Tough time dealing with reality
Sashi Brown paid a visit to Fantasy Island the other day. Mr. Roarke and Tattoo were not there. But the Cleveland media was.
The Browns’ boss for all things football held court with the media, perhaps to straighten out something his coach, Mr. Hue Jackson, said to the media regarding the shape of the roster.
Brown is in charge of determining the 53 men on that roster on a daily basis. Jackson was asked several days ago if he could win with that roster and that’s when he referred all questions in that matter to his boss.
Well, the boss showed up and proceeded to paint such a fairly rosy picture, one would have thought there was nothing wrong at all with a team winless in four games this season and is 1-22 in the last 23 games.
Someone has to take responsibility for this mess. Someone has to step forward and admit something is not working.
And that’s where the dalliance with Fantasy Island began.
Brown knocked down the notion he and Jackson had their differences, going so far as to point out he and his coach were working together “really well. . . . This is our second year together . . . but it’s been a great offseason of finding new ways to work together and support each other, learn from each other. So things are good.”
So why did Jackson decline to answer the original question and redirect the media to Brown? That one will go unanswered for the time being.
“We do see some progress being made on the field,” Brown said, occasionally throwing in a dollop of reality. ”It’s not good enough yet. We’re not satisfied by any stretch, but Hue and I are really realistic about where we are.”
And where they are frustrates fans of the team. Losing week after week after week after week wears down a fan base. It has become difficult even for the sycophants to wax optimistic about this team.
The Browns have become the laughingstock of the National Football League. Gentle and sometimes not-so-gentle swipes at the team from the media bother the fans. But those swipes are not unwarranted. They are deserved.
Oh and four is an accurate reflection of where the Browns are this season, as is the 1-22 mark. The record does not lie. They have played four games this season and did not deserve to win any of them. In fact, they have regressed since playing decently (for them) in the season opener against Pittsburgh.
Brown nevertheless was adamant the current plan of stockpiling draft choices will eventually work. “We are committed to continuing to work toward building this roster to becoming a perennial playoff team and we are on the way toward that,” he said.
Yep, he really put those three words together. Perennial playoff team. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Gives fans hope for the future through the eyes of a man whose knowledge of football pales in comparison to his peers around the league.
“Obviously we are not at the end of our build,” Brown continued. “I don’t know any team that is, but we certainly have made some progress on the field and we are seeing that with some of the young guys playing and making plays for us.”
And then he said something curious.
“The results at the end of the day, as Hue and I believe, winning is why we are here,” he said. “Results need to get better. I do believe we can play better. I know (the players) believe they can play better and I think they will.” It comes across as a pep talk.
The de facto general manager brushed off the notion of overreacting. “We are not going to overreact to four games,” he said. “We have played some tough divisional opponents. We are well aware of how difficult our division is.”
No it is not. The Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens are not nearly as tough as they used to be and the Pittsburgh Steelers, though 3-1, are getting old in key areas with a rapidly closing window of opportunity.
Brown, to his credit, admitted the Browns “have earned our 0-4 record so far. We are really disappointed for our fans, disappointed for our organization and where we are, but we will get righted and focus on the Jets this weekend and move forward to the last three-quarters of the season.”
Another pep talk, this one for the fans.
What about the prospect of winning only two or three games this season? “We would be disappointed if we ended there,” Brown said, pronouncing himself “disappointed so far. We are not going to project into hypotheticals, but we have 12 opportunities.
“We want to win all 12. We are going to prepare to win all 12. If that happens, that happens. If it doesn’t, we will deal with that at the time.”
Of course he wants to win all 12. And of course the team is going to prepare to win all 12. That’s what they get paid to do. But what if it prepares for all 12 and loses 10 or 11, maybe all 12? What then?
“We will deal with that at the time."
Only if he is around to deal with it.