Monday, November 30, 2020

Cleaning out the Inbox

   Time for the latest version of Cleaning out the inbox with a few interesting articles that I have read recently.

The Kansas City Star writes of the famous "Scout" statue that overlooks the downtown area of Kansas City.

The statue was dedicated in 1922 and the article writes of why the Scout is missing its quiver as well as other notes of the famous statue.

The short-lived hockey team for two years in the 1970s was named after the statue, but as I learned from the recent book by Troy Treasure on the Scouts-  "Icing on the Plains"- Scouts was not intended to be the team's original name as the plan was to name the team the "Mohawks" as a way to honor Missouri and Kansas fans for the new franchise, but it was squashed by the Chicago Blackhawks for being too similar to their name.

The Athletic writes about the star pass rusher of the Chicago Bears, Khalil Mack, and his time with the Buffalo Bulls in the MAC days before being becoming an impact player in the NFL.
I've always enjoyed the stories of players from smaller schools that become massive professional stars and how they were overlooked by the power five schools.
I wondered how I wrote about Mack, his 2013 encounter with Ohio State and see how I evaluated Mack's future.

The Athletic with another note on the town that loves its high school football in Massillon, Ohio.
There is such a professional look to the Tigers, who have a television network, a stadium, scoreboard, etc that could easily house a Group of Five school and have their facilities immediately upgraded.
It's another great piece that looks at the good and occasional bad that comes with having so much local pride and interest in a high school program.

One more from The Athletic, as they take a look back at the 50th anniversary of the tragic Marshall football plane crash.
The author talks to Craig Greenlee, a player that could have been on the plane, had he not left the team after the previous season.
He tells more of the other lives affected, but a note that I found interesting came in the comments.
I'm not sure if this is true or not, but the timeline does match as it's mentioned that in 1969 Ken Griffey Sr. was ready to commit to Marshall to play wide receiver for the Herd, but his girlfriend told him that she was pregnant (with Ken Jr.)  and Griffey decided to make money with the Reds rather than go to college.

We wrap up with the news of a reappearance of an Earth rocket booster that took Surveyor 2 to the moon in 1966.
The booster dropped off the capsule and sped past the moon and into a solar orbit to occasionally return to Earth.
The booster's orbit around the sun made its orbit similar to that of Earth and to the astronomers, it began to fall into place that this was an Earth object, not a random asteroid as originally thought.
The booster was the second NASA relic to return to Earth after a Saturn V stage returned to Earth orbit in 2002.  

Battered Browns fend off Jacksonville 27-25

   The battered Cleveland Browns became more battered during their game with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the Browns managed to stagger out of Florida with a 27-25 victory and improved to a stunning 8-3 on the season.

Baker Mayfield threw two touchdowns, despite some misfires and connected with Jarvis Landry eight times for 143 yards and one of the touchdowns.

Nick Chubb rushed for another touchdown and 143 yards to lead the Browns in the ground game.

The now 8-3 Browns will see the competition increase next Sunday against the also 8-3 Tennessee Titans in Nashville in what should be the latest test in seeing whether the Browns are a legitimate playoff team or a pretender knocking off low-hanging fruit.

Brownie Bits

1) Both times were understandable, but the difference in the game came down to the two failed two-point conversions in the second half by Jacksonville.
Had Jacksonville kicked both extra points ( and it made sense for Doug Marrone to go for two both times), this game would have been going to overtime.

2) And the final stop was the much-maligned Andrew Sendejo catching a desperate lob by Mike Glennon on the final two-point try to save the victory.
Sendejo made an earlier play on a pass in the end zone, and while I'd disagree with Kevin Stefanski's postgame comments on Sendejo "he does a really nice job back there", you cannot deny he made two plays today when the Browns needed them most.
The Athletic's Zach Jackson noted that an earlier pass breakup in the first quarter by Sendejo was the first of the year by Sendejo on his 675th snap of the season.
That's incredible for a starting safety and it's not "a really nice job back there".

3) Baker Mayfield had an OK day with his two scoring passes, but he also missed a wide-open Rashard Higgins in the end zone, threw behind Kareem Hunt on a key late-game third down, and overthrew receivers on other occasions.
Did Mayfield play poorly? Not at all, but he certainly didn't shine brightly and when your opponent is 1-9 entering the game, I'd expect more.
Still, take the win and run.

4) Jarvis Landry arrived as the key part of the passing game.
After being thrown only two passes against the Eagles, catching both for 23 yards, it was Landry early and often in this one with eight catches for 143 yards.
Landry made a nice catch for his score and found a way to get open consistently under the Jacksonville secondary for Baker Mayfield.
The Browns may lack a deep threat without Odell Beckham, but Landry finds a way to get open no matter his surrounding cast.

5) The Browns defense didn't sack veteran quarterback Mike Glannon without Myles Garrett and other than Olivier Vernon hitting Glennon twice, Glennon didn't have any problems with the Browns pass rush- Unless you consider Vernon's helmet to helmet on Glennon on the final Jaguar scoring drive a problem that is.
While this would ordinarily be concerning, if Myles Garrett returns next week as is currently expected the problem in rushing the passer will go away.

6) I've thought that Kevin Stefanski has done a good job most of the season, but he did make a questionable decision in this one.
I wondered now and at the time, why the Browns went for it on fourth and one on the Jacksonville 22 with the Browns holding an eight point lead?
A Cody Parkey field goal attempt from 39 yards, assuming it was good, would have made the lead eleven with under six minutes to go and I don't care how good the line and running game is playing- that decision led to the Jaguars almost tying the game as Kareem Hunt was unable to get the yard and turned the ball over.

7) Ronnie Harrison was questionable all week and managed to be in the starting lineup, only to be injured on the first play making a tackle.
Harrison injured his shoulder on the play and was forced to leave the game and did not return.
Harrison will undergo an MRI today on the shoulder and a loss of Harrison at a time that Denzel Ward is missing time in the secondary could be devastating to an already weak secondary in the next two games when the opponents improve against Tennessee and Baltimore.

8) Back to the fourth and one call.
Let's say that you do decide to make the attempt to get the yard, wouldn't the bigger, stronger and better between the tackles Nick Chubb be the better choice than Kareem Hunt?
Hunt's not a small back by any means, but Chubb would have been the better bet to get that yard.

9) And it was Nick Chubb that finished the game as well.
With the Browns facing a third and thirteen and the Jaguars trying to get the ball back, Baker Mayfield 
made a safe pass intended to gain some yardage and keep the clock moving.
Chubb did more that wth the swing pass, cutting back to make one man miss, broke a tackle of another and dove for the first down that allowed the Browns to run the clock out.

10) If you want to worry about next week's game against the Titans and their workhorse Derrick Henry, worry about the Browns ability to stop the run.
Jacksonville's rookie James Robinson is having an excellent rookie year, but he's not the force that Henry is, and Robinson hit the Browns for 128 yards on twenty-two carries, which is just under six yards a carry.

