The pressure is mounting on Browns president Mike Holmgren and the rest of his regime after producing nine wins in two years in Cleveland.
The Browns addressed the NFL's 10th-ranked defense with a couple of free-agent additions and made sweeping changes to their lackluster offense by drafting a new quarterback (Brandon Weeden), running back (Trent Richardson) and right tackle (Mitchell Schwartz).
Another four- or five-win season isn't going to cut it for the Browns in 2012.
"I would not be particularly happy if we had the same record or close to it," Holmgren told a local Cleveland radio station, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "Every season is its own season and there are reasons and I know this, I believe in my coach, I believe in the people here and you just have to persevere and get through the tough stuff when you’re building it. I know that the people in Cleveland and you guys and everybody have heard this before and it’s hard, it’s really hard but I believe in this group and I think we’re on track. I really do."
Holmgren added, "I think if you look at last season as an example the record was what it was, but we had if you remember say the snaps from center, kicked field goals, or PAT’s, if we had made three of those instead of missed three of those we would’ve won seven or eight games or something like that. Now you’re 5-11, 8-8, then you take the next step and boom, in the fourth year you are where you should be. That’s what I’m thinking. I would hope and I would be very disappointed if we didn’t take a pretty good jump this year.”
It's true that you could make a case for the 4-12 Browns being 8-8 last season based on four losses by four points or fewer. But you could also make the case for the Browns winning one game last season, which would have allowed them to take Andrew Luck in the draft. Cleveland's four wins were by a margin of 16 points, including three victories by four points or fewer.