Annual Browns' Reality Check

Annual Browns' Reality Check

With visions of 7-9 dancing in our heads (mine too), we were again suckered, hoodwinked and bamboozled into thinking that our Sundays would be filled with anything but mostly unwatchable football.

Purely because I want to (again) go on the record - and NOT because I delight in being that guy that told you so, but....

I told you.

But here we are again, mere hours removed from yet another deflating Browns' season opener - one that was artificially propped up by MONTHS of breathless talk about "vertical" shotgun offenses and attacking defenses - all wrapped up in the energy of new ownership and a seemingly competent front office.

With visions of 7-9 dancing in our heads (mine too), we were again suckered, hoodwinked and bamboozled into thinking that our Sundays would be filled with anything but mostly unwatchable football.

That the Browns resembled anything but what they have been for years is an indictment of another blustery offseason. Of course all of us, media and fans are guilty of yet again taking the bait to some degree.

Most of us (not me this time), let our guards down enough to be swayed by the only remaining news(y) entity in town, completely forgetting that the Cleveland Plain Dealer and every other media entity that feeds off it now exists to do the following:

Get people to click on its ads.

And to do so, they pumped thousands of effusive words of praise upon what was and still very much is a 5-11 football team. Regardless of how enticing those words sound - "attack, attack, attack" and the like, we are all still watching a 5-11 football team operate.

After Brandon Weeden dissected a sterile Rams' preseason defense, those frenzied clicks seemed to signal the dawning of a new era of Browns' football.

Or at the least, our collective interest was peaked just enough to allow that glimmer of hope. Of course, since sports journalism long ago left town, that hope is readily supplied by our main Browns' "news" source, the one that happily convinced us that:

1. Brandon Weeden has evolved from the kind of nervous quarterback who locks onto one receiver and then rifles a touch pass with the grace of a dancing elephant.

2. O'Neil Cousins is actually the team's "best option" at Right Guard.

3. Mitch Schwartz is a solid pass protector.

4. The Browns have real depth at wide receiver.

5. You haven't seen defense until Ray Horton shows it to you.

6. Buster Skrine is a fiery competitor and such.

And let's not get started on that draft the hastily constructed front office virtually skipped back in April.

The obvious point here is that no one cares about a 5-11 team. To the PD and resulting media's credit, the sales job that was executed this offseason was stunning.

But all is not lost - in what could very well be another lost season.

In order to maintain interest - or at least a curiosity - in the Browns, we'll always have the following from our PD friends:

1. Brandon Weeden on the Hot Seat!

2. Let's complain about Cornerbacks.

3. The great Cousins/Gilkey debate.

4. Teddy or Tajh?

5. Jim Brown returns (again).

6. Jimmy Haslam on Trial.

And we'll all click on each of the above.

Anyway, it would be extraordinarily pessimistic to suggest that the Browns' 2013 season is already over. As I have suggested countless times over the last several months, the Browns possess a good deal of young, talented players. The current coaching staff is likely the most competent of the expansion era and there were still a few positives to take away from the opening day loss.

However, it's far easier to view this season from an adjusted perspective. While the Browns are nowhere near the team recent headlines tried to establish them as, they are also not as bad as the team that struggled to score 10 points and couldn't stop Brian Hartline.

Somewhere in between lies the kind of reality that you just can't read about anymore.

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