Cleveland Browns: 1st step to becoming ‘New Patriots,’ beat New England
Odell Beckham Jr. said he wanted the Cleveland Browns to become the new Patriots, but the first step in doing so is to beat New England.
Odell Beckham Jr.’s arrival to the Cleveland Browns was met with new expectations for a team that hasn’t been to the postseason since 2002. In an interview with GQ, Beckham added to the expectations by declaring his ultimate goal for his new team.
After a 5-3 finish to the 2018 season, the Cleveland Browns went from cellar-dwellers to NFL darlings. Their No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Baker Mayfield, broke a rookie touchdown record and was held as the savior of a franchise that has started 29 different quarterbacks since returning to Cleveland in 1999.
In 2018, the offense produced at a higher level on the back half of the schedule. The production came after the team fired former head coach Hue Jackson. His record of 3-31-1 as Cleveland’s head coach was every bit as disappointing as it sounds.
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Freddie Kitchens, the former running backs coach, was shifted to interim offensive coordinator and called plays for the remainder of the season. The success he had with Mayfield led the organization to hand the head coaching position over to Kitchens.
With the addition of Odell and having a brash and talented franchise quarterback, the hype and buzz around Cleveland was almost, if not as high as it was when LeBron James returned. Odell and Mayfield spent much of the offseason conducting interviews, having quote after quote dissected by the likes of the media and personnel around the NFL.
Odell and Baker never backed down from a quote. Neither did their head coach for that matter. Even though they’re off to a slow start, their biggest goals still remain in front of them. Beckham said one of his biggest goals in an interview with Cam Wolf of Gentleman’s Quarterly, saying he wanted to make the Browns the new Patriots.
"“I plan on being there for the next five years and trying to bring as many championships there as possible,” he says, “turning [the Browns] into the new Patriots.” – Beckham via GQ"
The goals for every team are to win a Super Bowl, but everyone knows you can’t skip steps in the process. The first step in the process is winning the AFC North title. A process in which the team has fallen two and a half games behind the division leader. A loss this week and they fall behind three full games and make their chances to win much tougher.
The Browns won’t have to look far to find recent slow starts that turned into playoff trips. The Indianapolis Colts started 1-5 last season before finishing the season 9-1, enough to thrust themselves into the postseason. The Colts not only got in, but they defeated their division rival and AFC South champion Houston Texans in their wild-card matchup last season.
Cleveland’s disappointing start has done enough to place doubt in the minds of many, but the Browns can still accomplish their goals. They can still win the division. They can still make the playoffs. They can still compete for a Super Bowl.
A win Sunday increases the Browns’ odds at a division title, and possibly a wild card playoff berth. Odell has to become similar to the Patriots and their winning ways. That goal is years away from fruition. The Patriots stand in front of them this week. If the Browns defeat New England, it will do much to restore faith in their lofty goals and expectations.
But first, in the words of the 16-time WWE champion Ric Flair, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.”