David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Scott Sargent provides quick-hit thoughts on the state of Cleveland's teams.
Four teams. Four quarters.
First Quarter: That was not a fist pump
As Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon spun his head roughly one-quarter turn to the left only to find the mid-day Indianapolis sun shining straight into his eyes, forcing an incoming piece of leather to hit his hands and fall to the turf approximately one-half second before his flailing body, the recently knighted James Haslam III swung his right hand through the air as if he was attempting to obliterate a game of whack-a-mole. The silver-haired Haslam's follow-through carried him into his leather chair, his chest expanding and contracting in a way that made one wonder if Bruce Banner hailed from Knoxville, Tennessee.
And it was simply awesome, in the original sense of the word.
Best case scenario, Haslam transforms the Cleveland Browns into a the next dynasty almost overnight. Worst case scenario, Haslam is the NFL's version of Dan Gilbert, minus the meddling and penchant for firing off late-night screeds to anyone with an email address -- not a terrible floor when one considers the owner who he is replacing.
Once Haslam was able to compose himself from the dropped would-be game-winner, he crossed his right leg over his left and cocked his head back only to see his head coach punt the ball from opposing territory with only six game minutes remaining. It is undoubtedly going to be one busy offseason in Cleveland; not that this comes as any bit of a surprise.
Second Quarter: Breaking Braxton
It could potentially be compared to tightrope walking, but there has to be an obvious conflict of interest regarding the Ohio State Buckeyes and one Braxton Miller. Certainly, Urban Meyer would love to prove the world wrong, leaving in his wake anyone who doubted his Buckeyes during his first year as captain of the program. But with no BCS bowl game within reach and next season likely being the first of his march toward the top of the NCAA FBS football world, how many more hits can he let his start quarterback take?
Between the unfriendly sidelines of East Lansing and Saturday's injury which ultimately led to the shifty leader being escorted from Ohio Stadium via ambulance, it becomes a question of weighing the current season versus any that potentially exist ahead. Miller was fortunate to leave the hospital on Saturday without any symptoms of concussion and is, once again, slated to start another football game. One has to wonder, however, how many more hits can the 19-year-old quarterback can sustain before the symptoms do start to pile up; before those abrupt sidelines turn into season-ending knee injuries.
Miller, if healthy, should be playing as much as his body will allow. It would be in the best interest of both he and Meyer, however, if the team opted to mix in just a few more pass plays, lessening the blows to the body of the team's cash cow.
Related: Scott Sargent's weekly newsmakers
Third Quarter: Terry talks upgrades
Credit Terry Francona for realizing that his new cast of characters is currently rife with supporting members and not so many leaders. It's uplifting, as a fan of this severely underperforming franchise, to hear a manager say that his team will in fact be adding quality pieces to a barren roster, that the team may not have a first baseman, left fielder or a designated hitter, but that "will change."
The balloon bursting comes when one realizes that one Manny Acta said something very similar prior to the most recent trade deadline when he told Sirius XM's "Inside Pitch" that his team needed three bats and a starting pitcher just to compete with two division foes -- one of which has already punched their ticket to the 2012 World Series. In return, he was provided nary an upgrade and was subsequently shown the door when his team -- wait for it -- failed to compete.
Francona may be speaking from an insider's perspective; perhaps there was an understanding of sorts prior to his agreeing to lead this team for the foreseeable future. If the past is any indication of the future, however, Tito will be going to battle with an entirely new band of retreads and should-have-beens. Are you in the Tribe?
Fourth Quarter: Keeping up with Kyrie
It is essentially a given that point guard Kyrie Irving -- a player brought in for his ability to run an offense and make teammates better -- will lead the 2012-13 Cleveland Cavaliers in scoring. After all, providing nearly 20 points per contest as a 19-year-old rookie leaves considerable room for improvement. That said, the second-place slot isn't that bad of a consolation prize. The real question will be, who can fill in the points vacated by the departed Antawn Jamison?
Fans will want that player to be rookie and fourth-overall draft selection Dion Waiters -- he was brought in to provide the Cavaliers with firepower from the shooting guard position, a rarity over the last decade in the city of Cleveland. Tristan Thompson, Irving's Robin to his rookie-season Batman, would need to take a huge step forward to even enter into consideration. The dark horse to be the Wine and Gold's No. 2: Free agent swingman CJ Miles.
An eight-year veteran, Miles will be overlooked by many fans who prefer to focus on the youth and inherent excitement of the freshmen and sophomores. At only 25 years of age, however, Miles will provide enough flexibility to remain on the floor very often, playing both wing positions and having the tenacity to play Byron Scott's style of basketball. Miles may only have a career average of eight points per game, but it would not surprise this author if the team's big free agent signing compiles career-highs in terms of scoring, giving the Cavaliers some much-needed relief on the offensive side of the floor.