Lions lose Leshoure for season, Browns’ Massaquoi out “indefinitely”

Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Browns NFL football game against the New York Jets in Cleveland, Ohio November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The season hasn’t even started yet and already Lions and Browns fans have reason to be miserable.

The Lions got crushing news on Monday when it was revealed that rookie running back Mikel Leshoure is out for the season after he tore his Achilles’ tendon in practice. The second-round pick was supposed to be the power to Jahvid Best’s speed in Detroit’s rushing game this season, but now he’s faced with a full year of rehab instead.

It’s a bad break for a Lions team that is being viewed as a potential sleeper playoff candidate. Even with a healthy Leshoure, I think the playoffs might be out of Detroit’s grasp this season but an 8-8 record certainly isn’t. This is a young team that is being built correctly by GM Martin Mayhew and it’s going to take time before it all comes together. Losing Leshoure hurts, but this season is still all about guys like Best, Matthew Stafford and first-round pick Nick Fairley maturing.

The Browns got a bit of bad injury news themselves when head coach Pat Shurmur revealed that wideout Mohamed Massaquoi has a “bone issue” in his injured left ankle. Apparently no one is sure when it happened and the third-year receiver is now out indefinitely, but team president Mike Holmgren said Massaquoi won’t need surgery and that he could return to practice as soon as next week.

Massaquoi didn’t exactly set the league on fire with his play over the first two years of his career, but the Browns were expecting him to emerge as Colt McCoy’s top target this season. With Massaquoi out, second-round pick Greg Little should see first-team reps this week in practice. That’s probably a good thing considering the reports on Little so far haven’t been good. Apparently the young man has been doing his best Braylon Edwards impersonation and dropping everything in sight.

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2010 NFL Week 7 Picks & Predictions

SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 3: Quarterback Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers celebrates a Charger touchdown play against the Arizona Cardinals in the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on October 3, 2010 in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 41-10. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

A 2-2 Sunday in Week 6 has left me starring at a losing record this season in the NFL. While I hit the Eagles and Vikings last Sunday, the Bears and Raiders left me hanging with their horrendous efforts against the Seahawks and 49ers, respectively.

Maybe this is the week it all turns around for good and I can start sleeping at night again. That losing record haunts my dreams…

Browns (1-5) @ Saints (4-2), 1:00PM ET
Despite a wide array of injuries, the Saints’ dominated a Tampa team last Sunday that had been playing with a lot of confidence. Maybe New Orleans has found a way to overcome all the injuries and will start to turn it on. Either way, the Browns are banged up themselves and don’t have the luxury of having Drew Brees under center to right the ship. I was impressed with Colt McCoy’s NFL debut last Sunday in Pittsburgh, but he may be without Josh Cribbs (head) and Mohammad Massaquoi (head) this Sunday, which is a problem considering Cleveland was already thin at receiver. The Browns will try to win this game on the ground with Peyton Hillis, but I think their defense will be on the field for long stretches of time and the Saints’ offense will kick it into high gear at some point. New Orleans rolls again this week.

49ers (1-5) @ Panthers (0-5), 1:00PM ET
Sorry for my bluntness, but I don’t like the Panthers. I think they rival the Bills for being the worst team in the league and whether it’s Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen that takes the snaps, I think they have a good chance of losing every Sunday. That said, I don’t trust the 49ers as far as I can throw them. Their first win came against an Oakland team last Sunday that actually may have been trying to lose based on the effort they gave. I don’t think San Fran is well coached, I don’t think they play disciplined football and I don’t trust Mike Singletary’s in-game decision-making. So while it pains me to take Carolina, I think they get their first win this week and Vegas burns those that are hoping back onto the 49ers’ shaky bandwagon.

Patriots (4-1) @ Chargers (2-4), 4:15PM
Before making my picks each week, I scour locate all the traps. And this, my friends, is a trap. Why in God’s name would anyone take a 2-4 San Diego team playing a 4-1 New England squad that just beat the Ravens? Because the Chargers are 2-0 at home? Not buying it. Antonio Gates is hurt and may not play and the Chargers were just dominated by the Rams. There’s simply no reason to take the Bolts this week, which is exactly why I’m taking the Bolts this week….and for a more logical take on the game: The Chargers have looked like a completely different team at home this year and Philip Rivers should take advantage of a suspect New England secondary. It’s tough for East Coast teams to travel cross-country and win on the road, and no team will travel farther than the Pats this weekend. The depleted Chargers win and cover.

