Have you ever seen someone who was so inept that it really wasn't their own fault. Like you know, they were "special" so they couldn't help it. That's how I feel about the Cleveland Browns. They are "special". Only a "special" team could be so eager to hire a coach (Eric Mangini) who was fired by his previous employer (NY Jets) just a short time prior. Only a "special" team could be so insane that they can't figure out their QB situation until literally days before their first game of the season. Only a "special" team could find a way to totally disengage their best player (Joshua Cribbs) and not realize his true value, thus not willing to give him a fair-market value contract. That my friends, is truly "special". We've done this "Fix A Team" feature before, and big shoutout to Scotto as his fandom (big time Browns fan) is on the line with this one.
#1. Cut All Skill Players On Offense - Except Joshua Cribbs...because he clearly is the only player worth a damn on the offensive end of the ball. You know your team is bad when one player is your best QB, RB, WR, KR & PR! That my friends, is a problem. Also, I said this on Twitter yesterday but, Josh Cribbs is the perfect example of why players should hold out. He played his @$$ off on Monday and he almost ended his career doing so. Cribbs held out before the season because he wasn't making any money ($645K/year). He's the best returner in football now that Hester put down the throne, and he should be paid as such. Cleveland said we'll wait till free agency. Cribbs didn't like it, but he took it for what it was. He's your 3rd leading rusher, 4th in receiving, and has 2 TD's in the return game. PAY THE MAN BEFORE HE GOES TO A GREAT TEAM AND YOU GET NOTHING FOR HIM! JEEZ-US!
Ok, I'm back, I blacked out for a moment. Looking at the tailback position, Jamal Lewis will go down as one of the most underrated runningbacks in NFL history, yet his time as being the #1 RB for an offense needs to end immediately. Jerome Harrison, Chris Jennings, and James "Buster" Davis have all flashed some great ability and their time has come to take over the show.
As far as receivers are concerned, they need some playmakers to go alongside Cribbs. You used to have one? Braylon? Braylon Edwards? Yeah, Braylon is a playmaker wideout and I like him. However, when you got stone hands and a real dislike with the city's #1 superstar (LeBron) then you've got to go homie. I do believe they could use a TE as well...wait? What? Kellen? Kellen Winslow? They had Kellen Winslow? WTF...so you are telling me that Cleveland had Kellen and Braylon and they traded them both for Chansi Stuckey, a pack of Kool menthol's, and a lifetime supply of Murray's Hair Pomade? Basically, they don't have anything to show for their trades and you can't replace top talent like that.
Players of emphasis to watch in the 2010 draft: Dez Bryant, CJ Spiller, Julio Jones, Jahvid Best, AJ Green, Mardy Gilyard
#2. Go Hire The Best Coaching Staff Money Can Buy - The cloud hanging over the Browns right now is dark, cloudy, and downright putrid. Players are complaining about practice schedules, the NFLPA is doing investigations on the management, and agents are actively blackballing players from signing with Cleveland. With that being said, the philosophy of who the Browns are must change A-S-A-P and you must go about it one of two ways. You either get a highly respected coach (i.e. Bill Cowher, Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Shanahan, Mike Holmgren) and let them build their vision in Cleveland, or you're going to have to roll the dice and get an up and coming coordinator who's made of fire and brimstone (i.e. Mike Zimmer, Todd Bowles, Jeff Davidson) and whom you are willing to back 100%. Its clear that Cleveland wasn't willing to back Mangini and Co. 100% after about week 6.
#3. Acquire Not One, But Two Quarterback. Yeah I Said It - Here's the deal, first off you need to rid yourself of every QB on the roster not named Cribbs, Joshua. That means Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Brent Ratliff, and anyone else who thinks they should be taking snaps for the Browns. Get rid of them, like...right now. The Browns have whiffed on franchise-caliber QB's for the last 20 years. See Tim Couch, Charlie Frye, Kelly Holcomb, and Brady Quinn. Not since Bernie Kosar walked through those doors in Cleveland Stadium has there been a confident presence taking snaps for the Browns. This is what you need to do.
Go draft a QB who fits what you want to be in your offense. Go draft a leader. Go draft someone who says "Yes sir", studies his playbook for fun, and truly understands what it is to be a teammate. I swear before Purple Jesus, if I see another team draft a QB solely on his ability to "throw the ball down the field and having a gun" I'm going to take said gun and use it on them. Ok, maybe not but you get my drift. Matt Ryan doesn't have a cannon, neither does Sanchez, or some of the other young QB's who have now ascended the plateau of young talented QB's. Get someone who's right for the team. Then you know what you do after that?
Get another quarterback. Go get you a veteran, someone who can start for you week 1 and lead your team immediately into battle. You need someone who can talk to your rookie QB, show him the ropes and show him how to do it the right way. If Chad Pennington is available next season I'd snatch him up immediately. Billy Volek out of San Diego, go get him right now. Don't set your QB up for immediate failure, and don't set your players up for immediate failure, and don't set your fanbase up for immediate failure. Set a realistic expectation and execute against it. Once your veteran QB's time is done, there's less pressure on your rookie QB and he can thrive hopefully in his role.
Players of emphasis to watch in the 2010 draft: Jake Locker, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy
#4. Build On A Thriving Defensive Core - Cleveland's defensive unit really isn't that bad, they've got young skilled linebackers, a mountain of a defensive tackle in Shaun Rogers, and decent playmakers in the secondary. What this defense needs is a leader, a field general, someone who's going to get in someone's face on the opponent's team and on their own team. I can't see that coming from anywhere except from the linebacker position or the safety position. If Cleveland went and got Taylor Mays in this draft then that could change the entire picture for the Browns in 2010 and beyond. A Brandon Spikes, Rennie Curran, Eric Norwood, or Rolando McClain at linebacker could take the middle third into the next level. Building on what's already strong makes you excellent, provides depth, and changes games in your favor. Baltimore, New England, New York (Giants), and Minnesota all have shown this to be true.
Players of emphasis to watch in the 2010 draft: Taylor Mays, Eric Norwood, Rolando McClain, Joe Haden, Jeremy Beal, Sergio Kindle
#5. Play Like You Give A Damn - What I saw Monday night was pitiful, lethargic, and downright disrespectful to the game of football. This is not 100% directed to the players, the coaching, and fanbase were all pathetic. Browns fans were holding up "WHO DEY!" signs! WTF...that'd be like me throwing up the "Hook'em Horns" at an OU game. I think I just threw up in my mouth. Fans, that's just horrible. To the offensive coordinator to the Browns, that was the worst play-calling exhibition I've seen in recent memory. You threw a smoke route (Quick snap, QB throws to the receiver immediately at the line of scrimmage, taking advantage of off man coverage) on 3rd and 8? That's horrible. Brady Quinn, you need to reevaluate life, you couldn't even keep the ball within the field of play when throwing downfield.
Have some damn pride and play like you give a damn. Its just a true reflection that there is zero leadership on that team. That's where I'd begin on fixing this team.
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE BROWNS? HOW WOULD YOU FIX THEM? ARE THEY THE MOST PATHETIC TEAM IN FOOTBALL? LET US KNOW!