Ohio Sports Time

Ohio Sports Time - Ohio sports news and opinions for college and professional sports teams in Ohio. Our mission is to discuss major sports happenings across the state of Ohio. We cover teams like the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Ohio colleges like the Ohio State Buckeyes, Cincinnati Bearcats, all 6 Ohio MAC schools and more. Basically if it's a sport and it's happening in Ohio, Ohio Sports Time is the place to discuss it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cleveland Browns: Savage and Crennel Bring Talent

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Since their return to the NFL in 1999 the Cleveland Browns have not had an impact player to serve as the face of the team. Despite high draft picks, the front office has yet to draft a player to make it to the Pro-Bowl. The fans desperately need a player to step into the light and bring back positive national attention to the Cleveland Browns.

In previous years the fans have had blinders on; believing that Wali Rainer was the next coming of Mike Singletary. Instead the results were more like Mike Junkin. I think you understand the association.

Now, Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel look to have the roster headed in the right direction to put Cleveland back on the NFL map. Fans have tried to connect with Tim Couch, Courtney Brown, and other top picks that never brought the type of play that is worthy of wearing the orange and brown, but now those connections may be a little easier to make.

Braylon Edwards, Reuben Droughns, and Kellen Winslow Jr. are three offensive players that could possibly be considered “playmakers” by opposing teams. In the past, the fans have considered Kevin Johnson, Terry Kirby, and Darnell Sanders playmakers. I’m sure other teams didn’t worry about the combination of WR, RB, and TE that the Browns had prior to this year.

Kamerion Wimbley, Willie McGinest, Leigh Bodden, Andra Davis, D’Qwell Jackson, Gary Baxter, Ted Washington, Orpheus Roye, and Sean Jones are nine defensive players that could instantly impact a game at any moment. That’s quite an upgrade from previous years.

I’m not telling you to make reservations for the Super Bowl, but 2006 brings some real excitement back to Cleveland. Fans don’t need to have a false sense of over excitement heading into this season to cover for the lack of talent. Savage and Crennel are slowly building a roster with names that will actually be noticed by fans from other teams. Enjoy the transformation of this roster. True Browns fans will soon have a team with an identity that will be associated with positive adjectives.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Green or Suggs??

As the Cleveland Browns progress through the preseason there are questions that still need to be answered. One of these remaining questions swirls around the depth at running back. With Reuben Droughns the clear-cut starter; who will be the number two runner? William Green or Lee Suggs?

I think it’s obvious that rookie Jerome Harrison, a fifth-round draft pick, is the favorite for handling the situations on third down. Harrison scored a touchdown in both of Cleveland’s first two preseason games, and amassed over 100 total yards against the Detroit Lions. He’s a spark that possesses great speed for changing the pace with Droughns.

So, what will the Browns do with Suggs and Green?

The decision appeared to be made last week when the Browns attempted to trade Suggs to the NY Jets. After Suggs apparently failed a physical, he was sent back to Cleveland leaving a decision to be made by Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage.

Last season Green averaged 3.9 yards on a mere 20 carries. Suggs averaged only 1.9 yards on just eight attempts. With the emergence of Harrison it seems obvious that the Browns do not need to keep both players on the roster.

Green has had trouble staying on the field due to personal situations that have resulted in suspension by the NFL. Suggs has had trouble staying on the field due to injuries.

So, what will the Browns do with Suggs and Green?

Both players do not have great trade value because of their histories, but here’s hoping the Browns choose to stick with Suggs and attempt to trade Green. Green's vision and ability to break tackles is completely missing. He doesn’t drive his legs at the initial point of contact and seems to collapse on the first hit. He no longer seems to be able make any plays unless a clear hole is opened up by the line.

On the other hand, Suggs does show a knack for having vision. He can create plays even when the blocking up front breaks down. It’s a tough decision for the front office to make between two backs that have shown ability to run the ball at the NFL level, but right now it seems that Suggs should be the player to keep.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Pay Hafner

37 HRs, 109 RBIs... On a team well out of contention. Travis Hafner is the straw that stirs the drink in Cleveland. But don't tell him that. The 29-year-old might be the most humble big-leaguer you'll ever meet. When I interviewed Hafner after his record-tying grand slam last week, he acted like it was just another day at the office. That's why the Tribe should give the slugger a new contract this off-season. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Hafner will make a base salary of $3.95 million in 2007. The club option is worth $4.95 million or a $250,000 buyout. Pay the man. Give him a new deal that pays him what he's worth so he doesn't run for the money at the end of his current deal. If Larry Dolan ever wants to bring a championship to Cleveland, the team will need Hafner to drive in runs. Sign him. Let him DH until he's tired of sending balls to Pronkville. Who cares if he doesn't play first base? He is one of the few players fans know and love. And he drives in runs .. and runs.. and runs. Too many times we've seen players exit Cleveland and continue to produce. Omar is still playing in San Francisco. Manny Ramirez... (Thome is having a good year, but without his departure, we probably wouldn't have Pronk). Pay Hafner.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Cleveland Browns: Offensive Roster Spots on the Line

Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel will have their eyes peeled for players able to make an impact and grab a spot on the Cleveland Browns 2006 roster. The defense (other than the corner backs) looks to be under control. There are actually some playmakers on the roster this season, and the line and linebackers will sort itself out without any major decisions to be made. Sean Jones and Brodney Pool still seem pretty equal at safety even though Crennel stated that Jones is the starter right now. Once Gary Baxter, Daylon McCutcheon, and Antonio Perkins return at the CB positions, the defense should be pretty solid. Keep an eye on Ralph Brown as he'll start opposite Leigh Bodden tonight. Brown will need have a better outing than Pete Hunter had last week to be considered for roster depth at CB.

