Browns optimistic heading into the 2018 season

Berea, OH – The Cleveland Browns have now have something that they have not had in the recent past — optimism.

Hope has been in the air year after year for a successful season, or even a season in which the Browns win half of their games. Unfortunately, the team has won one game out of their past 32, and those losses all came under head coach Hue Jackson.

Jackson has done a tremendous job heading into the 2018 season in finding a new staff to compliment him, and finding talent that could make the difference. The talent begins with starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who is now heading into his eighth NFL season. Taylor has been the epitome of consistency and has been an excellent role model for the Browns number one draft pick Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield has a similar playing style to Taylor’s, and has admitted that Taylor has set the standard high for him. A model quarterback who has proven to be successful is something that has been absent from the Browns locker room, and this is the reason that many recent draft picks have not been able to grow and learn before they play. This is what held Deshone Kizer back, and many rookie quarterbacks before him.

Taylor has spoken about the “controversy” between the two quarterbacks in Brown’s training camp and assured the media that there is no controversy. These two players simply hold each other to the highest standard, and they are both preparing to play a starting role.

The next skilled position that the Browns have tremendously improved in, is the wide receiver position. They landed a big-time free agent in Jarvis Landry, and are hoping to return an extremely gifted receiver in Josh Gordon. Gordon has missed training camp due to personal reasons, but will likely debut in the first or second game of the season.

The Browns also have young talent in Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins, and this is a plethora of talent that the Browns may never have had at the position. Callaway has dealt with some legal issues that may hinder the beginning of his season, but he will make a huge impact if he can play.

The backfield has also improved tremendously with the addition of Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb. Chubb is a rookie from Georgia that has broken a number of records, and had an outstanding college career as a north-south runner. Hyde has nearly eclipsed 1,000 yards in the past two seasons and is still in the prime of his career. The team also has Duke Johnson who is extremely talented, but has had issues with injury.

The teams tight end David Njoku is a freak athlete that has had trouble catching the ball, but Mayfield spoke to the media and said that Njoku has improved on catching the ball. This is the only issue that he has shown, but his athleticism gives him potential that could soar through the roof.

This is just on the offensive side of the ball, as their defense has improved dramatically. The team drafted a cornerback in Denzel Ward in the first round that is a lock down player, and they brought in Damarious Randall who is gifted in the secondary. They still have Jabrill Peppers who is a second-year player that is known to dominate the secondary.

The player with the highest roof on the defense is Myles Garrett, who is a second-year player that has the potential to be one of the greatest at his position. He is a physically gifted defensive end the was sidelined last season often due to injury.

A big positive for the Browns this is their linebacker core, because they have three linebackers that can all be considered elite. Jamie Collins was injured last season, but he was the best player on a New England Patriots team that consistently dominated. Christian Kirksey has been with the Browns for four years and is continuing to improve each year. They also brought in Michael Kendricks who was the starting middle linebacker last year for the Eagles – who won the Super Bowl.

The team has also brought in an offensive guru in Todd Haley, and many other coaching pieces that are rebuilding the culture for the Cleveland Browns.

The saying that Browns fans have spewed out for years is, “there’s always next season.” This might be that season.

 

 

Central Michigan squeaks past Miami in MAC quarterfinal game

Cleveland, OH — The Central Michigan Chippewas women’s basketball team defeated the Miami RedHawks with a score of 61-58 after a tough fought game by both teams in the MAC quarterfinals. Miami’s star player Lauren Dickerson struggled in the first half as she shot three for 14. Micaela Kelly thrived for the Chippewas in the first half and kept up the intensity as she led her team in scoring with nine points.

Kelly was the leading scorer for the Chippewas as she had 16 points on six of nine shooting, along with three rebounds and three assists. Dickerson led all scorers in the game with 21 points and she was the only player to play all 40 minutes of the game.

Collective team ball was the theme for the Chippewas, as it has been throughout the entire season. The Chippewas’ five starters all averaged double digit scoring throughout the season, and Miamis’ Dickerson was the only player to average double digit scoring, with 19.8 points per game.

Dickerson took command of her team but it wasn’t enough with her low field goal percentage and the strong offense presented by the Chippewas. Presley Hudson came on strong for the Chippewas in the second half and scored a total of  points in the game. The leading scorers Reyna Frost and Kelly dominated while both shooting over 50 percent in the game.

The Chippewas will play the winner of the Buffalo Bulls verses Western Michigan game and they will have a chance to win the women’s MAC Championship game on Saturday.

