Month: April 2014

Ravens Offseason Recap.

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By: Charles Booth

(Image by USATSI)
(Image by USATSI)

Last month I did a post or two on some possible offseason moves the Jaguars could make in free agency, which has now come and gone. One of the teams that had to make some crucial offseason moves of their own was the Baltimore Ravens, and lucky for our viewers we have the right person to talk about it in our latest contributor Charles. Here he breaks down the top additions of the Ravens offseason, and the top in-house moves the organization made as well. I must say I enjoyed this one myself as it was very insightful, and in all likelihood you all will too….unless your a bitter AFC North rival.  

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EXCLUSIVE: IES Gridiron Season Podcast with Draft Guru Tony Pauline.

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(Disclaimer to this image)

By: James Johnson and Nick Trist

It was an IES and Draftinsider.net collaboration of epic proportions yesterday as draft guru Tony Pauline dropped in with Nick and I to talk some 2014 Draft prospects. Topics included the Houston Texans and who they could pick first overall, the Jacksonville Jaguars and who they could pick third overall, as well as discussions on a few specific prospects like  Jadeveon Clowney, Blake Bortles, Sammy Watkins, and Tajh Boyd to name a few.

In part two of the show Nick and I elaborated on some of the latest risers and fallers of this class, then finished the show off with an interesting discussion on a couple payer-to-team pairings we’d like to see come May 8th. To hear it simply click on the Soundcloud link below (if it doesn’t start on it’s own that is).

Also, feel free to check out Tony on Twitter under his handle of @TonyPauline and most importantly on Draftinsider.net for the latest in draft buzz! And of course Nick and I can both be followed under the handles of @IES_Don and @NickTristIES

Browns Position-By-Position Review: RB’s.

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(Image by ClevelandBrowns.com)

By: Shane Mink

As promised, Shane sent me yet another contribution as he continues with his position-by-position breakdown of the Cleveland Browns. This week, he drops a bit of knowledge on the Browns RB situation which Cleveland put a lot of effort into addressing this offseason. Hope you all enjoy! 

The Browns running game was atrocious last year…. There’s no getting around that. At the start of the season, former first round pick Trent Richardson was the starter at RB and Chris Ogbonnaya, a converted RB, started at FB. This lineup lasted a whole two (yes, TWO) weeks. After Richardson’s horrible first two games in Cleveland, former Browns general manager Michael Lombardi, traded him to the Colts for their first round pick of this year draft (which is now the 26th overall). At the time many Browns fans were outraged and thought the season was doomed, but after seeing Richardson’s horrible season in Indianapolis, most have changed their minds as they now feel the trade looks to be very smart on the Browns part.

As for Chris Ogbonnaya, I personally feel he should have never been declared the teams starting fullback. Throughout the course of the season he displayed great abilities as a pass-catcher and consistently gained good chunks of yardage, but blocking, however, is not his strength. The teams second string rookie FB/TE/Wildcat QB MarQueis Gray, filled Ogbonnaya’s job admirably in his absence due to injuries . I fully expect to see him playing an H-back role next year, as well as occasionally playing in the backfield.

After Richardson was traded, the Browns signed former Broncos RB Willis McGahee. Ultimately, he was slowed by age and finished the season with 138 carries for 377 yards and 2 TDs. That’s a 2.7 yards per carry ratio. The only two players with a worse average were Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce of the Baltimore Ravens. In the end, McGahee finished the season with an average of 31.4 yards per game.

The Browns signed several RBs and released several over the season such as Bobby Rainey, who later had success in Tampa Bay, and Dennis Johnson who joined the Houston Texans. None of them had as big of an impact as Edwin Baker however, who was signed off of the Broncos’ practice squad. Even though he never eclipsed more than 100 yards rushing in a game, he provided a spark that made a noticeable impact in the last three games of the season.

Fourteen Browns players attempted various runs last season that totaled 1,383 yards in all. Of that fourteen, eight of them played at positions other than RB. Jason Campbell, Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin, Brandon Weeden, MarQueis Gray, Josh Aubrey, Brian Hoyer, and Armanti Edwards all attempted at least one run in 2013. Of those players, Travis Benjamin ended the season with the longest Browns run, which was 45 yards.

As a team, the Browns ended the season with a total of 348 attempts of those 1,383 yards. That equals 4 yards per carry which was greatly skewed by Travis Benjamin’s run, as well as Josh Aubrey’s (34 yard run) just to name a few. The Browns had 9 runs of over 20 yards and only 4 touchdowns. Those 4 touchdowns were all scored by two players. Two from Willis McGahee and two from Edwin Baker. As a whole, the Browns finished the season with a 86.4 yard per game average.

This offseason the Browns signed two players that will almost certainly impact the running game in former Texans RB Ben Tate and former Bengals FB Chris Pressley. Tate, rushed for 771 yards and 181 carries while playing in all but 2 games for Houston. What’s amazing about those numbers is he did it while playing with broken ribs for the most part. Considering his toughness, and the fact that he ran for more than half the total yards that the Cleveland Browns did as a whole is very encouraging for a run game in need of a jolt. As for the other big signing in FB Chris Pressley, he has a reputation for making big hits and paving some nice running lanes. When looking at his measurables (5-11, 260 lbs) it’s easy to see why he’d have such a reputation.

