Cleveland Browns 2012 Outlook: 10 Reasons the Browns Will Improve

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Cleveland Browns 2012 Outlook: 10 Reasons the Browns Will Improve
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Pat Shurmur: 7 wins will be the minimum expectation for the sophomore coach.

"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way."
— Mark Twain

If the Cleveland Browns anticipate winning enough football games to appease their tortured, voracious fanbase in 2012, they must learn from their mistakes while considering their divisional opponents as they prepare.

In a city notorious for its hard luck on and off the field, hope still springs eternal on the shores of Lake Erie. For a generation, Clevelanders have suffered through an excruciating litany of fresh professional sports wounds.

Over a week in 2007, Cleveland fans watched in disbelief as the Tribe dropped a 3-1 ALCS lead to the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox. After two years of suspense, LeBron James notoriously spurned the town on national television in 2010.

But no shortcoming agonizes Cleveland fans like the unrecognizable NFL organization donning their favorite team's colors since 1999.

Mired in over a decade of NFL insignificance founded on dismal drafting combined with detrimental foolishness in free agency, particularly a penchant for mortgaging their future on geriatric quarterbacks, Cleveland's reputation has significantly declined from its once-pround NFL beginnings.

Robert Griffin III and various unidentified agents are rumored to have expressed doubt as to whether the Browns even try to win.

Despite their recent troubles, contrary to frustrated fans' laments that the Browns haven't shown any free agency cajones in years and in defiance of the city of Cleveland's championship drought spanning nearly a half-century, as of late, the Cleveland Browns look like they have learned some lessons and stand poised to build a consistently competitive franchise in 2012 and beyond.

You can follow me on Twitter: @StepanekButton


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