Cooke’s Kitchen

This is it folks. The death march of the sports year. The NBA is over, pro and college football are still 8 weeks away, and unless you’re a diehard baseball fan who tries to watch all 162 games, you won’t care much until September. Which means it’s time to get some sanity back and start looking ahead at the upcoming (5 months out) Flyers season and the new troops Archie added to the squad. We’re going to make an effort to bring as much content as we can throughout the summer to keep Sweater Nation salivating for this season, and what we’re all expecting to be another hell of a ride. Over the next several days we’re going to be featuring a series of short blogs on every new player who will toss on the Red and Blue this fall. So buckle up, kick back, and enjoy this presentation of in-depth hoops analytics (WikiPedia/Google/YouTube) and half-assed photo edits (MS Paint).

Part One: Charles Cooke, G, 6’6″, 200 lbs

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Nickname: Tre
Birthday: July 1, 1994
Major: General Studies 
AAU Team: NJ ABC

Can’t help but hope that nickname comes from his performance behind the arch. Charles Cooke announced his transfer last year from James Madison University where he played two seasons for the Dukes. After announcing his intentions to transfer, it was between Michigan State, Rhode Island, and Dayton (sorry bout ya, Izzo). Not the first recruiting victory for Archie vs. a Big Ten school either, which we’ll get into later on.

After sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, you have to hope the kid wants to come out flying, He started 40 of 62 games at JMU, clocking 1,781 minutes and averaged 14.3 ppg his sophomore season (613 total points in two seasons) which earned him Third Team All-Colonial Athletic Association. He shot .415 from the field and a solid .718 from the line.

Despite sitting on the bench last season, this November won’t be Cooke’s first game on UD Arena’s floor. JMU reached the NCAA’s during his freshman season, after a 25-11 campaign placed them in the first round at UD Arena vs. LIU and a second round game vs. Indiana. Cooke scored 15 and 18 in those games, respectively.

Before College:

  • Attended/played for Trenton Catholic Academy (Trenton, New Jersey)
  • As a sophomore, Trenton Catholic captured the Parochial B state championship and won the New Jersey Tournament of Champions
  • Rated 11th best prospect from New Jersey by ESPN, 68th in his region and 83rd nationally at the small forward position
  • Played for Team NJABC (AAU)

I’m going to start this series off with a bold prediction right off the bat: Cooke will be the best ball handler on the team. Don’t believe me? Good because you probably shouldn’t, but have a look anyway:

Season highs from his sophomore season at JMU:

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Summary: We only have two fairly-decent seasons in the Colonial Athletic Association, composed of teams you can see in the stats above, to judge. But one thing’s for sure: Cooke likes to shoot, and while he’s still pretty raw, let’s not forget the last time Archie had a transfer come in with an entire year to work on that part of his game. With a full year of practice with Archie and our team under his belt, there’s no reason to not have high hopes for him this season.

Thoughts/Comments/Death Threats: @KTuleta

Welcome To The Splash Zone

A little over a week has passed since Sweater nation tossed their beer + blood stained sweaters into the drawer to rest until next fall. Archie is locked in for another year and we’ve got 6 or 7 new players to look forward to, along with our remaining core. But before we completely dim the lights on another Flyer season, let’s keep the candle burning one more night.

For those of you living under a rock the last week (or anyone who cut ties with the tournament once Oklahoma happened), I’m talking about the 3-point shootout tonight on ESPN, where Jordan Sibert will toss on his Flyer tunic one last time.

(Side note: HAVE to appreciate this all-time end to a senior season. “Last” home game in our house on March 3rd. Then Boise gave him another. And now, a few days after bowing out to Oklahoma, getting the call to rep the Flyers in Indianapolis tonight for the shootout.)

A look at his competition’s stats from behind the arc:

  • Alex Barlow – Butler (103 made on 290 attempts = 36%)
  • Matt Carlino – Marquette (240 made on 666 attempts = 36%)
  • Corey Hawkins – UC Davis (176 made on 434 attempts = 41%)
  • Ryan Boatright – UConn (199 made on 524 attempts = 38%)
  • Darrun Hillard – Villanova (209 made on 569 attempts = 37%)
  • Patrick Connaughton – Notre Dame (268 made on 695 attempts = 39%)
  • Kevin Pangos – Gonzaga (332 made on 776 attempts = 42%)
  • Jordan Sibert: 163 made on 424 attempts = 38%

Take it away Larry!

