Dunlap: The Browns Need To Show Me

Words or actions off the field just make you “Paper Champions”

Colin Dunlap
March 13, 2019 - 2:57 pm

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports


PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - I have been getting bludgeoned today on social media. 

I’m OK with that --- it’s part of the job and, more so, feedback means people are paying attention. More pointed, however, I think every single person who is a fan of the Cleveland Browns has taken the time today to reach out to me via Twitter and some even on that old-school, throwback thing called email. 

It’s neat to be loved, I must say. 

Or in this case hated. 

Related: Browns To Acquire Star Receiver Beckham From NY

Or, well, whatever is going on. 

Anyhow, it all stems from my stated notion that the Cleveland Browns need to show me before I buy up any real estate in Believeland. Got it? 

I’m with the great Lethon Flowers in thinking that words or actions off the field just make you “Paper Champions” while the only true measure of how good you are comes when the games are played. 

So that’s where we are in all of this: I get it; I get that the Browns on paper have improved by trading for Odell Beckham Jr. and folding him in with Baker Mayfield, Duke Johnson, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt (if and when he can play), David Njoku, Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway. I get all that. 

I know just how devastating Myles Garrett is on defensive and how much Sheldon Richardson should help bolster his game. 

Again, I get all of this. I hear you. Be happy up there in Cuyahoga County, jump up and down and pour a bunch of Commodore Perry or Great Lakes IPA all over your heads. I understand; you should be elated today. 

Forgive my skepticism, but I’m not going to believe the Browns will be a winner until I see it --- and I think that’s a perfectly fair way to look at all of this. 

I’m not going to believe first-year coach Freddie Kitchens will know what it’s like to handle the rigors of being a head coach in the NFL until he shows me he can.

After all, I see all the jobs like running backs coach in the NFL and tight ends coach at the college level and, heck, even jumping on the grenade of a job that was offensive coordinator of the 2018 Cleveland Browns but there is one thing noticeably absent that I see when I look at Kitchens’ resume.

I don’t see where he’s been a head coach at any level. Forgive me if I want to see him in action before I just believe he will know what he’s doing. 

Also, forgive my skepticism that OBJ will stay healthy. Am I missing something when I look at his stats, or am I the only one who notices that since the receiver played 16 games during the 2016 season, he has only played that same number in the past two seasons combined? I mean, I’m not manufacturing the fact he played four games in 2017 and then 12 last season, right? 

Am I OK to look at that with a quizzical eye and wonder about his health or do I need to hand the Browns the AFC North title in mid-March like seemingly everyone else is doing today. 

And is it OK for me to be questioning of just how the relationship between Landry and OBJ will go when both men are accustomed to the spotlight but only one can truly be the go-to guy? I know how their friendship goes way back to their prep days in Louisiana and then onto LSU, but they are professionals playing for big bucks, big bonuses and that bright spotlight right now. 

Until I see how those two dogs can handle just one bone at the NFL level, I’m OK to not just hand the Browns some trophy. 

Oh yes, and this is an organization that has had nine coaches since 2003 and has had just one winning record in that same time. 

The Browns are 45-130-1 in the past 10 seasons, but I’m supposed to believe one seven-win season last year and signing a few free agents heading into this season is going to have a wide-swathing change in culture for an organization that has been a perennial doormat? Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it. 

If I’m wrong I’ll be the first person to come out and say I was wrong. I know that isn’t fashionable in talk radio circles, but I do it and if I’m wrong here I’ll have no problem proclaiming I was wrong. In addition, I think all this hype around the Browns is a good thing as Pittsburgh and Cleveland, to me at least, will always be the rivalry for both organizations. I’m glad it feels like there is a lot of juice back in it.

But sitting here in mid-March and getting all excited that the Browns are “back” … uh, no. 

Not yet. 

I’ll let them show me first if I’m ever going to believe it --- I don’t trust all the people just talking about it. ​


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