Steelers, Ravens, Bengals preseason week 3 action

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So it was another successful week for the rest of the AFC North as all the teams got one step closer to the beginning of the regular season without losing any star players or having crazy incidents. Both the Steelers and the Ravens rolled to victory while the Bengals lost to the Packers. But what does that even me to the fans anymore? Honestly, nothing at all. All that matters is the teams get through the games healthy and the playbook is totally learned for when it really counts in September. But either way, there will always be NFL gossip, so let's take the rundown and review the news.

Steelers

The big story here is that Mike Wallace is going to report to camp after the long contract holdout that will never be resolved. This will end after Mike Wallace refused to sign the franchise tender after wanting a long term deal. I don't really blame him for wanting a long term deal, especially if he gets hurt this year, but sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and do what is best for the team. That is what he will be doing in the near future.

Ravens

It's is a never ending plot about wondering if the defense is getting too old to be able to compete. After it was announced that the Ravens would be putting Suggs on the PUP list, the defense took one more step being closer to diminished knowing that one of the best players on the team will miss at least the first six games.

Bengals

It's a wait and see game.

Andy Dalton: Real or fake?

AJ Green, superstar?

Defense, will it hold?

Leon Hall, healthy?

Green Ellis, will he fumble??

Nobody knows.

Browns lose to Eagles, what is the meaning?

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Before everyone starts freaking out about the fact that the Browns lost to the Eagles and that it is only a precursor to what will happen, slow down. The starters hardly played, the formations were boring, and nobody was going to give anything away. Both Andy Reid and Pat Shurmur came out during the week to say that they were not going to do anything crazy this preseason game even though it was the "dress rehearsal" because they weren't about to give anything away. They knew that they could only hurt themselves. With that being said, even if the players were given a thin playbook for the week, it doesn't mean they weren't trying. So l et's take a look and see what was accomplished.

The first drive could not have started any better for the Browns. Brandon Weeden was threading the needle in ways that Colt McCoy could and the offense was consistently moving the ball down the field. So what happened? Well in short the offensive line is not even close to being formed which led to a play where nobody was blocked and Weeden had no chance to do anything other than fumble.

Before the fumble, earlier in the drive, was the first time where Brandon Weeden and Josh Gordon made a serious connection with each other. It was a long streak down the left sideline that resulted in in 28 yards and a Browns first down. I would bet that we see that for a long time to come.

Other points to hit:

Ben Watson is single handedly giving away his job.

Phil Dawson is still the man.

Montario Hardesty seems to have been passed on the depth chart by Brandon Jackson.

Colt McCoy continues to improve his trade value.

The regular season and actual football is that much closer.

Steelers, Ravens, Bengals preseason action

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It is week two of the preseason which means teams are getting that much to the real thing come September. By no means is the preseason some sort of direct indicator of how good a team will be in the regular season, but it gives us an idea of what they will have to offer.

Bengals

The biggest story that came out of this game was that Andy Dalton hooked up with A.J Green on a long, 50 yard touchdown pass. I bet we will be seeing a lot of that this season. Green has the potential to be a top 10 receiver in the NFL in fantasy by the end of the year. Actually, I'm going to go right out on that limb and say that A.J Green will be a top 3 fantasy receiver at the end of the year. This being as long as he doesn't get hurt.

Ravens

The Ravens lost the game, but in a little bit more of importance, when the first teams were in the game the Ravens still lost by a score of 17-9. I'm not totally sure what to take from this. Is it that the Ravens defense got dominated by Megatron, or that they had three chances and couldn't put the ball in the end zone? In reality, Calvin Johnson will tear up every defense in the NFL this year so I'm not going to put that on them. But the Ravens offense? If you are a fan of this team you should be worried about who other than Ray Rice is capable of carrying this team.

Steelers

The Steelers play their second preseason game of the year when they play host to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football, 8p.m EST.

The matchup to watch is none other than Andrew Luck, the rookie, vs the brick wall that is the Steelers defense.

Browns beat Packers 35-10

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Normally in this day and age if I were to tell you that the Cleveland Browns beat the Green Bay Packers in an absolute blowout you would be jumping out of your shoes thinking that the Browns were suddenly one of the better teams in the NFL. Then I reminded you that it was only a preseason game and that Aaron Rodgers hardly played the game was ran by backups. Your dream is crushed. But maybe not totally...? Let's break down the good and bad of the game.

Brandon Weeden

I thought Brandon Weeden played much better in this game than he did in the first preseason game. He did turn over the ball or look afraid to make a play. He made hard, crisp throws to hit the wide open receivers right in between the numbers. I remember one play right before the half when the Browns had one shot to get into field goal range and Weeden made the only laser throw he could to get the team into range. I'm not sure that would have been completed last year with Colt McCoy.

Backup QB's

This might actually turn into the story of how the Green Bay backup quarterbacks were so bad that they might actually have put in a phone call to the Browns to inquire about trading for a Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace. Both of which led the team on touchdown scoring drives when they were in the game.