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My point: when it comes to tomorrow, no one should care about the stats or competition. This is going to be flat out fun. I’ve seen all I need from Sibert and can’t ask for anything more. The game winners against IPFW + Boise to the nonstop catch-and-shoot three’s over the last two (CHRIST why wasn’t it four) seasons. Facts are facts, the kid is immune to pressure.

Regardless of whether or not he buries these other guys tonight, I’m going to kick back and enjoy a NO PRESSURE Dayton basketball appearance on ESPN and watch this kid give it his all one more time for the red and blue.

Now cue The Splash Zone, one last time for old time’s sake.

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P.S. Can’t not mention Hoover will be competing in the Women’s 3 point shootout tonight as well. Now while I only saw a few minutes of her this season, she flat out gets BUCKETS and will be extremely competitive against anyone out there tonight.

A Couple Kids From Cleveland

I’ve been asked countless times over the past several months from my non-Cleveland buddies to sum up my thoughts on my teams and this whirlwind of a summer. No doubt the same questions most of you are fielding as well, such as “So, thoughts on LeBron?” or “Will Manziel get that starting spot?”. I lost count of the number of articles I’ve read from Clevelanders and non-Clevelanders on how we should feel, who’s going to play, who’s going to win, who’s going to do what, how much money is going to pour in, what the analysts are saying, etc. And you know what? I’ll take every second of it. I can’t wait to see every bar and restaurant on 25th and 6th filled to the brim every night of the week. Those people and economy deserve it. I’m counting down the days until I can see LeBron run out onto the court at the Q and toss up that chalk. And Johnny Football, the most electrifying college football player in recent memory, suiting up for the Brown and Orange? First time in my 26 years I’ve actually welcomed the thought of summer ending so we can get this show on the road.

Needless to say there’s about 500 different topics that could be addressed about the current sports situation in Cleveland. But the one I’m enjoying more than any other involves two guys that will be running out of the tunnel this fall at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Enter Brian Hoyer and Donte Whitner.

If there’s one thing I can appreciate more than any other sports topic in Cleveland, it’s seeing hometown guys playing for the hometown teams. I’m as big a LeBron fan as anyone, but it’s about time he started sharing the “hometown kid” title.

NFL: Preseason-Detroit Lions at Cleveland BrownsSan-Francisco-49ers-strong-safety-Donte-Whitner

Brief recap for anyone living under a rock lately:

Brian Hoyer

Born on the Westside in ’85, played QB at Ignatius and graduated in ’03. Went to play QB at Michigan State under John L. Smith and Dantonio. Undrafted in ’09 but picked up by New England where he was awarded the role of understudy to Tom Brady for a couple years. Released in 2012 then had a few short stints with the Steelers and Cardinals before coming back to the 216.

Donte (w)Hitner

Born in Cleveland, also in ’85. Played high school for the legendary Ginn Sr. at Glenville, also graduating in ’03. Accepted a scholarship offer and played at Ohio State for a few years before transferring to San Jose State University. Drafted by Buffalo in 2006 – first round, 8th pick.

Quick Fact: As Whitner was playing football outside of his house when he was 6 years old, he chased a ball into the street and was struck by a car. His leg was broken in 30+ places and doctors told him he may never walk again. Think about that for a second, then take a quick look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBEdigBUoN8

They’ve seen the same Cleveland we have over the years. Watched the same teams, same games, same victories, same heartbreaks. Both grew up just a few minutes from the field, both hoping to run out of that tunnel some day. They understand the blood and tears we pour into every damn season and team, regardless of last week/year’s outcome.

Now veterans, they’re going to be leaders in that locker room, one on each side of the ball. They understand better than probably anyone on that team how much a successful season means to Cleveland. They get to pump up an entire team with not only their raw talents, but with battle scars from years of Cleveland sports past. Every Sunday when they look up at that maniacal, beautiful Dawg Pound, they’ll see their entire city looking back at them. A privilege few have ever received.

