Newcomer and three-time Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry, the NFL’s reception leader in 2017, believes the Cleveland Browns have the talent to reach the playoffs, something they haven’t done since 2002.
“I know for sure that we are definitely a playoff-caliber team,” Landry said during a recent phone interview with the Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich.
This is a for sure bold proclamation, but it is not crazy rhetoric by the new Cleveland Brown.
One of the first keys to success is belief, and Landry has it in spades.
“[I]t’s great to have those type of aspirations for yourself, for your team, and, honestly, for me, that’s how we’re supposed to think,” Landry said.
“That’s what we’re supposed to believe, and the more that that mindset becomes the mindset of the locker room, it’s going to help us get that much better.”
There have also been plenty of examples of NFL teams going from “worst to first.” Given the amount of roster and management turnover from season to season, along with some luck needed to find success, it is bound to happen every so often.
Most notably, and applicably, the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs went 11-5, nearly winning the AFC West Division and reaching the playoffs just one year removed from winning only two games.
There is a common link to this year’s Browns, too. New general manager John Dorsey joined the Chiefs before that resurgence, prompting them to four playoff appearances in five years. Dorsey has categorically reshaped the Browns, using the ammunition left over by departed executive Sashi Brown.
Landry has been to the playoffs. He knows what it takes. He is inside the Browns locker room and sees exactly what we all see looking on from afar.
The Browns have added Super Bowl winning veterans like Jamie Collins and Mychael Kendricks. Haley is an accomplished playcaller who will take a lot of the stress off Hue Jackson, allowing him to focus more on high level team management. Josh Gordon appears to be on track for a colossal NFL comeback. The team’s quarterback position looks to be in better shape than it has been in decades, with Tyrod Taylor steering the ship until rookie Baker Mayfield is ready to take over.
Think about the first words that come to mind when contemplating what constitutes success. Mine are: inertia, momentum, belief, hard work, and dedication.
Everyone is talented who reaches the NFL level. These players have reached the pinnacle of their sport, they are the best of the best. But mindset and determination are what it takes to push a group of these elite athletes to the greatest heights.
“I want a championship so bad, so, so bad, and that’s my mindset,” said Landry. “I know in the offseason I train to win the Super Bowl every year. Now whether that happens — it hasn’t happened yet — but that’s what I train for, and that’s what my mindset is.
“So I treat every game as a championship game, and I think that that’s the next step for me in my career — obviously, continue to grow as a player, but winning a championship, and not just talking about it, actually pursuing it and doing the things necessary to go get one.”
No matter what the Browns do in 2018, Landry’s attitude and approach to his craft is commendable. If it spreads, it is this type of approach to the game that will enable this specific group of players to forget the recent past and to change the franchise’s trajectory.
After years, and years of losing and disappointment, it appears that trajectory is finally rising.