Sometimes there is a disconnect between what a man thinks and what he says. That appears to be the case with Browns General Manager Tom Heckert Jr.
The new GM, defending the rather unusual path he took to get to the final 53-man roster, said, "We kept the best 53 we needed to get ready for Tampa (in Sunday's season opener). We'll have to wait and see, but we think we're improved. We really do."
Now it's quite understandable that Heckert would take the positive approach. He's not going to come out and say something like "well, to be honest with you, we're really not very good right now. It's going to take more time and you'll just have to be patient with us."
No, he's not going to say that because the Browns are in the business of selling seats in their stadium. They're in the business of keeping up the hopes of a large number of Cleveland pro football fans. To say otherwise would be counterproductive.
But surely, Heckert, club President Mike Holmgren and coach Eric Mangini cannot seriously think this is a good team. Not when the cupboard is practically naked when it comes to identifying playmakers. Outside of Joshua Cribbs and Joe Thomas, a special teams ace and an offensive tackle, who can honestly be labeled as an offensive playmaker on this team?
Jake Delhomme? Hardly. He wasn't a playmaker last season in CArolina with a far better team to direct. His receiving corps here is dismal at best. Which brings us to another Heckert burp. When asked why he declined to go after then-free agent wide receiver T. J. Houshmandzadeh shortly after his release by Seattle, he said, "I think we're going to be good with the guys we have for right now."
You mean the likes of Mo Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey, Carlton Mitchell and Cribbs will cause shivers of anxiety throughout the National Football League? Really!!
And Delhomme's running game, the last four games of last season notwithstanding, is a tick shy of mediocre. Throw in a shaky right side of the offensive line and you have a recipe for potential disaster. Delhomme will face more eight-in-the-box looks than he wants.
Delhomme and the Heckert had better hope the defense steps up and rescues the offense throughout the season because that's the club's only hope of squeezing out as many as six victories. And there are no reputable playmakers on that side of the ball with the exception of Shaun Rogers.
Heckert, who knows what a good football team looks like after all his years in Philadelphia, cannot seriously believe this is a good football team. If he thinks the way he speaks, then the great revival of the Cleveland Browns is going to take a lot longer than he believes.