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Takes By The Lake podcast
Get the latest news and analysis about the Cleveland Browns, Cavaliers, and Indians with Doug Lesmerises and special guests on cleveland.com
Jan 3, 2020
Ep. 120: What's next for the Browns after John Dorsey and Freddie Kitchens?
Doug Lesmerises is back after a long Takes break to check in on the departures of the Cleveland Browns GM and coach and where the Browns might go from here. Doug doesn't think this is just same old, same old, and there are ways in which the Haslams are showing progress as owners. So that's the discussion, looking back some and looking forward more as to what the Browns might do next. Thanks for listening to Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Nov 6, 2019
Ep. 119: How can the Cleveland Browns make Baker Mayfield more comfortable?
Doug Lesmerises is joined by Pete Smith, the editor of SI Browns Maven, to discuss everything going on with this 2-6 team, led by what could happen to help Baker Mayfield look like 2018 Baker Mayfield again. They attempt to turn down the heat on the reactions to this Browns team as they look for answers for the second half of this season and beyond. Thanks for listening to Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Oct 31, 2019
Ep. 118: Ken Carman on the Browns and life in Cleveland sports radio
This episode of Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com is a little different from the norm. The topic of discussion isn't just sports, but life in Cleveland sports. Doug Lesmerises is joined by Ken Carman from 92.3 The Fan to dig into Carman's life as a sports radio host, how he reached this point in his career, what responsibility he feels to Cleveland sports fans, what happens when he offers an opinion that teams or players don't like and everything else that comes with being one of the strongest and sharpest voices and minds in Cleveland sports media. Thanks for listening to Takes By The Lake. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
1 hr 9 min
Oct 15, 2019
Ep. 117: Baker Mayfield's ball placement and Chris Hubbard's blocking
As the Cleveland Browns take their off week, Steven Ruiz of For The Win makes his first appearance on the podcast to talk about Baker Mayfield's progress and whether he's been fixed yet after some issues early this season. A great film analyst, Ruiz takes us through Mayfield's highs and lows and give his prediction on how he thinks the rest of the season will shake out for the Browns and the AFC North. Then Doug Lesmerises comes back with his view about the Browns, which is more optimistic than many views, and his take on one player in particular who is throwing off the offense. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Oct 8, 2019
Ep. 116: Cleveland Browns shouldn’t panic (but maybe they should trade for Trent Williams)
The Cleveland Browns are 2-3... and no one should be freaking out. On this calm, reassuring episode of Takes By The Lake, Doug Lesmerises is joined by two great guests -- his cleveland.com colleague Ellis Williams and former Case Western Reserve quarterback Dan Whalen. Whalen is up first to break down Baker Mayfield's performance Monday and whether anything about the long-term outlook on Mayfield has changed. Then Ellis jumps on to discuss his proposal that the Browns trade for Washington left tackle Trent Williams and he makes a compelling case. They also discussed Freddie Kitchens’ play calling so far. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
1 hr 5 min
Oct 1, 2019
Ep. 115: Is the Browns' Nick Chubb a top five running back?
Doug Lesmerises is joined by Cody Suek of waitingfornextyear.com to talk about what the Browns learned from their Week 4 win over Baltimore -- and what we learned about the Browns. Did Freddie Kitchens actually completely change as a play caller? What do we think of how quickly Baker Mayfield is getting rid of the ball? Is Nick Chubb a top five running back in the NFL? How much of a priority should it be to sign middle linebacker Joe Schobert and keep him in Cleveland? All that as we figure out what's up with this Browns team looking ahead to San Francisco on Monday night. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Sep 24, 2019
Ep. 114: What's causing the Cleveland Browns red-zone problems?
Doug Lesmerises is joined by Ellis Williams, the newest member of the Browns coverage team at cleveland.com, to dive into what happened to the Cleveland Browns near the goal line on Sunday night in their 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The Browns scored a touchdown just once in four red zone trips, and more success there would have changed the outcome. So Doug and Ellis take you through the most important plays near the end zone and discuss what was there and wasn't there, and who might have been most responsible for the failures there. There are a lot of different opinions about the Browns offense right now, and we're not saying we're exactly right, but throw this look into everything else you're hearing and reading. Thanks for listening to Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Sep 18, 2019
Ep. 113: Is Baker Mayfield being tricked by veteran defensive coordinators?
On this episode of Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com, Doug Lesmerises is joined by two of his favorite Twitter follows on the Browns to talk about what's going on with the Browns offense through two games. First up is Brendan Leister, a high school football coach who also works for PFF and has a great understanding of what the Browns are trying to do offensively. He talks with Doug about the problems on the offensive line, and what Freddie Kitchens can be doing as a play caller to make this offense run more smoothly. Then it's Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report, who offers his theory of what opposing teams are doing to Baker Mayfield among his many observations. If you enjoy Takes By The Lake, tell a friend to give it a try. Thanks to you for listening to this Cleveland sports podcast from cleveland.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Sep 10, 2019
Ep. 112: Baker Mayfield vs. Sam Darnold vs. Lamar Jackson
On this episode of Takes By The Lake, the topic is ... the 0-1 Cleveland Browns. But not what happened last week, but what could happen this week. In previewing the Browns vs. New York Jets game on Monday night, I was joined first by Matt Stypulkoski of NJ Advance Media who covers the Jets. We talked about the Baker Mayfield vs. Sam Darnold matchup of the top two quarterbacks from the 2018 NFL Draft, the Gregg Williams defense in Year 1 in New York and the crushing collapse for the Jets against Buffalo in Week 1. Then I welcomed Charles McDonald of SB Nation, and we talked all about the three best quarterbacks from the 201 8 draft: Mayfield, San Darnold and Lamar Jackson. McDonald is great at breaking down QBs, and he had some great insight into Mayfield. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
1 hr 1 min
Sep 2, 2019
Ep. 111: Do the Cleveland Browns have a top-five roster?
