CLEVELAND, OH — Normally when a football team starts off 0-5, many fans and supporters will have already resigned themselves to talking about the upcoming draft in April, or distracting themselves in watching other local teams. Then again, not many fans are Cleveland Browns fans.
Cleveland, is a special sports universe onto itself in the fact that even at 0-5, many fans saw glimpses of brilliance and promise in the form of quarterback Brandon Weeden, running back Trent Richardson and wide receivers Greg Little and Josh Gordon.
Weeden, the 29-year-old “rookie” out of Oklahoma State would not make a good impression on Browns fans in throwing four interceptions in a 17-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1.
But as the saying goes, “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish”
With three games left(counting the Washington Redskins on Sunday) Weeden is on pace to pass for 3,738 yards, throw 16 touchdowns and post a QB rating of 72.8
Like any rookie, Weeden would have his up and downs, whether it is from missing receivers downfield, or trying to “gun” it into tight windows, bottom line is that Weeden has the potential to be the elusive franchise quarterback that the Browns have been searching for.
With all due respect to the many Colt McCoy supporters who feel that Weeden is not the answer. Tough.
The Browns chose Weeden for a reason over your “golden boy”, so time to stop your crying and get on board the Weeden bandwagon, because–unlike McCoy–Weeden does not have the frightened look of a deer in headlights when under pressure, nor does he run too early.
Some may scorn and whine that Weeden is the next coming of former Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Anderson, due to his unfortunate tendency to throw interceptions at the wrong time, but I will gladly take his arm strength and ability to stretch the field over McCoy anyday.
Moving on, remember when all Browns fans questioned the use of a 2013 second round pick on Gordon?
I do, because I was one of the many in the blogosphere and online sports media that wondered why Cleveland would do that.
While many–including me–were wondering why Cleveland did not choose to go after Kendall Wright, Reuben Randle or Stephen Hill, I will gladly say that in hindsight that I was wrong and that Gordon is the real deal.
I’ve seen receivers from Webster Slaughter to Braylon Edwards play in Cleveland, but have never seen one with so much raw talent and pure promise that I’ve seen in Gordon.
For all the nay-sayers who thought that the Browns wasted a second-round pick on a player who had various off-the-field issues, Gordon leads all rookies in receiving with 732 yards and is tied with Indianapolis Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton in receiving touchdowns with five.
Not bad for a player once considered a bust, eh?
What else about Little cannot be said, that has already been said. Everything from being called a potential number one wide receiver to being the second coming of Braylon, Little has really turned it on lately.
From doing his infamous Usain Bolt first-down pose at home against the Buffalo Bills to dropping a potential touchdown in Baltimore against the Ravens, Little has been on the bad side of many Browns fans. The former second-round pick out of North Carolina who had issues with drops, suddenly seems to have proverbial “stick-em” on his glove, and it shows.
Since being held to one catch for four yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11, Little has eight catches for 117 yards in wins over Oakland and Kansas City.
If Little continues his steady and consistent play down the stretch, he has the potential to pay off big for Cleveland long-term.
Since their rebirth in 1999, the Browns defense has been the main backbone carrying the Browns through thick and thin, for once it is nice and refreshing to talk about an offense that has a potential 3,500-yard plus gunslinger in Weeden, a 1,000-yard wideout in Gordon, a solid No. 2 receiver in Little and a dual-purpose franchise-defining tailback in Richardson, who is on pace for 1,200 all-purpose yards.
While this team may–or may not–make the playoffs, one cannot help be notice the excitement and renewed love of the Browns in Cleveland, it’s everywhere from seeing fans buy Richardson jerseys to Cleveland sports radio. Fan excitement for a young Browns team like this has not been seen in these parts since the days of the Brian Sipe-led Kardiac Kids to the great late 80’s teams led by civic icon, Bernie Kosar.
Not to date myself, but I grew up watching Kosar, Slaughter, Reggie Langhorne, Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner, and like many Browns fans, I experienced the gut-wrenching losses to John Elway.
Sentinel Prime(voiced by the legendary Leonard Nimoy) said to Optimus Prime in the 2011 Michael Bay mega-blockbuster Transformers 3 : Dark Of The Moon, “never mourn the past”, In the case of Browns fans, both old and new, it is time to savor what we see now in Weeden, Gordon, Richardson and Little, as with the current three-game winning streak suggests, it is a great time to be a Browns fan again.
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] and follow the Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber