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Posted by Aug - 10 - 2013 0 Comment

Thursday night’s pre-season opener for the Browns was the sixth in 14 years since their rebirth led by a new head coach. This time around it was rookie head coach Rob Chudzinski. If first impressions are any indication of how things are to be, they might have finally gotten it right. The Browns have reinvented themselves more times than Madonna, with last year’s ownership transfer bringing sweeping changes across the organization. But for all the differences between this year’s Browns and years past, it appears that on-field product – most important of them all – is headed the right direction.

Throughout the course of his head coaching debut, Chudzinski never appeared as if the game or his job was too big for him. In-game decisions were executed in a timely fashion with proper cadence, and the result of that was manifested on-field through his team which executed their directions successfully. Led by overly scrutinized QB Brandon Weeded, the Browns executed their game plan with confidence, efficiency, and a tempo that had not been seen on the south coast of Lake Erie in a month full of Sundays. Despite missing starters Trent Richardson on offense and T.J. Ward on defense, the Browns still manages to go about their business as planned, and the next man up (Dion Lewis for Richardson, Johnson Bademosi for Ward) came in and executed. This speaks to each man on this roster competing for one of the final 53 spots being coached up well, and understands exactly what their role is. It also speaks to players empowered by their coaches to succeed, something many players here from the last two seasons are unaccustomed to.

Pre-season wins and losses typically tell you very little via the final score. With starters playing scant few series and coaches experimenting with personnel packages to evaluate players, winning on the scoreboard can be a misnomer. And while Browns fans will appreciate any time that the Browns have more points on the board than their opponent, that enthusiasm can be tempered when it is third stringers out there grasping at soon-to-be fleeting moments of glory before they pull on a State Farm or Allstate polo after Labor Day. So looking past the points scored, this team looks to be genuinely on pace for significant improvement in their 2013 campaign. Chudzinski and his lieutenants Norv Turner and Ray Horton have this year’s Browns club appearing hungry and focused. Admittedly, it can be easy to be overwhelmed with false confidence after one meaningless game. But for a franchise that has struggled as mightily as the Browns have, few games are meaningless. The least of which being the debut of a team that has undergone wholesale changes everywhere from the backfield to the back offices in Berea. Thursday night was simply a first step for this team in a long journey. But as far as first steps go, you’d be hard pressed to find one better.

Categories: Cleveland Browns, Featured

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