Tim Couch, like most Browns fans, watched in agony as the team finished winless for the first time in franchise history. But Cleveland's former quarterback saw a glimmer of hope, too.
Couch, the former No. 1 pick who recently reconnected with the club after 15 years, took careful note of how close the Browns were to winning throughout the 2017 season. Now, he thinks Cleveland could get over the hump with the additions of quarterback Tyrod Taylor, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and several more free agents who are expected to contribute in major ways next year.
"They've been aggressive in free agency, they brought in some guys that are going to make an immediate impact on this football team," Couch said on Cleveland Browns Daily last week. "Last year was obviously tough, it was gut-wrenching to watch an 0-16 season, but this team is definitely heading in the right direction with free agency and a strong draft. Those things will get it turned around pretty quickly here."
Under first-year general manager John Dorsey, the Browns added Taylor, Landry and former Packers defensive back Damarious Randall in a series of trades that underscored an overhaul of the league's youngest roster. And in the NFL Draft later this month, Cleveland is set to add two more impact players with the first and fourth overall picks.
Because of that, Couch — who experienced his own form of adversity in the early 2000s —- sees a brighter future in Northeast Ohio despite the struggles over the past two seasons.
"It can turn around real quick," said Couch, who will help call the Browns' preseason games this fall. "You bring in some veteran guys that are established."
That, of course, includes Taylor, who's arguably the most accomplished quarterback Cleveland has had since the team resumed operations in 1999. Couch thinks Taylor -- who spent the past three seasons in Buffalo and helped snap a 17-year playoff drought there -- can have a similar impact with the Browns.
"He's walking into a very similar situation here so I'm sure he feels confident," Couch said. "I really like Tyrod, I think he's a really good football player, I think he can bring some more dimensions to that position, he can run around, he can do some of those things, create some plays, make plays with his legs. He can really add another dimension to this offense."
Taylor, Landry and their teammates reported for offseason workouts Monday morning with the hopes of making last year a distant memory.
"They can come in and make an impact. They can turn it around," Couch said. "If you look at last year, they were in so many football games. It was 0-16 and it was gut-wrenching and all that, but they had an opportunity, they were competitive. And then you add a couple pieces to that, you take that next step and you win those close games and you can turn around real quick."