As usual in Cleveland, with every ray of sunshine, there must be a little rain.
That’s what it felt like this weekend, when the optimism regarding the Browns’ draft was quickly doused by the news of All Pro WR Josh Gordon’s suspension for the 2014 season.
However, as GM Ray Farmer pointed out yesterday, the organization has to treat the news the same as if Gordon suffered an injury to keep him out for the year. The season is still going to be played and the Browns still need to win football games.
Cleveland came into the draft with several areas to upgrade, not just quarterback. They needed an inside linebacker, help in the secondary, offensive line help, another running back, and another wide receiver.
Outside of the last spot, Farmer attempted to fill every one of them. After the first day of the draft, the Browns selected offensive lineman Joel Bitonio, who they will likely play at guard, LB Christian Kirksey, who will compete for a job on the inside, RB Terrance West, and another CB in Pierre Desir.
You have to give the front office credit for recognizing the holes and attempting to fill them.
We aren’t going to be like some people though, and declare the Browns a completed project, because if we know anything about the NFL draft, it’s that it is not an exact process, and some of these players will not work out.
However, there wasn’t a head scratcher pick either. All of the Browns’ choices were thought of as good, solid picks.
And don’t forget, Farmer also added a first round choice in 2015 as well, and from Buffalo, a team no one is projecting as a playoff team at this point in the off-season. If they don’t reach the post-season, that choice will be in the top 20.
We love coach Mike Pettine saying players “play like a Brown”. We understand that it is cliche, but it does show the organization is trying to form an identity, and that is getting tough minded players, who hit hard, and are aggressive. After many years of drifting in the desert, it is a welcome approach.
And even though, Cleveland acquired a second first round choice in 2015, there doesn’t seem to be any look toward the future in Pettine and Farmer either. The time of looking toward next year looks like is over.
That’s why we believe the coach about competition at every position including quarterback. If Brian Hoyer has the best training camp this summer, he should be under center against the Steelers in the season opener. If Johnny Manziel outperforms him, then he should get the nod.
Either passer will not be the featured player in terms of the Browns winning. Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will make sure the Browns will be effective running the football, and it appears Cleveland is building a very good defense.
There won’t be very many games in which the Browns’ QB is out there throwing 40-50 times per contest. The pressure will be off of Hoyer and Manziel, at least in the 2014 season.
We didn’t want Manziel taken with the 4th overall pick because it is time for this football team to take a large step forward. They need to win between 7-9 games this season, at least.
No excuses about growing pains for a rookie QB and how this is part of the grand plan for the future. They need to take a giant step forward in 2014, and we believe the coach and GM understand just that.
The Browns came into the off-season with several holes and they have tried to fill them. They now after another pot hole at WR with Gordon’s possible suspension, and based on what they’ve done so far, it isn’t realistic to think they won’t try to find someone to play that spot before training camp.
There needs to be progress in ’14. The ten loss seasons need to be history.