Sorry, But Placekicking Situation Will Not Be the Biggest Worry for Cleveland Browns This Season

By Dick Primo
David Richard- USA TODAY Sports

Boy are Cleveland Browns fans upset. Let me jump in here with an explanation. If you’re not from Northeast Ohio, you may not know this: Browns fans are always upset. It’s their M.O., and I can’t say that I blame them. This team as been as dysfunctional as any team in the NFL over the past 10+ years. In a league built on parity, this team has made being bad an art. You almost have to try to be this bad. But still, it can be a bit annoying to hear the noise all of the time.

It’s like having that friend who’s in a bad relationship: They call you crying, call saying that it’s over, call making all kinds of idle threats that you know are never going to happen. By lunch the next day, you know they’ll have made up.

So Browns fans are upset. About what, you ask? Well, about the Browns’ placekicking situation. If you can call a placekicker question mark a situation. The Browns did not re-sign fan-favorite Phil Dawson during the offseason. He’s now kicking for the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. Yeah, there was a lot of gnashing of teeth over that non-move. And then they signed a couple of kickers in the offseason, but by the end of the preseason, both had been cut and they had no one under contract.

The outrage! The buffoonery! The embarrassment!

See, that’s another thing about Browns Fan: Their identity is too wrapped up in this football team. I’m not sure which would humiliate them more: The Browns having a 3-13 season, or a video being posted on YouTube of their wife twerking in a bikini for two guys who live down the street. I’m not saying the 3-13 record would trump that, but I’m saying it’s close.

So since this is such an important topic, I thought I’d weigh in, so here goes: I don’t care.

Yes, I understand the importance of special teams. We saw in 2011 what a bad special teams can do. Still, I don’t care. I have spent the last five years watching special teams. Look, god bless Phil Dawson. He seemed like a great guy and his kicking only improved. How could it not? All he did was kick field goals! The guy never saw the uprights from closer than 35 yards. The guy was money, no doubt, but I don’t care that he’s gone. And I don’t care that they signed Billy Cundiff to replace him. So while it doesn’t matter to me, to Browns fans this is an embarrassment. The shame! A kicker could mean the difference in winning a couple of close games!

I have some news for you: Winning a couple of extra close games will make it that much further they’ll have to trade up in the 2014 draft.

This team is not good. No, stop barking and listen to me. This team is not good. They’re not going to the win the AFC North. They’re not going to slip in as a wild card. You know that team last year that won five games? Well, you’re looking at pretty much the same roster. The only thing this team did in the offseason was replace the strength of the front seven as the defense switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Same quarterback. Same running back, except now they have no one behind him. Same wide receivers. Same defensive backs. Same team. There should be better coaching, but better than Pat Shurmur is not saying much. No, I’m going with a 6-10 record, somewhere in that area. Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong, but I’m usually not with this team. Besides the record, I will predict a few more things:

  • Fans will be asking for Jason Campbell to start by Week 3
  • They’ll be calling for Mike Lombardi’s job by Week 4
  • They’ll hate Rob Chudzinski by Week 5
  • They’ll be talking about the 2014 draft by Week 6

I hate to be so sobering on the morning of Week 1, but I think maybe Browns fans need to settle down a little bit. Take a deep breath. Eat a pierogi. Let’s hope this team improves from the awfulness that it has been since 2008. Let’s hope that going into next season we see why they took a flier on the 2013 draft. Let’s hope we can start 2014 without someone on drug suspension. Let’s hope, because right now this team sucks.

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