It took only four quarters of some pretty awful football to break many among the fan base of the Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland sports talk radio has been filled with the expected mourning following the 23-10 loss the Browns suffered to the Miami Dolphins on the first Sunday of the 2013 NFL season. Who could have imagined, after just Week 1, that there would already be serious questions about Cleveland's starting quarterback and also about its coaching staff? In reality, anybody who has followed the franchise since at least 1999 should have seen this coming.
All jokes and snark aside, diehard Browns fans really do deserve better than what they got yesterday.
Grading the Browns after loss to the Dolphins: Quarterback
I've seen and heard a variety of descriptions for Brandon Weeden's forgettable outing. The best one I could come up with is that Weeden simply was not at the caliber of a NFL minus the beautiful throw he made to tight end Jordan Cameron for the team's only touchdown of the game. Yes, his wide receivers and offensive line both hung him out to dry throughout the afternoon, but, in the end, it all comes back to the play of Weeden. Several analysts I've heard over the past 24 hours have suggested that Weeden could be one more bad game away from falling to No. 2 on the Cleveland depth chart. Yikes. Grade: D
Grading the Browns after loss to the Dolphins: Running backs
Trent Richardson, who was at 100 percent at 1 pm ET on Sunday, got 13 carries, and he was targeted under 20 total times. That's absolutely unacceptable. I'd like to have a word with offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Grade: F
Grading the Browns after loss to the Dolphins: Wide receivers/tight ends
The tradition that is Cleveland wide receivers failing to hold onto the football hasn't gone anywhere. No disrespect to Davone Best, but it likely means bad times for the Browns if he finishes a game with an equal amount of targets as Greg Little. Those who watched Cleveland throughout the preseason saw that the previously mentioned Cameron was going to be Weeden's go-to guy when the games started to count, and Cameron answered the call with a team-high nine grabs for 108 yards and a score. He's the reason the grade here isn't lower. Grade: B
Grading the Browns after loss to the Dolphins: Offensive line
It's easy to pick on Oniel Cousins for having what had to be one of the worst games in the team's history of offensive linemen. All would do well to remember that Mitchell Schwartz also hardly covered himself in glory in the loss. Even Joe Thomas had some rough moments, although one could say that the best player in that unit could only be expected to do so much. I absolutely understand that Miami's Cameron Wake is a phenomenal player. The Cleveland o-line made him look like a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Grade: F-
Grading the Browns after loss to the Dolphins: Defense
I grouped the entire Cleveland defense together because it, as a whole, largely shut Miami down for most of the afternoon. The Dolphins were held to under 300 yards of total offense, and their rushing attack averaged under one yard per carry. Cleveland was within just three points of Miami with 15 minutes left on the clock. That fact had little to do with the offense of the Browns. Grade: B
Grading the Browns after loss to the Dolphins: Overall
The Browns losing a season opener is nothing new, and the final score alone of yesterday's affair is not why so many in and around the Cleveland area are upset. This team's offense looked no better than what we saw at the end of the 2012 campaign. I'd believe you if you told me that Pat Shurmur somehow made his way onto the Cleveland sideline and was calling the offensive plays for at least half the game.
It's a new day and a new administration at the Browns. Those in charge had better not accept the team again averaging under 20 points per game for long.
Overall grade: D