I have heard many of you say that the Browns are destined, yet again, for another round of the heartbreaking failures that we have come to know as Cleveland football. The 2013 season seems to fit the mold thus far. Many of us have long-since burnt up our personal reserves of hope that have carried our city for the last 50 years. We find it increasingly difficult to imagine any possibility of change. A new owner, regime, coaches and coordinators provide little that we have not seen before and our league-high streak of failure provides a dark shadow to guide us along our journey.
Let us try on a new perspective for a moment, shall we? Picture the team as a player, an injured player straight out of surgery. For many years, nagging injuries have thwarted all attempts at success. From broken legs to blown out knees, high-ankle sprains to bruised lungs, the Browns have struggled to obtain even a shaky foothold.
Halfway through another season and again we find ourselves left to endure the hardships of one setback after another, after another. We have however, finally undergone a surgical transplant of what was a faulty core and have seen early signs of improvement. We now find ourselves at the beginning of a difficult road and our outlook for success is only as strong as the regimen in place and regime behind it.
A doctor’s perspective would provide a detailed account of the issues at hand including instability at the quarterback position, the shaky legs of the offensive line, a restricted flow at running back and a collection of troubles at the wide receiver position. That unique perspective would also reveal a strong defensive backbone with a few mere kinks to straighten out, as well as a promising outlook on several old, lingering aches at cornerback, tight end, safety, and linebacker. As the 2014 NFL Draft is our theoretical medicine, our Cleveland Browns should soon find themselves with treatments in place for the serious issues and a strong support system to help alleviate the nagging aches.
As with any physical injury, it certainly takes time. Having had five shoulder surgeries myself, I have an understanding of the recovery process and the pains associated with rehabilitation. Perhaps the road to recovery has begun, yet even so, we have many issues to resolve, and as with any recovery situation, the road is long, difficult, and painful. If that wasn’t bad enough, the finish line seems hopelessly out of reach.
Will the Browns ever become the dynasty we long for? Our history quite adamantly screams no. As for me, I can relate to the process that is already underway. From the outside looking in, one would not find the drastic measures they feel are required for instant success. How could a few doses of “medicine”, a workout with weights so small that even a child find little resistance, a few tugs each day on a silly rubber band, and a regimen that painfully highlights the excruciating snail’s-pace of progress, possibly provide what we need? How can these little things even begin to fix what has seemingly always been broken? Certainly, they must do more and they must do it sooner, right? How can this slow, tedious process be what the Browns really need? Well, ask a therapist, a physical trainer, a doctor, a surgeon. Ask anyone who has put forth the effort to fight back from being down and out. Ask Adrian Peterson. Then ask anyone who has hurried the process only to live with the failures. Have we not seen the hurried failures of Bud Carson, Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Terry Robiskie, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, as well as both the hurried failure and nurtured success (although elsewhere) in the case of Bill Belichick? It is the smaller steps that provide the stability and we must allow the patience for our foundation to grow solid before we can expect to take on any significant weight.
The recovery period after a surgery is always a scary mixture of hope and horror. There is no detailing the amount of work required, no hurrying the pace, no taking breaks, and no cutting corners. I simply hope that our “doctors” in the front office take the time to rehabilitate our team in the proper fashion. As our history painfully shows, a five-year rebuild is not obtainable in a two-year window, no matter how many times or ways we try it.
Only time will tell if our front office is indeed what the doctor ordered, but if we can maintain the discipline, patience, determination, and heart that appears to be emerging in Berea, we could soon find ourselves, dare I say, rehabilitated. Our Road to Recovery may finally be underway and perhaps a new clinic has arrived in Cleveland. I personally expect a full recovery, but keep in mind that I do not expect it by tomorrow morning.
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