The Cleveland Browns haven’t made the playoffs since 2002. They haven’t even contended seriously for postseason play since 2007. They have not advanced to even the second round of the playoffs since 1994. Maybe that’s why the recent ruckus over the comments of radio analyst and former quarterback Bernie Kosar weren’t such a bad thing—if nothing else, they reminded us a day when the Browns were relevant.
Before jumping into our NFL analysis on the Browns, a brief explanation on Kosar for anyone who missed the story. The man who quarterbacked Cleveland’s best teams in the late 1980s now does radio and he delivered several extremely insulting remarks at the St. Louis Rams’ wide receivers, quarterback and assistant coaches in their preseason game.
Media reaction was over the top—Kosar is, after all, a partisan commentator. But at the same time, the remarks would have left the younger listener completely unaware that the man who uttered them was once one of the smartest quarterbacks in football. Instead, Kosar came off as too unprepared to do anything but insult.
Now, on to the hopes of the Browns as they try out another head coach in Rob Chudzinski. This team made some defensive progress last year, ranking in the upper half of the NFL in limiting yardage per catch, pressuring the quarterback and stopping the run. What does them in, is that opponents can still complete a high percentage and Cleveland has not found a way to get off the field.
When looking at the offense, Kosar’s ire would be better directed at this unit. Because I hate to sound overly simplistic, but it’s just lousy and I don’t see a lot of hope for things getting any better. I like offensive tackle Joe Thomas as much as anyone—he’s a Wisconsin boy and that’s the college team I root for. But the rest of the line isn’t very good and Trent Richardson is swimming upstream trying to get yardage.
Brandon Weeden is a 29-year-old player in his second year at quarterback, but he didn’t look overly mature for his age as a rookie. It’s hard to judge, based on the lack of talent around him, but we can at least say that Weeden is not one who is going to pull an RG3 and almost singlehandedly transform a struggling franchise.
If there’s hope for the Browns, I can only offer this—across the line, on both sides of the ball, players are range from 25-years-old to 27-years-old. That’s an age where improvement is very possible, and if several of the linemen mature all at once, Cleveland can get competitive.
But I just don’t see hope here. Las Vegas has posted this team’s Over/Under win prop at 6.5 and I frankly find that wildly optimistic. There’s no way I would bet this team to go 7-9. If Chudzinski pulls that off, in a division with the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals, he deserves consideration for Coach of the Year.