We all know about the Cleveland Browns and the struggles they have had for numerous years, but those days look long gone.
The madness that is the draft has not been the Browns friend and has been well documented by the NFL media.
Since the appointment of general manager, John Dorsey, in week 13 of the 2017 season, things were already starting to take a turn for the better. They had drafted well with the acquisitions of Myles Garrett (#1), Jabrill Peppers (#25) and David Njoku (#29) that year. And with two of the first four picks of the 2018 draft, Dorsey worked his magic and selected Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick and Denzel Ward with the fourth. He also added Georgia running back Nick Chubb in the second round.
With off season trades for Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry and Carlos Hyde, Dorsey wasn’t messing about. A loaded roster with rookies and veterans made the Browns look solid on paper, all they needed now was to gel. They needed a leader; Hue Jackson?
Some Browns fans were still questioning why Jackson was still there, his record for the 2016 and 2017 seasons standing at a combined 1-31. There were no more excuses, it was time to deliver. So, it appeared that the Browns were set, new GM, new QB, new Browns?
Not quite. The missing piece of the puzzle wasn’t another addition but rather a few subtractions. It took the trade of Hyde (to the Jaguars) for the Browns to realise how good Chubb really is. He had already shown glimpses of what he was capable of earlier in the season, but Jackson appeared to favour Hyde.
His first game without Hyde he ran for 80 yards and a score, it is Chubb time in Cleveland. So that’s one piece of the puzzle removed. The second piece was a blessing in disguise. An unfortunate injury to Tyrod Taylor gave the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner, Mayfield, his chance to shine on Thursday Night football and he fully justified his number one pick, coming off the bench to lead the Browns their first win in what felt like a lifetime.
The final subtraction is possibly the biggest reason why the Browns have been so bad for so long. With just two wins this season it was time up for Jackson and the cheers could be heard for miles from the FirstEnergy Stadium.
This move should have been made last year but wasn’t and the loyal Browns fans have suffered for it.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley followed Jackson out the door after only 8 months in charge. Freddie Kitchens has taken over as OC and has already hit the ground running with a huge win against the high-powered offense of the Falcons.
The Browns offence is starting to click but with a good offense comes a good defence. Gregg Williams was defensive coordinator until the sacking of Jackson, he has now moved to be the interim head coach. He has built a good defence in Cleveland with the likes of Ward flying around the pitch making plays whilst Garrett continues to do what he does best, harass quarterbacks. While these big names stand out, the Browns defensive line has Emmanuel Ogbah and Larry Ogunjobi quietly going about their business. Jabrill Peppers has brought cover in the form of strong safety to an already strong defence and has added kick/punt returner to his already impressive talents.
Cleveland look good both on and off the pitch for the first time in a long time and will look to finish this season strong and carry their form into next year. With 11 draft picks in next year’s draft, Dorsey will look to continue what he’s started, building a franchise that can compete and win.
It would appear that Mayfield captaining the HSS Dorsey is the future of this franchise. With both Dorsey and Mayfield, Browns fans finally have a future to look forward to and who knows, maybe even a shot a Super Bowl.