The Internet - and its first cousin social media - can be a very frustrating place, at times.
You see, the Cleveland Browns are 7-4. This is the first time in six seasons the Browns will not finish with four or five wins - total. Instead, Thanksgiving has come and gone and the team is still playing meaningful football.
You’d think all Browns fans would be happy that this team is in the thick of the playoff and AFC North hunt.
You’d be wrong.
There is a fraction, the size of this fraction isn’t entirely known, that is not happy. They let their opinions known on Twitter or on TheOBR message boards. This fraction is broken down into even smaller splints:
· Bench Brian Hoyer
· Yeah, but the Browns schedule is weak
· They’re still in last place
First, the idea that Brian Hoyer needs to be replaced is confounding. For the life of me I can’t understand the impatience in Cleveland, Ohio, to bring in a backup quarterback. This has been a running theme since 1999 and each time the move to the young, unproven rookie has been an abject failure. Now, at the times of the move to quarterbacks like Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn or Brandon Weeden, the team was also playing crappy football. So, ‘why not’ right?
Yet this time Hoyer is simply getting the job done. How he gets the job done isn’t the prettiest. Last week in Atlanta, his interceptions were bad throws. There is no sugar coating those mistakes. But with 44 seconds left, the Browns had one more chance and Hoyer delivered. Just like he did Week 2 against the Saints, three weeks later on the road against the Titans trailing 28-3 and just like he did Week 2 against the Vikings last year.
Regardless of how you feel about Hoyer, what is the hurry to bring in Johnny Manziel? Currently the Browns are winning with Hoyer as a quarterback. No, they’re not winning consistently or even pretty, but this is the NFL. That simply doesn’t happen. Every team, yes even the Patriots, have games that are complete stinkers. This year, the Browns have a couple of those (Jacksonville, Houston). Yet here are the Browns at 7-4, a half-game out of first place in the AFC North - in late November.
Second, the idea that the Browns schedule is weak. You can only play who is on your schedule. Yes it has included the crummy NFC South, but remember the Buccaneers beat the Steelers 27-24 on Sept. 28. In fact, never forget. Over the last six seasons it was the Browns that limped into games at this time of the season with one, two, three or four wins. And with each subsequent beat down, the opponent didn’t apologize because “it was just the Browns.” All wins count the same.
Finally, and this is just a temporary quirk, yes the Browns are 7-4 and technically they’re in last place in the AFC North. I prefer what I wrote earlier, “a half-game out of first.” With five games remaining including one each against the Bengals and Ravens, the Browns future is in front of them.
It begins this week in Buffalo. The Browns’ performance after big wins this year has been less than spectacular. Have they finally learned their lesson?
The Bills will either be a team playing inspired football after returning home to a battered region or a team that is mentally and physically tired from their lives being in disarray.
It is unreasonable to ask the Browns to win five consecutive games to finish the season. It is unrealistic to sit here and try to prediction what games they’ll win and what games they’ll lose.
Instead, try this. Sit back and simply enjoy the game. Don’t worry about the offseason, don’t worry about who is playing quarterback, just enjoy the fact that this week and the four weeks thereafter the Browns will play football with a purpose.
Save social media for your hot takes on politics or religion. That always ends well.