So I’m about a day late in writing this article, but hey cut me some slack. Sunday night and all day yesterday I was on a hunger strike. My body, in particular my stomach, decided that it didn’t want food and the mere thought of it would send me running to the latrines. Fuuuuuuuuuuun times… or you know not at all.
I missed the Browns game on Sunday so I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I did. I had to go to a birthday party. So instead of sitting in agony watching the Browns barely beat the Dolphins I spent my Sunday surrounded by a bunch of 5-year-old girls… and catching some type of 24 hour stomach virus. It was awesome. My knowledge of Barbie has grown exponentially.
The Browns beat the Dolphins and have run their record to 5-7. With each and every passing week we can’t help but sit and wonder what kind of opportunities we let slip through our fingers. At 5-7 the Browns technically are still mathematically alive for the playoffs. The part that sucks is the Browns could very well be 7-5 or 8-4, if not better. Wasted opportunities all around.
Many people, at least that I’ve heard calling in to the local radio shows, are saying the Browns won in spite of Jake Delhomme. I say “who cares?” A win is a win is a win. We all know Delhomme isn’t the answer. It looks more and more like Colt McCoy is the long-term answer for the quarterback position, at least for now. So should it really matter that at times Delhomme tried to lose the game? No. We won. There have been years in which we would have killed for a win. Now all of a sudden we’re going to complain about how we get them? I was unaware that the Browns had achieved such grand status in the league that people could criticize the quality and style of wins. Get over it. We won. Be happy.
Of course as the season drags on it’s getting harder and harder to figure out where the Browns actually stand in the league. Against top-notch competition the Browns have risen to the moment and laid the smack down. Against sub par competition the Browns have looked like crap. They’ve won games where it’s like “wow they should have lost” and lost games where it’s like “wow, they should have won that game.” So are the Browns better than we think? Are the Browns worse than we think?
Victories against New England and New Orleans make us believe the Browns are better than we thought this year. Both were convincing victories and both of those teams are among the elite. On the flip side of things, we’ve lost games to Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville. All of those teams were thought to be sub par but are now in contention to win their divisions. What does that say about the Browns that we couldn’t beat three of the more elite looking teams? We barely lost to the Jets, a team that at the time looked like they were among the league’s elite. Tell me how that loss looks after last night’s beat down in New England and the realization that the Jets have one win against a team over .500.
The Browns look on pace to finish the year 7-9. This is improvement over last year’s season. But how does it compare? Part of this is the result of the ever-growing parity in the NFL. Any team can beat anyone on any given Sunday. Maybe the Browns record will just need to be taken at face value. Did the win column improve from last year to this year and overall, did watching the team feel different from the previous year?
The answers to those questions has to be yes on both counts. An improved record has to be a sign of improvement. Last year we felt hopeless watching this team. This year it’s been nothing but hope. Like I said earlier, the Browns could very well be leading the division had they not blown several fourth quarter leads. With that in mind it looks like Mangini has earned the right to coach this team another year. Then again there are four games left. Anything can happen in the NFL. We see it each and every week.