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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on cleveland.com

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    Arrival of a cold front has kicked up some big waves and slowed down the fishing - but there are some exceptions.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A cold front has arrived, slowing down the fishing and kicking off some big waves around Lake Erie. With the water temperatures cooling off to about 60 degrees, anglers must dress warmly and in layers, take along rain gear and be especially careful if boat fishing on big waters. Be sure to leave behind a float plan, and take along all of the necessary safety gear, including a marine radio, cellular phone, flares and extra fuel.

    CENTRAL LAKE ERIE

    The near-shore walleye fishing has been difficult, with this week's big winds muddying shallow waters. There has been some good fishing off the Lorain and Huron dumps in 40 feet of water and more. As the water clears, the near-shore walleye haunts should light up.

    The night walleye anglers are doing well, though, as hungry walleye head for the breakwalls around the Central Basin at dusk and are ready to chase minnow-style plugs, lipless rattle baits and swim baits. The harbor areas are also attracting quite a few steelhead trout getting ready for spawning runs.

    The Central Basin yellow perch fishing has been slow, but expect better catches around Conneaut, Fairport Harbor and Cleveland as conditions improve.

    Look for the walleye fishing pressure to really pick up now that the Fall Brawl has begun. Fishermen are chasing some hefty prizes, including a 21-foot Warrior Boat. All of the prize packages have not been announced as yet, but they should be substantial with more than 6,000 anglers entered in the popular derby.

    WESTERN LAKE ERIE

    The western lake fishing guides have been heading east lately, at least when they can get out, to troll for walleye east of Kelleys Island, off the Huron River and Cranberry Creek and in the Vermilion area. Diving planers and spoons still rule, but diving plugs are starting to take their share of walleye. Some anglers are finding walleye success in Canadian waters.

    The yellow perch fishing has been good south of Green Island and around L Can along the Camp Perry Firing Range in 30 feet of water. Some boats were fishing for yellow perch off Lakeside and the Marblehead Lighthouse in recent days and reporting some success.

    INLAND LAKES, RIVERS, RESERVOIRS

    The Fall Family Fishing Festival last weekend lured a crowd to the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation in Cuyahoga Heights, despite chilly weather. The fish weren't very cooperative because of the weather, with plenty of the 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout and golden trout remaining to be caught. The Cleveland Metroparks also released 600 pounds of catfish averaging 2 to 3 pounds, as well as some trophy cats in the 10-pound range.

    The steelhead trout are beginning to head up the spawning rivers around Northeast Ohio, including the Rocky and Chagrin rivers. The lower river fishing is best right now, with some steady rains needed to bring in the crowds of silvery trout. Fly fishermen are casting egg and minnow patterns, woolly buggers and nymphs, while bait fishermen are working jigs tipped with minnow, maggots and worms under a float in the deeper pools. White and pink spinners and silver spoons are also working in the harbor areas and lower rivers.

    STEELHEADER'S BALL TO RETURN ON NOV. 3

    The Steelheader's Ball will return to the Cleveland area on Nov. 3 as part of a 40th Anniversary Series of programs sponsored by the Trout Club of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The gala will be held close to where it all began more than 15 years ago, taking over Forest City Brewery, 2135 Columbus Road, Cleveland. The inaugural event was held at Dempsey's Oasis Tavern way back when, now known as Prosperity Social Club. Tickets are $30 at cmnh.org, with music by the iconic Steve Madewell & The Next Best Thing.


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    In three years as Oklahoma's quarterback, Baker Mayfield had a 34-6 record. He never lost more than two games in a season. He is 1-2 in last three games with the Cleveland Browns. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Baker Mayfield is facing the reality of the NFL, especially for a rookie quarterback in Cleveland.

    "This is the worst loss I've ever had," Mayfield told the media.

    He was referring to the 38-14 loss the Browns suffered against the L.A. Chargers last Sunday.

    But it's more than one game.

    And it's what most highly drafted quarterbacks face when they come to the NFL.

    At Oklahoma, the Sooners were 34-6 when Mayfield played.

    That's six losses in three years.

    The records were 12-2, 11-2 and 11-2.

    Most top college quarterbacks play for big winning programs.

    Then they come to the NFL, usually to losing teams. Often, those teams have been losing for years.

    Why? Because they don't have a quarterback.

    Which is why they draft a quarterback up high.

    There are exceptions.

    The Philadelphia Eagles were 7-9 in 2015, the season before they picked Carson Wentz with the No. 2 selection in 2016.

    In fact, the Eagles had a 24-24 record over the previous three years. Certainly that helped Wentz.

    But Mayfield came to an 0-16 team, and a team that was 4-44 over the previous three years.

    THE BIGGEST SHOCK

    "It's not fun," Mayfield said.

    I doubt Mayfield had as many passes dropped at Oklahoma in any four game stretch as he has had in his first four games with the Browns.

    According to Profootballfocus, the Browns have dropped 15 passes in the last four games with Mayfield at quarterback.

    The worst offenders: Antonio Callaway (4), Jarvis Landry (3) and David Njoku (3).

    Perhaps the biggest shock for a quarterback such as Mayfield is the opposition.

    When he was at Oklahoma, his team had the superior talent in most games. It was easy to see that when watching video to prepare for an opponent each week.

    Not with the Browns -- or any other losing NFL team.

    "The tapes don't lie," coaches like to say.

    And the truth can hurt.

    The Browns aren't just the underdog in the Las Vegas betting line for most games, they are often undermanned on the field.

    In his last two starts, Mayfield's team has scored only one TD in each game...and a grand total of 26 points. He never endured a 2-game stretch like that at Oklahoma.

    Mayfield has lost 2 of 3 games. He hasn't suffered anything like that since ending his freshman year at Texas Tech on a 3-game losing streak in 2013.

    LEARNING TO ADJUST

    At Oklahoma, Mayfield could be bold, making risky throws because his team was good enough to compensate if a few things went wrong.

    The NFL is tougher. Players are bigger and faster, meaning receivers often are not open quite as long. Or an NFL pass rush means  a quarterback doesn't have as long to throw as he did in college.

    "There are spots that I have to hit," said Mayfield. "Throws I can't miss."

    Mayfield was talking about an interception early in the second half of the Chargers game. He had a miscommunication with Landry and made a poor throw.

    "It's either in his hands or out-of-bounds," said Mayfield, explaining where the throw should have gone.

    I like Mayfield far more than I expected on draft night. He is talented. He is mentally and physically tough. He doesn't make excuses.

    "I was not the accurate quarterback that they drafted me to be, so I'll fix that," he said.

    There will be growing pains with Mayfield, and the Browns are experiencing them right now. He was 22-of-46 passing for 238 yards. He had one TD pass, two interceptions and was sacked five times. It was his worst game as a pro.

