Written by: JP Lococo (@jp_lococo)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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The dust is finally settling after the trade that shocked Northeast Ohio yesterday evening and it’s safe to say that the majority of Browns fans are unhappy. And they have a right to. Being told the team needs to “rebuild” every two years is not the way to keep a dedicated fan base renewing season tickets year after year. I think we all understand that the front office and ownership hasn't meant to leave the team in this kind of shape, but there are no excuses in this business, only results. And results are one thing the Browns have been lacking since their return to the NFL in 1999.
But I am here to tell Browns fans to keep their hope. Times have been worse, way worse. For the sake of all the hurting fans, I won’t revisit history. I won't get into details but Browns fans need to keep the last 10 years into perspective. Times have been worse. Just ask Tim Couch. Below are my top five reasons for Browns fans to continue watching the Browns this season:
5.) To follow the development of up & comer wide-out, Josh Gordon
I think it is pretty obvious that Brandon Weeden needs more options around him to be consistently successful. Additionally, if the Browns want to see any type of success this year on offensive, Gordon, Bess & Little will all need to step up. Gordon showed us glimpses of what he could be last year by stretching defenses with his speed while also being more reliable with his hands than Greg Little. Unfortunately, immaturity and some off the field issues have kept him from playing in a regular season game in 2013.
The one thing we have learned from the first two games of the year is that Norv Turner’s offense will be throwing the ball. Weeden has already thrown the ball 86 times in two games for over 500 yards. Turner loves to stretch the defense with multiple options so it will be important for Browns fans to see Gordon mature on and off the field as they progress throughout the season.
4.) The Browns actually have a good defense
If there is one thing to be proud of on the Browns right now, it’s how hard the defense has played in the first two games. I mean think about it, they go out there every game knowing that if they don’t score at least one defensive touchdown then the team most likely won’t score more than ten points. That must be frustrating. But give them credit. The Browns defense ranks 6th in the league in total yards against and 4th in rushing yards against. There are definitely some pieces to build on moving forward and this group should only get better. This is the one bright spot on the team at the moment, so let’s take a moment and gloat about the defense even though it is only two games into the season.
3.) To determine if Willis McGahee has anything left in the tank
The 31 year old veteran has passed his physical and will be available to the Browns this weekend in Minnesota. People are skeptical about the health of McGahee and they should be! After all he did tear his MCL in 2012 that sidelined him for the season.
Good news, he has passed a physical under three different teams so he seems like he is ready to go. He has always been able to catch the ball out of the backfield and could be a nice addition in the backfield in the west coast style offense that the Browns run now.
2.) There should be NO unpleasant surprises the rest of the season!
Okay, I am going to be incredibly optimistic here so bare with me. The trade with Indy pretty much sent the signal that the 2013 season has been tossed. To me, that may be the most frustrating aspect of what happened yesterday and I share similar frustrations with all fans.
In saying that, Cleveland fans can now go into every game with the 100% confidence that their team will lose and they won’t have to worry about it. Every single weekend, I go into Sunday nervous with anticipation of the game because I am cautiously optimistic that the Browns can somehow put a good performance together and come away with a win. I want the win SOOO badly that I can’t even watch the games because it becomes unhealthy for me. This will no longer be the case from here on out. This week we are starting a third string quarterback on the road with basically no running support either. Looks pretty promising doesn’t it? Here is what you do. Take a step back, realize there is no point in getting worked up like I do, and just enjoy the fact that we have a team to watch. No expectations, no stress and no disappointment.
1.) We are Browns fans for life. Period.
I don’t need to explain this last reason to watch the Browns. This fan base has been through thick and thin. Now is not the time to move onto another team or send hate tweets to the @Browns Twitter account every week. The trade happened and it is over. Realistically, fans need to realize a change like this was going to be coming at some point. You think under a new offense with new coaches and front office that no personnel moves were going to be made? Maybe not to this magnitude, but like I mentioned, what is done is done. Now, go to the Browns Backers Bar this Sunday and get a couple extra beers than normal. All will be okay Cleveland.