In the Doghouse: Browns Embracing New Depths of Embarrassment
We are all witnesses.
The Cleveland Browns (0-3) are taking Godzilla-sized strides toward complete football incompetence. Top to bottom, this organization is in a free fall. Nothing is working.
While the Browns looked decent (at times) in their season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, they swiftly removed themselves from contention and into a new level of inability after being blown out in Baltimore today.
Any Browns fan that saw even one quarter of action last season knew this year would be a long one. It's only Week Three, but it feels like late December. Do we really have to go through 13 more games of this? Really?
Head coach Eric Mangini's "strong, silent type" approach to just about everything (including fining players more than $1,700 for not paying a $3 hotel bill for a bottle of water) isn't working. New coaches, just like teachers, have to use the "tough guy" method to an extent when dealing with pupils, but this is a bit ridiculous.
Mangini: Get over yourself. You've accomplished nothing other than making yourself look like ringmaster of the world's crappiest circus for three weeks.
Predictable, ho-hum play-calling is again dooming the Browns. Under the Romeo Crennel staff, the draw plays and screens called on 3rd-and-long downs shackled the offense. Now, it's simple lack of execution (and talent) combined with expected plays that create the bland concoction known as Cleveland Browns football.
Coordinators Brian Daboll and Rob Ryan need to do something—anything—to get both the offense and the defense to turn in some results (by the way, why isn't Brian Robiskie getting any playing time?). This team is gasping for air and needs at least a couple positives to take from each week. Right now, it's not getting any.
The ownership, while integral to the existence of the re-born franchise, simply cannot shake the losing culture that has now stained every nook and cranny of the team. Every position—quarterbacks, running backs, coaches, coordinators, general managers—on this team has been tried and tried again with the same result: nothing.
Each year, it becomes clearer that the Lerner group simply doesn't have what it takes to build a winning franchise. The bust draft picks, bum coaches, and myriad other losers brought in by the ownership are just a few parts of the Lerners' exhibition of ineptitude.
The players shoulder some of the blame as well. Everybody on the roster has played a lackluster, uninspired, and tepid brand of football thus far. Cleveland has no leaders on its roster. Nobody sets an example to follow. The heart, drive, hustle, and intensity that made this franchise famous are nowhere to be found.
Players also seem to be playing with a touch of nervousness on every play. These jitters can be attributed to both an absence of focus and Mangini's "do this right or you'll pay at practice this week" attitude. This may work at the high school level, but not in the NFL. Players simply will not respect that kind of philosophy.
Week by week, year by year, the Browns are making football a bigger labor than a pleasure to watch. Isn't watching football supposed to be fun?
This year's Browns squad is arguably the worst of the new era in Cleveland football, which is really (really) saying something. Even in Cleveland, the Browns are a joke and a colossal embarrassment.
Every tier of the Browns needs to make some kind of marked improvement; no one is without blame. If any improvements are to be seen in a season that's already lost its pulse, an organization-wide turnaround (something that, at this point in the season, doesn't look likely) needs to be made.
Is there any good news? Actually, yes.
The Cavs begin training camp tomorrow.
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