Reacting Properly to OTAs – Cleveland Browns


OTA Talk:  Cleveland Browns

The Organized Team Activities (OTAs) for all members of the team are underway for the team in Berea.  Though it appears that there are multiple juicy stories occurring during this time frame, expectations for the fall must be taken with a grain of salt for these athletes. Looking into a few topics the media is currently discussing, let’s put things into proper perspective.

Athletes Missing Time

A majority of athletes have been sideline for a myriad of reasons, most of which are not concerning.  Rookie Danny Shelton is finishing up classwork, while Craig Robertson had troubles commuting and could not join his teammates.  I have all the faith in the world that neither will be hindered by missing time in non-contact football in May.

Rookie Duke Johnson remains unsigned and was not at practice either. Although I want to see him on the field as soon as possible, I am still not alarmed at this point.  The running back spot does not take years (or even months) to learn at the NFL level – the former University of Miami star will still get his shot to start this summer.

Tashaun Gipson’s holdout is my largest worry as of this point – not because he will fall behind in the learning sessions, but that his contract dispute could be a hindrance for some time.  I hope it gets resolved before training camp; the team does not need this
distraction.

Johnny B. Good?

Depending on who you ask, Johnny Manziel is either having good OTA sessions or bad ones.  Whether its print media or local radio – some believe the quarterback is progressing well, while others see him as the same guy who failed as a rookie.

I’ll reserve judgment until at least August, when the signal caller goes against guys wearing different colored uniforms.  I am still in the faction of the fan base who is hopeful, but I am also realistic. As long as the starting quarterback is not a huge detriment to the offense from September on, then we are better off than most seasons.

Hitting the Ground Running

This relates more to the offense than the defense; having another new coordinator at the helm will likely cause the unit to endure some growing pains.  One way to work through these issues is having guys absorb as much as possible in the spring months so there are not repetitive mistakes later on.  Obviously everyone learns differently, but if the quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs, and linemen can do their part and not fall behind franchises with established offenses – then perhaps the Browns can resemble a viable unit in the NFL.

Conclusion:  In the slow time of the NFL season, several athletes are dissected and projections for the upcoming season are put in place nearly immediately.  However, one must remember that franchises go through multiple changes over the next few months – so analyzing players and teams at this point is fruitless.  As long as the growing process is not impeded and the orange and brown continue to function as a cohesive bunch, I will deem the OTAs as a successful portion of the 2015 football year.

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