If You Build It, They Will Come

gary wertmanCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2009

If you build it they will come. With "it" being a hard nosed, hard working, smart, physical football team with the emphasis on team. With "they" being wins, wins over the Steelers, winning the AFC North, winning a playoff game and eventually winning a Super Bowl.

Gone are the days of easy training camps, easy practices, no accountability, no discipline the me attitudes. Under Romeo it was easy to be a member of the Browns. Especially if you were a veteran player. It's not easy being a member of the Cleveland Browns any more.

Like him or not, Eric Mangini is turning this organization upside down. Hard work, physical practices, and smart decisions are a few of the things he stresses daily. You do it his way. The Browns are actually hitting in training camp, not just going through the motions. Football has become a contact sport in Cleveland. Players are being held accountable for mistakes, from the rookies to the vets, nobody escapes Mangini's wrath.

The Browns play in a smash mouth division with the Ravens and the Steelers, two very physical football  teams and an improving Bengals team. You better be ready to compete at their level or you can forget about winning the division and making the playoffs. In the past the Browns have failed miserably against those three teams more often than not. Under Crennel the Browns went 3-5 against the Ravens, 2-6 against the Bengals and 0-8 against the Steelers. That's 5-19 in the division. Cleveland needed a change. Soft and easy won't get it done in the NFL.

Cleveland may be a year or two away or they may be closer than we think but the Browns are finally headed in the right direction. Years of taking shortcuts has not closed the gap on our divisional rivals but widened it. Mangini has a tough job ahead but at least we should have hope for the future.