Only the most hopelessly optimistic Cleveland Browns fans will be sitting in front of the television on Sunday believing this team has a chance to win. This comes from a lifelong Browns fan.
The fact is, any hope or change that will come from new owner Jimmy Haslem will not arrive in time to save this season. Reserve your optimism for 2013 and beyond because this season already is a lost cause.
Sorry to not be all puppies and rainbows, but pragmatism is one of my defining character traits, especially when it comes to football.
A huge block of Browns fans have been focusing on the quarterback situation (for obvious reasons), but it once again has lead to a debate over who is better right now, Weeden or McCoy.
Brandon Weeden is the new guy who hasn’t had a chance to disappoint anyone yet. He has a big arm, can make throws McCoy can not, and so there’s a huge segment of the fanbase that has already lifted him to deity status and refers to anyone who doesn’t agree with their assessment completely as “McCoy Lovers.”
However, there’s one important element that the 28-year-old 2012 first-round pick doesn’t have right now that the backup quarterback possesses already—experience. In eight games (all starts), Colt McCoy completed 135 of 222 passes (60.8 completion percentage) for 1,576 yards with six scores to nine picks in 2010.
He threw for 2,733 yards with 14 touchdowns to 11 interceptions in 13 contests, as he completed 265 of 463 passes (57.2 completion percentage) last season. Those numbers aren’t at all terrible, but they’re not in any way impressive either, and stats never truly tell the whole story. After two tough seasons, he has learned a few things.
In addition, he’s now playing with a giant chip on his shoulder because of all the criticism (and for being benched, of course), and for anyone who was on their knees hoping and praying the team would hold onto Seneca Wallace and his “screw everybody, I’m awesome” attitude, please go find yourself a reality checkpoint.
While Weeden may very well become the answer to the Browns’ prayers, we won’t know until we know, so casting Colt McCoy away would have been foolish is Weeden ends up being a wash.
Now, onto this week’s season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. The other reason it would be foolish to cast McCoy away is the complete ineptness of the Pat Shurmur coaching system and the sieve that is the offensive line.
Weeden will be lucky to survive this game and I don’t think he’ll last the season. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Browns are on their fourth quarterback by the end of the season.
Philadelphia showed a few weeks ago that its starters can shred Cleveland’s starters on the line. Trent Richardson still is a question mark for Sunday’s showdown and even if he plays, there are real doubts about how effective he can be only a few weeks out from knee surgery.
This contest and this season has all the markings of an epic disaster waiting to happen, and you have to take a gander at the silver linings here. This game (And the season) have all the markings of an epic disaster waiting to happen, and you have to look at silver linings here.
First, Haslem will begin to shake things up as soon as he gets the keys to Berea in October, don’t think for a second he’s going to be passive. Mike Holmgren has no future here and will be gone five minutes after Haslem and his men arrive.
Second, look for Pat Shurmur to be shown the door around Week 13. The man can’t get the job done. Shurmur appears to be overwhelmed by the job every week with his confused facial expressions followed by false “anger” as he tries to cover up his clueless expressions. When this team is 1-11 heading into the last month of the season, Shurmur’s show will be over and the team can start looking for a new head coach.
Whether or not Heckert stays depends on his previous relationships with Haslem’s guys, how the draft picks perform this year, and how much of Shurmur’s hire was his idea. If Holmgren was the champion behind bringing Captain Clueless to Cleveland, Heckert might survive the inevitable housecleaning.
Prediction For Sunday’s Action: The Browns may be young and fast on defense, but there’s not much experience and little guidance from the coaching staff. Expect Cleveland to get picked apart early and often by Michael Vick and his stable of weapons.
Final Score: Eagles 42 Browns 10