1. It’s the same ole Browns
A Pittsburgh Steelers radio analyst, Ron Cook, said this recently and fed into the aforementioned myth about Kitchens, per Thomas Moore of Dawgs by Nature:
"I think the hype around the Browns is ridiculous. It’s only going to be irritating if they live up to it. That’s the thing: they still got to show they can win. I think the feeling here is the Browns are still the Browns until they prove otherwise. Rookie head coach Freddie Kitchens, good luck dealing with that. It’s hard for anybody here to take the Browns seriously."
Let’s think about the rosters of these two teams, shall we?
Good as JuJu Smith-Schuster is, Pittsburgh doesn’t measure up to Cleveland in receiver firepower or depth. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn’t overwhelmingly better than Mayfield, if at all at this late stage of his tenure under center.
Those factors alone suggest this isn’t the same ole Browns, who routinely get swept by the Steelers and were swept entirely in a winless 2017 campaign. But let’s go further.
Cleveland now has perhaps the best quarterback (after 29 prior starters since 1999) and running back in the division in Mayfield and Chubb, especially in terms of youth and upside to still improve.
The Browns indubitably have the best receiver tandem in the AFC North, too, in Beckham and Landry. Their secondary goes four-deep at cornerback, with a rookie in Greedy Williams pushing for a starting job.
Oh, and the defensive front may well prove to be the best group of its kind in the league.
Go ahead and try to nitpick Cleveland while a meaningful game has yet to be played. Fire off those nonsense takes that are making the Browns the centerpiece of the NFL conversation.
In the words of sports media wizard-poet Jim Rome, this is America’s Team, no longer the butt of every pro football joke.
These are the 2019 Cleveland Browns. And they’re going to the playoffs, if not the Super Bowl.
They have an underrated offensive line that’s almost entirely intact, coming off an elite half-season of play.
They have a rookie head coach whose lack of experience in the particular post he occupies will prove not to be mistaken for incompetence.
They have perhaps the best receiver in the sport, Odell Beckham Jr., who will remind everyone how good he is, and his play will be louder than any other noise associated with him.
The Browns aren’t as young and green as many would have outsiders believe — it’s actually an intriguing mix of veterans and more than a few up-and-coming stars.
So, to reiterate: No. Hell no. These are not the same ole Browns.