We're previewing the Cleveland Browns 2019 season on Takes By The Lake by thinking a bit about how they got here. But, also what they can do. First, John Kosko of PFF joins Doug Lesmerises to talk about where the Browns roster ranks in the NFL, whether Myles Garrett could be defensive player of the year and how the Browns built to this point. Then Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan joins to discuss how Freddie Kitchens compares to the history of Browns coaches he has covered, why he believes in the structure of the organization now and whether 1-31 was required to get the Browns to this point. It's long, but it's football season. And the Browns have earned our words and our ears. Thanks for listening to Takes By The Lake. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
1 hr 43 min
Aug 26, 2019
Ep. 110: Why the Browns' success this season should be no surprise
The Browns season is almost upon us, and whatever kind of success you are predicting for the Browns in 2019, one thing that's true is that you shouldn't view it as a surprise. Fresh off a full week of Browns stories at The Ringer, Rob Harvilla joins Doug Lesmerises on the podcast to talk about his piece among the more than 10 stories that the national website did on the Browns. Rob wrote in particular about what it's like to be a fan now that the Browns are cool. But we also dig in on the whole series. But first, old TBTL friend Evan Silva jumps on to talk everything about the Browns and to offer his predictions for the year. Evan just co-founded his own website, EstablishTheRun.com, and he talks about just how good the Browns receivers are compared to the rest of the NFL ... and just how bad the offensive line could be. Plus, he has some fantasy analysis of your favorite Browns players. It's another all-Browns episode from TBTL, and thanks for listening. See acast.com/privacy f…
1 hr 9 min
Aug 20, 2019
Ep. 109: A dream scenario for the Browns and Indians
With this Takes By The Lake, everyone should be celebrating what's to come with the Browns and Indians, as a season of football hope is ahead, to be coupled with a September pennant race. There are two guests who join Doug Lesmerises this week. First up is Samantha Bunten, a loyal Cleveland sports fan who now works for NBC's Sunday Night Football in New York. She talks both Browns and Tribe. And then it's Gage Will of Everyone Hates Cleveland, a site that examines the Indians with an analytic bent. We talked about the race with the Twins, the starting rotation and the future of the roster and what it means for 2020. Thanks so much for listening to Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
1 hr 10 min
Aug 13, 2019
Ep. 108: Do the Browns or Indians have a better shot at a division title; and Ohio's best dodgeball player
On another Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com, dodgeball is in the air, as Matt Levine of Twinsburg stops by to explain everything about the game and how he turned himself into one of the better dodgeball players in the nation. But first, with the Indians in first place in the AL Central, and the Browns a real pick to win the AFC North, Chris Fedor joins Doug Lesmerises to discuss which Cleveland team is a better first-place pick. Plus, Doug and Chris talk a little Cavs with the release of the NBA schedule. Finally, Doug tried to have some fun with fake names used at restaurants ... and you just made it dirty. It's just another week at Takes By The Lake. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
1 hr 25 min
Aug 6, 2019
Ep. 107: What to watch for in the Browns preseason opener
The Cleveland Browns play their first preseason game Thursday night at home against the Washington Redskins, and Doug Lesmerises of cleveland.com is here to help you figure out what to watch. On this second episode of Takes By The Lake since a return from hiatus, Doug is joined by Kareem Copeland, the Redskins writer for the Washington Post, to talk about rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the first-round draft pick from Ohio State. Plus, Kareem explains the entire complicated Washington QB situation, which will play out Thursday night. Then it’s time to talk about what to watch for the Browns, from the right guard spot to the 4-2-5 defensive alignment, to the changed responsibilities of the linebackers. Even if the Browns' headliners won’t be out there much, there should be a lot to learn. Also, Doug started this episode with something he had to get off his chest about the supposed misery of the people involved with winning Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years. Thanks…
1 hr 1 min
Jul 24, 2019
Ep. 106: What could prevent the Browns from going 12-4?
