Monday night was weird. The Cleveland Browns not only won but won by 20 on the road with the entire NFL watching. In previous years, I would’ve been yelling “SUPER BOWLLLL! SUPER BROWNS!”. You’d think that I would be ecstatic this time too, but to be honest, I really felt discouraged. There were plenty of bright spots in the game, but there were also plenty of moments and stats that if you took a step back and not looked at the score, you’d realize that they are a problem, especially if the Browns want to consider themselves a playoff team this season.
If you were to just look at the score, you’d think that a 23-3 win meant that the Browns dominated on both sides of the ball. That definitely wasn’t the case. Both Kyle Kelly and Scott Sargent have already done a great job discussing the game, but I wanted to put in my two cents as well.
My biggest concerns through two weeks this season:
Luckily, all of these things can be easily improved, especially after what we saw in 2018. It just scares me because if these types of things continue, the Browns might dig themselves into too big of a hole even halfway before the season. Before their Week 7 bye, the Browns play vs. the Rams, at Ravens, at 49ers, and against the Seahawks. Then they travel to New England to take on the Patriots the week after the bye. Those five teams are currently all 2-0. The next five weeks of Browns football will be huge. They can either prove that the Browns still have plenty of work to do or should be considered one of the top teams in the AFC.
In years past, I would feel optimistic but know that in the end, the Browns would all but certainly be not only one of, if not the worst teams in the AFC North, but the entire NFL. It was almost inevitable. This season, my optimism seems real. I just don’t want to get too excited too early on only to be disappointed because, well, it is the Cleveland Browns. This is a new era, but my experience forces me to be cautious before anything else. The Browns being good will likely become a reality sooner rather than later, but it has to happen before I know that the era has truly changed. Hopefully, that time comes sooner rather than later. Until then, I will continue to be cautious while hoping for the best. The Browns have the talent on paper, everything — coaches, players, gameplans, discipline, chemistry, etc. — just has to come together and work for the same common goal. It will take some time, but I truly believe that it will eventually happen.
Patience is key. The Dawg Pound expects this team to be great from the start given the talent on the roster, but with a new coaching staff and a number of new starters, it’s going to take time. Through two weeks this season, that has become obvious. I truly believe that the Browns will eventually live up to expectations. That’s not really a question. The only question is how long it will take to do so. The next five weeks of football will show us where the Browns are. Hopefully, for Cleveland fans, the team will show that they belong and have a legitimate shot to not only win the AFC North this season but make some noise in the postseason as well. Until then, my cautious mentality will continue to overtake my optimism. It just what being a Browns fan in year’s past has taught me. Hopefully, this year (and beyond) is different. The Dawg Pound deserves a winning football team.