Cleveland Browns critics continue to misplace their judgement
The Cleveland Browns will forever be judged as a franchise that isn’t capable of winning until they do, but the judgment of the front office is misplaced.
The offseason is never without endless banter and that has been no different for the Cleveland Browns. The topic of the week this week is aimed at the front office and whether or not they are happy with where they stand.
First off, nobody within the Browns organization is pleased with the lack of winning over the past three years.
ESPN’s Tony Rizzo said on Wednesday that it’s “almost like the Browns are happy where they’re at right now winning seven games.”
Let’s start here.
The offseason just became fully official this past Sunday after the Chiefs defeated the Eagles in the Super Bowl in a thrilling contest. That means that trades and free agency can’t become official for a few weeks, but the Browns have been busy in the early goings of this offseason.
Cleveland attempted to fix the poor defensive performances over the past three years by firing Joe Woods (much to fans’ delight) and hiring Jim Schwartz. That is sign No. 1 of this offseason that they are not happy and trying to make changes for the better.
It’s not like Andrew Berry hasn’t made signings, trades, and given extensions over the past three seasons. If that were the case, then sure, blame the front office even more. But that’s simply not the case. Remember this part right here as we will circle back.
Rizzo alluded to the tweet that Nick Chubb sent out during the Super Bowl where he said he was “tired of watching.”
Chubb has been the center of hypothetical trade talks on Twitter and naturally, that caused a tizzy amongst the Dawg Pound. It is a fun what-if question to think about, but ultimately, and yet again for the record, I would not trade him unless there was either a first-round pick involved or a high-level wide receiver. Running backs don’t win you Super Bowls, and are essentially the “easiest” position to replace.
Throughout every single fanbase in any sport, there are fans who get too attached to a player and don’t want to trade them even if it improves the team long-term. They would rather lose with players they like than build a complete roster. Shoutout to Randy Gurzi for that one.
So Where Does the Blame Go?
That’s easy. It’s on the players at the end of the day.
Let’s circle back to Berry adding talent via either free agency or trade. The Browns have brought in some top names over the past few years, but when it came down to winning games, it was the players who weren’t executing.
The execution, or lack thereof at times, almost always comes back to head coach Kevin Stefanski, but that is such a misguided take nine times out of 10.
Is he without flaws? Of course not, nobody is. However, it does not fall on him if his players don’t catch passes or can’t come up with a single yard.
Take this past season for example. Stefanski had perennial backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett and made him look like a worthwhile NFL starter.
There were times when Stefanski would deploy Brissett as the man getting the rock on fourth and one, even when Deshaun Watson made his season debut. Every time Brissett and the offense couldn’t make a play to extend a drive or even the game, the anti-Stefanski group was out in full force.
Had the execution been there, Stefanski would’ve been hailed as an offensive genius who’s doing it with a backup quarterback.
Fans, much like the entire Cleveland Browns organization are frustrated as we had to watch yet another underwhelming season, but it was never about 2022 and more so about 2023 and beyond. Making the trade for Watson, showed that this front office was willing to go all in to turn the ship around and make a viable playoff contender for years to come.
This upcoming season will be all about execution. If this team fails to execute in crucial moments, then it will continue to fall short of its goals. But don’t blame the front office prematurely before free agency even begins. You can rest assured that Berry will do whatever he can to upgrade this roster and then it will be all about execution.