When I was in Cleveland four week ago for a friend's wedding, I went in this lovely restaurant called "Luigi's." Italian food has always been delectable to me and I went in because the wedding party had a reservation.
As I passed this incredibly long line I saw more brown on people's backs than on trees in a forest. Almost every man and woman was wearing a Cleveland Browns jersey.
I saw Cribbs, Edwards, Lewis, Winslow, Anderson, Rogers, and one Ozzie Newsome! I talked to a few people, and they were excited about the new season even though most of them felt they would lose to Dallas.
I told them I was from Texas and a Cowboys fan, but to smooth the waters I quickly said that I detested the Steelers as much as they did. I was exaggerating of course, yet it worked and we continued to talk.
I left there happy with the hope that Cleveland would make playoffs this year at least and continue to build a great team.
My hopes and those people's hopes are being put to the test lately. These fans are just praying for a miracle to happen now that Cleveland is 0-2 after last night's 10-6 loss to the Steelers.
More bad news is on the horizon though. Their defensive end, Robaire Smith is sidelined "indefinitely" until further notice after suffering an injury to his Achilles. That makes me shudder to think that his career could be over since the Achilles is one of the most tender muscles in the foot.
This not the only attack on the roster this year. Linebacker Antwan Peek is out for the season to get surgery on his knee, and safety Sean Jones is on the bench for several more weeks because of arthroscopic surgery he had last week.
Even one of their tight ends, Martin Rucker, is out due to a knee injury. In the preseason quarterback, Derek Anderson, suffered a concussion by the hands of Osi Umenyiora (who is, coincidentally, also out for the season.)
Now Anderson is all right, but it makes you think if this team is done getting battered. Their star returner Cribbs did not play against the Cowboys in the opener, and Braylon Edwards looks like something is wrong with his hands with all the passes he has dropped lately.
Donte Stallworth hasn't even started yet for them, because of an injury to his quadricep that he got while fooling around. Tackle Ryan Tucker is also on the list with a hip injury.
OUCH! Literally. This team is suffering in games, in pain, and in variety. This brings up a saying to me. "The team that wins together, hurts together."
The Browns have, over the offseason, made additions to make this team spectacular and nothing has happened. It definately doesn't do you any good when your biggest offensive addition is out of the game because he was playing around (Donte Stallworth).
Some guys are back on track but an 0-2 start is not what this 10-6 team from last year wanted. The Browns missed playoffs because Tennessee won their last game and with the new additions made Cleveland fans were hoping for something they haven't had in years. A team to be proud of. Not a losing season.
I don't think that Cleveland is out of the picture for a winning season or even playoffs, but it is wishful thinking to believe this is a Super Bowl team. Even without the injuries it was wishful thinking.
The secondary is too weak. They have good passing and running attacks when healthy. Good run defense and brilliant special teams, but the pass defense will beat them this year because Cleveland has one of the toughest schedules with the NFC East and the AFC South on their schedule.
That is a total of six playoff teams and two 8-8 teams. And Pittsburgh is never going to roll over for Cleveland.
This team should have their scouts prepare for a mighty draft next year in defense. This team, I believe, is a potential Super Bowl team. They need one or two years to solidify the defense and get the kinks out of the offense.
Then PITTSBURGH BEWARE! You will have trouble if this happens.
Good Luck Cleveland. You can take Baltimore. 1-2 next week.