Cleveland Browns: A fresh start for the final four games

After 12 losses in 12 weeks, the Cleveland Browns can use the recent bye week to reset and focus on picking up a win in the final four games of the season.

For Cleveland Browns fans, yesterday was a nice break from the usual 2016 routine of watching the Browns lose on yet another Sunday.

The late-season bye week seemed like an unfair punishment for this young team, but it may actually serve as a positive before the final four games of the season.

The sky seemed to be falling during the first 12 games of the season. While the team nearly won a few games at the start, things have gotten progressively worse as the weeks have gone on. A week off is just what this team needed to avoid the final four games being unwatchable.

Now it is still possible that the Browns will not win a game in 2016. And it is possible the remaining games still could be somewhat unwatchable. But a week off should help this young team regain a collective focus that was lost once the injury bug took over.

Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins was the Browns’ greatest chance at a victory this season. A missed field goal by Cody Parkey sent the game to overtime, and here we are now at 0-12. The games since then have hardly been competitive, with close final scores being the result of some garbage-time scoring.

If a game had been played yesterday, this cycle would have undoubtedly continued. But having a week off lets this team hone in on winning a single game. It is an embarrassing task for an NFL team, but this is the Browns we are talking about.

Hue Jackson is able to take time to evaluate the quarterback position and put the best player out on the field without any concerns about injuries. It looks like Robert Griffin III will be that player, although it would be surprising if he can last all four games.

Then there is the defense, which actually improved as a unit in last week’s loss to the New York Giants. The week off allows the group, and coordinator Ray Horton, to focus on the positives from the last game and use those to attack a Cincinnati Bengals team that is having an off-year.

This sense of optimism is similar to what was felt at the beginning of the season, so hopefully the Browns don’t destroy it as they did back in September. But with the focus on picking up a single win in four games, this team should be able to surprise us all and get the job done.

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