Time flies when you jump in the lake, so with the season after the Mother of All Seasons at hand, here are 10 pertinent questions about the Browns’ 2018 season:
WILL THE BROWNS WIN A GAME?
I don’t want to say it’s been a long time, but it’s been longer than a long time. The last time the Browns won a regular-season game was Dec. 24, 2016, against San Diego, and their leading scorer in the game was Cody Parkey. No, really.
Since the Browns’ last win, the entire DeShone Kizer Era came and went.
Had the Browns lost that San Diego game, they would be entering this season on a streak of 0-35 and 1-42. Not that 0-16 and 1-31 is Mardi Gras material. The Browns, who open the season by hosting the Steelers on Sunday, also haven’t won an AFC North home game since Oct. 12, 2014. Not that anyone’s counting, or anything.
WHO IS THE BROWNS’ MVP?
The guy who put the stripes back on the helmets.
HOW HOT IS HUE JACKSON’S HOT SEAT?
The surface of the planet Mercury comes to mind. Jackson, who defied all odds by not being fired after he defied all odds by going 0-16 last year, has been stripped of his offensive coordinator duties, and is working for a general manager who didn’t hire him, for an owner with a winning percentage of .208 (20-76) since he bought the team, in a city with a frustrated fan base that has only seen two winning seasons in this century.
Translation: The over-under is the bye week, which begins Nov. 12.
IS BAKER MAYFIELD THE REAL DEAL?
It certainly looks like it. He’s definitely, to the relief of skeptics who questioned drafting him (Guilty, your honor!), not the Johnny Goofball deal, so that’s a good start.
Unlike his out-of-control party boy predecessor, Mayfield clearly takes his job seriously, and in the exhibition season showed tantalizing poise, instincts, touch and a competitive spirit that should be a breath of fresh air in the Factory of Sadness.
WHEN WILL MAYFIELD START HIS FIRST GAME?
I believe it was either Benjamin Franklin or Mike Holmgren who said the only certainties in life are death, taxes and the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback getting injured. So let’s synchronize our watches. One way (injury) or another (it’s time), the over-under is Halloween.
It’s like waiting for that huge rebate check that never comes in the mail, right? Well, he’s back again. So here we go again. The Browns have been here, done this, ad nauseum, so they owe it to themselves to let Gordon’s end game — be it gory or glory — to play out in Cleveland, and not anywhere else.
What’s the worst that could happen?
It’s already happened.
MOST ENCOURAGING SIGN SO FAR?
The long overdue fading of the tiresome and blatantly incorrect “Sashi Brown left the Browns in great shape” narrative.
The only way that’s true is if your definition of “great shape” is 1-31.
What Sashi left was a mess. John Dorsey said as much when, shortly after taking over, he said the Browns needed some real players. Dorsey was right. The Browns had too many fakes, phonies and bad actors, and not enough real players.
Now they do. Dorsey ditched many of the imposters he inherited, including several who were colossal high draft pick busts.
The huge amount of cap space Brown gets credit for leaving behind is being used by Dorsey to fill all the holes created, or never filled, by the previous regime.
IS MYLES GARRETT ABOUT TO GO ALL J.J. WATT?
Not the injured J.J. Watt. The unstoppable J.J. Watt. No player jumped off the screen more dramatically in the preseason than did Garrett, who at times looked like a hurricane in a helmet.
Size, speed, strength, speed, relentlessness, speed. Garrett flashed the whole package, a game-changing package, the likes of which, if sustained, the Browns haven’t seen in decades.
WHICH COORDINATOR BECOMES THE INTERIM COACH IF YOU-KNOW-WHO GETS YOU-KNOW-WHAT-ED?
In this corner it’s offensive coordinator and former Ben Roethlisberger jousting partner Todd Hailey. In that corner it’s defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, loose cannon or fun guy?
In his office is John Dorsey, phone in hand, and an indeterminate number of candidates on speed dial.
WHAT WILL LIFE BE LIKE FOR THE BROWNS WITHOUT JOE THOMAS?
Perhaps the most grievous blunder made by an organization that has specialized in making them, was having 11 years of what most teams can only dream of having — a Hall of Fame left tackle —and wasting it.
With the exception of Jim Brown, Joe Thomas is the greatest Brown ever. But in his last 10 years, the Browns won 4, 5, 5, 4, 5, 4, 7, 3, 1 and zero games, ending with his head coach jumping in the lake.
No wonder he retired.