    The last two weeks, the Browns played a great defense (Baltimore) and pretty good one (the Chargers).

    This week, they play at Tampa Bay, where the Bucs have just fired their defensive coordinator. They are allowing nearly 35 points per game, the most in the NFL.

    This could be a game where Mayfield and the offense can find their confidence.

    I have a good feeling about Mayfield...and this game:

    PREDICTION: Browns 27, Tampa Bay 24. Browns offense comes alive.



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    Cleveland Cavaliers look for first win vs. Minnesota Timberwolves as they try to move on with life after LeBron James

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers (0-1) are on the road again against another likely playoff team, the Minnesota Timberwolves (0-1). This after opening the season in Toronto against the Kawhi Leonard-led Raptors.

    The Cavaliers have stated that they are not tanking and that they expect to compete for a playoff spot this season without LeBron, but it's hard to imagine the Cavs actually doing it after watching the Cavs lose by 12 points to Toronto Wednesday.

    Against Toronto, the Cavs were competitive but didn't seem to have enough firepower to consistently put the ball in the basket despite Kevin Love scoring 21 points and Cedi Osman scoring 17 points.

    The Cavs might actually play better defense this season, but will it be good enough to make up for the lack of a knockout scoring punch?

    It's a long season and it is early to start making assumptions, so let's watch and see what trends emerge against Minnesota.

    Crowquill, by Plain Dealer artist Ted Crow, appears three times a week in The Plain Dealer and on cleveland.com.


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    No. 24 Michigan State can crack both the Big Ten and the College Football Playoff picture with a second upset in two weeks, this time over rival No. 6 Michigan Wolverines. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Cue the Bee Gees. It's that point in the college football season when it's all about Staying Alive. Every team with hopes of making the four-team College Football Playoffs needs to keep winning, as it is almost too late to overcome a late-season defeat and make the cut Dec. 2.

    But for a few teams - Michigan, Clemson and LSU - there is more than a little cause for worry as their challenges this week are all capable of turning their dreams into nightmares.

    No. 6 Michigan (6-1) at No. 24 Michigan State (4-2), Noon, FOX - Michigan has held up as a contender all season after opening with a loss at Notre Dame.

    But the Wolverines must travel to play the in-state rival Spartans, who are coming off a road upset at Penn State, effectively knocking the Nittany Lions out of the four-team chase. If MSU can put Michigan on its heels, the Spartans could be looking at a rare trifecta, with Ohio State still to play.

    No. 16 N.C. State (5-0) at No. 3 Clemson (6-0), 3:30 p.m., ESPN - Clemson is the only ACC team considered to have a chance at making the four-team playoffs, and that would almost assuredly require an undefeated season.

    This seems to be the Tigers' last roadblock. The Wolfpack would be considered in that mix if they had played West Virginia earlier this season, and won, but that game was cancelled due to weather. To have even the glimmer of a playoff chance NC State needs the upset.

    No. 22 Mississippi State (4-2) at No. 5 LSU (6-1), 7 p.m., ESPN - The novelty of LSU is it plays in the powerful SEC, has already dispatched previously No. 2 Georgia, and still has current No. 1 Alabama still to play.

    Yet the Tigers can't afford to be upset along the way, which puts the backs of quarterback Joe Burrow and Co. against the wall every game left. Mississippi State could potentially get on the radar for a lucrative New Year's Day bowl game with a road upset over the Tigers.

    AP TOP 25 TV SATURDAY

    • No. 6 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State, Noon, FOX
    • No. 9 Oklahoma at TCU, Noon, ABC
    • Maryland at No. 19 Iowa, Noon, ESPN2
    • No. 20 Cincinnati at Temple, Noon, ESPNU
    • Illinois at No. 23 Wisconsin, Noon, Fox Sports 1
    • No. 1 Alabama at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m., CBS
    • No. 16 N.C. State at No. 3 Clemson, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
    • Colorado at No. 15 Washington, 3:30 p.m., FOX
    • No. 18 Penn State at Indiana, 3:30 p.m., ABC
    • No. 22 Mississippi State at No. 5 LSU, 7 p.m., ESPN
    • No. 10 UCF at East Carolina, 7 p.m., ESPN2
    • UConn at No. 21 USF, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Net
    • No. 2 Ohio State at Purdue, 7:30 p.m., ABC
    • No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington State, 7:30 p.m., FOX
    • Vanderbilt at No. 14 Kentucky, 7:30 p.m., SEC Net

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    A pair of bobbleheads are out featuring Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield has arrived. He has not one but two bobbleheads.

    The image of the Browns' 2018 No. 1 overall draft choice has been captured in both college and professional uniforms.

    The bobbleheads - which are numbered only to 2,018 - cost $40 plus $8 shipping via the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.

    As a Brown, he is depicted getting set to pass. His Oklahoma bobblehead shows Mayfield - with eye black and headband - running as he is about to throw. He has scruff on his face in both bobbleheads, though different in each.

    In four games in the NFL, Mayfield is 85 of 153 for 1,076 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.

    Mayfield played his first year at Texas Tech before transferring to Oklahoma. He threw for 14,607 yards, completing 1,026 passes on 1,497 attempts in his collegiate career.

    New Jersey-based FOCO manufactures the bobbleheads exclusively for the Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee.

    The Browns are 2-3-1 and play 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at Tampa Bay.


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    The Buckeyes are second in the nation in yards per game. But they bogged down inside the 20 last week. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Second in the nation in yards per game and sixth in points per game, it's difficult to find true fault with the Ohio State offense.

    Balance between pass and run is a goal but not a requirement, short-yardage misfires have been way overblown and the answer to almost any question is Dwayne Haskins zipping a pass.

    The Buckeyes issues that do exist are amplified inside the red zone, however. And their troubles scoring inside the 20 against Minnesota last week were enough to make you realize that's the only real problem here. The Buckeyes are going to move the ball. But if they don't turn big drives into points, that could cost them against a team like Purdue on Saturday.

    On our Buckeye Talk podcast this week, guest co-host Chad Peltier explained how Ohio State is ranked much higher in converting scoring chances from the 40-yard line than scoring chances from the 10-yard line. According to SBNation stats, their scoring success inside the 10-yard line is just 69th in the country.

    Second in yards to 69th in scoring inside the 10 is a stark dropoff. Not surprisingly, the red zone shortcomings show up against better teams.

    In three of their first four games, against Oregon State, Rutgers and Tulane, Ohio State scored touchdowns on 15 of 18 red-zone trips. The three failures were two drives by the backups in garbage time and a Haskins interception.

    Overall, Ohio State has scored touchdowns on 21 of 30 red-zone drives, and their overall TD success rate inside the 20 is similar to recent seasons. But against TCU, they were 1 for 3 on red-zone TDs; against Penn State, 1 for 2; and last week against Minnesota, 0 for 3.

