Doom, awful, impending doom awaits the NFL tonight at midnight as the CBA expires and the lockout presumably begins.
Most "in the know" seem to feel that a deal is far from being reached, and the lockout will likely drag on until late August or early September. NFL teams won't be able to trade players, sign free agents, practice, hold OTA's, hold Training Camp, even provide their players with playbooks. This will, of course, affect all the NFL teams, but it will hurt teams like the Browns the most.
Let's say you have a new Head Coach who's also the Offensive Coordinator, and he's going to implement an entirely new Offensive system. Let's say you have a new Defensive Coordinator who is switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Let's say you have a raw and flawed 2nd year QB as your starter, and he'll be unable to use his greatest weapon - preparedness. Let's say you have a young team with a bunch of new players that need to learn the schemes and get reps.
Now let's say you get 2 weeks to put all that together.
If you think that would be anything but a disaster for teams like Cleveland, you have a much greater capacity for hope than I do.
Even the national media thinks we're F'd in the A without V. From an NBC article about the teams that would be hurt the most by a lockout:
3. BrownsBrowns football czar Mike Holmgren will pay for delaying the end of the Eric Mangini era. Presumptive starting quarterback Colt McCoy won’t get to learn his new scheme and the defensive players don’t fit the team’s new 3-4 defense. With a first-time coach in Pat Shurmur, it’s like they are starting all over again.
They have Tennessee and Denver as the teams that will be most F'd by the lockout, but it's hard to see where even they are worse off than the Browns. Really, if you had to rank the teams that would be most affected, you should really just list them 1A-F for about 6 teams. There will be some ugly football in some cities this Fall.
Prepare thyself for Cleveland Browns: The Return II.
Let's hope they do it right this time.
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