But many within the organization, including team president Mike Holmgren, believe that second-year quarterback Colt McCoy will break the team's trend of rotating quarterbacks and losing.
Here are five reasons why Colt McCoy could be the long-term quarterback of the Browns.
Although Pat Shurmur is yet to prove that he can be a capable head coach in the NFL, there is no question that he can develop quarterbacks.
Shurmur first made an impact in the NFL as quarterbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 until 2008. In Philadelphia, he helped Donovan McNabb turn from an unpolished scrambler into one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
As offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, he helped rookie quarterback Sam Bradford take a 1-15 Rams team in 2009 to a 7-9 record in 2010. The Rams offense improved in virtually every category during 2010.
Shurmur will likely have the same impact on McCoy that he had on McNabb and Bradford. However, Browns fans will have to remain patient with Shurmur because of how little time he has had to work with McCoy during the lockout-shortened offseason.
With new coach Pat Shurmur comes his adaptation of the west coast offense. And McCoy will probably have better success in a West Coast offense than he had with former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's run-heavy system.
McCoy is shorter than most quarterbacks, meaning he should benefit from playing in a West Coast philosophy because there is less emphasis on a quarterback's size. He is also faster than most quarterbacks and an accurate short-to-medium range passer.
McCoy does not throw a great deep ball, but his precision and quickness will compensate for his average arm strength.
Leadership is often an overused cliche when describing a quarterback. But the need for a true leader at the position cannot be understated for the Browns, given that the team has used 15 starting quarterbacks since 1999.
McCoy has been praised as a leader since his days at the University of Texas, and he has continued to assert himself in that role during the short time he has been in Cleveland.
Details have surfaced about an impassioned speech he gave to his teammates before his first NFL start against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, and during the offseason he conducted workouts with his teammates in Texas.
The Browns are probably going to have another losing season in 2011 as they adjust to a new head coach and different offensive and defensive systems. They need someone to be a guiding force as they continue to build under Mike Holmgren, and McCoy might be the man to do it.
The Browns' capable offensive line is one advantage McCoy has that most of his predecessors in Cleveland did not have.
Although the right side of the offensive line is questionable, the left side of Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach, along with Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, gives the team a significant advantage in the trenches.
The offensive line will give McCoy more time to stand in the pocket and allow fewer defenders to hit him. McCoy will have a strong chance to cement himself as the Browns' long-term quarterback if his offensive line can adequately protect him.
And unlike previous Browns offensive lines, this group can do just that.
The Browns' respected and proven front office also give McCoy an advantage that the team's previous quarterbacks did not have.
The team's management has been unstable since the rebirth of the organization, failing to address fundamental roster problems and hiring bad coaches who mishandle their quarterbacks.
But with Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert running the team, there is a sense of calm, stability and vision that has been lacking from the previous regimes in Cleveland. Both men know how to build winners in the NFL of the 21st century, and both men understand the importance of having a franchise quarterback.
McCoy will be given a realistic chance to succeed as the Browns quarterback, and the front office will eventually surround him with capable receivers.