Building the Browns is back.
The behind-the-scenes documentary that gives fans access inside the Cleveland Browns front office aired its first episode in 2021.
It is appropriately titled “Hit The Ground Running.”
Here are three key takeaways from the first episode.
Takeaways may not be the appropriate word; rather, they are affirmations of things we already knew.
1. Coaching Continuity Is A Big Deal.
Cleveland Browns fans have not had the luxury of coaching continuity in recent years.
They often suspected it was a big deal not to start the offseason hiring a new head coach and staff.
Hearing Coach Stefanski say it in this episode really drives the point home.
Last year, the culture and expectations were established by Coach Stefanski.
He pulled together his staff and created unity and cohesiveness even though they were scattered around the country meeting on Zoom.
The assistants weighed in with snippets that reaffirmed why Stefanski was named Coach of the Year.
They praised him for doing the following:
- Encouraging each of them to be better in his or her role
- Developing their skills
- Building an organization where everyone helps each other
Because all of that groundwork is already done, the staff can move forward and focus on making the team even better in 2021.
2. Evaluating College Players In The Absence of the NFL Combine Is Challenging.
The 2020 NFL Combine happened shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US.
In essence, the absence of the combine this year was a challenge no one had experienced or foreseen after the unique 2020 season.
Without the NFL Combine, the Browns (and all other teams) faced coordination and logistical challenges.
Pro Days became the “job interview” for college players.
Whereas the NFL Combine standardized the drills and tests so all players could be viewed under the same parameters, this task was now left to the colleges hosting Pro Days.
Throughout all of this, the job of the road scout became more challenging.
Road scouts travel between 150 and 200 nights per year with the principal purpose of evaluating talent.
Travel was curbed during the pandemic so film study was even more important.
Also vital was making sure each Pro Day had presence and proper coverage on-site as well as virtually.
Despite the obstacles, the Browns did all of the work necessary to evaluate the college players.
3. The Browns Conducted A Master Class In Free Agency
Most Browns fans already know this, but hearing GM Andrew Berry talk about the process was interesting.
He spoke about being opportunistic and aggressive in free agency given the favorable financial situation the Browns are in.
Of course, the principal goal was to improve the roster.
A detailed analysis of the 2020 roster and evaluation of where and how to improve were the precursors to the free agent signings.
It was entertaining watching the new Browns enter the building, meet staff members, and get tours.
The greatest part of all was the genuine happiness each of the four free agents featured in the episode (JJ3, Takk McKinley, Troy Hill, and Malik Jackson) felt about becoming Cleveland Browns.
Watching that episode of Building the Browns was 22 minutes of pure joy. These guys all want to be here. They all expect to win. They all believe in the Cleveland Browns.
— Nick Karns (@karnsies817) April 12, 2021
All felt at home and are already bought into the culture in March.
This is an excellent sign of things to come in September and beyond.