to disagree, but everyone will have their own opinion. Grossi screwed up, but this change seems like an overreaction.

Tony Grossi and The Plain Dealer

This story is just bizarre. Tony Grossi accidentally sent out a Tweet that he intended as a private message, insulting Browns owner Randy Lerner with the following statement: “He is a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world.” Grossi quickly realized his mistake and took down the Tweet, but some saw it and copied it.

I like Grossi’s work, though I also understand that other Browns fans don’t, and many think he’s biased against the Browns. I think in the past year he was one of the few rational voices discussing the Browns. Many on the radio sounded liked emotional buffoons when discussing topics like Mike Holmgren and Pat Shurmer.

Now The Plain Dealer is confirming they have removed Grossi from the Browns beat. This seems like overkill to me – a short suspension would have been more appropriate.

As Mike Florio suggests in the link above, the Browns should make it clear that they didn’t ask for this and encourage the PD to reinstate him.

No Bull in East as Celtics Collapse

Boston Celtics’ Ray Allen grimaces on the court in the first half of the NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, January 22, 2012 in Washington. Allen did not return to the game. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Everyone who knows that NBA betting is the place to look for odds is stunned by the sudden and epic collapse of the Boston Celtics as there is now no doubt that age has caught up with this storied franchise that stumbled out of the gate with a 5-9 start to the season. Meanwhile the Chicago Bulls have continued to gain credibility with everyone that believes that NBA betting is the place to look for odds as their 15-3 start was the best of any team in the Eastern Conference.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are another team that has gained in stature and credibility in the NBA as they had a Western Conference best 13-3 record with the surprising Denver Nuggets right behind with a mark of 12-5.

While many pro basketball experts expected a drop-off in Boston, if for no other reason than the grueling and compressed schedule due to the lockout caused by a Labor Dispute that was not settled until the middle of December, the steep fall of the Celtics has now confirmed that their best days are over and that the possibility of the team being blown up is real and even acknowledged in public by senior management.

Offense is where the Celtics have suffered the most as they ranked a hopeless 26th in the NBA for scoring while the defense ranked a strong 6th, only to have their efforts go to waste due to the anemic scoring attack. Veteran Ray Allen was the Celtics leading scorer with just 15.5 points per game. Rajon Rondo was still an assist machine with a team best 9.4 per game but that number should be significantly higher if only there was a “go to” man in the lineup. Both Allen and Rondo have suffered injuries that keep them in and out of the lineup to further the concerns and issues for the Celtics.

Chicago continues to solidify itself as the best defensive team in the NBA with the number one ranking in the league for points allowed. Best of all, the Bulls continued to win despite the loss of superstar Derrick Rose due to a toe injury. Rose was leading the Bulls with 8.7 assists per game. Center Joakim Noah was also struggling with an ankle issue that kept his status as day to day. Despite the injuries, Chicago was able to dominate and was looking like a strong contender to make the NBA Finals.

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