Hayden Grove

Joe Thomas speaks, and other Cleveland Browns thoughts

When Joe Thomas speaks, the fans listen, as should the organization. Random thoughts on the future Hall-of-Famer and more as we cruise into Rookie Mini-Camp...

  1. The biggest off season accomplishment is a solidified offensive line.  Question marks remain at center should J.C. Tretter be less than durable, and competition at right tackle will take center stage as training camp unfolds.  No one appears too worried.  This is refreshing.

  2. Joe Thomas' status as a future first-ballot Hall of Famer gives Thomas license to speak his mind openly, and Thomas does. Thomas is unafraid to speak on controversial topics and offers comments on commissioner Goodell, roster churn and players that develop elsewhere, and the draft.  Most recently, Thomas also lent his pre-draft endorsement of Myles Garrett as the top pick.  Thomas' comments are thoughtful, meaningful, and on point. Thomas connects.

  3. Organizational thinking on the value of the offensive line took a turn following the flight of Alex Mack signaled by the arrival of Tretter and Zeitner.  Thomas has admitted to having organic conversations with Sashi Brown, and Thomas appears to have found a fit in the organization as both company soldier and influential voice of experience.

  4. At some point, fans may begin to hear Thomas has a future in the organization after he retires.  Thomas has seen it all, gets it, and earns trust easily amidst honest candor.  It's not difficult to see the value his perspective offers an organization in protecting both the blind side of a quarterback and front office.  Joe Thomas: Browns left tackle and organizational rudder.

  5. Myles Garrett arrives with the world on his shoulders.  All will be well should Garrett arrive as Joey Bosa.  All will not be well should Garrett not immediately produce sacks in numbers.  Microscope, meet top draft pick.

  6. The analytics guys appeared to be down the hall getting coffee when the Browns selected Garrett and eschewed offers to trade down and then returned when faced with a similar opportunity with Malik Hooker at #12.  How exactly did the Browns find their way to make decisions in opposing decisions on similarly rare talents and positions of equal need?!  

  7. Sashi Brown has most likely lived through the worst moments as the organizational blender spun and sought to blend different thinkers with very different thought processes. Reports of organizational tension led up to the draft but promises to be smoother next year as this year's draft accomplished a lot.  Fewer holes and an increasingly defined team identity figures to support decision makers tasked to manage trade-offs and competing interests moving forward. Sashi and company have done well to make it this far.

  8. The Browns invested heavily in the defensive line in the draft. Sacks figure loudly, but improved play against the run may quietly be the celebrated post-draft success as Garrett, Shelton, Ogunjobi and Bryant all play the run well.

  9. Emmanuel Ogbah swam upstream on nearly every play last season for a team desperate for a pass rush but may be tasked with a different role as a situational pass rusher following the selection of Garrett should he fail to impress Williams with improved play against the run.

  10. It's not difficult to see Ogbah on the sidelines and Peppers inserted somewhere in the box as the Browns play a 3-4 with Bryant at LDE on running downs.  Watching Williams dial in on his packages in the third week of training camp may be the next great fan watch moment.

  11. The Browns are also a team with dramatically improved team speed and figure to be much improved in pursuit when both Garrett and Jabrill Peppers are on the field.  Garrett is as fast as most linebackers, and Peppers' ability to accelerate in pursuit is eye popping.  Opposing teams will be more challenged to turn the corner, and third and not much presents opposing teams with a more limited play selection and presents opportunities for defensive stops.  Progress cascades, and progress from this year's draft extends beyond individual player evaluations in ways that excite.


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