Compiled by @CSTRodB
Now that the 2016 NFL season is officially over for the Cleveland Browns, I wanted to get some thoughts from our writers. The variety of opinions most likely reflects the views of the Browns fan base. Tweet your answers to these questions @CLEsportsTalk.
What was the most painful part of this 1-15 season?
Brad Ward – “When Hue Jackson benched Cody Kessler for Josh McCown, It really ramped up the criticism and negativity towards the team and people starting second guessing Hue. Until that point, he had avoided the wrath of our fan base.”
Deontae Simmons – “The most painful part of the season was honestly looking at our schedule and thinking that there were a couple of games I thought we should have won before and during the season. It’s also hard not knowing exactly when we would get a win. The Jets, Titans, Dolphins, and last Steelers games were heartbreaking losses for sure.”
Shelley Harcar – “That’s a tough question because there wasn’t much that didn’t hurt. I really think the most upsetting thing for me was how so many Browns fans jumped on the “they suck” bandwagon. By mid-season, I just wanted to slap more than a few people for saying it.
It may not make sense to say that, but let me explain. The season ended with a losing record, but break down those games individually and we were a lot better than the numbers make one believe. Also, the unprecedented injuries took a huge toll on so many positions, especially quarterback. And if your O-line can’t get in-sync with a quarterback, then you are certainly not going to have optimal protection or be able to work as one cohesive unit. Our defense was populated by many rookies, who worked hard, but didn’t have the experience or leadership they needed. Was I delusional enough to be happy about the season? Um…no, but do I think the Browns suck? Absolutely not.”
Jordan Hutchinson – “It seemed that everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. The Browns had no traction, and even in their sole win, there was never a sense of good things to come.”
Chris Kozimer –“In my opinion, the worst part of the past season was how little fun it was. As people, it’s easy to understand that a team that has been this bad for so long needs to get the highest picks possible to turn things around. As fans, it hurts our hearts to watch the product that came out on the field week in and week out.
In a city where football is the sport which holds the top place in people’s hearts, the crowds for each game got progressively smaller, while tempers continued to rise. The media didn’t help things, with people like Tony Grossi and “Munch” Bishop trying to stomp out any good-natured humor that could be had. The atmosphere about the team, combined with a tired, angry fan base just made this season seem more like a prison sentence being served out.”
Zach Shafron – “ I would say the last game against the Steelers. I wanted the Browns to win, despite the fact that they would lose the first pick because of it. There’s nothing like beating Pittsburgh! The team did a really nice job of twisting our hearts one final job with a performance that was so difficult to watch. The conflicting feeling of wanting to win but also wanting the pick was hard to handle.”
Aaron Crowell – “Definitely all the teasing from my friends at the high school I go to.”
What are your positive takeaways from the 2016 season?
Chris Kozimer – “Man, this is tough. I want to say that my positive takeaway is that the season is over and we don’t have to see this team for a year. The best news is that we ended up with the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. The good news is that there are definitely some pieces on the team that did well. Carl Nassib, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Corey Coleman, among others, had good rookie seasons and showed some flashes as to who they could become. Another positive is that we got to see which players were willing to stay aggressive in a season that was not built for wins. Players like Christian Kirksey and Terrelle Pryor showed the heart necessary to start turning the ship around.”
Zach Shafron – “The guys really like coach Hue Jackson and the locker room didn’t fold with all the losing. Look at Terrelle Pryor. He wants to stay in Cleveland even after an abysmal season. RGIII always talks highly of the staff and his teammates even after getting tossed around for an entire game. It’s a change from other Browns teams of the past.”
Aaron Crowell – “The rookies. We have the youngest team in the NFL and a lot of rookies really came through big this year, like Ogbah and BBC.”
Brad Ward – “They identified some players that can be part of their core moving forward. They got the crap out of the locker room. It is evident that Hue is the right guy for the job.”
Deontae Simmons – “When I look at our defense, I see a couple of players who could have bright futures with the team. If the Browns can get Jamie Collins to re-sign with the team that will be a huge move. I really like the young players like Ogbah and Briean Boddy-Calhoun while Nassib and Danny Shelton showed flashes as well. For our offense, Terrelle Pryor can develop into something special for the Browns if he just plays his game and not talk so much to the other team’s defense. Just focus on yourself and he’ll be a star with the right QB.”
Shelley Harcar – “When I look at some of the individual rookie performances, I have to smile through the tears. I think I had an attachment to this group of rookies because of the time I spent working on the series about them. These young guys worked like hell, the successes didn’t show up in the win/loss column but once again, break it down guys like Corey Coleman, Ogbah & Nassib are only getting better from here.”
Jordan Hutchinson – “Things can’t get any worse. Well, technically the Browns could go 0–16 next year, but I don’t think that is very likely. With at least some foundation, the Browns have something to build upon next year.”
Stay tuned for PART TWO!!!