This is a topic I brought up a few months ago, but the idea of not hearing anything stupid is one of my favorite things to happen during training camp and the preseason. It was nice to not have huge, ugly stories about holdouts, contract questions, and who is going to lead the NFL in times-sacked and passes-thrown-at-feet. Think about it – this preseason has been pretty uninteresting. How wonderful is that?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have thoroughly enjoyed taking in the preseason while not worrying about who outplayed who for a starter’s role, who got a suspicious injury off the field, or who went swimming in the staph pool. I know there have been hiccups: Trent Richardson’s “minor” surgery (which, as you might recall, scares the absolute hell out of me), Joe Haden getting the boot at the last practice for what seemed like a nothing, Chris Gocong’s season-ending injury, and other little tidbits. But injuries happen. Even with Haden, the Browns did a pretty good job of sweeping it under the rug and making it a minor occurrence.
The season is almost upon us and we can spend our time pretending that everything is going well. I believe this is a good thing, because I’m going to be optimistic for a few minutes.
The NFL is too fickle for this year’s Browns to be a terrible football team. Every year is full of surprises; good teams do poorly and bad teams do well. Year in and year out, some teams exceed expectations and some fall way short. The one constant through it all has been the Browns’ inability to get any better. I am truly going to convince myself that this year will be different. I’m not foolish enough to think this team will suddenly be a title contender, but I actually believe things are moving in the right direction enough to make this team interesting.
What’s not to like, besides history? This is a team that will have some bumps in the road due to young players at the skill positions, some sure-to-happen injuries, and what appears to be a very tough schedule. But think about it – there are still reasons to be optimistic about the Browns. A new offensive coordinator in Brad Childress - taking pressure off the now second-year head coach Pat Shurmur, who had zero time to prepare with his team before last season – should at least mean that there is a semblance of a game plan. Shurmur should be moving things in the right direction because most coaches don’t want to get worse as they go along (although that has been the norm in Cleveland). There is also a decent defense from last year whose biggest weakness was spending 40 minutes per game on the field.
What I’m trying to say is that I want to be optimistic about the coming season. Just think, Browns fans, the season is about to start and it hasn’t completely derailed yet!
I don’t know about you, but that makes me pretty happy.