When Will the Madness End?: Cleveland Browns Update 2
It’s been an interesting off season for the Cleveland Browns. So far, it’s been a direct extension of a disappointing 2014. But apparently, the Browns feel they can distract you from the ridiculous state of the team in the same way one would normally distract an unhappy toddler – by waving some flashy colors in front of your face.
Although once considered to be named after Joe Louis (“The Brown Bomber”), we all know now that the Cleveland Browns are actually named after former coach Paul Brown. So it makes sense that the Browns haven’t had a logo aside from the iconic burnt orange and seal brown helmet since the beginning (at least from the beginning of the modern helmet with facemask, allegedly the result of famous Brown gunslinger Otto Graham’s face injury in 1953). In fact, the Browns are the only team that has a helmet as its primary logo. Because let’s face it, as much as we all like Paul Brown, he doesn’t make for much of an inspiring logo. Not that two-toned helmets are all that inspiring…but I digress.
So it came as a bit of a surprise when current team president Alec Scheiner revealed a new logo that “honor[s] tradition and provide[s] modern edge.” And what is this logo, you ask? Well, it’s basically identical, except the burnt orange is now “Pantone 2028 C”. No, that’s not a snazzy new shampoo, its actually, in terms that you and I would understand, bright orange. Bright orange? Scheiner says it’s brighter to reflect “the passion” of the fans. Frankly, it reminds me of a slightly brighter construction sign orange. Perhaps that’s appropriate in light of the construction necessary for the Browns’ roster.
The other two minor changes include a brown face mask and a new “cleaner, simpler, elegant” font. Reportedly, this took two years to complete. I’m fairly certain a ten year old with a pack of Crayola crayons and an iPad could have done this in, oh say, 10 minutes. Then again, as of late, the Browns haven’t been known for smart hiring decisions, so perhaps they hired a 5 year old instead, which would go a long way to explaining the 2 year development cycle. And their off season strategy.
Schiener noted that the reason for this “change” was not to make more money, but to serve the fanbase. Because, apparently, what Browns fans really wanted was a slightly different shade of orange on the logo, not a competent quarterback and less off field shenanigans. Well, Browns fans, if you don’t have a winning season in 2015, at least you can gaze upon the new logo and take comfort in the fact that the new color matches your “passion”. Hey, and if free agency fizzles, no worries! A new uniform arrives on April 14. Chaka Kahn!
Speaking of free agency, what’s better than having a quarterback in rehab? How about bringing on a quarterback who went 1-10 with 201 passing yards per game, 11 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and the second lowest Passer Rating in the NFL in 2014 (70.5)? What, that’s totally insane, you say? Well, not for the Browns!
Apparently, Josh McCown concluded his visit to Cleveland on Wednesday and it’s rumored that the Browns are “in the running” for his services. The primary question is why in the world would the Browns (or any other NFL team) want to be “in the running” for Josh McCown? Sure, he had a decent couple starts under Marc Trestman with the Bears in 2013, with 13 touchdowns and 1 interception over 5 games. But there’s no Marc Trestman in Cleveland. There IS new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in Cleveland, who has worked with McCown in the past. But is 2014 Josh McCown really better than 2014 Brian Hoyer? I think not.
Across 14 games in 2014, Hoyer averaged 238 passing yards per game with 12 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a Passer Rating of 76.5. More passing yards per game than 2014 McCown? Check. More touchdowns? Check. Less interceptions? Check. Better Passer Rating? Yup, that too.
So it’s not entirely fair since Hoyer played a few more games than McCown in 2014, but comparing the two quarterbacks demonstrates that they’re incredibly similar. I don’t see any reason to bring in McCown for more money than it would take to retain Hoyer. As I mentioned previously, I think Hoyer should be re-signed as he’ll make a good bridge quarterback. However, to date, Cleveland has failed to meet with Hoyer and his agent to discuss 2015.
So far, it’s unclear what ultimate vision owner Jimmy Haslem has for the Browns. At least NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seems to understand:
“As you know, there are very few quick fixes in this business, and the league is so competitive and you really have to build a foundation and I think Jimmy is doing that.”
Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure Goodell was referring to a good foundation, not one made of underachieving players and off-field distractions. Then again, Goodell hasn’t always been reliable either.