Winning in March is not winning in September
If there’s one thing the Browns have shown, it’s how easy it can be to win in March.
Sign some veterans who even the casual fans have heard of, and it shows the team is on the road to improvement.
Cleveland has been super active in free agency, replacing their own popular veterans (safety T.J. Ward, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson) with players from better teams (the 49ers Donte Whitner, the Cardinals Karlos Dansby).
Then, on Saturday, the Browns signed ex-Texans running back Ben Tate. Tate is 25, talented, and ran for more than 700 yards last season despite not being Houston’s feature back (of course, looking at the Texans record, they didn’t feature anything good).
Still, the Browns are trying, and I guess that’s nice.
And yet, I can’t help but notice that the Steelers and Bengals haven’t done much. The Steelers are never active with big-name free agents. The Bengals’ biggest news so far this offseason was releasing linebacker James Harrison.
And does anyone really believe the Browns will be better than either of these teams?
The Bengals and Steelers are built on stability. Mike Tomlin is starting his eighth season as Pittsburgh coach. Ben Roethlisberger has been the Steelers’ quarterback for more than a decade. Marvin Lewis has led the Bengals since 2003; Andy Dalton has been his starting quarterback for four seasons.
Until the Browns fix those two spots – coach and quarterback – the highlights will continue to be what they do when they don’t have a defined opponent.
I like what I’ve seen from Mike Pettine. Maybe it’s because he’s not Eric Mangini of Pat Shurmur, or maybe it’s because he’s the only coach the Browns have ever had who has never lost.
I also like general manager Ray Farmer, mainly because he isn’t Joe Banner or Mike Lombardi.
But, as important as having good decision-makers is having a good quarterback. Right now, it’s unclear if the Browns have one.
People keep talking about Brian Hoyer like he’s an established starting quarterback, but they’re basing their optimism on two games. Plus, he’s coming off a serious injury.
Are the Browns ready to make a 28-year-old with very few starts their main quarterback? Or do they go for a quarterback in the draft?
No one knows yet. But I’m sure there will be lots of speculation over the next six weeks.
Ah, yes. More hype.
Personally, after so much losing, offseason moves barely phase me anymore.
Sign free agents. Draft a quarterback.
Just, please, start winning in September.
That’s all Browns fans want.
Zach?Baker is The Advertiser-Tribune’s sports editor.
He can reached at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @zachthewriter.