Opportunity knocks for Browns on Hard Knocks

Storylines aplenty as team gets chance to show country times are changing in Cleveland

Daryl Ruiter
May 17, 2018 - 11:36 am
Cleveland Browns first round picks, Baker Mayfield , left, and Denzel Ward show off Browns jerseys during a press conference at the Cleveland Browns training facility.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Opportunity knocks for the Cleveland Browns.

The beauty of the Browns is that there is always a story. Good or bad, they're a non-stop 24-7 cycle of news and conversation, which is why the NFL and HBO chose them to appear on this summer’s Hard Knocks.

It's been a long time coming, too.

Coming off an 0-16 season with No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield looking to give Hue Jackson a reason not to start Tyrod Taylor, the storylines this summer will be plenty.

Mayfield, the hometown kid and fourth overall pick Denzel Ward, and rookie running back Nick Chubb are the centerpieces of the draft class of 2018, while Jarvis Landry and Taylor are the main attractions of what has been a complete roster overhaul this offseason.

Mayfield has experience with cameras following him around thanks to his 'Behind Baker' pre-draft documentary series and the HBO/NFL Films cameras will be documenting his every move in August.

Will Corey Coleman get his act together and finally show the promise that comes with being picked 15th overall?

Josh Gordon is poised to play his first full season since his rookie year. His fight with his own personal demons, overcoming them and getting his football career back on track is a story in and of itself.

Hue Jackson has been selling hard since taking over as head coach. The earth moved under is feet with Robert Griffin III, he asked everyone to “trust him” on Cody Kessler, promised to get the most out of DeShone Kizer or he wasn’t worth his salt as a coach ... and on and on and on. He’ll get plenty of camera time to sell himself to disgruntled fans, who’ve lost faith that he can turn the team around.

Jackson is set to jump in the Lake on June 1st to cleanse himself and the Browns of 0-16 and 1-31 and look for HBO to open the show with exclusive behind the scenes video before transitioning to sweeping overhead camera shots of the practice fields in Berea as one of the NFL's most iconic franchises begins its march from the depths of football hell to return to glory.

Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam will also get an opportunity to show fans a side of them that hasn’t been seen since they've bought the team. The Haslams have led private lives, outside of public appearances to make announcements or unveil the latest football field that they paid to replace at a local school. The perception of the Browns being the most dysfunctional franchise in professional sports has hung over them like a black cloud and now they’ll get to show the country that times have changed.

NFL Films is the gold standard for sports television documentary production and their presentation of the Browns will do nothing but help their image. 

And the show featuring the Browns doesn’t have to just be football either.

Maybe they’ll do a segment on Christian Kirksey banging out a few drum solos or Myles Garrett taking a tour through the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

General manager John Dorsey wasn’t crazy about the idea of having his team be the star of the 16-time Emmy Award winning series. After all, he’s running a football franchise, not a reality TV show. But even he has come around. 

Dorsey’s phone calls during the draft to their draft picks went viral. The raw, real, unscripted conversations showed the human side of the game and dreams coming true for college stars. He’ll be front and center in August when he must end those same dreams as players get cut and difficult roster decisions get made.

Gregg Williams will most assuredly be the star of the show. Thankfully, because it’s HBO, the producers don’t have to worry about censoring him, and nobody wants that. Raw Gregg Williams is the best Gregg Williams. He is a delight to watch at practice, and the first time he tears into a player during camp will provide the production crew with priceless footage to sift through.

Then there are the unsung heros of training camp, which the show thrives on.

The Browns have never had a shortage of those stories over the years. Remember Josh Lentz? How about William Gay? Who will be the unknown player that becomes a household name this summer?

The storylines are endless, and subscriptions to HBO are about to spike in Northeast Ohio this summer.

Opportunity knocks.