In their 13 seasons since their return, the Browns have only two winning seasons to their credit. Their only playoff appearance was a loss to the Steelers in a 2002 Wild Card game. Moreover, they haven't won their division since it was the old AFC Central, back in 1989.
Is there room for optimism with this year's Browns? I think so.
They're coming out of a typical Cleveland Browns offseason, adding through the NFL draft and little else. They snagged running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden in April's draft, but even those improvements may not be enough to bring the offense to respectable productivity. Greg Little, coming off a 61-catch rookie season, is probably the team's best hope at wideout, with Mohamed Massaquoi mired in mediocrity and playmaker Joshua Cribbs having little impact outside of the special teams arena.
On defense, the Browns sport a serviceable linebacking corps with Chris Gocong, D'Qwell Jackson and BountyGate alum Scott Fujita, who will sit the first three games in his suspension for his role in that whole fiasco. But regardless of how well the team improved from last year, their work is still cut out for them in the AFC North.
Cleveland was the only team from that division to not make the playoffs in 2011. Furthermore, it hasn't beaten a team from the North since October of last year. There's little room for this team to go anywhere but up, but it'll be quite a long climb.
National lead writer Dan Levy, senior NFL draft lead writer Matt Miller and NFL lead blogger Aaron Nagler and I break down the 2012 Browns in our latest Best Case/Worse Case presentation. Enjoy our video above and leave your own thoughts in the comments.
Thanks for watching.