Brown pants, white pants, orange pants, no pants. Who cares! We’ve got a winner!
WOW! It’s fun to be a Browns’ fan again! Finally, we have something better to talk about than uniforms. I have tried to keep my excitement quelled so far this year, but can no longer contain my joy. The Browns, the Cleveland Browns, the 1999 and after Cleveland Freakin’ Browns are 6 and 3 and in first place of the AFC North! Gosh, I’m giddy.
This team is an extension of their leaders; Pettine, Shanahan, Hoyer, and Dansby. This game is about playing with heart, emotion, and confidence and these guys have a bushel full of all. They may not be the best, most talented, or most impressive team out there every week, but 6 weeks out of 9 they have found a way to win. In a couple of games they were even, dare I say, dominant!
Even more impressive is that they are winning with guys coming in and out with injuries. Not scrubs, but injured pro-bowlers! They are getting production from veterans, rookies, and free agents. Everyone is contributing and they just seem to be getting better. They are no longer the team on the field making stupid penalties, bonehead calls, and finding ways to lose games. They are winning. Pettine has them playing as a team and is definitely a candidate for coach of the year at this point in the season.
It took awhile, but the defense is really starting to gel. The defensive backfield may be the best in the NFL; Haden, Skrine, Whitner, and Gipson.They are creating turnovers and making key stops. The defense has had their hiccups along the way, but they are beginning to get the new system and continue to improve. If they can continue to get better against the run and pressure the QB more, this could become one of the best defensive groups in the league. Yes, they give up yards and some big plays, but they aren’t allowing many points and are creating turnovers, which is huge. They are giving the offense a chance to win.
Let’s put this to bed right now. Barring injury, Johnny Football will not be starting anytime soon for the Browns. Brian Hoyer is a WINNER! His never say die, shake off the last play/series attitude is motivating this team to wins. He can be hot and cold and sometimes inaccurate, but he just keeps forgetting and fighting on. He gets rid of the ball quick and makes good reads. He finds a way to win and inspires his teammates to play hard and at the end of the day, that’s what the QB is supposed to do. Manziel may be a star in waiting, but for once, let’s be thankful we don’t have to rush out another rookie who may not be ready.
The offense had a major set back when Mack was lost to injury, but if last night’s game against the Bengals is any indication, the running game has been found again. The ability to run opens up the play action and makes the offense click. The baby backs ran well and we finally have receivers and tight ends that can be counted on to get open and catch the ball. I truly doubted their ability at the beginning of the season, but Hawkins, Gabriel, Benjamin, and Austin have really stepped up and made plays. With Gordon coming back in a couple of weeks, the receiving corps and offense is in good shape.
Browns’ fans, it is fun again. Enjoy it. Yes, we have leaned to guard our hearts and realize that it could all come crashing down around us in the blink of an eye, but that is old Cleveland thinking. Let’s take a lesson from our quarterback and be positive and enjoy the ride. Hoyer is in the driver seat, I’m buckled in, and I’m excited to see how far this team can go. LET’S GO BROWNS!!