Giants (4-2) @ Cowboys (1-4), 8:30PM ET, Monday
Speaking of traps…The Giants have won three in a row and have been awfully impressive on both sides of the ball the past three weeks. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have shot themselves in the foot at every opportunity and have essentially become a joke. With that in mind, what better time for Dallas to wake up then against a division rival on national television? Expect the unexpected every week in the NFL. Everyone is expecting the ‘Boys to lay an egg and embarrass themselves on Monday night, but I actually think the opposite plays out. I think the Cowboys put together their best performance of the season and make people consider whether or not they can climb back into the NFC East race. (Then they’ll promptly lose next week by committing 17 penalties and turning the ball over six times and then they’ll go back to being a joke.)

Season Record: 9-10-1

Josh Cribbs chats with The Scores Report

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 30:  Josh Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns positions himself at the line of scrimmage during the game against the San Francisco 49ers on December 30, 2007 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo By Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The first word that comes to mind when you think about Josh Cribbs’ game is “versatile.”

While at Kent State, he set school records for total offense (10,839 yards), rushing touchdowns (38), pass completions (616), pass attempts (1,123), passing yardage (7,169), touchdowns scored (41) and points scored (246) – all records that still stand today.

Now a member of the Cleveland Browns, Cribbs continues to flash the versatility that made him a star at Kent. Arguably the Browns’ most explosive playmaker, Josh is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball as either a returner, a receiver or a runner out of the Wildcat formation.

Oh, and the guy can given drop back as a quarterback and even spent some time in training camp at safety. You just don’t find players as versatile as Cribbs, who the Browns are lucky to employ (which is why they locked him up to a long-term deal this past March).

We were fortunate enough to catch Josh in between games and got to ask him what the secret is to being an elite kick returner. He also filled us in on two Browns to keep an eye on this year (fans will be extremely happy to hear what he said about one young player in particular), what his role will be in Cleveland’s offense over the course of the season and how he did in his acting debut for a September 30th episode of FX’s “The League,” in which he plays himself.

Enjoy the interview and for more on Josh, be sure to check out his Twitter Page.

The Scores Report: Hey Josh, how are you?

Josh Cribbs: Good, how you doing?

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Can Jake Delhomme really lead a weak Browns’ passing game?

GREEN BAY - AUGUST 14: Jake Delhomme  of the Cleveland Browns calls out a play during the NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field August 14, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)

Merry preseason, everyone. It’s been a long offseason, but football is finally gearing up again and to celebrate I’m rolling out a new series on TSR entitled “2010 NFL Question Marks,” where I discuss one or two of the biggest concerns that teams have heading into the new season. Granted, some teams have more issues than others, but I’ll primarily be focusing on the biggest problem areas. Today I’ll be discussing the major issues the Browns could have with their passing game this season.

Usually teams have enough skill players to make an offense work, but their line holds them back.

The Browns have the opposite problem.

Joe Thomas is one of the top pass blocking left tackles in the game and will once again anchor a solid Cleveland offensive line. While he needs to improve his pass protection, young center Alex Mack is a budding star and Eric Steinbach completes a pretty dominating left side.

Unfortunately, not even a good offensive line will save the Browns from what should be one of the worst passing games in the NFL.

I’ve never been a fan of Jake Delhomme and while he may be fooling Cleveland fans with his “veteran presence” act right now, the guy was atrocious last year. He doesn’t handle pressure well, he forces passes into coverage and even when he does have time he still turns the ball over.

Granted, he was a consistent performer in 2008 before his disaster in the playoffs against the Cardinals that year. So if he can recapture some of that magic then maybe the Browns will be okay, but 1) I wouldn’t bet on it and 2) that means other players will have to step up around him.

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2010 Fantasy Football Preview: Sleeper WRs

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 12: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears in action against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 12, 2009 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won 10-6. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Yesterday, I listed a few sleeper RBs that I’m targeting in the mid to late rounds, and today I’ll tackle the WR position. I’ve already discussed a few 10th-round-type players in the WR preview — specifically Derrick Mason, Malcom Floyd and Devin Aromashodu — so I’ll limit this list to players with average draft positions (ADP) in the 11th round or later.

Johnny Knox (10.11) & Devin Hester (10.11)
I’ve already broken my 11th round rule. Knox and Hester are practically going on the 11th, so I’ll give myself a pass. Truth is, I like all the Bears receivers in Mike Martz’s wide open system, but I’m not sure which guy will finish the best stats. Hester seems built to be a Wes Welker slot-type guy (with more quickness), while Knox has a ton of speed. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune thinks that Knox is emerging as Jay Cutler’s top target and Rotoworld speculates that it’s because of his ability to control his elite speed a la Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. It’s entirely possible that all three wideouts will have fantasy relevant seasons.

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