Swagger, competitiveness gives Kirksey confidence Browns will turn it around

Linebacker has already predicted Browns will make the playoffs

Daryl Ruiter
July 06, 2018 - 12:26 pm
Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) defends Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) during the third quarter at StubHub Center.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Every NFL season there’s a worst-to-first Cinderalla story.

Linebacker Christian Kirksey believes the Cleveland Browns will be 2018’s rags to riches tale.

Kirksey, who received a 4-year, $38 million extension in May 2017, has already tweeted his belief the Browns will make the playoffs this upcoming season, which raised plenty of eyebrows considering the 1-31 misery the franchise is coming off of.

Earlier this week in an appearance on NFL Network, Kirksey explained the reasoning behind his unwavering confidence the Browns are about to break out in a big way this season.

“I’m confident in every player on my team,” Kirksey told NFL Network.

Since being selected in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft – 71st overall – the Browns have gone 11-53, but that’s about to change in a big way he says.

"I know everybody (has) seen all the moves we made this offseason, whether it’s through free agency or the draft, and me being one of the longest tenured players on the team, I’m going on year 5, I've seen the teams come through Cleveland," Kirksey said. "I'm going on to my second head coach, my third general manager, my third defensive coordinator, so I've seen so many people come in and out of the building and players and front office people, and this is just a different feel."

Kirksey believes it all starts with quarterback Tyrod Taylor, acquired in March for a third-round pick from Buffalo.

“Tyrod is one of the most competitive players that I’ve been around,” Kirksey said. “In practice he threw a tipped interception, and this is the first time I saw quarterback charge down the field and attempt to tag someone off, and that shows me that he’s our guy. He's our guy to take the field and finally have a competitive attitude on the offensive side of the ball, a swagger to them.

“Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, all those guys have a swagger about themselves. It’s just something that I look at from the defensive side of the ball, I’ve never had that. In all my years I've never had that on the offensive side of the ball where those guys are telling us, 'We're working today.'

"That’s why I feel the way I feel about our team.”

General manager John Dorsey has had a busy offseason gutting and rebuilding the Browns roster.

Landry along with running back Carlos Hyde and Jarvis Landry highlight the offensive acquisitions. Defensively, Dorsey had his work cut out for him to retool one of the worst defenses in the league in 2017.

Dorsey brought in cornerbacks EJ Gaines and Travis Carrie, safety Damarious Randall in a trade with the Packers, and in May added Super Bowl champion linebacker Mychal Kendricks from Philadelphia, who could challenge Kirksey or Joe Schobert for a starting job, or at least snaps.

“I think if we keep putting in the work each and every day, I think we can be a great linebacking corps, one of the best in the league in my opinion,” Kirksey said.

Kirksey, who has totaled 281 tackles combined the last 2 seasons, has already become a big fan of cornerback Denzel Ward, the fourth overall pick in the draft.

"Just to see him on the practice field, he's like a silent assassin," Kirksey. "He don't say too much, but when he's on the field his play is lock. Him being a lockdown corner, like I see, that will give Myles Garrett an extra step to the quarterback."

It’s been quite the offseason for Browns’ confidence.

Josh Gordon has said they have the best receiving corps in the game, which was echoed by Landry and head coach Hue Jackson has been all smiles about the upgraded roster at every position too.

With training camp less than 3 weeks away, Kirksey has set the bar for his new teammates.