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Why Did The Browns Miss The Playoffs?

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The Cleveland Browns were officially eliminated from the 2021 NFL playoffs on Sunday.

With a 7-8 record heading into their final two games, the Browns needed outside help to get into the playoffs.

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The best path required the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the Cincinnati Bengals which did not happen.

Many argue that the Browns have been doomed for weeks or maybe even months so it is not a complete surprise.

Here are a few of the issues that plagued the Browns in 2021 in no particular order.

It should be noted that some of these issues were exclusively dealt to the Browns.

Other teams managed to work through them.

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Injuries And COVID-19

These two are lumped together because they resulted in significant players missing playing time.

The Browns utilized third string and practice squad players this year more than ever.

Baker Mayfield‘s injury woes started in Week 2.

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Both Case Keenum and Nick Mullens started games at the quarterback position.

D’Ernest Johnson carried the load at running back in the absence of both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

The Browns also lost their head coach for one game because of COVID-19.

It has been a turbulent year of reviewing the Reserve/COVID-19 list and the injury report; sometimes the easier task was figuring out who was not on either of these lists.

 

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Losing Close Games

When the Browns were officially eliminated from the playoffs, fans could not help but wonder what if.

If the Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, first Baltimore Ravens meeting, and the Green Bay Packers games had gone the other way, this team would have run away with the AFC North.

The Browns had too many late-game losses.

To be a playoff-caliber team, when the opportunity to win the game presents itself, players and teams must seize it.

Some of these losses stem from either slow starts or not playing dominant football for four quarters.

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There are arguably very few games which the Browns took control of from the start and never looked back.

 

Locker Room Issues And Social Media

Perhaps even more crippling to the Browns were the apparent issues in the locker room.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s father tore the seams of unity from this team.

It certainly seems as though the video that led to OBJ’s exit from the team left some underlying ill feelings.

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We may never know the discord in this locker room in 2021, but it did not stop there.

Hunt’s father had some social media criticism of Mayfield.

An injured John Johnson III and Emily Mayfield shared harsh words, either their own personal ones or words from others.

Social media and players’ family members did not mix well this year for the Browns.

 

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Play Calling And Special Teams

There is a valid argument that the Browns played not to lose rather than played to win in certain situations during the games.

At some points, going with the bread-and-butter of running the ball while it is working is a good choice over what the analytics may say.

As for special teams, name any Browns kicker this season who did not disappoint.

That’s right; there are none.

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That extends to the punter as well since Jamie Gillan‘s error in Week 1 cost the Browns the game and started the season off on very bad special teams footing.

 

Conclusion

There is a reckoning coming for the Browns in the offseason.

This was a very deep and talented roster that fell quite short of expectations.

It will be interesting to see how the Browns rebuild and rebound from a 2021 letdown.

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The post Why Did The Browns Miss The Playoffs? appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Josh Johnson Continues To Be A True Journeyman

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Though making it to the NFL is challenging, staying in the league is even tougher.

With a new wave of talent coming into the league every year, some older players are in danger of losing their spots to the younger athletes.

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However, there are those who found a way to stick around like Ryan Fitzpatrick, who suited up for several teams before retiring.

But even Fitzpatrick’s count doesn’t match that of Josh Johnson.

The 36-year-old play-caller has suited up for nearly half the league’s teams.

It’s not his choice to switch teams practically every year.

Yet for some reason, he finds a way to sign with a new team so often.

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The league’s official Twitter account called Johnson the ultimate journeyman before saying, “Never stop grinding.”

After being selected in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, he stayed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until 2011.

Since then, his career took him to different stops around the league.

After playing in Tampa Bay, Johnson also played for the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, and Cincinnati Bengals.

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Johnson also suited up for the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, and New York Giants.

From 2017 to 2018, he also played for the then-Washington Redskins, Houston Texans and the then-Oakland Raiders.

Johnson also played for the Detroit Lions in 2019.

 

Johnson’s Current Team

His NFL journey continues as the joins the Denver Broncos for the 2022 season.

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It’s not yet certain if he will stay beyond the upcoming campaign, especially because Russell Wilson is their starting quarterback.

But in terms of finding a way to stay in the league, Johnson defeats his contemporaries by a mile.

It also gives him an extensive collection of jerseys from almost half the league.

The post Josh Johnson Continues To Be A True Journeyman appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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PSG need Kylian Mbappe and Neymar on the same page to reach their full potential

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Paris Saint-Germain beat Montpellier HSC 5-2 at Parc des Princes on Saturday to open an early two-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit. Neymar scored twice while Kylian Mbappe opened his account for the season, despite missing a penalty. Yet, the post-match focus was on the hints of tension between the superstar pair.

