Camaraderie in the locker room is crucial for success in the NFL.
Guys that are on the same page as one another see that synchronization pay off on Sunday’s.
Teammates at each other’s throats all year long tend to lack that same success.
With plenty of new faces for the Cleveland Browns this season, building camaraderie amongst each other is a focus this offseason.
That’s what freshly paid cornerback Denzel Ward says, anyways.
#Browns Denzel Ward said camaraderie this offseason is a point of emphasis, and that Deshaun Watson and Myles Garrett are in the process of planning team-building trips for players.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) April 20, 2022
Talk is cheap in the offseason, though.
If anyone has learned that in two of the past three seasons, it’s Cleveland.
Reported locker room issues last season were a problem for the Browns.
This time around, Cleveland will look to avoid those same distractions.
Walk the Walk
We’ve seen this song and dance with the Browns before.
Just one season ago, in fact.
Before the start of last year, Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., and Austin Hooper all took their families on a trip to Montana.
Baker, OBJ, Landry and Hooper w/ a quick trip to Montana w/ their families over Labor Day weekend before the start of the season (impressive they had a football field there)… via Baker’s IG pic.twitter.com/Ukl3bn26sL
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 8, 2021
This led many to believe that the Browns’ chemistry stood strong.
As we now know, it, uh, did not.
Far from it.
However, going back to last year’s reported locker room issues, Baker Mayfield sat at the center of those reports.
He’s on his way out and new quarterback Deshaun Watson will take the reins.
Only time will tell the true locker room impact of that decision by the Browns.
However, it’s unfair to pin all the issues on Baker alone.
There are 50+ other players in that facility that could have stepped up to mend things.
No one did.
So, while it’s nice that Ward, Watson, and Myles Garrett are planning trips, it takes more than a mini-vacation to make a true bond.
Tested in Battle
The true camaraderie between these new Browns teammates won’t develop until games start to matter.
Guys can absolutely learn things about one another throughout training camp and the summer.
However, as far as becoming brothers in the locker room, that comes with being battle tested as a group.
Some of that can certainly take place at camp.
Seeing how one another responds to adversity on a fall Sunday, however, will make or break the locker room.
Limit the Distractions
The less we hear about the Browns and their locker room, the better.
It’s like referees in football or umpires in baseball.
If there’s no attention or chatter regarding them, it usually means they’re doing a good job.
Same goes for the Browns locker room.
Last year’s issues were constantly talked about on a week-by-week basis.
That’s a huge distraction for players, coaches, and the whole organization.
Even now, it gets talked about, as Mayfield pointed out here in the YNK Podcast.
Here’s Baker saying Stefanski didn’t have a grasp of the Browns locker room. It’s always someone else’s fault. https://t.co/BksIJVlcu0
— Offseason Chopz (@Pchopz_) April 13, 2022
Even John Johnson III pointed out a potential divide in the locker room regarding Odell Beckham Jr. last year.
The pieces seem to be in place for a unified locker room.
Guys like Cooper and Nick Chubb have this demeanor that just screams selflessness and a team-first mentality.
That’s only part of the equation for success, but it’s a big chunk.
If everyone buys in on this Browns team, the ceiling is high.
If distractions and issues seep in again, things will crumble quickly.