The NFL preseason has come to an end, and teams are making all of the necessary moves to finalize their rosters. Usually by this time of year, Browns fans have started giving up hope and just settle in for a brutally long season. This offseason alone, the Browns made some head scratching moves. Trading for Brock Osweiler only to cut him. On the surface that doesn’t seem too bad until you realize they have to absorb all $16 million of his contract.
If that wasn’t enough, they released local hero Joe Haden. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand why; injuries and a few years of lower than expected production do justify the move, but he was beloved by the Dawgpound and it will be sad to see him leave. He was a huge fan of Cleveland; seen out and about at local establishments, cheering on the Cavs and Indians, and attending various other events in the city. Oh wait, it gets better. Joe had some very lucrative offers on the table but turned them all down. No, he’s not retiring, he took less money to go play with the Browns’ bitter rival, the Steelers…ugh…
These alone would be more than enough to throw in the towel on the season, but something happened the last few weeks. The Browns looked really good in the preseason. Now I know, it is just preseason football, but when the team went 1-15 the previous year, you get excited about a perfect preseason. We get so excited about it, we even make t-shirts about it! https://www.homage.com/
The truth is, the Browns look like a talented team this year. They seem to have had a great draft for the first time in a long time. Impact players like Jabrill Peppers, and Myles Garrett, and possibly a sustainable quarterback in DeShone Kizer. Aside from the draft itself, the Browns rebuilt their depleted offensive line by adding top tier lineman to play alongside of perennial pro bowler, Joe Thomas. A hard-nosed defensive coordinator in Greg Williams seems to be just what the young ‘D’ needs.
All of this does not necessarily translate to wins on the field come the regular season, but there is hope. For the first time in several years, Browns fans have reason to be excited. The talent on the field is definitely improved, and they have eliminated some of the bad taste of last year by winning a few games in a row (albeit preseason). Only time will tell how this all plays out, and if they can put it all together when the games actually count, but at least we actually have a reason to be optimistic. Hopeful optimism is better than nothing after the last decade of football in the ‘Factory of Sadness’.