Browns Need To Stay The Course….(And Tank 2012)

What I am going to say right now will not a popular sentiment at all in this town. But the reality of the situation is, I want what is best for the organization LONG TERM. So stay with me here.

Between local sports talk radio, Twitter, newspapers, and blogs, all of the talk in Cleveland has centered around the Browns not doing anything in Free agency (other than the signing of  DL Frostee Rucker. They finished as the bridesmaid in the   Robert Griffin III sweepstakes and of course the sky seems to be falling. We have watched Wide Receivers such as Marcus Colston, Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Vincent Jackson come off the board. And not the latest came last night as the Browns cut the their former left guard Eric Steinbach and their leading rusher and former one-year owner of the city Peyton Hillis signed a reported one-year, $3 million deal with Kansas City.

Don’t freak out people. Stay the course.

I’m no Browns Kool-Aid drinker. I have been one of the harshest critics of this team and how it’s been run. I haven’t liked the way Mike Holmgren has acted during his almost two years of swooping in and out in Cleveland and making himself available when he wants to be available. I was not a fan of the Pat Shurmur hire, not was I a fan of his coaching and handling of the media during his first season on the job. And of course, I am not down with Randy Lerner.

However, I am in the tank for Tom Heckert, talent evaluator. With the lack of free agent moves happening with other teams, the Browns are sitting idly on the sidelines. They don’t want to spend big money to plug the holes on veterans who will eat up the valuable cap space. That has become obvious by the rhetoric that comes out of Berea (when the media is allowed to actually record it) as well as the picking and choosing of their spots in free agency.

Would I like to see a guy like Eric Winston sign here to stabilize the right tackle position? Of course I would. Would I sign up for Carl Nicks at one of the guard spots? Uh, yeah. But guess what, these things won’t happen. Do you really want to give a guy like Garcon, five years and $42 million the way the Redskins did? Not a chance. He’s a nice player, but he’s also been playing across from Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark while catching passes from Peyton Manning. That will make anyone look good.

The Browns have a ton of holes, there is no doubt about it. But the holes will be filled through the draft, which is Heckert’s specialty. He has shown that this is where he shines. So let us sit back and let him do his work. This was one of the many reasons that I was on record as completely against trading multiple high draft picks for RGIII. The Browns didn’t make the move, and they still have three picks in the top 36 picks. Heckert should, and will come out of this draft with three potential starters from day one.

SIDE NOTE – I beg of you Tom, please, for the love of every thing holy, DO NOT DRAFT RYAN TANNEHILL at #22.

So save your cap room, let Heckert do his thing in the draft, stay away from drafting Tannehill, go into the season with Colt McCoy at QB, surround him with some skilled players you drafted, and take your chances and lumps. Keeping the roster so young could cost you some wins no doubt. If Colt McCoy isn’t the guy, at least you will have given him enough rope to show he can either climb to the top of hang himself. If he proves to be nothing more than a quality backup, odds are the Browns will be right back in the top four again in 2013.

But is this really a bad thing?

Take a look at the opponents for next year. In addition to the six division games against teams that all made the playoffs last year, they will face the rugged NFC East, which includes the Super Bowl Champion Giants (road), the Cowboys (road), Michael Vick and the Eagles (home), and RGIII and the Redskins (home). They also travel to Denver (which may or may not have Peyton Manning at the helm), Oakland, and Indianapolis (which was the lucky recipients of Andrew Luck thanks to their tank of a season). Buffalo, Kansas City, and San Diego visit Cleveland.

Looking at what and who the Browns are, they are not making the playoffs with that schedule (or with any schedule for that matter). The defense is nice, but the starters at RB and QB right now are a Chris Ogbannaya/Montario Hardesty combo along with McCoy. You can bet the Browns will be taking a WR with one of their first three picks. But seriously, to me there is no point in being 6-10. You are all going to call me insane and “not a real fan,” but I am being realistic.

Give me 2-14 or 3-13 and a chance to draft USC QB Matt Barkley in the 2013 draft.

Wouldn’t Barkley to Justin Blackmon in two years get you a little excited? The plan has worked for the Lions. The fruits of their brutal decade stretch of football brought them a franchise QB (Matt Stafford), a franchise-changing defensive lineman (Ndamakong Suh), and one of the best WR’s in the game (Calvin Johnson) among others. Those are three nice pieces to build around, which the hard-charging Lions have done.

If the Browns tank again this season and end up with a shot to take that franchise QB in Barkley, it will be a blessing in disguise. I for one won’t be disappointed.  In three years, you will all agree with me if this comes to fruition.

  • Garry_Owen

    Reference to previous records, assuming another commenter desires similar outcome? Check.
    Command to another commenter to either “grow a backbone” or “get head checked”? Check.
    Yep. More and more boring.

  • Garry_Owen

    And you know that the Browns aren’t pursuing a good guard how, exactly?

  • Garry_Owen

    Again with a reference to the record?

    Zzz, zzzz, zz.

