We’re not going 13-3 next year.
Can’t disagree, Jimmy. That fate seems well-settled now. With the league’s smallest salary cap number and a draft that failed to address any team needs, there is indeed little chance for thirteen wins.
But with a team who has been speaking down to us about building through the draft, and that we should avert our eyes from the Mike-Brown-esque payroll… the trading out of this year’s draft is the NFL equivalent of Berea dragging their ass on our carpets.
Haslam-Banner preaching practice is fine and dandy but, if you don’t mind, let’s not act like striving for the Super Bowl this year would have been so absurd. Let’s challenge the premise of ‘We must suck more before we can be good.’ There is plenty of precedent for poor teams to improve year-over-year. Hell, here’s a list of sub .500 teams* who won the Super Bowl in the following year.
- 2000 Pats, 5-11; 2001 SB Champs
- 1998 Rams, 4-12; 1999 SB Champs
- 1980 Niners, 6-10; 1981 SB Champs
Even a Super Bowl appearance would be a goal worth having:
- 2002 Panthers, 7-9; 2003 SB loser
- 1999 Giants, 7-9; 2000 SB loser
- 1997 Falcons, 7-9; 1998 SB loser
- 1995 Pats, 6-10; 1996 SB loser
- 1987 Bengals, 4-11; 1988 SB loser
- 1980 Bengals, 6-10; 1981 SB loser
Just wanted to set that straight. No. We don’t have to suck in order to build and grow. We do, though, need to address problem areas on the roster during the off-season.
What were the team needs and how were they addressed?
We’ve bludgeoned all these in earlier posts:
- Cornerback is manned by Buster Skrine and his size limits his abilities.
- Free safety was handled ineffectively by Usama Young.
- Guards include competent Jason Pinkston whose health is still questionable and below average Sean Lauvao. 2014 UFA, journeyman John Greco shapes up as the top guard.
- Tight end has unproven Jordan Cameron.
- Fullback has no starter.
- And the [needless] adoption of Horton’s 3-4 created a need at ILB, now covered by undrafted FA Craig Robertson.
That’s six positions of need. And we’re not even dealing with MKC’s assertion that we need two starting WRs or other noise about kickers and punters and quarterbacks.
How have the needs been addressed?
- Ignored dozens of CBs in free-agency, including at least ten who would be taller than any currently on the roster. Signed 5’9″ Chris Owen to one year contract. Drafted 5’9″ Leon McFadden in the third round who is equally short and considerably slower than the current liability at CB, Buster Skrine. (No offense Buster.)
- Cut Usama Young. Ignored safeties in FA. Selected a safety in the sixth round who is currently re-habbing a blown Achilles.
- Drafted Tackle** Garrett Gilkey with pick #227.
- Signed two back-up tight ends in FA, neither of whom are known to exploit the center seam which is sought after now for the tight-end-as-a-weapon role.
By my math, that’s zero success at upgrading positions of need.
And in case you missed the Banner ass-drag-across-your-carpet that was the 2013 draft, they drafted a pass-rusher in the seventh round. One more bird flipped toward any fan who pays attention to team needs.
In the face this bald failure of the front office to tend to needs, one of the more peculiar but wholly predictable phenomena of the Browns Fan Experience started up yesterday on twitter and will proceed for the next several weeks:
- Application of lipstick to this pig;
- Scolding of the great unwashed who have the temerity to critique Berea.
Like it’s not bad enough to be served this shit sandwich. Now comes the fratricide.
In the past I might have engaged Hiram on his bizarre tweet. This though, I’ve found, does not change minds. Engaging these perspectives only results in smirking commentary about stepping away from the I-480 bridge. Nope. Leave the schoolmarms alone you unreasonable _fan_.
C’mon Kanick. What about Mingo?
We did have the sixth pick in the draft. Surely that will help the team, right?
Well… I guess kinda. Maybe.
Mingo does play a position in football and was effective in college. But in spite of ESPN’s analysis, it’s hard to see that Mingo’s uncertain role with the Browns addresses an immediate need. We have a defensive end who is 23 and had 15 sacks in the last two years. If you don’t like Jabaal Sheard, that’s ok, but it’s hard to see how the most promising pass rusher on the team who is still on a rookie contract and is showing positive trajectory became the team’s top priority to be replaced in this draft.
In fact, after signing Kruger, Bryant, Groves in free agency to fix the one unbroken part of last year’s team, one would think that the defensive front has had enough investment.
Berea and the schoolmarms will remind you that you can’t have too many passrushers but we know this is bullshit.
The net is: the #6 pick in the draft will play in a sub package.
Meanwhile the six needs coming out of last year were not tended to. In fact, the teams’ needs have been willfully ignored through traded away draft picks and the hoarding of cap space which -likely- will NOT be used in extensions or next year’s free agency.
If you’re sanguine with that… congratulations, you’re a Browns fan.
As for me, this is the worst off-season I can remember. And even Jimmy Haslam’s committment not to win thirteen games doesn’t make me feel better about it.
Edit to add: Schoolmarm does strike me as needlessly harsh (though I expect most get where I’m coming from). Shall we say … optimists?
As I said in yesterday’s post:
But fine… we’re fans and you can tell us anything and we’ll believe it because we HAVE TO. So… ok: CAN’T HAVE ENOUGH PASS RUSHERS. Fine.
Rich Passan, new to me.
As an out-of-towner (since 1979), I miss a lot of the local media. Don’t know how I missed Rich Passan, but his takes on the draft speak for me. See his nuts-on review of the last three days here-Mingo, here-3rd round and here-overall draft.
(What’s the backstory on Passan? The three pieces he cranked out in the last three days were interesting and more on point than anything I’ve seen on cle-dot-com in three years. I must be missing something.)
* Here’s a list of the .500 teams who made SB the following year: 2008 Saints, 8-8; 2009 SB Champs; 2006 Giants, 8-8; 2007 SB Champs; 1999 Ravens, 8-8; 2000 SB Champs; 1981 Redskins, 8-8; 1982 SB Champs; 2007 Cards, 8-8; 2008 SB loser; 1998 Titans, 8-8; 1999 SB loser; 1993 Chargers, 8-8; 1994 SB loser; 1988 Broncos, 8-8; 1989 SB loser.
** Ryan Miller showed us that the transition from college tackle to NFL guard is no sure thing. (MUTE SOUND FIRST.)