Defense

Pat Shurmur has talked a lot this training camp about how the defense needs to be aggressive to force turnovers. He got his wish when the team recovered a fumble and got multiple interceptions. It will be interesting to see if they can keep the trend up during the season.

Dick Jauron

This has no more importance than you are willing to speculate about, but Dick Jauron will be calling defensive plays from the press box this year instead of online the sidelines. This was reportedly his choice.

Rounding up the AFC North

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For the last two weeks I took a preseason vacation to get all of my relaxing in before the rush that is the start of the NFL season. But even though the regular season games have not even started yet, the news kept on flowing. So we are going to take a peek at what was missed while I was gone.

Baltimore Ravens

The biggest story for the Baltimore Ravens this preseason is the speculation about whether or not the team is getting too old to compete in the modern NFL. Ed Reed was speculating retirement during the offseason and fans and media are talking about whether or not Ray Lewis still has "it." I believe the Ravens will be just fine and maybe even surprise some people when they win double digit games again and win the division to go to the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The biggest story this preseason for the Steelers has been that Mike Wallace has still not reported to camp. The deadline for signing an extension has already passed, so that's not an option. The only way he plays a game for the Steelers this season is by signing that one year tender that will pay him more than enough. My guess is that he will skip all of camp but he will be back for week one of the regular season and start right away with no penalty.

Cincinnati Bengals

Do you think that the Bengals can repeat what they did last year? Make the playoffs with a young and under estimated squad? I don't think that they can. I think this year the Bengals will be figured out whether it is how to stop Andy Dalton or beat the injury ridden cornerbacks. I see the Bengals falling off the table this year and only winning 6 or 7 games.

While I was gone: Joe Haden, Jimmy Haslam, Scott Fujita

Zuma Press/Icon SMI

For the last two weeks I took a preseason vacation to get all of my relaxing in before the rush that is the start of the NFL season. But even though the regular season games have not even started yet, the news kept on flowing. So we are going to take a peek at what was missed while I was gone.

Jimmy Haslam

Jimmy Haslam, the new owner of the Cleveland Browns (pending league approval), had his first press conference in the new role. He appeared comfortable and ready to take a hands on approach to taking this team to the top. Many wonder what this means for the staff if Jimmy Haslam will want to start over or not, but for now the team can only focus on the issues on the field. After the season we can wonder about job statuses now. But just to go on the record, I believe Mike Holmgren will be out after the year and Heckert and Shurmur will stay.

Joe Haden

It is rumored that Browns star cornerback, Joe Haden, could be facing a four game suspension after a failed drug test. Haden may have tested positive for Adderall, but it will take a second sample of the test to verify it before the suspension would become official. For the sake of the Browns it would be devastating if Joe Haden were to be for multiple games. He is one of the best shutdown corners in the league and he is someone no team could afford to lose.

Scott Fujita

It is still unknown whether or not Scott Fujita will have his suspension reduced or dropped by opening day. I won't bore you with the details because IM sure you have heard every detail about the bounty scandal and why Fujita is in this situation, but with every passing day it becomes more and more unlikely (in my opinion) that the suspension will be changed. 

More Browns Q&A

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For all the Browns fans who are following training camp, now is one of the hottest times of the year in the weather and for asking questions about the success of your team in the upcoming year. So I am going to try and answer some of the most frequently asked browns questions that have been appearing across the web and the air over the last couple weeks. 

Question: Who has been among the most impressive Browns players from the beginning of camp?

Answer: Well without jumping out of my shoes and naming everybody, I will try and keep it short and sweet. Brandon Weeden has a cannon for an arm and he is making Colt McCoy look bad. Joe Haden is evolving into one of the best shut down corners in the league. Josh Gordon is bigger and faster than most thought he would be. Trent Richardson is a stud. Mohammed Massaquoi still sucks. Maybe a little harsh?

Question: Who is the most underrated player on the squad?

Answer: if you remember last year when special agent Peyton Hillis went off on his injury tangent, it was Chris Ogbonnaya to the rescue. Most people this year don't even have him in the discussion now that he is behind a healthy Brandon Jackson and Montario Hardesty. Don't be surprised if Ogbonnaya does something to spark the club at some point this year?

Question: What is the Browns record going to be this year?

Answer: 16-0, obviously. In reality it is near impossible to pick a record for a team this soon, but considering the team has gotten better than last year I would be shocked if they won less than six games. If you put a gun to my head right now and made me say, I would go with 7-9.


Answering Browns Questions

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For all the Browns fans who are following training camp, now is one of the hottest times of the year in the weather and for asking questions about the success of your team in the upcoming year. So I am going to try and answer some of the most frequently asked browns questions that have been appearing across the web and the air over the last couple weeks.

Question: Do you think that James Michael Johnson has a chance to start this year?