11) The Browns are currently in the fifth position of seven in the AFC, but there is still a cluster of teams that could bump the Browns out.
With five games to go, the Browns have the Titans on the road and the Ravens and Steelers at home.
The Browns might be underdogs in all three games, although Baltimore is beginning to fade a bit from the team that started the season.
Cleveland should also take care of the winless Jets on the road, but the game that might be tougher than was thought earlier in the season is the game before the Jets, but in the same stadium- a road game against the Giants.

12) The Giants are a terrible 4-7 team, but in the even worse NFC East, the Giants are tied for first with Washington for the automatic playoff berth.
That means a bad football team is going to have more on the line in that game than anyone would have imagined weeks ago.
That game may determine (in the big picture) whether or not the Browns make the postseason.

13) Still, for all the questions about the 8-3 record and the lack of good wins (only the win over Indianapolis is over a team with a winning record), which are justified, lets enjoy the eight wins.
That means that Cleveland cannot have a losing record,which would be for the first time since 2007 to accomplish that and one more win would lock up the first winning record since the same season.
It's not unfair to have questions, but try to enjoy it as well.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Boxing Challenge: Joyce sends DuBois to his knees

  The highly anticipated heavyweight battle between unbeaten Britons Daniel DuBois and Joe Joyce lived up to expectations.

And while the fight wasn't a war, it contained enough action to more than suit the discerning boxing fan and it had more than enough drama for a fight that was so important in the heavyweight division itself, let alone the two fighters involved.

2016 Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce entered the fight as the underdog for a few reasons.

Many believed that undefeated Daniel DuBois might be the heir to the heavyweight throne after Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua clear up who the best in the world is today.
Joyce was also thought to be too slow with his punches and his feet for the more fluid DuBois and at 35, Joyce was again thought to have perhaps waited too long to turn pro.

However, Joyce did have the best victory of the two on his resume with a decision win over former title challenger Bryant Jennings, Joyce seemed to have a more than solid chin, and Joyce punches pretty well, so he was an underdog with a good chance of winning.

The fight itself was a battle of two blows that the other fighter could not miss the other with.
Joyce continually ate DuBois' right hand and DuBois couldn't miss with his left jab and as a result, you saw a competitive and pretty even fight.

As I watched the fight live and checked people on Twitter for their thoughts, the large majority had the fight for either fighter by a point and that was how I saw it with Joyce leading 5-4 in rounds entering the tenth, but the fight had a dramatic conclusion in the works.

The left jabs from Joyce had taken its toll on the left eye of DuBois and closed it to a slit that hampered his vision and made the problem of not being able to miss the jab even worse so.
DuBois was trying to make it to the finish line of a close fight before Joyce landed what seemed to be an ordinary hard jab that landed directly on the swollen eye.
DuBois dropped to a knee in pain and took the ten count.

For Joe Joyce, who I compared to Ray Mercer before the fight, the Mercer comparison seems apt for now after the upset of the phenom DuBois (Remember Mercer's brutal KO of then undefeated Tommy Morrison?) and although I'm sure at 35 years of age, Team Joyce would love to see a title shot in 2020, that doesn't appear to be in the cards with the Fury-Joshua agreement in place.
I'd love to see Joyce against Oleksandr Usyk, but I doubt Usyk would want to risk his own eventual title shot against a far larger and dangerous opponent.
Dillian Whtye or Dereck Chisora would be good fights and Joseph Parker would bring a different style for Joyce to learn from.

As for DuBois, at 23 and fighting well despite the loss, he may not have lost very much from his first defeat- despite taking the ten count.
The Athletic UK is reporting that DuBois suffered nerve damage around the eye and a broken orbital bone, so that may muffle some of the criticism that he has been receiving for quitting, but considering the struggles that Kell Brook has dealt with since a similar injury.

One final note: Before this fight Joe Joyce was ranked behind some heavyweights that were puzzling choices.

The WBC had Joyce 11th and with no one ahead of Joyce that would be really awful although their 8,9, and 10 choices (Oscar Rivas, Filip Hrgovic, and Michael Hunter) were arguable.

The WBA ranks someone named Trevor Bryan first, recent knocked out Adam Kownacki 6th, Charles Martin 7th, and washed-up Chris Arreola 8th, while not rating Joyce at all.

The IBF placed Joyce at 13th,  behind Charles Martin with a head-shakingly awful second, Tyson Fury victim Tom Schwarz 8th, fellow prospect Tony Yoka 10th and Dempsey McKean (Who?) at 12th ahead of Joyce.

The WBO listed Joyce at 11th behind other prospects Junior Fa (6th), Frank Sanchez (7th), Zhilei Zhang (9th), and Evgeny Romanov (10th), none of which boasted a win of Joyce's over Bryant Jennings quality.

I'm not saying Joyce should have been top five entering the DuBois fight, but ratings of that ilk is how you receive awful mandatory challenger fights.....

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Boxing Challenge: Jacobs nips Rosado

 The boxing challenge started on a rare Friday with two of the worst fights that you can imagine.

In all honesty, these fights would be good programming to show someone if you didn't want to them to become a boxing fan.

In the early evening (or late afternoon, it's dark here at this time of year either way), ESPN+ attempted to build an attraction with 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the (super) heavyweight division Tony Yoka of France, who recently signed a promotional partnership with ESPN's boxing provider, Top Rank.

Yoka, who defeated fellow prospect Joe Joyce of Great Britain to win the gold medal in London, stands 6'7 and while well-built, lacks the body beautiful look of Anthony Joshua and the defensive end frame of Tyson Fury, instead looks more like a power forward that needs to fill out a bit.

Veteran Christian Hammer did what he could against a bigger and more talented opponent, which was to land an occasional right hand and do what veterans do- rough the prospect up and see if they can intimidate them or change their game plan.

Yoka certainly stuck to his strategy of staying on the outside, using his jab, and outboxing the Romanian that now fights out of Germany, but he did get a bit frustrated with the tactics of Hammer and despite an easy win (99-90, Hammer was deducted one point),  Yoka didn't shine in a fight with little action.

Then we moved to DAZN with Matchroom Boxing from Hollywood, Florida for what was considered to be a mismatch between former two-time middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs and tough, but limited Gabriel Rosado.

I've never been much of a Daniel Jacobs fan, he really only has two major wins of note, yet he continues to be paid and treated like he is a star and must-see viewing.
Jacobs didn't wow anyone in his first fight at 168 in a win that saw Julio Cesar Chavez Jr quit in his corner and he was thought to be a prohibitive favorite against the charging Rosado.

Rosado always comes to fight, but his tender skin often haunts him and he is a natural junior middleweight, so against the larger Jacobs, he seemed to be overmatched.

