Cleveland Browns needs going into the 2019 offseason

For the first time in what feels like an eternity, the Cleveland Browns ended their season with plenty of optimism. Rookie of the Year winner Baker Mayfield put on a performance Cleveland hasn’t seen from a star rookie since LeBron James. He helped change an environment and a city. So were does the team go on from here? Let’s make a check list:

Functional front office with football minds- check

New head coach- check

Quarterback- wait . . . Let’s see if we still feeling dangerous. . . . . Ok, check!

The only thing left to do now is improve this team through free agency and the draft. There are much less needs than last year, but some critical positions need addressed if the Browns have any chance at making the postseason next year.

GET A DAMN KICKER!!!

It took 30 different starting quarterbacks for the Browns to find their guy. Let’s not let the same thing happen to the kicker position. Since Joe Banner let Phil Dawson walk in 2013, the Browns have not had a reliable kicker. It was a rough year for kickers overall in the NFL, but that shouldn’t mean the Browns should over look the position. If they had a solid kicker all season they may have made the playoffs. Dorsey filled the quarterback hole. Now it’s time to fill this one. Even if it means signing one of Haslam’s players from the Columbus Crew.

Get another stud receiver

The group consisting Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Rashard Higgins, and Bradshad Perriman is a solid receiving core. However, injuries happen and if you can do better, you do better. I say give Baker a group that gives defenses headaches. I like to reflect back to the 3 Super Bowls that Kurt Warner was in. How did he get there? One of the big reasons is that he was LOADED with receiving talent. Get another guy opposite of Landry. Either in free agency or early in the draft. The Antonio Brown fantasy is nice but it’s unrealistic. Pittsburgh won’t give their arch rival the best receiver in the game.

Offensive line depth

Browns o-line was solid this season but could use a tune up. The interior headlined by Kevin Zeitler, JC Tretter, and pro bowler Joel Bitonio was one of the best in the league. They’re looking to sign left tackle Greg Robinson to a new contract and Chris Hubbard was decent at right tackle. You need to make sure Baker is protected at all times. I say get a prospect back up center, continue to develop Austin Corbett, and draft a few tackles. They have plenty of picks and its a good o-line class. Take advantage of it.

Backup quarterback

Tyrod Taylor will be testing free agency which leaves the second quarterback spot open. Good news is that saves Cleveland $15 million on the salary cap. The last thing Freddie Kitchens needs is to loose Baker for a period time and without a reliable back up. The Eagles were prepared a season ago and their back up delivered a championship. I am not huge on Drew Stanton. I say get a veteran like Ryan Fitzpatrick and draft one in the mid to late rounds. Be prepared for anything.

Defensive tackle

Browns defensive line was their best in several years. Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi lead the pack with sacks (19 combines). But Emmanuel Ogbah’s injury problems continued and Browns couldn’t any consistency from their other defensive tackles. It would be HUGE for the team to add a playmaker in the middle of that line. Look how much help Ndamukong Suh was to Aaron Donald. The upcoming draft has plenty of quality defensive tackle talent. Only time will tell if 3rd round pick Chad Thomas can be a factor at the end of the line. It wouldn’t hurt to look at any other options just in case Ogbah’s injuries persist.

More depth at defensive back

Before John Dorsey joined the Browns, the team would consistently go into training camp with a lack of depth with defensive backs. Injuries to starters led to more problems on the field. But last year Dorsey loaded up on defensive back talent, and we saw a big differnce. The secondary unit struggled near the end of the season when Terrence Mitchell, E.J. Gains, and Denzel Ward were ailing injuries. One of the factors in their loss to the Raiders was serious fatigue late in the game due to lack of substitutes. Fortunately for Cleveland, Damrious Randall and Jabrill Peppers were healthy most of the season. But that may not be the story next season. Dorsey may need to load up the back field again to help improve the defense. I wouldn’t be against adding a stud corner back to play opposite of Ward, and having Mitchell and Carrie as the backups. It would be similar to when Broncos signed Aqib Talib to put opposite of Chris Harris, which helped them win a Super Bowl a year later. Browns got the money to spend and could use it to make their secondary deadly.

Great Lakes Brewery coolers in case of Super Bowl victory.

