Scott Sargent returns with his weekly Newsmakers in Cleveland. For better or worse (worse), it's still Pat Shurmur's town, but some productive Cavaliers are making headlines.
1. Pat Shurmur, head coach, Cleveland Browns (last week: 1)
You couldn't possibly believe that a bye week translated to a one-week reprieve from the top of the Newsmakers power rankings, right? While it appears that the Browns head coach will keep his job through the rest of the 2012 regular season, he is by no means off the hook for the plethora of issues which currently dangle over his head like a young child's mobile.
There continue to be talks about what, if anything, Shurmur can do to save his job as the head coach of Cleveland's NFL franchise, but those voices become fewer and further between. All eyes this Sunday will remain on Shurmur who, despite being in his second season, continues to have issues with clock management and communication when it comes to relaying plays - - the actual plays being called, and the outcome of said plays, almost achieving ancillary status at this stage.
In the grand scheme of things, a 2-8 record is merely marginal compared to a 2-7, but you can bet your ass that if that seven does indeed become an eight, there will be a run on boxes and packing tape at the local Staples.
Quote of the week: "I think there are things that happen in games that you don't want to happen again."
2. Anderson Varejao, center, Cleveland Cavaliers (last week: 4)
When the Wild Thing slotted in fourth a week ago, it was assumed that would be where he would peak out -- at least until the NBA trade deadline. Since then, the Wine and Gold's big man has put up numbers that not only trump anything he has done to this point in his nine-year career, but those that have him atop the league in offensive rating; his 131.9 points scored per 100 possessions top such notables like Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
To think that Andy will be able to sustain such lofty numbers would be absurd. To think that he can put up career-best totals, however, is not given his new role in the Cavaliers' offense wherein the floppy-haired center starts most half court sets at the top of the key. Varejao has showed immense chemistry with second-year guard Kyrie Irving, so while he may not be the next Olajuwon, the Brazilian big man is showing that he's long been underrated on a national level.
3. Shin-Soo Choo, right fielder, Cleveland Indians (last week: unranked)
Speaking of trade deadlines, it is looking more and more like the Indians' Gold Glove-nominated, five-tool outfielder will be changing employers sooner than later. In his final year of club control, heading into a potential arbitration situation, Choo continues to find his name atop any lists of potential Indians to be moved for prospective impact players, effectively bumping the team's "contention window" back at least one season. The left-handed slugger is already taking the winter off, avoiding the World Baseball Classic in order to focus on the immediate future (read: his contract year).
With Jason Werth signing a sizable deal with the Washington Nationals an offseason ago, this essenatilly signaled the end of Choo's stay with the small market and notoriously cheap Indians; Choo, for all intents and purposes, is better than Werth in almost every capacity. Icing on Choo's farewell cake is...
4. Scott Boras, player representative (last week: unranked)
Not a Cleveland sports personality by any stretch, but Boras has provided his own headlines of late by merely being the most recent of a litany to have called out the Indians' ownership and front office for not having the true desire to win.
"They're going to have to illustrate some dynamics with new revenues and where they stand about what they are going do to show their fan base and their players who they are in competing," said Boras of the Dolans, two men that have been instrumental in annual low-ball, long-term extensions of his client. Speaking of...
5. Larry and Paul Dolan, franchise destroyers, Cleveland Indians (last week: unranked)
One playoff appearance in your 11 years of ownership? Multiple small-market franchises making the post-season on an annual basis? Already the most despised ownership group in the city of Cleveland, a hearty congratulations at being named the fourth-worst owners in all of Major League Baseball.
6. Mike Holmgren, "retiring" team president, Cleveland Browns (last week: unranked)
The Big Show, thankfully, is not included in any ownership talks as his de facto status would make him exempt from any discussions outside of Cleveland. Nationally, however, Holmgren became a headline when he was linked to a rumor which linked him to a head coaching vacancy which is not only not a vacancy at all, but is with the franchise that is opposing the Browns this very Sunday. Ill-timed to say the least, Holmgren quickly came to his own defense --something that is not common in Berea -- stating that he not only has no idea where the rumors started, but they were indeed not true. Straight from the "horse's mouth."
7. Byron Scott, head coach, Cleveland Cavaliers (last week: unranked)
With his Cavaliers team sporting a record of 2-6, the recently-extended head coach has drawn some criticism for his team's lack of effort on the defensive end as well as the reserve unit being outscored by an substantial margin through the course of the first three weeks of play. Credit to Scott, following the team's six-game road trip, there was nary a day off for those players who the head coach felt needed additional work.
He's stated that he will only shorten his rotation to keep his starters on the floor as a last resort. If the Cavaliers do not start winning soon, that resort will have to be booked sooner than later.
8. Kyrie Irving, point guard, Cleveland Cavaliers (last week: 5)
A career-high 36-point outing against the Brooklyn Nets and yet another commercial, this one for Foot Locker; just another week for the 20-year-old reigning Rookie of the Year. If there is any detraction to Irving's game, it is undoubtedly on the defensive end - it's this reason why Scott refused to discuss Irving's career night following the team's loss. If there's any silver lining, it's that the point guard is his toughest critic -- recently giving himself a grade of C -- and knows that he has to step his game up on the defensive end if he is going to be considered one of the greats. Also, that commercial is quintessential Kyrie. Hysterical.
9. Brandon Weeden, quarterback, Cleveland Browns (last week: 6)
His head coach says he needs to throw fewer interceptions. His head coach says that he needs to learn when to be more aggressive and when to tug on the reins. His head coach says that he has the potential to be an outstanding quarterback in the NFL. The flashes have been there, but the last few weeks have been undoubtedly concerning. Which quarterback does Cleveland get this week?
10. Dion Waiters, shooting guard, Cleveland Cavaliers (last week: 3)
After a surprising start to the season, Waiters not only came back to earth against the Nets, but has also had his leash shortened due to his defensive efforts (or lack thereof). There is no debating the rookie guard's abilities on offense. The shot will not fall every night, but the kid can score. His defense, however, will have to improve drastically if he can be counted on during a close game.
Honorable mention: Joe Haden, Jimmy Haslam III, Josh Gordon, Joe Banner, Trent Richardson, CJ Miles, Tyler Zeller, Omri Casspi, Braxton Miller, Urban Meyer, Carlos Hyde, Ryan Shazier, Chris Antonetti, Asdrubal Cabrera
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 covers all things Cleveland, providing feature writing and weekly snapshots of what mattered and where we're headed in the world of Cleveland sports.