 

 

 

Akron loses big to FAU

Boca Raton, FLA. – The FAU Fighting Owls came prepared to the Boca Raton Bowl, and Akron Zips simply did not. Heading into the game, the Zips were the underdogs in the largest differential in a spread in Bowl history, with a spread of 22.5. The Owls were headed by first year head coach Lane Kiffin, and he capped off his first season in the same fashion that he played all year while leading his team to a 10-3 record.

The final score to the game was 50-3, and that was after FAU decided to let up on the gas with about ten minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Before that mark, the Fighting Owls had a firm grip in all three phases of the game. The standouts for the Fighting Owls were QB Jason Driskel, RB Devin Singletary, and WR’s Kalib Woods, Willie Wright, and Kamrin Solomon.

Driskel has had a spectacular season for the team, and capped the Bowl game off with 270 passing yards and a touchdown, and also included two rushing touchdowns with 67 yards on the ground. The feature back in Singletary lived up to all of his pregame hype will rushing for 124 yards, and three touchdowns. Wright was the prolific receiver for the Fighting Owls and he caught two touchdown passes for 71 yards.

The Zips stat line was not so impressive, but it did show promise for the young quarterback Kato Nelson and his future with the team. The issue was that the offensive line could not hold up, and Nelson ended up having 14 carries for only 21 yards. He only had 80 yards in the air as well, but he kept his composure when he knew his team was outmatched. The Zips leading receiver had a 2 catches for 28 yards, and that sums up the night for the offense.

Akron does have promise heading into the future, but will need to improve collectively with their roster if they plan on letting Kato shine. The Zips have made progress by making it to the Bowl game, but will need much more to win a MAC Championship or Bowl game in the near future.

Playoff LeBron is here: Cavs win 12th consecutive home playoff game against Eastern Conference

Foul trouble happened to be the theme of the night as the Cavs racked up 25, but Cleveland’s stars willed their way to playoff win No. 1. The Cavs overcame the Indiana Pacers in a final second thriller with a score of 109-108, and set the tone coming into the offseason.

LeBron had a marvelous 32 points, six rebounds, and 13 assists while leading the team in minutes. Tristan Thompson did not seem phased with the thumb injury, as he racked up eight points, and 13 rebounds (six offensive). The big three accounted for 72 points, and made all of the necessary plays to win.

High energy was the formula for this game from the start, and LeBron maintained that energy from the moment he stepped on the court for pre-game. Love began with the first seven points of the game, and Kyrie carried that momentum from there on. LeBron had a quiet first quarter, while waiting until three minutes left in the first quarter to attempt a shot. The Cavs left the fourth quarter with a field goal percentage of 65 percent, and optimism going forward.

Entering the second quarter, the Cavs cultivated this energy and the stars on the team continued to shine. With about six minutes left in the second quarter, the atmosphere uplifted tremendously with LeBron’s acrobatic alley-oop from Kyrie.

LeBron ended off the second half with an emphatic and-one layup, and began the MVP chants. The Cavs led with a score of 66-59 while shooting 60 percent from the field, and the big three all were in double digits.

Paul George started off the third quarter with three consecutive buckets, and continued his recent hot streak as the primary scorer for the Pacers. Tension increased as the Pacers fought back vicariously, and brought the game within two points at the halfway mark of the third.

With five minutes remaining in the third, the big three all had three fouls on them, and that warranted limited minutes going into the fourth. All momentum shifted near the end of the third when LeBron slammed a monstrous dunk, off of a 50/50 hustle steal. He was near a triple double, and the Cavs went into the fourth quarter with a comfortable lead of 92-84.

Kyle Korver brought the fourth quarter into action with a long two-pointer off of a screen, assisted by LeBron. Lance Stephenson is fully acclimated to the Pacers scheme once again, and was the secondary playmaker that kept the game tight.

With two minutes left, the intensity flourished and the arena convulsed from excitement. LeBron and Kyrie made two sensational plays to put the Cavs ahead by three points, but the game remained tight. Kyrie had two crucial steals as well that seemed to solidify the win, but that wasn’t the case yet. Paul George hit a three-pointer from deep that brought the game within one point.

Twenty seconds remained as the Cavs held a one point lead, and the Pacers had possession of the ball following a timeout. Late game defense solidified the win as C.J Miles missed a potential game winner, and the Cavs squeezed their way out of a tight one.

The Cavs have now won 12 straight home playoff games against the Eastern Conference, and the they are now 4-1 against Indiana this season. LeBron has now also played his 200th playoff game, which lands as ninth on the all-time list. LeBron is also has won 18 straight first-round playoff games, covering a span of about five years.

The next playoff game will be held in Cleveland on April 21st, and the Cavs will look to continue the Eastern Conference home win streak.