    Three red-zone trips last week yielded six points. Do that against Purdue and it's a formula for a loss.

    Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa admitted this week that often operating run-pass options plays, where the linemen don't know if the play is a pass or a run as they block, has been tough on the line.

    The Buckeyes don't just lean on teams and push like they used to.

    Pushing defenses around is a helpful thing in the red zone. It's not in their DNA like past seasons, so even when they do try it, they aren't as accustomed to it, and, as a result, not as good at it.

    So running isn't as easy in the red zone. But last week against Minnesota, the Buckeyes looked like a team running their normal, full-field offense against the Golden Gophers, which may have been an acknowledgement that leaning on the push of the run game wasn't the best way.

    This way didn't work either. Their three trips led to a field goal from the 4-yard line, a fourth-down stop on the 17-yard line and a field goal from the 9-yard line.

    .

    "The whole field condenses," Urban Meyer said this week, diving into my red zone question. "And you don't have the vertical stretch, obviously, down there, so it's a much different game. And we work a lot on it. We're not the only people who have some issues down there. 

    "The single-wing style of football is still a very productive way when you get down there. That's why you see people do the Wildcat, etc. But throwing, you've got to be creative and you gotta be very good. 

    "And we at times are very good and at times we're not. But just a much different ... you can't just say, 'Let's do the same stuff you did out on the 40-yard line and put it on the 6-yard line.' It's a completely different animal down there. The whole coverage scheme changes and there's no windows really."

    In short, with the field squished, there's no fear of a Haskins deep ball. And there's less room for OSU receivers to turn short throws into big gains, because the defense is more compressed. So the best of the OSU offense this year doesn't work as well.

    Bill Landis asked last week about the idea of backup QB Tate Martell as a red-zone option. Meyer said it was possible, and that was before the struggles against Minnesota. Offensive coordinator Ryan Day said the same thing this week - a Martell answer is possible.

    While Meyer mentioned the Wildcat, which most teams do with a direct snap to a running back, the Buckeyes could run that Wildcat idea with Martell, an actual quarterback who could still throw if need be.

    .

    I'm not holding my breath on that. Martell hasn't played at all in three weeks. At one point, I expected a true role for Martell on this team. Now in week eight, I don't think the Buckeyes are going to hand over the keys near the goal line to a guy they haven't taken off the bench recently.

    Something else must change. It's been a variety of things that have gone wrong when it hasn't worked in the red zone.

    "We've had some drops," Day said. "A couple well-designed plays that we didn't execute for one reason or another. A couple runs that didn't work. So a little bit of both, execution, but also scheme."

    The Buckeyes typically figure out their red-zone package of plays on Wednesday. Everyone knows it's a different world the closer you get to the goal line. For Haskins, he's more dangerous at the 40 than he is at the 10. 

    "It's tight throws, make faster decisions, buy a little time," Haskins said of red-zone realities. 

    There's too much talent on this offense to fail to hit the end zone on three red-zone trips, like last week. That has to be the bottom for the Buckeyes. More tight end routes, maybe some sneaky pick plays, chances to let Haskins roll out of the pocket - the Buckeyes can certainly find ways to throw better inside the 20 than they did last week.

    Because you know they're going to move the ball. Then they must turn yards into touchdowns.


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    LSU was fined $100,000 for storming the field after beating Georgia. Watch video

    LSU was fined $100,000 for storming the field after beating Georgia in an upset victory. Rushing the court, or field, is one of the grandest sports traditions. Fans pour out of the stands to celebrate with players. It's a once-in-a-lifetime memory for a lot of fans who love their schools or teams. Still, there are often opposing players still on the field of play when it happens. Those players could be in danger or cause harm if provoked. Better to just stay safe in the stands. What do you think? 

    PERSPECTIVES

    Sports is a collective human experience that brings people together. When teams accomplish something big, it's only natural for fans to celebrate with the players who made it possible. Storming the court, or field, is a euphoric event where people bask in the glory of rare achievements and program-defining wins.

    No one wants to hurt anyone when they storm the court. People are just overjoyed and want to celebrate with their team. Banning it would rob people of one of the most treasured sports traditions. Keep court storming legal.

    Storming the court is fun. That's why every college takes part in it ... when it can.

    Storming the court is all well and good until you realize there are demoralized kids still out there just trying to get back to the locker room. Then, the real problems begin. It would be naive to say every fan was just looking to celebrate. Some fans are there to cause trouble and storming the court gives them a chance to get up close and personal with the opponent.

    Facing unknown intentions, players, who are frustrated after a loss, will defend themselves if they feel threatened. Storming the court is too much of a safety hazard for athletes, coaches and fans to continue. The tradition should end.

    Derek Redd of the Charleston Gazette-Mail makes a good point about court storming, stemming from the incident between Texas Tech and West Virginia:

    There's a good chance that fan, caught up in the moment, was more worried about getting to the middle of the court than who was in his path. But there's always that one jerk out of a hundred who knows exactly what he's doing when he's sprinting across the court. He wants to get in that one last jab, that one last taunt. So maybe he'll have an "oops" moment when he just happens to "accidentally" run into the opposing team's player.

    The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.


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    New Jersey gambling resort wants to become a major player in the nearly $1 billion global market for esports.

    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Atlantic City's new Call Of Duty is this: To become the East Coast center of competitive video game tournaments, also known as esports.

    The activity is rapidly growing in popularity across the country and around the world, and the New Jersey gambling resort wants to become a major player in the nearly $1 billion global market.

    Proponents see it as a way for Atlantic City's nine casinos to add revenue and help endure the slow winter months. And in the hyper-competitive East Coast casino market, they also believe it can attract tourists whose interest in gambling is marginal or non-existent.

    Isle of Man-based Continent 8 is building a $5 million data center at the Atlantic City Convention Center to serve not only the data-intensive esports industry, but internet gambling and sports betting technologies as well. It should be ready in April.

    Two Atlantic City casinos held tournaments last year, and another will host an industry convention this weekend. And Stockton University is joining the Eastern College Athletic Conference's intercollegiate esports competition, building a room at its Galloway campus, near Atlantic City.

    Gambling and technology companies believe esports is a natural progression in Atlantic City's ongoing diversification of its gambling market.

    "The sky is the limit on this," said Barbara DeMarco, a spokeswoman for Continent 8. "Sports wagering is bringing in millennials, and this group likes to work off a mobile device. Do we catch that before someone else does?"

    Esports is already well-established in the United States, and growing rapidly. In 2016, the Downtown Grand in Las Vegas built an esports lounge, hosted tournaments and, with bookmaker William Hill, took the first sports wager placed in Nevada on an esports tournament.

    Major gambling companies including Casesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International have invested in esports tournaments and facilities.