  • Answer the question:  are 3-13 seasons exciting to you?  If not, then maybe you shouldn’t advocate the ownership’s actions which will lead to that.

  • mgbode

    I like Foles and what little I have seen of Coleman more than the “other” QBs in this class

  • floydrubino

    The idea of losing on purpose is funny because we have been doing this for 10 years. One player will never make a team go from worst to first. Indianapolis outside of Peyton was the worst team in the nfl and you want to do what their franchise does. Peyton’s don’t grow on trees. The owner of Indy is an idiot and got lucky by getting Peyton. Peyton should of won 3 or more superbowls but Irsay has no clue how to run a team. If we make smart moves and get production out of our draft picks things take care of themselves. You have to create a winning atmosphere in your franchise or what’s the point of owning a team. Why does Lerner want to own this football team if he is not hungry for a superbowl. I am so sick of having an owner that puts us in this position once again. Why can’t we get an owner in here that has a chip on their shoulder form the ohio area and has as much passion as the fans do.

  • Garry_Owen

    How has constantly changing regimes worked for us in the past?

  • Yeah, you’re right…who gives a $hit what record they get, its only a game…wait…is this a sports site?  Oh, then I guess everyone here gives a you know what.

    Read the posts, buddy.  Many people are waking up the absurdity of this dumb team.  Maybe someday you will too.

  • floydrubino

    This is why I wrote on the end maybe we will sign one. I know Hutchinson just became available and there are some more but it would be nice to not have to go into next year with only Pinkston and Lauvao as the starters. I have some faith in Heckert so I am interested in what he does. I know Steinbach was hurt so why pay him but hopefully they have a plan.

  • Garry_Owen

    I think they do. FA’s not over yet.

  • Garry_Owen

    If you hate it so much, why stick around?  Just to be a pain?  What are you going to accomplish?  Is this just your “Levy Pants”?

  • One_24_life

    Unfortunately, this article makes sense. Except, I don’t
    see them getting a receiver with their top three picks and expect them to move
    out of the 4th to try to get another first next year.

  • You need to know when the leave the Titanic.  And besides, I think this current regime cut too much; Brad Seeley was the best Special Teams coach to coach her for a long, long time…and what did these idiots do? 

    See, that’s the problem; when we joke and mention that someone had coffee with Bob LaMonte, so they are coming here, there is a lot of truth to it and its troubling.  Nepotism is one thing, but if you focus on this “my guy” approach to coaches and players, it is hit and miss. You might have a bunch of really good players who are “my guys,” and then you can have a good team.

    But, in the Browns’ case, you have a lot of mediocre players (ahem, Gocong) who wouldn’t start anywhere else but they are given new life here.  We way over paid for Gocong and he is very mediocre. We didn’t keep Seeley, and that has turned what was a major strength on our team into a weakness.

    These are problems that are indicative of this regime.  Does switching regimes like hats help your team?  Of course not; but at this point, its like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  You need to save the damned ship and all these idiots are doing is putting more holes in it.

  • You need to read a new book, your constant references to “A Confederacy of Dunces” is getting, dare I say, boring.

  • ME

    C’mon man…. The Lions were one of the most overrated teams in the NFL last year (Thanks to a 5-0 start mostly). Also, if the Browns win less than 5 games this season Shurmer is defiantly gone and H&H probably go as well.  

  • Garry_Owen

    Just glad you figured it out, Ignatius. Google?

  • Garry_Owen

    So the answer is? Fire the idiots?

  • Couldn’t hurt!  Would you keep idiots on your staff?

  • Nope, not Google.  MA in English.  Required reading.

  • Garry_Owen

    If they were “useful” (ha!) What then?

  • Garry_Owen

    Great book. Spot on, no? All in fun, you must see the resemblance.

  •  You’ve met useful idiots then?

  •  There is nothing fun about spending thousands of dollars on Browns tickets/food/apparel to be disappointed.

    Is the book great?  Sure; but I’m no Ignatius.  He has no legit problems, just machinations of his own psyche and serious issues with his mother and the world around him.

    I have a tendency to dislike b.s. wherever I see it and I hate when the team I love is run into the damn ocean floor by a crew of idiots when it is so painfully obvious that they don’t care what they are doing.

    You should too.

  • Jdj1class

    Dumbest article I’ve ever read…lol what next? Tank 2014 for the top RB? So now your telling the best fans in the world to wait another 3 years to be 8-8? I bet we would sell out the stadium another 5 years for that! Come on Cleveland! Start demanding better and stop letting this team off the hook and giving them excuses. Take a look at the Cavs…anyone notice how fast they are turning things around? Anyone noticed that they are in the playoff hunt? Its the top guy demanding that his people committed to excellence. The Browns don’t demand that…why does every regime make the same type of head scratching moves? I don’t know either…ask Randy!

  • Garry_Owen

    Then stop. Please.

    (I’m trying hard to ignore the irony of the other paragraphs. You do realize, don’t you, that the condition of the Browns is not an actual problem of yours, right? Or have you officially served divorce papers on reality?)

