Since the end of last season, the Browns have truly been through it all. From major changes in the front office, to drafting Johnny Manziel, and of course we cannot forget the stalemate quarterback competition that has made us all cringe. We followed a drug abuse case for what seemed like an eternity, and a head coaching search that took longer than that.

A quote by famous author Charles Dickens sums up this team, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

However, putting all of the craziness from the offseason aside it’s simply just great to have the Browns back. Football season is a special time for the city of Cleveland, and NOTHING can replace our Browns. No matter how good, how bad or how painfully mediocre the team may end up being…we will root for them for life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Cavs and Indians just like every other Cleveland fan. That being said, seeing those orange helmets out on the field gives me an emotional rush unlike no other. Now I’m young, and haven’t had the privilege to watch great Cleveland football, but I truly sense that it is right around the corner.

That’s why I’m excited.

It’s likely that the Browns aren’t making it to the Super Bowl this year, but this season could be the first stepping stone that leads us to the glory land. It seems like we finally, after many years of changes, have people running this team with a great sense of how to manage a football team.

Despite the fact that Brian Hoyer is the current quarterback, it is reasonable to expect that we will see Johnny Football under center at some point this year. He will have the opportunity to thrive in a real NFL situation, making big plays and exciting this hungry and excited fan base while also silencing his critics.

Unfortunately, the offense will struggle this year, especially if star wide receiver Josh Gordon actually does miss all 16 games. Hopefully, at the end of the season we will be able to see some positive progression.

Our defense is built to win a championship, and it starts with the secondary of Joe Haden, Donte Whitner, and Justin Gilbert.  This year should reinforce the fact that a Cleveland Browns defense means business. Last year, we saw great signs on the defensive side of the ball. However, the offensive struggles took a toll on the defense. Once the other side of the ball catches up, the Browns will be a deadly team to play.

So this year, put all the BS behind you, and just appreciate the Browns. There are only 16 games each year, and the season seems to fly by.

Last year was rock bottom, and now the only way to go is UP! It starts this Sunday in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. Time to take care of business, and send a message to the rest of the league that the Browns are the real deal! This is the first stepping stone to lead us to greatness.

-Zach Shafron

 

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