Urban: Giants know Snakes are for real

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Urban: Giants know Snakes are for real

August 2, 2011

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Mychael Urban
CSNBayArea.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are far too smart to assume the Diamondbacks are going away anytime soon. They learned that lesson last year.At about this very time in 2010, well into a season in which the Padres confounded all the experts by winning with a virtual no-name rotation and a pop-gun offense, the Giants knew that San Diego was in it for the long haul. As is the case this year, last year's National League West was a five-team division filled with flaws, and by early August it was obvious to everyone associated with the orange and black that it was going to be San Francisco and the Friars, down to the wire.RECAP: Giants fall to D'Backs 6-1, tied a top NL West
That's where we're at with the D-Backs, gang. This team is for real, and if Monday and Tuesday didn't make that clear, you've pulled your Panda hat down so far over your eyes that you simply aren't seeing what's right before your eyes.Granted, those eyes might be averted from Arizona's obvious strengths because they're trained on the Giants' befuddling inability to make their own pitchers feel loved. Were run support a measure of affection, a bond that ties, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Co. would be taking Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff, et al, into divorce-court proceedings that would make the McCourt saga down south seem downright civil.What did San Diego have that the Giants didn't have last season? A bullpen that consistently turned a seventh-inning lead into a victory. The Giants have that bullpen now, but getting that lead is proving exceedingly difficult.What does Arizona have that the Giants don't have this season? Is that not obvious by now?The Diamondbacks have Justin Upton, far and away the best player in the division. He's Carlos Beltran when Carlos Beltran was truly Carlos Beltran.Is that enough to outlast the Giants? We'll see, but from this angle it looks unlikely, and it's unlikely because of the Giants' general makeup.When a team turns over three-eighths of its starting lineup in a short span, as the champs did before the trade deadline, the obvious question is this: How will it affect club chemistry?Giants Insider gallery: Snakes, Giants tied for first
When the shakeup is followed by a season-high five consecutive losses, as became the case with Tuesday night's Justin Upton Show, the question gets magnified.But so should the answer, and the answer is this: It won't affect the clubhouse chemistry at all.Much like the 2010 Giants, who went through quite a bit of turnover themselves, this is a team with high-character, low-ego athletes who pull for each other, don't point fingers and simply get to work when work needs to be done.Maybe, in a strange way, this losing streak works in their favor. They certainly shone while playing from behind last season. Perhaps that's what gets these guys off.What won't get them off track are petty squabbles over playing time and run support and individuality that you often see infect other big-league teams.That's not how the Giants roll. The Giants roll with the punches, and while they're currently doubled over, having taken a series of body blows that would buckle any contender, there's every reason to expect them to straighten up, concede they're in the ring with a worthy opponent, and get right back into the fight.It's not going to be easy. That's not how the Giants roll, either. Yet anyone doubting the gumption of this group needs to take the Panda hat off for good and open their eyes.

Owners of No. 1 overall pick, Browns still searching for franchise QB

Owners of No. 1 overall pick, Browns still searching for franchise QB

CLEVELAND -- Finding Bigfoot has been more productive than the Cleveland Browns' search for a franchise quarterback.

This flawed football quest drags on.

For nearly two decades, the Browns, once a standard of NFL excellence and now a league punching bag, have been running in circles as they try to find a quarterback to lead them from the darkness to relevance and respectability. Since the franchise's inglorious expansion return in 1999, they've started 26 quarterbacks, a roll call of names that haunt even the most loyal Cleveland fans holding out hope the team will one day get it right.

From Tim Couch to Trent Dilfer, from Derek Anderson to Cody Kessler, and let's not forget that year of fun with Johnny Manziel, QBs have cycled through Cleveland like tourists, with none sticking around for long.

It's been a running joke.

And until the Browns find that long-term answer at quarterback, they'll continue to be looked at as a laughingstock.

