It’s a confusing time to be a Browns fan. I guess it’s always a confusing time to be a Browns fan, but this is a conundrum almost unlike any other since 1999. The Cleveland Browns might not be traditional trailblazers, but they do find new and interesting ways to confuse their fans. The Cleveland Browns are in contention right now, but they’re really not. Their record says that they are, but with the loss of Brian Hoyer and one single game to the Detroit Lions – a decent team by the way – the Browns have gone from being real contenders to one that’s very difficult to believe in. Can this team give Browns fans anything to believe in the rest of the season?
Forget the fans for a second. I honestly wonder how things are going in that locker room right about now. The fans are admittedly over-reactionary week-in and week-out with the ups and downs of a normal NFL schedule, but this is different. The way the Browns carried themselves on Sunday seemed to tell the tale. Nobody gave Brandon Weeden credit for any part of the three game winning streak. Even the third win where Weeden played the bulk of the game, Travis Benjamin and the defense pretty well beat the Bills.
I would guess that sentiment extends to the locker room too. The words from Weeden’s teammates were all supportive and encouraging coming into the Lions game, but I’m guessing he needed to back that up with some results. Now that he’s helped make the team the butt of jokes nationally – including being featured on the always abysmal “C’Mon Man” Monday Night Football segment – that support probably doesn’t turn on a dime in the fan-base alone. I’m guessing the locker room is having a tough time taking Brandon Weeden seriously today too.
The person to keep an eye on is Rob Chudzinski. He’s the man who had his team ready to play against Minnesota after the Trent Richardson trade. He was the one who presumably made the decision to go to Brian Hoyer.1 In the face of adversity these Browns played their best football of the season. Now that the equation has changed again and he faces that same adversity, it will be up to him and his staff to respond. I hope for all of our sake the response doesn’t look like what we saw this week against the Lions.
So, what do Browns fans do? Based on my perception of the fan base right now, there’s almost nobody that believes in Brandon Weeden. Then again, there aren’t a whole lot of other options. Even if there were two or three free agents sitting available at home, it isn’t like they could step in cold and be ready to run the Browns’ offense. Do Browns fans use that awful political cliché and “hold their nose” while rooting for Brandon Weeden? Do they ask for Jason Campbell? Do they scream at Joe Banner to do something? After all, Joe Banner said no matter what happens with the Browns and their roster that he was available to take the blame and responsibility as the man at the top of the org chart.
I don’t have any answers, but I’m sick with the thought of what this team could become over the next ten games. I’m sick with the thought of what we might have been able to find out about this team with Brian Hoyer running the offense. I’m sick with the thought of what this defense could have accomplished with an offense that they could believe in. I’m sick with the thought that another new organization could come into Berea and almost immediately get bitten by the same snake that seems to bite every group that finds themselves roaming those hallways.
Maybe that’s just the historical paranoia talking. But as I said, it’s a confusing time to be a Browns fan.
Your move Browns.
- I mean, I’m sure Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi expressed opinions on the topic, but I think Chud probably made it. [↩]