Takes By The Lake is back. After a long break (too long), the all-sports podcast from cleveland.com returns to preview Browns training camp, and you can expect a weekly dose of TBTL in your lives again. Doug Lesmerises will be joined by a variety of fine guests from around the sports world, but let's be honest -- the Browns are going to be the focus most of the time. For the return episode, the esteemed Jake Burns joins the show to discuss the things that might prevent the Browns from going 12-4 this season, which has long been Doug's predicted record. They talk linebackers and offensive line extensively, and then dig into how far this team could really go in 2019. Sorry for the break, but it's great to be back, and thanks for sticking with Takes By The Lake. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Feb 1, 2019
Ep: 105: The Browns should plan to build their dream team
The Los Angeles Rams built their version of a dream team in 2018 and it pushed them into a Super Bowl. Adding veterans through trades and free agency around a core of drafted talent led by quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley and defensive lineman Aaron Donald, the Rams went from 4-12 in 2016; to 11-5 and a first-round playoff loss in 2017; to 13-3 and the Super Bowl this season. Neil Paine of fivethirtyeight.com detailed the Rams strategy in a story this week titled “The Rams Went Shopping for a Super Bowl -- And It Worked." It’s a great read on an NFL blueprint that hasn’t worked for some teams, but absolutely can work for the right team in this era. And when I read it and thought about Goff, Gurley and Donald, all I could do was think about the Browns and Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb and Myles Garrett. So Neil was kind enough to join us for a second time, after taking part in our Browns season preview before the 2018 season. On this episode of Takes By The Lake,…
Jan 25, 2019
Ep. 104: Can the Browns win with Jimmy Haslam? ESPN’s Seth Wickersham joins the pod
Takes By The Lake is back after two months off, and things, as usual, are hopping with the Browns. On this return episode, host Doug Lesmerises talks with ESPN The Magazine's Seth Wickersham, who wrote the story this week that detailed the issues the Haslams have faced while owning the Browns. Doug and Seth talk about the story and the future of the franchise, and whether these kinds of issues with owners are common in the NFL. TBTL is glad to be back. They're thankful to Seth for joining the show and thankful to you for sticking around and listening to our tour of Cleveland sports. Expect TBTL to be back on a regular weekly schedule now. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Nov 9, 2018
Ep. 103: How Baker Mayfield is like almost every other rookie QB
If you’re having any doubts about Baker Mayfield, eliminate them. This isn’t a guarantee, but a reassurance. Most rookie quarterbacks look the way Mayfield has looked this season for the Browns, some good, some bad, some flashes of brilliance, some moments of confusing frustration. Most rookie quarterbacks, however, don’t get caught in a power struggle between a head coach and an offensive coordinator that ends with both of them getting fired. So, Mayfield has that going for him. On this week’s Takes By The Lake podcast, Doug Lesmerises dove into the history of rookie quarterbacks with a writer who studied them as in depth as anyone. Justis Mosqueda wrote a story for optimumscouting.com that is worth your time and will explain a lot. Rookies have troubles. It’s normal. By Mosqueda’s data, of the 58 rookie quarterbacks who played a lot since the 1970 merger of the NFL and the AFL, only 11 really helped their teams. Struggles are normal. On this latest episode, we talk…
Nov 2, 2018
Ep. 102: How the Browns can find their Sean McVay
It's an obvious comparison, but that's fine. The Browns shouldn't stop thinking they can find the coach that can help them start winning immediately. Just like the Los Angeles Rams did. Jared Goff was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Jeff Fisher was his coach. Goff, who sat for the first half of the season, struggled when he finally played and went 0-7 his first season. Fisher was fired with a 4-9 record after 13 games, and the Rams hired Sean McVay in the offseason. Goff improved. McVay led the team. They went 11-5 last season and now they're 8-0. You're up Browns. Baker Mayfield was the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Hue Jackson was his coach. Mayfield is 1-4 as a starter, though he also led a victory in relief in his first game against the Jets. Jackson was fired with a 2-5-1 record after eight games. Now, the Browns need to make the right hire with their new coach. To figure out how to do that, we have two great guests on Takes By The Lake this week. First is Rich H…
Oct 12, 2018
Ep. 101: The Indians are out, the Browns are up -- the future for both teams
The Cleveland Indians are done after a third straight playoff appearance, and the Cleveland Browns actually have some people thinking about the playoffs after a 2-2-1 start. So what's next for both teams - next season and next Sunday? On this Takes By The Lake podcast, Doug Lesmerises dipped into two teams and enlisted the help of three guests. First, our two voices on the Indians: • Steven Kubitza writes about the Indians at belivelandball.com and joined to discuss what happened in the sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series and how many more championship contention seasons this Indians core has left. • Joe Coblitz writes about the Indians and their minor league system at burningriverbaseball.com and he joined to discuss what minor leaguers are on the horizon for the Indians and the best way for the front office to use its minor league system to try to win in the next few years. Then we hit the Browns with an old friend: • Jake Burn…
1 hr 19 min
Oct 5, 2018
Ep. 100: The Cleveland Browns are being underestimated, with NFL insider Benjamin Allbright
Benjamin Allbright is an NFL analyst and radio host in Denver who has connections around the NFL and a full view of the league. His NFL power rankings, based off his own mathematical formula, have the Cleveland Browns as the No. 10 team in the league through four games. So Doug Lesmerises invited him back on Takes By The Lake. They talked about those rankings in the interview, and of course it's early and a small sample size can easily skew rankings like this. Allbright said his rankings give a lot of credit to staying close in games, and in the three games they didn't win, the Browns have been really close. But beyond a ranking, Allbright has been very impressed with the Browns defense, and he's been a strong believer in Baker Mayfield since the middle of last season. He's a great guest and it was an interesting conversation. So enjoy this Takes By The Lake episode from cleveland.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Sep 27, 2018
Ep. 99: How Baker Mayfield fits into the NFL's quarterback revolution
Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers all entered the NFL between 2000 and 2005. They've owned the league for more than a decade, winning games and piling up passing yards. Soon, the league will belong to a new group of quarterbacks. And the Browns Baker Mayfield should be part of that group. On this episode of Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com, Doug Lesmerises was joined by Kevin Cole, the director of data and analytics for rotogrinders.com, to discuss how to evaluate all these new quarterbacks. We also got into the Browns defense and how it was built, but mostly, this was about Mayfield. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Sep 21, 2018
Ep. 98: Cleveland Browns win on talent, not culture, and they're fun again
The Cleveland Browns are fun again, and that's a victory in itself. One team wins the Super Bowl each year, which leaves 31 other fanbases in search of a joyous season that ends short of a championship. At some point, the Browns have to win a Super Bowl. But Thursday night's win over the New York Jets gave some indication that the season-long pursuit is going to provide a lot more reasons to scream, shout and smile. On this episode of Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com, Doug Lesmerises is joined by a Browns fan just like you. His name is Tony Hall, and he's an assistant principal in the Washington, D.C., area. He's active on Twitter as The Cleveland Guy, and as a sports fan born and raised in Cleveland, he helped me do what everyone was doing after Thursday night. Talking out this win. So sit down and listen for the same topics you're discussing with your friends, as we touched on the play-making ability of the defense, whether Baker Mayfield can keep this going and what kind of…
Sep 13, 2018
Ep. 97: Was that Browns QB Tyrod Taylor's worst game, and will he get better?