Always isn't always anymore as Rosado didn't cut, but he also didn't land many punches and had a listless Jacobs on the hook for what would have been a massive upset in a fight that looked more like a limited sparring session instead of a fight involving a former world champion.

Instead, Rosado fell to Jacobs level and fought without energy in a match that normally would call for a rematch in a fight as close as this one.
Only in any of the twelve rounds did either fighter land double-digit punches in a round (Rosado landed ten in round eight) and while the decision was in doubt, what wasn't in doubt was not wanting to see these two guys against each other again.

The ending was worse when ring announcer Jeremiah Gallegos after announcing the scores of 115-113 on all three cards for a split decision, called the winner "from Philadelphia" sending Rosado into the air with emotion, and then calling it for Jacobs, who is from Brooklyn, not Philadelphia where Rosado resides. 
I scored it 114-114, so I have no problems with a close verdict either way but neither fighter seemed overly interested in winning it.

Just an awful two fights and I've written more than either fight deserves.

In the boxing challenge, I outscored Ramon Malpica 3-2 to boost my lead to 161-150.

Friday, November 27, 2020


    Back to the football weekend and it seems strange with this weekend is usually a time that has seasons wrapping up with rivalry games.

This year those games are either not being played until later or in some cases, not at all, so it seems a bit strange.

I'll be happy if Ohio State even plays their game against Illinois as the Buckeyes haven't reached the Covid-10 threshold, but are reportedly in the possible realm and will not have coach Ryan Day leading the team in Champaign.
Veteran defensive line coach Larry Johnson will be calling the shots against the Illini in Day's place.

Last Week; 8-2
Overall: 70-27

Editor's Note: 90 minutes after this was written, the Ohio State game vs Illinois was cancelled.

Ohio State over Illinois 50-21
Boise State over San Jose State 38-28
Oklahoma State over Texas Tech 43-31
Ohio over Bowling Green 34-13
Georgia Southern over Georgia State 30-20
N.C. State over Syracuse 26-17

Game of the Week
Alabama over Auburn 42-31

Browns over Jaguars 24-14
Saints over Broncos 31-21

Game of the Week
Titans over Colts 24-21

Boxing Challenge

     The boxing challenge starts on Friday with two fights, moves to the most important fight of the weekend on Saturday, and believe it or not, it will not include the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones "exhibition" in the evening.

ESPN+ will be the place to be for heavyweight prospects with the top prospect in the game and the gold and silver medalists in the most recent Olympics (2016) all fighting with the added bonus of two fighting each other!!!

Friday afternoon features the 2016 super heavyweight gold medalist as Tony Yoka of France takes a small step in competition against veteran Christian Hammer of Romania.

Yoka, who stopped former WBC title challenger Johan Duhaupas in one round in September, will be in his second fight back from a suspension for PED usage and has stopped seven of his eight opponents in his career.

Hammer is a durable top 25 caliber fighter with losses when he has tried to move to top ten opponents in Tyson Fury, Luis Ortiz, and Alexander Povetkin.
Hammer lasted the distance against Ortiz and Povetkin and took Fury eight rounds, so Hammer has shown that he can take a punch.

If Yoka can score an early KO, that would mark the win as especially impressive.

ESPN Plus is back Saturday afternoon with what could be the most anticipated heavyweight fight of the year with the exception of Fury-Wilder II before the pandemic with the top prospect in the division facing the 2016 Olympic silver medalist.

Daniel DuBois is thought to have the talent to be the successor to Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua as the next dominant heavyweight with his size and punching punching, having stopped fourteen of his fifteen opponents.
DuBois has been very impressive in his wins and looks the part of a future champion.
However, the only name that he has fought lasted the distance in trialhorse Kevin Johnson and other than Johnson and countryman Nathan Gorman (who Dubois stopped very impressively in five rounds), so there are questions to be answered about his power as he moves up and the questions about his chin that every prospect needs to answer.

Those questions will start to be answered against former Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce, who is being moved quickly at 35 years of age.
With such a late starting date as a pro, Joyce is moving up the ladder against tough competition faster than would be the case if he were younger.
Of Joyce's eleven wins and ten stoppages, Joyce already holds a decision win over former world title challenger Bryant Jennings and a knockout win over a washed-up former WBC champion Bermane Stiverne.
Joyce looks like he has a terrific jaw and has above-average power, but he's painfully slow and I think almost any high-level heavyweight can outbox him with movement should they choose that option.
Still, Joyce reminds me a little of Ray Mercer (although slower) that he's going to lose his share of fights against contenders, is going to take them the distance in tough fights, and every once in a while will surprise one with the booming right hand to keep him as viable in the division.

This one is one that I'm excited about and it is all up to DuBois.
Can he take Joyce's best shot?
If he can, he has the potential to be a Lennox Lewis type.
If he can't, he may be Frank Bruno, a talented, but flawed fighter that will have his fans on the edge of their seat in every fight as they know any fight can go either way.

If DuBois boxes Joyce, he wins an easy decision, but will he choose to go for the knockout which gives him the chance to step on the world stage with a huge win, but gives Joyce his only chance to pull this one out?

DAZN offers a far less compelling main event as Daniel Jacobs continues his attempt to gain a title in the super middleweight division, but he does so against a fighter that he should defeat easily as he did in his initial voyage at 168 pounds.

Unlike Julio Cesar Chavez. Jr., Gabriel Rosado's heart and toughness have never been in question as he never quits and always gives what he has to offer.
Unfortunately, that rarely is enough against the top fighters when Rosado faces them.
Against the fighters around the back end of the top ten to fifteen, Rosado gets beaten up, receives one or more facial cuts and then makes a run down the stretch, and takes the fight to the scorecards, where the decision often goes against him and controversially so in many cases.

The problem comes when Rosado faces the best of the game because against those fighters, he gets beaten up, suffers bad cuts, doesn't generate much offense, and takes the chance of being hurt permanently.
Against Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, and David Lemieux, all badly pounded Rosado and you wonder how long he can hold up against Jacobs, the best fighter that he has fought in years at a weight that favors Jacobs far more than Rosado.

I wouldn't call this a mismatch, but I truly don't see a way for Rosado to be competitive in this fight.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 158-148.

Heavyweights.10 Rds
Tony Yoka vs Christian Hammer
R.L: Yoka KO 8
TRS: Yoka Unanimous Decision

Super Middleweights. 12 Rds
Daniel Jacobs vs Gabriel Rosado
R.L: Jacobs KO 8
TRS: Jacobs KO 6

Heavyweights. 12 Rds
Daniel DuBois vs Joe Joyce
R.L: DuBois KO 6
TRS: DuBois Unanimous Decision

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for several reasons.

I've always enjoyed the holiday as it's a secular holiday and anyone can find a reason to give thanks in their life.

Add in turkey ( a personal favorite), football (although the NFL games seem to be selected each year for me not to be interested), and the classic Peanuts cartoon dating back to the 70s and it's tough to beat Thanksgiving.

