Since the return of the Browns to professional football in the late 90's, consistency has not been a luxury. Whether the topic is stability, coaching presence, or even something as simple as having a quarterback that can start an entire season, fans and sports professionals alike can all agree that the word consistent has not been in the lexicon of the franchise.
Oh, except one word: Injuries.
Injuries have been a word on the tip of everyone's tongue as of late, thanks to some rough play and large fines thrown down by league officials. I'm not here to talk about any situation involving helmet to helmet or how much of a jerk hard playing NFL defensive men may or may not be. I have one thing specifically in mind: Could the problems faced by the Browns year after year be caused by a complete lack of competency on part of the medical staff?
Let us look at the facts.
Looking back at the injury tally for the last ten years, one can obviously see that Cleveland has been affected by the injury bug like it was an infestation. Just this year alone, Cleveland has had over 100 listings to their injury report (105 according to the Sports Illustrated injury report). Additionally, I am sure I don't have to remind any Browns fan of the year after year groaning that comes along with the injury report. Point in fact, I consider the preseason to be nothing more than a wait and see in terms of injuries. I've even changed my outlook on upcoming seasons based purely off of injuries or a lack-there-of in preseason.
Injuries themselves during a season is not the only problem to take into account. the medical facilities with the Browns must also be called into question with the reoccurring problem over the last five years of staph and MRSA infections. Evidence can be drawn that the majority of these staph infections have to be nosocomial (aka, infections picked up from the facility in question), and thus preventable with proper care. Look into the cases of Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, Brian Russell, and more recently the court case initiated by LeCharles Bentley wherein a lawsuit is being slapped against the medical facilities.
Interesting side note to the Bentley case, on a recent radio segment on ESPN 850 WKNR, Bentley was confronted by a call-in fan about his continuing to work and be affiliated with the Browns despite the lawsuit. Bentley quickly cut the caller off and dismissed the claim, all the while telling the caller (and anyone else) to "come talk to him in person about it", in what could only be viewed as an attempt to avoid the hypocrisy.
Are the medical facilities at fault? Could the problems of the Browns be turned around with better health care? One could assume that the idea couldn't hurt, as year in and year out Cleveland is one of the most, if not the most injury ridden teams in the league. Certainly, that issue has arisen this year already.
Through the quarterback changes, coaching changes, personnel changes, and anything else that has been swapped, switched, or modified, one thing has stayed almost the same. Could a change in the medical protocol be the answer? I would say yes.