Just a couple kids from Cleveland.

Let’s go.

– @KTuleta

47 Signs You Know You’re From Cleveland

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by Kevin Tuleta

**APRIL 2015 UPDATE: Wrote this way back in 2013; obviously a lot has changed since then (specifically in our sports department), so a full rewrite will be out in the near future.**

1. You play corn hole. Not bags. And it’s most likely a custom set with your high school/college/Cleveland team on it

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2. Put-in-Bay + Kelley’s Island may as well be the Bahamas + Hawaii.

3. Saturdays at noon bring out the best in our football abilities

4. And Sundays at 1pm bring out the worst

5. You or someone in your family has played hockey their entire life

6. You have, or will experience at least one east coaster ask “How big is your farm?” when telling them where you’re from

7. You automatically assume a catastrophic event is unfolding when a traffic jam lasts longer than 30 seconds heading into downtown

8. You are absolutely baffled that people still ask how you feel about LeBron 

9. Daydreaming about a championship parade rolling through downtown is a common occurrence

10. You have come to take pride in our river setting on fire multiple times

11. You know how to say bagel, pillow, and milk the right way

12. When people bring up the Fumble/Drive/Shot/Decision, you counter with the ’90s Indians.

13. You have great difficulty trying to explain the joy that is Christmas Ale to non-Clevelanders

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14. It’s a cookout, not a barbecue. 

15. If offered a million dollars, you still wouldn’t be able to name all starting quarterbacks since 1999.

16. You have never once muttered the name Progressive Field and never will. Your future children and theirs will always call it The Jake.

17. There is a good chance you have a Cleveland Lumberjacks t-shirt or plastic cup somewhere in your attic.

18. You know what The Holy War is

19. There is a strong chance you have used the “we have the best hospital in the world, even Kings and Queens come here!” argument when defending our town.

20. Every night at every bar is an accidental high school reunion.

21. It’s pop. Take your “soda” elsewhere.

22. You constantly wonder what downtown + The Flats will look like in ten years.

23. East Side vs. West Side

24. Obligatory Cedar Point comment

25. You’ve taken one taxi ride your entire life

26. You wouldn’t even think to look twice when seeing someone with Christmas lights still up in July

27. “I’m 30% Polish 30% Irish and a mix of some other stuff”

28. Temperature above 40 degrees? Shorts and flip flops it is!

29. All of your snow days growing up occurred in April

30. “Dinner” is the third meal of the day

31. Of course it smells like dead fish – it’s Lake Erie.

32. The Q? The Gund.

33. You put your trash on the “tree lawn”

34. The Feast

35. Big Chuck and Little John commercials

36. You don’t have a clue how to navigate University Circle

37. Walleye and Perch are delicacies

38. You don’t know Easter without Malley’s

39. You either experienced or been told about 10 cent beer night

40. You know where Deer Hunter and The Avengers were filmed

41. Serpentini – American and prooooooooooooooud of it.

42. Everything is “20 minutes” from everything

43. You’ve dumped at least 100 pennies in the Tower City fountains in your lifetime

44. Friday Fish Fry? See you there.

45. Saint Patrick’s Day > Christmas

46. Anything below Columbus may as well be the deep south

47. People bash on Cleveland all day long – but no one does it as well as you can.

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The Browns lost and I might move to Peru next week

Remember this:

then

And now:

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“It’s how the tide turns, right?” – T.J. Ward after the game. Yes sir Mr. Ward – yes sir.

Last week I said my glass is always half full with the boys on Sunday. I take that back. The Browns have just lost two big games in a row by a combined margin of 37 points. Campbell got carted out with a concussion and Weeden came in to a shower of boos. Here we go!

Yes, that was a cheap shot against Campbell. But unlike other fan bases around the league, you won’t hear us create a royal hurricane about it. We have other things to worry about.

Big, must-win game to keep us in somewhat of a hunt for a wildcard spot, and wouldn’t you know it – right down the drain. Eight turnovers in the past two games. EIGHT. Throw the drunkest guy from the Dawg Pound in to take a few snaps and I guarantee we see a better performance than Weeden’s. Was that first fumble done on purpose? Seriously looked like he just put the ball down on the field and said “Here you go, get me out of here!”

There is nothing worse than that Steelers quarterback laughing in our faces out there. Cool punt bro. But I would probably do the same thing if I had only lost one time against us in all my starts. 

How about Gordon though? Probably the quietest 237 yard game of all time. 

This has been one of the more unexplainable seasons since the ’99 rebirth. Not much else to say. London Jags are in town next week and you know its bad when I have to pray the -40 weather alone shuts them down. We’ll sign some third string QB from Mount Union this week and Weeden will be our starter once again. If we lose at home to this team next weekend, I’m moving to Peru. They serve Christmas Ale there right?

P.S. Krayzie and Wish Bone on the sidelines wearing 99 was nothing short of spectacular. 

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Are we really Booing Anthony Bennett out there?

Chris Fedor’s article from cleveland.com:

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cavs have gotten off to a slow start, and the fans are letting them hear about it.

After last night’s loss to the Washington Wizards, 98-91, the team dropped to 4-8 on the young season. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has preached patience on Twitter, saying how much of the season is still ahead of the team. Head coach Mike Brown has talked about it being a process. 

But this is not what the Cavs had envisioned, not after they brought Brown back to add some defense and after they spent money in free agency on Earl Clark, Jarrett Jack and Andrew Bynum.

team meeting less than 10 games into the season wasn’t part of the Cavs’ plan. Being showered with boos while trailing the Washington Wizards by 27 points on their own home court wasn’t either. Nor was first-overall pick Anthony Bennett accounting for more air balls than made field goals. Bennett is now 5 of 37 from the field. 

Fans are frustrated. Last night, after Bennett’s latest three-point attempt failed to brush the rim, boos rained down on the struggling rook. Hearing the gesture caused fans and media members on Twitter to express how they felt.

———–

I’ll probably get eaten alive for this. Truth be told I’m on both sides here. But are we really booing this guy 3 weeks into his career? Come on. I get it, we’ve been skeptical about Bennett since day one, and his .001% stats are backing that up. Still can’t be slightly bummed out to see fans boo a guy who’s not only new to the league but new to the city. We’re better than that, and have enough issues to worry about. Don’t get me wrong, I was sick to my stomach watching us get smoked by the Wizards the other night. Going into halftime down that many points embarrassed everyone. It’s 12 games into the year. We’re all used to hearing “be patient” for all of our teams, but this year I truly feel patience will pay off. Jack and Waiters will improve, Kyrie will start playing out of his mind again, and who knows – maybe we’ll see some oldschool Bynum come out of no where. 

Let’s give the kid a chance.

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Monster new hotel coming to Cleveland

Looks like I’m a couple weeks behind on this one, oh well. Makes for a nice break from the 200 “What Browns Need To Do On Sunday” articles I’ve been inhaling all day.

John Kosich from cleveland.com:

CLEVELAND – For the first time in a long time, the skyline of Cleveland will be changing and for the first time, the public was given a glimpse Tuesday of what the newest addition will look like, as architects presented their initial design for the new 30-story Hilton Convention Center Hotel to Cuyahoga County Council.

The $260 million hotel will be built on the site of the soon to be demolished Cuyahoga County Administration Building. It will be owned by the county but operated by Hilton.

“It won’t be the tallest building in Cleveland but it will be extremely prominent because of its location,” said Project Management Consultant Jeff Appelbaum.

“We have a convention center that’s largely underground so you really don’t know necessarily that the convention center is there. This becomes sort of the icon for the convention center,” he said.

The hotel will feature a four-story base or podium that will feature the hotel’s lobby, ballroom and connections to the adjacent convention center. Above will be a 26-story hotel tower that will feature around 600 rooms, all with views of both Lake Erie and the city.

Another two-story meeting place will be featured on the hotel’s 25th floor with a terrace overlooking the lake.

Atlanta-based architects at Cooper Carry say they approached the project with reverence.

