Cleveland Browns know new GM John Dorsey watching closely

By The Sports Xchange
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam talks with Browns personnel on the sidelines before a game in 2012. File photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam talks with Browns personnel on the sidelines before a game in 2012. File photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

BEREA, Ohio -- If the Cleveland Browns need any new inspiration to finish the season strong, they have it in the form of a new boss.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam fired executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown last week and hired John Dorsey as general manager to replace him.


Dorsey took mental notes while watching the Browns lose to the Packers and he will be doing the same this Sunday when they host the Baltimore Ravens in their final home game of 2017.

"Anytime there's a change up top, I think guys think about it," left guard Joel Bitonio said. "It's the National Football League. There are only 53 spots on a roster and there's a new decision-maker making those moves.

"I would say any time you change management, there's always a thought of, 'What does he think about us? What's his game plan going to be about the 53-man roster?' It's something that we can't worry about, but I think the thought crosses players' heads. As players, we're focused on the last three games and doing everything we can to try and get a win any way we can."


The Browns are 0-13. They were beaten 24-10 in Baltimore in the second week of the season in rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer's second start. Kizer threw three interceptions in that game. The Browns scored their only touchdown with Kevin Hogan at quarterback when Kizer was on the sideline nursing a migraine headache.

Kizer is healthy and will be making his 13th start. He has thrown 17 interceptions. He has thrown multiple interceptions in five games and is coming off a two-interception game against the Packers.

Kizer is one of the players Dorsey will be watching closely as the season winds down. The Browns are in position to have the first pick in the draft for the second straight year. Dorsey wasn't putting down Kizer when he made the remark, but he said the Browns won't win regularly until they find their quarterback. Kizer could be the answer, but it could also be a veteran destined for free agency in March or a 2018 draft pick.

"This is a quarterback-driven league," Dorsey said. "We all know that, and we all know to succeed and go a little bit further and further and further that you need one of those guys.


"I think it's an evaluation period that's going to take a little bit of a while to put a plan together. The draft is four and a half months away and free agency is like three months away. We have ample time to make a plan here."

Running back is another area of the offense Dorsey will be scrutinizing. Browns starter Isaiah Crowell rushed for 37 yards on 10 carries in the first meeting with the Ravens.

The Browns' run offense has improved since then because the offensive line has learned to work in sync despite losing All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas in the seventh game with a torn left triceps.

Crowell will be an unrestricted free agent in March without a new contract. Crowell will follow the money. If he finishes strong, starting Sunday against the Ravens, Dorsey might decide trying to re-sign Crowell is better than targeting another running back with a draft pick.

SERIES HISTORY: 38th regular-season meeting. Ravens lead series, 28-9. Home field does not translate into an advantage for the Browns when it comes to playing the Ravens. The only time the Browns beat the Ravens in Cleveland in the last 10 years was in 2013 when they won 24-18.


--Rookie defensive end Myles Garrett is not having the season he hoped to have. Part of it is because he missed four games with an ankle injury and one with a concussion, but another factor is teams are countering the Browns' pass rush with quick passes.

"You can't do anything when the quarterback is getting in (shot)gun (formation) and having a no-back, empty (set) and getting the ball out fast," linebacker Christian Kirksey said. "By the time our blitz is getting to him, he's getting the ball out fast."

Opponents are completing 68.8 percent of their passes against the Browns and have a 103.9 passer rating against them.

--The Ravens' last visit to FirstEnergy Stadium in the second game of 2016 is a game the Browns would love to avenge this week. The Browns led, 20-0, in the second quarter, but then the Ravens returned a blocked extra-point attempt to the opposite end zone for two points. They scored 23 more unanswered points for a 25-20 victory. Josh McCown, the Browns' starting quarterback, completed 20 of 33 passes for 260 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

--The Browns have found a new way to celebrate touchdowns. The receivers wore sunglasses on the sideline in the moments after scoring a passing touchdown against the Packers last week. They might do the same this Sunday if they score against the Ravens.


Some might say a winless team has no business with such a celebration. It didn't draw a penalty flag. Head coach Hue Jackson has no problem with it.

"Honestly, football is supposed to be fun," Jackson said. "I know it's fun when you're winning games and we all want more touchdowns and more celebrations, but I didn't (have an issue with it). Hey look, if that means those guys are going to keep scoring touchdowns, I will buy them some Ray-Ban glasses."

--Opponents are possessing the ball nearly four minutes a game longer (31:59 compared to 28:01), yet they have run only five more plays all season - 835 compared to 830 for the Browns.

--Defensive tackle Danny Shelton is expected to be back in the starting lineup after missing the game with the Packers because of a chest/ribs injury. He is a critical part of the run defense and could be a busy man Sunday clearing out blockers so the linebackers can get a clean shot at running back Alex Collins. Collins leads the Ravens with 825 yards on 162 carries.

NOTES: CB Jamar Taylor (foot) did not practice Wednesday. Head coach Hue Jackson said resting Taylor was "precautionary." ... CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) did not practice. He was inactive last week against the Packers because of the injury. ... S Jabrill Peppers (knee) was limited Wednesday. The injury prevented him from playing against the Packers. ... DT Danny Shelton (chest/ribs) was limited after being inactive against the Packers. ... DE T.Y. McGill, WR Bryce Treggs and DL Tyrone Holmes were waived. ... WR Matt Hazel was signed off the Colts practice squad. He was limited in practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury. ... OL Geoff Gray was signed off the Jets' practice squad.


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