Never before had Tyrod Taylor started an NFL game and completed fewer than half his passes. So that 15 for 40 performance in the rain against Pittsburgh on Sunday, that wasn't him. "I put that on the whole unit," offensive coordinator Todd Haley said Thursday. "That's kind of the point that I'm making that we need to speed this process of trust because to be a good or big-time passing offense, you better have trust in everyone." So look for trust in week two. And look for what happens when there's no rain. In a dome against New Orleans, the Browns should get a much better idea of their 29-year-old veteran quarterback. According to Pro Football Focus, there were 149 uncatchable passes thrown by all 32 NFL teams last week. That's an average of 4.6 per team. By the PFF numbers, Taylor threw a league-high 14 uncatchable passes. But Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger threw 10. So what was happening in FirstEnergy Stadium made life difficult on both quarterbacks. To break that down, Doug…
Sep 12, 2018
A special presentation: Let's Get a Dog - The Tale of Ty-Dog Taylor and Barker Mayfield
In a departure from our usual Takes By The Lake, we present an eight-minute children's story in the mode of the great Dr. Seuss. A typical Takes By The Lake episode will be back on Friday. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Sep 6, 2018
Ep. 96: Browns 2018 season preview extravaganza, from punching bag to promise
The Browns season is around the corner and you can't start it without listening to our humongous preview on Takes By The Lake. Doug Lesmerises is joined by four guests in a supersized episode to dig into the hopes, the talent, the past miseries and the promise of the 2018 Cleveland Browns. First up is Clayton Braham, a fan who makes his own hype videos and explains what fans are hoping for, rooting for and worried about with the Browns. Next is Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, one of the most plugged-in NFL writers in the country to explain the talent on the Browns roster, what the expectations should be for GM John Dorsey to eventually shape a playoff team and the talk around the rest of the league about what's happening in Cleveland. Then comes Neil Paine, the author of a fascinating recent story on fivethirtyeight.com examining the numbers behind the Browns futility of the past two decades. If your heart has suffered with the Browns, let Neil explain to your head why it happe…
1 hr 39 min
Aug 31, 2018
Ep. 95: The Indians World Series chances now compared to the Indians of the '90s
The American League is stacked and the Cleveland Indians have as much of a chance to reach the World Series as any other AL team. That's the opinion of Yahoo Sports national baseball writer Jeff Passan, a Solon High grad, who joined Takes By The Lake this week. Jeff and Doug Lesmerises talked about his life growing up as the son of a Plain Dealer journalist, and how being a Cleveland sports fan shaped him. And then we dug in on the Indians. We compared this Indians team to the Indians teams of the 1990s. We compared them to the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros, the three best teams in the American League. We talked about how long the Indians have to stay at this peak. We also talked about Trevor Bauer in the bullpen in the postseason. Few have a greater knowledge of the full baseball scene than Passan, who last year published a book called "The Arm," that went inside the most valuable commodity in baseball. If you care about the Indians at all, this pod…
Aug 24, 2018
Ep. 94: Can Myles Garrett become one of the NFL's best players?
