Stop Judging What The Browns Do

Wow, that sounds like the title to a piece where I take the side of the Cleveland Browns, right?

Wrong. I'm taking your side.

The Browns are a circus act. They're not interesting, unless you're the kind of person who finds reality TV interesting. Nothing but drama, and very little happiness.

As Terry Pluto pointed out in his article on St. Paddy's Day,  Eric Mangini was four coaches ago. (That's Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Mike Pettine as the three before current head coach Hue Jackson. Just in case St. Patrick's Day isn't enough reason for you to start drinking early.)

I'm not going over all of that because it's all been pointed out ad nauseum, the quarterbacks, the offensive coordinators, the general managers....

Screw this team. I kind of mean that. Do I love them? Yes. Are they my favorite NFL team? Yes. Will I be watching them despite the dumpster fire their seasons have become? To some degree, yes. (If you think I'm spending a full three hours on one of my two days off to watch this team run series after series of three-and-out-punt, you think too much of me.)

I'm tired of trying to read the tea leaves of this organization's moves. Will Hue Jackson be a good head coach? I think so. I was really surprised when the Oakland Raiders fired him. Will he have good pieces that will help him stay here more than 32 games? Do I have any reason to believe he will?

I know sports-talk radio got all upset when the Browns first promoted Sashi Brown and hired Paul DePodesto. But then, what don't they make a big deal about? (Can we please get another 59 hours of talk about Colin Kaepernick? Or what LeBron James posted to Instagram?)

People were upset about non-football people and analytics. People were on the radio and TV actually talking like the Browns were going to look down at a spreadsheet when faced with 3rd and 4 on the ir own 33 yard line in the 2nd quarter of a home game in October when the wind is blowing at less than 5 MPH and see, "Off Tackle, Right." And then call that play.

Sometimes I'm amazed that we made it this far as a species.

Okay, so, yes, the team has hired a bunch of eggheads. Why not? We've watched them throw crap against a wall at the quarterback position for closing-in-on two decades. Why not try it with the front office? We've had Presidents and CEOs, football people, including a Super Bowl winning coach, and we've had......whatever Joe Banner is classified as.

If this doesn't work, I'm seriously ready for them to start pulling names out of a hat.

We have nothing but blind faith that this team will sign or not sign the right people. We have nothing but blind faith to believe that they will draft well. And we have nothing but blind faith to believe that they'll be able to perform when the games start up.

And all that we'll be rewarded with for our blind faith is a lot of frustration and disappointment.

So don't have blind faith. I'm not saying automatically hate everything they do. We have plenty of that in this town, in case you don't listen to the aforementioned sports-talk radio. I'm saying to take a wait-and-see approach.

While it's fair to not trust the organization, what do we know about how the current group is going to do? They've done nothing to convince us they will succeed, but they've also done nothing wrong. You know....because they've done nothing.

Should they have resigned Mitchell Schwartz? Yeah, I guess so. I really enjoyed watching him last year when the team went 3-13. (Insert rolling eyes) Who cares? I don't know? Win some f*cking football games! Please! Score those things the other teams call "touchdowns". Feel free to keep an opponent to under 14 miles rushing.

When I heard that Travis Benjamin signed with San Diego, I had the same response he had: "Coming from Cleveland, I didn't have a quarterback throughout my years there." Oh that and, "Sunny San Diego. Cold Cleveland. Leaving wasn't a bad choice at all. I knew that, coming to San Diego, I could look forward to it being sunny all year long." He's absolutely right. About all of it.

So they signed some guy from the Jets. Wow. I'm not saying he won't be a good player. I'm saying that we have good players now (no, seriously, we do. A few.) and the team loses games like the team thinks that's the point. I mean, it really seems intentional, it's been so bad for so long. Everyone accidentally trip over a good season every once in a while. (See: 2007) But no. Every Browns season looks more like this:

(To be fair, the guy in the hat looks a lot more effective than Danny Shelton. Number 12 overall, people!)

Am I supposed to be excited because we got younger at inside linebacker? Oh boy! Can't wait to watch that! And, if it's like any other Browns season, there'll be plenty of opportunities to watch the defense.

People, stop judging the Browns. It's not worth the heartache. They've already told us that they're not going to be good next year. NEXT year. And probably the year after that. So, hey, if everything goes well, we'll have a good team in 2019. What are we going to see this year that's going to tell us anything?

We have no idea how this front office is going to do, how the coaching staff will do, how any of the current players are going to do, and how well their free agent signings and draft picks are going to do. Because this team never makes any sense.

Expect the unexpected, folks. Enjoy your spring and your summer. Maybe the Browns will be the big surprise team of 2016, that team that no one saw coming. Or maybe they'll make us wish for the glorious days of 1996-1998. 

Okay, probably the latter. But I'm not wasting my time judging.

Well, not until the slave drivers over at Everyone Hates Cleveland headquarters forces me to write on covering the draft. (Just those top two guys)
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