Odell Beckham Jr. needed to clarify his recent remark that "I plan on being [in Cleveland] for the next five years and trying to bring as many championships there as possible [and] turning [the Browns] into the new Patriots." We expect no such clarifications from Browns general manager John Dorsey, who made it clear this week that "The fan base for the Cleveland Browns is more passionate than Green Bay Packers fans."
In an interview with WKYC's Jim Donovan, Dorsey went on to explain himself.
"... [T]here are a lot of similarities between the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns because of those iconic years early on. That's why I'm so ecstatic to be here because this is the Cleveland Browns. You can go back to Paul Brown. If it wasn't for Paul Brown, I probably wouldn't have a job because he basically evolved scouting."
There's no disputing that the Packers have been much more successful over the last two decades than the Browns; having Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as your quarterbacks will have such an effect. But it's also hard to find a more loyal fan base than in Cleveland, where the Browns last had a winning season in '07, last made the playoffs in '02 and last won a playoff game in '94. From 2015 through eight games of the 2018 season was the bleakest stretch in franchise history; the team was 5-33-1 and it wasn't until coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were fired that things began to change.
It started with quarterback Baker Mayfield, who flourished under Haley's replacement, Freddie Kitchens. Cleveland went 5-3 over the final two months to finish 7-8-1, tying their highest win total since 2014. Kitchens was named head coach this offseason and expectations are through the roof to the point that the Browns are the favorites to win the AFC North.
"I think the fan base deserves this because this is the Cleveland Browns," Dorsey continued. "To me, it's one of the marquee, iconic franchises in the National Football League. Last year, we finished third in the AFC North. That's not good enough, so what we did after the season ended, we constructed the plan on our second year of this thing. We began to fill some holes that needed some veteran leadership, but at the end of the day, when you have a young quarterback like Baker Mayfield, you want to surround him with some offensive weapons."
"I think we've accomplished that, and I think we've helped on the defensive front four," Dorsey said. "I think that'll help Myles Garrett and make him a better player because now, you have legitimate four pass rushers, so I'm excited to see how things unfold."
The Browns added Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon and used six of seven draft picks to bolster the defense, including cornerback Greedy Williams (2nd round), linebackers Sione Takitaki (3rd round) and Mack Wilson (5th round) and safety Sheldon Redwine (4th round).
And while there's no doubt in Dorsey's mind about the city's fans, Las Vegas doesn't see much difference on the field between the Browns and Packers; Cleveland is 16-1 to win it all while Green Bay is slightly better at 14-1.