Q: Are the Browns happy with defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah or will they be looking for more production via draft or free agency?
A: Interim coach Gregg Williams has said multiple times that Ogbah has played better than his stats — three sacks, no forced fumbles — and that he’s been given the weekly “hard hat” from the coaching staff for doing the dirty work.
With that said, I can’t imagine general manager John Dorsey is satisfied with the production. Ogbah doesn’t see a lot of double teams because of Myles Garrett on the other side, yet hasn’t been able to dominate or significantly impact the game on a consistent basis. So I’m certain Dorsey will try to upgrade at defensive end.
Whether that’s through the draft of free agency remains to be seen, and I can see Dorsey going in either direction. The right veteran could help Garrett’s development while serving as a legitimate threat on the other side. Of course, a talented first- or second-round pick could also work if Dorsey chooses to go young.
Either way, I expect defensive end and defensive tackle to be at the top of Dorsey’s to-do list for the offseason.
Q: Interim coach Gregg Williams is genuine, authentic, credible, sincere and committed to those things in which he believes. It seems to me a campaign of “Unfinished Business” argues for strong consideration toward maintaining what is and has been working heading into 2019. If it is not broken, why fix it?
He deserves his credit. Similar achievement cannot and must not be presumed of any and all other candidates.
— Mark Leonard
A: The Williams bandwagon is getting fuller by the second. It might be standing room only if the Browns upset the Ravens this afternoon.
I agree that Williams had done an outstanding job in a tough situation. He’s set the proper tone, got the players to believe in themselves and kept the focus on the field rather than the outside distractions. He was the right man for the interim job.
While I don’t want to diminish what he’s been able to accomplish, I feel the need to point out a couple of things when it comes to his candidacy for the permanent job. Williams looks better given the fact he replaced Hue Jackson, one of the worst head coaches in NFL history. The team was desperate for a different voice at the top, and Williams provided it. I think it’s also important to note the permanent job is about success over the long term and not just half a season. I’d be concerned about Williams’ message growing stale over a full season or two.
As I wrote during the week, GM John Dorsey’s focus must be on finding the right man for the job for the next decade. That means taking a step back after the season and surveying the landscape of the league to see if he can do better than Williams. I think he can.
Q: How would you rank the AFC North offenses?
A: As long as the Steelers have quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and receivers Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, they get the nod for No. 1. Roethlisberger is on the decline, but if he’s willing to keep playing, I think he can be successful for another two or three years.
The Browns have catapulted to No. 2 on the list thanks to Baker Mayfield and coordinator Freddie Kitchens. In less than a full season, Mayfield has taken Cleveland’s quarterback situation from worst in the division to second. Nick Chubb is the real deal at running back. If GM John Dorsey finds a big-time receiver to join Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway, the Browns can quickly get to the same level as the Steelers and would be poised to assume the top spot among the offenses.
If they can get healthy, the Bengals have the No. 3 offense. I don’t love quarterback Andy Dalton, but with receivers A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, running back Joe Mixon and tight end Tyler Eifert, he’s solid.
The Ravens are the wild card with rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. I don’t think it’s sustainable for him to run as much as he has been in the last six weeks, but the dual threat gives defenses nightmares. The Ravens have a strong stable of tight ends but still need upgrades at receiver and running back.