Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry held his bye week press conference Wednesday and had a clear message to Browns fans.
“I really want our fans to enjoy and lean into the process of watching this team become fully formed throughout the year”
This would be a great quote to ease Browns fans' woes headed into the bye, but the only problem is fans have become numb to the same old optimistic rhetoric that has been force-fed to them for 24 years.
In March of 1998, It was announced that the Cleveland Browns would return to the National Football League following the franchise’s relocation to Baltimore following the 1995 season.
September 12, 1999, was the first time in four years that an NFL game was played on the shores of Lake Erie, and the fine folks of Northeast Ohio had their prized team back. Little did they know the emotionally draining, anger-inducing, and heartbreaking future that was to come.
Since returning in 1999, Cleveland’s overall record is 129-260-1, with a 1-2 playoff record and 35 starting quarterbacks.
The Cleveland Browns organization has had 12 Head Coaches and 10 General Managers in 24 seasons.
Many fans believed their years of trusting the process had finally paid off in 2020 when the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 in the Wild Card round but fell to the Cheifs in the Divisional round 22-17.
The following year, which many believed to be the team's year, was anything but that.
Cleveland finished the 2021 campaign 8-9, third in the AFC North, and missed the playoffs.
They rearranged their roster heading into the 2022 season, which included trading Baker Mayfield to the Panthers, letting Jarvis Landry walk in free agency, trading for Amari Cooper, and sending multiple first-round draft picks to the Texans for Deshaun Watson.
Watson was suspended for the first 11 games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, so veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett was given the keys to the offense.
Brissett led the Browns to a 4-7 record before Watson was reinstated and finished the year 7-10.
Watson had two full training camps and preseasons with the team and six games back as a starting quarterback.
He finally began to look comfortable with his offense following the Browns dominating 27-3 victory over the Tennessee Titans in week three.
The $230 million quarterback sat out of an essential divisional matchup against the Baltimore Ravens after a game-time decision not to play due to a sore right shoulder that he was medically cleared to play with.
Between the loss of Nick Chubb, the constant overuse of the Elijah Moore jet sweep that has yet to trick a defense, and certain offensive line members ignoring their duties to protect the quarterback, the process has slowed to a crawl.
The Browns have yet to make any drastic changes to the offense, whether that is bringing in more power at the running back position or adjusting play calling for next week when they take on the 49ers, who have the best defense in the NFL.
Andrew Berry, Kevin Stefanski, and the front office have to do a little more than the same old reassuring spiel every team gives their fanbase when the odds are against them and they have no plans on improving their team.