Cleveland Browns fans want to believe that this year is that things will be different. This belief is based on offseason additions, the first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens, and the team’s strong finish to last year.
However, fans should slow down on their expectations. In sports, history has a way of repeating itself and that isn’t a good thing for Cleveland fans. Here’s why the team might fail to meet expectations this year.
Currently, the team has a lot of talent which is promising to the fans, but internal friction is a threat to the success of any group. The Browns have suffered from this problem, and it is a significant pullback.
The team owner Jimmy Haslam has made choices that have led to discord in the team. The most recent is when he hired John Dorsey as the General Manager and forced on him a coach. The two not being on working terms affected the team negatively and led to the eventual firing of Hue Jackson. Evidently, teamwork is essential for every win. The only thing fans can do is keep hoping that such causes of discord don’t happen this season.
In most cases, when a new coach comes in, he will first churn the roster to get the players they want and set the team to his liking. Freddie Kitchens being a first-year coach will most probably not be an exception, and we cannot tell how he will take up his role.
History has it that most coaches that won in their first year had no pressure to win, apart from one McAdoo, who took the Giants in 2016. The pressure on Kitchens right now is to win, but given he is a new coach, and he had almost no experience in a leadership position when he took over the team, we cannot predict the success; therefore the fans should not expect too much for now.
The AFC North is a notoriously difficult division. The Ravens, Bengals, and Steelers are all perennial contenders that have given the Browns trouble in the past. In order to meet expectations this year, the Browns will have to show that they can beat tough divisional opponents.
Looking at the 2019 NFL schedule ranking, it favors Cleveland Browns in that they will have winnable games for the first two weeks. This schedule is a promising way to start because the first three games are used to set the pace for teams.
However, the games that follow between weeks three and eight will most likely turn things for the Browns. They will experience a difficult phase of the season, which might change things for the whole season. Within six weeks, they will meet four teams that made the playoffs last season, including both super bowl teams. At this point, fans should advisably lower their expectations lest they get disappointed.
Was last years’ run as good as it seems?
In as much as we keep hoping our teams win, it is good to look at the pattern of past matches and set our expectations right. Since their 1999 return to the NFL, the Browns have only had two winning seasons.
Even though they ended the last season with five wins out of the seven last games, none of the wins were against playoff teams. They lost to both Texans and Ravens.
The team can win, the players have talent too, and the coach could have what it takes to win. Even so, the weight of expectations might be too heavy to carry.