Now that the Super Bowl is set and the Browns hires are pretty much all set, there’s nothing left but to wonder about a lot of things. No, not silly already decided things about keeping a certain owner out of the Hall of Fame. That’s been decided a long time ago and as far as I can tell nothing at all (at all) has changed despite death and patches. Other than the obvious though, I don’t have a lot of answers. I have a bunch of questions that I’ll be keeping in mind as the off-season progresses.
- Every leak that came out over the last six months about the Browns (especially the Lombardi one) has pretty much come true. How about the one from January 5th reported by Will Burge that Colt McCoy was told he was in the next coach’s plans? Was that information based on the presumption that Chip Kelly was going to be the next Browns’ head coach? Was that more of a statement about what Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi think about Brandon Weeden? When asked about Josh Gordon’s tweet last week, Lombardi joked that the receiver had nothing to worry about, yet he needed to see more tape on Weeden before commenting.
- Michael Lombardi a General Manager or is he a Vice President of Player personnel? It doesn’t really matter, I guess, but does it say anything about this new Browns organization that owner Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner weren’t 100% on the same page at least in terms of vernacular? I don’t want to get conspiracy-theory about it and I’m not overly concerned… Well, unless it is indicative of a wider-ranging disconnect.
- What does Jeffrey Lurie’s distaste for Joe Banner really mean? Is Joe Banner a horrible person who does bad things or is there some resentment by Lurie that Banner jumped ship? On the other side is Joe Banner just bitter that he was apparently rendered obsolete by the youngest GM in the NFL, Howie Roseman? Is all this distaste indicative of the wider league view of Joe Banner and is that harmful to the Browns to be disliked around the league at the CEO level?
- How much are the Browns going to try to win right now? More specifically, the Browns used a $14.3 million carryover that gives them almost $49 million in salary cap space this off-season. I’ve always had some sneaking suspicion – mostly based on my own paranoia and circumstantial evidence – that the Browns were somehow cash poor and that’s why they didn’t spend a ton in free agency over the last few years. They did break the bank re-signing Joe Thomas and Ahtyba Rubin while also franchising Phil Dawson, so maybe they truly were just being deliberate about building the team. But if you’re building toward something, wouldn’t it be a season like right now with so much cap space and a need to make a really great first impression? Will Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings be an obvious beneficiary? How about Paul Kruger or Connor Barwin?
- What are the stadium changes going to be? I can’t help but wonder now that the Browns have signed up a corporate sponsor that stadium improvements will be coming sooner rather than later. Will they install field turf? I know this might upset some of the “purists” or “traditionalists” but trust me when I say I think it will make players happy. I won’t even jokingly bring up the dome. Even if they were going to go in that direction, it couldn’t happen in a year, I don’t think. Will it be a new scoreboard? Who wouldn’t want that?
And that’s it for right now. I’m sure I could come up with countless more, but these are the immediate ones that come to mind right this second as we prepare for two weeks of impossibly awful Super Bowl hype about brothers and plea bargains and dead owners and almost nothing about actual football. I watched the first Super Bowl that the Ravens were in and I really didn’t enjoy myself. I will be in sunny Orlando for the second one and I am giving serious consideration to not watching it. My wife is bemoaning the potential loss of the commercials, but those will all be on Youtube days before.
The biggest off-season question is really an in-season question as the Super Bowl hasn’t finished. Should I watch it?