|"All we need is something something."|
That's a measured and logical response right there. Unfortunately, reason goes right down the old bog on fall Sunday afternoons at Cleveland Browns Stadium, a happy place where hamstring pulls become conspiracy theories and a couple of bad throws from your quarterback mean he's a complete bust who probably sells poisoned milk to schoolchildren. In other words, patience is not in a Browns' fan's DNA, and understandably so.
But instead of prattling on about the Browns' woes as I'm wont to do, as CST's resident optimist, I'm going to instead break down Holmgren's above statement into more complex terms, to determine if all we need here in Browns Town is just a little patience.
Statement #1: "In Green Bay, it took five years and Seattle it was seven years. We’ve been able to do it, my group, in about five years."
OK, that's a tough sell. The thought of four, five or six more years of rebuilding drawing out like some kind of sharp cutting instrument fills me with nameless dread. It's like a prison sentence, Red, and it's obviously not a realistic measure of success for the current front office without a consistent build up from bad, to mediocre, to playoffs, to the promised land.
Of course, the current regime is paying for the crimes of all those who have shamefacedly passed through Berea before them. A constant cycle of digging out from past mistakes makes patience an unfortunate necessity. Holmgren just needs to move up his timetable. The Lions were 0-16 three years ago. A couple of killer drafts later and the team is breathing life back into Detroit.
Which leads me to Statement #2: "You have to have good drafts. I have the utmost confidence in Tom Heckert."
If you're looking for a signpost as to why you should be hopeful about the Browns, this is it. The franchise has found four starters in the top two rounds with Heckert doing the picking - Joe Haden, T.J. Ward, Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard - with Haden looking like he could go grow into an All Pro-caliber cornerback. Second-round receiver Greg Little has worked his way into a starting role as well, showing promise in a position that's been dreadfully thin for the Browns.
As putrid as the offense has been, that draft-pick laden defense currently ranks seventh in the NFL. That standing could be a product of facing some fairly shaky offenses, but the Browns did a nice job of holding two of the league's better running backs - Darren McFadden and Chris Johnson - in check for the most part. Defense may not be sexy, and trading down to the 21st pick to grab a defensive lineman less so, but the defense has been the one unit on this team that doesn't make you cringe when they take the field.
I'm not quite to that point with Colt McCoy, but I heartily agree with Holmgren on Statement # 3: "You have to find the quarterback to get you there and that’s as big as anything.”
Holmgren went on to defend "pup" McCoy, calling him a veritable rookie learning a new offense under a new coach. The Browns' honcho said the team is committed to their young signal-caller, at least for this year. "Everyone's rooting for him," Holmgren affirmed during yesterday's presser.
We're all rooting for him, too, Mike, we just want him to iron out some of those accuracy issues that were never a problem when surrounded by blue chip recruits at Texas. I'll grant that McCoy's in a tough spot, as it's hard to determine exactly what he brings when surrounded by a porous offensive line, a paucity of talent at wide receiver, and the uncertainty of the Peyton Hillis situation. Browns fans and the front office alike need to give him the rest of this evaluative year to make a true determination of his worth under center.
And evaluation of talent is what this year is all about, like it or not. If the Browns can show progress in the forthcoming weeks, then fans may be more willing to show the patience that Holmgren is asking of them. However, it's not up to us to tolerate lousy football, it's all on the Browns to prove they're worthy of our attention.
Your move, Mike.