Training camp is only a few days away and the long wait for meaningful football is nearly over. Coming into this year, I feel more confident as do a lot of Browns fans than last year and now before this year’s camp starts I want to look back at how I felt going into last year. The real kicker looking back now was about the sophomore trio of Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson and Josh Gordon who I felt could ignite the offense and that they would thrive in Norv Turner’s system similar to the way Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin did as they lead the Cowboy’s to three Superbowls when Norv Turner was the Offensive Coordinator. The combo of the power run game and deep play Air Coryell pass scheme played to their strengths and they were bound to have a big year, right? I also thought we were going to see two real dependable options at wide receiver in Greg Little and and Davone Bess with a possible breakout season for Jordan Cameron in first season as a starter. I also expected the defence to be a top10 unit under new Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton. Expectations for individual defensive players were mixed, I felt Joe Haden might finally get the recognition he deserved and go to the Probowl while I expected Tashaun Gipson to struggle in his first season as a starter and Craig Robertson to make an immediate impact in his. With such a talented roster and good coaching I felt we might even be able to make a playoff push.
Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden and Josh Gordon were hoping to emulate the triplets of the 1990’s Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin
Some of this happened (Gordon and Cameron turned into stars and the defence was top 10) but most fell flat on their face in typical Browns fashion. When he was on the pitch, Brandon Weeden stunk the joint up bar one game against where he came into relieve an injured Brian Hoyer against Buffalo. Trent Richardson was shipped off to Indy in a blockbuster trade in exchange for a first round pick before anyone realised how bad his injuries were and his struggles adjusting to the NFL were i.e. his lack of decisiveness and struggling to hit the hole. Devone Bess was a major disappointment as he was supposed to be a veteran third down receiver who the Browns could rely on but his season was marred by inconsistency and his season ended with a trip to rehab in Florida. Before it all went down the toilet he did pull off this memborable move against the ravens to go for a Touchdown.
Meanwhile with Greg Little it turned out to be more of the same, lack of game changing pace, not utilizing his massive bosy and dropping an NFL leading number of passes. As for the predictions about Gipson and Robertson? Right roles, wrong persons. Gipson had an outstanding season with 5 INTs which was good for 5th best in the NFL while Robertson struggled and often looked lost on plays. At least I managed to predict Joe Haden going to the Probowl.
Gipson had a good year while Robertson struggled
Those thoughts about a playoff push? Up until week 5 it was looking good with the Browns sitting at 3-2 after win over Cincinnati, Minnesota and Buffalo lead by local hero and St. Ignatius product Brian Hoyer. Then in one play against the Bills the hopes disappeared with Hoyer suffering an ACL tear in his knee. From there the Browns went on to lose 10 of their last 11 games which got first year Head Coach Rob Chudzinski fired along with the Front office of Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi. It left Browns fans saying, it surely can’t be that bad again this year, can it? Only for them to realize that this is the Browns after all.