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the nail in the coffin | A Cleveland sports podcast

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Episode 134 – Cavs fire Lue. Browns fire Hue. Now what to do?

On Sunday, the Cavs fired the only head coach in franchise history who guided the team to an NBA title. On Monday, the Browns fired a coach who was…just a bit less successful. Now, the two Cleveland sports team who are in season are without coaches, and each organization finds itself at a crossroads. The guys discuss what went wrong for Hue Jackson and Ty Lue, how attractive the Browns job is, what exactly the Cavs are trying to do this year, and what traits both teams should be prioritizing...


Episode 133 – Cavaliers season preview with Carter Rodriguez

Carter Rodriguez, co-host of The Chase Down podcast and a contributor for, joins the show to preview the Cavs season, which tips off on Wednesday night. The guys discuss recalibrating their expectations with title contention off the table for the foreseeable future, continuing to cover the team after the bandwagon clears out, the potential for Cavs Twitter's favorite son Cedi Osman and rookie point guard Collin Sexton, and the franchise's search for a feel-good identity in a...


Episode 132 – It was what it was: Getting the Indians postmortem out of the way

A few days removed from the Indians’ ALDS debacle, the guys air their remaining grievances about the Tribe’s all-too-short postseason run, and then discuss some of the fallout this week since the series ended and what, if anything, there will be to get excited about in the regular season next year. (It’s not an upbeat first 20 minutes, folks!) Plus: Bakermania and the cult of personality that is driving a real change in the Browns’ culture and finally making NFL Sundays exciting in...


Episode 131 – It’s time to get serious: Indians-Astros ALDS preview

Let’s be honest, the Indians knew they would be playing in the postseason when they took the field on Opening Day. After six long months, October has finally arrived and the defending World Series champion Astros await in the ALDS. Joel Hammond spent five years as the Indians' assistant director of communications, a tenure that included three postseason trips. He’s back on The Nail to share some perspectives on the mood inside the organization at this time of the year. The guys also dive...


Episode 130 – Baker, Browns and big-game uniforms

Ready or not (and judging by the chants at FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday night, it seems most people in Cleveland fall into the category of “ready”), the Baker Mayfield show has arrived in Browns Town. The guys relive Mayfield’s electric debut, the circumstances that made it happen earlier than the Browns were steadfastly planning for, and where the rejuvenated franchise goes with its QB of the future apparently set to take the reins full-time. Plus, the Browns’ Color Rush jerseys join...


Episode 129 – Tom Withers of the AP on covering Cleveland's teams

From Twitter exchanges with LeBron James over potential Browns moves to covering games and chasing down stories for all three of Cleveland’s professional sports teams, there’s rarely a boring day on the job for Associated Press sportswriter Tom Withers. He joins The Nail to reflect on covering LeBron’s career (and, as of recently, James’ more vocal interest in the local football team), as well as where Week 1 ranks in the Pantheon of Weird Browns Games, the state of the Indians, and the next...


Episode 128 – Ben Axelrod on the Browns, Hard Knocks and Ohio State football

Even before the regular seasons for the Browns and Buckeyes kick off, it has been an interesting month for football fans in Northeast Ohio. Ben Axelrod of WKYC has had a front row seat for much of it, and he joins The Nail to discuss the storylines of “Hard Knocks” vs. reality at training camp in Berea, the Browns on the verge of becoming a relevant and interesting NFL franchise for the first time in years, the players making it happen like Myles Garrett—and those who apparently won’t....


Episode 127 – AP golf writer Doug Ferguson on the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron

Firestone Country Club has played host to professional golf tournaments since 1954, including three major championships, the former World Series of Golf and the current WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. But this weekend, the world’s best golfers will tee it up in Akron for the final time before the tournament moves to Memphis next year. Doug Ferguson has covered golf for the Associated Press for 20 years, and he has been on hand for nearly every big moment at Firestone over the past two...


Episode 126 – No tanks: Scott Sargent on Kevin Love's deal and Cavs not bottoming out

Written off as a potential trade asset since nearly the day he arrived, Kevin Love is still in Cleveland. And with the four-year contract extension he signed this week, it looks like the Cavs are planning to count on him for a long time. Love is well-liked, but his new deal was a polarizing move around town. Are the Cavs making the right call by trying to push forward toward a playoff spot, even if it means losing their first-round draft pick in 2019, or should they be fully embracing the...


Episode 125 – Midseason State of the Indians with T.D. Dery

It’s our midsummer tradition: Tribe fan extraordinaire T.D. Dery is back on The Nail to discuss the state of the Indians coming out of the All-Star break. The guys look back on how the team seized control of the AL Central in the first half of the year, Jose Ramirez putting together one of the franchise’s all-time great individual seasons, Michael Brantley’s resurgence amid a depleted outfield, and lingering injury concerns with Corey Kluber. Plus: Francisco Lindor as a potential face of...


Episode 124 – Hurry up and deal: What are the Indians waiting for?

