Tag:D'Qwell Jackson
Posted on: January 12, 2009 12:20 am
Edited on: January 12, 2009 12:35 am

Top 10 Favorite Cleveland Browns of All-Time

In the context of casual conversation, I am frequently asked, "who is your favorite Cleveland Browns' player?" My immediate response to that question is usually along the lines of, 

"I love the team and enjoy the players."

Cliche, I know - but it's true. Even for a team that has caused nothing but heartbreak and disappointment, I can't help but love them all. Any football player who willingly sacrifices his body and plays with passion for my city has a place in my heart regardless. With that said, there have been players over time that have stepped up to the plate and defined what it means to be a Cleveland Brown. Today I recognize those players that make me so proud to support this organization.

Before I get to this list, I must say it was extremely difficult coming up with only 10. When names like Eric Metcalf, Clay Matthews, Brady Quinn, and Otto Graham don't even crack the list, you know it must have been a tough cut.

Without further ado, Sircheeks presents: My Top 10 Favorite Cleveland Browns of All-Time.

10. Ozzie Newsome (1978-1990)

There's no disputing Ozzie Newsome as the greatest tight end in Cleveland Browns' history. Ozzie spent his entire career with the Browns and highlighted some of those high scoring teams in the early 80s. Newsome has virtually seen it all with the team as he was one of the few players around for "Red-Right 88," "The Drive," and "The Fumble." He was an intrical piece of the Cardiac Kids and was a huge reason Cleveland football was respected so greatly during his day. Ozzie would have been significantly lower had that whole Ravens' GM thing never occurred. Through no fault of his own, I harbor a minor grudge against Newsome, but his exploits as a player were great enough to land him at the number 10 spot.

9. Pepper Johnson (1993-1995)

Johnson makes this list because of not only who he was, but what he represented. Pepper Johnson was an all-American linebacker who graduated from Ohio State University. After learning the game from Bill Parcells in New York, he followed Bill Belichick to Cleveland where he played for the Browns. According to a fantastic book written by David Halberstam, Belichick described Pepper Johnson as a quick, smart, well rounded linebacker who was good in pass coverage and got along well with his teammates. If you asked me what kind of player best represents the prototypical Browns linebacker - that would be it. Johnson makes this list not only because of his collegiate connection to the hometown team, but because he played the game the right way...and for the right people.

8. Courtney Brown (2000-2004)

Ahh yes, Courtney Brown. You never forget your first love, and Courtney Brown was certainly mine. Back when he was drafted with the number one overall selection in the 2000 NFL draft, I fell in love. Brown had the size, reputation, speed, and draft status to transform the Browns' defense into something fierce. In addition to that, he carried that surname which lead me to believe it was a match made in heaven. I was wrong. Courtney Browns was the first real disappointment I experienced on a first-hand basis. For years I pulled for this guy - hoping he would live up to his full potential. Courtney teased me in return - showing flashes of dominance at times while remaining injured on the sidelines at others. Courtney represents my first personal encounter with frustration, and for that he finds his way on this list.

7. Lawrence Vickers (2006-present)

From one man-crush, we go to another. Man, I love me some Vickers! The thing about Lawrence is he plays a position synonymous with Cleveland Browns football, and boy does he play it well. In a league where fullbacks should be monitored and bred on reservations, Vickers plays that hard-nosed position with that old school determination rare in today's game. Though he was never a graceful runner like his Brownie ancestors, Vickers is one of the most punishing blockers the NFL has seen in quite some time. The Cleveland Browns' tradition is built on excellent fullback play, and nothing comforts me more than knowing we still have one of the games' best. Vickers' selflessness and immense talent land him at the number 7 spot, but he very well could be lower if properly utilized.

