Are the Cleveland Browns Finally Looked at Positively?
For some sixteen odd seasons (and even further back), many national pundits have had the Browns ranked either at or near the bottom of the league in pretty much every category. Whether it’s draft analysis, personnel rankings, or power rankings – the orange and brown fall short of many of their counterparts. And, for the most part, these national guys have been accurate (as much as it pains me to admit that).
However, things appear to have started to change – at least according to one man’s opinion. Last week, the four-letter network published a ranking of every NFL team – based solely on roster strength. Coming in with a realistic opinion, I was anticipating a ranking of twenty-seventh to thirtieth. However, that was not the case – as the franchise came in at a surprising fourteenth spot.
What Does it Mean?
This ranking does not guarantee any victories, and will be rendered meaningless by the time training camp commences. Though increasing ten spots from a year ago has one man noticing that Ray Farmer is making shrewd moves via the draft, free agency, and trades. Admittedly they must figure out the quarterback spot, but they appear to be a couple spots away from a perennial playoff contender.
Not surprisingly, the Browns were listed last within the division in terms of rankings – constant wins in the AFC North will change that perception over time though. Simply winning half (or more) games against their rivals next year can really vault this franchise.
What this article tells me, is that my optimistic belief for quite some time is beginning to be cemented. The Browns are a vastly improving team, and they are getting better faster than some have thought. Yes, they continue to have deficiencies at certain spots – but getting good takes time.
Additionally, I feel coaching can help out this team during the regular season. Having talent is one thing, but without great leadership – there are missed assignments and failure on the football field. Mike Pettine, Jim O’Neil, and John DeFilippo all appear to be on the same page and are working together to put this team in scenarios, which foster success.
Another aspect that this ranking forgot to mention was locker room presence. Fortunately, this is an area where the Browns appear to excel over other teams. I cannot envision infighting; players not buying into the system, and flat out mutiny. Over the years, there have been a few franchises who were extremely talented but beat themselves everyday inside the locker room.
Conclusion: An NFL Insider story was recently published deeming the Browns as slightly better than average, based primarily on the roster. With great coaching, solid team chemistry, and a passionate fan base (ok, that may be a stretch) – the Browns can dig deep and secure victories where many outsiders could not have envisioned them in 2015. The building continues, but this is a milestone I enjoy hearing about.