An open letter to Phil Savage and the Cleveland Browns:
Twenty one months into the new regime, and the same old played-out lines and clichés are being uttered. Much like the previous six seasons, the same organizational-speak is still being tossed about like withered hay to a hungry and tired flock.
It takes time.
We have to make up for the previous regime's mistakes.
And, oh yeah, by the way, you'll still have to deal with increases in the price of tickets/concessions/beer/parking as a reward for your patience along the way.
What a racket!!!
Kool-Aid: It's not just for breakfast anymore.
With all due respect, Mr. Savage, fans aren't necessarily demanding instant gratification. They are looking for gratification of any speed or type, period. Glacial? Glacial would be good. Better than the alternative of bassackwards, which is the direction this team, this organization, is seemingly headed at this very moment.
Sure, there are bright spots here and there, which you were more than happy to point out in your press conference, by the way. And certainly, injuries have not been the least bit helpful. But, guess what? Injuries happen. Just ask any of your 31 NFL counterparts.
(As an aside: isn't using injuries as a crutch part of the "woe is me" mentality that was roundly criticized when you took over last year? And yet, there you were, hopping up to the podium with one firmly entrenched under your arm. It's funny how time and being in the midst skews one's view of what was at one point contemptible.)
And, yes, you "only" have two drafts and two free-agent classes with which to build thus far. Of course, at this time last year, you were 2-4 and had only one draft and one free agency period to go along with the pabulum left by Butch Davis & Company.
But, that being said, how much is enough? How many more excuses... errrr... pardon me... reasons can the paying public take?
I'm sure you've heard the saying "once bitten, twice shy". Well, what do they call the third? Or the fourth, for that matter, because that's where the majority of fans are at right now.
Pardon the patrons for being a bit skittish and a little more than leery when they hear yet another member of a front office talk of the progress being made. Especially from a member of the front office who is in charge of a team that went 6-10 last season, made a ton of seemingly quality off-season moves, and then stumbled out of the gate like a Kennedy at closing time.
Pardon the patrons that keep more than one eye fixed on the actions--not the words--of the organization, while all the time keeping a firmer grip on their wallet with one hand and a lighter grip on their fanaticism with the other.
And it's not like it's been just the last soon-to-be eight years of wandering aimlessly through the NFL desert, either, that has fans skeptical and searching for answers. No, it's the three years after The Move, plus the one year wasted by The Move.
That's twelve years of ambling about aimlessly.
I would think that even the Israelites began grumbling around Year Twelve. And I'm certain that Moses had to call more than his fair share of press conferences to assuage their concerns over what appeared to be a trip with no direction.
It was part of the job description, as it is yours.
That being said, maybe you're right. Maybe this team is on the right track. Maybe the right people--both on and off the field--are in place.
There are at least a few rays of hope to back that line of thinking.
Kellen and Braylon and, to some degree, Charlie are playmakers with upside. Reuben is solid, although a game-changer at the position shouldn't be kicked out of bed. The offensive line is two guards and a healthy LeCharles away from being, at the very least, average. And the former part of that last sentence can be addressed in one off-season, as you proved in 2005.
The defense over-performed their talent last season, and have out-played their secondary injuries thus far this season. For the most part, they keep the team in games, regardless of how under-performing and under-achieving their offensive counterparts have been. Talent plus solid coaching will do that, I guess.
You seemingly have a plan and are willing to stick to it. You seem to have a vision, which has been lacking in years past. That's nothing to sneeze at in the least.
The talent, on paper and when healthy, is the best it's been since the return in 1999.
So, there is some hope scattered amongst the rolling storm clouds.
But it's now time to spit or get off the spittoon.
Enough with the words. It's past time for those words to be backed by deeds.
Stop telling us what you've done or what you're going to do. Be Nike and just do it.
The Red Sea is in front of you. Part it.
It's the least that these fans deserve.