6. Bernie Kosar (1985-1993)

I prefer to remember Bernie Kosar as the clumsy young quarterback who sent Cleveland to the brink of several championships instead of the man he is today. Kosar does commentary for preseason games, and seems pale and lifeless at times. The man I see on NFL Films and read about was nothing of the sort. Bernie and the Browns gave Cleveland their last taste of excellent football, and for that I could not be more appreciative. The teams he quarterbacked were the most memorable ones in recent history, and he gave youngsters like myself something to refer to for those unaware of his predecessors. My only regret was not being able to see Bernie work his magic with my own eyes. I'm a bit jealous for that reason, which is why Kosar ends up where he is on this list.

5. D'Qwell Jackson (2006-present)

D'Qwell Jackson is a budding star. On a roster where physicality and toughness come at a premium, Jackson brings both on every play. There are very few things or even players to cheer about on today's incarnation of the Browns. We have superstar athletes who lack focus, linebackers who don't tackle, and safeties who shy away from contact. This is precisely why I hold D'Qwell is such high regard: he plays the game properly. His game is still slightly raw and he does make the occasional mistake, but he hustles on every single play. D'Qwell ends up at the 5 spot because he gives me hope for a brighter future. I sincerely hope the attitude and character Jackson exibits on a daily basis permeates every inch of this roster. The Browns have a great football player in D'Qwell Jackson, and I couldn't be happier he wears brown and orange.

4. Bill Willis (1946-1953)

What more could you ask for out of a football player? Willis not only excelled as a defensive lineman at Ohio State, but played his entire Hall of Fame career with the Cleveland Browns. Willis was born and raised in the blue collar town of Columbus and played football for Paul Brown at both the collegiate and professional levels. Bill Willis played today's eqivilant of nose tackle in the Browns' formidable seasons. Under his coach, Willis was named all-pro in each of his 8 seasons in the league. He was instrumental in making Ohio football what it is, and his brand of football left a lasting legacy on countless people after him. In addition to his sensational credentials, Willis makes this list for what he went through as one of the first two African Americans to play in the National Football League. His courage and perseverance revolutionized the NFL and opened the door for thousands of minority athletes to enjoy the privilages they do today.

3. Lou Groza (1946-1959, 1961-1967)

Football analysts and broadcasters joke that kickers are not athletes and have no place on the football field. Such a statement is ironic because Lou "The Toe" Groza was one of the greatest athletes in the NFL who happened to be a kicker. Groza, like Bill Willis, was an Ohio product who played at Ohio State and helped establish the tradition of Ohio football. Groza is one of my favorite football players because he was hands down the most versatile player of his era. Groza spent his entire career playing both kicker and offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns. Think about that for a second - kicker and tackle! Could you imagine Joe Thomas or D'Brickashaw Ferguson blocking for an entire game only to kick a game winning field goal as time expires? Absurd. Groza's kicks were a huge part of Cleveland's championship run in the 1950's, and I admire him because of it.

2. Marion Motley (1946-1953)

I laugh when I hear Steelers fans argue Jerome Bettis or Franco Harris invented the power running game. Far from it. If Jerome Bettis is the modern day bus, Marion Motley is the British 1916 Mark-I Tank developed for usage in WWI. To call Marion Motley a bruiser is an understatement. Motley simply abused would-be tacklers, pounding away as the opposition until they quivered with fear. The offense behind Cleveland's dynasty had to come somewhere, and that place was on the back of Motley. To put it in contemporary terms, Marion Motley had the strength of Brandon Jacobs, the vision of LaDainian Tomlinson, the moves of Adrian Peterson, and the determination of Marion Barber. He was that good. In addition to shouldering the load for the Browns, Motley carried another burden with him - bigotry. Motley was the one who broke the color barrier in football along with Bill Willis. My appreciation of his efforts stems far deeper than what he did for the Cleveland Browns.

