The Browns reported for the start of their offseason workouts this week and they did so amid growing expectations for their first winning season since 2007.
Increased talent on the roster is driving those expectations, but head coach Freddie Kitchens’ messages to the team have been that being on paper isn’t particularly meaningful and that outside expectations shouldn’t factor into their approach to the tasks at hand.
Linebacker Christian Kirksey appears to have taken the messages to heart. He said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that the team won’t win games on paper and remembers that the team also generated a lot of noise when they were at the bottom of the barrel.
“So it’s like, we’ve got to just cancel out everything and just go to work,” Kirksey said. “And control what we can control and pay attention to the guys in the room and just get prepared for the season. Now, we’re just focused. We’re not trying to get overly excited or always looking at expectations and saying, ‘OK, we’ve got to be this team, we’ve got to do this.’ We’ve got to control our identity and what we want to be right now and I just block out everything and get to work.”
The Browns are going to get continual reminders about the raised expectations for the 2019 season and that will make ignoring them easier said than done over the weeks and months to come.