The circus that is the Cleveland Browns keep chugging along. As reported by The Huffington Post, Browns LB, Tank Carder got himself into a bit of a mess (below).
He also deleted the initial tweet where he threw out an anti-gay slur at someone. No bueno.
The Cleveland Browns have announced that today is Mike Holmgren's last day with the Browns.
Following Jimmy Haslam III's appointment of Joe Banner as the new CEO, Holmgren previously announced this season would be his last in Cleveland. Everyone believed he would finish out the season though and the timing is certainly odd. Holmgren has been met by much criticism due to the team's performance, Holmgren's interaction with the fans and media (and at times lack thereof), and most recently due to his open attempts to vie for the Cowboys coaching job. A job which happens to be filled for the time being.
Fans are especially irritated with this due to the fact that Holmgren showed zero interest in coaching the Browns after firing Eric Mangini. If that weren't bad enough, he subsequently hired Pat Shurmur after assembling what most would call a weak pool of candidates.
While I can't say for sure what prompted the timing of this decision to happen now, it wouldn't surprise me if his antics related to the Cowboys played a role. I can say however, that people in Berea have confirmed that Holmgren and Joe Banner "got into it" earlier this week.
I don't know what about and I don't know if it's related to this announcement, but it's definitely interesting.
As if it weren't bad enough that Joe Haden reportedly missed the Browns meetings and most of the Special Teams portion of practice on Thanksgiving morning, a new report comes out this morning.
I'm told by someone with knowledge of the situation that both Joe Haden and TJ Ward were not in their rooms when the Browns performed their routine "bed check" last night.
The Browns stay at a Cleveland hotel the night before home games to help keep players focused and to ensure they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. As a part of this routine, they also enforce a curfew (they do the same for away games as well).
When the 10 PM deadline came last night and Browns personnel performed the "bed check" for Haden and Ward, they were not in their rooms. At this point I do not know where they were or when they returned, but I know they were not there at the deadline.
The players are not required to be in bed by 10 PM, but they are required to be on the floor by 10 PM and accounted for. Many players will get together to play cards or watch TV together after the 10 PM deadline.
It continues to astound me how little some of these players care about and respect their profession. It confounds me even more how this type of behavior continues to persist over and over again without recourse.
Perhaps their absence was completely harmless and there is nothing to be concerned about. However, given their pattern of behavior over the past several years (and especially this year), it's awfully hard for fans to continue to give these players and this team the benefit of the doubt.
As everyone in the free world (aside from decision makers within the Cleveland Browns) knows, a white flag is a widely known symbol for surrender. Something that may not be well received for a fan base which has lost 16 of the last 17 games to the Steelers.
Honestly, in my opinion, the Browns look even worse canceling the promotion now. They were either completely unaware of what an idiotic idea it was or they are so swayed by the fans that they can be that easily influenced.
I still have high hopes for incoming owner Jimmy Haslam III, but I've been less than impressed with some of the things that continue to occur since he's taken over. It's early and he still gets the benefit of the doubt in my book, but things need to change in this organization. Quickly.
Joe Haden, who has taken a lot of heat this year for his mistake that lead to a 4 game suspension (reported here first) and most recently for being seen "out all night" during the week in which he was battling an injury, is at it again.
He ultimately pulled himself out of that game last week against the Cowboys too, by the way.
Today, the Browns' meetings started at 7:15 AM. At the time of this post, Haden has still not arrived at the facility in Berea according to reports. Keep in mind, practice begins at 10 AM...
As a side note, Greg Little was significantly late for the meetings as well, but he ultimately showed up.
If these reports are accurate, and they've never been wrong, I honestly don't understand how the team allows this behavior to persist. And, oh by the way, it's Steelers week... and the team is 2-8!
As we approach the beginning of practice, I'll keep you posted when I hear when and if he actually decides to grace the team with his presence. I suppose it's possible the coaches are aware and this is an excused absence, but given the fact that no one else in the facility seems to know anything about where he is, I doubt it.**UPDATE** 10:38 AM - I was just told that Haden showed up about 15 minutes ago. 3 hours or so late for the day, and significantly late for the special teams part of practice.
Josh Cribbs is undoubtedly a special return man and special teams player. After negotiating what most people in the league believed to be too high of a contract for a special teams player, Cribbs and the Browns attempted to get more value out of him by utilizing him at WR.
It has not worked out very well for a variety of reasons. My sources inside the Browns have confirmed that Cribbs is just as much to blame, if not more so than anyone else. Until very recently, he has not taken being a WR very seriously, skipping offensive meetings or leaving them early, not putting in the extra work to learn the playbook or to improve route running, etc. In fact, I'm told that at this point, he still routinely runs the wrong routes/yardages and makes it nearly impossible for a QB to get the proper timing down with him.
With that said, Cribbs is once again making noise about his offensive production, or lack thereof.
Josh Cribbs told the Cleveland Plain Dealer the following yesterday:
"I feel like I'm trapped. "I feel like a caged athlete."
This season, he has six catches for 54 yards and two runs for 8 after having career highs with 41 catches and 518 yards last season.
I think anyone with an unbiased perspective would also be able to compare the WR talent and depth on the Browns roster from last season to this season and understand why that may be. The Browns drafted ultra talented (and ultra raw) WR Josh Gordon in the 2nd round of the supplemental draft and added Travis Benjamin and Josh Cooper just this season.
Perhaps even more importantly, Cribbs is in the last year of that overpriced contract. It's highly unlikely the Browns will allocate new dollars (especially at the level Cribbs thinks he deserves) to an aging special teams player who's production on special teams has dropped. Why would the Browns feature Cribbs and take reps and experience away from the young WRs they invested in just to appease someone who will likely not be around next year? They wouldn't.
Cribbs, however, doesn't seem to understand how the NFL works.
"Me going from being able to run the wildcat, to playing receiver last season and catching 41 passes and four touchdowns to nothing -- I can't believe it," said Cribbs. "By me not playing, I feel like they think I'm not good, that I've lost it. But I haven't. I feel when I'm out there I can contribute, but I'm not able to."
Cribbs says he's already talked to Head Coach, Pat Shurmur about his role earlier in the season and said the following:
"There's no point," he said. "Obviously they feel like everybody that's in front of me is a better athlete. I disagree. I feel a different way than the coach feels about me. They must feel I can't produce. We have a difference of opinion."
While Cribbs undoubtedly wants to be more involved in the offense because he's confident in his abilities, perhaps the real motivation behind his public complaints lie within this quote:
"There's something wrong when one of your best athletes doesn't get the ball," he said. "I'm tired of people saying they don't know how to use me. Get creative. Find ways.
"I can't even showcase myself. I'm more than a special teams player. I've proven that. I belong on the field more than this, more than what they're allowing me to do. I've tried to not to say much, but it's upsetting. We're nine games into the season and I haven't gotten a chance."
Perhaps Cribbs knows his time in Cleveland is running out (at least he should) and he's frustrated that he's been unable to audition for other teams this season to help him land another big contract. But that is a strictly selfish position. As I've stated, why would the Browns hinder the development of the young players they've invested in for the future just to appease someone who won't be around next year?
Cribbs has long been a fan favorite and he has long used the media to manipulate fan sentiment (an example right here):
"It's because of these fans," he said. "I'm going to try to stay here. If Mr. (Jimmy) Haslam will have me, I'll stay. If not, I'm sure I'll be playing football somewhere else."
It seems many fans are becoming wise to his antics however and Cribbs may be wearing out his welcome in Cleveland sooner than he thinks.