Monday, April 25, 2005

The Thaw is On

Hopefully, Tribe bats are doing what the weather in Cleveland is finally doing- heating up for good. The first few games of the Seattle series were very encouraging with C.C. and Cliff Lee shutting down a pretty potent lineup (Ichiro, Sexson, Beltre, Boone) before my boy Elarton came in to blow up. Even when Elarton was in that 1-0 "pitcher's duel" with Moyer (was anyone really expecting a victory when looking at the probable starters?), I'm just waiting for the lit wick to hit the TNT. Whenever Elarton is on the mound, I feel like that overbearing dad who coaches the Yankees in the Bad News Bears, just as Kelly Leak is stepping to the plate. You know what's going to happen, you're helpless to stop it, it's really only a matter of time. I guess that whole dynamic played out with the Yankees coach smacking his own pitcher (Wedgie are you listening?). I've said it before, but by mid-May, look for a different #5 starter. My NEW guess is Tallett.

Jason Dangerously pulled a Wild Thing after working one solid inning. I was waiting for Harry Doyle to say, "Ball 4...Ball 8...Ball 12, and Vaughn has walked the bases loaded on 12 straight pitches." Where does JD go now? I still think he's a one-inning pitcher, not a starter or a middle reliever. I think it will take one more REALLY bad outing, but perhaps he should go to Buffalo to hone a one inning repertoire.

Lost in the Elarton/Davis disaster is that Cliff Lee is pitching with more confidence than I've ever seen him. He doesn't have that scared look when he gets into trouble, he just seems to get it done. With Lee in the fold, our 4 top starters and the bullpen (Wickman's hiccups notwithstanding) have been a real strength. Yet, we're still losing ground in the Central.

There's no way the ChiSox can keep this up, can they? The Central is shaping up as one of the tougher divisions in the league.

All right, with an off day today we'll do a quick draft recap.

  • Edwards is an immediate upgrade over anyone on the roster. But, who's the odd man out at WR? I think Bryant (remember Carthon was his O Coordinator in Dallas, who tired of his antics) while others think Davis (can't stay healthy), or even D-Cutt (just because I don't really like him). Whoever it is, they weren't very productive and I'm not going to shed any tears over any one of them moving on.
  • Pool is a versatile, big FOOTBALL player (not a big athlete with potential) who gives depth to the secondary. I think what Crennel is trying to do is build a defense with flexible players who can play multiple positions. If you look at the NE defense, all of the players are smart, versatile players - comfortable handling their spot in the zone. Pool also gives insurance if Jones isn't healthy, or Uncle Butch missed on him too. Interesting comment by Savage on Jones tonight on WTAM. He said that Jones would've been a mid second-top third round pick this year. Translation - He's OK, but Pool (my guy) is better.
  • Frye is a great pick, who's going to have enough time to develop and whose drive and work ethic (that I've read about) should endear him to Cleveland very quickly. I know that last year I thought that McCown would develop for 2 years under Jeff Garcia, but I REALLY think that Frye will be able to develop for 2 years under Dilfer and get comfortable in this system.
  • Perkins, I think, was the first example of "best available". As I freaked out that we hadn't taken any OL, DL, or LB's, Savage calmly took Perkins (whom he called a 2nd round talent). Does this spell the end for Cutch, who is obviously a better nickel corner, or Northcutt, who may lose his PR job and doesn't seem to fit in with these big receivers? We'll see. For both Perkins and Pool, they were rated as "Best in Zone Coverage" at their respective positions, which plays well into Crennel's defense.
  • McMillen is a big, fast DE in college who should be a nice speed rusher in this system. Think a poor man's Jamir Miller (remember Crennel was the D-Coordinator then) or a very poor man's Willie McGinest in the 3-4. I just hope that he gets consistent, which was the big knock on him at Kansas.
  • Speegle (who did not get invited to the Combine) is a smart player with experience in the 3-4 at New Mexico. He visited the Browns twice, so this isn't a blind pick. I hope that he can play the Vrabel role in this offense (by the way, how cocky and idiotic did Vrabel sound on the Cold Pizza Set all weekend), but to ask that of a 5th round pick is a stretch.
  • Hoffman is a big guy, again with experience in the 3-4 as NT, whose frame is big enough to bulk up to 310-315. He should provide depth at the DL (which looks very thin to me) while developing into a rotational player on the line. He dropped a keg on his toe as a sophomore in college. Andrew Hoffman, meet Ross Verba.
  • Dunn is a developmental RT, who along with Chambers (last year's developmental LT) gives the O-Line coaches a project.

Funniest thing I heard all weekend was that my friend's brother was upset about McCown getting traded, but not for the reasons that you think. Turns out he had a custom McCown jersey made after the draft last year, thinking he's the first one on board with the QB of the future. Now, the jersey goes into his closet, next to the Wali Rainer jersey (no lie). Now hearing that someone has those two jerseys, I ask you, how badly do the Browns need a star?