    The market research firm Newzoo puts esports at a $905 million global market this year, predicting it will hit $1.4 billion by 2020. About 380 million people will watch at least one esports tournament this year, the company estimates.

    "The first time I noticed esports was in the streets of Seoul, South Korea," said L. Anthony Gaud, president of Atlantic City-based INGAMEesports. "There was a giant crowd, and I asked someone, 'Is that a movie star or a rock star?' They said, 'No, it's a game player.' I had never seen anything like it in my life."

    Internet gambling has been a steadily growing industry since Nov. 2013, and New Jersey launched sports betting in June after winning a U.S. Supreme Court case allowing it and other states to do so.

    This weekend, the Ocean Resort Casino will host Gameacon, a convention with video game tournaments, networking sessions for game creators and artists, and sessions for fans to interact with developers.

    The industry is also examining whether any laws or regulations can be changed to help spur the growth of esports in Atlantic City.


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    Drafted by the Indians in the fourth round in 1990, the minor league teammate of Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome wonders what would have happened if he had given baseball a true chance. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Taken by the Cleveland Indians in the fourth round of the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft, Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm was a talented athlete who loved football, tolerated baseball and followed his heart into a career centered on his passion.

    Now, he's not so sure about that choice.

    Brohm kind of wishes he'd chased the chance at joining the Indians run of dominance in the mid-90s, which was percolating in the minors as Brohm wasn't giving baseball a full shot in 1990 and 1991.

    Brohm played two brief seasons in the minor leagues, with Rookie League Burlington in 1990 and Single A Watertown in 1991. Among his teammates - Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome.

    "Manny Ramirez was a guy, I remember I've never seen bat speed like his in my life," Brohm told cleveland.com at Big Ten media days this summer. "When the ball came off the bat when he hit it, I've never seen anything like that before. His bat speed was incredible. All the other stuff he was average at, but as far as hitting the baseball, it was not like anything I've ever seen."

    At Burlington his first season, when Brohm hit .213 with two home runs and 10 stolen bases in 136 at-bats, he remembers a struggling teammate in his second year in the Indians system who caught fire. 

    That was Thome, a 13th-round pick in 1989, who hit .373 with 12 home runs in 118 at-bats with Burlington.

    "Midway through, he took off," Brohm said. "He finally got it."

    Brohm never did.

    He was playing quarterback at the University of Louisville at the same time he was playing for the Indians in the summer, which the team knew was the plan when they picked him. Brohm didn't play baseball in 1992 because of an injury suffered at extended spring training, and he never played in the Indians system again.

    "I'm basically playing both sports, giving both a shot," Brohm told The Plain Dealer in 1992 before leading Louisville against the Buckeyes in that season's opener. "If one starts to outshine the other, I'll go with that."

    It was football. But there's an alternate universe when Brohm, a multi-tool infielder, joined Ramirez and Thome on those 1995 and 1997 World Series teams.

    "If I had to do it over again, I would have gone that route," Brohm said.

    Brohm was expressing those regrets during his brief NFL career. He played eight games as the San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback in 1996 and 1997. But it's interesting to hear a football coach express these thoughts now, as information about the toll that football can take on a body continues to come in.

    "To be quite honest with you, if I knew then when I knew now, things would be different," Brohm said. "I would have probably tried baseball.

    "Growing up I loved football, I loved playing quarterback, the ball was in your hands. Baseball I happened to be good at, but boy, it was not an exciting sport. It was kind of boring. It didn't really rev me up. But I was decent at it and I liked being a competitor."

    He didn't really understand the baseball draft. He didn't understand what a baseball career might have offered. And he was always only playing baseball on the side.

    "My knowledge was not very good of how this thing works and how it operates," Brohm said, "and, 'You know what, if they're saying this about you, you need to play baseball. You can play this game till you're 40, you can never get truly injured, you can make a lot of money.' I didn't really factor all that in.

    "I loved football and that was the sport I liked. If I knew all that I may have tried it with a genuine effort full-time and maybe had better results."

    Don't read this as Brohm, the second-year coach who has rallied the Purdue Boilermakers from the doldrums of a 9-39 stretch between 2013 and 2016, not liking his gig.

    He's really good at it, with Purdue a dangerous 3-3 going into Saturday's game against Ohio State after posting a 7-6 record in his debut a year ago. The 47-year-old will be a hot name on the coaching market after this season, and you can bet on him to land a really big job in the next several years, unless Purdue breaks the bank to keep him.

    If he had tried baseball, me might be retired right now with millions of dollars in the bank, and a head full of Indians playoff memories.


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    Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe talk Browns. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns take on the Buccaneers on Sunday. They'll take on the Bucs high-powered offense a little shorthanded, especially in the secondary. E.J. Gaines is in the concussion protocol. He was already filling in for Terrance Mitchell.

    Mary Kay Cabot and I talked about that on Thursday. We also talked about receivers needing to step up and more.


    Get the best Browns news and perspective in your inbox at lunch time every weekday. Sign up for our Browns newsletter.


    Go inside the Browns every week with cleveland.com's Orange and Brown Podcast, featuring Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe. Listen and subscribe here.


    Want more Browns? Subscribe to our Browns YouTube channel for interviews, analysis and more.


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    Mount Union will host Heidelberg on Saturday and Baldwin Wallace travels to Wilmington.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Hiram quarterback Randy Tucker was named the North Coast Athletic Offensive Player of the Week.

    Tucker, a graduate of Twinsburg High School, led Hiram to a fourth-quarter comeback victory over Kenyon last week. Tucker threw for a season-high 231 yards and two touchdowns.

    He scored the winning touchdown when he capped a 75-yard drive on his two-yard run.

    One of the biggest Ohio Athletic Conference games this Saturday is Marietta (6-0) at John Carroll (5-1). Marietta and Mount Union are on top of the conference at 5-0. John Carroll and Baldwin Wallace are in second place at 4-1.

    Baldwin Wallace plays at Wilmington on Saturday and will play at Marietta on Oct. 27.

    Notre Dame (7-0) is now ranked No. 14 in the Division II. The Falcons, who play at West Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday, are in the top 25 for the fourth-straight week.

    Division II

    • Lake Erie (0-7) at Kentucky Wesleyan (2-4), 1 p.m., Live video
    • Michigan Tech (3-4)  at Ashland (3-3), 1 p.m., Live stats
    • Notre Dame (7-0) at West Virginia Wesleyan (1-6), Noon, Live video
    • Malone (1-5) at Millersville (2-5), 4 p.m., Live radio  
    • Hillsdale (6-1) at Walsh (2-4), 7 p.m., Live stats

    Division III

    • Marietta (6-0) at John Carroll (5-1), 1:30 p.m., Live video
    • Hiram (2-4) at Wooster (3-3) , 2 p.m., Live stats
    • Case Western (5-1) at Geneva (2-4), 7 p.m., Live video
    • Heidelberg (4-2) at Mount Union (6-0), 1:30 p.m., Live video
    • Baldwin Wallace (5-1) at Wilmington (1-5) 1:30 p.m., Live stats

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    Lue played three years with the Lakers and started chuckling while explaining the difference between him, old Lakers and James when it comes to wearing those L.A. colors.

