Based on comments I've gotten on my articles, it seems as if a lot of Browns fans wish to "stay the course" (or some variation of that) with the current coaching staff in place. They point to the fact that we don't need further changes, we've been through enough upheaval, the team is looking better, etc.
I will say that if you feel that way, that the current coaching staff is the one to lead the team to the promised land someday, then I respect your right to feel that way.
I don't agree with you, but I respect your right to feel that way.
Teams turn around quickly in today's NFL. No more do we wait 3-5 years for a "plan to kick in."
In 2007 both the Falcons and Dolphins were a MESS. The Falcons were dealing with Bobby Petrino's defection and Michael Vick's problems and finished 4-12, the Dolphins narrowly avoided 0-16 and finished 1-15.
The next year, where were the 2 teams? Both teams went to 11-5. You couldn't get two bigger MESSES than those 2 franchises in 2007. They had a combined win total of 5, yet won 22 the next season.
Now, the Dolphins have regressed since then, and surprise, surprise, surprise, Coach Tony Sparano is mentioned in some articles I've read as being on the "hot seat," in spite of having more success than the Browns have had in recent years.
You might argue that those are 2 isolated examples, that sometimes it takes a year for the guys to buy into the system. All right, let's look at Kansas City.
They were a mess the first year that Scott Pioli and Todd Haley took over. 2-14 last year. Now where are they? Clinched the AFC West.
My point is, we as Browns fans do not have to accept that there is a "plan" about to kick in. We've seen it for 2 seasons now. The Browns are just about the same to me. Instead of getting blown out, they just lose close games. Is that progress? To me it's like saying "well, they didn't stink as much as they did last year."
I'm not willing to accept that any longer. Even Detroit looks like it has the light coming on. They still are an also ran bunch but they seem to be getting stronger as the season goes on. The Browns? Limping to the finish line.
Teams DO TURN AROUND QUICKLY. The Dolphins and Falcons are prime examples of that. Why not the Browns? At least give me some signs of progress. And no, losing by less each week is NOT progress to me. There are some that comment on my articles that point to that like it's a badge of honor to lose by less but it's not. As I looked back on previous NFL seasons to write this article, I can't tell you how each team acquired it's losses. When the Dolphins went 11-5 in 2008, were those 5 losses close ones? Did they just about win, outside of a few bounces of the ball? Could they have been 14-2 that year?
I dunno. I don't remember.
All I know is I see 11 wins and 5 losses, how they got to that record is IRRELEVANT because the NFL reserves late season awards for winners and nothing for losers.
Did I expect the Browns to hit the playoffs? It's funny to me but people that comment on my articles either accuse me of being a negative guy and/or someone that had unrealistic expectations for the team going in to the year. Please read my season preview article here: http://cle.scout.com/2/1000299.html before commenting and you'll see that I was both optimistic and realistic about the upcoming season.
I think we have had such bad football for so long and are so sick of starting over that some want to believe that the Mangini system is our future. As the team has limped along after the bye week, even losing to inferior (given their records at the time) Buffalo and Cincinnati teams, I've stopped believing that the team is on the right direction.
Also, the Browns ARE NOT STARTING OVER. Mike Holmgren will still be President. Tom Heckert will still be GM. The front office and scouting staffs will not undergo a wholesale change as has happened in years past. There is stability now, so even changing coaching staffs won't represent a "do over" on the entire organization.
Pittsburgh flourished in the changeover from Cowher to Tomlin and Baltimore is doing ok after switching to Harbaugh (from Billick) because both teams kept their upper management intact.
Baltimore is an interesting case. Brian Billick won a SUPER BOWL and was still shown the door. Why should Eric Mangini be bulletproof in the eyes of (some) Cleveland faithful?
I believe to my core that the Browns need a new coaching staff. I'm not going to say it's been all of Eric Mangini's fault but this is his 5th year of head coaching and it's not like were talking about Bill Walsh here. He is a losing head coach in the NFL and has not led the Browns to any significant won-loss improvement in his 2nd full season.
It's time to try someone new. I'm ready for an Atlanta Falcons type of turnaround.
How about you?