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History is not on side of 'Hard Knocks'-bound Browns or coach Hue Jackson  1 Week ago

Source:   USA Today  

While that’s great news for fans — who doesn’t want an inside look at the start of No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield’s career? — it might not be good news for the Browns themselves. And head coach Hue Jackson should be especially wary.

Still, it will be interesting to see how HBO frames the upcoming season.

Cleveland has won one game since Jackson’s arrival in 2016 with a quarterback carousel that has become comical. We can already picture how the first episode will begin — with slow-motion shots of Jackson’s impending leap into Lake Erie (scheduled for June 1) to make good on a promise that he’d dunk himself should the team fail to improve on its 1-15 showing in 2016. And go ahead and toss in some dramatic b-roll from the January parade in which approximately 3,000 Browns fans “celebrated” the 0-16 season. There will be shots of fans wearing bags over their heads and scenes from the draft party — Cleveland’s version of the Super Bowl — celebrating Mayfield's arrival.

It should be compelling to see how HBO addresses Jackson's job security and how the series will depict the quarterback situation, given Jackson announced veteran Tyrod Taylor would be the starter in 2018 well before Mayfield was drafted.

So all the Browns can do now is embrace what should be some of the first positive exposure they’ve received in years.

There will probably be breakout stars, like 2017 No. 1 pick Myles Garrett, a defensive end who is as quirky off the field — he loves dinosaurs — as he is menacing on it. There’s wide receiver Josh Gordon, who returned last year after a drug-related suspension that lasted more than two seasons. There’s Taylor, underappreciated during his tenure in Buffalo (a team he took to the playoffs in 2017) and likely to be overshadowed in Cleveland. And then there’s Mayfield, the charismatic 2017 Heisman Trophy winner who was the most polarizing player in college football — and possibly in this draft class — because of his brash personality.

The only thing missing will be Joe Thomas, the perennial Pro Bowl left tackle, who retired earlier this year — though expect him to find a way to make at least a few cameos.

By September, when the cameras stop rolling, HBO will probably have us believing that the Browns will turn it around — that Garrett will collect double-digit sacks, that Mayfield will become the franchise quarterback Cleveland has spent two decades searching for, and maybe even that Jackson deserves an extension.

 

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