Nov 2, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine, owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager Ray Farmer before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
Why Should The Browns Turn To 2016?
Is it too soon to start thinking about next year? I feel like after 16 years of being a fan, this question is beginning to get a little old. However, we’re constantly faced with it. Here the Browns are 2-7, with only the miracle of a 7-0 run to preserve what many had hoped could be a year equal to last year’s success.
We’re no further along in knowing whether Manziel can handle the reigns of being a franchise quarterback, let alone a capable starting one. The Browns also don’t have any answers at running back, wide receiver, or on defense, the unit that everyone in the NFL figured would be a strength for the Browns in 2015.
Veteran players on defense like Joe Haden, Donte Whitner, and Karlos Dansby are not getting any younger. Players like Nate Orchard, Justin Gilbert, Armonty Bryant, and Danny Shelton are supposed to be the future, but week after week this defensive unit is getting burned both in the passing and running games.
On offense, RB Johnson has shown promise, but outside of him, there is not a lot of development when it comes to consistent weekly threats. TE Gary Barnidge is having a career year, but he’s a free agent and a long time veteran of the league.
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So what’s the answer? What should the Browns do? Well, it’s time to go all in on 2016. The time is right for this team to start playing the guys who will matter in 2016 and beyond. Yes that means making the switch at QB, and going with Manziel over McCown. No matter what happens to Manziel, they need to find out if he can learn weekly, make the changes to improve his game, and get beyond the “mental reps” Pettine mentions in almost every press conference.
It also means putting Gilbert out there at CB, WR, or heck maybe even safety. I mean why not? The kid seems to be better at reacting after a play, so instead of being responsible for coverage, maybe he’d be better floating around in the secondary as a free safety? I don’t really know, that’s beyond my expertise, but the Browns need to see what they have in him and if he’s salvageable.
The point is that it’s time to start playing the guys who were drafted– the guys who will be here when and if this team finds success. The only way that will happen though, is to get the younger players on the field. That doesn’t mean sit every veteran for the rest of the season, but get the younger guys in on more snaps.
It’s the only way to truly judge the work that Farmer and Pettine have done in trying to build this team. With rumors of job security going forward, wins aren’t the only thing that’s going to save these two men’s jobs. Owner Jimmy Haslam wants progress.
Next: The Nonsense Of The Trades