It was shocking to read and listen to both fans and media alike being irritated by the Browns’ performance Friday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
What did these people expect? Did they believe Hue Jackson’s team was suddenly going to dominate another NFL team?
After Jackson was hired and Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta took over control of the franchise, the management has made no bones about the direction of the team. They were going to get younger and build through the draft, really the only tried and true method of building a winning football team.
If you have read this blog since the beginning of 2016, we have advocated and predicted that Brown and DePodesta were going to rid the roster of most of the over 30 years of age crew.
After all, the only thing worse than being a bad team is being a bad, old team.
The purge started with Donte Whitner and Karlos Dansby, Dwayne Bowe followed, and now Paul Kruger and even punter Andy Lee were moved off the squad.
And we believe that Tramon Williams, Andrew Hawkins won’t be here for week one, and we have a feeling that Josh McCown won’t be either.
The Browns are accumulating young players and draft picks, and when you play a lot of inexperienced players, losing usually follows. At least at the beginning.
The expectation is the team will build around the players taken last season that weren’t really given a chance to play, the 14 draft picks taken last April, and all of the picks the front office has accumulated in the 2017 and 2018 NFL Drafts.
That doesn’t mean the players and coaching staff will not try to win every week, of course they will, that’s imbedded in the DNA of competitive people.
However, they are usually going to be outmanned in each game, mostly because of a lack of experience.
What the front office is trying to decide is who can be a contributing player in 2018 or 2019, when this team is ready to make a legitimate playoff run. If it happens sooner, then great, all that means is the Browns will be winners and still have a boatload of draft picks.
Gone is the philosophy of bringing veterans to patch some holes and keep the team somewhat competitive, perhaps winning five or six games so the coaching staff can say the Browns are improving.
Instead, the organization is throwing a lot of stuff against the wall and hoping some of it sticks.
The rookies and second year players are going to get to play and prove themselves. If they get better as the season progresses, the coaches and front office will determine them to be keepers. If they can’t get it done, they will be replaced by younger players acquired in the next two drafts.
It’s not a mystery. Every signal given by the folks in Berea indicate just that.
So, don’t be surprised if this team loses in the early part of the season, and sometimes, the games will be flat out ugly.
And if the team doesn’t show some improvement as the season goes on, then you can be concerned, because that’s the plan.
In the meantime, get ready for more veterans to depart and more young players, particularly players cut after the final cut this weekend, to be brought in.
Frankly, we are puzzled as to why people were expecting anything different.