Well the Cleveland Browns’ playoff hopes are a lost cause, at least this year. But as I sit here, staring out the window at the relentless snow coming down outside, I wonder about the 2014 Browns. And about the game in Pittsburgh next week.
Now, I’m not one to overhype the NFL Draft, but I find myself thinking things like, “I wonder what positions we should draft,” “I wonder who will be available,” and more importantly, “I wonder what the powers that be will think we need and draft (like a 27 year old QB that no one wanted two years ago). I know Brandon Weeden wasn’t drafted under the Haslam-Lombardi-Chudzinski regime, but sometimes I wonder…
When the Browns traded Trent Richardson, everyone was up in arms, until we started winning; Richardson is super unproductive and now comes off the bench rather than starts for the Colts. Looks like they got lucky with that, so will their luck continue? Well, win wise no, but player development wise, yes absolutely. With our offseason acquisitions, Devon Bess, when he holds on to the ball, is pretty good, and our number one draft pick was not wasted on Barkevious Mingo, but he’s still a rookie. Also recent standout Jordan Poyer has been having some nice moments; hopefully we can work on those in the offseason and make him even more potent on offense and/or kick returns. On defense T.J. Ward and Joe Haden are really solidifying the Browns defense, which has shown a lot of improvement. And in last Sunday’s game we got a real treat; we got to see a player, Edwin Baker, who just joined the Browns this week, and has been on two other teams’ practice squads this season alone, make his NFL debut and score a touchdown. The look on his face was pure joy. He was easily the happiest man in Cleveland last week.
One of the most talked about players on the Browns offense is Josh Gordon, or “Flash” like many people I know call him. Josh Gordon is already having a record setting year with one game left in the season. Last Sunday he started off slow, but had some big plays. He also had so large miscues, same with this week. But, the entire offense can’t live and die with Gordon. He’s only one person and he’s bound to have an off day. Sunday’s game against the Jets wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t pretty either. Considering Geno Smith has thrown more interceptions this season than TD passes, I was looking for a good defensive stand, and that just didn’t happen. There were moments, but on the whole we couldn’t keep it together. Our run game is lacking a bit behind the veteran Willis McGahee, but I hope that Baker and Chris Ogbonnaya can pick up the slack.
Last Sunday, after the Browns game was over, they went back to the Fox studio and Jimmy Johnson (Super Bowl winning, ex-Cowboys coach) said that the Browns would be good in the future. This gives me hope. This week, all anyone can talk about is how the Steelers and Ravens still have a shot at the playoffs. The job for the Browns next week is to beat the Steelers and keep them out of the playoffs. That’s all we need to do. With the slow start to their seasons, it’s surprising that the Ravens and Steelers bounced back (and/or got lucky) and have a shot at the playoffs in the first place. Time to spoil the party (at least in Pittsburgh).
The season isn’t over yet, there’s still one more game, and in Pittsburgh none the less, but it’s not to early to start to think about next season. Soon we’ll be talking about the top players at the NFL Combine, and then before you know it, the 2014 NFL Draft will be upon us. This season seems to have flown by. There have been a lot of typical Browns games, where they play really well, and then fall apart at the end. So fans are excited and filled with hope for three quarters just to have their dreams crushed when the fourth quarter comes. Something we can start working on this Sunday against the Steelers is sustaining that energy and excitement through ALL four quarters.
Also, congratulations are in order for Coach Chudzinski and his wife, who welcomed a baby into the world last week.
And for your viewing pleasure, the classic Flash Gordon TV show intro from the 1980s, because Josh Gordon will save everyone of us.