The Cleveland Browns are one of the NFL’s oldest franchises with a following that puts on dog face masks and sit in sections called the “Dawg Pound”. The Cleveland fan is one of those always lives in the hope of a better tomorrow and often live in the solace that they have bested their rivals (Steelers) 46% of the time. Now don’t get me wrong, i am not beating up on the Browns here at all, the fact that they have the following they do speaks volumes for the fans and the great history of the team.
Since the famed 1989 season where the Browns routed the Steelers in a 51-0 season opener, Cleveland hasn’t seen their team even win a divisional title. Unfortunately for their true unabashed fan base, 2013 didn’t come close to it either finishing their season at 4-12.
One can blame the ownership or the rule changes or the fact that the AFC North is filled with quality teams, you can even blame the coaching as it was seemingly done this seasons end, but if you look a little closer it is the make-up of the team that one will find the true reasons.
You might ask how the make up of a team that has six Pro Bowlers in Joe Haden, Alex Mack, Joe Thomas, T.J. Ward, Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron be the reason for recent failures. It also begs the question as to why, Head Coach, Rob Chudzinski was so prematurely dismissed. I mean churning out six Pro-Bowlers is not an everyday task?
The current line of thinking is that Chudzinzki had the talent and he should of won more games period but we seem to forget that most of those guys never made it tot he Pro-Bowl before Chud and his staff got there. Teams typically tout their new hires, like Mike Pettine, by crediting them for Pro Bowlers who played for them, as if individual success reflects on the mentoring and tutelage they received. But somehow Chudzinski sending six guys to Hawaii is seen as a demerit, a clear cut scapegoating to change perceptions.
With that in mind, lets dig a little deeper as see if the numbers add up for the Browns 53 man roster and see if we can explain their 4-12 2013 season record.
- 49% consists of UDFAs (20) or 7th-rounders (6)
- 36% rookies/first-year players
- 72% came into 2013 with 16 or fewer career starts, including 23 with zero
- 28% acquired 8/27/13 or later, so they weren’t even in camp with the Browns.
How do you feel about these numbers? Last I checked, a team with 38 players that only carry with them 16 or fewer career starts is usually called an expansion team and we know the winning records those hold. So do you still think it was the head coach or the man in charge of player personnel?
Sitting in locker room meetings and game meetings you get a different take on things as opposed to sitting in the stands. A coach will only do what he can with the players given and it is how job, and only job that matters, to get the players ready for the game. Generally a coach has no say in the “business of football” and that is the way it should be! Although many factors have played a role in the results of the Cleveland Browns of late the depth of the issue goes far beyond the coaching and it squarely lands on personnel.
The point here is that a famed franchise with such a strong fan base should do more than just build a team out of scrap and scapegoat a head coach that put six players in the Pro Bowl. With that said, i do hope that Ray Farmer (GM) gets on the same page with Pettine and begins to build a team deserving of great rivalries and the “Dawg Pound” fan base.