They have begun the season 0-4 and are currently enduring a nine-game losing streak, but the Cleveland Browns can still turn the corner in the 2012 NFL season.
That's because they have a solid, young core in place that for once, actually promises a bright future for their long-suffering and extremely loyal fans. The Browns travelled to Baltimore and ran the Raven close with a rookie quarterback, rookie running back, rookie right tackle and two first-year wide receivers.
On defense a second-year corner didn't look out of place, nor did a youthful linebacker who continues to make plays. The point is that while results have not gone their way, the Browns have still managed to lay the foundation for a turnaround.
This is no deceptive structure either. It's not like the false dawns the team experienced when Kelly Holcomb tooke them to the playoffs, or when Derek Anderson managed 10 wins.
Instead this is a Browns team with real promise at the skill positions and with a defense built to last. Quarterback Brandon Weeden is still raw, but he has recovered from his nightmare Week 1 performance, to prove he can succeed at the pro level.
After three games, the Ravens perennially imposing defense is ranked 27th in the league and lacks the dominant look opponents and fans have come to expect from the purple and black. What began as preseason whispers has turned into an open lament: the defense is going to have to rely on the offense to win games. Panic button. Identity crisis. Baltimore's defense is on the decline. This premature hysteria is understandable, especially considering the predictions leading into the season.