April 17, 2014

Medina
Partly sunny
36°F

Noland commentary: Playoffs, trade-offs & layoffs

There hasn’t been this much (legitimate) excitement around the Indians and Browns (and maybe even the Cavaliers) in quite some time, so let’s Rick-o-chet around the world of sports before we park in front of the television for two straight nights:

Regardless of what happens tonight when the Tribe hosts the Tampa Bay Rays in a wild-card playoff game at Progressive Field, this has been one heckuva ride for the Indians, who ended the regular season with 10 straight pressure-packed victories. …

Some people don’t like the one-game, wild-card format, but I love it. It’s basically Game 7, and there’s not much better than watching pro athletes perform under that kind of pressure. …

The Indians lack a big bat and superstar name recognition, but they play baseball the right way and have solid pitching, which can take a team a long way in the playoffs. …

Having a great manager like Terry Francona, who knows exactly when to step back and when to step up, sure doesn’t hurt, either. …

In “closing,” let me say that if I ever see Chris Perez pitch again in an Indians uniform, it better be as an inning-eater with the Tribe down, say, 9-1 early in, oh, Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox. …

Switching to a different sport but staying on the same subject, it should also be the hope of every Browns fan that Brandon Weeden never plays again in a Cleveland uniform. …

Nothing against Weeden, who seems like a nice enough guy, but if he’s playing for Cleveland, it means Brian Hoyer either got hurt or really started stinking up the joint. …

I don’t see the latter happening any time soon, but I’m not ready to anoint Hoyer the franchise quarterback. He should be the quarterback for the rest of this season, after which Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi and Co. will have to determine whether they need to move up high in the draft to take a QB. …

Making the right decision at that time — and taking the right college quarterback if they decide Hoyer is not the guy — may be the most important move this regime makes. …

If Joe Haden doesn’t make the Pro Bowl this season, there should be an investigation. …

Though the Browns moved the ball on the ground a bit at the end of the Cincinnati game — against a Bengals team that had largely given up — they still have serious issues with their running attack. …

That being said, there’s suddenly a lot to like about the Browns, beginning with the defensive front seven and the quarterback. …

I mean, if you had told me two weeks ago that this team would be 2-2, I would have told you that you were crazy. …

Of course, football being football, if the Browns lay an egg Thursday night against Buffalo, we’ll be concentrating on all negatives come Friday morning. …

Speaking of positives and negatives, the Cavs should be a fun team to watch this season, especially if Andrew Bynum gets healthy and Anderson Varejao and Kyrie Irving stay that way. …

I know, that’s a gigantic “if,” but if nothing else, at least Dan Gilbert’s franchise will be trying to win this season. …

OK, time to couch potato it for the Indians and Browns games. See everyone next week!

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.