I expected to be upset over the latest in a long string of inept losses by the Browns. Certainly the Cleveland fans around me in the bar were not shy about expressing their utter disappointment, frustration and anger.
"Holmgren should come downstairs and fire Mangini before the game is over!"
"Yeah, wouldn't it be awesome if he didn't even let him (Mangini) finish the game?"
"Hey, the Bengals won, maybe we should root for them."
Yes, week 2 and Browns Nation is a disgusted bunch. I can't say that I blame them. We, as fans, have been treated to terrible football since 1999. Only Detroit has had less of a clue than Cleveland over the last decade plus.
Fueling the angst is the taste of winning at the end of last season. The 4 game winning streak to end the 2009 season looked to have a good chance to extend when you have Tampa and Kansas City as your first two opponents.
Even more alarming than the losses (which were bad enough), but now it looks like the two "supposed" strengths of the Browns are pretty non-existent. I don't know about you but I'm not getting the warm and fuzzies with regards to Cleveland's Offensive Line in general and their Run Offense in specific.
If they don't have the running game or offensive line we thought they did, then they really are starting from the ground floor.
Which brings me to the crux of this article. The ground floor. That is where the Browns are starting from.
The team has started, stopped, started, stopped and sputtered so much in 10+ years that Browns Nation has lost its collective patience. You do have to be BAD to turn Cleveland Fans against you but that's exactly what the Browns organization has done through a series of inept hires in the front office and player acquistions.
We are collectively not willing to put up with anymore rebuilding projects.
However, that is EXACTLY where we are at. Rebuilding. The ground floor.
I understand the disgust better than anyone. I understand the lack of patience. However, it is what it is.
Ladies and gentlemen, this cupboard is bare. No franchise QB, no breakout WR, no great TE, an offensive line that has not jelled, an fair front 7 (and I'm being nice) plus a very young secondary.
I know it really stinks to be 0-2 after playing two bottom feeders like Tampa and Kansas City but it doesn't surprise me. Holmgren and company need some time to turn this around. It won't happen this season and likely 2011 will be kind of a long campaign too. I don't see this team start to make any noise until 2012.
When I wrote my season preview, I did think that with the right QB play the Browns MIGHT have an outside chance at the playoffs. I was assuming that their running game and offensive line was solid when I wrote that. Well, they are zero for 3 on those counts. Delhomme and Wallace have shown nothing and the running game and offensive line are not where I thought they'd be.
It's looking like a long year but I'm actually feeling more optimistic about the Browns long term chances. Something tells me that as Holmgren and Heckert dig in, you'll get more and more playmakers on the roster.
Until then, we just have to lay back, relax and hope that the Browns can pull off some victories against the Ravens, Bengals and especially the Steelers, so that those teams get derailed. I hate to think of the Browns as nothing but "spoliers" but I'm afraid that is the best we can hope for this year.
Above all, don't expect much from the Browns. There just isn't much there.
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