The Browns will most likely target a RB at some point in this upcoming draft. Good players can be found at all levels. Players like Bishop Sankey and Carlos Hyde would both be good early round options, while players like Charles Sims and Terrance West would be interesting mid round options. Lastly, players like Jerome Smith and David Fluellen strike me as potential late round pickups. When looking for potential RBs for this team, there are certain traits Cleveland will look for in their new scheme. Those traits are good vision and the ability to hit the whole with authority, much like Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins (I highly recommend that Browns fans look up some tape on him to see what I mean). He embodies the ideal RB that Kyle Shanahan will to move forward with in this offense.

For more statistics on the Browns and their run game, go to websites like Clevelandbrown.com or ESPN.go.com.

Want to learn more about the Browns? Follow @afc2nfc, @mikekrupka, @joshfin, and @brendanleister . I’ve learned a lot from them and I’m sure you can too!

And lastly for those having trouble finding game film on draft prospects? Draftbreakdown.com and their crew do a wonderful job providing us with videos of all the top prospects and some you’ve probably never heard of!

As usual, we appreciate each and every one of our viewers. Also special thanks to Shane. Please feel free to follow him under the Twitter handle of @ShaneMink to give your his thoughts on this post and to interact with him for any sports related matters. Shane will have more Browns and Vikings posts to share with us in the coming days for our viewers so be on the lookout for more. 

Full IES 7 Round NFL Mock Draft by Zach Hochrein.

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By: Zach Hochrein

As James said earlier last week… ladies and gentleman it’s about that time of the year. We promised a slew of draft content and that’s what we’re  bringing you. That in mind, what says that the draft is on it’s way more than a FULL mock draft? Check it out as I unveil the first ever 7 round mock in IES history. I even went as far as projecting some early round trades ( listed below) to add icing to the cake. This goes without saying, I worked hard on this one, and I hope you all enjoy it!

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Breaking Down the Alex Mack Situation From a Browns Fans P.O.V.

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(Image From Cleveland.com)

By: Shane Mink 

This past Wednesday, April 9th, rumors came out about Alex Mack signing an offer sheet with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The total numbers and structure of this contract are unknown, but there are indeed some rumors out there about it.

Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported that Mack was signing an offer sheet. He reported that the deal would be 5 years. Later others came out with contract details. There have been a few different rumors, but by far the most circulated one has the Jaguars giving Mack $20 million guaranteed in the first two years and $7 million the next year. There have also been reports that there is an opt out clause, which would allow Mack to leave the team he ultimately signs with.

Early Thursday morning Adam Schefter reported that the Browns are planning to quickly sign the offer sheet made by Jacksonville. Is this the right move?

If they did sign the offer sheet at the reported prices, they would be putting over $20 million in cap on just two offensive lineman next season. That would have an affect on contract negotiations with arguably more important players such as Joe Haden and Josh Gordon in the future.

If they decided not to sign the offer sheet, they will be going into the draft with a great need on the offensive line. The Browns already need to add an RG and RT to replace Shawn Lauvao (signed with the Redskins) and Mitchell Schwartz (not a scheme fit). Whoever the Browns name as the teams starting QB would probably begin next year with three rookies protecting him. That is not the ideal situation.

Should they make this move? There have been reports flying around all offseason that Alex Mack does not want to be a Cleveland Brown any more. There was also a report out there that the Browns told Mack after they tagged him that if he wanted to leave, they would not try to stop him. If they match the offer, they must be confident that Mack is willing to return.

Cap space-wise this deal is easy for Cleveland. With the most cap space in the league, unless the Jaguars structure their offer very oddly, the Browns will be able to match with cap to spare.

It would be rather awkward to sign Mack after he wanted out, but ultimately it is the best thing to do. The cap space may have an affect on signing other key players, but not dismantling the offensive line is very important right now if you ask me, especially if the Browns decide to draft and start and rookie at QB.

Update: Per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the offer sheet that the Jags will send to Mack Friday is a 5 year deal worth $42 million, $18 million of which will be payed to him in the first 2 years. Mack will also have the option to opt out after year two if he’d like and the deal also has a stipulation where he can’t be tagged after year two as well.

Update:  Looks as if the Jags gave the Browns a lot to think about as they were almost sure to match the deal, but are now having second thoughts.

Dating from Friday the Browns would have until Wednesday to match the offer sheet.

Update: As you all likely know by now the Browns matched the Jags offer and the figures on Mack’s end are as followed.

http://overthecap.com/cap.php?Name=Alex%20Mack&Position=C&Team=Browns

For more on this situation as it unfolds please feel free to follow Shane under the handle Twitter of @ShaneMink, myself under @IES_Don, and NFL insider Ian Rapoport under @Rapsheet . Shane will also have more updates and posts on the matter as the situation unfolds. 

Browns Position-By-Position Review: QB’s .

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(Image By USATSI)

By: Shane Mink

I’ve long talked about adding more writers that cover other teams and sports in this wide world of journalism. That said, one of our newest contributors in Zach Hochrein did his due diligence in helping me in this department and discovered  our latest contributor in Shane Mink. Here, Shane drops off his first IES contribution on his favorite team, the Cleveland Browns, and give a preview of their current QB situation. He also goes into details as to whether the Browns may look to add more help at the position through the NFL Draft. Hope you all enjoy the read, and we’d like to welcome Shane aboard with any other Browns fans to the IES page! 

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IES CB Rankings by Zach Hochrien.

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Z.Hoch’s Top 40 CB

(L.G. Patterson of the AP)

With the draft almost a month away, the IES crew will be hard at work in the coming days to bring you all our very on prospect content as May gets closer. That said, Zach Hochrein knocks another list of prospect rankings today as we take a look at the CB’s. And if I must say so myself, it’s a very impressive, yet distinctive list when comparing it to those I’ve seen around on the web this month. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

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