Browns Aftermath: Fans are Flipped out after loss to Jacksonville

Dec 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) watches as the ball gets away after being stripped by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin (58) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) watches as the ball gets away after being stripped by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin (58) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are again, waiting for a better “Next Year”. A logical viewpoint of the Cleveland Browns and the 2013 NFL season would most certainly entail a 4-12 finish being the absolute best case, at this point, for our beloved Browns. We now travel to New England to battle the Patriots. We will then take on the Bears at home and finish our season on the road at the Jets and Steelers.

Is there logic in losing?

Absolutely, the season is all but a bust and we do not have the talent required to win. Therefore, a 4-12 season would certainly allow the best positioning to obtain our much-needed “franchise” quarterback. The logic is sound and I cannot argue it, but I do not agree.

What is truly best for the Browns?

Should we “tank” the season in order to receive a top pick?

No, absolutely not! Championship teams are not based upon the skill set of a single player. They never have been and they never will be.

Did Michael Jordan have help? Well, there was that Pippen fella, among a few others.

Did LeGONE James have help in Cleveland? Did we win?

Has he won since he found help elsewhere? I will pretend not to know that answer.

My point is simple. A team is exactly that, a TEAM. One player will not fix our woes. I truly hope we can get that “franchise” QB that has evaded us since we joined together, singing “Bernie, Bernie”. A 20-year drought has since taken its toll on our mentality, as to be expected, but our growth cannot stop there.

Our offensive line has struggled immensely. Our wide receivers (not named Gordon) have proven unreliable at best. Our running backs are slowly improving, but none have shown the promise of a featured back. We also need depth at cornerback, safety and tight end among other positions.

We need help in many places. I will surely find little argument in saying that quarterback, running back, guard and right tackle are positions of urgent need. The same can be said for cornerback, with the exception of a starter. I feel that depth is an absolute must, yet our starting corners should remain in place. Joe Haden is quickly proving to be among the top in the game, while Buster Skrine has shown not only a relentless motor, but also vast improvement. I say let them emerge as a top tandem in the league. Haden certainly showed his emotions in the loss to the Jaguars and I am sure he would like to have a play or two back from that one, but he remains the new “Top Dawg” and Skrine will continue to turn heads as he continues his rapid growth.

As I slowly circle back to the original topic here, let me ask you several questions.

How would Weeden play with a solid offensive line?

In Sunday’s loss, he obtained 370 yards passing and a quarterback rating of 94.8. If he were behind a solid offensive line he most certainly would play better. Hang on, I’m not done yet. No, I do not think Weeden should be included in our hopes for next year. He has proven an inability to maintain his cool under pressure, which o-line help would improve, but he also has proven himself to make bad FLIPPIN decisions. I feel he has endured much more criticism than any athlete ever should, but no, I do not want him at the helm next year and no, I do not believe that he is a “franchise guy”.

Will any quarterback play well behind our offensive line as it is?

I am confident that an explanation is not needed.

Do first-round picks get hurt?

We have seen a multitude of injuries this year alone among the top picks in the draft.  If our focus is solely on a quarterback, and said quarterback happens to get injured, I may likely find myself re-writing this article next year.

Is a quarterback a requirement to win?

Ahh, thus we have the issue at hand. Yes, yes and yes. That question is easily answered with a look at the Packers, Bears and many other teams this season. We absolutely need a solid starting quarterback and depth behind him. I feel our depth should not be a concern with Hoyer, Trick-Shot Tanney and Campbell, or any two of the three, but we must find a starter. We also must allow that starter to survive long enough to grow into the “franchise” roll.

If we take a top tier QB in the draft, should they start the 2014 season?

As it is now the trend, quarterbacks are expected to jump right in and play flawlessly. Unfortunately, anything short of that will certainly enrage many in Cleveland. I hope that we can maintain our patience and allow the growth required for success. No, they should not be thrown directly into the fire, regardless of the new norm.

How would improving the line help our offense?

I will not insult your intelligence by assuming that you don’t already know that answer.

In what order should we address these positions of need?

