Browns give their fans a season to flush and forget

The Cleveland Browns ended the season with a 27-24 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here is a look at the season and what’s next:

Season grade: D-

Season summary: One win avoids an F, but by any measure, this season was one to forget. The Browns are no closer to finding their quarterback than they were in July. There are still many holes to fill on the roster, especially on defense. And the stink of 14 losses in a row to start the season will linger. In many cities for many teams, the Browns' record would be impetus for change. But given the amount of change the team has gone through in the past however many years, Jimmy Haslam has promised continuity. The problem is the Browns are deep in the muck. Even if the team improves significantly next season, they still may win only four or five games.

Biggest draft need: Quarterback. There's no reason this offseason should be different from the last 17 or so. The Browns' starting quarterback for opening day in 2017 may not be on the roster that finishes the 2016 season.

Key offseason questions:

Who's the quarterback? It's a January tradition: The Browns must solve the riddle of the quarterback, a position that has baffled them for almost two decades. Robert Griffin III was injured in two of the first four games he started, and it took him four games to play well. It's tough to see him as the guy in 2017, but with the Browns and this position, almost anything is possible. They will again look to the draft, but they have to judge if one of the quarterbacks in the draft is worth a top-10 pick. It's a never-ending process in Cleveland, one that the Browns have gone through many times before.

Will the Browns retain key free agents this offseason? A year ago the Browns watched as four of their free agents signed with other teams on the first day of free agency. It's debatable if keeping those players would have added to the win total significantly, but at some point, the Browns have to retain their own. The two main considerations this offseason are receiver Terrelle Pryor and linebacker Jamie Collins. The Browns can franchise only one of them, so they must decide how much of a contract each is worth.

How can the team improve the defense? Lost in all the losses and quarterback talk was the fact that the defense was not very good. The Browns need playmakers on defense, and having the first pick should land them one, whether it's Myles Garrett or Jonathan Allen. They need to supplement their top draft pick with depth and more talent. At some point, the team has to stop someone if it expects to win games.