Unlicensed Pessimism

Brandon Weeden finding out he should have picked tails. - USA TODAY Sports

This is the first in a pair of articles giving the best and worst-case scenarios for the Cleveland Browns this season. Today you get the pessimistic version, and tomorrow you get the happy version to brighten your spirits just before kickoff.

Are you ready for another year of Cleveland Browns football? Have you stocked up on alcohol to wash away the memories? Have you booked a few extra appointments with your therapist? You should. This year isn't just going to be the same old Browns, it's going to be worse. That typical pre-season optimism isn't going to make it through the first quarter of opening weekend. Things start at the top, and our owner is going to be indicted for a federal crime. That's just the start of it. Joe Banner will expose himself as nothing more than a cap guy, and his hand-picked personnel man/best friend is exactly who we thought he was. With Michael Lombardi in charge of personnel, we shouldn't really expect much, but what we'll get is going to make even the strongest of haters look kind.

Desmond Bryant is going to get arrested again before the season even starts. Paul Kruger will be lucky to put up five sacks, and they'll all be coverage sacks. Jamoris Slaughter will be injured again within the first three weeks and Leon McFadden just blows. Of course, the guys left over from the previous regime aren't much better. Brandon Weeden will be a turnover machine in an offense that puts more weight on his shoulders. Trent Richardson continues to dance in the backfield and blame minor injuries. Josh Gordon will get popped for smoking pot again during his suspension and will never play another down of football for Cleveland. Then, he'll be picked up by the Patriots in the offseason, turn his life around, and go on to have a Hall of Fame career. Jabaal Sheard will be totally lost in coverage and will have trouble getting around the edge. TJ Ward is going to be injured again and placed on IR before the bye week. The personnel is just going to be a mess from top to bottom.

It won't help that our coaches are totally inept. We thought Pat Shurmur was bad? We'll be pining for the good old days of Shurmur's offense once we see the monstrosity Chud and Turner put together. They're going to be more predictable than a romantic comedy without any of the romance or comedy. In-game adjustments will be nonexistent and there will be a quarterback controversy that lasts all season, with the coaches eventually flipping a coin to determine who gets the start. Chud was an assistant for Romeo Crennel after all.

The defensive side won't be much better. Ray Horton may be fired up but he can't get the players ready to go. Everyone looks lost on defense, with the safeties routinely blowing coverage and giving up big plays. Joe Haden is supposed to follow around the other teams' best receiver, but all that does is allow opposing offenses to pick on our terrible corner depth. Horton will continue to blitz the house even after it becomes apparent no one is going to get to the QB. He'll call for 8-man fronts in third in long and 6-man fronts in short yardage situations, trying to somehow catch the offense off-guard and instead only getting the defense bulldozed.

The Browns won't go winless at least. Maybe the Bills forget to show up for Thursday night or something, only later to be stunned to find out they were scheduled for a nationally televised game. So the Browns will go 1-15 by virtue of a forfeit and will select first overall next April. On a night that should signify renewed hope, Browns fans are instead reminded of the ineptitude at the top when Michael Lombardi proudly announces the selection of Johnny Football. In a fit of despair fans will start to wonder if Phil Savage was offering serious advice and if rooting for another team might be better. In the end though, you'll stick around, because you're a glutton for punishment. Deep down you know how futile this whole exercise is, but no season has prepared you for the misery of the 2013 Cleveland Browns.

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