I’m not jumping the gun and saying the Browns will be Super Bowl champs next year. But, if hell freezes over and it does happen we need to be prepared, right? The Bud Light victory fridges were hit after the Browns first win in over a year. So wouldn’t it be fitting to have a free Cleveland craft beer giveaway if they won it all? After all the years of turmoil the fans would deserve a chance to slam some brews on the greatest night of their lives. Let’s make it happen. GO BROWNS!!!

Favorite Noise of 2018

10. Rainer Fog– Alice In Chains

alice_in_chains_-_rainier_fog

9. Hive Mind– The Internet

hive_mind_-_the_internet

8. Algorythm– Beyond Creation

beyondcreation

7. Thrice Born– Paper Thin

paperthin

6. To Drink From the Night Itself– At The Gates

to_drink_from_the_night_itself_cover_art

5. Book of Bad Decisions– Clutch

clutchbookofbaddecisionscover

4. For the Love of Metal– Dee Snider

deesnider

3. Ritual– Soulfly

220px-soulfly-ritual

2. Firepower– Judas Priest

judaspriestfirepower

1. Where Owls Know My Name– Rivers of Nihil

where_owls_know_my_name_album_artwork

Best Live Performance: Slayer

slayer

This was honestly a difficult choice for multiple reasons. One, I picked the thrash legends a few years ago and I don’t ever dub a band for best performance more than once. Two, I saw the mighty Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne for the first time ever in 2018. Both of them absolutely killed it. However, it is Slayer’s final run forever (I actually believe it is over). The setlist and performance was, well, SLAYER!!! It ended with Tom Araya looking around the crowd and telling them, “I’m going to really miss you guys”. I got all feelingsy about that.

Best Comeback Album: Stone Temple Pilots

stp2018cover

Scott Weiland was without a doubt one of the best rock vocalists of all time. So how the hell do you fill those shoes?! It is difficult to move on after a legend dies, but we have seen some bands achieve serious success with a new member and direction. AC/DC and Alice in Chains are two prime examples. When the Stone Temple Pilots announced they hired Jeff Gutt for singer, some fans weren’t sold on the idea right away. But as the singles were coming out and fans were giving Gutt positive reviews of his live performances, he slowly became more accepted. Personally, STP is the band that got me into rock and were the first concert I ever attended. They are special to me. Gutt does a fantastic job. His style fits with STP. After the deaths of Weiland and Chester Bennington, I knew the band would be picky with their next choice. Considering all that happened and the album that came out of it, they did a damn good job. The self-titled album reminds me a little bit of a mix of Tiny Music and Shangri-La Dee Da. Chill, melodic songs with deep lyrics. Gutt took the opportunity and capitalized. The future looks bright for the Stone Temple Pilots.

Best Debut Album: Bad Wolves

bad_wolves_-_disobey_(album_cover)

You ask people on the street who Bad Wolves are, and those that know them will most likely tell you they’re that band that covered The Cranberries’ “Zombie”. That maybe true, but there was a lot more to Disobey than that. The new supergroup released a beast of a debut record. With the exception of the cover, every song was hard hitting. What grabbed me about the band was their sound. It’s like mutt of hard rock, metalcore, and bits of djent. I also really dig the vocalist, Tommy Vext. A good mix of clean and heavy vocals, but he tends to use more clean with Bad Wolves than previous bands. I thought for sure he was going to eventually replace Ivan Moody in Five Finger Death Punch. I’m glad it worked out for him to start a new band. I honestly was interested once I heard former God Forbid guitarist Doc Coyle was in the band. Extremely underrated guitar player. I highly encourage anyone that likes heavy music to give Bad Wolves a try.

Best Local Album: Paper Thin

I waited about a year and a half for this album. It was worth the wait. You don’t get progressive rock like this anymore. Listening to it was like an acid trip. At times it was soft and melodic. Then some songs were a complete jam! At times it would get heavy and then it would mellow out again. Old school prog rock format with fantastic vocals. If you want to hear Thrice Born, the whole album is on Bandcamp. The most talented band in Akron, Ohio. If you ever get a chance to see them live, I highly encourage it.

Locals (Northeast Ohio) to look forward to in 2019:

In Malum- Kent is about to give birth to a new monster in 2019. Imagine Rings of Saturn meets Between the Buried and Me. Yeah, no joke. No lack of shredding there.

Van Evera- New material coming out for these dudes soon (so I’m told) and they’re ready to get back on the war path. A band that tends to turn heads and raise horns.

