Week 1: Browns vs. Eagles

And so it begins… another season for the Cleveland Browns. Can you sense the overwhelming amount of joy in my voice? I mean, what’s better than watching four frustrating months of less than mediocre football?

I know, I know… why so gloom and doom? Well I’m all gloom and doom because I don’t think the Browns are going to be very good. While the additions of Brandon Wheeden, Trent Richardson, and Josh Gordon are exciting on a surface level, I just don’t think they’re enough to instantly turn the Browns around. After all, despite all of their physical tools they’re still rookies and it’s going to take time for them to figure everything out on the NFL level, especially Wheeden.

There’s also the part Shurmur issue. He’s just not a good coach. Last year’s mistakes and the bumbling and stumbling in the preseason this year proved as much. Why then should I expect the light bulb to magically turn on? He’s also coaching for his job it would seem. With Jimmy Haslam buying the team it’s more than likely that he’ll bring in all of his own front office people who will ultimately bring in all of their own people down on the field. He’s a lame duck and that means if things start going poorly the players are just going to tune him out because he’s not going to be back anyways.

As for the defense, it looks better in a few places thanks to the infusion of youth via the draft, but again they’re young and it’s going to take time for them to figure things out. There’s also the fact that in a few positions where the Browns aren’t young and inexperienced they’re old and slow, especially at the linebacker spot. It also doesn’t help that their top run stuffer, Phil Taylor, is out for at least the first six games of the season thanks to a torn pectoral muscle. That’s not good for a team that was abused by the opposition on the ground in 2011.

So what can we realistically expect out of the Browns this season? I think it’s going to be ugly the majority of the time. Weeks 1 through 9 it’s going to look like they’ve never actually played the game before. However, I think starting in week 10 we’ll start to see some resemblance of progress. They’ll be more competitive on the field and the games will be more entertaining, but the end result will still be the same. It also doesn’t help that they have a murderers row of a schedule this season.

My prediction for the 2012 Cleveland Browns… 3-13 and last place in the AFC North. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see how they can more than 3 games given their inexperience, the strength of schedule, and the ineptness of the head coach.

As for today’s game…

It’s going to be a rough one. As I said, the Browns youth will come back to bite them in the ass. Mistake after mistake and penalty after penalty will stall drives on offense and keep drives alive on defense. Philadelphia is also on a mission this season following an extremely disappointing 2011 season.

Throw in the fact that it’s the first game of the year and all of the Eagles’ weapons are healthy and ready to go and that’s a bad combination. Can the Browns stop Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson… I can keep going.My point is, and I said it earlier, the Browns just aren’t at the point where they can compete with teams that are experienced, unified, and know what their ultimate goal is for the 2012 season. The Eagles are one of those teams. They’re going to want to make a statement and unfortunately, their first statement of 2012 will come at the Browns expense.

Final score Eagles 34 – Browns 13

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