Newsmakers: Who made what headlines this week in Cleveland sports

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Scott Sargent provides the debut of his weekly column on Cleveland sports personalities and what headlines they stirred up this week.

While there may not be much in terms of banners and parades, the Cleveland sports scene is always rife with speculation and storylines both on and off of the field. Who's making the headlines this week? The Newsmaker Rankings will discuss just that each and every week here at SB Nation Cleveland.

1. Pat Shurmur, Head Coach, Cleveland Browns

There's a scene in Howard Stern's Private Parts where Robin Quivers takes the blame for an on-air prank. Despite having no real deciding vote in the bit, the program director, played by Paul Giamatti, chooses to fire the long-time sidekick. When the head coach chooses to continually fall on the sword over holding players publicly accountable, once the cards are all on the table, the ultimate decision-makers have little to actually decide.


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On Shurmur's side is the complete absence of any "lost locker room" talk. Forced to lead a bunch of young guys, Shurmur's playcalling has improved substantially over what he provided a season ago. The execution, however, continues to be inconsistent at best.

Flanked by a bevy of veteran assistants, Shurmur is nearing borrowed time when it comes to building a winner in Cleveland. Until this team shows signs of progress, it is his pair of khaki pants which will sit firmly in the hot seat. A short week coupled with a nationally televised game against a team which has them as two-touchdown underdogs does not bode well for the second-year supervisor.

Quote of the week: "We need to play better, we need to coach better, we need to do everything better and then we'll win games."

2. Brandon Weeden, Quarterback, Cleveland Browns

Another comeback attempt shortened by an interception and a fan base that is growing increasingly restless with their 29-year-old rookie quarterback. The flashes of brilliance we saw against Cincinnati were undoubtedly more faint against the Buffalo Bills; the fact that a road game against the Baltimore Ravens awaits makes things even more tenuous.

Weeden is certainly not the 5.1 passer rating that was unveiled during Opening Day, but he needs to drastically improve on his current ratio of touchdowns to interceptions which stands at a not-so-great 3-to-6. He remains the only rookie quarterback to have not won a game in 2012.

3. Greg Little, Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns

He says he's done with the Usain Bolt pose, but until he starts consistently catching the ball, every misstep the second-year receiver makes will be magnified.

Having been the focus of an alleged "talking to" from the coaching staff, there were hopes that Little could take a progressive step during his second year -- his first with a training camp and a year of experience under his belt. With Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin and Mohamed Massaquoi on board, there has been considerably less focus on Little, but all this means is that the Tar Heel has to capitalize on the chances he is given.

4. Jimmy Haslam III, Soon-to-be Owner, Cleveland Browns

He can give as many warm-hearted television interviews as the airwaves can handle, but with each additional loss, the likelihood of Hurricane Haslam tearing through Berea increases exponentially. It was only a week ago when the entire city was abuzz with talk of roofs and engineers and hosting events that would require more metropolitan updates than a giant piece of glass. The Browns drop a game many had hopes of winning and the focus is back on the team. Given Haslam's history of investment, dropping a billion dollars on something without demanding better returns is beyond far-fetched. It's only a matter of time before the former CEO of Pilot-Flying J takes a minority stake in whomever produces pink slips.

5. Manny Acta, Manager, Cleveland Indians

Yes, the Indians are still playing baseball. Yes, I may be stretching things a bit by categorizing what this team does on a nightly basis as "playing baseball." Like Shurmur, Acta is a quality human being who refuses to publicly humiliate his players. Also like Shurmur, Acta is tasked with trying to turn a roster of youth and re-treads into a team that can compete with the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox. And also like Shurmur, Acta will likely be the fall guy in the event that changes are made on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.

6. Kyrie Irving, Point Guard, Cleveland Cavaliers

The broken hand was certainly a tough blow, but it appears that the reigning Rookie of the Year is good to go. He'll anchor one of the youngest starting backcourts in basketball. With the level of play seen by the Browns and Indians thus far in 2012, hopes are that Irving can provide fans just that: Hope.

See? This list isn't all bad.

7. Braxton Miller, Quarterback, Ohio State Buckeyes

Playing quarterback for what may be the least impressive team in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll, Miller has provided a slew of highlights against non-conference opponents. Can he keep it up as the Buckeyes kick off Big Ten play against the Spartans of Michigan State?

8. Mark Shapiro, President, Cleveland Indians

Threats to his family kept him away from Twitter for a brief moment in time. He continues to be up front with fans, but how much longer can he keep these plates spinning with a baseball team that continues to disappoint?

9. Trent Richardson, Running Back, Cleveland Browns

The fact that the third-overall pick isn't higher on this list is merely a testament to the immense depression that surrounds the rest of the Browns program. He has had the epitome of an up-and-down season, but the potential is undoubtedly there.

10. Gordon Gee, President, The Ohio State University

Nearly $8 million in expenses since 2007? Over $60,000 in bow ties? As if the Buckeyes needed another nationally discussed off-field distraction.

Honorable mention: Joe Haden, Russ Canzler, Paul Dolan, Mike Holmgren, Chris Perez, Urban Meyer, and Mitchell Schwartz.

Scott Sargent is a co-founder of WaitingForNextYear, where he writes about all three professional Cleveland teams. He's been voted "Ohio's Best Sports Blogger" for his work at WFNY. Scott will be covering all things Cleveland, providing feature writing and weekly snapshots of what mattered and where we're headed in the world of Cleveland sports.

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