Browns, Featured

Browns: For Culture Change, Every Win Matters

Joshua Gunter, cleveland.com

Editor’s Note: It is our pleasure to introduce you to Jake Burns, who will be writing about the Cleveland Browns for us. We are excited to add his voice to our pages. Join us in welcoming Jake to the WFNY community.

When the culture around your franchise has been negative for more than 18 years, every win matters. The obvious thought made by Browns fans is to scoff at preseason endeavors and label it as meaningless. In the grand scheme, yes, it is as meaningless to the success of the 2017 Browns. Yet, at the same time, it’s monumental.

The Browns sit at 2-0 in the preseason. This is tangible progress, especially when you consider the Browns went 0-4 in last year’s preseason, which served as a precursor for the ensuing 1-15 season that followed. Needless to say Hue Jackson knows that every game matters and not just the 16 regular season games. Before the Browns Week 1 preseason game against the Saints Jackson said, “I do not want to go 0-fer again.” He continued, “I don’t want to feel like that. I don’t think this team deserves that. We need to go out and play good in front of our fans and go win.” So far, so good.

First and foremost the defense, under Gregg Williams, appears real. There are some holes, especially in the interior of the defensive line with Danny Shelton on the mend for three to six weeks, but the difference in athleticism and concept is night and day. Joe Schobert continues to show up sideline to sideline, Myles Garrett will be a force every time he is on the field, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun is proving to be a playmaker on the backend. This defense can keep them in games, and perhaps steal a couple.

Plenty is to still to be determined offensively, which is obvious after their 10-6 victory Monday Night. Little is clear at the quarterback position after two underwhelming performances by both DeShone Kizer (8-13 for 74 yards) and Brock Osweiler (6-8 for 25 yards, 1 INT). The decision was a tough call, and Hue’s position wasn’t enviable. The quarterback play is due to be miserable regardless, but what Hue had to decide if he wanted to ride with Brock’s inevitable mistakes or risk DeShone’s development in the short-term. Jackson made the call that gives them the best chance to win now- DeShone Kizer. The rest of the offense will have to continue to progress. Saturday’s match-up in Tampa Bay will feature the best this group has to offer.

The third game will be a telling factor in the state of the 2017 Browns. The third preseason game is always the one where starters stick on the field the longest. It’s the most important tune up as week one approaches. For the Browns, as crazy as it sounds, it’s their most important game to date in the Hue Jackson era. Winning matters and culture doesn’t change overnight. It’s shaped in off-season workouts; it’s shaped in Training Camp, and it’s shaped in preseason games.

Culture change has to start somewhere, and a 3-0 preseason start would continue to build on the momentum gained thus far. Continue to change the culture, and it’ll change the path of this franchise.

  • RGB

    Every win is sacred.
    Every win is great…

  • mgbode

    GPODAWUND gets quite irate

  • mgbode
  • RGB

    Boom! I was trying to figure out how to get that last line to work.

  • mgbode

    I thought you were just setting it up for me.

  • RGB

    Sure, yeah… 🙂
    But, try to get that out of your head for the rest of the day. lol

  • Chris

    *unless that win prevents GPODAWUND from taking Myles Garrett.

  • mgbode

    Rules state that such a win would be considered “wasted” (extra wins in a lost season).

  • Chris

    I mussed have mist that.

  • Skulb

    Just watched the game on DVR, and have a couple of observations:

    1: No game that includes Geno Smith in any capacity really matters. I still can’t believe the Giants signed him. The guy can make a conference final feel like the preseason.

    2: Since your team plays in the AFC North you are obviously unaware of the rules. Little Odell, or Mrs Kicking Net as we call him over on HH, is not to be hit. He seems to believe that football should be flag football, and he is apparently working steadily towards this end. Already he, and his evil overlord Mara, have been responsible for two rule changes since he was drafted. I expect more to follow shortly, including of course that he, Drama Queen Odell, must not be harmed in any way. Please catch up over there in Cleveland.

    3: The Browns defense looks promising. Peppers was especially lively.

    4: The Browns QBs do not look promising. Except for Kizer, who needs to learn to slide. Maybe he can ask Super-Robert for tips.

    5: I am officially a Boddy-Calhoun fan now. And if this seems to be in conflict with point 2, I can assure you that it’s not.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi JAKE … welcome to the show … good luck.

  • tigersbrowns2

    nicely done …

  • tigersbrowns2

    this is exactly what i would expect from Hue … he is here to win & last year had to have taken a toll on the man. he deserves to taste a little success & be around here for a while.

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  • Pat Leonard

    Welcome Jake! Great intro article here. It definitely feels like the culture is starting to change, but now we need to see some tangible results on the field.

  • Harv

    Welcome aboard the good ship WFNY, Jake.

    I’d go even further: have never seen a sports org more in need of any wins, no matter how they’re accomplished, whether meaningless or phyrric. The incessant losing is in the Berea walls at this point, where rookies become veterans like Haden never knowing how to seal the deal, and free agents like Dwayne Bowe and Krueger are lured by the prospect of money without full effort. Where owners throw the keys to the latest conspirator whispering in their ear just to stop the crapstorm of public derision from a beaten down fanbase. And where every successive twitchy coach promises to run the ball, only to panic on game day when the team falls behind by a score, ‘cuz long-term thinking just gets your butt canned.

    Wins soothe savage beasts. They promote courage of convictions, which is a good thing when the convictions are correct.