Here’s wishing you and yours a safe, scary, spooky, and most of all safe Halloween from the entire Dawg Pound Nation team!
My wife was given me a hard time about my love for the Cleveland Browns for as long as we’ve been together (she’s a Saint’s fan), and more often than not, the question she asks when I’m at my most frustrated moments with this team is “Why are you even a Browns fan?”. It’s a fair, if brutal, question to ask. Why AM I a fan of a sports team that causes me more heartache and stress than it does jubilation and fun. I mean, sports are SUPPOSED to be fun right? So why do I, and millions of other Browns fans put ourselves through the pain, the mockery and the aggravation that comes with the territory of being a fan of the worst team in the NFL in terms of wins/losses since 1999. Since coming back in 1999, the Browns are a shudder inducing 76-156, for a “ah what the fuck” inducing .327 win percentage, the lowest in the NFL from ’99 on. That means for every Browns game I’ve watch in that span, they will lose more than 2 out of 3. No other NFL fans would deal with this crap. None. They’d stop going to games, stop watching games, and the team would either have to get better or move to a new location. But we don’t. We still sell out First Energy. Every. Single. Week. People like me who moved away from the Cleveland Area still pay to join Browns Backer clubs or Sunday Ticket on DirecTv to watch this team lose. It’s really pretty nutty if you think about it. Why? Why do we do this?
1. I Grew Up In/Around Cleveland
They say that geography influences a ton of the core portions of our personalities. Having been in the Army for 9 years now, I can attest to the fact that people are quite different around the country. Especially in Cleveland, which is often mocked by the rest of the sports world for having no identity, the people there are actually quite unique. The depressed, rust belt, post industrial land that is northern Ohio creates a certain breed of people. I won’t make fun of our failings, but I will say that a lot of people from the area expect the worst. So many bad things have happened in the area over the years that you simply learn to accept it and deal with it as best you can. This carries over to our football team. I’ve written before about how all Browns fans share a certain gut feeling of impending doom. It’s something you can’t quite pin down, but you know deep in your soul that something bad is going to happen when you watch Browns football games. Even when things are going right, you know its coming. And so it doesn’t really crush you quite as badly as if you were walking in blind.
The other thing about being from Cleveland is that it’s hammered in to your skull that loyalty is a virtue that you’re going to need to have. Loyalty to your friends, your family, even your community, and especially your sports teams. Can you think of any group of people that you as a Browns fan that disgust you more than Steelers fans from Ohio? Me neither.
That picture makes you physically ill doesn’t it? You hate that stupid douchebag with the Steeler colored wig, and you don’t even know her. I feel the same way. She’s probably a bitch (statistically speaking, right?). We were conditioned by our elder Browns fans to feel this way. And I’m totally okay with that.
2. I Honestly Believe It Will Be Better One Day
I like science. A lot. More than a regular person. And I’m familiar The Law Of Total Probability, which essentially says that over an infinite timeline, there are infinite probabilities of outcomes.
I just feel, and I’m sure you do to, that one day they HAVE to get it right, right? They can’t be this bad forever, can they? I mean, logically they should luck up in to finding a franchise quarterback at some point, and eventually they’ve got to stumble upon the right coaches at the right time. God knows we’re due. More so, I feel like karma at some point has got to get involved and set right the wrongs of time and the universe. The Ravens were stolen from right here in Cleveland, and they won a Super Bowl. The Steelers have forever been a collection of thugs and criminals, and yet they have six Super Bowl wins. Karma can’t let this wrong go uncorrected forever, right? And the thing is, the Browns didn’t ALWAYS consistently suck. That’s an occurrence that’s become a pattern since the Expansion. The Browns were relevant, at times good if not dominant, in every decade since their inception up until The Move.
3. I Honest To God Love Browns Fans
Look, I won’t bullshit you. I could quit this team in a heartbeat. They’ve done nothing to deserve my rabid loyalty. Yours either. But I can’t quit you. I can’t quit you, you foxy son’s of bitches. I would hate myself forever if I did. I’m not saying this to get your love in return. It’s not like that. The Dawg Pound has given me love my entire life. From being a young kid at Browns games, sitting in the Dawg Pound with a terrifying group of men and women, to being a slightly older young kid who got to sit on Michael Dean Perry’s shoulders, you’ve loved me since before you really knew me. I can’t forget that. I couldn’t ever pull myself away from this community, and I don’t think many of you could either. It’s what brings us back. Tailgating, sports bar’ring, Dawg Pounding, barking and screaming and cursing, we’re in this damn thing together.
No matter what may come, no matter how low this team may sink, we’ve got each other. And it’s not really that bad a thing. I’ve said it again and again, and I mean it, we are the best group of people brought together by mutual misery that the world has ever seen. And I’m a Soldier by trade. I’ve been to war with men and women who I am forever bonded with based on our mutual suffering. It really isn’t even close. I feel like I’ve been to battle with you all, in spirit and in the flesh, more times than I can recall. We are forever tied together, and I’m okay with that. You all are better than this shitstorm of a team has been, and if there is any justice in this cruel, dark world, we’ll get our chance to see this walking failure of an organization redeem our hopes and support.
Felix Asks: Why is Cameron not being utilized like he should be in critical 3rd down scenarios?