Again, we touch on the heart of the matter. Common belief is that the order should be a quarterback first, followed by a running back, and then additions at wide receiver, guard, cornerback and tackle, in whichever order allows the best group of players. A QB is much needed and if we are in position to secure a “franchise guy”, we simply must, as they are too few and too far between. If not however, the offensive line should be our top priority.

What happens if we DON’T get a “franchise” quarterback in 2014?

I feel the most urgent of our needs is indeed QB, but perhaps just as important is the offensive line. It all starts in the middle. Our QB’s have been forced to run for their lives, while our running backs have found more defenders than holes. I will say it once more, without help on the offensive line it will not matter who is at the helm.

If we strengthen our line however, we will improve the running game and allow a mediocre to good quarterback to sustain us throughout the year. I too share your desire for immediate and overwhelming success, but the reality remains that these things need time. Dynasties are not born overnight. Whether we secure a quarterback or not, next year should mark great improvement, but the holes filled the year following will likely provide our earliest possible contention.

If the Brown’s top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft is not the answer at quarterback, then perhaps a pick in the later rounds or even free agency, the 2015 draft, or our existing roster will be. In any scenario, we must continue to strengthen as a unit and grow as a team.

What builds a winning team?

First and foremost, I will not disagree that a quarterback is essential. That being said, the will to win coupled with a relentless attack are, in my mind, the most invaluable. We must fight. We must give it all we have and more. We must build the camaraderie in the locker room that championship teams are known for. It simply does not come by “tanking” or “giving up”. I will allow that hard-fought losses may indeed be best as they would certainly feed the fire, while allowing prime positioning in the draft, but only if it is not due to lack of heart and determination. A player without heart is not a player that will help and not a player that should be here in Cleveland.

We must build from the core in more ways than one. We must have a solid line on both sides of the ball. We must have the superior efforts of the “Joe Haden’s”, mixed with the relentless pursuit and drive of the “Buster Skrine’s”. It is after all, the unknown players filling the gaps that solidify a dynasty. If we can progress that likeness across the roster, we will find the quarterback position still essential, but much less crucial. In a word, it is TEAM that builds a winner.

I certainly hope we have success in obtaining a quarterback in the draft next season, but I also hope for success now. If we do not obtain success on the field then we must find success through growth of heart and strengthening of pride. We may likely lose the remaining games while giving an all out effort, as our depth of talent is not yet overwhelming. If so, we will be able to fill the void at the helm more easily. If we overcome the odds and pull out some additional victories, I say fantastic. Never give up! Never give in! Build the character of a champion.

There remains much work to be done and it will take more time than any of us prefer. A quarterback is truly needed, even desperately needed, but it is not the sole answer. Instead, the answer for Cleveland, the answer for us, is SOUL.

Thank you for reading.


I also encourage you to read this excellent article on the current front office and media hype from Dawg Pound Daily’s own “Top Dawg” Peter Smith.

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Tags: Brandon Weeden Cleveland Browns NFL Draft

  • Letterman007

    I agree with you to a point. I,too, don’t like tanking anything ! However, this town and fans deserve a winning franchise. I grew up watching The Great Jim Brown run against people like Sam Huff and others. Frank Ryan and Gary Collins make pass plays and winning the last championship for the area! Bernie Kosar and Brian Brennan, Hanford Dixon and all the rest. But it’s time to get back to those teams and winning more than loosing!! Right now not winning is helping us reach that goal. I’m not saying not to play hard or not to try to win !! Don’t , for God sakes ,throw the game. But be patient and try to understand We will get better soon, it will be up to the FO to take us to where we need to be. The defense is doing the best it can and is understandably frustrated, they are on the field way to much do to our offensive short comings.

