Scouting report: Cleveland Browns

As the Ravens head to Cleveland, British Browns fan Gary Waite previews the game from an opposition perspective.

How did you become a Browns fan?
I became a fan of the NFL when it first started on Channel 4 back in the 80’s. All of my friends at school loved it and it seemed to be as popular as football. I couldn’t wait for the weekly highlights on a Sunday. My friends supported the popular teams like the Dolphins, Bears, Cowboys, Redskins etc., but for some reason I was drawn to the Browns. I loved everything about them. The colour, the stadium, the fans. I couldn’t get enough of them and my greatest Christmas present was an old-style Jim Brown jersey. I’ve watched them play seven times live and am currently 0 and 7. It will be my dying wish to watch them win when I’m at the stadium. Though I think most of our fans have the same wish. And being a Browns fan got me watching Ohio State, which has been amazing, especially against Michigan.

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Which Raven do you dislike the most? And which would you most like on your team?
I used to find it hard watching Ray Lewis because he was drafted by you the year you stole our team! He should have been a Brown. Great player though and I would have loved to see him in the Brown. Nowadays, I’d say I don’t really like Suggs but probably because he is good and tends to run his mouth.

We haven’t had a QB since 1999 and though I wouldn’t say Flacco is elite, he is better than anything we have had since we reformed. I’d also say Suggs in his prime would have given us some leadership which we have lacked.

Which games between our teams stand out in your memory?
I really enjoyed our 33-30 win in Baltimore in 2015 – I think I really started to think we were on our way back. That feeling left me soon after. I’d also say our 14-13 win in 2002 was special, simply because it helped us qualify for the play offs the first time since our rebirth. Overall our record isn’t great against you. Also, on a side note, the new breed of NFL fans won’t appreciate the Browns-Steelers game used to be the big rivalry before you came along!

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You’re winless so far, with some recent front office changes. How do you feel about the rest of the season?
I’m looking forward to the draft. We pretty much have the number 1 pick and we also have the Texans first pick, so we could potentially be drafting two players in the top five. That said, I can see us maybe bringing in a veteran to lead and let Kizer and whoever we draft (if it’s a QB) sit and learn. We have just appointed John Dorsey as GM and the Chiefs fans I’ve spoken to seem to like him so now we have to trust him. Apparently Hue Jackson is coming back next year which is hard to believe as his record is awful with one win in almost two seasons.

What are you expecting on Sunday?
I’m not confident about Sunday. The players have said the right things about wanting to win for Cleveland but it’s the Browns. It will end in tears. Having said that I wouldn’t swap the Browns for any team.

Gary Waite runs the British Browns account on Twitter
Top photo: Austin Kirk

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