The Brazilian currently tops both the Championnat goal scoring and assist providing charts with three apiece after an opening day 5-0 win away at Clermont Foot 63 was followed up by the Montpellier drubbing. The Frenchman has taken longer to get going after a domestic suspension from last campaign kept him out of the Trophee des Champions before injury ruled him out against Clermont.

Now that both are back on the pitch along with Lionel Messi, who has also returned to action this term looking focused and in good shape, we are getting our first competitive look at the new balance of power in the capital. The hope, obviously, is that year two will prove to be more harmonious than the big tree’s uneven first go-around. But, no sooner had Mbappe extended his stay with PSG, then reports surfaced suggesting that Neymar was on his way out as part of a major cleanup operation.

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Once Luis Campos was appointed sporting advisor after Leonardo’s departure as sporting director and Christophe Galtier replaced Mauricio Pochettino as head coach, the door was left open to Neymar to play his way back into favor. However, it was abundantly clear that Les Parisiens would field offers for the €225 million man — assuming any arrived.

Despite links with Manchester City, which Pep Guardiola shot down himself, it was always going to be difficult to find any suitors capable of paying a fee for Neymar and covering his PSG salary without this sort of uptick in form. Whether it is enough to convince a club to go all in for the South American this month is doubtful, but his form and conduct so far have been impeccable under Galtier.

“Since July 4, Neymar has been beyond reproach,” said the 55-year-old. “He behaves well, came back ready and prepared well. He is performing very well in all our games. He is happy during those matches and plays for his teammates. He is opportunist with his goals. He works well for the team and in this system that is a must. Regarding what happens between now and the end of the transfer window, I see what is being written. Everyone is satisfied with Neymar regarding his investment.”

Factor in his two-goal haul against FC Nantes in the Trophee des Champions in Tel Aviv before the Ligue 1 season got underway and Neymar has five goals and three assists already this campaign. Two of those strikes have been penalties, admittedly, but it is not just his stats which have impressed Galtier — it is his overall work rate and attitude matching the expectations set upon arrival.

“That he must work for the team,” said the Frenchman of the challenge he set the mercurial No. 10. “We know that he is talented and a world class player. He is one of the best and he performs very well when he is physically and mentally well. He works for the team and puts in good displays. This system needs balance, and he is responding to that. You must be demanding defensively when you lose the ball. Collectively, he knows how to play with his teammates.”

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The worry for PSG is that this is part of Neymar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup preparation phase, with his hot form just as likely to dry up post-Qatar and midway through the current term, instead of lasting for the duration of the season. The same could be said of Messi who has three goals and an assist from three competitive outings so far.

Ultimately, if nobody makes an offer for Neymar which PSG would be willing to accept, debate is futile as he will remain in Paris. Mbappe’s early tensions are understandable given his suspension and injury-hit opening, but there can be no doubting that the team are much better off having two of their three attacking stars firing this early in the campaign while he gets up to speed.

Besides, given Mbappe’s ability to carry this PSG side of the past 12-18 months, getting the best out of him will have been the least of Galtier’s worries. Finding the best way for Mbappe, Neymar and Messi to coexist will now be the key as Campos continues to rebuild the squad with further transfer activity expected this week as the atmosphere within the group receives fresh oxygen.



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The Angels Engineered An Epic Collapse Monday Night

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While the New York Yankees have been sliding, they at least have the comfort of knowing that they’re 10 games ahead in the American League East.

For the Los Angeles Angels, not so much.

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They have been on an epic slide since the end of May and have completely lost their way after a hot start to the season.

At 51-65, there really is no hope at this point for the Halos.

And it keeps going from bad to worse.

The Angels lost another one last night to the Seattle Mariners, and one inning in the game stood out, which ultimately sums up the way their season has gone.

Defense was nowhere to be found, mistakes were being made, and the Mariners kept tacking on more runs.

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Halos Break Down At Crucial Moment

There’s “down bad” and then there’s what took place for the Angels in the top of the ninth last night.

Errors, letting a runner who was caught in a rundown slip by, and just all around back luck is what sunk the Angels in last night’s game.

Can it get any worse for the Halos?

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Obviously, it can.

It ultimately sums up the way the 2022 season has gone for the Angels.

Things began to go south at the end of May, and they haven’t found a way to get it going again.

Firing Joe Maddon didn’t help at all.

And last night, their defensive breakdown wasted another great outing by Shohei Ohtani, who held the Mariners to two runs over six innings and struck out eight.

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It was a collapse of epic proportions for the Halos.

Now, they find themselves 14 games below the .500 mark with no hope of breaking out of their funk.

The post The Angels Engineered An Epic Collapse Monday Night appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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