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue was in the minority when it came to watching LeBron James' debut with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. At least, when it comes to the Cleveland locker room anyway.

    His reaction to seeing James wear that famed jersey?

    "Looks crazy. Looks strange," Lue said prior to the Cavaliers' shootaround Friday morning in Minnesota. "I'm happy for him. But it does look kind of weird to have on a Lakers jersey. Whatever."

    Lue played three years with the Lakers and started chuckling while explaining the difference between him, old Lakers and James when it comes to wearing those L.A. colors. 

    "Just different. Like he lost his powers," Lue said with a laugh. "That Cleveland black and Cleveland maroon just looks, you know what I'm saying? Then going purple and gold, for a big guy like that, it took his powers away."    

    Let's keep that comment in context, shall we?

    That was not some slight at James' ability. He doesn't really think James looked powerless as he scored 26 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out six assists in a yet another loss in Portland. Nor was that Lue's way of saying that James won't be as dominant in Los Angeles as he was in Cleveland and Miami. 

    For Lue, it was just an eye-opener seeing James wearing those new colors and it will take time to get used to the new reality.

    As for other members of the Cavaliers, a handful of them spent the night in Minnesota doing other things. 

    Center Tristan Thompson knew the question was coming as reporters approached him in the locker room. 

    "No I didn't watch the Lakers last night," he said before the question could even be asked. 

    Kyle Korver didn't watch either. He's a basketball junkie. He took in the Celtics-76ers game on Opening Night from his hotel room in Toronto. But he didn't catch LeBron's Lakers debut. Instead, Korver went about 30 minutes outside of the city for his buddy's show -- a rap concert. It had been planned for a while. 

    Clearly the Cavs were in the minority with their Thursday viewing habits.

    According to Turner Sports, TNT's coverage of James' debut delivered a 2.2 household rating, up 3 percent over the comparable game telecast of Lakers-Clippers last year. James' debut also generated the network's highest rating for an NBA game in the L.A. market since 2014.  

    Fans around the country were glued, sharing their thoughts on social media. NBA on TNT and NBA TV's social media accounts garnered a 37 percent increase in video views compared to last year. 


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    Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe preview Sunday's game and make their predictions for Sunday. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns and Buccaneers play on Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Bucs come into the game at 2-3 while the Browns are 2-3-1.

    Mary Kay Cabot and I previewed Sunday's game in the video above. We talked about the Buccaneers offense, one of the best in the NFL, and how the Browns can slow it down. Then we talked about the Bucs defense, one of the worst in the NFL, and how the Browns can attack it.

    Lastly, we made our predictions for Sunday's game.


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    Doug Lesmerises makes his pick for Saturday nigtht, with the Buckeyes 13.5-point favorites. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- No. 2 Ohio State isn't headed for a trap game. The Buckeyes are just playing a pretty good team with a rather dangerous offense on the road.

    Games like that can always be tough.

    I've made my disdain for the idea of trap games clear over the years, and I don't really feel like the Buckeyes are in a position where they're overconfident or overlooking 3-3 Purdue.

    But I do think Purdue does some things on offense that will give the Buckeyes a lot of problems, with a quarterback in David Blough who can throw, some tight ends to work the middle of the field and receivers led by Rondale Moore who can turn little passes into big gains, which has happened more than a few times against Ohio State this season. Plus, watch for some trick plays from Purdue coach Jeff Brohm.

    The Buckeyes (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) are on a playoff path, and a loss to Purdue wouldn't really knock them off that path. Ohio State would remain a viable playoff contender. 

    Though Purdue's record (3-3, 2-1) may not show it, this is a true test. And I think it's going to be quite a game, which would match Ohio State's recent history in Ross-Ade Stadium.

    Here's my pick. Watch the video for my full explanation. I forgot to say my confidence level in the video, but on a scale of one (no confidence) to five (high confidence), I'm a four. I really think this one is tight.

    * Doug Lesmerises: Ohio State 38, Purdue 34

    Take Purdue +13.5 

    Ohio State game picks record

    Doug: 7-0, 2-5 against the spread


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    Garrett offered his criticism of the officials unsolicited during his podium interview on Friday. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- Myles Garrett acknowledged that 'nobody played well' on defense against the Chargers, but he also went off on the NFL officiating on Friday, calling on the referees to 'do your job' and questioning the 'integrity' of a call.

    Garrett was so hell-bent on getting this off his chest that he doesn't mind taking a hit in the wallet. Players and coaches can get fined for criticizing the officiating.

    "If I get fined, so be it,'' he said. "Something needs to be said. If it keeps on going this way, this route, where it seems like we keep on getting the short stick. They can see us complaining or me blowing the whistle, but I'm going to go out there and play my game regardless.

    "I'm going to give it 100 percent whether they give me calls or not. I don't care if they're for me or against me; I'm going to go out and play my game."

    Garrett offered his criticism of the officials unsolicited during his podium interview on Friday. It came in response to questions about how poorly the defense played in Sunday's 38-14 loss to the Chargers.

    His first complaint was about the missed false start penalty on Russell Okung on the 29-yard TD pass from Philip Rivers to Tyrell Williams that made it 21-3 with 51 seconds left in the half.

    "It was so obvious,'' he said. "To my mind, he's moved, nobody else has moved and the ball hasn't moved, so it's kinda textbook. The flag should be up. So I moved forward because he moved, it's like I'm on a string. If the ball beats him, we're going with the ball. If he moves before the ball, I'm going with him. And so it's kind of like a signal.

    "That if he moves and if I don't move, he might get the benefit of the doubt. But when I move as well, it's kind of a 'hey, come on, you should see this.' They didn't. and I don't understand how you don't see it, that's (the official's) job is to look down the line and see when people are jumping offside or false starting, but I've got to keep on finishing the play.''

    Despite the fact it came in a blowout loss, Garrett believes the missed call was huge.

    "It's momentum,'' he said. "Momentum matters in the game. No doubt. And a six-point turnaround, a seven-point turnaround like that where it could've been a sack or maybe a forced fumble if you keep on playing, or just a no play at all, to a touchdown, that's a huge difference. There were a couple missed calls like that, and that's not on Okung, he's just doing his job. It's on the ref and to him to have that kind of integrity to call that play when it comes."

    Was it he worst call he's seen?

    "It's happened like that before, but it shouldn't be that way,'' he said.

    Browns robbed on missed false start

    Garrett also lamented a holding call by Okung that could have been rule in the end zone for a safety. But coach Hue Jackson has said it was just outside the end zone.

