When you are doing something different, you leave your self open for criticism. That’s what the Cleveland Browns are experiencing this off-season.
Look, we have no idea if the “analytic” approach will work, or whether Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta, Andrew Berry, and Hue Jackson will get the Browns back to the playoffs.
What we do know is that they can’t be worse than what came before them.
Cleveland has lost ten games or more in seven of the last eight seasons. They aren’t exactly a model of success.
So, we don’t listen to the national experts about how an NFL franchise is supposed to operate. We understand that the new front office staff is trying something different, and that is absolutely fine.
Veteran NFL executive Bill Polian made the comment, presumably because of DePodesta’s presence that the Browns were conducting the equivalent of a baseball fire sales.
Polian might have been trying to be snarky, but he is correct. That is exactly what the Browns are doing. They are basically gutting the roster and starting over. And we say why not?
All of the losing has poisoned the locker room. These guys simply don’t know how to win, and they have been exposed to coach after coach without an idea of how to win, or the enthusiasm to do so.
So, if Jackson comes off as cocky and self-confident, he is a virtual extrovert compared to Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, and Mike Pettine.
Think about it, when did any of those guys show one ounce of bounce and pep on the sideline.
Think about how the players, even the good ones, talked as the season went on and the losses piled up over the years. How many of them were genuinely angry or ticked off?
Exactly. That’s why one by one, the front office is purging those guys.
It is also funny to hear players offer statements questioning the weight program over the past few seasons. Apparently, Jackson and his staff looked at Cam Erving, for example, and told him he needed to get a lot stronger.
Why didn’t anyone tell him before now?
We have said it will be apparent this season how poorly this team was coached over the last two seasons. We will not be surprised at all if players like Danny Shelton, Erving, Nate Orchard, Christian Kirksey, and Ibrahim Campbell can be solid to good NFL players with the correct leadership.
We don’t know how these guys will draft and what their eye for talent is, but they shouldn’t be condemned by the mistakes of the people who came before them.
More veterans will be let go or traded before the beginning of training camp and we are okay with that. We believe these guys are following our adage, that being the only worse than a bad team is a bad, old team.
So, optimistic may be the wrong word regarding our thoughts on the Browns, perhaps a healthy curiosity is a better choice. At this point, you have to think that what they are doing makes sense.
And that doesn’t mean we think the Browns are going to win in 2016 either. If they win three or four games, that’s probably an accurate prediction.
But we can feel good about it as fans if they are doing it with young players and those guys are showing process on a week to week basis.
That would show a promising future, and if they do a good job with this year’s draft, we can all be anxious to see what they can do with another high pick and a bunch of choices later in the draft.
In the meantime, there is nothing wrong with trying something different. It just may pay off in the long run.