Still, it's tough to offer too many thanks for 2020 in a year that arguably can stake a claim to the worst year in the history of our country.

We have (had) a divisive President and the canyon between his fans and the people that dislike him so, the country is in a position of uproar that I've never seen and perhaps only compares to a few times in the nation's history, a pandemic that is as divisive as it is deadly, people that want to see each other often cannot, the destruction of several traditions in sports, and finally for me personally, this is the first Thanksgiving without my mom.

Mom passed away a week before Christmas last year and even though it was still raw in everyone's mind, Christmas was still without her.
That means this is the final milestone that is "the first" without her and that means we have reached the point that after this, we've been here before.

I'll be honest, I've never spent a lot of holidays with my parents.
They asked, but like my father, I prefer to stay at home and I work most holidays and that's before you add outside influences on the situation.
Still, I did usually visit over the holiday season (including Christmas as a separate visit) and I was around enough to feel part of the family.

2020 has been an awful year, but I'm hopeful for improvement in 2021 and perhaps as Warren G.Harding once said "a return to normalcy" for 2022.

Enjoy the holiday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

TRS Boxing Ratings: Part Two

     Part two of the TRS boxing ratings continue with our look at lightweight through the light flyweight and under divisions.

Thanks as always to Ramon Malpica, Vince Samano, and John Herndon for taking their time to participate.

At this writing, Gervonta Davis is eligible to be rated at junior lightweight (although he is not) due to his win over Leo Santa Cruz to earn the WBA title in the division.

Davis is eligible in the lightweight division due to his announcing his intent to fight in the division and holding a minor title at 135.

Leo Santa Cruz is eligible to be ranked in the featherweight division (due to holding the WBA title) and at junior lightweight after fighting his two most recent fights at that weight.

I don't really like rating fighters in two divisions, but in the case of Davis, Santa Cruz, (and Canelo Alvarez in part one), I'm doing so reluctantly for now.

Kosei Tanaka is rated at flyweight, but has vacated his WBO title in that division since some of the votes were received, so he will be at 115 pounds for the next ratings period and explains why such an excellent fighter dropped two spots without fighting.


1) Teofimo Lopez WBA/IBF/WBO Champion 20 Pts (Up One)
2) Vasyl Lomachenko 15 Pts (Down One)
3) Devin Haney WBC Champion 10 Pts
4) Gervonta Davis 9 Pts
5) Luke Campbell 3 Pts
    Jorge Linares

Junior Lightweights
1) Miguel Berchelt WBC Champion 20 Pts
2) Joseph Diaz  IBF Champion 16 Pts
3) Shakur Stevenson 8 Pts (Unranked)
4) Jamel Herring WBO Champion 4 Pts (Down One)
5) Tevin Farmer 3 Pts (Unranked)
    Oscar Valdez (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Leo Santa Cruz, Masayuki Ito

1) Gary Russell WBC Champion 19 Pts
2) Josh Warrington IBF Champion 17 Pts
3) Xu Can 10 Pts (Up One)
4) Emmanuel Navarrete WBO Champion 9 Pts (Unranked)
5) Kid Galahad 2 Pts (Unranked)
    Carl Frampton (Unranked)
    Tug Nyambayar (Unranked)

Junior Featherweights
1) Murodjon Akhmadaliev WBA/IBF Champion 16 Pts (Up One)
    Rey Vargas (Up Two)
3) Danny Roman 12 Pts (Up One)
4) Luis Nery WBC Champion 5 Pts (Unranked)
    Ryosuke Isawa (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Brandon Figueroa, Angelo Leo WBO Champion

1) Naoya Inoue WBA/IBF Champion 20 Pts
2) Nordine Ooubali WBC Champion 13 Pts (Up One)
3) Nonito Donaire 11 Pts (Down One)
4) John Riel Casimero WBO Champion 7 Pts
5) Guillermo Rigondeaux 3 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Andrew Moloney 

Junior Bantamweights
1) Juan Francisco Estrada WBC Champion 20 Pts
2) Roman Gonzalez WBA Champion 15 Pts (Up One)
3) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai 12 Pts (Down One)
4) Jerwin Ancajas IBF Champion 9 Pts
5) Kazuto Ioka WBO Champion 4 Pts

1) Artem Dalakian WBA Champion 18 Pts
2) Julio Cesar Martinez WBC Champion 13 Pts (Up One)
3) Kosei Tanaka 10 Pts (Down Two)
4) Moruti Mthalane IBF Champion 9 Pts
5) Junto Nakatani WBO Champion 6 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: McWilliams Arroyo, Charlie Edwards, Jay Harris

Light Flyweights/Under
1) Ken Shiro 17 Pts
2) Wanheng Menayothin 15 Pts
3) Hiroto Kyoguchi 11 Pts
4) Felix Alvarado 7 Pts
5) CP Freshmart 6 Pts
Also Received Votes: Carlos Canizales, Elwin Soto

Pound for Pound
1) Terence Crawford 38 Pts (Up One)
2) Naoya Inoue 37 Pts (Up One)
3) Canelo Alvarez 28 Pts (Up One)
4) Errol Spence 27 Pts
5) Vasyl Lomachenko 22 Pts (Down Four)
6) Artur Beterbiev 21 Pts
7) Teofimo Lopez 14 Pts (Unranked)
8) Juan Francisco Estrada 7 Pts
    Oleksandr Usyk (Down One)
10) Tyson Fury 6 Pts (Down Three) 

Also Received Votes: 
Wanheng Menayothin
Josh Taylor
Manny Pacquiao
Gervonta Davis
Jermell Charlo

TRS Boxing Ratings- Part One

 As we near Thanksgiving, it is time for our boxing ratings.

This isn't always an easy project with various schedules to shuffle through and then I have to have the time to tabulate them as well.

Thanks to Ramon Malpica, Vince Samano, and John Herndon for taking the time to offer their thoughts on the best in the game today.

For the purposes of this writing, Canelo Alvarez was rated at middleweight, as despite holding a minor title, he has not fought at 168 in two years and had vacated his 175-pound title.
Canelo will be rated in the super middleweight division in the next period after his fight with Callum Smith and will retain being rated at 160 as well unless he vacates his title in that division.

