Cleveland Browns: A Few Reasons To Believe
The Dog Days of summer aren’t that far away. OTAs closed on a great note and the Cleveland Browns will soon be in training camp. There’s a sense of energy in the air around the shores of Lake Erie. There’s a definite vibe that’s sending a new message to Browns fans. Hue Jackson promised that feeling and seems to be delivering the goods. But can that early energy be translated to victories?
The Browns have been struggling to carve a niche in the AFC North for what seems like an eternity. The last year for a winning season? Browns faithful experienced a 10-6 record, in 2007. Since then, the last respectable year was 2014. They were able to post a 7-9 mark, per Pro Football Reference.
But, this may be the year that the Dawg Pound can breathe again. No, they won’t be swaying and singing to the lyrics of that Toni Braxton song. Yet, the Browns will be able to see past the insanity of campaigns past. Jackson has brought back a reason to have faith. Here are a few reasons to believe things will change.
This had to be like heaven to Browns backers and an extension of “the curse” to Bengals fans. The hiring of Jackson signaled an evolution in thinking for Browns brass. He was a proven commodity, while calling the shots for Cincinnati. His demeanor is laid back. But, beneath the calm is a competitor with the heart of a scientist. His schemes will be a welcomed addition to the sometimes lackluster approach of past regimes.
“I told them … I expect them to come back ready. We don’t want to go backward"
📰: https://t.co/dO6uMeyw3B pic.twitter.com/ws1gH9jzC6
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) June 9, 2016
There’s a friendly case of position battles going on. One of those competitions is at the signal-caller position. Robert Griffin III is going to surprise a lot of doubters. Jackson has a knack for taking a good quarterback and bringing out the unexpected. His track record speaks volumes. Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, and Joe Flacco (who won multiple playoff games as a rookie) are a few of his successful projects.
Jackson sees Griffin as a blank palette. He may turn out to be the Browns’ biggest steal. Jackson shared his thoughts via the MMQB.
“I’m not gonna say he’s raw, but he is still developing. And most young quarterbacks are still developing.”
“I think he’s gotten better,” Jackson said, describing Griffin. “I’ve been saying it for a while. I know he gets highly scrutinized for a lot of different things, but he has gotten better in a lot of areas.”
This isn’t a guarantee that Griffin will open the season against the Philadelphia Eagles. But, the odds are better. Veteran Josh McCown, rookie Cody Kessler, Connor Shaw, and Austin Davis will also be vying for the job. Mechanics guru Tom House will be overseeing some of the development.
The position outlook is bright.
It’s Time To Win
The time has come for Cleveland Browns fans to remove the bags from their heads. Rejoice and embrace the moment. It feels and looks like real football is coming back. The players look sharp, the atmosphere is different and there’s support for what’s happening. Not only is the buzz coming from those who watch the Browns, it’s coming from veteran players.
The Browns are in the beginning stages of a comeback. They’re building something special that will make the NFL stand up and notice.
Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden believes in Jackson’s plan.
“I say this to everybody who asks me. I think Coach Hue is the best thing that’s happened since I’ve been here. Everything’s going in the right direction.”
As the Browns roster continues to evolve, there will be doubts and questions. But, one thing is certain. This year will be the start of something special. The Browns will be respected.
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]