The Cleveland Browns are wearing the great expectations of a city and franchise that is used to being disappointed.
There have been so many ill-fated maneuvers throughout the years (including a move to Baltimore) that broke the hearts of this loyal fanbase.
Now that things appear to be coming together with an excellent coaching staff and a front office that knows how to draft and retain great players, the Browns have to avoid the trap of being too confident.
Here are two reasons why the overconfidence trap is dangerous territory for this team.
It was pre-pandemic so sometimes it is hard to remember that part of life.
However, things were apparently coming up roses in Cleveland as the Browns looked forward to a 2019 season with Odell Beckham Jr. coming over from the New York Giants and a brand new head coach in Freddie Kitchens.
me watching the 2019 Cleveland Browns go 6-10 after an offseason full of happiness & expectations instead of the same ole sadness: pic.twitter.com/5MEWFp3Ms1
— Damon J. Kecman (@DownWithDamon) December 29, 2019
Your 2019 Cleveland Browns pic.twitter.com/1Qv0jZmHHN
— Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports) December 16, 2019
It is not as though the entire team was cleaned out after the 2019 debacle.
The same star players are still here.
They have grown in maturity and worked on their craft to become better players.
But the bottom line is some of the same players that were supposed to lead the Browns to the promised land in 2019 are the stars of the 2021 roster.
1. Overconfidence Does Not Win Games
Ask any true blue Browns fan, and he or she will tell you that all the hype and talk around the 2021 Browns is nerve-wracking.
These people have been down this road before and prefer to wake up with tomorrow being September 12 so the Browns start playing the games that count and stop the preseason chatter.
The Browns arguably have one of the best and most talented rosters in the NFL in 2021.
However, that roster, with a lot of new faces on defense in particular, has to learn to play together.
Having a bunch of individual superstars that do not live up to their potential when September rolls around is useless.
Any given Sunday things happen.
They happen all of the time.
More talented teams who perhaps have too much confidence are upset by their lesser talented but more determined counterparts.
The Good News
This is not meant to be a doom and gloom article.
There is plenty of good news in Cleveland.
It starts with a well-run front office and top notch coaching staff.
Coach Kevin Stefanski is not the reigning NFL Coach of the Year for no good reason.
His favorite words are “work” and “team” so if anyone can keep the Browns from meandering into an overconfident mindset, it is Stefanski.
Stefanski has only been there one season, but he is rubbing off on them.
Listening to Baker Mayfield talk recently about tuning out the external noise and focusing on the day-to-day work and goals sounds like Stefanski speak.
— Baillie Burmaster (@bayburmTV) July 7, 2021
The Browns have learned a lot along their long and winding road to NFL success so presumably they will not celebrate any successes until they actually experience them.