The first question that new Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams fielded from the local media came from veteran beat writer Tony Grossi. I found it fascinating enough to transcribe.
Grossi: Gregg, you sound like a straight shooter so let's cut to the chase. How have you changed since the suspension?
Williams: And we're not here to talk about that. Are you Tony?
Williams: Yeah, we're not here to talk about that. What else you wanna talk about?
Grossi: Why-- wait a minute, why won't, why-- it's a simple--
Williams: Could you-- is there a quote out there of me ever talking about it? So you wanna be the first guy that has a quote?
Grossi: [unintelligible], I found quotes from you about it.
Williams: Use that one then. What else?
Jeff Schudel: How would you describe your defense?
Defensive, I'd say.
For those unfamiliar with either, Williams was hired last week, his ninth NFL stop. That's if you include…
The Browns organization was embarrassed and dismayed by their 1-15 record this past season. Expectations for the second year of the Sashi Brown/John DePodesta/Hue Jackson team -- and the sixth year of the Haslam regime -- are for a quantum leap toward success.
It's pithy to say that there's nowhere to go but up, but so many things still need to break in our favor to make real headway in this competitive 32-team league. Injuries and inertia are two central examples.
Every team sustains injuries, but the Browns need to become one of the teams that get hurt less often and less seriously than others. Ultimately, injuries are no excuse, but they are a painfully real factor. We suffer in lost development, poorer unit cohesion, and games missed outright. There is room for competitive advantage in training methods that better prevent injuries, particularly of the soft tissue variety.
As for inertia, the losing culture…
Several former Browns could be suiting up in the playoffs this weekend, when the final eight teams all compete to advance to the conference championship games.
Among them are four of Cleveland's first-round picks, two second-rounders, and one third. Four of these ex-Browns were signed as unrestricted free agents by these playoff teams.
Saturday: Seattle @ Atlanta, Houston @ New England
DT Ahtyba Rubin has started every game since signing as an unrestricted free agent in two years ago. This year he was on the field for 55% of Seattle's defensive snaps to lead their defensive tackles. They allowed a league-low 3. 4 yards per rushing attempt in 2016. One of the Browns' best value draftees in recent memory, the 2008 sixth-rounder started 75 games in seven seasons in Cleveland.
C Alex Mack earned Pro Bowl honors for the fourth time this year, his first as a Falcon. The Browns' first-round pick in 2009 left…
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