As NFL training camps kick off, the Cleveland Browns are far and away the most compelling story in the league. They have so many interesting players, led of course by Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr.. Expectations are sky high. If they don’t meet them, it could get combustible real fast.
In the past couple weeks Mayfield was on the cover of ESPN the Magazine and Beckham Jr. on the cover of GQ. Their words were aggregated, as is tradition. The Browns are in primetime four times and play three times at 4:25, which will probably be national windows. They will be great, mediocre, or awful right in front of all of us.
A lot of football coaches would not be very excited when news breaks on the eve of training camp in a Hollywood trade that the star receiver is launching a new production deal. Freddie Kitchens is not your typical authoritative football coach:
It’s not just the Mayfield and Beckham show either. Jarvis Landry is a talented wide receiver with notable personality. Myles Garrett is a force on defense. Denzel Ward is a shutdown corner. Olivier Vernon was not an inexpensive acquisition. Kareem Hunt brings with him both baggage and talent. As of last month, the Browns were the second most popular bet to win the Super Bowl. Jeopardy James implied this week that’s a sucker’s bet.
It’s not exactly Super Bowl or bust for the Browns as they theoretically have a window of at least several years, but they’ve spent so long speaking loudly that the world will carry a big stick to punish them with if they don’t perform in accordance with their talents.
Again, the Browns had better be good — or, at least decent — and if they’re not, there’s not going to be a way to hide them