Opinion: Striving for Nothing

Either the competition in the NFL and college football this year is superb, or some teams are simply content with being mediocre.

There are many examples of losing teams across the NCAA and NFL, but only the Cleveland Browns, at 0-8, are seemingly satisfied with consistently being the worst of the worst.

Despite being almost appallingly bad, no one seems to care about the Browns. Cleveland could easily finish the season 0-16, wrapping up arguably the worst football season ever, which in itself deserves some recognition, considering what some were saying prior to the season.

The Browns don’t look like they’re trying to win at this point. Sure, they’ve been in four one-score games this year, but the margin of blowout-to-competition is too much. The Browns seem unworried with being an apparent purposeful catastrophe.

The Browns have been handed the right moves. With an abundance of high draft-picks, a new head coach in Hue Jackson and nothing left to lose, one would think they could keep themselves out of the disposal site — maybe not the trash bin, but at least still on the map.

It seems to happen almost every year. You’ll hear people start to murmur something like, “Watch out, the Browns might actually be good this year.” After they picked up Robert Griffin III it happened, and again when Terrelle Pryor was complemented with Gary Barnidge and Corey Coleman, supposedly creating an unwavering receiving core.

So what do the Browns do? Go 1-15, narrowly avoiding a winless season, they scrap the game plan, get rid of Pryor for more draft picks, which they never use correctly, and again, rebuild.

With all the rookie talent picked up in the draft, including notables such as Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett and Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, the Browns thought they had lit up their roster and begun the process of getting back to the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

In a most “Browns” way, however, Cleveland has managed to boot all optimism to the curb, exchanging it with a feeble depth chart and virtually no signs of coming improvement.

Joe Thomas, the most reliable of players and perhaps the best offensive lineman in the league is out with an injury, joining playmakers Coleman and Duke Johnson on the sideline.

One could argue that this past draft class could be the one to start the rebuilding process. Cleveland has been “rebuilding” since at least 2008 and the only thing it has to show for it is a 7-9 season in 2014.

Cleveland is a masterful career-killer. I don’t believe it’s the coaching, roster or simply the history of the Browns, but rather the development process. Something has to change, whether it be a full-house clean or the removal of general manager and VP of Football Operations Sashi Brown.

The Browns actually are a storied franchise with a winning record overall, 36 total playoff games and a slew of winning seasons between the 1960s and 80s.

Even when the Browns had a chance to rid themselves of some draft picks, which are complete wastes at this point considering they’ll just “build” by pushing them out, they faltered as the Browns are known to do.

At least the 49ers nabbed Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots before the deadline, hoping to perhaps snag a win or two and salvage the season. UTEP has been in some bowl games since 2000, and even went 7-6 just three seasons back. A defeated record is rare for Georgia Southern, as the Eagles had five-straight winning seasons between 2010 and 2015.

So every winless football team has recently made or is in the process of making moves, except Cleveland. Get it together Browns, or you’ll deservedly go down in the records of history as worse than the 2008, 0-16 Detroit Lions.

Colton Clark can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @coltonclark95


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