Cleveland Browns fans entered last season with a great deal of optimism, and they were rewarded with a 7-4 start.
Then the bottom dropped out.
The Browns lost their final five games of the year and sputtered to a 7-9 finish.
With Cleveland entering the 2015 season without a legitimate NFL starting quarterback, are Browns fans hoping for the best or bracing for the worst?
“The sense that I get is that people expect them to maybe try to get to play some .500 ball this year if possible,” Cleveland Plain Dealer Browns writer Mary Kay Cabot said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I don’t think anyone has great expectations because no one is really too overly excited about Josh McCown coming off that 1-10 season. So Josh has a great opportunity to come in here and try to show people that he’s won at quarterback and played for the Bears the year before when he had 13 touchdowns and only one interception that year in going 3-2 and showing good things for them. There are some good things about this football team. There’s a good offensive line, defensive line, running game, secondary – there are some really strong areas on this team. Those DBs, they know how to get their hands on the football, and that can change the course of any game. So I think they can win some games, but it does depend on how Josh McCown fares. And I think that the fans are probably cautiously optimistic.”
They’re also cautiously optimistic that Terrelle Pryor can successfully complete his transition from quarterback to wide receiver. Pryor, 26, was a standout at Ohio State but has struggled to find a landing spot in the NFL. The Browns are his fourth team since 2014. At 6-4, however, Pryor has the size to be an impact pass-catcher – at least on paper.
The only question is, can he actually do it?
“I would have to think that it’s a longshot that a young man could turn from quarterback to receiver in such a short, compressed time frame,” Cabot said. “It’s such a hard position. It’s just a difficult thing to do. But he does have all the good measurables. I’ve had people tell me they think he should actually try to play tight end instead of receiver, so we’ll see if the Browns give that a try at any point. But I do think it’s somewhat of a longshot. Having said that, however, you can see (on social media) that he’s working extremely hard with guys like Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, Antonio Brown, even Josh Gordon to a degree. They share the same agent, Drew Rosenhaus. So I think that he’s working really hard at it. I see him making one-handed catches, he’s running routes, but it’s a lot to learn in a short period of time. Maybe he can be a little bit creative with his role . . . but I don’t know. I just think it’s hard for a quarterback to turn into a receiver.”