All told, it seems like they drafted football players from big schools who performed over a period of time, and seemed very disciplined to take the best player. There were more glaring needs, but I can't argue with anything yesterday. But, ask me again in 3 years.


Anonymous said...

as one who was dumb enough to fly to buffalo and sit in the snow, I can't be happier about Luke's trade. He is not a cold weather quarterback, and more importantly, he is not a good quarterback (that game was one of my many low points as browns fan)

another low point was moving to baltimore the year the ravens won the superbowl. teaching 150 asshole 8th graders dressed in purple; writing- we love art modell- or -browns suck- on my board everyday nearly turned me into an alchoholic. My hatred for the ravens has only grown, but the baltimorans are fired up for this draft...for good reason. The Raven OFFENSE is stacked, and they picked up first round talent to add to the D in Cody. If Jamal can avoid ass trauma in jail and Heap and Ogden are healthy, the AFC may be in trouble. The only hope is that their pillow biting quarterback cracks under the pressure of superbowl aspirations, but unfortunately, i think a drunken mike swyt could put up decent numbers throwing to heap, mason, and clayton. I hoping for a string of arrests here in charm city.

paul does look like mel kiper

Anonymous said...

i dont have much to add to your comments PC because we're on the same wavelength on just about everything (JD, tallet, clifford, and the chisox and your boy widger, who hit his first home run since 2000, not keeping this up)

once thing i'd have to argue [i think] is that i was listening to the browns draft recap with savage last night on 1100 and i believe savage said that jones was picked about where he would have picked him at his "former job", and had he come back for his senior year, would have moved into the first round. that doesnt change the fact that they did indeed draft pool and he is his guy.

to go back to a topic of a few days ago, remembering where you were when cleveland sports disasters took place: most events happened in either our family room or in our basement, however, a few stick out to me.
- i was at camp issac jogues for our manditory 6th grade camping trip for "the shot." one of the dads on the trip had called back to check on it and let us know the bad news. during that time we were lucky enough to split cavs tickets with a few people, and i have somewhere the ticket to the next home playoff game, which never was.
- for the drive i had locked myself in my parents room and watched the game by myself. i started playing solitare at halftime becuase i was going nuts waiting for the second half to start and continued to play the entire second half because things seemed to be going well.
- brandon miller's house with seamus bohan "studying" for a science test when operation desert shield turned to operation desert storm. no sports relevance
- browns leaving cleveland: same as PC, had ceremonial destroying of browns-related items in 2 sheehy trash closet shortly thereafter as well.
- 1999 NFL draft: damon's by UD. tara was working so biondi and i ate for free there most saturdays.
- tribe... lets see if i can do all of this from memory: 1995, watched game in Dayton Marriott because it was either little sibs weekend or parents weekend and my bro and mom were in town. i wasnt adjusting well to the college scene so i wasnt into "drinking" just yet (they finally corrupted me towards the end of that semester), and upon getting back to my dorm room was subjected to my kind floormates on 2 sheehy just calling and saying "tribe. tribe. tribe. tribe." into the phone over and over again. 1996, was supposed to be in a caps tournament with rob hieb but went straight home from bw3 after the one-man wrecking crew robbie alomar took us out of the playoffs, even though he should have been suspended for spitting on an umpire. locked myself in my campus south room and slept through the night. rob was not happy with me. alten and marinik won said tournament. 1997, 52 woodland, had already made arrangments to borrow kusmer's car to drive up north to the victory parade when it started hitting the fan. at the point when things started getting hairy i went out to our porch and listened to last 3 innings of the game on a walkman. until the 10th anniversary DVD set came out last year i hadnt seen the fernandez play and the whole end of the game. 1998, i'm pleading ignorance here... although it doesnt surprise me because most of senior year was a blur. man am i going home to watch the highlight film from this year as soon as 5pm hits. only thing i remember is losing to the yankees. 1999, hotel room in baltimore. had just recently gotten the call back to balto after being there in training camp and was being put up by them in a residence inn or something until i found somewhere to live. to this day i still dont believe what pete did to us. 2000, chisox somehow won the division and we were pissing around and finally got hot at the end of the year. i specifically remember being at jack malloy's on the game we were eliminated from the wildcard as oakland got in. it was 10ish or something and as soon as the oakland score came across and we were officially eliminated i stormed out of malloy's and walked home to 2128 atkins and went to bed (see 1996). 2001, parent's house. had one or two more guys stepped up, NAMELY CHUCK KITTAIN, we would have knocked out the juggernaut mariners. i dont think he made it past the 4th or 5th inning in either of his starts in that series. and it all went to rebuilding from there. crap, i'm late for a 10am meeting... LATE