If the Cleveland Browns want to correct recent wrongs and get better their path is clear. They need to lose this weekend.
The Browns need to lose this weekend to their arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. While this is sacrilegious for any Cleveland fan to embrace, hear me out. A win this weekend could drop the Browns from, at worst, the second overall selection in the NFL Draft to the fifth spot in the draft. For the Browns to get the player that I think they should target (Jared Goff from Cal) they must crumble against a motivated Steelers team that must win and get some help to get into the post-season. If the Browns have the number two pick in the draft, and Tennessee sits at number one, the Browns have no worry since the Titans have Marcus Mariotta and won’t be looking in Goff’s direction. A loss this weekend ensures Goff lands in the Browns laps.
With every fiber of my being I can’t stomach hoping the Browns lose to Pittsburgh. But, I am a big picture guy and the Browns big picture is a messy, convoluted mess of mis-judgements, hard headed-ness and plain swings-and-misses in the player evaluation process.
Those close to the Browns anticipate Ray Farmer will be relieved of his General Manager duties after Sunday’s game. This move is necessary. It’s actually vital. Farmer’s tenure has been one of the most injurious in the history of the franchise. The Browns were bad for a long time before Farmer was handed the keys to the franchise, but never have we seen a GM handed so many multiple first-round selections and completely muff them. Farmer has made mistake after mistake in the draft. His disastrous 2014 draft which netted complete bust Justin Gilbert at number eight and Johnny Manziel at 22 will go down as his worst. The Browns needed a wide-receiver in the 2014 draft after learning that Josh Gordon would face suspension for drug infractions. Instead of picking Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins or LSU’s Odell Beckham, the Browns went with Gilbert, a Missouri defensive back with kick return capabilities. Never mind the Browns already had a shut-down corner in Haden or a returner in Travis Benjamin. An inexcusable mistake.
The jury is still out on 2015 first round selection Danny Shelton. Much was expected and little has been returned. I advocated the Shelton selection and am not ready to declare him another bust.
One thing is clear, the Manziel experiment should end. The Browns can not depend on Manziel staying clean and being the leader the franchise needs him to be. I have no problem having Josh McCown leading the club in 2016. Let’s be honest, McCown is the least of the Browns problems.
Their run defense is a sieve. Their secondary is aging. Their linebacking core is average at best. Cleveland’s wide receivers may be the worst collective unit in the game. Their running backs are pedestrian and their special teams has allowed four field goals to be blocked this year, including a game-winner against the hated Ravens.
This franchise needs a lobotomy. Farmer needs to be the first domino to fall. The Browns need to select Cal quarterback Jared Goff with the first round selection. But, to guarantee that, Cleveland needs to (gulp) lose to the Steelers this weekend.
Do I trust the Browns to do the right thing ? What do you think ?