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Subject Topic: CLEVELAND (AP) — Just a year ago Post ReplyPost New Topic
 CLEVELAND (AP) — Just a year ago
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Posted: 2020 January 18 at 10:14am | IP Logged Quote liny195

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Sheldrick Redwine Jersey , the Browns were winless. They were aimless. They looked hopeless.Disgusted with their laughable team, some Cleveland fans spent the holidays planning a tongue-in-cheek parade around FirstEnergy Stadium to celebrate a probable 0-16 season. Coach Hue Jackson promised to jump into Lake Erie.Those gloomy days are long gone. The Browns have turned it around.“It’s been a long time coming,” wide receiver Rashad Higgins said. “We were due for a winning team.”Overdue.With their 26-18 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the Browns (7-7-1) completed the biggest turnaround in franchise history. Cleveland’s seven-game improvement — and it could be eight with a win this week in Baltimore — since last season tops the six-game jumps the team made in 1976 and 2007.It’s been a remarkable swing for a franchise that has had just two winning seasons since its 1999 expansion reboot. And it’s a stunning rise for a team that endured a late-October coaching change, and if not for a play here and there, would be preparing for the playoffs.In an unpredictable season across the NFL, Cleveland’s one-year comeback may be the biggest shocker of all.As the final seconds bled from the clock on Sunday and the Browns clinched their best home record in 11 years at 5-2-1, rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield took the snap and dropped to a knee before urging the sellout crowd to scream louder than it had all day.After shaking hands with a few Cincinnati players, Mayfield, who had been serenaded with chants of “Ba-ker! Ba-ker!” throughout much of the second half, then sprinted toward the locker room.In a way, Mayfield’s departure after the home finale felt more like an arrival. The Browns are back, and Mayfield intends to keep them around.“I relate to Cleveland,” said Mayfield, who threw three touchdown passes and improved to 6-6 as a starter. “The work ethic, the stuff that you have to earn it around here, that is what the Browns are all about. It is going to be a good relationship for a long time.”To interim coach Gregg Williams, Cleveland’s surge this season isn’t a surprise. Williams, who has led the Browns to a 5-2 record since taking over for Jackson, has always felt the team had enough talent to win and is finally putting it together.“I don’t ever walk into any game thinking that we can’t win http://www.brownsfanshop.com/Sione-Takitaki-Jersey , and I thought that last year,” said Williams, whose candidacy for the full-time job after the season improves with every victory. “I thought we played extremely well enough in many of those games to win games, and that is how close and tough the league is. It comes down to anywhere from three to four to four to five plays a game.“Now, we are making more of those plays. The more you make, the easier it is to buy in to understanding of this is how we play as a team. A team wins the game, not individuals.”Williams has always put team goals first, and while there are several factors that have led to Cleveland’s turnaround, he believes an emphasis on accountability has transformed the Browns.“We have been able to help them understand that you have to do your job and you have to block out the outside distractions,” he said. “You have to focus and rally together and play for each other. They have done a very good job of not only just doing their job but supporting each other. People see that in team execution over individual execution.”Williams will likely go into Sunday’s game against the Ravens (9-6) uncertain of his future. Long before the Browns rattled off five wins in six games, general manager John Dorsey said Williams will be one of the candidates he interviews when the season ends.Dorsey may never have considered that Williams would emerge as possibly the best coach going forward.Williams has not publicly campaigned for the job, and he wasn’t about to start Monday. He declined to say if he was hoping to get a guarantee like the one Baltimore gave John Harbaugh last week.“We are on to the Ravens,” he said.Williams’ short-term goal is to have his team ready to take on Baltimore’s league-leading defense, and to possibly spoil the Ravens’ playoff hopes. If Cleveland beats Baltimore, the Pittsburgh Steelers could take the division with a win over Cincinnati.“We will treat this like it is our playoff game,” Williams said. “We will treat it that way because that is how intense the game is going to be. It will be fun.”NOTES: Rookie CB Denzel Ward remains in concussion protocol after suffering his second head injury in three weeks on Sunday. Williams said Ward “was much better” when he left the stadium but doesn’t know if he’ll face the Ravens. … At 3-1-1, the Browns have clinched their first winning season inside the AFC North since it was formed in 2002. The Browns have a dangerous group of receivers in 2019." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesDawgs EDT1. Odell Beckham - Elite WRHeight: 5-11 | Weight: 198 lbs | Age: 26Experience: 6 years | College: LSUBeckham is easily a Top 5 receiver in the NFL, right up there with Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and Julio Jones. In his first three years with the Giants -- sometimes not even playing all 16 games -- he nearly averaged 100 catches Greedy Williams Jersey , 1,400 yards, and 12 touchdowns per season. The catch that really put him on the map was the one on Sunday Night Football, where he snagged a touchdown in the corner of the end zone with just two fingers.Since 2014, Beckham leads the NFL in yards on slant patterns, according to Pro Football Focus. Since 2015, Beckham is third in the NFL in forcing missed tackles with 66; his teammate, Jarvis Landry, is second with 72. If Baker Mayfield is able to avoid a sophomore slump, then it would seem that Beckham would be getting a significant upgrade to Eli Manning. Beckham’s frustrations last year seemed to stem from losing games, and to be honest, Pat Shurmur being the head coach couldn’t have helped matters. Beckham will be a star nearly as big as LeBron James was in Cleveland if he can stay healthy, and fans will flock to training camp, hoping to get a glimpse of him. The great thing about Beckham is that this isn’t just a one-year deal; he is with the club through the 2023 season.Final Roster Odds: 100%<hr class="p-entry-hr" id="j8mrc5">2. Jarvis Landry - Starting WRHeight: 5-11 | Weight: 196 lbs | Age: 26Experience: 6 years | College: LSUThe passion that Jarvis Landry exudes was visible with his viral speech to the receiving room on Hard Knocks last year. He knew he was brought to a team that had not won very much, but he didn’t sulk or slack off — he was determined to be a difference maker and play his part in helping influence his peers that collectively, they need to always give it everything they have, no matter what.In terms of production, Landry had a very fine season. One could argue that he ever-so-slightly underachieved, and there are some catches that I’m sure he’d tell you that he should have made. By the end of the year, he finished with 81 catches for 976 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown and threw the ball a couple of times. Beckham didn’t practice much this offseason due to an undisclosed lower body injury https://www.brownsfanshop.com/Howard-Wilson-Jersey , but he started working out with Baker Mayfield in California earlier this month and should be ready for camp. Landry as a No. 2 option should be a scary proposition for opposing teams’ cornerbacks.Final Roster Odds: 100%<hr class="p-entry-hr" id="tnbrtj">3. Antonio Callaway - Speedy WRHeight: 5-11 | Weight: 200 lbs | Age: 22Experience: 2 years | College: FloridaAntonio Callaway started off as a very frustrating player in 2018 due to the number of passes he was dropping. I forget what week it was, but there was a certain game where things did a complete 180 for Callaway. At first, I thought to myself, “Oh, he finally had a game without a drop.” Then it became two games. Three games. Four games. It wasn’t a fluke any more -- Callaway had turned the corner with proven results.Callaway finished his rookie season with 43 catches for 586 yards and 5 touchdowns. One of the surprising things is that he didn’t have more plays on endarounds. Callaway was explosive during minicamp this year and set lofty goals for himself, saying that he wants to catch 10 touchdowns and have 1,000 yards receiving. I don’t doubt that he can do that, but it’ll be tough to attain that on this team with Beckham, Landry, and the other weapons available. PFF also had a fun comparison of the depth of each receivers’ routes, and how Mayfield likes to go downfield:Final Roster Odds: 100%<hr class="p-entry-hr" id="P2ZyPd">4. Rashard Higgins - Solid WRHeight: 6-1 | Weight: 198 lbs | Age: 24Experience: 4 years | College: Colorado StateWith all the hype of the Browns’ top three receivers, we can’t forget about Rashard Higgins. Higgins was an underrated star last year, catching 39 passes for 572 yards and 4 touchdowns -- a high average of 14.7 yards per reception. Previously thought of as just a solid possession receiver, Higgins bucked that trend by catching tightly-contested passes downfield and finding subtle ways of gaining separation. Here is what PFF said about his production under Baker Mayfield, which may surprise you:Statistically, it’ll be hard to predict how many catches Higgins will have. I don’t think this will be a situation where he only sees action in four-receiver sets — he is too good of a player, and Cleveland can balance the workload of Beckham and Landry by making sure Higgins is substituted in for some three-receiver sets. The Browns’ top four spots at receiver should be 100% solidified heading into training camp, and heck, I almost want to bubble wrap all four of them.Final Roster Odds: 100%
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