Every Sunday since 1999, from September until the end of December, Browns fans around the country sit and suffer for three hours. 14 years since the return of the franchise, and the Browns have gone through twice as many head coaches in those 14 years than the Steelers have had in 44. This franchise has become the joke of the NFL. Our fans that couldn’t stand the depressing, torturous Sundays have turned in the brown and orange colors for the black and gold. And the “rivalry” that supposedly existed since their return has disappeared.
The coaching changes every two or three seasons obviously isn’t helping anything, yet it continues to be the course of action. The 18 different quarterbacks that have started a game in that span clearly continues to be the Achilles’ heal. It’s like the coaches draw names out of a hat to decide the starter. Names like Couch, Wynn, Pederson and Lewis definitely put the fear into the opposing defense. So why is it that after so long, the only consistent thing the Browns have is a kicker? That is, until they refused to re-sign that kicker this off-season and watched him take off for San Francisco. Why cant the Browns get over the hump that is NFL mediocrity?
There is one answer. Quarterback.
18 starting quarterbacks in 14 years. It is astounding that in 14 seasons, a team that goes 73-and-151 can’t hit on a quarterback with one of their many, MANY, high draft picks. The Browns have passed up names like Donovan McNabb, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, andD rew Brees. They had chances to nab Robert Griffin III and Josh Freeman. It seems like during the draft process, the front office focuses more on the offensive line, where they have had a couple solid selections. But if those Pro Bowl offensive lineman are protecting guys like Bruce Gradkowski or Luke McCown, what will the record show for it?
Last season, the Washington Redskins acquired the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, which led to Robert Griffin III. The Redskins gave up three 1st-round picks and a second rounder for Griffin. While it may seem like a lot to give up for one player, they made the playoffs and have their quarterback for the next 10 years. The Browns will probably go through 10 quarterbacks in that span, along with four head coaches.
What I’m trying to say here is, why can’t that be the Browns? For once, why can’t news scroll along the SportsCenter feed at the bottom of the television, reading “Cleveland Browns trade picks to acquire “? It’s like the Browns are playing an entirely different game than the rest of the league. It’s like the NFL is a race, and we are the only team running in quick sand. We can’t get out and no matter what we do, the harder we try, we sink lower.
The 2013 NFL Draft is arriving, and we have the sixth pick. We are one of several teams that need a quarterback. (Face it, Brandon Weeden is not the answer. Ask yourself this question, “Does Brandon Weeden have the ability to lead Cleveland to a Super Bowl?”…. my point). And because Cleveland has historically been a hotbed for getting lucky, this draft is one of the weakest drafts for quarterbacks in recent history. That means we get to look forward to another training camp of quarterback competition. Another year of going week by week asking who the starter will be.
Once a quarterback with star potential leaves the college ranks and hits the NFL, the Browns will sit. They will sit and watch another team trade assets for that star. They will watch that team make the playoffs for the next decade, while continuing their cycle of nonsense. And if, by some miracle, we decide to make a move for a quarterback with actual potential, things will start to change around here. But until then, keep the tissues close, and have a pen around to add to that list of 18.