Compiled by @CSTRodB
The CST staff writers continue their reflections on the 2016 season and the future of the franchise.
If you missed part one, view it HERE
Do you believe in this regime and this rebuild + why?
Brad Ward – “I don’t know yet. I believe in Hue. As for the front office, I think it is necessary to keep them in place and see this rebuild through. I like some of the moves they have made and others scare me, however; I want them to have a chance to turn this around. A real chance, like more than two years. They have committed to this when they tore it down, the only thing worse than it not working is not giving it a chance to work.”
Deontae Simmons – “I believe in the Hue Jackson regime. I think he can really propel the team forward. I think he will hold everybody accountable. It might take some time because we are so young but I think he could really turn the franchise around.”
Shelley Harcar – “Yes, I absolutely do. The big picture is what they were looking towards as no one thought they would turn things around in one season. Jackson has a plan (which was sadly beat to pieces by injuries) and maybe I just WANT to believe it will work. Watching each game, I saw tiny bits of hope but coach Hue & company need time to make it work.”
Jordan Hutchinson – “I don’t know if I can buy in just yet. 1–15 doesn’t scream satisfaction, but if coach Jackson can get the right pieces in the right places, there is some hope for Cleveland faithful. I think that Jackson can coach well and will do so in the future.”
Chris Kozimer – “I absolutely believe in the regime and the rebuild. This team has been a sinking ship since it came back in 1999, with each successive group of people trying to patch holes and push on. This coaching staff and front office were forced to make a lot of unpopular decisions, chief among them being to basically wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. The Browns didn’t reach in the draft for a starting QB for the season, which was good because he’d have been dead after they wiped out the talent of the offensive line (excluding Joe Thomas, of course). They started putting out younger guys whenever they could, so they could get real experience and so the team could see what they could be capable of. Every move they made put them more firmly in position for a higher pick in the upcoming draft and a higher chance to turn things around in successive seasons.”
Zach Shafron – “I’m not a fan of the total rebuild but it’s grown on me. I realized that a lot of teams are in a worse position that the Browns because they may be better record-wise, but they’re average and on the way down. I would take great blueprints than a finished house that doesn’t have a solid foundation. You may be able to walk into it now, but it will eventually collapse. The Browns have every opportunity to build a perfect mansion. It takes time! There’s a metaphor for you, but yes, I do believe in the regime.”
Aaron Crowell – “100% with the amount of brain power and already the moves they’ve made, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t believe in them. The city isn’t nicknamed “Believeland” for nothing.”
How soon do you think the Browns can compete for a playoff spot?
Zach Shafron – “They need two perfect drafts and off seasons before they can compete against the likes of the Steelers and Ravens. They also must find that perfect quarterback to lead the team. However, that’s not their #1 need until most of the other holes have been filled. I liked to look at the Raiders. 3-13 in ’14, 7-9 in ’15 and now 12-4 this season. That’s the route the Browns have to take. This offseason is the most important first step to this process. A poor draft this year and it’s back to square one.”
Aaron Crowell – “I honestly think with the right drafts choices and FA signs I don’t see any reason why we can’t be in the hunt next year.”
Brad Ward – “In 2018. They have a responsibility to get a franchise QB this year. If they don’t, Hue could get canned before getting a chance to groom a legitimate candidate for QB of the future. They should make a run a 7-10 wins in 2018. If not, it’s not working. That would be year three of this regime.”
Deontae Simmons – “I don’t know when they’ll make it to the playoffs. I don’t know if we can win our division anytime soon if I were realistic. If we could just get a QB, I think we could make it within the next 3-5 years.”
Shelley Harcar – “Well, if things go well and everyone stays healthy, I’d say three seasons for a wildcard berth. By then, the rookies and this upcoming draft class will be better established, but still young and hopefully hungry. I think the most important thing will be if Haslam stays the course with coach Hue. That merry-go-round of coaches has to stop. Any system needs a little time to develop.”
Jordan Hutchinson – “Well, I’ll put it this way, the 2008 Lions went 0–16 and made the playoffs now nine years later. So, as pessimistic as this may seem, the Browns are probably pretty far away. If I had to put a number out there, I’d say 2025, unfortunately.”
Chris Kozimer – “I would have to say a minimum of three more seasons is the most likely scenario, if not a couple more. This would, of course, depend on a lot of things especially in our division. The AFC North has generally been the strongest division in the NFL over the last decade, with the Browns normally lining the bottom of the pan most of the time. The Browns’ luck could change over the next few seasons, as some cracks have started to form with both the Ravens and Bengals, who both had poor outings in 2016. If the Browns can get a stable base and build off of it, I see no reason we can’t compete for a playoff spot in 2019 or 2020.”
Should the Browns trade the number one pick if they get a great offer?
Jordan – “It really depends on what the offer is. I don’t know if there is anyone that jumps off of the page as far as draft picks in 2017. So, the Browns need to weigh their options. If I were in the front office, I would keep the pick and hopefully find a dynamic player to add to a weak defense.”
Chris – “No. Nein. Nyet. Nie (Polish for “No”). The Browns worked hard for the first overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft, in order to be able to dictate exactly who they want. In order to go down this road, they had to tank an entire season and risk permanently alienating what has always been a large, faithful fan base. Trading that pick after going through all that seems like it would cause rioting and fires throughout the city. There is really no logical, realistic trade that any team could offer the Browns that should even make them pause. You got the pick, shoot your shot Browns.”
Zach – “It’d have to really be mind-blowing. I am tired of the Browns trading back and us looking back and seeing how many great players they passed on. Let’s take DE Myles Garrett and work with this unbelievable talent. However, I could see the Browns moving back in the first round from #12 if they can acquire more picks.”
Aaron – “The offer would have to be spectacular. I’m talking three first-rounders a 2nd and a backup player.”
Brad – “No, they cannot trade out of #1. They are there for a reason because the worst team gets a chance to add the best talent. Trading out would be doing themselves a disservice. They have to attain difference makers and #1 is a lock to get one.”
Deontae – “I wouldn’t give up our pick this year. There are too many options I think they could get that can really help the team right away. I always hate when the Browns trade back in the draft. It never works out. I hope we’re smart with all of our picks this year. I have high expectations for this draft class.”
Shelley – “If by ‘great offer’ do you mean Ezekiel Elliot and Joey Bosa wrapped with orange and brown ribbons and a few first round picks for next year? Then yes. Otherwise, for the love of all things good and holy NO!”
We’ll conclude our roundtable with part three. As always, we welcome your feedback @CLEsportsTalk