Don’t worry too much about the defense; it’s the offense that needs to move the ball tonight to give the front office something to gauge the players on. After last week’s inept performance, players need to step up and give Savage a reason to keep them around.

Here’s a look at the offensive position battles heading into preseason game #2 with the Detroit Lions.

QB – Charlie Frye’s the starter. The back-up is still in question as Ken Dorsey was not impressive in game one. Lang Campbell moved the offense against the Eagles “last team,” but that should get him more of a look this week. Derek Anderson and Dorsey need to show some life or Savage will be making the rounds looking for a veteran QB to sign.

RB – Reuben Droughns ran hard last week, and it appears after the attempted trade of Lee Suggs that William Green will be the #2 back. Green still needs to return to his form when he could actually break a tackle. That hasn’t been seen for quite sometime. Look for Suggs to see time so the Browns can show that he’s still worth something in trade. Jerome Harrison needs to get some reps carrying to ball this week to see what his true value will be for the team this season.

WR – With Joe Jurevicius, Dennis Northcutt, Braylon Edwards, Travis Wilson, and Josh Cribbs eating up five roster spots, there isn’t much room left for any more receivers. Frisman Jackson wasn’t great last week, but he’s shown in previous seasons that he’s capable of making an occasional play. The rest of the receivers you’ll see tonight are basically fighting to earn a spot on the practice squad.

TE – It would be nice to see Kellen Winslow catch a pass downfield tonight. Heck, it would be nice to anyone catch a pass downfield for once. Steve Heiden is the number two TE, so that leaves Darnell Dinkins and Paul Irons. If you care that much about the third TE on the roster (and true Browns fans do!) keep an eye on Dinkins and Irons.

OL – Here we go…I know it hurts to even discuss this, but we’ll give it a shot. At least a few spots are already determined. LT Kevin Shaffer, LG Joe Andruzzi, and RG Cosey Coleman will all be starters in the regular season barring _nj_ry. I don’t even want to write the word! Ryan Tucker, when he returns from his, will be the RT. A backup tackle position is still up in the air between Nat Dorsey and Kirk Chambers. Dorsey played last week, but is out for tonight’s game. He wasn’t great last week either, so Chambers will get his shot tonight to show whether he can earn a spot on the team.

And finally, one more position. I tried to put it off as long as I could. Ross Tucker is not playing for just a role as a backup. As we all know the chronicles of the center position for the Browns, the saga continues tonight. Alonzo Ephraim had his chance last week to start, but regardless of his performance he’s out for four regular season games after failing a drug test. Apparently he wasn’t expecting a call from any teams in the near future as he sat at home not on an NFL roster.

Ross Tucker could be the starter for the 2006 season. It looks like he’s the Browns fourth choice at center behind LeCharles Bentley, Bob Hallen and Ephraim, but he does have experience. Plus he came from the New England Patriots system that is similar to the Browns. Maybe Romeo found someone who’s actually better than Bob Hallen. It’s always a possibility...just look at the Browns’ luck.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Griffey battles through difficult life events

If I had a chance to say just one thing to Ken Griffey, Jr. right now I can honestly tell you that I would tell him that I’ll be praying for him and his family. That says it all; everything that rushes immediately to my mind after reading ESPN.com’s article entitled Griffey struggles as both parents battle health woes.

So why is this my initial reaction you may ask. Well not only is it because Griffey has been my favorite player since even before his days in Cincinnati, but also because I feel as though I can relate to his current situation (the family illness part, not the baseball part). In February I had my own personal experience with cancer striking my family when my father was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. In the year prior to my father’s diagnosis my family was rocked by two Aunts having breast cancer and both of my grandmothers have spent time in the hospital in 2006 as well. So when it comes to dealing with tough times, especially when cancer is involved, I have a fairly strong resume. But it is not how you deal with the good times that defines who you are, but how you deal with the tough times. Griffey is dealing with those tough times now, and while he prefers to keep to himself and not share his life with the media, his actions on the field are the only true example of how he is dealing with this. In today’s game Griffey just hit a homerun in the top of the 7th inning against the Cardinals to break a 0-0 tie. Last night Griffey hit his 560th homerun of his career, both of which likely put a smile on his mother’s face. Both of these homeruns come in what could be the biggest series of the year for the Wild Card-leading Reds.