1. Jim Brown (1957-1965)

The Packers, Rams, 49ers, the Packers again, and the Steelers all passed on Jim Brown in the 1957 NFL Draft. Such fools. I can say with 100% certainty that Jim Brown is the greatest football player to ever play the game...ever. There's no reason for me to describe Jim Brown as a runner. I could talk about his 3 NFL MVP awards, his 5.2 yards per carry career average, or how he made the Pro Bowl in each of his 9 seasons in the league, but it would never do justice to the enigma that is Jim Brown. What's more frightening is he retired at age 29 - clearly in the prime of his career. Jim Brown is the ultimate Cleveland Brown. A living legend, there is no player that did more for this organization than Brown, and he is far and away my favorite Cleveland Brown to ever play the game. 

So there you have it.

The Cleveland Browns have a history rich in tradition and filled with some of the greatest players to ever play the game. The tradition established by the likes of Brown, Groza, Willis and others is simply remarkable. Although the Browns have fallen on hard times of late, the rich history provided by these marquee athletes makes me proud to be a Browns fan.
Posted on: December 15, 2008 12:50 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2008 4:32 pm

10 Reasons to Watch Browns/Eagles

Top 10 Reasons to Watch Browns vs. Eagles

10. Ken Dorsey's Arm Strength

When looking at quarterbacks, it is fashionable to site arm strength as the most overrated characteristic in the entire evaluation process. Accuracy and decision-making are widely regarded as the two most important factors, and perhaps rightfully so.

On Monday night, we put that theory to the test. Cleveland Browns backup quarterback Ken Dorsey has a notoriously weak throwing arm. Last week against the Titans, Dorsey was unable to complete a number of pass attempts down field - virtually all of which were underthrown. Tonight we see just how arm strength plays into being an effective quarterback. Can Dorsey dink and dunk the Dawgs to victory? Is he capable enough to earn a roster spot next year? What does that say about Brady Quinn - another accuracy-based passer? These questions and more will be answered during the game.

9. Tony Kornheiser is Hilarious

Not taking anything away from any other broadcast tandems, but the trio of Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser, and Mike Tirico are very entertaining to watch. It takes a special group of guys to pull off the three-man booth and ESPN managed to find the perfect combination. Jaworski's insightful game analysis combined with Tirico's play-by-play and Kornheiser's witty remarks keep the action fresh and lighthearted.

8. The Fantasy Playoffs

With the conclusion of this game, the first week of the fantasy playoffs will officially come to an end. Fantasy players around the nation have been particularly disappointed by the overall disappointment created by the Cleveland Browns, and Monday night's game is the icing on the cake. Whether you're in dire need of Phil Dawson field goals, a stout Eagles defensive performance, or a certain skill position player to light it up, this game provides the last chance for a late night miracle. Speaking of skill position players...

7. Will Braylon Edwards continue to drop passes?

The more appropriate question would be to ask whether Dorsey will even have the time to even find Edwards, but regardless - this will be interesting to watch. For wide receivers of Edwards' caliber, a prime time stage should bring out a prime time performance. Edwards has been inconsistent all season - unofficially dropping upwards of 15 passes. If Braylon wants to be considered one of the best at his position, he must do whatever it takes to come up with a big game when his team needs him the most. This is a weekend where Andre Johnson and Antonio Bryant both came up huge for their teams, so Edwards must step up in a big way to remain in that elite receiver class.

6. Browns Secondary Against Eagles Receivers


Cleveland's cornerback duo of Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald can establish themselves as two of the better young defensive backs in the game. Wright, the speedy second round draft selection from UNLV has done an admirable job for the disappointing Browns. He will most likely line up against Philadelphia's Kevin Curtis in a matchup which will determine the effectiveness of the Eagles' passing attack. DeAngelo Hall made a name for himself by shutting Terrell Owens down on a prime time stage, and Wright in particular has a chance to do something similar for himself.

5. How bad could it get?

The NFL is a competitive league of full of parity and close games, but this one could get ugly. Philadelphia has the world to play for while the hapless Browns have nothing but pride. If the Eagles are able to control the line of scrimmage and time of possession, the route may be on. According to CBS projections, the Eagles are favored 99 to 1. It could get ugly. For those who like a David versus Goliath matchup or just like rooting for the underdawg, this game is for you.

