CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns’ dip into the cost-free company pool was not rather as aggressive as it was a calendar year in the past, but it was a focused method to incorporating talent, primarily on the defensive facet of the ball.
About the previous number of weeks, we’ve had the possibility to hear from the team’s most recent additions. Let’s choose a seem at some of the themes from what they had to say on Zoom call’s with area media.
There is true talent here
Linebacker Anthony Walker saw the talent on the offensive aspect of the ball final year. He played against the Browns with the Colts.
“I knew they had been a playoff staff,” Walker stated. “I talked to coach (Kevin) Stefanski and I informed him, ‘When we played you men previous 12 months, I explained to the guys in our locker place that is a great football crew around there.’”
New defensive stop Takk McKinley noticed the alter start off happening early when he played the Browns back again in 2018 at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Falcons misplaced, 28-16, in a video game showcasing a 92-property operate by then-rookie Nick Chubb. It was section of the Browns’ 5-3 finish to the season.
“We bought our butts kicked very negative,” McKinley stated. “That proper there variety of enable me know, ‘OK, this is not the identical Browns crew that individuals say they are. This crew, they have a little something unique.”
Of system, items have altered radically since then. Stefanski is in demand now and the Browns have because solidified their offensive line and additional gamers like Odell Beckham Jr. and yet another player on the mistaken side of the 2018 contest, Austin Hooper.
Safety John Johnson III, the team’s prize signing, comes to Cleveland from a group with plenty of talent of its own in the Rams. Johnson performed on a protection that finished fourth in defensive DVOA and showcased the likes of defensive lineman Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, two players viewed as to be the best at their respective positions.
“I see (cornerback) Denzel Ward and (defensive conclusion) Myles Garrett as the exact same thing,” Johnson claimed.
Walker appreciates obtaining them, also.
“One matter I will generally say,” he said, “is you have a guy that can get to the quarterback and a man that can shut down 50 percent of the area, that will make my task a large amount a lot easier.”
Continue to, it is all those men on the other facet of the ball who genuinely garner the consideration.
“One of my shut good friends texted me and was like, ‘You are heading to enjoy for the (Golden Condition) Warriors on offense,’” Walker said.
The Baker impact
If you observe the Browns’ quarterback on Instagram, you saw his welcome messages to gamers in his stories. It appears there was a much more personal contact, too.
“When I signed, the initially particular person to hit me up was Baker,” McKinley stated, “and he did not have to do that. He did not at all, but for him to send me a text information, that right there indicates a ton.”
Johnson reported he and Mayfield linked by means of a mutual buddy in Los Angeles.
Walker had substantial praise for Mayfield when he seemed back on planning to engage in him previous period, but he’s constantly preferred what he’s noticed from the Browns’ fourth-yr sign caller.
“One of my (former) teammates texted me the other day and was like, ‘Oh, I see why you had been defending Baker Mayfield in our locker room, due to the fact you desired to go enjoy for Cleveland.’” Walker joked. “But I told him right before, Baker Mayfield amazed me in higher education — the way he performed at Oklahoma.”
Chatting culture alter in football in the offseason is about as cliche as it receives, but it felt actual final year immediately after GM Andrew Berry and Stefanski arrived in and began developing and it continue to feels actual a 12 months later on.
“I felt like it was an prospect of a life span, coming to a predicament that factors are moving in the ideal way,” Johnson stated.
“When you see a team trending in the right direction, you want to be a component of that,” Walker claimed. “Seeing them engage in final calendar year, viewing the parts they are including this year, you know they are building anything particular.”
New defensive deal with Malik Jackson was more blunt: He went into free of charge company wanting for a winner.
“A Super Bowl-contender workforce, and that is what I was seeking for,” he claimed. “Especially with the climate of this no cost agency and a ton of one-year offers, I did not want to go anywhere that was trying to rebuild.”
Jackson also acquired a opportunity to know Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods when they ended up alongside one another in Denver and Woods was the defensive backs mentor. They won a Super Bowl collectively in 2015.
“He is a single of the motives why I produced the selection to come to Cleveland for the reason that I have these types of a good marriage with him,” Jackson explained.
Changing lifestyle, of course, is not just winning on the area. When it definitely will help, it goes beyond what occurs on Sundays.
“It is truly a organization that it is uncommon that folks treatment about you, people really take pleasure in you and individuals want to do points the ideal way,” Johnson said. “This metropolis as a entire, enable by yourself the organization, it drips that.”
“I am about men who know how to operate, and I am all around a mentor in (defensive line) Coach (Chris) Kiffin who is likely to press me and educate me matters,” Jackson claimed, “and, like I stated, push me back to where by I was.”
And gamers had been seeing last year when the Browns were a single of the last 8 teams standing.
“You discuss about a crew that is a fourth-and-one away from beating the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and heading on to the next spherical,” Walker reported. “A crew that you could say is a pair parts absent or perhaps a enjoy or two away from currently being in talks of playing in the Super Bowl past year. You join a crew like that with the lifestyle they are developing, the crew, the camaraderie, all of that things. Yet again, I am a small section of becoming a member of a terrific group and an organization that is turning in the correct course. I am happy to be a element of it.”
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