More could say the Indians took care of business on Wednesday night. But 24 hours earlier—you know, back when they weren’t putting up 19 runs—a lackluster start to the 9th inning by closer Cody Allen, a miscommunication between manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Carl Willis, and a bad matchup for reliever Dan Otero turned a fine night at the ballpark into downright ugly loss, bringing out the boo birds at Progressive Field. It was called the nadir of the season for the team's...


Episode 123 – Film noir: Dark days for the Cavs as LeBron heads off to Hollywood

On Sunday night, the greatest era in Cavaliers franchise history came to a quiet end with a one-sentence press release announcing LeBron James had agreed to a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. The guys look back on the uneasy alliance between LeBron and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert that ultimately couldn’t last, the bizarre work in progress that is the Lakers’ roster that LeBron will be joining, the increasingly unbalanced landscape as the league’s biggest star becomes the latest elite...


Episode 122 – Finals fallout: LeBron, Cavs swept into summer of uncertainty

It was a painful NBA Finals – both figuratively and literally – for LeBron and the Cavs. Dodgy officiating, a killer mental mistake and a punched white board punctuated Game 1, and the Wine and Gold never recovered for the remainder of the series. The guys discuss the late-game proceedings in Game 1, LeBron’s busted hand, the burden on the Cavs’ front office navigating the draft and free agency in light of LeBron’s potential departure this summer, the Warriors’ weird dynamic with Kevin...


Episode 121 – Four-gone conclusion? Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals preview with David Zavac

Let’s be honest: The Cavs are facing some of the longest odds in NBA Finals history when they tip off against Golden State for the fourth straight season. But is all hope lost? David Zavac, contributor for The Athletic, is back on The Nail to dive into what the Cavs can try to do to make this a competitive series. The guys also touch on the absence of Andre Iguodala and most likely Kevin Love for Game 1, how some of Cleveland’s new faces can fit into this four-year rivalry and the difference...


Episode 120 – 48 special minutes: LeBron, Cavs survive Celtics and conquer the East again

LeBron James delivered an epic, wire-to-wire performance, the Cavs’ role players—led by Jeff Green!—provided just enough scoring support, and the Cavaliers are Eastern Conference champions for the fourth straight year after winning Game 7 on Sunday night in Boston. The guys get together a night later to look back on a dramatic, draining closeout game and its most memorable moments. ... Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Play Music | Stitcher Catch us on Like us...


Episode 119 – Gloom, doom (but hopefully not a broom): Cavs struggling in ECF

Baffling coaching decisions, blown defensive assignments, bad shooting and a battered jaw for one LeBron James have left the Cavs halfway to getting swept in the Eastern Conference Finals. With the next two games at The Q, the Wine & Gold aren't completely in dire straits just yet. Still, it’s been ugly so far. The guys discuss Ty Lue’s decision to ride with JR Smith over Kyle Korver in the starting lineup, the struggles of the newer members of the roster, the “organizational fatigue”...


Episode 118 – That’s a Rap: Cavs shift focus to Celtics after ending Toronto

With a ridiculous running floater off the glass last Saturday night, LeBron James broke the spirit of yet another Eastern Conference franchise, as the Raptors bowed out meekly on Monday and fired head coach Dwane Casey four days later. A transcendent postseason for LeBron continues in the Eastern Conference finals, where the depleted-but-not-defeated Boston Celtics await. Aside from LeBron’s shot-making abilities, the Cavs were steadied in Round 2 by the presence of point guard George Hill,...


Episode 117 – Cavalry arrives, Cavs survive, can Raps avoid another dive?

It was the most nerve-wracking first round series to ever involve LeBron James wearing wine and gold, but the Cavs survived their matchup with the Pacers. In Game 7 on Sunday, LeBron was LeBron, but his supporting cast finally came through, too. Tristan Thompson looked like the Tristan Thompson of old as he crashed the glass, and George Hill returned after a three-game absence to steady the squad through the final 19 minutes. The guys discuss how the Cavs ultimately outlasted a...


Episode 116 – Cavs (and all of us watching them) feeling first-round stress

A lot of fans figured the Eastern Conference playoffs would be more challenging for the Cavs this season than in recent years, but few could have predicted a full-fledged fight in the first round. Nevertheless, the Indiana Pacers are giving the Cavs all they can handle through four games. The guys welcome their old pal Mark Meszoros back to the show to discuss the burden LeBron is carrying, Ty Lue’s strange rotations and inexplicable fascination with Jeff Green, the revival of JR Smith—both...


Episode 115 – Mike Zavagno on the Cavs and the NBA playoffs (and Taylor Swift?)

Mike Zavagno of and the Cavalytics podcast joins the show to help the guys get ready for the NBA playoffs. It was a strange season—or maybe even four or five seasons rolled into one—for the Cavs. But as they get ready for the Pacers in the first round, the Wine and Gold appear to finally have their full lineup available for the first time since the trade deadline. The guys discuss players like Jeff Green and Jose Calderon going from afterthoughts at the beginning of the year...