April 16, 2014

Medina
Mostly sunny
41°F

Browns: After 19 years of heartbreak, here’s hoping these wishes will come true

Browns fans deserve much better than they’ve received for the last 19 years. They cheer too loudly, care too much and hurt too deeply to be given the same miserable, soul-sucking product for two decades.

Even though Santa has finished most of his work, it’s never too late to ask. So here’s my Christmas list for Browns fans for the next year.

- A franchise quarterback in the draft. I’m not sure who that guy is, but I know the Browns will never be a serious threat without a top-10 quarterback.

- The patience to live with the inevitable ups and downs that come with a young quarterback — no matter how talented.

- Contract extensions for center Alex Mack and strong safety T.J. Ward. I’m not confident re-signing either is a priority of the front office, but a team looking to take a leap forward can’t afford to take a step back by losing two of its top 10 players.

- A clean offseason for receiver Josh Gordon. He has the talent to be a superstar. He’s also one failed drug test from an indefinite suspension.

- A receiver or two to take the pressure off Gordon. Greg Little and Davone Bess were disasters this year.

- A young, fast, powerful running back that scares a defense. Without one, play caller Norv Turner will be forever limited and frustrated.

- Ten pounds of muscle and two more pass-rush moves for rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo. Without a drastic improvement, he won’t live up to the expectations that come with being the No. 6 pick in the draft.

- To hear from general manager Michael Lombardi, the organization’s chief talent evaluator. He hasn’t talked to the beat writers since training camp, and it’d be nice if the fans could hear what he’s thinking.

- A smart draft and aggressive free agency. The Browns have a lot of holes, but plenty of resources to fill them.

- An end to the Jimmy Haslam Pilot Flying J saga. Oh, yeah, without an indictment for the Browns owner.

- More touchdown highlights — from the present day — to play on the new, giant, high-definition scoreboards set to be installed in time for next season.

- Meaningful games in December. The Browns made it to mid-November this year before falling apart, which was an improvement over years past. The next step is season-long relevance.

- A playoff game in January 2015.

- I’ll be greedy for you. A playoff game at home. The last time the Browns hosted, or won, a postseason game was Jan. 1, 1995.
While I’m at it, I have wishes for a few other people.

- Wins, and lots of them, for linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and left tackle Joe Thomas. They are too good of players and people to endure season after season of futility. They, like the fans, deserve better.

- A good night’s sleep for coach Rob Chudzinski. Between the six-game losing streak, a newborn son and four small children at home, there can’t be much shut-eye.

- Peace of mind for quarterback Jason Campbell. I appreciate his recent candor in explaining his mindset and struggles, but a quarterback needs a clear head to operate efficiently. Campbell has sufficient talent, he just needs to get out of his own way.

- A successful rehabilitation for quarterback Brian Hoyer. His dream of starting for the hometown Browns ended after three starts with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and it’d be cool if he got another chance.

- One more shot — somewhere — for quarterback Brandon Weeden. He played poorly for much of this season, but wants another opportunity to show he’s not a bust.

- A Pro Bowl selection for cornerback Joe Haden. He played too well for too long this season for the recent touchdown passes allowed to cost him his first trip to Hawaii.

Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @scottpetrak.