The Browns’ 10-step plan to win Super Bowl LII
1. Complete the perfectly imperfect season
Hey, if you’re going to be bad, you may as well be historically bad. Plus, the Browns may have to go 0-16 if they want the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. San Francisco is currently sitting on one win, so the Browns may not have any wiggle room. If they were to eke out a 1-15 or 2-14 record, either the 49ers or (two-win) Bears could tumble behind Cleveland for the No. 1 slot. (The Bears and 49ers play each other in Week 13.)
2. Get lucky
Hope an incredible athlete is born in a Cleveland-adjacent city, draft that athlete, watch that athlete leave to great success somewhere else, re-sign that athlete and let him lead the Browns to an epic comeback win in the Super Bowl.
3. Fill the entire practice squad with quarterbacks
The healthy shelf life for a Cleveland QB is something like five quarters. Just this year alone, Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler and Charlie Whitehurst suffered injuries (McCown’s now back in line as the starter). The NFL’s 53-man roster limit makes it tough to carry even three quarterbacks, let alone an endless supply. The practice squad, though, leaves room for an extra 10 young prospects. Why choose quality over quantity when you could, in theory, have both?
4. Maybe don’t let a homeless person inform your draft strategy
The Browns’ draft struggles are well documented, with Johnny Manziel standing out as just the latest misstep. Could out-of-the-box scouting be to blame? Per reports, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam pulled the trigger on drafting Manziel after a “homeless person” told the owner to “draft Manziel.” How’s that working out?
5. DO NOT TRADE FOR JAY CUTLER
Add Tony Romo or Ryan Tannehill or any other veteran quarterback who winds up on the trade block to the list. The Browns are not going to get over the top by picking up another franchise’s discarded pieces. They need coach Hue Jackson to draft and develop at the QB spot, so whether Jackson wants to pin his hopes on Cody Kessler or a 2017 prospect, that’s the route Cleveland has to take. The idea of Cutler in a Jackson scheme might be enticing, but it would not be worth it.
6. Teach the Dawg Pound how to spell "Dawg Pound"
If you want to win a Super Bowl, you need to tighten things up across all levels of the organization. As of Week 8, that list also includes the loyal, rabid members of Cleveland’s "Dawg Pound," who ... well ... can’t spell. This is the easiest fix, one would think.
7. Add Andrew Miller as your do-it-all relief QB
Feel free to bring on Terry Francona as an assistant coach or defensive coordinator, if that helps. He knows better than anyone else how to utilize Miller effectively (be it in the third or fourth quarter). And the Browns—who have blown three fourth-quarter leads plus lost an OT game this season—need someone who can get them to the finish line. Miller’s on the gangly side for an NFL quarterback, but he fits the height/arm strength prototype. Now, about teaching Terrelle Pryor how to catch a slider ...
8. Ask LeBron James to play; settle for J.R. Smith
There long has been speculation that LeBron could make a leap to the NFL as a tight end. Heck, this past off-season Rex Ryan even invited him to suit up for the Bills. Would James give football a shot at this point in his career? Doubtful. How about Smith, though? James’s Cavaliers teammate tweeted (tongue-in-cheek) that he was "seriously thinking about" an NFL tryout. He’s 6’ 6", 225 lbs., so that’s a starting point.
9. Invent a time machine, keep Bill Belichick
Belichick, of course, took his first go-round as an NFL head coach in Cleveland, from 1991-95. The Browns even won a playoff game during that stretch, following an 11-5 finish in ’94. But they dropped to 5-11 the following season, handed Belichick his walking papers and five years later The Hoodie started his reign as Patriots head coach. Belichick has since brought 194 wins and four Super Bowls to New England. Maybe that success never happens for him in Cleveland, but—no disrespect to Hue Jackson—wouldn’t it be fun to find out?
10. Contract 30 NFL franchises
Would have contracted 31, but hey, the Browns need someone to beat in the Super Bowl.