1: Tyson Fury WBC Champion 20 Pts
2: Anthony Joshua WBA/IBF/WBO Champion 15 Pts
3: Deontay Wilder 13 Pts
4: Alexander Povetkin 7 Pts (Unranked)
5: Luis Ortiz 3 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Oleksander Usyk 

1: Mairis Briedis IBF Champion 20 Pts
2: Ilunga Makubu WBC Champion 14 Pts ( Up One)
3: Yunier Dorticos 13 Pts (Down One)
4: Kryzstof Glowacki 9 Pts
5: Noel Gevor/Mikaelin 2 Pts (Unranked)
    Lawrence Okolie

Light Heavyweights
1:Artur Beterbiev WBC/IBF Champion 20 Pts
2:Dmitry Bivol WBA Champion 16 Pts
3:Joe Smith 9 Pts (Unranked)
4:Jean Pascal 8 Pts
5:Gilberto Ramirez 3 Pts
Also Received Votes: Eleider Alvarez, Joshua Butasi, Marcus Browne, Sergey Kovalev

Super Middleweights
1:Callum Smith WBA Champion 18 Pts
2:David Benavidez 16 Pts
3:Caleb Plant IBF Champion 14 Pts
4:Billy Joe Saunders WBO Champion 7 Pts (Down One)
5:Anthony Dirrell 2 Pts
Also Received Votes: Daniel Jacobs, John Ryder, Lionel Thompson

1: Canelo Alvarez WBA Champion 20 Pts
2: Gennady Golovkin IBF Champion 13 Pts
3: Jermall Charlo WBC Champion 12 Pts (Up One)
4: Demetrius Andrade WBO Champion 11 Pts (Down One)
5: Sergey Dereyvanchenko 2 Pts
    Jaime Munguia  (Unranked)

Junior Middleweights
1: Jermell Charlo WBA/WBC/IBF Champion 20 Pts
2: Jarrett Hurd 12 Pts (Up Two)
    Jeison Rosario
4: Julian Williams 8 Pts (Down One)
5: Erislandy Lara 7 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes Brian Castano

1: Terence Crawford WBO Champion 19 Pts
2: Errol Spence WBC/IBF Champion 17 Pts
3: Manny Pacquiao WBA Champion 10 Pts
    Shawn Porter (Up One)
5: Keith Thurman 2 Pts
    Yordanis Ugas (Unranked)

Junior Welterweights
1: Jose Ramirez WBC/WBO Champion 18 Pts
    Josh Taylor WBA/IBF Champion (Up One)
3: Regis Prograis 12 Pts
4: Jose Zepeda 5 Pts (Up One)
5: Maurice Hooker 4 Pts (Down One)
Also Received Votes; Viktor Postol

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Cavaliers obtain Javale McGee, lose Thompson

     The Cleveland Cavaliers were in need of a veteran frontcourt body that could fill-in at center behind Andre Drummond and spend some minutes at power forward as the backup behind Kevin Love after Tristan Thompson signed with the Boston Celtics over the weekend.

Cleveland attempted to fill that hole with a trade with the defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers as the Cavaliers obtained veteran big man Javale McGee to serve in that position.

The Cavaliers sent journeymen forwards Alfonso McKinnie and Jordan Bell to the Lakers for McGee and the Lakers second-round pick in the 2026 draft

McKinnie played in 40 games last season for Cleveland, averaging 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in playing around thirteen minutes a game, while Bell was signed after the season by the Cavaliers after splitting last year between Minnesota and Memphis averaging 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds in over eight minutes a game.

Either or both McKinnie and Bell could be waived by the Lakers, who needed some salary-cap relief in order to sign Marc Gasol.

The Cavaliers side of the deal brings the 7'0 McGee, who averaged six points, five rebounds, and a block and a half in sixty-eight games for the Lakers averaging sixteen minutes game, to Cleveland.
The soon to be 33 years old McGee has played for six teams in his twelve-year NBA career after being selected by Washington in the first round of the 2008 draft and two years ago with the Lakers, averaging twelve points and just under six boards.

McGee will be part of the second unit, can play center or power forward depending on which of the centers/power forwards are on the court at the time between Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, and Larry Nance Jr.
McGee isn't an outside shooting big man, but he does perform well on pick and roll and shoots well from the inside.

As a solid backup or even as a complimentary starter that doesn't have too much expected of him, Javale McGee can emulate Tristan Thompson's numbers somewhat.

As for Tristan Thompson, the Cavaliers were considered the favorites to retain his services, but after the
Celtics offered a two-year contract for just under nineteen million dollars, Thompson decided to join a contender rather than the rebuilding Cavaliers.
The 29-year-old Thompson spent his entire career in Cleveland after being drafted fourth overall in the 2011 draft after playing one season at Texas.

Thompson posted career highs last season averaging twelve points and ten rebounds per game and even though his shooting percentage dipped a little, Thompson still shot .512 from the floor for the year.

Tristan Thompson removes another link to the Cavaliers' only championship season and the Cavaliers lose a player that is very popular with the fan base.
Thompson's effort was never questioned, he developed into a player that didn't try to do what his skills were incapable of, and was a solid locker room presence, despite the occasional distraction from his relationship with reality star Khloe Kardashian.

Tristan Thompson will be missed in Cleveland by fans, and he'll be missed by the media as well, but what he does best is better used by a contender than a bottom dweller.
Thompson will hit the boards, get the ball out on the break, and bang some bodies on the inside to do the dirty work that many don't like to do in the NBA.
In other words, he's exactly what a contender like the Celtics are looking for.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Browns Clip Eagles 22-17

    For the third time in a three-game homestand for the Cleveland Browns, the weather was terrible- this time it was the always grungy "wintry mux" by Lake Erie with the ever-present wind along yet again for the Browns.

The wind wasn't as bad as the previous two home games, but the game was yet another less than exciting tilt that didn't pick up until late in the game and wasn't safely in the bag until the recovery of an onside kick with seconds remaining in a 22-17 Cleveland win.

Nick Chubb rushed for 114 yards to lead the Browns and despite only gaining eleven yards on thirteen carries, it was Kareem Hunt that scored the only offensive touchdown of the game by the Browns with a extra effort hurdle over Philadelphia defenders in the fourth quarter.

Olivier Vernon sacked Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz three times and Sione Takitaki grabbed a wobbly Carson Wentz heave and ran fifty yards for the only touchdown in the first half from either team to lead the Browns defense.

The now 7-3 Browns will go on the road for the first time in a month with a visit to Jacksonville against the one win Jaguars next Sunday.

Brownie Bits

1) Third game of a three game homestand with all three having various types and degrees of foul weather. 
Rain, Wind, and Wintry Mix involved in all three games and I wonder just how much effect on the outcome that the weather had.

2) That's because a defense that looked like they would struggle stopping teams in the Sun Belt conference earlier in the season has suddenly looked like a quality unit.
The Browns allowed 48 points in the three home games, which is certainly solid enough, but I wonder how much was the conditions slowing down the visitors and how much was an improved defense?

3) The Eagles offensive line is terrible.
How else can you explain Carson Wentz being sacked five times against a Browns pass rush that was without Myles Garrett?
With a few breaks, the Browns could have perhaps doubled the amount of sacks on the constantly harassed Wentz.

