CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – A year ago the Cleveland Browns were the NFL’s darlings.
Players adorned magazine covers with headlines like, “The Browns Are Back!”
Big things were predicted by the team, and media before the wheels quickly came off the bandwagon and the season ended like so many others, in a wreck followed by more change.
This year the buzz has been infinitesimal, and not many are complaining about it either starting with their star running back.
“I like not having the noise around us,” running back Nick Chubb said. “They can just take it somewhere else. Let us focus on ourselves.
Let us keep playing.”
No quote sums Chubb up more than that.
“Silent assassin. Does not speak much, but when he does, it carries weight,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “He has always been a guy to lead by example. That is just how some guys are. You do not want him to be anybody he is not. We are going ask him to do that, but we do not have to ask him; he does it every day.”
Chubb has always shied away from the spotlight by letting his play do his talking, and his teammates are starting to follow his lead.
“I would hope so because stuff like that is contagious,” running back Kareem Hunt said.
Mayfield credits new head coach Kevin Stefanski for the change in attitude.
“The accountability in the sense of I think everybody just has to do their job,” Mayfield said. “The mentality of we are counting on everybody on this building, not only players but staff and everybody that has a hand in the pot to do their job to help us win. It is about winning.”
Building team camaraderie with the roster spread across the country is not an easy task, yet Stefanski found a way through the virtual offseason program.
“I think that has been something that has been different where we are really starting to get to know each other as people and not just teammates,” center JC Tretter said. “That was something Coach Stefanski has really preached over this training camp and the offseason. I think you can feel that. We are still a young team and still pretty new team coming together.”
Organization and attention to detail has not been something the Browns have excelled at over the years, and especially last year, hence the results on the field.
That doesn’t appear to be an issue with Stefanski, who has had his fair share of obstacles to overcome entering his first season as head coach.
“One thing I can tell you is that the coaches make sure we are all about our details right now,” receiver Rashard Higgins said. “That has been a really big sticking point with the new coaching change of doing what you are supposed to do and doing it the exact same way every time so the quarterback doesn’t get fooled, not only the quarterback but everybody knowing every position, what to do, when to do it and how to do it every single time. We have been really dialed in on the details.”