A couple weeks ago my article after the Carolina game generated a ton of comments, mostly hoping I'd go away because of my extreme negativity about the current direction of the team.
Yes, because the Browns certainly are on the upswing (said with tongue firmly planted in the cheek).
Now, before you think that I'm reveling in being right, think again. I'm really AGGRAVATED that I have to write about yet another lost season where I have to watch the Steelers and Ravens steamroll to the playoffs. I don't have to deal with too many Raven fans in Erie, PA but believe me when I tell you that I have a Steeler fan (or two or three or four dozen) gleefully gloating around every corner in my life.
For God sakes, I even have a "Terrible Truck" that rolls around my community. Yes, a guy painted his pickup Truck Yellow and Black, adorned it with Steeler logos/memorabilia and has named it "The Terrible Truck."
So, as you might imagine, being right about the Browns being also rans once again is of little comfort to me.
They're starting to get the right personnel in place but I just don't think this coaching staff is taking them to the promised land as we move forward.
We can talk about the fun wins they've had this year (see New Orleans, New England), we can talk about the would've/could've/should've close losses (Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Baltimore, New York Jets, Jacksonville) that could have altered the trajectory of the season, and we can even wish that Colt McCoy didn't get hurt.
What we can't deny is that the Browns just faced a 2-10 team and not only lost but looked offensively inept in doing so. Do good teams on the rise gel into a unit that can't beat a 2-10 team? I'm sorry, but they don't. And you can talk all you want that Buffalo is better than their 2-10 record (now, 3-10, thanks to the Browns). Go ahead and use that logic on me. If they're not 2-10, what are they? Does the NFL give awards out or money for teams that show potential or is that just propaganda fed to the media so that people besides diehard fans actually tune in to see the 5-7 Browns tussle with the 2-10 Bills?
Too many times I'm seeing unimaginative game plans from the coaching staff like today or they just out and out don't make the adjustments in game that might change the outcome. Too many close losses that have gone against the team. Too many headscratching moments.
I'm tired of excuses. I'm sick of "only if this would have happened" comments. I can't stand losing any longer.
The Browns rank right up there with Detroit for ineptitude since they've returned. The Steelers and Ravens manage Super Bowl wins and multiple playoff appearances. Even the sad sack Bengals make some noise once in a while.
The Browns are what they are. A losing franchise. An organization stuck in the mud.
Could they turn it around? Do they have football guys finally at the top like Holmgren/Heckert?
Yes and yes. Anything is possible. Currently the team stinks though. Know how I know? 5-8 and missing the playoffs. Facts are unfortunately stubborn things.
Currently I've lost my faith in the Browns coaching staff. You can't judge on would've/could've/should've or potential. You can only judge on wins and losses.
With the rare good performance not enough to stave off yet another losing campaign, this team is what it is. What is it? The Browns need to WIN OUT to get to .500.
Sorry, in 2001 or 2002 that might have been ok. As we get ready to go into 2011, it is not acceptable.
I think Mike Holmgren has a decision to make and I don't believe that it includes keeping the Belichick coaching tree alive in Cleveland much longer.
Just so you know, I look forward to the day when I can smile at the guy in the "Terrible Truck" knowing that my team is going to the playoffs while his is not. Heck, I'd revel in the day when I see him forced to repaint the thing because his team is so bad.
Don't see it happening anytime soon, unfortunately.