Few football observers expect much out of the Browns this season. The general consensus is that their ceiling -- if all goes right -- is seven or eight wins.
But as Rick Gosselin, one of the best columnists in the business, writes, a quick start to the season can, and often does, build into a surprise season. With two very winnable games to start the schedule, maybe Cleveland will be the 2010 version of last year's Saints, 2003's Panthers, 2004's Falcons, or the '99 Rams.
In a parity-driven league, you see it almost every year. A team on no one's radar storms through September unbeaten. It begins thinking it's a good football team, then it starts playing like a good football team and, finally, it becomes a good football team.
That will happen again in 2010. It may be the Cleveland Browns...
On any given Sunday, any team can rise up and beat another. In any given season, a team can rise up.
Sometimes all that team needs is a dose of confidence. Win the opener and that confidence starts to build. Every win thereafter becomes a log on the fire. By season's end, that team is ablaze with confidence.
I'm making no predictions here, but many of the elements of a potential playoff team are already here. Lots of questions marks too, no doubt. But with some better luck on the injury front and some quick-start momentum, there's no reason right now to limit what a successful Browns season might bring.