The Cleveland Browns are 0-2.
They’ve won just twice in their last 29 games, dating back to October 2015.
Still, star left tackle Joe Thomas really thinks the Browns could make the playoffs, a feat they haven’t accomplished since before the team drafted him third overall in 2007.
“Well, I definitely feel like this could be our year,” Thomas told ProFootballTalk. “I look at what we’re doing on defense, I think we’ve already got a really, really good defense and as soon as Myles Garrett comes back he’s gonna be a game changer and I think that he’ll be able to turn that defense up to a top five defense in the NFL. And I think what we’re doing on offense, we’re making tons of improvement. I think [rookie starting quarterback] DeShone Kizer is gonna make incredible progress each and every week being that he is a rookie and he is such a young player but he is a really fast learner. So I see him combined with [head coach] Hue Jackson on offense and I feel like this could definitely be our year.”
Despite their being a favorite target for internet jokesters, the Browns have begun a meticulous rebuilding process, one that involves amassing as much young talent (draft picks) as possible, since Sashi Brown was elevated to executive vice president.
Which is why you can expect trade rumors to surround Thomas as the trade deadline approaches, as is the case most seasons.
“I’m surprised it hasn’t started already; I’m sure you’ve been stirring the pot a little bit,” Thomas said. “I look forward to that trade deadline every year because then I can stop answering the question about do you want to be traded or do you think you’re gonna get traded?”
Thomas, a six-time Pro Bowler, noted that he’s considered the possibility he might never see the postseason.
“Well, there’s definitely a concern there,” Thomas said. “Obviously the approach that they’ve taken since Sashi Brown took over as sort of the G.M. and President has sort of been this long-term approach which, as a younger player, which a majority of our team is, they can obviously be really excited about it because we’re in excellent salary cap space. We’ve got tons and tons of draft picks every year. We’ve got the youngest team in the NFL. … Me as a guy in my eleventh year, the oldest guy on the team by a wide margin, I’m thinking, ‘Well hopefully this comes together sooner than later.’ Because I have a realistic understanding that I’m not gonna play forever. There is gonna be a time where I’m not gonna be around anymore and I wanna make sure that I can still be a member of this team once we do take this team to the playoffs and hopefully on that Super Bowl run.”