Myles Garrett held a house party in the Philadelphia Eagles backfield in the Browns third preseason game on Thursday night. So what might the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft do for the Browns in his second season? On this episode of Takes By The Lake, Doug Lesmerises is joined by Brendan Leister, an analyst for Pro Football Focus and an assistant high school coach in the Cleveland area who does a great job breaking down the Browns on Twitter. We delved into everything about the Browns, with a strong focus on Garrett and on defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Beyond Garrett, there's clearly more talent on the defense this year, but will Williams use it correctly? We also hit on a major point that Browns fans need to think about. How much does the run game really matter to the Browns success this season? You may be surprised by the answer. So it's another great discussion with a really smart person who understands this Cleveland football team. See acast.com/privacy for privacy…
Aug 17, 2018
Ep. 93: How the Browns are constructing a roster that can win
The final 53-man Cleveland Browns roster for the 2018 season will be vastly improved from the roster that began the 2017 season. But it won't end there. On the latest episode of the Takes By The Lake podcast from cleveland.com, we looked big picture at the current and future roster construction of the Browns, before we get into the daily grind of a 16-game season less than a month from now. Host Doug Lesmerises is joined by guest Zack Moore, a writer for OverTheCap.com and author of the recent book, "Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions." The topic is where the Browns are, with the most cap space in the NFL at around $52 million. They have young talent that should encourage fans for next year. But they'll need to continue to build to become the playoff team that is the goal and needed result from this multi-year teardown. They have the flexibility to keep adding. Zack and DOug talked about where the Browns are spending money now, how they could use their cap space in the futu…
Aug 10, 2018
Ep. 92: Preseason opener proves Browns good enough for little things to matter
The Browns beat the New York Giants in their preseason opener on Thursday night, so let the optimism flow. In the latest episode of the Takes By The Lake sports podcast from cleveland.com, Doug Lesmerises is joined by fellow cleveland.com sportswriter Chris Fedor to talk about everything the Browns showed in their first time facing an opponent in 2018. Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield both played well, so what's the right thing to do with the quarterbacks? John Dorsey has made moves to help this team, as Thursday showed, so what's the confidence in him going forward? Hue Jackson is still around, and is there reseason to believe in him as the leader of a team that clearly has more talent? But mostly, the talk centered on Baker Mayfield as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft made his debut. Catch it all on the latest Takes By The Lake - as find out why people in Buffalo are mad at Doug. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Aug 3, 2018
Ep. 91: Jay Crawford on the Browns, LeBron James, Skip Bayless, ESPN and a life in TV sports
The voice you'll hear calling three Browns preseason games, starting with the Giants game on Thursday, is one you've heard on ESPN for years. Jay Crawford, an Ohio native who has worked in TV sports for three decades, will serve as the play-by-play man, with former Browns QB Tim Couch as his partner, when the Browns play the New York Giants on Thursday, the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 17 and the Detroit Lions on Aug. 30. First, Crawford joined Doug Lesmerises on this week's Takes By The Lake for an in-depth conversation on what's been wrong with the Browns, what he thinks of LeBron James, his life as a Cleveland sports fan while working in TV sports, his opinion of his friend and former co-worker Skip Bayless and what it was like to work for and then leave ESPN, when the company laid off more than 100 employees last spring. Take it all on on our latest edition of our all-sports Cleveland podcast, which we bring you every Friday. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out informatio…
1 hr 14 min
Jul 26, 2018
Ep. 90: The baseball team giving the Browns hope for their tank and rebuild
The Cleveland Browns opened preseason camp, which means year three of this plan. This is the year to show something. At least that's how the team that the Browns should hope to follow did it. This week's Takes By The Lake podcast centers on Doug Lesmerises' interview with baseball writer Ben Reiter, the author of the new book, "Astroball: The New Way to Win It All." Why talk football with a baseball writer? Because Reiter chronicled the rise of a franchise that tanked and rebuilt the way the Browns hope to. Houston's two low seasons in their plan compared to the misery of the Browns going 1-15 and 0-16. Yet that absolutely started the Astros on their path to the 2017 World Series. Reiter is doing a lot of interviews for what is a very interesting book, one that Browns fans may want to read to get an understanding of the philosophy and strategy of a team that successfully pulled off what the Browns are trying now. Yes, it has worked. Doug is planning to write more about this in th…
Jul 20, 2018
Ep. 89: Did the Cavs fail by winning only one title in 11 years of LeBron James?
LeBron James brought Cleveland its first major sports championship in 52 years, but was winning just one title in James' 11 years in Cleveland a failure by the Cavaliers? On the latest episode of Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com, Doug Lesmerises is joined by Chris Manning of fearthesword.com and Scott Sargent of waitingfornextyear.com to discuss the James era and whether it should be viewed more with joy or regret. What more could the Cavs have done to win with James? Was it mismanagement or bad luck? Now that Kawhi Leonard has been traded, what does that tell us about how the Cavaliers handled the Kyrie Irving trade? And what could the Cavs have done to avoid losing Irving and James in consecutive offseasons? James is now a Los Angeles Laker, but he'll always be a part of Cleveland sports. How are you thinking about his time here right now? Chris and Scott provide their insight and assess whether that one title is only to be celebrated, or whether Cleveland fans are justified…
1 hr 3 min
Jul 1, 2018
Ep. 88: Emergency episode, LeBron left, should the Cavs tank?
