A lot of times, I’m accused of being negative. I hear it constantly, how pessimistic I am and how it’s not supportive enough of the team. First, I’m actually toning down my pessimism for your sake. If you could hear how negative I think, you’d have to stare at a picture of teddy bears sitting on a rainbow eating ice cream for a few hours to get back to even.
I recognize that I hold a generally pessimistic outlook on things. I’m a Browns fan, sue me. My 29 years of Browns Fandom have taught me that the thing I love is likely to build me up just to crush my dreams.
All that said, I’m going to be positive for a change. I’m going to give you my reasons why I think we see a substantial turnaround from the Cleveland Browns this season.
1. The Weapons
The Browns have an impressive core of offensive weapons. Returning from last season are breakout stars Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. Both were selected to last year’s Pro Bowl, and Gordon smashed multiple Browns and NFL records. Add to that the recent signing of coveted running back Ben Tate, as well as likely another WR or two in this draft, and the Browns offensive skill players are clearly emerging as an elite group. More importantly, they are VERY young, meaning that with proper cap management, the Browns could hold this group together for a very long time.
2. The Quarterback
Before you jump up and tell me how there’s no way that I know for sure that Brian Hoyer is the Browns answer at quarterback, let me stop you for a minute. First, I don’t care. Second, that’s not the point I’m making. The point I am making is that Hoyer is the favorite to be the Browns starting quarterback heading through camp, pre-season and into the regular season. Barring an injury or otherwise, the team has made it fairly clear that the job belongs to Hoyer. So, for the first time in a while, we have no quarterback controversy. We’ll get to have a QB spend valuable time learning the system and practicing with the starters. That kind of stability is important to a teams success. Thankfully, it looks like we’ll get it.
3. The Coach
Mike Pettine may be a new Head Coach, but I think he’s the right kind of guy to lead the Cleveland Browns. Finally we’re passed these flashy, razzle dazzle offensive “geniuses” like Pat Shurmer. We can finally have a coach on the sidelines who’s going to have a demeanor that fits the AFC North. A guy who values toughness and grit, a lack of which cost the Browns wins last year when they let up and couldn’t close out halves or games. Mike Pettine isn’t the flashy choice to lead this team, but I think he’s the right fit.
4. The Defense
Though they struggled to close, the Browns had a pretty good defense last year. They should get better this year, plugging holes in Free Agency and building in the draft. The Browns also have a Coach in Mike Pettine who is going to focus on defense. Outside of a major rash of injuries, I can’t see the Browns defense regressing.
5. Saying Goodbye To The Riff Raff.
Sometimes you get better by players you add, some times you get better by the guys you get rid of. Brandon Weeden, Davone Bess, Oniel Cousins, and Shawn Laovau were all bad last year. Of all the Browns exceptionally bad players from last year, the only one who is still on the roster as of the writing of this is Greg Little. While I’m positive his hands are broken beyond repair, he may survive one more year just because he’s cheap to keep on the roster. Either way, not risking Weeden under center, Cousins on the line, or Bess touching the ball or influencing Josh Gordon, can only be viewed as a win for the Browns.
Shawn is the Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer for Dawg Pound Nation. He’s also an Army Sergeant, married to the beautiful and brilliant @MrsStarr, dad to three and aspiring Browns Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @ShawnMStarr or @DawgPoundNews, as well as on the Dawg Pound Nation Facebook Page.