Like most fans who pay attention nationally only, there are certain aspects and angles about the Cleveland Browns that we in Chiefs Kingdom are probably cheating on. That’s what Randy Gurzi, the editor of the Dawg Pound Daily, told us when we asked him to discuss the next season opener between the Cleveland Browns and the KC Chiefs.
If that sounds a bit biased, it probably isn’t. Who knows if what he needs to fix is true or not, but a lot of us in Chiefs Kingdom would like to fix the record on a few things KC related that are often reported nationally. How about Harrison Butker’s PAT yaps eclipsing his precision? What about fixing the record on Tyreek Hill’s allegations from a few offseason? You get the picture.
In order to get a better perspective on the Chiefs’ first opponent of a new season, we thought we’d ask Mr. Gurzi to help us with a question-and-answer session.
Stream the chefs with fuboTV. Cloud DVR, local channels available in most markets, no cancellation fees. Start a 7-day free trial today.
As the new year approaches, what was the most important issue for the Browns to tackle this offseason?
Easy, defense. Cleveland struggled to stop a nosebleed last season and while a myriad of injuries were attributed to it, they just didn’t have enough talent or depth on that side of the ball.
How do you think they dealt with this?
General manager Andrew Berry did a job about as good as Browns fans could have hoped for. Greg Newsome and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the draft were huge additions, as were Jadeveon Clowney and Anthony Walker.
However, the first two additions in my opinion will be John Johnson III and Troy Hill. Both are from the Rams and they are legitimate advocates. Johnson is the deep security they lacked in 2021 and Hill is a beast in the slot.
Do you think they are going to need some time to gel?
For sure. I absolutely love every signing and draft pick Berry has made in defense, but you have about eight new starters who will have to learn to communicate and work together. Still, I cautioned not to expect them to be the elite from day one. At the end of the season, they can be really good, but it’s going to take a minute.
With Clowney looking healthy, what are your realistic predictions on what he has to offer the Browns ahead of time?
He is not a player who can be judged by statistics. He’s only registered three sacks in the past two seasons (although he only played eight games last year), but that doesn’t tell the whole story. He’s about as disruptive as they come. He’s going to push the pocket, slow down the running game and ruin everything for the quarterback.
I understand the argument that he doesn’t get a sack because that’s how defensive ends are paid. That said, he wasn’t paid to be an elite defender. He got a modest contract and will be more than up to the task. And while his sack counts might not be astronomical, it should be better just because of the lack of doubles thanks to the presence of Myles Garrett.
What’s the most important thing for Cleveland that’s being overlooked nationally?
This is the quarterback and his maturation. Considering that Baker Mayfield didn’t throw for 4,000 yards and the Browns’ running game is so dominant, Baker is unfairly labeled as a game manager. It’s a short-sighted and, frankly, lazy approach.
Mayfield has already overcome a lot of dysfunctions. Remember, this guy had Hue Jackson, Gregg Williams, and Freddie Kitchens as head coaches in his first two seasons in the NFL. Talk about a collection of characters to try to work with.
In 2020, he was finally paired with a good coach who was able to maximize his talent. Rather than praising Kevin Stefanski and Baker’s cohesion, the narrative seems to be that he’s worn by his trainer, much like Jared Goff with Sean McVay
Some Cleveland fans are angered by the disrespect, but they should accept it. Let it fly under the radar and be questioned, it usually makes it better.
What about a weakness or concern in the same vein?
The problem in Cleveland is their speed on offense. Kansas City laid out this in the divisional round last year. For all the good Jarvis Landry has done in his career, 20 yards on seven receptions in the biggest game of his career is cause for concern.
There is hope that OBJ and Anthony Schwartz can rectify this. It’s possible but you’re counting on a guy who is several years away from his prime and a developing rookie. Of course, it could work, but first we have to see it.