    "There's multiple calls, and multiple things that we did wrong as a team that just got to me, and it frustrated me," Garrett said, "so I just wanted to get it off my mind."

    He said the calls didn't frustrate him as much during the game.

    "If I look back at it, and see how much they affected the game, (the calls) should come into play when it's needed. There have been multiple times this year where like the forced fumble against the Raiders, or just other plays where they should've stepped in ... they need to be better in stepping in and doing their job."

    He said the Browns shouldn't have to be a winner to get the calls.

    "It doesn't need to come to that,'' he said. "Do your job just like we need to do our job. ... If it's holding, call holding. If it's a false start, (call a) false start, whether it's us or them. There was one point where it was like eight calls to one I believe? Or seven calls to one.

    "If it's holding for them, if they're grabbing us, if they're turning us, if they're trying to pull us out of a gap whether it's a run play or a pass play, it needs to be called. ... We need to get (opposing linemen's) hands off of us and we need to play ball, because we know they're not going to get those kind of calls. But at the end of the day, if they see it, they need to pull the flag out."

    Garrett plans to take his frustration out on the 2-3 Bucs and their high-flying offense, one that's ranked No. 1 in passing and eighth in points scored.

    "I can't speak for anybody else, but that's going to be my mentality coming into the game," he said. "If I have to make it infectious where we have to get after these guys and make sure they can't run the ball and they have to turn on their passing offense, so be it. But we can't have what we had last week."


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    With five games left in the 2018 football season time is dwindling for MAC football teams to become bowl eligible. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - This may be the defining week for a lot of football teams in the Mid-American Conference who have yet to define themselves.

    Going into Saturday's games, only the Buffalo Bulls (6-1, 3-0) are bowl eligible, assured of no worse than a .500 season. Western Michigan (5-2, 3-0) can become bowl eligible this week if the Broncos can defeat rival Central Michigan (1-6, 0-3).

    Only one other team in the league, Northern Illinois (4-3, 4-0) has a winning record overall. The rest of the MAC, in both divisions, sit at .500 or worse.

    With most teams having five games to play, a victory this weekend will make a winning season much easier to accomplish, for those who truly are at .500. A loss could put even a .500 season in question.

    Every team but Central Michigan (1-6, 0-3) in the MAC's West Division already has  three wins or more. The real desperation is with the Ohio teams in the MAC East Division.

    Here's a quick MAC East outlook.

    Akron (2-3, 0-2) - The Zips still have a possible make-up game, if scheduled, for cancelled Nebraska, giving them six to play. But if the offense (total 36 points scored in three straight losses) does not get in gear, the season is a big question. And that includes Saturday's game at woeful Kent State (1-6, 0-3).

    Bowling Green (1-6, 0-3) - The Falcons fired head coach Mike Jinks Sunday, and put the team in the interim hands of defensive coordinator Carl Pelini. Jinks had the Falcons scoring enough points a game (27.3) to win, but the defense was allowing a whopping 47.6 points a game. You figure it out.

    Buffalo (6-1, 3-0) - Easily the best team in the league to date behind junior quarterback Tyree Jackson, who has not been stellar of late but still continues to win. If the Bulls can get past Toledo Saturday, there is only one stiff road challenge left this season, Nov. 14 at Ohio University.

    Kent State (1-6, 0-3) - The Golden Flashes looked decent early under new head coach Sean Lewis. But as the season wears on Kent has seriously regressed, especially on defense. Kent allows 508 yards and 36.6 points a game.

    Miami (3-4, 3-1) - The RedHawks MAC wins are over three of the four MAC teams that have yet to register a victory in league play. After Saturday's non-conference road game at Army, Miami plays UB, Ohio University, Northern Illinois and Ball State to truly define their season.

    Ohio University (3-3, 1-1) - The Bobcats, preseason favorites to win the MAC, still control their destiny but the margin for error is now slim. After BG at home on Saturday there will be a short turnaround to Thursday's home game vs. Ball State. Frank Solich and Co. need both of these.

    MAC Games This Week

    • Miami  at Army, noon CBSSN
    • Buffalo at Toledo, noon.
    • Bowling Green at Ohio University, 2 p.m. ESPN3
    • Eastern Michigan at Ball State, 3 p.m.
    • Western Michigan at Central Michigan, 3 p.m.
    • Akron at Kent State, 3:30 p.m.

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    The Browns need to score on Sunday. Johnson can provide them a boost.

    BEREA, Ohio -- It's time for the Browns to create some big plays.

    If they're going to win on Sunday afternoon in Tampa, they're going to have to keep up with the Bucs' high-powered offense. The Browns' defense, with their penchant for forcing turnovers, should be able to create opportunities.

    They are shorthanded, though, minus Joe Schobert and E.J. Gaines, and it's unfair to expect them to duplicate what they did against the Saints' offense in Week 2 considering their personnel issues. The offense needs to pick them up.

    That starts with the quarterback, Baker Mayfield. It needs to include Duke Johnson, whose opportunities on Sunday should grow now following the Browns' Friday afternoon trade of Carlos Hyde to Jacksonville.

    Johnson is as dynamic a playmaker as the Browns have. Get him the ball in space and he can make defenders miss. Give him a head of steam and he can stiff-arm his way forward for extra yardage. In the last three games, though, he has carried the ball a combined nine times. He has been targeted a combined 12 times.

    Last week, against the Chargers, with the receiving corps desperate, he carried twice and was targeted five times. He played a vital role, however, in the Browns' scoring drive at the end of the first half and, a week earlier, made big plays on the ground to set up the game-winning field goal against the Ravens.

    Good things happen when the ball is in Johnson's hands.

    This is not a call to make him the featured back or to give him that type of workload. The goal, though, is to get the defense to see a player on the field and have to identify him and adjust to him over and over. Johnson is that type of player if used correctly.

    Johnson can make a difference in a game that needs his playmaking.

    Browns Take is a quick 300- to 400-word column on a single aspect of Browns football (and an idea we stole from our friends on the Ohio State beat). We're trying to replicate in written form the feel of our Orange and Brown Talk podcast, where we drop a multitude of opinions every week. We know not all of you listen to the pod (though you should), and we don't want you to miss out on what we're thinking about the Browns. 

    * Listen to our latest podcast on Baker Mayfield and the Browns' offense.


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    18 schools left with serious college football playoff hopes in 2018, including Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU and more.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - While the focus on sizing up the college football playoff favorites is on the few undefeated teams left from the major conferences, history says most any one-loss team from the big leagues could still have a case to make at the end of the season.

    With that in mind, at least 18 schools could be still considered alive for the 2018-19 playoffs.

    Below is a quick look at those teams, and what stands in the way of each before selection Sunday on Dec. 2.

