With training camp just around the corner, the media is starting to compile its list of preseason “favorites,” working on “power rankings” and telling us what will happen this year in the National Football League.
All without the benefit of a single practice, preseason game or training camp injury.
OK, that’s a little harsh. Just like all of us they have space that needs to be filled, and since I’m actually reading what they are writing, I’m part of the problem, not the solution.
Every year it seems as if 31 teams have a chance, have made progress in the off-season, picked up some significant players and are looking at a solid year. One team – Cleveland – is perpetually cited as the one and only team in the league that is absolutely void of all hope.
Consider ESPN’s power rankings, which put the Browns 28, which is somehow three spots lower than where they finished last year, saying “The first year of the Mike Holmgren era could be rough. This team lacks talent across the board.”
No one is realistically expecting the Browns to post an 11-5 record this year, not after what’s gone on here the past few years. But to actually drop?
The best one is SI’s Peter King, who in his Monday Morning Quarterback column writes that there are 28 teams that could make the playoffs, with the Browns, of course, one of the four that have no chance.
Somehow Detroit and Kansas City, in King’s eyes, have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs, but not Cleveland.
Let’s think about this a minute: the Lions were 2-14 last season, 26th in offense and 32nd in defense, but they can make the playoffs this year. Of course, one of their wins was against the Browns, but that was due more to coaching incompetence than the Lions having better talent.
Whatever you say Peter.
I know it doesn’t mean anything, but it’s still frustrating. The Browns can’t get this turned around over night, but with the addition of Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert to run the front office, another year in the system of Eric Mangini and Rob Ryan, and a powerhouse running attack (8th in the NFL last year!) to keep the heat off Jake Delhomme and the defense off the field, things are slowly moving in the right direction.
And no matter what happens, just by simply not having Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn around makes the team better.
I’m just glad things are about to start for real.
Now the team just needs to work out a deal with Joe Haden and they will be set.
Sept. 12 can’t get here soon enough.