Last week, we started hearing it, the dreaded “T” word.
Tanking. Mostly, you hear about it in the NBA, when the prize for getting the first pick in the draft is a player like LeBron James or someone like that.
In basketball, having a superstar is a huge advantage because there are only five players on the court.
Both the local and national media alike are claiming that the Cleveland Browns are tanking, trying to lose purposefully to gain the first overall pick in next spring’s draft.
Our question is if the Browns are tanking this year, what have they been doing for most of the last 16 seasons since they returned to the NFL?
Face it, the Browns aren’t tanking.
What they have been doing to getting rid of veteran players who have no upside and played for a team that went 3-13 a year ago. And that just seems like common sense.
Have we fallen asleep and not realized Cleveland unloaded Tom Brady, J.J. Watt, and Jim Brown in the off-season?
No. They pared the roster of a lot of players over 30 years old who were on the downside of their careers, or rid themselves of players who didn’t produce much in the time they were here.
You could make a better case that Ray Farmer was tanking when he let Jabaal Sheard and T.J. Ward flee the team in free agency.
We have said it time and again, the only thing worse than being a bad team is being a bad, old team. Why not start playing a bunch of younger players, who may get better with experience, and see where the chips fall?
If you are tanking, the coaching staff tends to not play the best players. We don’t see any indication of that, unless you are a member of the media, and you still have a love affair with Josh McCown.
The Browns have tried a lot of different ways to improve their fortunes, but they haven’t tried going with a bunch of young players and let them develop, so why not give that a shot?
What’s the worst that can happen? In three years, they are still putting together 5-11 seasons? If that’s happening, then once again, Jimmy Haslam will be looking for a new coach and a new general manager.
The coaching staff and the players will want to win, and hopefully the young players will improve as the season progresses, and finally the Browns will have a foundation on which to build something.
If they were tanking, then Jackson would announce that Cody Kessler is the starting quarterback and they would have traded players like Joe Haden, and maybe even Joe Thomas.
Now, once the season starts and you are let’s say 2-10, you may not go out of your way to play veterans, so you can get an extensive look at more young players, the ones who haven’t been in there all year.
On the other hand, with all of the young players on the field, you hope to see improvement as the season goes on, and hopefully the Browns can be in a position to win those late season games.
The tanking issue is ridiculous. This was a bad football team a year ago, and they weren’t tanking then.
The Browns are trying to build something that will grow over the next few years, and doing it with young players is the way to do it.
When you really think about it, it’s just common sense.