Sterilizing the Deceased- I think we will finally see that first full length album from STD this year. Their only big highlights of 2018 included opening for Lorna Shore, Traitors, Internal Bleeding, Oceano, Spite, and Carnifex. Also, their singer made it on to Tosh.O with one of his gnarly vape tricks. So it was an interesting year for them to say the least.

Sunless Sky- The power metallers from Cleveland will be dropping a new disc in 2019. They won my 2017 local album of the year, so I’m obviously excited for the follow up.

Demons Within- Quiet year overall for DW but it will set up for an exciting 2019. They played some fantastic shows including opening for Carnifex and Jinjer. If things go as expected, they’ll be dropping a new EP next year. One track off that EP will have Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares playing lead guitar. Gives fans something to look forward to.

Big Ugly- Mentioned them last year. After some lineup changes, they’re in the process of finishing up their 2nd EP. Let me tell you, it will be very heavy. They sent me a track and it was so heavy I didn’t think it was them for a minute. Things are about to get ugly in Akron!

Stillborn Prodigy- Last March, I was handed a show with a stacked list of locals to help promote and organize. Canton natives Stillborn Prodigy were on that list. Everyone that night did a killer job, but Stillborn stuck out more than anyone else. A good mix of hardcore and metal, and when they get on stage they put on a show! Take heavy riffs, with groove, and Obituary stomp. They even got a mead named after them. That’s metal!!! They should be dropping new music in 2019.

Sorry Mom turned metal- In August, I had the honor of throwing these guys last show. I’m not a huge pop punk guy, but these guys can jam!!! It was the end of Sorry Mom but not for the band members themselves. They will be going under a different name and direction musically. I think they’ll catch attention fast when they start putting out music. The band no one is talking about but will.

*Alot more going on locally, that was just a summary.*

Most Anticipated in 2019:

Without a doubt, 2019 is the most amped up year for metal and rock in a long time (same thing with other genres). It was hard to break it down to 10 but I did. Would like to hear your excitement for 2019 as well.

10. Divitius- The atomspheric, djent band I fell in love with in 2017. I have listened to their album front to back an unholy amount of times. The obsession is real. They told fans that their second album will be released in the summer. I’ll be counting down the days.

9. Jinjer- Fans anticipated Jinjer would blow up eventually. I think 2018 help set them up. Multiple North American tours with different bands helped open eyes to new fans. I finally got to see them in my hometown over the summer. They’ll be dropping a new EP in January and will head to the studio mid-spring to record a new full length. Jinjer comtinues to impress.

8. Abnormality- Their first release under Metal Blade in 2016 was one to remember. The Massachusetts death metallers are without a doubt a rising star in the underground. They just wrapped up a music video for the new album and will be announcing its release soon. They kill it on stage too.

7. Nile- Their first album without Dallas Toler Wade since the very first. However, Nile has always pushed themselves no matter what challenges are in front of them. They decided to take another year to write and record. I think we are in for a treat.

6. Whitechapel- One of the most consistent bands we have out there. Every album different and still extremely heavy. They give their fans their money’s worth. They’ll be dropping their new album The Valley in March.

5. Killswitch Engage- We will finally see the follow up to 2016’s Incarnate. As a big fan of Killswitch, I wasn’t huge with that album. They’ve taken alot of time with this one. Hopefully we’ll be getting another masterpiece. I guess we’ll find out.

4. Lamb of God- They were busy with the Slayer final tour all year. They’re set to continue touring with the thrash metal titans through 2019. Mark Morton has said the new album should be out around Christmas time. Maybe touring with Slayer will influence some nasty, heavy tunes. One would only hope. Then again, it’s Lamb of God. They know what they’re doing.

3. Megadeth- Dystopia was exactly what the doctor ordered after another lineup shakeup. Mustaine and Ellefson have hinted at the same heavy format for the new album with potentially blastbeats added to the mix! Blastbeats or not, Megadeth will always have my money.

2. Tool- I promise you, if this doesn’t get released this year I’m never adding them to the list again! For waiting another year, I have penalized them to 2nd on the list this year. Not that anyone cares. I do have a feeling we’ll finally see the new album. I just hope it will be worth the wait.

1. Gojira- The French metallers always putting out crushing material and they put on a hell of a show everytime! Nothing negative I can say about these guys. One of my favorites. I’m anxious to hear what they have in store for the world to hear. Nothing but love for Gojira!!!