Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Cleveland Browns News and Rumors 3/23: A New Receiver, A Feel-Good Story, and Front-Office Wizardry

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THE DAILY BLOVIATION

Good morning, Cleveland Browns fans!

We always knew that Andrew Berry is pretty damn smart – that Ivy League background, salary cap manipulation doodles in Grade 5, and so forth – but this off-season, he seems like some sort of wizard. For the second season in a row, the Cleveland Browns General Manager has somehow figured out how to get the Browns a solid contributor at wide receiver for the equivalent of a Day Three draft pick.

(Yes, I know we gave up pick #42, but got pick #74 back, and by modern draft value charts, that equates to a day three pick).

Wizardry. Some sort of supernatural being. Something. Magic. I couldn’t have written down a more effective off-season for the Browns before this all began. All I really have are nitpicks, primarily around the defensive tackle spot.

Of course, as we’ve learned here in Cleveland the hard way over the past 20+ years, winning the off-season is easy. The hard part is winning football games with all the new component parts, a task that the Cleveland Browns have found troublesome over the years.

Still, Andrew Berry is moving to a script very close to the one we’ve been suggesting here at the OBR, and I would be a hypocrite to suddenly turn cynical about the team’s opportunity in the 2023 season. Granted, none of us know how the pieces will truly mesh, but I believe the team’s front office has given Kevin Stefanski and his partially-rebooted crew of coaches a chance to look very smart next year. The door has been unlocked, and the handle turned, and it’s up to them (and Deshaun Watson) to kick it wide open.

I’m not a betting man and don’t gamble, but I receive constant emails from betting services, hoping we’ll give them free publicity by posting betting odds from their books. Last night, I got one on who would be named Coach of the Year at the end of 2023. Buried way down towards the bottom of the list, at 40-1 odds, was Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski. I guess Sean Payton was the favorite, thanks to the hype about his return.

Anyhow, I’ve always felt that coaches were usually about as smart as their players (particularly their quarterbacks) made them look, and Stefanski has been put in a position where he can combine his stoic sideline manner, wise-looking bearded appearance and actual victories to beat those long odds in 2023. The Browns are flying under the NFL’s media radar with Berry’s smart but less-than-flashy moves, and I suspect that’s how the team likes it.

They’ve done it again, folks. Your friendly neighborhood webdork has been sucked into off-season enthusiasm by a front office doing what we wanted him to do. Just two more steps: Get me Matt Ionnaidis at the other defensive tackle spot, and start drafting the best players available at each spot starting in Round Three of the NFL Draft.

When you’re done, Andrew, I’ll write an article praising your off-season and giving you a good letter grade. You can frame it and put it on your wall. Promise. Just two more steps, and we’re good.

Have a good one! GO BROWNS!

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