I think he got a bit more involved in the offense with Campbell playing, and I think you’ll likely see that role continue to grow back to near what it was when Hoyer was starting. The thing is, there are very few designed TE plays in most offensive system. The great thing about having a TE like Cameron is if you have a QB who can go through his progressions properly, you’ll see the TE get a lot of good looks because of the ability to create mismatches in the secondary, and because they generally are going to be on a safer pass catching route. Since Weeden simply would not look past his first option, Cameron went silent. Campbell made a point to get the ball out fast to slow the formidable Kansas City pass rush, which clearly worked as they only sacked Campbell once all game (KC was the 1st ranked NFL pass rush going in to Sunday’s game), but it also limited the amount of looks that Cameron got. In games where the pass rush isn’t so constant, you should see Cameron get more involved.
Randy Asks: Will the Cleveland Browns find a franchise quaterback this draft or have better luck drafting new running back that can get 1,000 yards on the ground?
First, I do think the Browns will get their guy in this draft at QB. With the amount of picks they have stockpiled, there is no reason to think they shouldn’t be able to trade up if needed to ensure they get who they want (from what I’m hearing more and more, that guy is Brett Hundley of UCLA), and I have enough confidence in this front office to think they’ll make the right move.
As to the running back situation, I don’t see the Browns drafting high. I could see them grabbing a guy with one of their third round picks, and looking to sign the Texans Ben Tate (who is a free agent this off season). You have to remember, Dion Lewis will be back next season, and he is the type of guy Chud/Norv love to use. Expect to see the Browns use 2-3 backs, a la the New Orleans Saints, and get their yardage there. Don’t count on seeing one back get a thousand yards, but I’d bet with the right 3 they’ll get over that mark.
Tim Asks: Why didn’t they leave Bess in Kansas City? Why would they allow him to return here with the rest of the team?
Hehe, now where would the fun in that be? In seriousness though, while I’ve given Bess a hard time about his rough run on Sunday and his drop issues this season, the fact is that he’s had quite a few years of reliable production in the NFL. I have to think the coaching staff (and I agree with them in this) assume that Bess is going to get over whatever mental yips he has and get back to normal. That, and we don’t have another punt returner on the roster that I’m aware of, outside of maybe Greg Little.
Erick Asks: Will we get rid of butterfingers Bess?
I wouldn’t count on it. Honestly, the Browns don’t really stand to gain at all by cutting Bess now. Now, I still think maybe he should sit for a week or so to drive the point home that mistakes will have consequences, but I wouldn’t cut him. I still think the odds are in favor of Bess rebounding and getting back to being a productive, veteran player.
Kayle Asks: Y are they talking about trading 2 of our better player? They wonder y we don’t have a team… They need to let them play as a team for more then a week before they make major changed….
The trade rumors around Josh Gordon are really Josh Gordon’s fault. I would love to be mad at the Browns organization for them, but this mess is really on Gordon’s shoulders. The fact is, he’s a big risk if the Browns keep him, and his trade value will likely never be greater than what is is at the moment. He is a game changer on the field, and he has the physical skill set to be a big time WR. That said, the odds are pretty good that he’s going to get busted for drugs again at some point and have to sit out a full season. I say the odds are good because he has failed a drug test every single year of his pro and college football career (at LEAST one), and at least two that we know of in High School. He got kicked out of two college programs over drugs, and has been nailed by the NFL twice (with a third rumored initial offense), and is already facing his third strike in only his second pro season. Now, I don’t necessarily think the Browns should trade Gordon, but if the right offer came along, they’d be nuts to not consider it. And that is completely, 100% Josh Gordon’s fault.
Game 1: Tim Couch vs Luke McCown
This is an interesting showdown, because the vast difference in amount of time played under center for the Browns. Couch’s numbers, as you’ll see, are somewhat better than McCown’s, but Couch played a lot more games (and had a lot more losses).
Tim Couch’s Browns Career Stats: Win/Loss: 22-37
Luke McCown’s Browns Career Stats: Win/Loss: 0-4
Game 2: Ty Detmer vs Ken Dorsey
This is a battle of career back ups who happened to start a few games. It is ugly, as both of these guys are objectively pretty awful.
Ty Detmer’s Career Browns Stats: Win/Loss: 0-2
Ken Dorsey’s Career Browns Stats: Win/Loss: 0-3
Game 3: Seneca Wallace vs Charlie Frye
These two are both objectively pretty awful. I hated Charlie Frye for his stupid mustache as much as his awful quarterbacking, and Seneca Wallace was pretty tough to watch on the field. Charlie Frye was a turnover machine, and Wallace was just incapable of sustaining drives. Let’s look at the numbers:
Seneca Wallace’s Career Browns Stats: Win/Loss: 1-6
Charlie Frye’s Career Browns Stats: Win/Loss: 6-13
Game 4: Brandon Weeden vs Spergon Wynn
This is a ridiculously tough to judge matchup. We’ve seen a lot more play out of Weeden than Wynn, to be sure. Wynn was a dreadful QB, as awful as I can remember. Weeden was unwatchable at times. Good luck judging this one.
Brandon Weeden’s Career Browns Stats: Win/Loss: 5-14
Spergon Wynn’s Career Browns Stats: Win/Loss: 0-1