4) Olivier Vernon has been a player that has heard his share of criticism since coming to Cleveland, but his three sacks with one of those sacks giving the Browns two points for a safety dampened that fire for a while.
Vernon has disappointed in his two seasons as a Brown, but while you cannot deny the lack of production by Vernon, I've thought that he could be one of those players that doesn't play well through pain.
Some players are able to play through pain and others aren't able to produce at their usual level when dealing with injuries, Olivier Vernon might be one of those players that struggle.

5) Baker Mayfield didn't throw an interception, but that didn't mean he played well.
Mayfield's fumble to led to the only Philadelphia touchdown other than in garbage time and his continued struggles with accuracy cost the Browns early when wide open tight ends Harrison Bryan and Austin Hooper were underthrown and overthrown on back to back plays that could have produced touchdowns.

6) Mayfield's misfires cost the Browns a touchdown as when Kevin Stefanski decided to go for iton fourth and goal with Kareem Hunt being stopped inches from the line.
Hunt was so close that he was initially declared as having scored before an Eagles challenge allowed a replay to overrule the officials original call.
That play doesn't happen with Mayfield hitting either of two open recievers.

7) Kareem Hunt struggled in averaging less than a yard a carry, but the sheer desire shown by Hunt in scoring a touchdown is one of the more encouraging pieces of the Browns season.
Coaching changes always brings rumblings of "culture changes" and this team is showing signs of doing just that.
Hunt broke a tackle, leaped over another Eagles and tumbled into the end zone for the score when he could have easily been taken to the ground.
Small things that you see are the building blocks of future success.

8) Nick Chubb was bottled up for much of the day, but once again in the fourth quarter it was Chubb breaking a big run against a worndown defense complete with the "Heisman" stiff-arm on Philadelphia's Joe Ostman.
The drumbeat has begun on talk of a Nick Chubb extension and with it the discussion of giving long-term contracts to running backs.
Between a Chubb extension and picking up the option on Baker Mayfield, Andrew Berry has difficult decisions to make.

9) Sione Takitaki hasn't been great as a starting linebacker or even good this season, but you had to feel good for him when he scored a touchdown after intercepting Carson Wentz.
I wouldn't be even mildly surprised to see Takitaki gone from the team next season or at minimum moved to special teams where he is best suited, but he did have one day in the sun.
Hope he kept the football.

10) Give Cody Parkey credit as well for his third quarter 46 yard field goal into the Dawg Pound end of the field, which has proven through the years to be the more difficult end of the stadium to kick toward.
Parkey's previous Browns experience has proven to be handy in a difficult stadium to kick in.
Stadiums in cold weather cities are always a bit tricky and teams that use rookie/young kickers do so at their peril.

11) Much of the chatter before the game was focused on Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz, who could have been a Brown but was passed over when the Browns traded the second overall pick to the Eagles in a 2016 trade that netted the Browns lots of draft picks that they naturally botched with busts and failures with the exception of the now-departed Joe Schobert.
Wentz holds onto the ball way too long and takes too many hits, but he's not protected well at all by an offensive line that is bad to be generous.
While Wentz doesn't appear to be anything near a franchise quarterback and the Eagles paid way too much for him, the Browns look arguably (past front offices anyway) worse for blowing the picks.

12) Carson Wentz does remind me of one of the more important things to remember when you are rebuilding a franchise.
If you cannot protect a young quarterback, he better be a special talent as even top of the draft passers can beaten into submission as the Browns failed to do for Tim Couch and the Texans were unable to protect David Carr.
Both of those players had disappointing careers filled with beatings, lost confidence, and ruined mechanics and from what I saw yesterday Carson Wentz may be the next quarterback to join that club.

13) Finally, I may be open to a domed stadium in Cleveland.
I may write about this in the off-season, but I'm suddenly Ok with this after never supporting it before.

14) 7-3.
I'm still not completely convinced this is a good team and they still have only one good win.
However, you play the teams they tell you to and you cannot blame the Browns for that.
Cleveland should be favored in all three of their four road games (Jacksonville, NY Giants and Jets) and underdogs in their visit to Tennessee and home games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
Three wins and 10-6 puts them in the playoff hunt, but tiebreakers could come into play.
Four wins should do the trick, let's see if they can get them. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Ohio State outscores Indiana 42-35

  The Ohio State Buckeyes had little problems moving the football and scoring points against the undefeated upstart Indiana Hoosiers, but they did have problems stopping Indiana from moving the ball through the air as Michael Penix's 491 yards and five touchdowns clearly show.

Still, even as Indiana closed to within seven points late in the game, I never felt overly concerned about the outcome in the Buckeyes 42-35 win.

Justin Fields threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns but threw three interceptions as well in the victory.
Master Teague ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to lead a ground game that finished with 307 yards as a team.

Ohio State improves to 4-0 with the win and will travel in their next two games- next week to Illinois and the following week to East Lansing against Michigan State.

Olentangy Offerings

1)  You have to be concerned with a pass defense that allowed almost 500 yards and five touchdowns.
Far too many times, the safeties were caught out of the position and allowed their man to get behind them and even Shaun Wade, who you expect not to be vulnerable, has been victimized as well.
The next two games are softer, but the work is going to have to be done in practice to shore this up.

2) However, put the yardage (at least) in perspective.
The amount is severely inflated because the Hoosiers threw the football fifty-one times because they were behind or even (for a little bit in the first half) for the entire game.
Common sense says that a trailing team throughout will have to put the ball in air, so the yardage is somewhat of a non-factor, but the number of big plays (three players caught four or more passes that averaged between twenty one and thirty one yards) will make you remember this when Ohio State faces a explosive offensive team next time.

3) Another reason for all the passing- Indiana could not run the football.
At all.
Sixteen rushes for negative one yard.

4) While the national narrative is that Ohio State barely survived this furious comeback, it didn't feel that way in real time.
It was more of a grinding comeback and even at the end with Ohio State eating time off the clock with a touchdown lead, I wasn't filled with concern.
Perhaps I should have been, but I didn't.

5) In the end, the difference was a fourth quarter interception returned for a touchdown by Shaun Wade with under a minute to play in the third quarter.
Ohio State led by 21 after that play and in the final period, the Buckeyes played the clock on offense more than the Hoosiers.
That's not an excuse, it's a fact.

6) Ohio State may have slammed the door with five minutes to go but with the kicking game in shambles with the injury to Blake Haubeil, Ryan Day decided to go for the first down on a fourth and one from the Indiana seven.
Justin Fields rolled out under pressure,but launched a pass to Luke Farrell that sailed high.
However, for as much as I dislike the targeting rule, Fields was clearly hit helmet to helmet and yet no flag fluttered to the turf.
Indiana took possession and even thought they would not score on that or their final possession, the close game narrative shouldn't have gotten to that point as OSU would have had a 1st and goal from short yardage with the clock rolling.

