One step away from locking the hospital wardroom door, yanking out our IV, and chewing the chord of our life support, all of us Browns fans alike must be going AWOL like a virgin sailor caught red handed in a Taiwanese brothel. Hit the high road like the ship never sailed. Might as well as run back to where the devil found his soul in Baltimore, right?
Albeit, quotes such as,
"I guess the Cleveland fan base is doomed to another 4-12 season and another year of hoping for regime change."
"I have said here before - Haslam bought the team to make them a little better, he'll make tons of money on the fan base - but his heart is with the Steelers. This proves it."
...From message board lobbyist on Yahoo! are just so convincing we must be certifiably insane to expect anything more than the laughing stock of the league as Cleveland sports fans this season. I must simply and wholeheartedly disagree with Silky Johnson and his crew of Player Haters. There will no doubt be a plethora of haters this season for a multitude of reasons, such as: having only drafted 5 players - 3 of which were in the 6th and 7th rounds, having our brand new owner involved in a corporate extortion agenda which could very well lead him to prison in the near future, having yet another unproven coaching staff and front office leading our team in an unfashionable direction, and, if for no other reason but for sheer kicks and giggles, having a 29 year old ginger start as our QB...again...
Firstly, there's nothing any of us could possibly do or say to speculate on the reality of this situation regarding Jimmy Haslam and his Flying Pilot J company. He is at the mercy of the FBI at this time, and what ever is left of him will be vulture scraps for Roger Goodell and the other NFL execs if they so choose to eat him alive as to make an example and please the Player's Association. This really is no laughing matter for anyone in the league unless you're a Steelers or Ravens fan who happened to be the child of a mother whom was as sure handed as Kenny Davis holding a bar of soap in the prison showers with Nasty Nate. I will reserve my worst fears of the future of our franchise until all accounts are finalized within the legal system. Although, I'll admit I fear not even the Squirrel Master himself could do much to save our cocktail fruit now.
Moving along to what is determinable, many of us here at DBN are well aware that at least half of these issues are null. Brandon Weeden for better or worse is our best candidate to lead this team this season. If there's a better option to outplay him as our field general then no doubt our staff did the best they could do with the limited resources presented to us this season, which I personally believe we did by signing veteran Jason Campbell. On that note, concerning the gentlemen making that decision, the specific expertise of each coach at their respective position seems to me the best line up we've had in Cleveland since 99. The only question mark which remains resides within Rob Chudzinksi. However, having seen him coach during his previous tenure here along with innovating a top of the line offense specifically for a young quarterback who many assumed (including myself) couldn't last half a season in this league in Carolina the past two years, I have no doubt he possesses the wherewithal and charisma to spark a fire in the belly of our team.
Sitting across the other side of the desk we find Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi, the leaders of our revamped front office. No doubt these two will bare the brunt of the scrutiny during this 2013 NFL Draft extravaganza. As mentioned earlier, we will have walked away from this experience with only 5 drafted players, as few as ever in recent memory that I care to research at this time. It could easily be determined that only one of these players, OLB Barkevious Mingo, has a clear shot at becoming a starter September 8th when the Dolphins head to Cleveland for the start of the regular season. Even then it is highly questionable as Jabaal Sheard will likely be given the opportunity to prove himself in a 3-4 alignment and having just rescued veteran Paul Kruger from the great dilemma of whether to purchase a Ferrari or a Porsche when now he can easily buy both.
The great question which will revolve around Banner and Lombardi over the next year or two will certainly involve our trades with Pittsburgh and Indianapolis in which we respectively handed over a 4th and 5th round pick for a 3rd and 4th round pick in the 2014 Draft. Initially, most of us were likely a little put off by these decisions. I know I was at first especially when I saw it was Pittsburgh we traded with. But when you see a good deal, even if it means shaking hands with the sweaty palm of a monkey after it picked it's nose, you can't turn it down. Both of these trades were good deals, and I'll tell you why.
It's obvious Banner and Lombardi simply weren't impressed by this draft class. Now I'll admit being as informed as a grandfather slanging jive to fit in with his hipster grandkids, but it seems relevant enough to suggest that this has been the lowest value of draft talent the college ranks have produced for the NFL through the last decade I've followed the league. As a fan and not an expert of player talent and potential, I have no other educated option other than to believe the talking heads on TV and the likes of my Brownie brethren who suggest next year will be jam-packed with better talent. Most importantly to include quarterback talent as this will be the one year Weeden has to prove to this new regime that he deserves to be our future at least for the next few years before his red hair begins turning gray. If not, we go big in the first round with the added ammo we've collected this year in preparation for those events.
Along with evaluating our quarterback situation, this cautiously passive approach by Lombanner will allow Chud and the gang to assess everyone else on our team. Not to suggest they feel fully comfortable with the players currently on board, but if we begin throwing in too many young prospects in the mix now, will the coaching staff have enough playing time for our current roster to showcase their abilities, or lack thereof if such is the case, in order to define what's written on paper? Also, something that seems to have slipped the radar a bit during this whole process, I recall reading a headline recently stating our personnel department wasn't going to be greatly involved in this process of selecting draft picks, which only confirms my belief since the transition of this new staff that Banner and Lombardi will be looking to make a clean sweep of our scouting department in the next few months. By this time next year the duo will have scouts they are more inclined to trust with their vision of aggressively athletic playmakers, rather than relying so much on themselves to make the best evaluation during such a short amount of time as they could have done.
All in all, this weekend was not a failure in my mind. If anything, this could be one of the few saving graces of this season when regarding the atrocity we may be facing in the wake of Haslam's prosecution. Our greatest hope at this point is that the 'Zinski Boys are capable of outshining this dark cloud with their play on the field while Banner and Lombardi continue to build a professionally coherent football organization. If worst comes to worst (knock on my ship because it's a minesweeper made out of Douglas Fur wood), there is no greater motivation for us diehard Brownies than to prove to the NFL why we're the greatest fans in modern sports history. We've done it once. We can do it again, my friends.