Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
I know what you’re thinking. You read the headline and immediately thought, “Line LeBron up at tight end or receiver. He’d be unstoppable.” While that may be true (LeBron has 3 inches and 20 lbs on Calvin Johnson), the Cavaliers star and Akron native has a more systematic approach to fixing his hometown team (even though he’s a Cowboys fan). LeBron recently spoke with MMQB about what makes great organizations great and poor organizations poor:
“Winning cures a lot of things. But it starts with the culture, and how guys are believing, and being professional every single day. To be able to come here and change the culture—to know what we want is to be great as we can be every single day. Does that result in wins every day? Absolutely not. But you work at it, and that’s everyone from top to bottom. We all have the same goal, and it’s great to be a part of that. Obviously, the Browns would love that as well.”
There are two things that stand out in that quote as it relates to the Browns. The first is “it starts with the culture” and that’s perhaps the biggest problem with the Browns. There is a culture of losing that’s been there for decades with the team. Players get content with that culture and aren’t motivated to help change it. The Bengals were in a similar place before Marvin Lewis arrived. No, Cincinnati hasn’t won any Super Bowls but that ‘loser’s mentality’ culture is no longer there and players actually believe in the system and the organization as a whole.
That segue ways into the other thing that stands out: “That’s everyone from top to bottom.” If you don’t believe or trust in your bosses or whomever is in charge; then how can you trust the process or direction they have for the organization? Is there any less-inspiring a trio than the owner Jimmy Haslam – GM Ray Farmer – coach Mike Pettine contingent in the NFL? Do you think the players walk into work everyday and have the utmost confidence in the people in charge? Those three can’t even decide if they want to start, bench, or release Johnny Manziel. Receiver Brian Hartline’s recent no-quote comment is pretty telling: he essentially implied he was forced to play while injured but doesn’t want to say that on record for fear of getting cut. That Browns’ trio makes Cavs’ owner Dan “ALL CAPS” Gilbert look like the second coming of Red Auerbach.
But the bright-side for the Browns is that they currently have the NFL’s worst record and could end up with the #1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Perhaps they would take a local star like Ohio State’s Joey Bosa. Drafting an in-state player worked perfectly for the Cavs in 2004 and led to their turnaround so why not the same for the Browns in 2016?