Well, covering the Cleveland Browns will never leave you with nothing to say, that is for sure. I am a huge Browns fan. You may be asking me why. I seem to be asking myself the same thing recently.
I have been a fan since I was a little kid with my father watching the cardiac kids. I grew up on them. I felt my heart rip out when they left in ‘95. When the Browns came back, it was like something out of Pet Cemetery. The Browns were physically there but it was like they didn’t have a soul. When the Browns get a good player, you can already see it on their face that they will be playing somewhere else pretty soon. Cleveland is just a stepping stone in the NFL. Most players, I would venture, don’t want to come to this NFL purgatory. There are rumors now that agents are steering their players from coming here. That is fantastic…(heavy on the sarcasm)
Now that being said. I am also one of the harshest critics of the Browns. I come across Steeler’s fans from time to time. They tell me that the Browns suck (Like I don’t know). I agree with them. Man, do they hate that. They want this rivalry back as much as anyone. They want a fight, so do I, I want to have pride in my team.
Here is the difference. When the Colts or Cowboys or Steelers take the field, people always think that there is a fighting chance that they are going to win. With the Browns the fans think just the opposite. The Browns never look like a powerful team (as proven by the last 3 games this season so far)…
I don’t like to complain all the time about them and see huge neon signs as to where they need to make changes. There are some problems with some of the problems but let’s dive a little deeper.
Let’s analyze what we have today. First, the entire team consists of about 4 all stars. Shaun Rogers, Joe Thomas, Josh Cribbs, and Braylon Edwards (I understand that these are arguable and that you might think that there are others. But this is how I see it.). Unfortunately, we need more then a peppering of high end talent throughout the field to win games, as is evident of the current situation.
Linebackers: We would be fine here if we had ONE stand out player. I think that just one OUTSTANDING linebacker would be enough to elevate the other’s game.
Corner Backs: In reality the corner backs seem fine, but the problem is that they are on the field too long to ever prove that they are decent. Stick with what they have for now.
Defensive Line: We need a defensive end. Nothing more to say.
Offensive Line: Replace two offensive linemen.
Safety: Do we even have one, let alone two? Get one!
Tight End: I was all for getting rid of Kellen Winslow, Jr. as he was a cancer in the locker room. But he did show us that having a tight end opens up the passing game. We need a better one.
Wide Receiver: The receiving core looked dismal at the beginning of the year. but I think they have the talent but need to play Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi (I understand they may be hurt). Josh Cribbs is not a number 2 receiver and using him that way will fail. Nothing against Josh (he is quite the athlete).
Quarterback: Look, I know that Brady Quin is a nice guy and I am sure he has talent but the Browns screwed him up. Somehow they got into his head and he has extremely low self confidence in his play and it shows. He will probably get traded and do very well somewhere else. Derrick Anderson has the confidence but lacks the accuracy. We need a Quarterback. But this is where is gets tricky. If we get a high draft choice in the draft next year (and yes I am already looking to the draft and with how the Browns are playing it is looking like it will be that way), the Browns are likely to take a QB, but that is going to put us in a Tim Couch sort of situation. A potentially good QB with no supporting cast. I feel that the QB is the key stone to hold the offense together. The last piece to get.
Head Coach: Here is where I think people are going to flip out on me. I think the Browns need to keep Eric Mangini for 6 years minimum. If the Browns would have done this with prior coaches, worst case we would be in the exact same situation that we are in RIGHT NOW! Let the coach learn from his mistakes and let the Browns benefit from his learning, not some other team [Bill Belichick, cough cough (yeah, still a little salty over that)]. No more three and outs with the head coaches.
Another problem is the play calling. I remember growing up and watching the Browns run flea flickers and halfback passes. All sorts of stuff. Now, they only run a trick play when it would be scripted to do so and the other team is expecting it. Fail. Then there is the “Wild Cat”. Man what a weapon that would be. I heard during one of the games this year that the wild cat is only marginally successful, but I have to think that the Browns are bringing that stat down. Whenever Josh Cribbs is in there at QB, HE IS GETTING THE BALL AND KEEPING IT!!! Everyone knows it. This is NOT the proper use of the wild cat offense. I was watching Miami run it and I never knew who was getting the ball. Epic win!
Look, I love the Browns. At least what I remember them being. And the current team is all I have to support. Fine. I can deal with that. I still root for them but my expectations are very low and there doesn’t appear to be any change in that come this season. At this point, …Go Cavs?
Current: Coming Soon!