Additionally, this may be the last time the NFL puts the Cleveland Browns anywhere near a prime time game. For those outside the area, this may be the last time you ever get to see the Browns on television!

4. Brian Westbrook is talented.

It's been said before, but Brian Westbrook is the best running back in the NFL that no one talks about. His name should be listed among the top 5 backs in the league, yet for some reason he does not receive the publicity of a Marion Barber or an Adrian Peterson. Westbrook is Marshall Faulk incarnate - possessing the ability to run inside and outside the tackles while making catches out of the backfield. For as talented a tailback as he is, Brian is twice the receiver. It will be a treat to watch one of the best running backs of this generation, so sit back and enjoy what will be a classic performance.

3. D'Qwell Jackson's Emergence on Prime Time Television

If you haven't heard the name yet, now is your chance to meet D'Qwell Jackson - one of the premier young inside linebackers in the NFL. Jackson made a name for himself last weekend against the Titans. He intercepted Kerry Collins twice with a third slipping through his hands. Jackson is a hustle type - showing good lateral direction and instincts while playing hard on every play. His quickness and aggressive style of play make it no mystery why he leads the NFL in tackles. The lone bright spot in Cleveland's linebacking corps, D'Qwell should provide football fans with an exciting performance. Keep an eye out for number 52.

2. How many positions will Josh Cribbs play?

Get used to seeing that face, because number 16 will be everywhere. Cribbs returns kicks and punts, plays gunner on the special teams coverage unit, lines up as a receiver, plays quarterback, and lines up in the backfield as a running back. Regardless of where he starts, Josh Cribbs is a dynamic player with game-changing speed and agility. The key to this matchup is how Jim Johnson's defensive unit contains Cribbs, and how the Browns counter back. If Cleveland's swiss army knife is left unaccounted for, this game will be a lot more interesting than it leads on to be…

1. Donovan McNabb

The most exciting part of this game will undoubtedly come from Donovan McNabb. The embattled Philadelphia quarterback cannot afford to stumble in a game ripe with playoff implications for his team. If he didn't have enough to play for already, there is added motivation for McNabb to prove something to the Cleveland Browns. Flashback to 1999. The Browns held the number one overall draft pick and needed a quarterback to build their expansion franchise around. Tim Couch was selected over Donovan McNabb who the Browns deemed too wild to be a successful NFL passer. Oops!

Sircheeks' BOLD prediction:
Cleveland Browns: 9
Philadelphia Eagles: 20

What they're saying:
"They are a good football team. They are excited about where they are. They feel like they've got a chance to make it to the playoffs and so they need to win out because they're playing in a tough division. It's Monday night I know that they'll be ready to play as well as we'll be ready to play"

~Romeo Crennel on the Eagles

"They're a great defense. Not only are they great schematically, but great personnel wise. They've been giving offenses fits for many years now and that's part of the fun and excitement in playing Philadelphia."

~ Ken Dorsey

"The thing about Brian is if you give him a seem, he gets to the second level [and] he's gaining yards and he's hard to tackle. He's got great vision and great quickness. Likewise as a pass receiver, they have routes designed to get him the ball out of the backfield where the matchup is on a linebacker. And many times he's able to beat that linebacker and end up gaining big yards as well."

~ Romeo Crennel on Brian Westbrook

"We can't relax. We have to win out, so there's no room for that. We have to come on ready to play on Monday night on a national stage and play well. We don't have that luxury right now. They're a lot better than their record. You can say the same thing for us. I don't think that really matters. The bottom line is we have to come out ready to play and they're going to come out ready to play."

~ Quintin Mikell
Posted on: December 7, 2008 4:45 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2008 5:01 pm

Week 14: Chris Johnson Meets the Browns

There wasn't much to say about this one as the Browns were simply beaten by a superior football team. Tennessee used the same formula that established them as one of the leagues' best: run the football and stop the run. Ken Dorsey made this a game in the first quarter, but once Tennessee brought the pressure the game was essentially over. An ineffective Jamal Lewis combined with a stout Titans defense proved too much for the struggling Browns.