  • Garry_Owen

    Hmm. Wondering how to answer, without being accused of a personal attack …

  • My tickets are an investment of money.  Do you know how money works, Garry?  One has to earn it.

    As such, if I spend my money on something that doesn’t deliver to my expectations, it is my problem, so I have a “dog” in this fight.

    You are over-thinking all of this.  I want my team to win and I strongly disagree with the current regime’s method of doing so.  I think they are fools (and, if you read this board, plenty of people agree) and they sold us down the river for nothing.  It’s depressing; this is a storied franchise. 

    I don’t know how old you are but maybe you don’t even remember when they were good and what that was like.

    I also sense that you don’t think football is very important or that the Browns really matter.  And, you’re right; they aren’t a major part of the world.

    But, this is a sports website message board.  Did you expect the posters here to not care about…sports?  To not consider it very, very important? 

    It’s troubling.  So, please, if you don’t care, then don’t post.  Do some lurking; it might be good for you.

  • if it takes for the browns to lose many games this year then have no fear. they are very good at that.

  • Barrows8210

    This may be a good philosophy if you are like 7 years old…Idk about you but I am damn tired of waiting till next year. And the Front Offices lack of trying to throw us a bone with a top notch free agent is getting ridiculous. I don’t care about Heckerts damn philosophy on FA…we are not the Super Bowl contending Eagles that he is used to dealing with. The teams that are trying to claw to the top try to supplement their team with a key FA acquisition or two. The teams you are NOT hearing about in FA are the teams who don’t have many holes. The teams that made the playoffs. We HAVE to acquire more talent than these teams do in the course of a season…that’s how you catch up to them…to idly sit back is irresponsible.


    Waiting for the… year after next…

  • This, in fact, is *not* a message board.

  • Garry_Owen

    Your condescension has finally humbled me and put me in my place. Thank you. I will preserve the internets for your opinion, and that alone. (But, you still don’t have to spend whatever money you earn. In fact, you threatened to not even spend another “second” on this team. I dare you.)

  • Frankie55

    Are you kidding me I watch PAC 12,USC Oregon and Stanford, and SEC football (they are much more entertaining than the Big 10? or Big 10 plus 2) Barkley is 1 more accurate than RGIII and 2 has a very strong arm which bodes well in the NFL. The comparisons on which one will be a better pro are not between Barkley and RGIII they are between Barkley and Andrew Luck>

  • We’ve got to take one of those 3 players at 4. Everything drops off after that although hopefully there will be some nice players in the first 3 rounds. Mediocre players at RB are OK with a GREAT offensive line. This is a must and I’m not sure we are there except LT and Center.

  • Timmy!

    Together they’d be a Shamrock Shake!

  • Chris

    Could not agree more.  I laugh out loud when people try to beat up on Heckert with the Hardesty pick.  They gave up two fifth round picks to grab him.   Not a terrible risk.  Likely not going to pan out, but not the back-breaking move that is often implied.  And Cameron?  A fourth round miss (likely)?  I’ll take Heckert’s batting average all day long, as would most franchises. 

  • Rmajor1

     Barkley is another Lionhart

  • You’ve been reading too much Barking Hard, as I had almost the exact same take there.  Barkley does nothing for me however, I think there will be a couple of QBs that eclipse him in talent and enter the draft next year.

  • Old coach

     Good post, Jeff.  Finally a comment from someone who has a head on their shoulders and can do something other than complain.

  • Old coach

     Well said, Kevin.  I, personally, cannot see ANY athlete intentionally playing to lose.  Anyone who suggests such a thing has very little sense of competition in their blood.  Athletes play to WIN, playing to lose is for losers.

  • Old coach

    Seeley left on his own accord, he was not fired.

  • Gregra68

    richardson would be pretty solid at #4. tannehill? why do we keep bringing up his name?

  • GongKong

    Bark for Barkley sweepstakes

  • D S

     Phil Savage was also the smart guy who switched picks with Baltimore to draft Kamerion Wimbley instead of staying put and selecting Nagta. That smooth move netted us a 6th round pick.

  • For us to even THINK about the Browns tanking this year is just NAUSEATING!!! If the Browns were gonna pull that then last season should have been the one to tank! they were 4-12 and nothing to lose, but they obviously didn’t have enough brains to figure out that losing a couple more games would have pretty much guarenteed them to grab RG3 and even get real close to Luck, but instead now we are pretty much F—-D the way I look at it!

    Now we have to hope and pray that ‘ol noodle arm McCoy can prove us wrong with weapons in front of him, unless daddy doesn’t like the recievers that they get him, I’m sorry but McCoy is nothing but a daddy’s boy and I can totally understand a father being concerned about the well being of his son and all, but this kid’s father I’m afraid has put a black mark on Colt and I truly believe that Holmgren and the rest of them are fed up and the first chance they can find his replacement he’ll be gone a year after that i bet…just saying.