Answer: No. He will be blocked by guys like Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong. Unfortunately in the NFL, players who are veterans are given preference even if they are not better than the player who is below them. I'm most certainly not saying that the young rookie is better than the veteran outside linebackers, but that could be a problem later in the year. Johnson will be starting on special teams. On a side note, James Michael Johnson really sounds like the name of a football player.

Question: Who does the newest Browns receiver, Josh Gordon, compare the best to for a player that is already in the NFL?

Answer: If you ask Browns beat man, Tony Grossi, he would tell you that Josh Gordon is a lot like A.J Green, who the Browns just missed out on in last years draft. I think that this could be a bit of reach, but it is nice to see the optimism from someone who is normally down on the team.

Question:  What is the biggest change that will come with new Browns owner to be, Jimmy Haslam?

Answer: I think that the biggest change could be that he will change the naming rights of Cleveland Browns Stadium and not honor the tradition that has followed it over the years. The profitability in it has become too important to pass up on.

Mike Wallace holdout, Browns being sold, who is your favorite player?

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Training camp is now a couple days old for every team in the league, but yet there are still a select few players who have not reported and have no intention of reporting anytime soon. The one outside of this division is Jones-Drew for the Jaguars, but I wouldn't be shocked if that got resolved. The one that I don't see being changed anytime soon is Mike Wallace with the Steelers. He refused to sign his offer as a restricted free agent in hopes of landing a long term deal, but the two sides are so far apart in money that Wallace decided not to come to camp until he gets his deal. The Steelers responded by saying they would not give him a long term deal until he came to camp. It's the ultimate stalemate. I like the move by the Steelers as I believe it will really start to pay off when Wallace starts thinking about the possibility of losing game checks. In the end I think he shows up for the end of camp without a long term deal and then at some point during the season he gets what he wanted all along.

The story continues to unfold about the Cleveland Browns being sold but much of the details remain fact. The Browns are not moving, and Jimmy Haslam isn't really a Steelers fan. He said it himself that he grew up a Cowboys fan and that he was only a Steelers fan because he had an ownership spot for the team (which he will give up when he buys the Browns). So anyone who I complaining that he is a Steelers fan, it's not that big of a deal.

It is also being reported that the sale price of the team will be about $920 and Randy Lerner will maintain 30% share in the team that will go down every year until there is none left.

I want to leave you a question that you can answer in the comments down below to be featured in a future article. 

Question: Who is your favorite player in the AFC North and why? Who is your least favorite and why?


BROWNS being sold, are they moving?

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Everyone woke up this morning to find out that the Cleveland Browns, owned by Randy Lerner, were on the verge of being sold to Jimmy Haslam III. It was a sale that was first reported in the middle of June, but was immediately shot down... until today. This morning Randy Lerner confirmed that he was in negotiations with Haslam for a sale of the "controlling interest" in the team. It is not yet known whether or not it will be for all, or just most, and if Randy Lerner will maintain any part of the team.

Immediately I got the sense that Browns were all dropping to their knees as the great day has finally come were unpopular Lerner would go away. Lerner has been known to shy away from the public, not making bold decisions, and generally not running a successful franchise since he took it over from his deceased father shortly after the team returned to Cleveland in 1999. 

But all excitement was brought to a screeching halt later in the morning when fans realized this this could mean the team was bought to move to Los Angeles as the city has been looking for a team. That could not be more false. Mike Holmgren confirmed that a Lerner would not sell the team unless the new owner had a firm understanding that the team is not to be moved. But you're thinking to yourself, "Well what's to say he's not going to just move it after the sale is complete?" That's not going to happen either as the Browns have an unbreakable lease with the city of Cleveland that runs through the year 2029. 

So after that mini heart attack you just had if you're a Browns fan, you may be wondering who this Haslam guy is. He is 55, his father is the founder of "Pilot" one of the leading travel centers in the country, and he is now (but will formerly be after the sale) a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The STEELERS? Yes, the Steelers. The loyalty change has happened before going from Cleveland to Pittsburgh with the likes of Bill Cowher and Chuck Noll, so if you're a Browns fan maybe it's time to reverse the karma a little. 

Forbes most recent estimate shows that the Haslam family is worth over 3 billion dollars.

Randy Lerner is trying his hardest to make sure that the sale of the team does not interfere with current squad on the field. The players were notified of the sale Friday morning, but then quickly went on with practice as usual. Nobody is being hired or fired anytime soon so don't get too excited. In fact, one of the men in the buying group was in the front office of the Eagles when GM, Tom Heckert, and head coach, Pat Shurmur, were there. So in all likelihood they will not be going anywhere even after the conclusion of this season. 

As for the future of Mike Holmgren, he stated earlier today, "That'll be answered probably down the road," Holmgren said before the first Browns full-team practice of training camp on Friday. "You control the things you can control. I think we've done a lot of great things here in getting to this point, and we'll see."

We will have to wait and see.