The Good
  • Josh Cribbs is this team's MVP. Even in this losing effort, Cribbs showed why he is the most versatile football player in the NFL. He played almost every position on offense and special teams while excelling all the way. It's a shame the only pass attempt, the 44 yard non-catch to Edwards, wasn't even challenged.
  • D'Qwell Jackson continued his play at an all-pro level. He showed great athletic ability on the first near pick and even better on two acrobatic catches for interceptions. Aside from that, one thing that stood out to me was Jackson's intensity. He played with that intensity and fire we have all longed to see out of our linebacking corps. Jackson's hard-hitting style of football makes him one of the lone bright spots for this defensive unit.
  • Rob Chudzinski: Fans and writers have grilled Chudzinski all season for a lack of offensive creativity. After this game I don't think anyone can fault him for today's effort. In this game Ken Dorsey took snaps as a wide receiver. Josh Cribbs lined up at halfback, wide receiver and quarterback. If anything, you can't fault Chud because he called one heck of a game.
The Bad
  • Mel Tucker's defense played a poor game overall. While individual efforts padded certain defensive statistics, this performance was much uglier than it looked. The Browns looked lost completely lost out there - failing to bring consistent pressure while allowing Tennessee to have their way in the trenches. What the Titans and many other teams around the league are doing to the Browns is using their strengths against them. Tennessee was able to bait Shaun Rogers - drawing him away from the play with his own aggressiveness while running away from him. The conservative zone coverage schemes were picked apart by Kerry Collins, as he found success with dump-offs and release options underneath.
  • Game Management: Romeo Crennel's coaching from a management perspective continues to be sub par. Crennel's passive use of the challenge flag burned the Browns again, as the Edwards' near catch could have changed the game's momentum. The timeout usage at the end the game was baffling, and his decision to punt late in the 4th quarter indicated the loss of a will to win.
The Ugly
  • If it wasn't clear by now, Jamal Lewis has lost his status as an elite NFL running back. Part of the reason Baltimore cut ties with Lewis was his indecisive nature and hesitation in the backfield. Unfortunately for Cleveland, both flaws manifested themselves on the field Sunday which resulted in a lack of production (7 carries for 7 yards). Not taking anything away from the Titans, but a better running back gets the job done in this game. Both Chris Johnson and LenDale White demonstrated the proper way to run the football. As a speed back, Johnson showed patience and followed the play design - cutting back only when necessary. Great running backs like Chris Johnson are decisive in their running while maintaining a consistent push towards the endzone.

The Browns are not a very good football team. D'Qwell Jackson and Josh Cribbs are exciting players to watch, and provide hope for the 2009 season.

From now on, Ken Dorsey is auditioning for a backup position next year. His decision making was sub par against a really strong defense, so we'll have to see exactly how he comes out next week. Let's hope Dorsey and the Browns can come out and maintain a shred of respectability over the remainder of the season.
Posted on: November 23, 2008 5:28 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2008 9:03 pm

Week 12: 'Tis the Season for Giving

Ahh yes, Thanksgiving. It is the season for family, generosity, and celebrating the past. The game between the Houston Texans and the Cleveland Browns provided a perfect microcosm of the holiday - and I can't help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside because of it.

For two out of division teams, the Browns are so close they should be considered relatives. The two teams have exchanged so much personnel over the last few seasons. On the Browns, Shantee Orr, Robaire Smith, and offensive line coach Steve Marshall have all come from the Texans. Houston has former Browns Kevin Bentley, Chaun Thompson, and Andre Davis all starting on their roster.

The Texans are notoriously generous - ranking dead last in turnover differential at -13. Their defense has allowed a charitable 28.7 points per game heading into Cleveland. Sage Rosenfels and the Texans desperately tried to give this game away with two costly turnovers. Despite that show of kindness, it was the hospitable Browns who outdid them in the end - turning the ball over 5 times in one game.

