After months of speculative reporting from the local Cleveland media, there are finally real stories getting posted. It seems that the local beat writers now have some inside scoops, for the most part, and they have dropped the negative speculation (again, for the most part).
At the time leading up to the draft and before mini camps, there were not too many articles that had any depth to them--aside from Terry Pluto. The Mangini camp likes to play things close to the chest, but jokers like Mary Kay Cabot and Toni Grossi were making a mockery of everything related to the Browns, apparently because they were not privy to the inside information that they were used to in years past. They churned out speculative articles involving trade rumors, disgruntled players, and what they deemed as poor business decisions (aka every move the Mangini camp made). All of this seemed to fuel the fire of contempt and agitation that consumed the everyday Browns fan desperate for any hint at what the new direction of the team would be. In a sense, those writers were scraping more information off of the message boards from fans in order to get people to read their trash. Pluto's articles were the lone voice of positive direction and factual inside information. With mini camps and OTA's coming to a close, the tide seems to be turning.
There has been a shift in tone amongst the beat writers in Cleveland. Grossi, Cabot and Bud Shaw may still have negative tinges in their work, but they are no where near the Debbie Downers that they were a few months ago. And many of the other articles posted (Ohio.com, Cantonrep.com, etc.) give insight to the players and coaches, as opposed to tearing them down. As the Mangini project continues in motion, a positive wave of support seems to be following. The panic is settling and a positive outlook is ever growing. There seem to more and more fans supporting the new staff in the message boards--trying to silence the haters and nay-sayers. "Give them a chance to prove themselves" seems to be the new mantra. People are starting to get behind this team. They are reading stories that flesh out the new names of players. They are slowly starting to see the direction of this team unfolding with each new piece added to the mix. Readers are hearing things that have not been talked about for years: competition in camp, depth at all positions, the return of the power running game, etc. There have been bumps along the road, but now those bumps are not being turned into mountains by the media.
Being a Browns fan seemed rather bleak three months ago, but as the upcoming season inches closer and closer, pessimism is giving way to optimism. Perhaps, speculation is giving way to facts. There will always be something to criticize about the decisions a team makes, but without facts there is no merit. Criticizing just to criticize only drives a wedge between the team and the fans. There is a lot yet to be said about the upcoming year, but it is certainly easier to follow when the writers have legitamate facts and not homespun animosity.