No Matter How It Ends, Browns Season a Success

Jordan LeeAnalyst IDecember 29, 2007

The Cleveland Browns may make the playoffs; they may not.

Unfortunately, Romeo Crennel's team forfeited a chance to decide its own fate by losing to the downtrodden Bengals.

Instead, the Browns' hopes hinge on the outcome of Sunday night's Colts-Titans game.

But no matter how their season concludes, the Browns can look back on 2007 as a building point—the beginning of something new, something good.

At the start of the year, most observers, including myself, thought the Browns would finish last in their division and compete for a Top Five draft pick. Crennel was on the hot seat, and the front office seemed like chickens with their heads cut off after trading starting quarterback Charlie Frye.

But the Browns, led by third-stringer turned savior Derek Anderson, shocked the NFL by posting a 7-4 through the end of November.

Suddenly, the Browns, of all teams, looked playoff-bound.

After going 2-2 in December, though, the Browns are now clinging to the No. 6 seed, with the Titans able to write their own playoff ticket.

In any event, the Browns found their QB of the future this year—whether it be Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn. Jamal Lewis gave the team its first real RB threat since its expansion rebirth. New offensive coordinator  Rob Chudzinski has revitalized his unit, as the Browns are in the top half of the league in most offensive categories.

The only bad news is that the same success wasn't duplicated on the defensive side of the ball, as the Browns placed in the bottom half of the league in most defensive categories.

The Browns' season will likely come to an end Sunday, as the Colts look set to rest Peyton Manning and other key starters. Still, 2007 should give Browns fans reason to hope for the future—something they haven't had in a long time.

That alone makes the year a success.