7) Justin Fields threw three interceptions and the most concerning portion of that is the sudden appearance of Fields deciding to throw the ball up and try to make a play happen.
The first interception wasn't the case, that was the Hoosier defender watching Fields and knowing where the ball was headed, but the second was a ball that shouldn't have been thrown and was picked off after several tips, and the third was the worrisome play.
Fields should have just kept the ball and instead tossed up one of those goofy looking throws that you just know is going to wind up in the other guys's hands.

8) BUT on that interception, the play was made by freshman wide receiver Julian Fleming, who never stopped running after the ball and as Indiana's Jamar Johnson (who had intercepted Fields first and third picks) moved deep into Buckeye territory, Fleming jumped into the play, punched the football away from Johnson with Thayer Munford falling on the football to regain possession for Ohio State.

9) Master Teague may not have the breakaway speed that results in those 75 yard touchdown runs like Ezekiel Elliott or J.K. Dobbins did for the Buckeyes, but he runs hard, doesn't take plays off and I'll take those six, seven, and eight yards chunks every time.
Teague finished with two scores and 169 yards with the types of runs that accumulate totals and wear down defenses.

10)  Ohio State did start quickly with a two play, seventy-five drive that saw Justin Fields hit Garrett Wilson for a sixty-five yard pass before a ten yard version for the touchdown put six on the board.
Wilson finished the game with seven catches, one hundred sixty-nine yards and two touchdowns and continues to make a smooth transition to an inside receiver role.
Wilson has finished all four games with over one hundred yards and should he repeat that feat next week vs Illinois, he will tie the Buckeye record held by Cris Carter.

11) While I wasn't quite as impressed with Indiana as many were, I still have to give credit to the Hoosiers for not throwing in the towel when it would have been easy to do so.
I really like Tom Allen, who seems to building Indiana into a solid resident of the Big Ten's third tier for now, which means that they would be good for six to eight wins a year and a smaller bowl bid most seasons.
What I like Allen is the positive attitude that doesn't seem like it's a Tony Robbins course like some people in the Big Ten that trademark a phrase and beat you over the head with it.

12) This game might be good for the Buckeyes and could keep them motivated with games at weak sisters Illinois and Michigan State before the meeting with Michigan.
Unless a stunner of an upset happens, Ohio State appears to be headed for a Big Ten title game against Northwestern and they'll need experience handling a test before then.
This game against Indiana should keep them humble.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Myles Garrett positive for Covid-19

    The Cleveland Browns took a hit to their playoff hopes when Myles Garrett tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss this Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles and also is highly likely to miss the following game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville.

The 24-year-old Garrett is in the midst of the best season of his career after being chosen by Cleveland with the first selection in the 2017 draft and is currently second in the league in sacks with nine and a half behind only the ten sacks collected by Yannick Ngakoue, who has split his season between Minnesota and Baltimore.

Garrett has upped his game not only in the pass-rushing aspect but has improved his play against the run as well as shown by his stuffing of Houston's DeShaun Watson last Sunday on a fourth-down play inside the Browns five-yard line.

Garrett's absence was glaring in the team's loss to the Raiders when he missed some of the game due to injury and with Oliver Vernon disappointing at the opposite defensive end position, the Browns have to be concerned about their ability to rush the passer without Garrett in the lineup.

Despite the disparity in the teams' records (Cleveland is 6-3 with Philadelphia at 3-5-1, good enough for first place in the putrid NFC East), the Browns are only a tepid favorite over the visiting Eagles and I'm not sure that the Eagles might not be even money now for Sunday's game.

The Browns have beaten only one team with a winning record (Indianapolis) and the Eagles are capable of winning this game.
Cleveland needs to bag as many of these games against the weaker opponents as they can and even though four of the final seven games are against teams with losing records, only this one against the Eagles will be at home by Lake Erie with visits to Jacksonville and back to back trips to Giants Stadium to face the Giants and Jets on the road.

The loss of Myles Garrett will be a big one to the Browns and should the Eagles win in Cleveland and the playoffs are missed by a game, the loss of Garrett to the lineup might be looked back on as a significant reason in the Browns staying home for yet another postseason...


   Another week of football and another week of wondering what teams will actually step foot on the field, especially in the college game.

Last Week: 8-2
Overall: 62-25

Ohio State over Indiana 45-28
Boise State over Hawaii 48-24
Army over Georgia Southern 27-21
LSU over Arkansas 40-31
Troy over Middle Tennessee State 32-17
N.C. State over Liberty 36-35

Game of the Week
Coastal Carolina over Appalachian State 33-31

Browns over Eagles 24-21
Saints over Falcons 35-28

Game of the Week
Buccaneers over Rams 28-24

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Cavaliers select Isaac Okoro

  The Cleveland Cavaliers were linked to several players with the fifth pick in the first round of the NBA draft and were a main part of draft day trade rumors, but in the end, the Cavaliers returned to one of the players that they were connected to from the beginning and addressed their largest need in selecting small forward Isaac Okoro of Auburn.

The 6'6 small forward spent one season at Auburn, averaging just under thirteen points a game with 4.4 rebounds for the Tigers.

Okoro is thought of by many as the best defender in the draft with the ability to guard any player on the floor at any time and has the wingspan that you love to see from defenders off the ball.
Okoro jumps well and shows the potential to be an improved player offensively attacking the rim, but the biggest question mark is an outside jumper that needs a lot of work.

Okoro was lauded by Auburn coach Bruce Pearl as a tremendous team leader and tireless worker, which are words that aren't always heard about players that have left their school after only one season as Okoro left Auburn.

The key with Okoro will come down to the development of his outside shot.
IF Okoro can improve to an average shooter, eventually he can be a championship level player with the type of game that title contenders all crave from the supporting cast around their star.
And if he can't? Okoro will be a defensive stopper that can score some points in the open floor and he will always have value with those skills alone, if as a rotational player alone.

I don't hate the pick, I'm not sure anyone of the handful of players that were rumored to be under consideration would have caused me to be angry, but I do have concerns about a team that struggles to shoot well to add another player that doesn't shoot well.
Although the Cavaliers were the worst defensive team in the league last season, so Okoro does address that problem at least.

Isaac Okoro might not be the flashiest selection, but his floor is solid and I think he'll at least have a solid NBA career, if not a spectacular one and in a draft lacking superstar level players, Cleveland could have done worse by gambling on a higher risk player.

Cavaliers Draft Preview

    The Cleveland Cavaliers enter the 2020 draft much as they walked into the 2019 door- picking fifth in the draft and lacking a standout player at the position that they need the most- a scorer on the wing.

Because of that gap in the draft, the Cavaliers appear to be in either trade down (they have been rumored to have been talking to the Celtics and Knicks) mode, take the best player available or shove a player in the needed area earlier that he should be picked and hope for the best.

The players most mentioned for the Cavaliers that make the most sense position-wise are Israeli swingman Deni Avdija, Auburn's Issac Okoro, Florida State Devin Vassell, and Vassell's Seminole teammate Patrick Williams, who is the name that is rising quickly on draft day.

