I am something of a Cleveland Browns optimist. In fact, I am generally pretty optimistic in life. Sometimes annoyingly so but it is rooted in me. Perhaps it is my faith but the idea of hope has just been a part of how I think, process information and interact with people. It obviously has helped me in my 13 years as a mental health professional.
For the past week or so I haven't slept well. Back and hip issues along with big stresses at work have crept in to deny me good rest. It finally caught up to me last night, getting in bed at 7, falling asleep about 8:30 and sleeping well throughout the night until about 6 this morning. Feeling refreshed this morning.
The other thing I am feeling is hope. I dreamed a Browns dream last night but it was an interesting amalgamation of a number of thoughts I have had this off-season. It was a series of possibilities all leading to more than just hope but of success for our team over the next two years.
I want to share them with you here as a primer of sorts:
Scenario 1: With their strong defense and run game, Josh McCown leads the team to a winning record and a Playoff spot. Terrelle Pryor develops into a solid big slot WR/TE to pair with Dwayne Bowe and Andrew Hawkins to give the Browns the kind of pass game needed to win games.
Scenario 2: Johnny Manziel gets a chance to show what he can do at some point in time, Training Camp, Pre-Season or due to an injury in the season to McCown, and proves that he can be a reliable QB in the NFL. The Browns have answered their QB of the Future question finally.
Scenario 3: The Browns just can't pull out victories even with their great run game and defense. The Browns are in every game but only get 4 wins. The foundation of the team is clear as is the need for just a couple more pieces, specifically at QB and TE. Analyst note the Browns as a team ready to explode if they find the right guy behind center.
Scenario 4: Manziel looks good in Pre-Season, Tony Romo gets hurt at some point, and the Browns get 2nd and 3rd Round picks in the 2016 NFL Draft from the Dallas Cowboys. (Still could clearly can see Jerry Jones trading for Johnny in the next year.)
Following Scenario 1: Josh Gordon returns to give the Browns an amazing set of receivers. He and Bowe on the outside with Pryor, Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel providing amazing slot talent and depth for the team. McCown competes with Manziel and a 2nd Rd. pick for the starting job. The Browns draft the best tight end in the draft in the 1st Rd. and Alex Mack returns with a new contract. The foundation is set on defense, the offensive line and run game, allowing the Browns to focus their talent acquisitions on QB and TE early in the Draft.
Following Scenario 2: With Manziel answering the QB question, the Browns draft opens up and the team is able to focus on quality over quantity. The Browns trade up for former Ohio State Buckeyes star Joey Bosa to give them an elite talent on their defensive line.
Following Scenario 3: With their high draft pick, the Browns select the top QB in the 2016 NFL Draft. Christian Hackenburg, Connor Cook, Cardale Jones and others could be the answer to the Browns age old problem at QB. Gordon's return, along with Pryor's development, gives the young QB weapons to work with.
Following Scenario 4: The Browns have more assets after unloading Manziel, they continue to build their roster with youth, including finding their young QB in the '16 Draft where a QB is likely to be picked in the first two rounds.
Maybe my dreams are too small. Maybe you have had similar dreams. The great thing about this Browns team, as long as Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine are allowed to stick around, is their foundation is clear and set. Now it is easy to foresee a future where success can come on the basis of this foundation.
What is your Browns dream?