The Browns would like to give the city of Cleveland something to hang onto, now that LeBron James is gone.
And for a change, they might be able to.
Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey has spent the past four seasons in Cleveland, and said the sense of optimism there is different as he enters his fifth.
“Being one of the longest tenured players on the team, I’ve seen the teams come through Cleveland,” Kirksey said during an appearance on the NFL Network. “I’m going on to my second head coach, my third General Manager, my third defensive coordinator, so I’ve seen players and front office people come in and out the building, and this is just a different feel.”
Part of that comes with an honest-to-God NFL quarterback, as Tyrod Taylor just helped the Bills end a 17-year playoff drought, and they have top pick Baker Mayfield there to develop for the future. But Kirksey was also encouraged by No. 4 overall pick Denzel Ward, the cornerback who could lend some credence to a rebuilt secondary.
“Just seeing him on the practice field, he’s like a silent assassin,” Kirksey said of Ward. “He don’t say too much, but when he’s on the field his play is lock. Him being a lockdown corner like I see will give Myles Garrett an extra step to the quarterback.”
If all those new pieces fall into place, the Browns should certainly be improved this season. And in the absence of a title contender, improved is a good place to start.