All of these players have positives, but none are sure to succeed.

Avdija brings praises for his passing skills and his play in the open court and Okoro is loved for his defensive intensity, but both come with big questions with their outside shot.

Vassell has a better outside shot and ranks with Okoro on the defensive end, but as noted by The Athletic's Sam Vecenie is less than strong as a ballhandler and isn't the most creative in the passing game.
Plus, when I hear the best comparison is Danny Green, I'm wondering about that player at the fifth pick in the draft.

Patrick Williams is the player rising right now and in every draft, there is a player that suddenly starts moving up the rankings.
Williams is 6'8, but isn't a pure "four", he looks to be a player that can block shots and defend very well, but at 19 years old and after playing only 22 minutes a night for Florida State, Williams offensive game isn't questioned as much as it is having no information.
Williams could be very teachable on the offensive end, but it's hard to tell what the end result will be in the long-term.
Williams is thought by some teams to be the eventual best player in the draft and by others to be a back end of the lottery selection.

Should the Cavaliers go the best player available route, I really like Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton, who at 6'5 can play either the point or the two-guard and has a great feel for the game.
However, does Koby Altman have the stomach for taking another guard in the lottery after taking Collin Sexton and Darius Garland in the last two lotteries?
And if so, what does that mean for either of those two?
I don't see the Cavaliers going for Haliburton on that reason alone.

The Cavaliers also have a glut of players at the four and the five with expensive contracts that could keep them from taking a player that would be a good pick.
In the NBA, a surplus can become a need very quickly and if they really like either of these players, I wouldn't worry about the Kevin Love, Andre Drummond, Larry Nance Jr, Tristan Thompson (if they decide to try to re-sign him) problem.
Good front offices are able to deal with those and improve the roster, oh never mind.

Dayton forward Obi Toppin is a player that would give the Cavaliers a semi-local player that is well-known after winning the player of the year last season in college basketball and would bring an offensive game that would be exciting to watch.
Toppin is the one player in this draft that I feel very comfortable with projecting a certain degree of success.
He's going to score his 20 plus a game and he can play power forward or even center in small lineups, but he is a massive defensive deficiency and might wind up being one of those players that is always the best or second-best player on bad teams that fantasy owners love. 

USC's Onyeka Okongwu has all the things that I like in a player- Always plays hard, hits the boards, great leaping ability, and isn't afraid to play defense.
Okongwu can be a rim protector to a degree and reminds many of Bam Adebayo for his cleaning the trash on the inside offensively.
Okongwu's not an outside threat and struggles in the passing game, so he's raw offensively at best and might be career limited as a scorer at worst.
I wonder if the best aspects of Okongwu's game may be suited for a style of play that has passed by and that's too bad because, without those questions, he might be my guy in this draft.

The Cavaliers do not have a second-round pick in the draft, so unless they make a move with this pick or buy a second-rounder, the fifth selection will be the only new addition to a roster that isn't exactly cohesive at the moment.

I don't presume to have any idea what they are thinking or even a firm grasp myself.
My favorite players are at the positions that they have the most invested in (salary and draft) and although I usually say go the best player available, with a team this awful a case can be made for going for need.

I'm not sure that I'll howl with anger no matter the selection and from what I am reading at this writing, the Cavaliers could be making a deal, which is rumored to be with the Knicks.
Should that deal be completed, Cleveland would drop three spots to the 8th selection and add the 23rd selection and perhaps another asset or two.
I'd be OK with that.
Usually, I'm not a trade down proponent, but many of the players that I like at five will be there at eight, and adding a second player later in the round would be a nice addition as well.

I'll be around as the night progresses with thoughts on the Cleveland draft.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Browns ground Texans 10-7

   Through rain, snow, sleet, and hail.
That was once the motto of the United States Postal Service, but it should be the motto of the ground game of the Cleveland Browns, who used one hundred games from Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to cut through the wind and defeat the Houston Texans 10-7 in Cleveland.

Chubb finished with 126 yards and the only Browns touchdown and Hunt added 104 to lead an otherwise anemic Cleveland offense in the win in the middle of three Browns' home games.

Cleveland improved to 6-3 with the victory and will host the Eagles in Cleveland next Sunday.

Brownie Bits

1)  The talk around the Browns fan base was the long run at the end of the game by Nick Chubb in which he could have easily scored, but instead stepped out of bounds to essentially give Houston no chance of a comeback.
A touchdown likely would have left Houston with only a crazy prayer of winning, but the step out did allow the Browns to kneel twice to end the game.

2) Chubb's decision allowed those kneeldowns rather than live plays and one never knows when a key injury can occur.
Smart, especially on a team that isn't known for its depth.

3) The Browns haven't played a game that saw two of their backs finish with over 100 yards in a game since 1966 when Leroy Kelly and Ernie Green accomplished the feat.

4) Nick Chubb finished with more yards, the only touchdown, and the backbreaking run at the end of the game, but Kareem Hunt was just as effective.
Chubb may be the better back overall, but Hunt's numbers would be very similar if used in the same manner.

5) Ok, for the second home game in a row the wind was beyond awful and made the passing game very risky at best.
Still, DeShaun Watson managed to complete twenty of thirty and he's used to playing in a dome.
Baker Mayfield completed twelve of twenty, which is nothing special, but he did manage to avoid the big mistake and the Browns did win so I cannot complain too much, but...

6) One of the reasons that I didn't want Baker Mayfield in the 2018 draft was a concern about having the type of arm strength that you need to power the ball through the cold weather that comes with playing in the AFC North, let alone in Cleveland in a stadium that faces one of the Great Lakes.
I've seen nothing in these two games held in punishing winds to change any of those thoughts.

7) Then there was Myles Garrett, who isn't known for his run defense, stoning Watson on a 4th down run play inside the Browns five late in the second quarter.
That play alone might have won the game in a three point game, but Garrett also finished with two other tackles for losses and a half sack as the dominant player on the field.

8) The wind kept the Texans from trying two field goals during the game and blew another aside, but the Browns were able to keep things in line with the wind on their end.
Cody Parkey knocked in one field goal on the strong wind end (the Dawg Pound) and that was enough to win.

9) Romeo Crennel, having coached in Cleveland, should have known about the wind in Cleveland Stadium.
So why on Earth did Crennel choose to have the wind in his kicker's face in the fourth quarter?

10) The game could have been a shutout, but in the fourth quarter DeShaun Watson appeared to be sacked, hung into the pocket and tossed the ball up for a key completion.
The drive continued and ended with the only Houston touchdown.

11) The now 6-3 Browns have two more must win games against weak sisters Philadelphia and Jacksonville.
Win those two games and the playoffs are in sight, but lose one of those and look out.
Win the games that you should and hope for the best...