BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – If it weren’t for bad luck, the Cleveland Browns wouldn’t have any luck.
The franchise has to be cursed.
How else can you explain being this bad for this long with the worst case scenario playing out every year?
“If I could put my finger on it, I would tell you,” cornerback Joe Haden, who was very emotional following Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars, said Monday afternoon. “I really don’t know why. I really don’t.”
It’s hard not to feel that way after another promising season has crashed and burned in spectacular fashion – and it’s not over yet.
Having lost 6 of their last 7, regardless of what mathematical formula that remains, the Browns are done.
“We’re very upset, disappointed, but this is the nature of this league,” safety T.J. Ward said.
After beating the Ravens 4 weeks ago to get to 4-5 entering the bye week, the Browns positioned themselves to take over the AFC North with wins at Cincinnati and then at home over the Steelers.
And in typical Browns fashion, they got blown out in both games.
Then Sunday happened.
Now the 2 remaining starting quarterbacks are down with concussions and the Browns may have to turn to a guy they signed off a practice squad a week ago to start against New England.
Head coach Rob Chudzinski doesn’t even know who can practice on Wednesday, let alone play Sunday.
Only in Cleveland does this stuff happen on a regular basis.
Sunday’s 32-28 loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars is as close to rock bottom as it gets.
“There’s no mystery, there’s not a curse, it’s not a matter of bad luck,” Chudzinski said. “There’s tangible reasons why we lost that game. We made critical mistakes and breakdowns that we can control as coaches and as players.”
The franchise has gone through 20 different starting quarterbacks, blown just about every pick in every draft (with a select few exceptions) and now has tied the Detroit Lions as the worst team in professional football since 1999.
Both teams are now 77-159.
“It’s not a curse. There’s no such thing as a curse,” Haden said. “We just gotta, man, I don’t know. There’s not a curse, though. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not a curse.”
For the second time since 1999 (2008 was the only year), the Browns may have to play their fourth quarterback of the season and it’s back to the harsh reality that this franchise isn’t ready for contention.
That means more rhetoric about the plans to fix it, and the years that it will now cost to do it.
“This is what I came here for,” Chudzinski said. “We have a plan. I believe in that plan and I’ll navigate us through this to the better days that lay ahead for us. I’m fully committed and undaunted in doing that.”
Only in Cleveland can success not be built overnight in the NFL, which is built for team’s to be able to go from worst to first in an offseason. Yet in Indianapolis or Kansas City, those teams can go from 2-wins one year to a team that is contending the next.
But not in Cleveland.
The Browns need 2, 3, 4 or 5 years of 4 or 5 win seasons to do it – except the regimes never survive long enough to finish the job.
A day after holding back tears and venting his frustration at the perennial losing, Haden tried to put a positive spin on the outlook going forward.
“We just gotta stay positive,” Haden said. “You can’t get down because there’s 4 games left and we’re out there for the 4 games no matter what. No matter what’s happening we still got 4 games left and that’s just what it is. We can’t be, ‘ah man I wish this would’ve happened.’
“We got 4 games left. We could turn it around, we could get smacked up, we gotta go out there, we determine how the end of the season goes.”
Every season begins with the hope that it’s the year the franchise finally becomes worth watching during the holiday season only to have it end with a bevy of injuries, blown opportunities to win games, a bunch of quarterbacks and a comedy of errors.
This year was supposed to be different but it’s not.
Regardless of the frustration, anger and disappointment, players are trying not to hang their heads.
“Feeling sorry for yourself, that’s nothing we do,” Ward said. “We’re not going to do that. We’re going to come and fight every week. That sorry feeling, that’s for losers. We’re not losers at all. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to come and fight hard every week.”
Year in and year out we hear how they aren’t the same old Browns and this year was no different.
But the fact is, they are still the same old Browns.
Cursed or not.
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