Cleveland Browns accomplishment No. 2: Distractions eliminated
In years past, this franchise has allowed off-field issues to swallow them whole. We all remember how bad it was with Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown or even Hue and John Dorsey.
Every argument that was supposed to happen behind closed doors somehow made it to the public. There was even a long and embarrassing report published by Seth Wickersham of ESPN which painted the entire organization in a terrible light.
In-fighting and ego clashing were all over the place as Jimmy Haslam was blamed for causing division in this piece as he apparently pitted the head coach and general manager against one another — although nothing suggests he did so intentionally.
Fast-forward to 2021 and that’s no longer the case. Take, for example, the entire Odell Beckham, Jr. saga. OBJ grew tired of his role in the offense and his father took to Instagram to show all the times quarterback Baker Mayfield missed him when he was wide open. Rather than participate in the back and forth, Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry instead made the quick decision to send OBJ home and keep the distraction away from the team.
From there, they didn’t panic and trade him at the deadline. They decided to again keep things in-house and attempted to meet with Beckham to see if they could find common ground. In the end, there was no way to solve the relationship and they moved on while wishing Beckham well. Since then, OBJ has done a good job with the Rams whereas the Browns refused to look back.
Other examples of this new, quiet front office came when Myles Garrett criticized the lack of adjustments made by the staff in their loss to New England. When asked about this, Stefanski politely told reporters he spoke to Garrett privately.
Under previous regimes, much of this would have doomed the team. But in 2021, they’ve found a way to keep distractions from ruining the season. Their struggles are on the playing field right now, but inside the building, they remain strong and unified which is incredibly important.