The DEFEND Cleveland Show

Browns Offseason Preview

Browns Offseason Preview

The best part about being a Browns fan has for years ceased to be about watching the actual games.  The games are fairly predictable with slight details changing week-to-week/year-to-year.  No, the best part about being a Browns fan is trying to predict how they will shoot themselves in the foot and marveling when you learn it is in a way that you never dreamt possible.  The team will have a losing record.  This is a given.  How they will get there is the fascinating part.

As of last October things were looking up for the sad sack Browns.  They were in first place.  They had pulled out unlikely wins.  They were exciting to watch.  That two-month period of time almost seems like a wild absinthe fueled hallucination now.  In the span of a few months, the Browns are now living in a world in which they have cemented their reputation as being one of the two most dysfunctional franchises in the NFL, have no legitimate QB under contract, and are facing sanctions for the GM texting “Put Johnny In ☺” during games.  It’s fucking incredible.

Having been thrown under the bus by the departing Kyle Shanahan, Ray Farmer now has the stigma of being labeled a general manager that meddles with his coaching staff.  As if the Browns wouldn’t have enough trouble hiring quality employees, now prospective hires must ask themselves, “So do I really want to work for that team that always sucks, and then try to pull wins out of my ass while my phone is blowing up from the GM?”.  On top of that is the perception that owner Jimmy Haslam is telling Farmer what to do on key decisions. Hey, it’s worked out great for Jerry Jones, so why wouldn’t it work here, right?

It’s awesome that the Browns will probably lose a draft pick because the front office wanted to see for themselves that Johnny Manziel belonged on the field as much as some of the season ticket holders that chuck the ball around the Muni Lot.  I can’t imagine that the coaching staff didn’t mention at some point, “Ummm… You know that wiseass kid we drafted in the first round?  He hasn’t learned any of the playbook and can’t make any of the throws.”.  I love that the Front Office totally blew off the misgivings of the coaching staff on the biggest game of last season.  Go forth John Football and make thy magic happen!  We will it to be so!

Unless I am reading the situation incorrectly, the Browns do not have a QB at this time.  Hoyer, a free agent, would have to take leave of his senses to sign here.  The Browns will have to throw BIG money at Hoyer for him to sign.  While he has maintained a very professional tone in the media, Hoyer knows that the Browns are doomed.  He would be stepping into yet another offensive coordinator with a front office that wanted to replace him on the biggest game for the franchise for a guy that clearly will not be playing football for a paycheck for very long.  How quick would the trigger finger be to pull Hoyer for whatever other option is on the depth chart this time?  I’m sure that Farmer and Co. will come up with some wild ass line of bullshit to get him to possibly sign, but how could Hoyer believe “Hey Brian, crazy about how shit happened last year, huh?  Well, let’s let bygones be bygones and talk about how great it would be for your family to stay here at home while you lead the team!  Fresh start baby!”.  If Hoyer gets any other offer that’s even in the ballpark of what Cleveland floats out to him, he’s insane not to take it.

That my friends lead to some very sobering choices for QB.  Coin flip. Who do you want?  Matt Moore or Mark Sanchez?  Ryan Mallet anyone?  How about taking a flier on whomever they dredge up in the draft after Mariotta and Winston are long gone?  I don’t know why the fans have not realized that currently the Browns are in the “Holy Mother Of Fuck” area of danger for the 2015 season.  This makes rolling out with Trent Dilfer or Jake Delhomme look sensible by comparison.  While Brian Hoyer is considered to be “not very good”, at least he’s a “not very good” they know.  I am predicting “sluggish” sales of either Sanchez or Moore jerseys in the Browns Team Shops this Fall.

The other wild speculation will be that the Browns make a crazy trade for Jay Cutler.  On the surface, this does make some sense.  The team has plenty of cap space and Cutler is somehow the most highly paid QB in football.  Seriously.  This potential trade will not bring a cascade of victories to the Browns as Cutler has firmly entrenched himself as this generation’s version of Jeff George.  Jay Cutler exists to torment the soul of the fan base of whatever team has currently employed him.  He tosses interceptions that even Vinnie Testeverde remarks, “Damn.  I never would have tried that throw.”  Yet despite all his negatives, and there are a ton, he would be a huge upgrade over any other potential band aid the team is getting ready to apply.  It would have been great to toss Josh Gordon on the next flight out of Cleveland as part of a trade to bring in Cutler, but Gordon even fucked that up.  (I maintain that Gordon might be as intelligent as a show pony, but as a show pony cannot take a standardized test, sadly we will never know for certain.)

This leads to the John W. Football situation.  I would like to think that John Football independently decided that he needed to take charge of his life and do whatever necessary to pursue greatness as an NFL player.  However, I am a cynical fuck and think this entire rehab check-in is a public relations move meant to get the crosshairs off of John Football.  I believe that John Football’s management team realizes they need to change the story of Johnny from “what a loser he turned out to be!” into “what a brave young man!”.  In today’s politically correct climate, it is impossible to react to anyone’s rehab with anything but gushing praise.  I have a hard time imagining anyone at ESPN saying, “You know, when Joe Namath went to rehab, we didn’t get a press release of talking points on it.  What’s going on here?”.

As was pointed out to me by my good friend Robert Lanphiere, there isn’t a QB in the ultra machismo world of the NFL that ever said, “I need help with my drinking.”  Hell, Bret Favre said he was eating vicodyn like tic tacs, so for all I know he just stopped doing it because “he’s a baller”.  I have no idea if he got help.  You know why?  Because these guys want discretion, not attention.  John Football’s rehab media event helps him take a mulligan for last season’s disaster, make it impossible for the team to cut him early, and also make it unrealistic for the public to expect him to play well in 2015.  There is no downside for Team Manziel.  Frankly, I think they are worried the Browns are going to cut him and he’d have to play well for the Hamilton Tiger Cats for a few seasons to dredge up interest from anyone in the NFL to take on his circus. If I were him, I would take lots of pictures of Drake’s house parties when he gets invited, because those invitations are going to stop coming pretty quickly.  I see him standing around “Texas A&M Steak Out” cook off fundraisers in the very near future. “John?  Can you bring your Heisman? The kids love taking pictures with it!”.  I do not think John Football will ever take a regular season snap in the NFL again.  He’s a bust in the Ryan Leaf sense of the word.

I think we can all agree that 2015 will bring a Browns team once again outmatched by the Ravens, Steelers, and Bengals.  They will finish in fourth in the AFC North unless a band of marauding Huns attacks any of those other three team’s training camps leaving them with an injury list filled with entries like “Flacco IR (axe wound)”.  It is hopeless, just like it always has been.  Don’t let it bring you down, though.  It has never been about winning and losing.  It’s a question of “How will they implode?”  Just like any good vacation, half of the fun is just getting there.  Here comes disaster!  Woo Hoo!

Go Browns.
-Greg Miller
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Posted by on Feb 8 2015. Filed under Featured, Greg Miller on Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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