The Cleveland Browns had a relatively surprising 2014, starting the season with a 7-4 record and in contention for their second playoff berth since returning to the league in 1999 before fading down the stretch, losing their final five games.
Quarterback Brian Hoyer played well in the first nine games of the season before imploding. To make matters worse, first round draft pick Johnny Manziel was absolutely atrocious in limited action.
Hoyer is now gone and Manziel has spent his offseason in rehab while rumors were circling that the team has already tired of him and may be looking to move on.
The Browns are also in the unique position of having General Manager Ray Farmer suspended for the first four games of the season basically because he micromanaged his coaching staff. During games last year, Farmer sent text messages to the coaches and coordinators. The pressure Farmer put on the coaching staff eventually led Offensive Coordinaor Kyle Shannahan to leave the team for Atlanta.
Almost nothing went right for the Browns this offseason. Star wide receiver Josh Gordon, who was suspended for 10 games in 2014, will be suspended for the entire 2015 season after failing yet another drug test, his fifth since entering the league. Tight end Jordan Cameron skipped town, opting instead to sign with Miami. Starting outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard left as well, signing a contract with the Patriots.
Overall, there is mediocrity all across the roster. Cleveland signed Josh McCown to potentially start and Dwayne Bowe as Gordon’s replacement at wide receiver, but neither person at this point can even can be considered average. Tramon Williams was a nice signing at cornerback and will line up well across from Joe Haden.
Cleveland does have one elite player on their roster in left tackle Joe Thomas, who sadly has wasted his career in Cleveland.
What makes the lack of talent all across their Browns roster worse if their lack of leadership. Farmer has lost the respect of his peers following the texting scandal. Head Coach Mike Pettine is inexperienced as head coach and isn’t qualified to deal with the basket cases such as Manziel and Gordon on the roster.
To show the sign of a new era, the Browns changed their longtime jerseys and somehow made it look worse. Their new jerseys look like something an early 2000s college team would wear and the only change to the helmet is a slightly darker shade of orange. Keep in mind, this franchise paid a marketing firm millions to make these changes.
The Browns need to blow up this roster and start over. Considering how quickly the Browns gave the axe to former head coach Rob Chudzinski and former general manager Mike Lombardi, this may be a make-or-break year for Pettine, Farmer and Manziel. Unfortunately for them, this team doesn’t have a competitive roster.