It's an emergency podcast episode shortly after the announcement from LeBron James on Sunday night that he's signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. Doug Lesmerises thought the Cavs should not tank next year with LeBron gone and should do their best to keep winning. But a vast majority of Cavs fans disagreed and are ready for a total rebuild. Doug talks through that thinking and tries to decide if he was wrong. Also, an appreciation for James' 1,0001 games as a Cavalier and the hope that fans won't let their disappointment and anger in the moment turn into hatred toward the greatest player the Cavs will ever see. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Jun 28, 2018
Ep. 87: Browns playoff talk for 2018? Save it for 2019
How does a 10-6 Browns season sound to you? Exciting? How does hoping for a 10-6 year and getting 6-10 sound? In this episode of Takes By The Lake, we take on the idea of irrational exuberance around the Browns by welcoming three NFL analysts: Samantha Bunten of NBCSports.com, Charles McDonald of SB Nation and Michael Salfino, who writes for the Wall Street Journal and fivethirtyeight.com. But first, host Doug Lesmerises of cleveland.com is joined by a fan who makes a reasonable case for 10-6. That's DawgPound Dave, who wouldn't give us his full name, but who did provide enough NFL history and roster analysis of this Browns team to make 10-6 sound almost possible. Why burst the balloon on the Browns in June? We're less than a month from the start of training camp, and the last thing Browns fans need to do off an excruciating 0-16 season is to set themselves up to be disappointed with a six-win improvement. On this podcast, we looked closely at Gregg Williams leading a young, tale…
1 hr 29 min
Jun 22, 2018
Ep. 86: Cleveland sports fervor in the hallways of Washington
The Cleveland Browns get talked about in political circles in Washington. The Indians get talked about. The Cavs get talked about. Hugh Hewitt makes sure of that. The political commentator on NBC and MSNBC and long-time radio host is a big hitter in national politics and served as a co-moderator for several presidential debates. At his core, Hewitt is a 62-year-old kid from Warren who wants to talk sports with his friends. That's what Hewitt said happens in the green room before political talk shows - sports talk. So we asked him to bring that talk to the latest episode of Takes By The Lake with Doug Lesmerises. Part of what we want to do in our all-sports podcast is interview well-known guests who are diehard Cleveland fans. Hewitt is the latest guest on that list. He's lived in Washington and California since growing up in Ohio, but he's still a Browns season ticket holder. We talked some about the intersection of sports and politics, and whether we could see a current sports fi…
Jun 14, 2018
Ep. 85: Bill Belichick worries Jim Brown will be forgotten
Bill Belichick, NFL coaching legend, considers Jim Brown one of the top two or three people he's ever met. But Belichick fears that Brown's contributions to sports and society may eventually fade away. In the new book, "Jim Brown: Last Man Stadning," author Dave Zirin puts everything Brown was and everything Brown has done into context. It's a complicated legacy, but it's one that should be remembered and appreciated on many levels. On the latest Takes By The Lake from cleveland, Doug Lesmerises is joined by Zirin to talk about Brown and to analyze his contributions in light of today's political and social context. The theme that Zirin returns to is Brown's manhood, which explains many of his actions, both good and bad. Whether you are a Brown expert, or whether you know him only as a former Browns star running back and not much more, this conversation with Zirin should help you understand Brown. And if you are a Cleveland sports fan, you need to understand Brown. See acast.com…
Jun 1, 2018
Ep. 84: Will the Browns ever get better than the Pittsburgh Steelers?
The Pittsburgh Steelers hold a 14-2 edge on the Browns this decade and a 33-6 advantage since the Browns returned in 1999. What could ever cause that to change? On this episode of Takes By The Lake, Doug Lesmerises is joined by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN to break down the Steelers as we finish our podcast tour of the AFC North. We dealt with the Ravens and the Bengals, and now it's on to the team that has won the AFC North in eight of the 16 years since the NFL went to four-team divisions in 2002. The Steelers have made the playoffs in 10 of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's 14 season. How long will he stick around? How can the Steelers keep winning after he's gone? How will they replace linebacker Ryan Shazier this season? What should they do about the contract status of running back Le'Veon Bell? The Steelers, in many ways, are in flux. But in some very important areas, they're the same winning franchise they've almost always been. And how can the Browns possibly get past them? Jere…
May 25, 2018
Ep. 83: Are the Browns ready to pass the Bengals as Ohio's best NFL team?
Think of this small step for the Cleveland Browns. Possibly becoming the best NFL team in the state of Ohio. On Takes By The Lake, your cleveland.com all-sports podcast that mostly deals with the Browns because we can't help it, our latest episode focuses on the Cincinnati Bengals. We're taking a tour of the AFC North. Two weeks ago, we dealt with the Baltimore Ravens. Next Friday, we'll get to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This week, it's Cincinnati, as Doug Lesmerises is joined by guest Jim Owczarski, one of the Bengals beat writers for cincinnati.com and the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Bengals have won seven straight over the Browns dating back to November 2014 and have won 15 of the last 19 in the series. But after making the playoffs five straight seasons between 2011 and 2015, the Bengals are coming off two losing seasons. So what does that mean for head coach Marvin Lewis? What does that mean for quarterback Andy Dalton? And as the Browns attempt to find their footing and move ou…
May 18, 2018
Ep. 82: Will legalized sports gambling mean booing the Browns for not winning by enough?
Will the Browns lose by fewer than two touchdowns? Hey, can the Buckeyes really beat Rutgers by more than 35? The Cavs look terrible, but wouldn't you put money on LeBron to somehow carry them to a win? Lots of us in Ohio know something about sports gambling. At least we think we do, until the sure prediction we had for a game goes terribly wrong. But not many of us know a lot. Rich Exner here at cleveland.com has been doing a great job providing details about what might happen in Ohio after Monday's Supreme Court decision made legal sports gambling possible in every state. But there's a lot of ground to cover. So Doug Lesmerises spoke with Brett Smiley, the editor in chief of sportshandle.com to discuss every possibility about sports betting in Ohio. Smiley has a background in journalism and law, so he has a pretty good grasp on how all this might work. How will the sports world change for fans and teams? What is the best way to implement sports betting in Ohio? Will we see more…
May 11, 2018
Ep. 81: Could the Browns win more games than the Baltimore Ravens in 2018?
