The Cleveland Browns are just two days off an (im)perfect 0-16 season. They have won just one game in the last two seasons, thanks to a blocked field goal. All of this losing should be enough turmoil for a single organization in the NFL, right? Not if you’re the Cleveland Browns.
Following Sunday’s loss in Pittsburgh, one that cemented the Browns’ 0-16 record, cornerback Jason McCourty talked about the comments made that involved he and his teammates, according to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.
“The talent in this locker room is not the talent to go win a Super Bowl this year, but this locker room is far more talented than 0-16,” McCourty said. “I’m kind of tired of hearing so many people say, even within the organization, is we don’t have the guys or we need more guys. Let’s work with the guys we do have and find ways to win games.”
Since 1999, there have been plenty of head coaches, members of the front office, and even quarterbacks who have been with the Browns, but the front office and coaches who have been with the team the past two seasons may have put on the biggest clown show, both on and off the field. Whether it’s head coach Hue Jackson, members of the front office, or new general manager John Dorsey, plenty of comments have been made about the talent on the team. Even owner Jimmy Haslam backed up the statements made by Dorsey. After some coaches and members of the front office somewhat threw shots at the players, it seems as though the players, especially McCourty, are fighting back.
Last month, Jackson said that not many others would have not only not stayed with the Browns for two years, but not done better than he did. Meanwhile, in his first week on the job, Dorsey made sure to mention that the previous regime didn’t draft, sign, or trade for many “real players”, which includes plenty of players currently on the team. That didn’t sit well with many of the Browns.
McCourty, who was signed last May, has been one of the most vocal leaders on the team in his first season in Cleveland. Now that the season is over, it seems as though he wants to stick up for he and his teammates. His comments continued into Monday as well. While not specifically mentioning any names, it seems as though McCourty threw shots at the naysayers, while continuing to state that the Browns had the talent to win at least a few games this season.
“I think it’s bugged probably everyone in this locker room,” he said. “When you’re one of the guys on the team who’s playing your heart out and you are putting everything into it – obviously, we are not getting the result we want, which is very apparent but still you are giving everything you have – you don’t want to hear about what you don’t have.
“You want to make the best of what you do have. I think that is just the bond that is built in this locker room of I want to win for (DL) Danny (Shelton); Danny wants to win for me; I want to win for JT (DB Jamar Taylor). You don’t really care what you don’t have. You are just trying to figure out what we do have in this locker room, how do we go out there on Sunday and figure out how to win this game. As a player, you just hate to hear that from anywhere.”
After the veteran cornerback ripped on the comments that were made by the front office and some of the coaches, do-it-all running back and slot receiver Duke Johnson supported McCourty.
“100 percent,” he said. “I love J-Mac.”
“It does. It does,” he said. “But we’re all professionals and I hope everyone learns how to take people’s comments with a grain of salt and move on. It doesn’t bother me, but it may bother some people to the point where it upsets them. Nah, we definitely had way more talent. At the end of the day we still had more talent than what our record showed.”
While there isn’t enough talent on the current roster to be legitimate playoff contenders, McCourty acknowledged that there’s enough so that the problems can be blamed on the system, not the lack of talent.
“I would just assume when it’s been this bad for two years probably a lot of things do (change),” he said. “You can’t keep doing the same thing and think you’re going to get different results. That’s the definition of insanity. Obviously there’s a lot of things that aren’t right.”
With an offseason that includes the Browns having $118 million in cap space and plenty of draft capital, including the first-overall and fourth pick in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, Cleveland has plenty of options to improve their team this season. Then again, it may not matter if the coaches and members of the front office continue to belittle their players, so much so that free agents and even draft picks may not want to play for the Browns.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it seems as though the coaches and front office, including the owner, have dug themselves into an even bigger hole.