Dawgs By Nature (highlights of the week that was):
- Jim Brown: From Browns consolation prize in the NFL draft to early retirement at his peak (Barry Shuck) - When Cleveland Browns head coach Paul Brown entered the 1957 NFL draft, he had his eye on two gifted quarterbacks: Lenny Dawson of Purdue and Stanford’s John Brodie. He wound up with the best running back the NFL has ever seen.
- Second-year defender named Browns ‘breakout candidate’ (Jared Mueller) - The focus for the Cleveland Browns this offseason has been simple: Improve the defensive line and add weapons for the offense. While those areas, along with what version of QB Deshaun Watson, will get the attention, the development of younger players on the roster will also be important. With draft picks traded away from the last two seasons, third-round selections CB Martin Emerson and WR Cedric Tillman lead each draft class, with Emerson being named a “breakout candidate” by Pro Football Focus.
- If you could add one former Browns player to the current roster ... (Thomas Moore) - The Cleveland Browns will be sporting a new look on the field in 2023 after a busy offseason of rebuilding the roster by general manager Andrew Berry. On paper those moves look positive, even if some still believe the Browns have the weakest roster in the AFC North Division, but what if Berry could reach into the team’s past and add one more player at a key spot?
- Looking forward: Browns favored in 9 games, underdog in 8 games for 2023 (Chris Pokorny) - When the Cleveland Browns’ 2023 schedule was first released, we talked about how Cleveland was early 2.5-point underdogs against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The odds weren’t just released for Week 1, though — they were out for every game on the schedule.
- Meet Browns new DE Isaiah McGuire (Barry Shuck) - The Cleveland Browns wanted to revamp their defensive line this year and build around Myles Garrett. Part of that plan included the selection of defensive end Isaiah McGuire in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
- With Jim Brown’s passing, don’t let Bill Belichick’s fears about Brown’s unflinching legacy come true (cleveland.com) - Spike Lee’s first documentary was nominated for an Oscar. For his second documentary, one of the most accomplished filmmakers of his generation chose Jim Brown. That was a story he had to tell.
- ‘Once in a lifetime player’ Jim Brown forged complicated relationship with Paul Brown (Canton Repository) - As the football world contemplates Jim Brown’s death, his relationship with Coach Paul Brown lives on as the pivotal story behind an NFL franchise’s complicated existence.
- Late Browns icon Jim Brown could have dominated in any era of NFL, former teammates say (Beacon Journal) - When Jim Brown steamrolled his NFL opponents from 1957-65, the Browns icon did so with the physique of a running back who could dominate the modern-day game. After Brown died Thursday at the age of 87, three of his former Browns teammates told the Beacon Journal in phone interviews he could have taken the league by storm in any era.
- When we were kids, Jim Brown towered above all, held special place in our lives (Browns Zone) - To fully appreciate the magnitude of Jim Brown, you had to be there, in Cleveland, as a Browns fan, when Jim Brown was Jim Brown. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be a Cleveland kid when Jim Brown was a Cleveland Brown, and kicking the daylights out of opposing defenses, who had the temerity to try to tackle the most un-tackle-able player in NFL history.
- Was Jim Brown a great man? To me, yes. Was he a flawed man? Without question (The Athletic $$) - Jim Brown’s autobiography “Out of Bounds” was first published in 1989. To this day it remains one of the most powerful books I’ve read because it directly addresses the highs and lows of a complicated life.
- Confidence rankings on nine quarterbacks in make-or-break year: Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo to shine (NFL.com) - The NFL is a “What have you done for me lately?” league. Quarterbacks, in particular, are subject to year-to-year (even week-to-week) evaluations, with observers painstakingly critiquing their every move.
- Panthers’ offensive plan: Don’t take away Bryce Young’s ‘superpowers’ (ESPN) - There were times during the Carolina Panthers’ recent rookie camp when protection failed and you got a glimpse of what quarterback Bryce Young does best: break down the defense, improvise and make what coaches call “off-schedule’’ plays.
- 2023 offseason grades for all 32 NFL teams: Eagles, Bengals among those to earn an A (Pro Football Focus) - Free agency is over and the 2023 NFL Draft is in the books, and while there are still important moves to be made (e.g., the Chiefs picking up Donovan Smith or the Browns trading for Za’Darius Smith), the majority of the roster-building portion of the NFL offseason is already over. With that in mind, let’s grade how each team has fared.