As tempting as it may be to look at the current Cleveland Browns roster and predict Super Bowl, after last season’s letdown, these five conversational starters might be a little safer.
Die-hard football fans in Cleveland learned a valuable lesson last offseason:
Bragging about the Browns in May is like spinning in place for a minute and then bragging about your balance.
“So much talent here, what could go wrong?”
Yet the 2020 Cleveland Browns roster and its new leadership look SO good at this point, it’s tempting to share that exciting info with fans of other teams, whether during a casual football conversation or by spray-painting it on the sidewalk outside their Pittsburgh homes.
Not only is the latter vandalism, the former’s about as useful as that spinning braggart’s inner ear.
But it’s not fair (or even possible) to force a proud and loyal Cleveland Browns fan into silence about their favorite team right now. So, to fill the gap, here are five Browns-related talking points that anyone can safely drop into football conversations without appearing to prematurely boast.
And unlike the ghost of my prior Baker-to-OBJ predictions of 2019 greatness, in no way will THESE Browns conversational gems come back to haunt you.
1) Out of the four easiest team schedules in 2020, the AFC North has three of them.
At first, I was shocked when I saw the strength-of-schedule rankings for 2020.
According to cbssports.com’s newest list, the Cleveland Browns have the 4th easiest schedule, the Pittsburgh Steelers have the 2nd easiest schedule, and the Baltimore Ravens have the easiest schedule of all 32 teams in 2020.
But then I read how they determine the rankings: they use the opponents’ combined 2019 win percentage, and since all three of those AFC North teams play the league’s WORST team last year, the 2-14 Cincinnati Bengals, twice, it makes sense that their schedules work out mathematically easier.
Now ask whatever group you’re talking with if they know who had the EASIEST schedule last season on that same list?
It was the 3-13 Washington Redskins, who were the SECOND WORST team from last year.
2) There are enough LSU alums and Miami (FL) alums on the Cleveland Browns now to play five-on-five basketball.
And it would be a heck of a game, too, size versus speed. Picture the following two dream teams on the court.
On one side are the five Miami (FL) graduates:
- Center: Chad Thomas, 6-5, 278-pounds
- Power Forward: David Njoku, 6-4, 246-pounds
- Forward: Olivier Vernon, 6-2, 262-pounds
- Guard: Jermain Grace, 6-0, 223-pounds
- Guard: Sheldrick Redwine, 6-0, 196-pounds
On the other side is the LSU squad:
- Center: Jacob Phillips (rookie), 6-3, 229-pounds
- Forward: Grant Delpit (rookie), 6-3, 203-pounds
- Forward: Greedy Williams, 6-2, 185-pounds
- Guard: Jarvis Landry, 5-11, 196-pounds
- Guard: Odell Beckham Jr., 5-11, 198-pounds
As you can see, the Miami team has the definite size advantage (they should crush the boards), whereas the LSU team will have to rely more on their quickness and excellent hands on the perimeter and hope they can drain some threes.
Get the conversation heated up by predicting the winner of this fictional game to be LSU, and make sure to add, “For obvious reasons.”
3) For a giant, Browns rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills is Fast, Ferocious, and Funny.
Haters will argue all day about whether the Browns’ first overall draft pick, Alabama right tackle Jedrick Wills, will be able to switch to the left side of the line where he is needed, and though the experts say he can, the truth will become obvious during the course of the regular season.
In the meantime, toss a few of the following Jedrick-gems into the conversational mix, because the Browns have selected themselves a once-in-a-lifetime playmaker who has all the upside in the world.
Jedrick is Fast:
Dude’s 6-4, 312-pounds, and yet he ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in just over 5 seconds (5.05). Here’s a better way to imagine that.
Lay two full bowling alleys end to end. Jedrick can run that far in 5 seconds — probably faster than the ball you just rolled.
Jedrick is Ferocious:
In three years at Alabama, Wills played 970 pass-blocking snaps on their blind-side against SEC-level defensive ends and was responsible for just one sack. One.
In that same three years, Wills gave up a total of just 33 quarterback pressures. Imagine trying to get through that thick, ferocious, moving wall of Jed.
Jedrick is Funny:
The towering behemoth plays angry but has a decent sense of humor, too.
Check out how he announced what university he would be attending:
Well played, Jedrick.
4) Our punter can kick your punter’s arse!
Browns’ 22-year-old punter Jamie “the Scottish Hammer” Gillan is the most ‘jacked’ punter in the league, a regular beast at the gym.
Let’s just say the former rugby player has ‘bulked’ up this offseason, as seen in this pic that was recently snapped:
Gulp. And, oh yeah, the beast from Scotland can punt, too.
During 2019 in Week 5 of his rookie year, he punted the ball for 71 yards.
Not only did that tie for the 4th longest punt in the league last season, it also tied for the fourth-longest punt in the history of the Browns organization. By a rookie.
Gillan ended his memorable first NFL season with 63 punts for 2913 yards (2,622 net yards) with 28 punts downed inside the 20-yard line which earned him a spot on the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team.
“Hammer” that one into the mix the second anyone in the conversation starts dissing special teams or blond ponytails.
5) The Browns will be playing in the number one revenge match of the season.
In Week 15 of the Cleveland Browns’ regular season, they will travel to New York to take on the Giants, and it has been pointed out that this “No. 1 revenge game is littered with ties.”
Here are some of those ties that could burn:
- A year ago, Jabrill Peppers and Kevin Zeitler went to the Giants for Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon
- Cleveland’s fired head coach Freddie Kitchens is now the tight ends coach for the Giants
- There is noted “bad blood” between some players and former coaches
Last time the Browns faced a fired head coach, Hue Jackson, one of Cleveland’s players, former Browns safety Damarious Randall, snagged an interception. After the play, he went over and tossed the ball to Jackson to make a statement, one that implied both an ‘F’ and a ‘Y,’ no doubt.
Use this gem to begin a debate as to whether any Browns players will show up friendly Freddie in that one.
Hope not. However…
If the 2020 Browns, unlike Freddie’s 2019 Browns, DO manage to somehow “figure out” a way to game plan a TD grab for OBJ in that game, don’t be shocked if he offers to autograph it for Kitchens as proof that it’s actually possible.
So, exactly when IS the appropriate time to start bragging about these 2020 Browns?
How about at Cleveland’s first Lombardi Trophy ceremony in front of the Baker Mayfield statue in the middle of Public (renamed ‘Browns’) Square.
Then, feel free to safely spin away.
Until then, Go Browns.