By: Adam Tortelli
To those of us that originate from Ohio’s shores of Lake Erie, it’s that time of year again. Football season is upon us, and the crisp Midwestern air is filled with optimism and hope that last year’s “wait until next year” may undoubtedly turn out to be this year.
Will this finally be the season that the Browns make the playoffs, ending their decadelong drought?
Our beloved Brownies had one of the busiest off seasons in the NFL that included a new coaching staff, as usual, and a complete overhaul of the front office under new owner Jimmy Haslam and president Joe Banner.
Such an extensive workload persuaded many that those guys in the brown and orange will be the surprise team of the year.
A re- vamped coaching staff will not h e l p anyone more than second year quarterback out of Oklahoma State, Brandon Weeden.
Timid play-calling restricted Weeden in his rookie season, prohibiting him from showing off his cannon-like arm that got the 30-year-old drafted into the New York Yankees farm system out of high school.
First-year coach Rob Chudzinski worked his magic by making Derek Anderson (current backup for Carolina Panthers) a pro-bowler during his stint as Cleveland’s offensive coordinator in 2007 one of two winning seasons since returning in 1999.
Current offensive coordinator Norv Turner has made a living in the NFL by bringing out the best in quarterbacks. Improved play from the “rock- eting redhead” should also open up the field for running back Trent Richardson.
Since winning the BCS National Championship with Alabama in 2012, Richardson cannot find the daylight to prove himself as the next great running back that everyone foreshadowed him to be.
Bruised ribs slowed down no. 33 for the majority of last season, and he’s been running into a wall of defenders every time he touches the ball through two games in 2013.
As it currently stands, the Browns are 0-2, albeit tied for second in the rugged AFC North.
While flashes of brilliance show signs of a bright future, it is difficult to imagine a winning record with a team that seems to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory on a weekly basis.
Weeden and Richardson have been victims to the offensive line’s right side.
It is impossible to win games in the NFL when the quarterback is on his back at the end of every play and your “star” running back has to beat a group of defenders simply to make it back to the line of scrimmage.
The regular season might be a different story than the successful preseason that got Browns fans hopeful for a great year. Still, a 7-9 season is a reasonable goal for the Browns organization, which shows inexperience from its players, its coach, and even its owner. Anything close to that mark will be considered a success by true fans.