1. Hiring Jim Scwhartz and Bubba Ventrone
As good as all the other moves were, nothing done by Andrew Berry and the Cleveland Browns has surpassed their moves at defensive coordinator and special teams. Following several years of miscues on defense and special teams, the Browns decided to part ways with Joe Woods and Mike Priefer.
Each had been with the franchise since Kevin Stefanski was hired as head coach in 2020 and Priefer even coached them to a playoff win while Stefanski was confined to his home due to Covid. Despite their trust in one another, it was the right call to find some new voices — and each hire was knocked out of the park.
Schwartz has led a defensive turnaround as Cleveland went from 20th in scoring defense and 14th in yardage last year to 12th in scoring and first in yards — and the scoring number is inflated due to some unfortunate turnovers that led to points. They've also made some clutch stops to secure wins, which is a welcome sight for Browns fans.
As for the special teams, we've all seen how great Dustin Hopkins and Corey Bojorquez have been but there's also a noticeable improvement in punt and kick coverage. They did surrender a 98-yard touchdown to the Texans last week but even with that, they've given up nearly two yards less on kick returns and three yards fewer on punt returns.
Their own return game is still a work in progress but that has a lot to do with Jakeem Grant being out for the year. Overall, this has still been a huge improvement since the Browns are finally competent in all three phases. That's why there's confidence that this team can still make noise in the playoffs even with so many backups taking over.