The Cleveland Browns have finished last in 13 of the 16 years that the four-team AFC North has existed. Once the Browns finished third and twice they were second. Never have the Browns managed to beat out Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore all in the same year. So the division matters. And Doug Lesmerises is going to dig into it on Takes By The Lake. Our AFC North tour will feature a full podcast on each of the other three teams, because all of them are transitioning as the Browns are trying to climb their way out of the perpetual basement. First up are the Baltimore Ravens, who are losing their GM, could be losing their coach and are readying a probable quarterback switch a year from now from Joe Flacco to rookie Lamar Jackson. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, who has covered the Ravens since 2011, is the guest this week to break down everything in Baltimore. He also gave us his opinion from afar on what he thinks of the Browns and their moves. It's always interesting to know…
May 8, 2018
Ep. 80: Baker Mayfield and evaluating arm vs. brain in NFL QBs
Dan Whalen had some strong thoughts in the months leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. One, he thought Baker Mayfield was the right pick for the Cleveland Browns. Two, he didn't think much of the way NFL teams evaluate the quarterback position. This is why I vent on most scouts being no better than a coin flip. Honing in on inconsequential physical attributes instead of those that actually lead to wins. Throw in poor coaching in many cases, and most QBs are doomed. — Dan Whalen (@dwhalen5) February 22, 2018 In this Takes By The Lake episode, Whalen joined Doug Lesmerises to talk about Mayfield and what the NFL gets right and gets wrong when evaluating a quarterback like him compared to a quarterback like Josh Allen. Whalen is a former quarterback at Case Western Reserve who rewrote the record books there. He describes his resume on the podcast, but this is a Browns fan who has played the position and understands quarterback play. From Johnny Manziel to Peyton Manning, we talked N…
May 5, 2018
Ep. 79: The case for the Cleveland Browns - and the case against them
Do you trust John Dorsey? Is Baker Mayfield a future playoff quarterback? Did the 2018 NFL Draft feel different or like more of the same? What do you think of the overall talent level on the roster now? The goal of the latest Takes By The Lake is for you to hear someone on this podcast that you agree with. Doug Lesmerises has been accused at times of filling this podcast only with guests with whom he agrese. To that, he pleads guilty. But this episode is more than that. With Nicole Chatham, an attorney from Denver; Mike Zawalski, a salesman from North Royalton; and Jonathan Dennis, a paster from Woodlake, Calif., we get three lifelong Browns who see the team in different ways. We get a variety of opinions on how the draft went, on what the future looks like and on whether this whole process of 1-31 has been worth it or not. These are smart fans who know the team well and have a deep history with the Browns. We hope that you'll hear a piece of yourself in their answers. See acas…
1 hr 16 min
May 1, 2018
Ep. 78: Why Baker Mayfield is the franchise QB for a changing NFL
How did Baker Mayfield reach the point of becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and why does the NFL seem to like a quarterback who doesn't fit the classic mold? On this Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com, we answer both those questions with two guests who know Mayfield well, but in different ways. First up is Jenni Carlson, the sports columnist from The Oklahoman whose work can be found at newsok.com. Carlson talked about Mayfield's arrival at Oklahoma, what fans thought of him early on and during his Heisman year, how he reacted to the mistakes he made in college and what he might be like as the face of an NFL franchise. Then Doug Lesmerises talked with Sam Monson, the lead NFL analyst from Pro Football Focus. Monson was on Mayfield early, believing since the middle of his senior season that he deserved consideration as the No. 1 pick. Listen to Monson explain why that was and why he thinks the Browns and other NFL teams came to the same conclusion. Plus, Monson offers…
1 hr 2 min
Apr 23, 2018
Ep. 77: Sam Darnold vs. Carson Wentz, Saquon Barkley vs. Ezekiel Elliott and other NFL Draft comparisons
Is Sam Darnold a better NFL Draft prospect than Carson Wentz was two years ago? Is Saquon Barkley a better NFL Draft prospect than Ezekiel Elliott was two years ago? Is cornerback Denzel Ward a better draft prospect than his Ohio State teammate Marshon Lattimore was last year? And how does Bradley Chubb compare as a defensive end prospect to recent top-five end picks like the Browns' Myles Garrett and San Diego's Joey Bosa? In the final Takes By The Lake podcast before the 2018 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, Doug Lesmerises is joined by NFL Draft expert Dane Brugler to put the best prospects this year in context, because two of those elite prospects should wind up on the Browns. Brugler is the Senior NFL Draft Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, and you'll certainly want to hear him on this podcast. Thanks for listening to Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Apr 20, 2018
Ep. 76: What would a draft disaster look like and 10 burning Browns questions
The Browns have every chance to get it right in the 2018 NFL Draft? What would it look like for this draft to go wrong in Cleveland? On this Takes By The Lake episode, that's one of the 10 questions Doug Lemerises put to two very interesting voices on the Browns: Jake Burns of Waiting for Next Year and Pete Smith of NFLspinzone.com. Jake and Pete have both been guests on the podcast before, but this time we got them together, and asked: * On a scale of 1 to 10, what's your level of faith in the Browns for this draft? * Who do you think the pick will be at No. 1? * What would a draft disaster look like for the Browns? * What would it take for you to trade the No. 4 pick? * Would you pick a running back in the first two rounds? * Would you pick a receiver in the first two rounds? * How close are the Browns to having a playoff roster? * Does this feel like past drafts, or is this the best chance yet for the Browns to turn it around? * What's your grade for Jo…
1 hr 2 min
Apr 18, 2018
Ep. 75: The perfect way for the Browns to use their first five NFL Draft picks
Quarterback, defensive end, cornerback, offensive tackle, running back? Quarterback, running back, receiver, cornerback, offensive tackle? What's the best way for the Cleveland Browns to use their five picks in the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft? On this episode of Takes By The Lake, Doug Lesmerises tackles that question with Luke Easterling of The Draft Wire, who writes about the draft on the USA Today website. We run through the best options for the No. 4 pick - Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb or a trade down - and then examine the cornerbacks, tackles, receivers and running backs that will be available when the Browns pick at No. 33 and No. 33 earlier in the second round. Plus, we zero in on a running back who could be perfect for the Browns with the last pick in the second round at No. 64. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Apr 16, 2018
Ep. 74: Could the Browns taking Josh Allen at No. 1 really be OK?
