I think everyone is tired of losing.

From the players, to the coaches, to of course us fans. We’re used to it, practically striving just to reach mediocrity. But this, this is the year of change. Every step of  the way bad habits have been broken, trends changed for the better, and would-be losses of past translated into gallant wins of the present and future. The Cleveland Browns have developed into a cohesive and hungry football team.

So I ask, why not us?

No one is denying that the AFC North is tough. But as we enter the final five games of the season, the Browns control their own destiny. It’s Buffalo, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Carolina and Baltimore that stand in the way of a playoff berth. A playoff berth that all of Northeastern Ohio so desperately needs.

This team is laced with seasoned veterans that know a thing or two about the game of football. Their lessons have taught the younger players how to play with a championship style, and have helped them to reach the apex of their potential. Those guys? S Donte Whitner, LB Karlos Dansby, CB Joe Haden and LT Joe Thomas just to name a few. Leaders, guys that have been around the game for many years, are making a difference in that locker room.

Everyone knows that a successful team needs a leader at the quarterback position. As the starter, hometown hero Brian Hoyer has faced tons of pressure because of backup Johnny Manziel hounding him since training camp. Amazingly, Hoyer has overcome every obstacle that he’s faced and has led the Browns to an impressive winning record. It’s been hard for Browns fans (including myself) to kill the Manziel urge inside us. But it’s real, everyone. Hoyer is the man.

Last offseason, the coaching search that the Browns front office put us through was absolutely painful for us to follow. It was embarrassing at the amount of candidates interviewed, and even worse at how many talented coaches didn’t care for the Cleveland job. When the dust finally settled, former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine got the job. Truthfully, it wasn’t the hottest hire out there.

Quickly, coach Pettine became a leader and is one of the biggest reasons why a winning culture has been created here in Cleveland. The man doesn’t take any BS and always expects 100% out of his players. Sure, he’s made some rookie mistakes but any coach will during their first season at the helm. Coach Pettine and the entire Browns staff have done a wonderful job with this team.

So Browns fans. Take a second and think…why not us? All of the key elements needed for a playoff season are in place, it’s just a simple matter of execution. Go out there and do it, Brownies!

-Zach Shafron

 

photo – wkyc.com

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