Cleveland Browns: Quieting the Dissent

Samuel IngroAnalyst IMarch 28, 2010

When new team president Mike Holmgren arrived in Cleveland, he was cheered and heralded as the voice of experience in an under-qualified front office.

Just three months later however, after trading Cleveland's underachieving former first-round picks Brady Quinn and Kamerion Wimbley, the majority of Cleveland's fan base has been in an uproar.

This new front office has vowed not to dwell on the past mistakes of unqualified men.

Kamerion Wimbley had a solid rookie season, but regardless, he has underachieved his first round status. He lacked the fire and intensity of a great pass rusher, and with the linebacker core featuring Matt Roth, Jason Trusnik, D'Qwell Jackson, Scott Fujita, David Bowens, and Kaluka Maiava, he became expendable.

Cleveland fans may have been fine with a "solid linebacker," but solid doesn't win championships, something Cleveland hasn't seen since coming into the NFL.

Brady Quinn, another first round pick who probably wouldn't have gone until the second round if not for a hasty Phil Savage trade-up. Arguments can be made that Quinn "just needs more time," but a fourth-year player shouldn't be regressing as Quinn has.

Whether it's shattered confidence, increased muscle mass, lack of playmakers, or a million other excuses, some progress should have been shown.

Instead, decreased accuracy, passes behind receivers, increased check downs, increased sacks and hurries, and off-balanced throwing has started to become the norm.

It's time for a fresh start in Cleveland, as well as for Quinn. Quinn needs to go back to basics, something Holmgren doesn't have time to wait for.

If you don't put immediate progress on the field, Cleveland fans will tear you apart, and Mike Holmgren was well aware of this when he took the job. Cleveland is a hungry, aggressive fanbase, that values football more than anything.

They don't tolerate failure, and they may just prematurely run you out of town. Success is vital in an organization without a steadfast and strong owner who will ignore the catcalls. Something that Randy Lerner has never been.

This is why the current front office is a perfect fit, Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert came into Cleveland to bring the team a Super Bowl, they have a history of winning and didn't come here to lose.

Cleveland was 5-11 last year on the back of a special teams player and a backup running back, those amazing performances aren't going to keep showing up.

As Holmgren said upon taking the job, pulling out four straight wins by not putting the ball in the air, is unheard of.

The team needed restructuring or it was doomed to fail from the start. Brady Quinn couldn't complete passes, Lawrence Vickers doesn't catch, John St Clair couldn't block, and Robert Royal struggled with the concept of a completion last year.

Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace have proben they can throw, Peyton Hillis can catch, Tony Pashos can block, and Ben Watson can catch.

Starting to see a trend here? Proven talent at a low risk.

When the team enters the draft now, they have 12 picks. Tom Heckert has a great history of successful drafts, and with a deep draft Cleveland holds the 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6 picks.

Those picks aren't just numbers, they could be guys like Eric Berry, Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Sergio Kindle, Brandon Spikes, Kyle Wilson, Gerald McCoy, Taylor Mays, Jahvid Best, Golden Tate, Marty Gilyard, Patrick Robinson, Colt McCoy, John Jerry, Donovan Warren, LaMarr Houston, Toby Gerhart, Major Wright, Myron Rolle, Mike Johnson, etc. The list in endless, and there's a lot of kids ready to make a name for themselves for the next decade in Cleveland.

Cleveland has a solid foundation of hard-working blue collared players. Playmakers are needed however, and that's the point of the draft.

Young, talented, hungry players that truly want to compete at the NFL level. The job of finding those players, rests in the hands of Tom Heckert, something that he excels in.

In nine years with the Eagles, Heckert helped draft or acquire 10 Pro Bowl players. In the Eagles' last playoff game, 15 of their 22 starters were drafted during Heckert's duration.

How many Cleveland Browns' can you name off the top of your head that are starting and were drafted by Cleveland? Does Cleveland have any players with the playmaking ability of LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, or Brian Westbrook? Besides Cribbs, who lucked onto the squad as an undrafted free agent?

Probably not.

Believe it or not Cleveland fans, these guys know what they're doing, and aren't going to bend to the fans' best impression of an NFL analyst, just because it's not a popular move. Quinn was well-liked, Wimbley was well-liked, but they didn't produce.

Before you run these guys out of town, like so many coaching legends like Belichick and Schottenheimer, maybe take a deep breath, just be a fan for awhile, and let them do the job they were brought here to do.