“It’s sacred ground,” said Architect Pope Bullock. “Daniel Burnham and the Group Plan, it’s one of the most important pieces of urban landscape in America so we approached the site with great respect and care.”

What was presented to county council is what’s called a schematic design.

“It really shows how the building lays out. It shows the general form of the building. It shows all the important rooms in the building,” Appelbaum said, though it’s not set in stone.

One example is parking. The designs presented Tuesday called for two levels of below surface parking that would create about 300 spots.

“That parking right now beneath the surface is about $60,000 per space, obviously very expensive to build that parking down there,” said Appelbaum, who added they will look at alternate parking solutions but it’s nothing that will slow work on the project.

“It’s referred to as a bridging design build project. It’s a fast track which means we start some elements of the work while we’re designing others,” he said.

Timing is important if Cleveland decides to make an expected bid for either the Republican or Democratic National Conventions.

“I think you’re going to hear something about that whole process in the next few weeks,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

“It’s not just those big political conventions. There’s a whole slew of other conventions that we’re now going to be competitive with as a result of this hotel,” added FitzGerald, who likes what he sees in the initial renderings.

“So far, I think what people see is something that both respects kind of our tradition and traditional architecture but also is going to be kind of a statement of what Cleveland can be like in the 21st century and I think it kind of blends those things and that’s what we wanted to see,” he said.

Fitzgerald says it is nearly a done deal. It will still need the final approval by the Cuyahoga County Council.

————

You can’t be from Cleveland and not be pumped about this. It’s just good to finally see our city building new shit. Yeah it’s only a hotel, but we’ll take anything we can get at this point. Not sure about everyone else but I’m a little bored of only having 2 buildings to look at. The fact that one building can toss us into potential “2016 Presidential Convention” talks isn’t a bad deal either.

Construction starts in February and is slated to be ready to roll Spring 2016. Nice work, Cuyahoga. Keep it up.

Click here to see images and designs

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20 For 20: The Cleveland Quarterback

It is my personal opinion that you are outside of your mind if you say you can list all Browns starting quarterbacks since ’99. Throw a million bucks in my face as the reward and there isn’t a chance in hell I crack 10. That being said, I thought it best to take a VERY brief look at who’s been with us over the years and where they are now.

I’m not guaranteeing any of this is accurate. I didn’t even count to see if I got all 20.

Oh and unless you’ve been living under a rock, this jersey should be a familiar guide by now:

JERSEY

(Goes without say this list could double over the next year and I’m not entirely convinced the number won’t be up to 21 by the time I’m done writing this tonight.)

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Tim Couch

Couch. High-school All-American, SEC Player of the Year, hotshot QB from the University of Kentucky. There isn’t a Browns fan over the age of 20 that doesn’t remember the hype about taking this guy with the #1 pick. Looking back I can’t not feel sorry for the guy – we expected him to be an absolute savior and get us back into the glory days right away. My favorite Couch-era moments come from ’99 against the Steelers and London Jaguars:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKGsCwiRBzE&t=100

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BLcFBw6J4M

Prior to Cleveland: University of Kentucky

After Cleveland: Played for Green Bay in ’04 and the Jags in ’07. Currently a broadcaster for Fox Sports South on SEC Gridiron Live.

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Ty Detmer

Prior to Cleveland: College at BYU (Heisman winner). Packers, Eagles, 49ers.

After Cleveland: Lions and Falcons before retiring and working in the financial industry for a couple years – now a high school football coach in Texas.

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Doug Pederson (2000)

Prior to Cleveland: Played college ball at Northeast Louisiana and went undrafted in ’91. Played for some World Football league or something I don’t know anything about and don’t care to read on before going through the Dolphins, Packers and Eagles.

After Cleveland: Went back to the Packers and played backup for Favre before retiring in ’04. Currently the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs (clearly doing a pretty decent job).

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Spergon Wynn (2000)

Prior to Cleveland: I admit I have zero recollection of this guy. Played college at Southwest Texas State and drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.

After Cleveland: Went to NFL Europe for a year before coming back to play for Minnesota for a couple seasons. Spent a few more years playing in Canada, now works as an energy trader in Texas.