Josh Allen as the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft is the riskiest move the Cleveland Browns could make. On that point, there should be no argument. The debate is whether the risk is worth it. The latest Takes By The Lake podcast from cleveland.com is all about Allen, the raw, strong-armed quarterback from Wyoming who may have caught the eye of Browns general manager John Dorsey. To explain whether the selection of Allen would be a colossal error or a strategic gamble, Doug Lesmerises is joined by two NFL Draft analysts. First is Eric Galko, the director of Optimum Scouting who serves as a lead NFL and NFL Draft writer for the Sporting News. Then comes by Ryan McCrystal of Bleacher Report, who also lists his draft projections at draftace.com. Can they talk Doug into believing that the Browns could draft Allen ahead of Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen, and Browns fans could survive it? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Apr 13, 2018
Ep. 73: Are the Browns building a playoff team for 2019?
It's one thing for the Browns to be taking major steps toward being more competitive in 2018. It's another for them to be laying the foundation for a playoff team in 2019 and beyond. Most would agree that the moves this offseason, and the picks to come in the NFL Draft, will make the Browns much better than the 0-16 team of 2017. But do you see a 10-win foundation being put in place? Because competitive isn't the ultimate goal. On this episode of Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com, Doug Lesmerises is joined by Brent Sobleski, an NFL analyst for Bleacher Report who writes a lot about the Browns, to break down the entire offseason. We ask how far away this defense is from being playoff caliber (maybe one pass rusher and a No. 1 corner), look at if the skill position players are good enough and imagine the best scenario for left tackle. Then we get into what Brent forecasts for the No. 1 pick in the draft, and what that will mean for the future of the franchise. Thanks for listeni…
Mar 11, 2018
Ep. 72: Browns trades build an offense, can mad genius Todd Haley make it work?
The Browns traded for their new starting quarterback in Tyrod Taylor and traded for Jarvis Landry, who led the NFL in receptions a year ago. Add that to Josh Gordon, David Njoku, Duke Johnson, Corey Coleman (if they keep him) and the running back they should draft, and an offense appears to be forming. On this Takes By The Lake, veteran NFL writer Andrea Hangst, who has covered the Steelers, the Browns, the AFC North and the entire NFL, joins Doug Lesmerises to talk about how first-year Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley will use all those pieces. Hangst covered Haley in Pittsburgh and understands how he makes an offense work. Doug and Andrea also break down the trades, examine the opportunity the Browns have in an aging NFC North, discuss how Haley might use Saquon Barkley if he winds up a Brown, and examine the best way for the Browns to use the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the draft. Doug also drops in a rant about what people are writing and saying about Sashi Brown in the afte…
Mar 9, 2018
Ep. 71: The Browns can own the draft, and why they're smart to draft their rookie QB now
Football analyst Warren Sharp joins Doug Lesmerises to explain the story he wrote on how the Browns have the most draft capital of any team in the modern NFL Draft era. You knew they had a lot of picks, and a lot of high picks, but Warren explains just what that means. So is that many picks in one draft a smart idea? Or should the Browns have spread out their picks and not traded down so much to build for 2018? Sharp makes the case that building your roster first, then drafting your rookie quarterback, is the best way to maximize the five-year window you get when a rookie is on a manageable contract for a quarterback. Doug also explains why he thinks this 2018 draft is a good one for the Browns to have two of the top four picks. Because not every draft includes three quarterbacks like Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield and three other premium players like Bradley Chubb, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Saquon Barkley. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Feb 16, 2018
Ep. 70: Kirk Cousins opens other paths for Browns to succeed
Kirk Cousins is a top-15 quarterback who could allow the Browns to maximize their draft picks while getting this franchise back to winning quickly. So says Evan Silva of Rotoworld, who joined Doug Lesmerises on Takes By The Lake from cleveland.com this week to talk all about the Browns. Doug and Evan talked cocoon thinking in the NFL, where unique thoughts are discouraged; the misuse of young Browns players last year by Hue Jackson; whether this Browns front office is as accomplished as many people think; and what is the best path for the Browns this offseason. Evan thinks it starts with Cousins. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
1 hr 11 min