Griffey’s positive influence on my generation cannot be discounted. He played at a level few have ever seen for much of the 1990’s. Of all of the most recent 500 homerun club members, a list that includes Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Junior Griffey, only Griffey has NOT been somehow linked to steroids. This is the way it is supposed to be; living the life that is respectable and fair. While others “cheat” or bend the rules and find loopholes, it has been Ken Griffey, Jr. who has risen above all of this. It has been Junior who gets razzed by the fans because of injuries. Could he have used special (illegal) drugs to help speed up his recovery process? Probably so, but I am not a medical expert. I just know that on the surface Ken Griffey, Jr. has done things the right way and should be rewarded in life, and in baseball, for doing so.

So Junior, in case you read this, I’m praying for you and your family. I will likely never shake your hand or meet you in person, but I understand the power of prayer and positive thinking and if there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cincinnati Reds: Reds extend Wild Card lead

The Cincinnati Reds have pulled off the improbable this season, and despite some shaky pitching in their 3-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend, the Reds have extended their Wild Card lead over several contenders. By defeating the Phillies in 2 of the 3 games the Reds are now 61-57 and just 1.5 games behind the 1st-place St. Louis Cardinals who fell to Pittsburgh again today. While the San Diego Padres remain just 1/2 game behind the Reds, Cincinnati extended their lead over Arizona, Houston, Colorado and of course Phildelphia with today's 7-5 win in 11 innings.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Wimbley Shines in Preseason Loss

The Browns number one selection of the 2006 NFL Draft was impressive in his first opportunity Thursday night. Despite Cleveland's 20-7 loss to the Philadelphi Eagles, Wimbley showed his ability to make plays on the Eagles first drive of the game. With the ball inside the one-yard-line, Wimbley collapsed the left side of the offensive line on second down, and the defense stopped Reno Mahe for a loss of three. This play put the Eagles with third and goal from the four. The Browns finished the stand giving the Eagles just a field goal.

Wimbley finished the evening with three tackles. He's needs more work dropping into pass coverage, but it appears Phil Savage made a great selection by choosing Wimbley. The physical ability and athleticism that Wimbley possesses should give the Browns a playmaker on the defensive line that has been missing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cleveland Browns: Five Questions for the 2006 Season

Charlie Frye and the Cleveland Browns kick off their 2006 preseason schedule Thursday night in Philadelphia. This practice game will be quite interesting considering the number of storylines that have surrounded Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel’s team during camp. Here is a look at five question marks heading into the 2006 season.

Question Mark #1
What’s the deal with the center position?
It all began during the free agent period when the Browns landed former OSU standout/All-Pro center LeCharles Bentley. Considered the number one free agent of the 2006 available players by many, fans had to be shocked that the Browns could possibly have a strength in the offensive line. Now it’s August, and not only is Bentley is out for the season, but also Bob Hallen, the backup center, has experienced back spasms and is considering retirement. So, what appeared to be a strength for the Browns is now a huge question mark.

Question Mark #2
Will Kellen Winslow be the player we all expected?
Winslow may have been the most hyped draft pick by the Browns since their return to the NFL in 1999. Now the fans will finally get a chance to see what this guy can do. He has worked hard to get back on the field after his motorcycle accident and has looked impressive in camp. Maybe it will translate into production on the field.

Question Mark #3
How soon will Braylon Edwards return to game action?
It has been encouraging to see Edwards in camp participating in drills. Is his knee prepared to take a beating in games? Only time will tell. I don’t worry too much about his ability to run routes. The question is if he can engage with defensive backs while blocking.

Question Mark #4
How will the off season moves (other than Bentley and Hallen) turn out?
*Willie McGinest LB – Great linebacker and leader.
*Joe Jurevicius WR – Solid receiver and end zone threat.
*Kevin Shaffer LT – Needs to protect Frye.
*Dave Zastudil P – Good punter with Ohio ties. From Bay Village and played at Ohio University.
*Ted Washington DT – Vertern who will “eat up” space in the middle.
*Darnell Dinkins TE – Special teams and blocking TE.
There are five starters in this group who will all be expected to produce.

Question Mark #5
How will the draft picks fit into Romeo’s master plan?
Romeo admitted he doesn’t like to throw rookies right into the fire. He eases players in and feels more comfortable with veterans on the field. It took Edwards a while, but he got Romeo to crack, and he couldn’t keep Braylon off the field last year. Who will emerge from this year’s draft in that fashion?

Defensive End Kamerion Wimbley, and LBs D’Qwell Jackson and Leon Williams appear to be in the best positions for making an impact this year. WR Travis Wilson signed after camp started and will be a little behind. He’s a big receiver, but has a few players ahead of him on the depth chart.

The Browns have made some outstanding additions to upgrade the roster, but the team needs to stay healthy. Slowly, Phil Savage has improved the depth that Crennel will have to work with, but the injury bug must live in Berea. We’ll see if the Browns can improve in the win column with what appears to be a stronger team than last year.