They'll have another chance to perhaps end this long pursuit in this week's NFL draft. With the No. 1 and No. 12 overall picks, and four more selections in the first three rounds, the Browns are positioned to finally fix the most important position on the field.

This could be the year Cleveland fans have longed for, the one when the Browns find their Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger. But as fate would have it, this year's QB class isn't highly regarded. Many draft experts feel there isn't a quarterback worth a first-round selection and that Cleveland should wait until 2018.

That's just so Browns, whose experiment with Robert Griffin III backfired last season, resulting in the latest QB confusion.

"We're going to keep searching," coach Hue Jackson said recently. "I think we all understand, no one's really claimed this position yet on our football team so we need to do everything we can to continue to add a player that we feel, as an organization, really good about, that can lead our football team and we'll continue to chase that."

The chase continues Thursday when the Browns try to find that elusive, essential piece. Or fumble again.

Here are some quarterback tidbits to chew on when the Browns go on the clock:

UP TOP: Cleveland seems locked in ON Texas A&M defensive stud Myles Garrett at No. 1, and while he's proficient at sacks, there are no three- or seven-step drops in his future. The Browns are impressed with North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, a former Ohio Mr. Football, despite his inexperience (only 13 college starts), but probably not enough to take him first. Landing Garrett and Trubisky would be a dream scenario, but Cleveland may have to trade up as the rebuilding Jets have sent out vibes they prefer Trubisky.

WHY NOT WATSON? Clemson's Deshaun Watson would seem to fit Jackson's profile of the ideal QB: mobile, dynamic, successful. The Browns, though, don't seem enthralled with Watson - not in the first round anyway - unless their silence is a smoke screen. There are other good options like Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, Texas A&M's Patrick Mahomes or California's Davis Webb, who may all be available after Round 1.

DRAFT DEBACLES: The Browns' track record drafting QBs - or any position - is abysmal over the past decade, which is why many Cleveland fans fear the team will mess up again. Since 2007, only OT Joe Thomas and CB Joe Haden have proven to be good choices. Eight other first-round picks are no longer on the roster.

Along with Couch, the No. 1 choice in '99, the Browns have used first-round picks on Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Manziel, who was Johnny Goofball in an orange helmet. Those mistakes shouldn't deter the Browns from selecting a QB early, but they are grim reminders that there are no givens.

WAITING GAME: Would waiting one more year be so bad? Draft experts point to the 2018 QB class, led by UCLA's Josh Rosen and USC's Sam Darnold, as being more talented than the 2017 group. That wouldn't preclude the Browns from taking a quarterback later in this draft, just not in the first round.

HOMETOWN HEROES: Trubisky is the latest in a long line of Ohio-born QBs tabbed as the Browns' next savior. Quinn, Charlie Frye and Brian Hoyer all grew up as Browns fans, but none was able to lead the turnaround. If Trubisky is picked, the pressure on him to be the team's leader and face of the franchise will be immense.

BYE-BYE BROCK?: The Browns made a shocking move in free agency, acquiring QB Brock Osweiler, his $16 million guaranteed contract and a 2018 second-round pick from Houston. Cleveland made it clear Osweiler was not part of the future, but he's still on the roster and could be part of a fall-back plan if the Browns don't get their desired quarterback.

 

Giants lineup: Arroyo playing third in debut, Pence leading off vs Dodgers

Giants lineup: Arroyo playing third in debut, Pence leading off vs Dodgers

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Dodgers-Giants coverage begins at 6pm with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus and streaming right here.

In his much-anticipated debut, Christian Arroyo will bat sixth and play third base against the Dodgers on Monday night.

Eduardo Nunez will play left field, while Hunter Pence will bat lead off.

Los Angeles Dodgers:
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
5. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
6. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
7. Chase Utley (L) 2B
8. Enrique Hernandez (R) CF
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) LHP

San Francisco Giants:
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
3. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
9. Matt Cain (R) RHP