This Sunday is the first without angst since the end of summer without angst for fans of the Cleveland Browns.
No worries about can the team win their first game, no concerns if the coach will ever use the running game, no wondering if DeShone Kizer can keep himself from throwing passes to the other team.
Now, the parades are over, and it is time to start focusing on the “Super Bowl” for Browns’ supporters seemingly every year…the NFL Draft.
Between now and April 26th, when Cleveland will kickoff the selection process with pick #1 (we assume), there will be plenty of speculation what GM John Dorsey will do with all of the selections his organization has.
The big question is how does Dorsey look at the process. Does he select the players with the best potential to be NFL stars, or does he take players who fit the style of play coach Hue Jackson prefers.
One thing we have learned about Jackson in his two years at the helm is he will try to fit a square peg into a round hole. We have extreme doubts that the head coach wants to change what he wants to do offensively.
Jackson has said he wants to hire an offensively coordinator, but since he is apparently doing the hiring, he is going to bring in someone who runs the same offensive style he favors, which is going downfield.
The Browns led the NFL is the average distance of their passing attempts at 9.7. The only playoff team averaging over nine yards per throw was the Panthers. Three other playoff teams (Falcons, Titans, Bills) were 8th-10th.
Two things come to mind here. First, throwing downfield was clearly not working for Kizer, but Jackson didn’t care about that.
Second, it appears most successful teams mix in shorter throws as well. The four teams in the top ten in this stat also rank in the top half of the league in rushing attempts, Cleveland ranked 28th.
We would take this to mean Carolina, Atlanta, Tennessee, and Buffalo throw downfield off of play action. The Browns rarely do because teams don’t respect Jackson will run the football.
Getting defensive help is clearer because we believe defensive coordinator wants to pressure the quarterback, but didn’t have the secondary to do it in the style he prefers.
Getting Minkah Fitzpatrick would seem to be an ideal fit. He can play both cornerback and safety and is considered the best defensive player in the draft. To get that guy two years in a row (Myles Garrett) would help.
It has been reported that Dorsey wants to make a splash in free agency, and that’s fine as long as he isn’t bringing in aging players with a year or two left.
No matter what you feel about the past regime, there are plenty of good, young players here to build around and we would hate to see some of them let go to bring players on their last legs to the roster.
This is the asinine system set up by owner Jimmy Haslam when he decided Jackson would continue to be head coach of the team in 2018.
Our guess is Dorsey will bring in his guys, but then we can expect another season, at least at the beginning, of not utilizing people to the best of their abilities.
That’s why it is still frustrating to ponder.