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Kelly Holcomb (2001-2004)

Prior to Cleveland: Middle Tennessee State – played for Tampa Bay and backed up Peyton in Indy.

After Cleveland: Bills, Eagles, Vikings. Apparently did/does some broadcasting for his alma mater.

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Jeff Garcia (2004)

Was I hallucinating a few weeks ago or did this guy actually hint he wanted the Browns to take a look at him?

Prior to Cleveland: San Jose State. CFL (Calgary Stampeders) and 49ers.

After Cleveland: Seven other teams, I’ll leave it to your imagination – retired with Houston in ’11 and is supposedly on the “advisory board” for the new USFL debuting in 2015.

San Diego Chargers v Cleveland Browns

Luke McCown (2004)

Prior to Cleveland: Louisiana Tech. Picked him up in the 4th round of the ’04 draft.

After Cleveland: Jumped around to a few different teams but currently backing up Brees down in New Orleans.

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Trent Dilfer (2005)

Prior to Cleveland: Fresno State. Tampa Bay, Ravens (Super Bowl), Seattle.

After Cleveland: Played a couple years in San Fran before retiring in ’07. Broadcaster.

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Charlie Frye (2005 – 2007)

Prior to Cleveland: Drafted him out of Akron in the 3rd round ’04 Draft

After Cleveland: Seahawks, Raiders, now apparently a high school football coach down in Florida.

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Derek Anderson (2005 – 2009)

Prior to Cleveland: Oregon State. Late draft pick by the Ravens (never played).

After Cleveland: Cardinals and now Panthers where he’s somewhere on that depth chart.

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Brady Quinn (2007 – 2009)

Prior to Cleveland: Notre Dame.

After Cleveland: Denver, Chiefs, Seattle, Jets, Rams

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Ken Dorsey (2006-2008)

Prior to Cleveland: The U. 49ers.

After Cleveland: CFL (Toronto), scout for Carolina Panthers, now their QB coach.

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Bruce Gradkowsi (2008)

Prior to Cleveland: Another QB I have no memory of. Played in the ’08 season finale against Pittsburgh when our 3 other QB’s decided to get hurt.

After Cleveland: Went through a few teams, now a backup for Pittsburgh.

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Colt McCoy (2010 – 2012)

Prior to Cleveland: Texas.

After Cleveland: Currently with the 49ers.

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Jake Delhomme

Prior to Cleveland: CFL, Saints, Panthers

After Cleveland: Retired after playing for the Texans for one season in 2011.

Kansas City Chiefs v Cleveland Browns

Seneca Wallace (2010 – 2012)

Prior to Cleveland: Iowa State. Seahawks.

After Cleveland: Saints, 49ers, now with Green Bay.

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Brandon Weeden (2012 – present)

Prior to Cleveland: Oklahoma State

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Thad Lewis (2011-2012)

Prior to Cleveland: Duke. Saint Louis Rams.

After Cleveland: Lions. Currently with Buffalo.

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Brian Hoyer (2013 – present)

Prior to Cleveland: St. Ignatius. Michigan State. Pats, Steelers, Cardinals.

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Jason Campbell (2013 – present)

Prior to Cleveland: Auburn. Washington, Oakland, Chicago

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Smoked on a Sunday

How every Monday post-Browns game discussion starts:

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I’m either the least intelligent Browns fan on the planet or just too naive to have high hopes after a Bye week.  It’s like a mid-season holiday – no Sunday anxiety, depression, or risk of throwing my shoe through the TV.

There’s nothing more horrifying than going up 13-0 real quick against a solid opponent. That second quarter was Cleveland Sports to a T. 31 points? You kidding me? Two TD’s for Dalton, a blocked punt and fumble sealed the deal before the half was even over. My glass is always half full with the boys but there aren’t a whole lot of positives to take away from this afternoon. We had a chance to chip away at the division and start a (premature) “Wildcard” discussion but saw that disappear with 15 minutes of miserable defense.

Zero reason why we can’t get a couple W’s over the next two weeks against Pittsburgh and the London Jaguars. Need to get the basics back in gear and come out flying against an equally-miserable (for once) Steelers team next Sunday.

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