    History lesson

    First, a little history about the teams chosen for the first four playoffs:

    1. Only schools from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC have been invited so far.
    2. Every undefeated team from these conferences has been selected: Florida State in 2014, Clemson in 2015 and Alabama in 2016
    3. Every outright champion with no more than one loss from these conferences has been selected.
    4. Only five one-loss loss teams from these leagues have been left out: Baylor and TCU in 2014, Iowa and Ohio State in 2015, and Wisconsin in 2017.
    5. No two-loss team has made the playoffs.

    The undefeated

    So, assuming the selection committee would not exclude an undefeated team from one of the five major conferences, or Notre Dame, these schools are almost locks if they win out:

    AP
    rank
    School (record) Ranked opponents left
    1 Alabama (6-0) at No. 5 LSU on Nov. 3
    No. 22 Mississippi State on Nov. 10
    Potential SEC title game
    2 Ohio State (7-0) at No. 24 Michigan State on Nov. 10
    No. 6 Michigan on Nov. 24
    Potential Big Ten title game
    3 Clemson (6-0) No. 16 North Carolina State on Saturday
    4 Notre Dame (7-0) None
    16 North Carolina State (5-0) at No. 3 Clemson on Saturday

    Note: Though Clemson and North Carolina State could advance to the ACC title game, the ACC's other division (Coastal) does not have any currently ranked teams.

    One-loss teams

    There are 13 major conference schools with one loss. Some of these face long odds to stay that way. Duke, for example, is 5-1 but not in the AP top 25.

    For one-loss teams, LSU and Michigan have among the toughest schedules ahead. They each have up to four ranked opponents remaining, including No. 1 Alabama for LSU, and No. 2 Ohio State for Michigan.

    The one-loss teams are:

    AP
    rank
    School (record) Ranked opponents left
    5 LSU (6-1) No. 22 Mississippi State on Saturday
    No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3
    at No. 17 Texas A&M on Nov. 24
    Potential SEC title game
    6 Michigan (6-1) at No. 24 Michigan State on Saturday
    No. 18 Penn State on Nov. 3
    at No. 2 Ohio State on Nov. 24
    Potential Big Ten title game
    7 Texas (6-1) No. 13 West Virginia on Nov. 3
    Potential Big 12 title game
    8 Georgia (6-1) No. 11 Florida on Oct. 27
    at No. 14 Kentucky on Nov. 3
    Potential SEC title game
    9 Oklahoma (5-1) at No. 13 West Virginia on Nov. 23
    Potential Big 12 title game.
    11 Florida (6-1) No. 8 Georgia on Oct. 27
    Potential SEC title game
    12 Oregon (5-1) at No. 25 Washington State on Saturday.
    13 West Virginia (5-1) at No. 7 Texas on Nov. 3
    No. 9 Oklahoma on Nov. 23
    Potential Big 12 title game
    14 Kentucky (5-1) No. 8 Georgia on Nov. 3
    Potential SEC title game
    19 Iowa (5-1) at No. 18 Penn State on Oct. 27
    Potential Big 12 title game.
    25 Washington State (5-1) No. 12 Oregon on Saturday
    at No. 14 Kentucky on Nov. 3
    NR Colorado (5-1) at No. 15 Washington on Saturday
    No. 25 Washington State on Nov. 10
    Potential Pac-12 title game
    NR Duke (5-1) at No. 3 Clemson on Nov. 17
    Potential ACC title game

    Note: Though Oregon and Washington State could advance to the Pac-12 title game, the Pac-12's other division (South) does not have any currently ranked teams.

    The rest

    What about Central Florida, South Florida and Cincinnati?

    All three of these American Athletic Conference schools are undefeated. But no school outside the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 or SEC has yet to break into the playoffs.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out if an American Athletic team stays undefeated as the number of other contenders dwindles.

    The first clues from the selection committee will arrive Oct. 30 when the committee releases its first rankings of the season.

    Rich Exner, data analysis editor for cleveland.com, writes about numbers on a variety of topics. Follow on Twitter @RichExner

    Buckeye Numbers is a regular look at the numbers relating to Ohio State football.


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    In six games, Hyde rushed for 382 yards on 114 carries (3.4 yards per carry) and five TDs.

    BEREA, Ohio -- All Browns fans clamoring for more Nick Chubb are getting their wish.

    In a surprising move, the Browns traded running back Carlos Hyde to the Jaguars for a 2019 fifth-round pick, the club announced Friday afternoon as they headed to Tampa to face the 2-3 Bucs on Sunday. He was in the first year of a three-year contract worth $15.25 million, including a $3.5 million signing bonus.

    Hyde's teammates, including Christian Kirksey, expressed their dismay on Twitter, with Damarious Randall tweeting "Wait, what?" and Kirksey tweeting a hand-on-forehead emoji and a sad face emoji.

    Hyde, the former Buckeye, was a major reason the Browns are fifth in the NFL in rushing at 137.7 yards per game. He rushed for 382 yards on 114 carries (3.4-average) and five TDs. Duke Johnson had the second-most carries at 19 (for 111 yards and a 5.8-yard average) and Chubb was third with 16 for 173 (10.8).

    The Bucs are fifth against the run, but largely because teams are mostly attacking by air against their 32nd-ranked pass defense. They're surrendering only 84.2 yards per game, and are fifth in the league with 3.8 yards allowed per carry.

    The trade means that Chubb, the Browns' second-round pick out of Georgia, could become their workhorse back. He averaged less than three carries a game, but rushed for touchdowns of 63 and 41 yards en route to 105 yards on only three carries in the loss to Oakland.

    The Browns also have Johnson, who will get more carries in Hyde's absence, but who's also used as much in the passing game. Johnson signed a three-year contract extension worth $15.6 million in the offseason, and has been underutilized this season. In addition to his 19 carries, he has 14 catches for 164 yards. The Browns also have Dontrell Hilliard, who was elevated from the practice squad earlier this month to help with kick returns. 

    The Jaguars needed Hyde, 28, because starting running back Leonard Fournette is sidelined by a pulled hamstring.

    Hyde, who spent his first four seasons in San Francisco, had started five of six games for the Browns and was running extremely hard. He played 51 percent of the Browns' backfield snaps compared to 43 percent for Johnson and 7 percent for Chubb. Hyde's 114 attempts were third in the NFL and his 382 yards were 11th, but his 3.4-yard average was 42nd. However, he was often used in short-yardage situations.

    While he was a bruiser down-for-down, Hyde never really broke a long run here. He had only one gain of 20 yards or more, a 22-yarder against the Jets.

    Chubb, on the other hand, had runs of 17, 63, 41 and 19 among his 16 attempts. His 10.8-yard per carry average isn't listed among the league leaders because he only has 16 attempts, but it's way higher than the 6.8 of current leader Matt Breida of the 49ers.

