Eventually the plan is going to work. Carmen Policy told us to be patient and let the expansion years play out. Phil Savage told us time was needed to right the wrongs of those who came before him. George Kokinis told us this would be the regime that finally put pieces together to win football games. Mike Holgren reminded us he built a winners in Green Bay and Seattle and knew the winning formula. Joe Banner has told us that the team is placing the best product it can on the field. Joe Banner has told us that the team is building for long term success. None of these statements have come true. None of these statements appear to be coming true soon. None of these statements makes anyone who gives a damn about Cleveland Browns football optimistic about any "regime" or "process" or "product" that the team is attempting. Everything about these statements tell us false hope is being sold. Everything about these statements tell us to not buy it. Everything tells us the past is destined to repeat itself. Everything tells us failure will always be.
Eventually a regime of blowhards is going to put together a winning Browns team. Eventually the process is going to play out and positive results will follow. Eventually the product will be worth watching, even if it's all sheer luck. The law of averages says so. It tells us to keep believing. It tells us that things will eventually change for the better. It tells us that there is no connection from previous leaders to the next. It tells us everyone who comes to Cleveland is not destined to be a colossal failure. It tells us to believe. It tells us over and over again: Believe.
It is not easy to believe. There have been 19 starting quarterbacks. There have been 16 first round picks. There have been 4 seasons over five wins. There have been 3 thousand yard backs. Only Jamal Lewis has repeated, doing so 1 time. There have been 4 thousand yard receivers. None have ever repeated. There have been 3 passers throw over three thousand yards in a season. None have ever repeated. There have been two winning seasons. There has been one double digit win season. There has been one playoff game. There have been zero play off wins. There have been boycotts. There have been petitions. There have been Twitter blow ups. There have been those who swore the team off only to come right back. There have been ownership changes. But most of all, above everything else, there has been misery.
Cleveland hasn't seen an offensive product worth watching since 2007. That was the year that Browns fans thought for a sliver of a second that we had an enviable quarterback situation. Derek Anderson was hot off a 29 TD season. Brady Quinn was the heir in waiting and there was actually a quarterback controversy to get excited about. Braylon Edwards hadn't yet embarrassed himself by thinking Cleveland had a vendetta for players who went to the University of Michigan and not instead players who lead the league in drops. Jamal Lewis amassed over 1,500 total yards and looked to still have good years left in the tank. Kellen Winslow looked like the elite athlete he was prior to doing his motorcycle stunts. Joe Thomas looked like he was the NFL's best tackle. The entire defense looked capable of stopping the opponent from scoring touchdowns on every drive.
All these pieces were in place in 2008, the year of hope was finally here. We went 4-12.
This is why we can't handle seeing Trent Richardson get traded in Week 2. There was no offseason full of buildup that management and player were no match made in heaven. There was no soundbite of Richardson frustrated with team's "direction". There was no clip of Richardson bashing his second head coach, offensive coordinator, or running backs coach in two years. There was no evidence that things were status quo. There was no evidence that Trent wasn't going to pile together 1,000 yards while the team marched its way to 6 wins, maybe 7 if we get lucky. This is what we had to look forward to. This was our season.
That's why this sucks. The best offensive player the New Browns have ever seen was traded because he "wasn't the right fit". The win total is what truly isn't "the right fit". It doesn't matter that Richardson had more attempts then Jerome Harrison when he was traded. It doesn't matter Richardson has less
total yards then Jerome Harrison when he was traded. It doesn't matter that Richardson had less 100+ yard games then Jerome Harrison. It doesn't matter that Richardson has a less catches then Jerome Harrison. It doesn't matter that Richardson had a lower Yard Per Carry and Yard Per Catch then Jerome Harrison. It doesn't matter that the first round pick we got in return is of far greater value then Mike Bell, the player we got in return for Jerome Harrison. It doesn't matter that Richardson really isn't the player the media, the fans, the pundits, the Twitters, the internet, the Alabama, the world has made him out to be. What matters is we are pissed.
This is another sign that the team is not winning now. This is another example of the "rebuilding process". This is another example of "out with the old, in with the new". This is another example of two years to show yourself or you ware shown the door. This is another set of suits telling us what is right. Yet every suit has told us to sit back, accept the process and wait or the results that will come. Only those results have always been terrible. Those results have made things like 2007 the only glimmer of results in over a decade of false hopes. But we need to sit back and accept. We need to let regime bring in "their" players. We need to allow this to happen. Because eventually, through the law of averages, it is going to work. Eventually, somehow, someway, the Browns will be good.
As always, read & discuss. You can reach me on Twitter @ClevRocks_James or comment your (dis)agreements below.