Celebrating the Past
Cleveland honored Browns teams of years past with an anemic offensive performance and a sickeningly soft defense. Their play today was so nostalgic of the expansion Browns team, I almost shed a tear. The Texans also did their best honoring their sub-.500 ancestors, however they fell short and won the game.

The Good
  • Lawrence Vickers performed well in his return from injury. Both Jerome Harrison and Jamal Lewis benefited from Vickers' vision - which provided an offensive spark the Browns needed to help sustain drives. One of the main problems with this offensive unit is pass protection. With Brady Quinn under center, Rob Chudzinski has placed an emphasis on pre-determined reads and short 3 step drops. It is critical the offensive linemen hold their blocks for that short amount of time necessary to make the completion.
  • Josh Cribbs: Captain Cribbs seems to be the only returning Pro Bowler from a year ago who actually wants to go back to Hawaii. Field position is critical for any offense, and the Browns were fortunate enough to have Cribbs back there setting the offense up. While he did not contribute much on the offensive side of the ball, Josh Cribbs played a good game and did his part when called upon.
  • D'Qwell Jackson: If there is one bright spot for this football team this season, it has to be the play of D'Qwell Jackson. D'Qwell has developed into a fine young linebacker for this football team. Jackson is constantly around the ball - taking good angles of pursuit and making sound tackles when the ball comes his way. Unlike teammates Willie McGinest and Andra Davis, D'Qwell Jackson actually likes contact. It's certainly encouraging to see such a player play the linebacker position how it's supposed to be played.
  • Corey Williams played well today. He was stout in run defense and played a key part in generating what little pressure the Browns created. Williams must have taken what defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said to heart about tackling, because he did not miss a tackle. Corey wrapped up and delivered on what Savage and the Browns had expected out of him since day one.
The Bad
  • Jamal Lewis did not play his best game of the year. Even when the offensive line created space, his choppy style of running took away from the big gains and resulted in a loss of potential yards. The uncharacteristic fumbles make me wonder if Lewis' best years are long behind him.
  • Pressure is the key to football. If you can handle the pressure, you have a good chance of being a successful offense. If you can create pressure, you have a good chance of being a successful defense. Unfortunately the Browns could not do either - which resulted in a poor showing on both sides of the ball. Pressure can make a great quarterback look awfully average, and an average quarterback awfully great. In short, that was the story of this game.
  • Rob Chudzinski: While I can't fault Chud for calling a horrible game, there were things that left me scratching my head. Brady Quinn has proven himself comfortable with the short passing game and making quick, short decisions over the middle. How then, is it possible Kellen Winslow's only catch of the game came from Derek Anderson in the fourth quarter? The great coordinators play to the strengths of their personnel, and Chudzinski did a poor job of doing that this afternoon.
The Ugly
  • Braylon Edwards: Edwards appeared lost on not only the timing, but the execution of his routes. Braylon did not show good burst off the line, nor did he use his body to protect the ball on the short slants underneath. His routes were sloppy and his field awareness inconsistent. Braylon lacked focus and concentration - as apparent by the 4 dropped passes today. While his overall stats may have appeased fantasy owners, the reality of his performance left a lot to be desired.
  • Offensive Production: The Cleveland Browns mustered 6 total points in a game they so desperately needed. A win here would have put the team back on track at an outside shot at the postseason. Brady Quinn may be in his second start, but there is no excuse for managing only two field goals against one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL.

The quarterback switch at the end of the third quarter sealed Romeo Crennel's fate as Browns' Head Coach. Knowing what I do about this organization, he will most likely be fired in a couple days. It's unfortunate, but someone has to take responsibility for the disappointing season which started off so promising.

Maybe change like this will be good for the team. As of now, the Cleveland Browns are a mess of a football team, and we desperately need someone to come in and clean this up.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com