    • Backwoods

      Our last championship came along well before I did, as I grew up watching Kosar, Ozzie, Slaughter, Golic, Matthews and them. I have longed for that fire ever since. At this point, I can except the losses this year because, yes, they will improve our acquisitions next year, but they have to give it all they have on every play or we will not grow into the dynasty we desire. I want that strong character to be in place once help arrives, and it will. Our front office has done a great deal of improving in a very short time. I think we will all be pleased once we can see the entire picture that their efforts are creating. The defense is not to blame for their frustrations, nor are the fans for that matter. We started from scratch, as we should have long ago. We are on our way, and yes, it will take some time. I enjoy your comments and thank you for reading. I only wish that I too could have witnessed the Great Jim Brown in action, i suppose I will have to settle for the highlights until the next great comes to Cleveland, although none will ever compare to him. Thanx again, ~Backwoods~

      • Letterman007

        I still remember going to see Jim Brown and the team take on Sam Huff and the Redskins at the mistake on the mother of all people, got my brother and I into sports. She was a HUGE OSU fan!! But my brother got sick and couldn’t come to the game. It was a sell out and my mom was trying to sell my brothers ticket outside the stadium, before the game and almost got arrested for scalping until the under cover cop found she only wanted face value.

        We had end zone seats, what turned into the dawg pound,and you could see the Browns lineman open up the holes for Jim Brown. I can’t recall the final score, I just remember the Browns won !!

        That’s what we need to get back to!! Family’s having memories like that and teams winning like that. Hopefully the FO will bring this back!!

        • Backwoods

          I love your story and thank you for sharing. There is nothing more valuable than time shared with loved ones and there is no better setting than a winning game. Thank you very much!

  • Letterman007

    Well,one QB down how many more to go? Marcus Mariota going to stay in school ! How many more will take his lead? Bridgewater, Manziel, and some others can do the same ! No decent ones left when the Browns pick is up ?! Sorry but we need to keep loosing.

    • Backwoods

      Hello again. Well, It certainly does not help our situation. I would love an inside view on the thoughts within the front office. Keep in mind that Banner has proven his willingness to trade picks and work the system. I am not saying he will, but if the player they desire is not in this year’s draft, or no longer available at our pick, we have many holes that still need addressed. He will certainly do whatever possible to maneuver us into position to get whomever they are after at QB, even if he is in the following draft. Banner has also proven his unwillingness to allow the fans perspective to alter his decision making. It may not sit well with fans, but it is how it should be. I do feel that we should be in good position this year to help our team immensely, regardless, and as much as I would like to say otherwise, I don’t see losing being a problem with our injuries and lack of depth. All that being said, your point cannot be ignored, nor disputed, and it certainly is concerning. We must sit back and wait, something that none of us want to do.

      • Letterman007

        There are fans out there, including me, that don’t want to or can’t wait another year for Banner to get the QB we need!!! If we get better next year without getting our franchise QB, we will then have a draft choice somewhat higher than this year! Therefore being further down the draft board, what will we have to give up for a higher pick to get what we want? Every year we go without our quarterback it will cost us more to move up. Would you mortgage the next two drafts to get a quarterback and then have him turn into Quinn, Weeden, or the like! Or maybe we suffer another year of loosing to get a high pick? Then watch the fans turn on the FO and team! The loosing must end next year and not for only a year or two, it must be sustained!!!

        • Backwoods

          You bring up several valid points. I personally, would consider trading a first this year for a first and more next year, if indeed there are no quarterbacks available. That would certainly outrage many fans, but would better our overall value. I would not however, trade what would be needed to move up substantially in 2015 if that were the scenario. I don’t believe that Banner would either. We must step forward, one step at a time. Two steps forward and three steps back help no one. From a business standpoint, the moves he has made thus far have been competent, although unpopular. He essentially moved a fourth round pick into a deeper class and traded a fifth round pick for a third, not to mention the Richardson fiasco. As far as Weeden, Quinn, even Couch and all the others, we simply must refrain from attributing those catastrophes to the current regime. Banner has increased our trade value considerably and I think he will continue to do so whenever possible. He has not shown a willingness to lessen our value overall, at least not to this point. I do hope that we can obtain our quarterback this coming draft, and that it is a wise pick at that. Your final sentence absolutely sums it up. We must win, we must win soon, and we must continue to win long after that. I will likely include and expand on these thoughts in a future article and I certainly hope to get your feedback if, or when, I do. Thank you kindly. ~Backwoods~