COMMENTARY | The Cleveland Browns, along with the team's long-suffering fan base, entered October 2013 with real reasons for optimism. Quarterback Brian Hoyer had taken the Browns from 0-2 to 2-2, and the team's defense seemed to have the goods to allow Cleveland to compete with the likes of the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs.
As has happened to this franchise time and time again since 1999, it all came crashing down for the Browns, who will now need to go on quite the run in the second half of the campaign in order to reach that .500 record that appeared very attainable four weeks ago.
2013 Cleveland Browns October review: Different year, same story
It just wouldn't be the Browns if they weren't on the verge of searching for a franchise quarterback during an offseason. Hoyer wasn't Peyton Manning or Tom Brady out there, but he was the field general that Cleveland had hoped to find in Brandon Weeden. With Weeden sidelined because of a sprained thumb, Hoyer stepped in and won two straight.
And then came the slide in the October 3 games against the Buffalo Bills that resulted in Hoyer tearing his ACL.
Weeden was unspectacular, to put it kindly, in relieving Hoyer, and he has since been replaced by Jason Campbell. The veteran of nine years was fine, even good, in a losing effort at the Kansas City Chiefs. Campbell is not, however, a starter that is leading the Browns to a title. A future savior of Cleveland pro football is out there.
2013 Cleveland Browns October review: History didn't repeat
The Browns sent shock waves throughout the pro football world in the middle of September when the team, seemingly out of nowhere, dealt former first round pick Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for one of Indy's future first round selections. This, along with three straight defeats following the injury to Hoyer, had some believing that dynamic play-maker Josh Gordon could make an exit from Cleveland before the trade deadline.
That, fortunately for those who are looking forward to watching more Browns football this fall, did not happen.
Gordon is a risk in that he is one drug test failure away from being suspended by the league for an entire season. Nevertheless, the Browns not settling for a trade that did not include equal value (i.e. first round pick) was best for the team's immediate and long-term plans. The hope now is that Gordon keeps himself out of trouble.
2013 Cleveland Browns October review: Oh yeah...
Cleveland did play four meaningful football games in October. What's difficult about reviewing those contests is that the team has already gone in a different direction with Campbell and not Weeden leading the offense. All that this month proved was what many people who follow and cover the Browns were already sure of:
Weeden isn't the guy, at least he isn't for this franchise.
The most unfortunate thing about October 2013 when it comes to the Browns is that the team had to squander two games before making the obvious QB switch. Cleveland was a real playoff contender at the start of the month. Postseason play is still possible for the Browns, but the team's coaching staff made that goal more difficult to grasp than it should have been.
Zac has been following Cleveland sports since a little before his birth, and thus his heart breaks a little more with every year. He has been covering the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the NFL for Yahoo Sports since 2010
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