    Garrett ripped the NFL officials, saying 'If I get fined, so be it''

    Hyde's five TDs are tied for fourth in the NFL, with the rest of the Browns combining for nine touchdowns. He was the first Brown to have at least one rushing score in four consecutive games since Trent Richardson in 2012.

    Chubb's 63-yard touchdown in Oakland was the fourth-longest in the NFL this season, and the longest by a Browns rookie since Leroy Suggs' 78-yarder in 2003.

    Despite promises by offensive coordinator Todd Haley and coach Hue Jackson to get Chubb more carries, it hasn't happened. The most he's ever carried the ball this season was three times, which has occurred on four occasions. Two other times, he's carried it only twice.

    Four days after Chubb's 105-yard effort in the 45-42 overtime loss in Oakland, Haley promised to give Chubb the ball more, but he still only got it three times in each of the next two games, including Sunday's 38-14 loss to the Chargers.

    "Yeah, I think you have to,'' Haley said. "Otherwise, my dad (former Steelers longtime director of player personnel Dick Haley) would be mad, because his rule is if a guy is averaging double-digits you better give it to him enough until it's single digits."

    However, "it's not as easy as saying 'All right, we need to split these carries,' because (Hyde's) our starter. He's our workhorse, but at the same time, we have a guy that's making huge plays, difference-making plays. Around here, I believe strongly in you earn the right to make plays, and he has certainly earned the right with a couple of those runs."

    As for why Chubb didn't get more carries in Oakland, Haley said, "we had it scheduled for him to be in there more by series. In those particular series, it was not necessarily when you wanted another young guy in the game having to deal with some of the things that he would have to deal with. (But) 'man, the guy had 100-plus yards on three carries. We're the [dummy].'"

    When the Browns drafted Chubb, Browns Vice President of Player Personnel Alonzo Highsmith raved about him.

    "One thing when you play running back in the SEC, you have to be able to create between the tackles with your feet,'' he said. "You have to be able to play a physical style of football. Nick Chubb exemplifies that in his running style.

    "He exemplifies what we are trying to build in Cleveland. We want real guys. We want guys that like football.''

    He compared Chubb to former Ravens and Browns running back Jamal Lewis.

    "Quick feet. Powerful lower body. Good balance. Good body control,'' said Highsmith.

    Haley will have no choice but to use him more.


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    Swapping Carlos Hyde to Jacksonville will force the Browns head coach to play Duke Johnson and Nick Chubb more.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Hue Jackson was debating between soup and a sandwich for lunch on Friday when Browns general manager John Dorsey traded his turkey club to Seattle for a conditional pick.

    Soup it is.

    Have two playmakers in a sputtering offense that haven't seen the field nearly enough? Carlos Hyde is gone, traded to Jacksonville on Friday for a fifth-round pick.

    Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson it is.

    After weeks of Jackson saying Chubb should play more and Johnson should get the ball more, as if their usage was determined by a Great God of Football rather than, you know, the head coach, Dorsey took the option away Friday.

    Once again, it looks like the captain of the ship is just along for the ride.

    Jackson made his quarterback switch in Week 3 only after Tyrod Taylor ducked into the blue injury tent and out of the Browns' quarterback picture. Baker Mayfield, in relief, led the Browns to their first win in 19 games and Jackson admitted leaving the most important decision of his coaching tenure in Cleveland to fate. 

    "I just think that everything was going to work itself out however it was going to work itself out," Jackson said after the Mayfield-Taylor switch.

    This time, fate wore a Browns sweatshirt. Dorsey made the call, because once again, Jackson wouldn't make a switch that was staring him in the face.

    Hyde ranks third in the NFL in carries, with 114, and 44th in yards per carry, at 3.35, among backs with at least 100 rushing yards.

    Utilized, but inefficient.

    Meanwhile, Chubb, with 16 carries, and Johnson, with 19 carries and 14 receptions, were watching and wasted. Anyone who saw the offense struggle on a rough day against the Chargers last week knew that. The Browns are lacking playmakers, much of it through bad luck and circumstance. But to not use Chubb and Johnson in that reality, that's just dereliction of duty.

    So ... traded.

    Not sure how to handle the up-and-down unreliable talent of Josh Gordon?

    Traded.

    Corey Coleman complaining? 

    Traded.

    Spend too much time on your screens instead of doing your chores, young man?

    Your iPhone has been traded.

    The choice by Jackson and Todd Haley to lean on Hyde rather than work all three tailbacks into the rotation wasn't even self-serving. Less Hyde makes the Browns better.

    Giving Hyde 77 percent of the tailback carries so far wasn't the best way to win, not when Chubb (and his limited 10.8 yard average) was just waiting for more. Sure, maybe Chubb needed work in pass protection. But running backs taken at No. 35 early in the second round typically are more than sideline mannequins. Ten rookie running backs have more carries this season than Chubb.

    Jackson is intent on playing veterans this year, clearly interested in maximizing every potential win on a team that still is about the future, even if the future is much closer. When I wrote earlier this season that Jackson would take a team full of Tyrod Taylors if he could, that was true then and is true now.

    Remember, he wanted veteran quarterback AJ McCarron at a steep trade price last year.

    Jackson is all about now, maybe because he thinks he owes it to the locker room, maybe because he thinks it's his best chance to keep his job. 

    Dorsey indicated before the season that he thinks the Browns are still rebuilding. Jackson after the second win of the season was threatening bandwagon jumpers as if he was prepping for a playoff run.

    When you trade the league's third-most used running back six games in, there's some kind of disconnect there. Some divergent plans. Some message.

    For some reason, I'm waiting for Jackson to blame Sashi Brown.

    This is the right move for the Browns, but it also would have been the right move to do more with Johnson and Chubb in the first six weeks. 

    Of course, Dorsey signed Hyde, so he owns this, and perhaps this was an elaborate ruse to hoodwink the Jaguars out of a pick in the 150s. Sign Hyde, showcase his 3.3 yard average in a do-better season, execute trade.

    OK, that's unlikely. 

    So here's what is likely.

    Playing Chubb and Johnson more was the right thing for the future -- and the present -- of the Browns, yet it hasn't happened. As I've said all along, don't send in your playoff ticket down payment yet. This season is simultaneously about competing and building, because a playoff chase in 2019 should be expected.

    You don't get there playing a team full of Tyrods, which is what Jackson wanted.

    There may be more bumps, just as there have been with rookie receiver Antonio Callaway. But Dorsey knows what he wants from this roster and this team. 

    No matter what, Jackson doesn't get to make any excuses about it. Every team has holes, and you make the best of it. There are holes at receiver, yes. Maybe Jackson sees a hole at running back now.

    But more Chubb and Johnson made sense, and if Jackson wouldn't make it happen, then Dorsey did.

    Jackson should take note. And he should watch out for his soup.


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