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The View From Pluto: The 2018 Cleveland Browns

John Dorsey

The Cleveland Browns open their season at home this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers. After failing to win a single game last season, the Browns are heading into this season hoping for a fresh start with two new quarterbacks. 

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto thinks the team can improve from their 0-16 season.

Really, It Can’t Get Any Worse

“Browns fans often say, ‘it can’t get any worse,’ and of course it’s a dangerous thing to say as a Browns fan because it can always get worse,” Pluto said.

The Cleveland Browns are a combined 4-44 over their last three seasons going 3-13, 1-15 and 0-16.

They officially can’t lose any more games. 

“When you hit zero, it’s not like Premier League Soccer where you get bumped down to the minors, you’re guaranteed to stay in the NFL.” Pluto said.

The Kansas City Model

The team hired former Kansas City Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey before the end of last season to turn things around.

They have yet another new starting quarterback this year, former Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor.

“Now this is where John Dorsey went back to his formula in Kansas City,” Pluto said. “He brought in Alex Smith, a smart quarterback who doesn’t turn the ball over with strong leadership. Brings in Taylor - same thing.”

Taylor has a winning record in Buffalo going 22-20, including a trip to the playoffs last season marking their first appearance in 18 years.

“I think it’s significant.” Pluto said. “One, he’s adjusted to playing in terrible weather and second, he’s used to being on a team casted as a loser.”

Veteran Leadership

This is what Dorsey wanted, an adult leading the team.

“The year before it wasn’t DeShone Kizer’s fault, he was only 21-years-old and he played just two seasons at Notre Dame,” Pluto said. “The Browns had historically awful quarterback play, not bad, not terrible – historically awful.”

The Browns led the NFL last season with six interceptions in the redzone. Tyrod Taylor only threw four interceptions all season long.

“Right there you go, okay, if you stop throwing the ball to the other team you’re gonna win a few games,” Pluto said.

The Rookie QB To-Be

The Browns used the #1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

“John Dorsey put his signature on this pick,” Pluto said. “There was a lot of debate of who was the best quarterback in the draft.”

Pluto adds that he didn’t like the Mayfield pick, but his play in practice and the pre-season won him over.

“I think he has a chance to be pretty good, I’m not saying great, but pretty good.” Pluto said.

The Browns are now in a position to let their rookie quarterback watch and learn.

“Here’s the greatest thing, he doesn’t have to play day one.” Pluto said. “In the past, the Browns have ruined rookie quarterbacks by playing them right away.”

When the franchise came back in 1999, they played then rookie Tim Couch over veteran Ty Detmer after a dismal first-half.

“Couch took a beating the rest of that year and throughout his career.” Pluto said. “In his last two seasons with the Browns he went 15-15, but there was so much physically wrong with him he couldn’t play anymore.”

Couch was out of the league at 26-years-old.

Can The Browns Win Four Games This Season?

Five games.

“That’s realistic, four to five.” Pluto said. “Remember you’re at zero, if you go to five, you will have won more games than the last three years combined.”