Pat McManamon, ESPN Staff Writer 16d

Winless start has Browns looking at winless season

Here's a look at the first half of the season for the Cleveland Browns and a preview of what to expect in the second half:

First-half snapshot: It’s impossible to think of a first half of a season being more miserable. The Browns have followed a 1-15 season with a winless first half, and they lost perennial standout and ever reliable left tackle Joe Thomas, as well. A team that seemed intent on setting a foundation for future success has instead seen things crumble. The second half likely will deal with lots of speculation about the job security of the front office and the coaching staff, as there is no clear victory left on the schedule. The Browns continue to redefine the terms “rock” and “bottom” as they stare directly at an 0-16 season. Grade: Bring on 2018.

Midseason MVP: Even if it’s sentiment alone, Thomas again has been the team’s best and most valuable player. Anyone who can stay on the field for 10,363 consecutive snaps has accomplished something that will go down in NFL history. This decision is more than sentiment, though. Thomas was playing as well as he ever had before rupturing a triceps tendon. His absence will be felt the rest of the season and beyond, as there’s a real possibility the injury may prompt retirement for the certain Hall of Famer.

Best moment: There haven’t been many, but when Myles Garrett finally got on the field in Week 5 and got a sack on his first snap, it brought a little bit of excitement to a team that has had almost nothing to be excited about.

Worst moment: Seeing Thomas roll on the ground in obvious agony after tearing the triceps tendon put an exclamation point on a miserable stretch. Not only did the Browns lose every game they played -- often in painful and difficult ways -- they lost their best player. It’s hard to believe a team that didn’t win a game until Christmas Eve in 2016 could get worse, but the Browns have done so.

Second-half outlook: Find the win. Take the challenge and find the obvious and evident win for the Browns in the second half. Detroit, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, the Chargers, Green Bay, Baltimore, Chicago and Pittsburgh. Find the certain victory. Barring injury to a key opposing player, there simply isn’t one. The Browns have regressed. As coach Hue Jackson said, the team has to be perfect to win a game. This is a very imperfect roster, which means the outlook for the second half isn’t good. The best the Browns can hope is to a) avoid a winless season and b) stumble somehow into two or three wins that could provide something positive heading into 2018.

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