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Daryl Ruiter | Cleveland Browns Insider

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
March 13, 2024 6:05 am

Daryl Ruiter | Cleveland Browns Insider

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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March 13, 2024 6:05 am

Cleveland Browns Insider Daryl Ruiter joins the show to recap the flurry of moves to begin free agency, including replacing Joe Flacco with Jameis Winston.

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That's part of it. Now, what the folks in Denver will say is that there are some maturity issues and lack of consistently catching the football. He had too many drops for their liking or whatnot. Certainly the quarterback situation plays a part in that, but again, the critics will say it's on him to catch the football regardless of who's throwing it. Look at Amari Cooper. He had five dudes throwing him footballs last year for the Browns, and he had over 1,200 yards receiving. Let's talk about the quarterback position because it's going to look different in 2024. I know there are a lot of people who are hoping that Joe Flacco would be back.

He'd expressed some interest in returning to Cleveland. Instead, it's Jamis Winston, most recently of New Orleans, who will be there. Dorian Thompson Robinson behind Deshaun Watson.

So what's your reaction to that group? I'm not exactly blown away with them bringing in Jamis Winston, but I certainly understand the philosophy behind it. The Browns feel Winston, a younger player with new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, will fit what they want to do offensively with Deshaun this coming season a little better. Had they brought back Joe Flacco, you'd basically have to set up two offenses, which is what the Browns have done in the past with a couple of years ago. The Jacoby Bercet during the Deshaun Watson 11-game suspension year. We got to see it last year when Flacco took over. Kevin Stefanski and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt tweaked some things to make Flacco comfortable. I think that with them bringing in Winston, this allows them not to have to have separate playbooks, if you will.

And it allows them to seamlessly operate. And certainly, apparently are going to pay a decent price. He's going to get around $4 million in base salary.

And depending if he sees the field, maybe that can bump his compensation up to closer to $9 million. But the Flacco wars are on here in Cleveland. We've had the Baker brother wars.

We've had the Sashi wars. It seems every couple of years we have a war amongst the fan base. There's a lot of Brown fans, no question about it, that are really disappointed that Joe Flacco, of course, won the comeback player of the year because of what he was able to do in five starts for the Browns is not going to be back. But again, I certainly understand why the Browns organization made the move that they did by moving in the direction of Jamis Winston. And hopefully he doesn't have to see the field in 2024. Why did it work with Flacco now looking back, Daryl?

Yeah, you know what, I got to be honest with you. I kind of feel like that Joe Flacco and the way he played was like Kevin Stefanski's dream quarterback for five weeks. Because it would work off play action and chuck the ball deep down the field. It's a great story. It's one that Browns fans will be able to tell their grandkids about someday.

Unfortunately, the pumpkin returned. The clock struck midnight during the wild card game against the Houston Texans where he ended up throwing a couple of pick sixes that really put that game out of reach, which was obviously a disappointing end. But yeah, I just think it was a magical five weeks that he and Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore really seemed to connect along with Dave Ndajoku and also to the Browns were a good football team.

They really were. I kind of feel like that the Joe Flacco move was the ultimate let's just throw something against the wall because we're desperate to save this season and hope it works. And it did work.

Just because it worked doesn't mean it's going to work again. And let's be honest about it. If the Browns did bring Joe Flacco back and he had to see the field in 2024 and things did not go as well, then everyone's going to complain. Why didn't you upgrade the back of quarterback? Why did you bring Joe?

So in some respects, if you're a GM, you just you can't win with your fans. It was a great story with Joe. He was the consummate professional, earned the respect of the locker room real fast. He put in the effort to do that, spent time with his new teammates off the field on road trips and things like that. He could have rode in with a little bit of an ego because of his distinguished resume and whatnot, but he didn't. I think that all of those things kind of factored in to why he was able to do what he did in such a short amount of time.

Such a great story. And of course, as you point out, he was the NFL comeback player of the year for 23. Darryl Ryder is with us from our Cleveland affiliate 92-3, the fan sifting through what the Browns have done in the first couple days of free agency. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence here on CBS Sports Radio. Any updates on the two injured players, Deshaun Watson, Nick Chubb? What do we know? Well, Nick Chubb is not going to be ready for the beginning of the season. It would be, in my view, miraculous if he was able to be ready for the beginning of the season. So my understanding is the rehab there is going well. If there's anyone that can come back from having his knee rebuilt for a second time, it's Nick Chubb.

But I'm also a little realistic about that particular situation. As far as Deshaun Watson goes, Kevin Stefanski and Ken Dorsey went out to Los Angeles to, I guess in Stefanski's terms, talk big picture with Deshaun. Because league rules prohibit them to talk about football, so I'm guessing they were talking about Deshaun's favorite night spots in LA and favorite restaurants.

Maybe he's got a great view of the beaches out there in Los Angeles. I'm guessing that they went over the backup quarterback plan in free agency with him so that he wouldn't be taken aback by anything. Again, I'm making an assumption there because I certainly wasn't in the meetings, but by all accounts, things are going really well with Deshaun. He's supposed to begin throwing a football here in the next couple of weeks, which obviously is a pretty big deal, but all indications are that the recovery and the rehab from that shoulder surgery to repair that broken bone in his throwing shoulder have gone extremely well. On the defensive side of the ball, we know the Browns were already dealing from a position of strength. What moves do you like when it comes to the side of the ball that maybe doesn't get as much recognition?

I like the fact that they kept their own. Z'Darius Smith is coming back, and I thought he had an outstanding first season with the Browns, so he's back on a multi-year deal. Maurice Hurst, who I think was a little underrated in the defense, he is coming back after agreeing on Tuesday to return to Cleveland. Jordan Hicks, Vikings linebacker, that's an interesting one.

He has history with Jim Schwartz, the Browns defensive coordinator, won a Super Bowl with Schwartz in Philadelphia with the Eagles there. He's going to replace Anthony Walker, leaving in free agency. Walker was the team captain on the defensive side of the ball, so the way I'm understanding things, it looks like Hicks is going to step in and basically assume that particular role. They lose him to free agency. He's a former John Dorsey draft pick from years ago.

I really saw his game grow here in Cleveland, but from my perspective, that's a little bit of a tough loss. But really defensively, so far it's been about getting their own free agents back in the fold and then kind of patching in the guys they lose and replacing the loss of Anthony Walker with Jordan Hicks, at least on paper, figures to be a pretty smart move. Daryl Ryder is with us from Cleveland.

It's After Hours here on CBS Sports Radio. If you don't mind, I'd love to pick your brain about some of the other moves in the AFC North. What do you think of Russell Wilson with the Steelers? Great. Fantastic.

Not worried about it at all. It was a train wreck in Denver, right? Certainly Sean Payton wanted nothing really to do with the Russell Wilson experience, so great.

Fantastic. There was no way, I will say, that I could envision that the Steelers were dumb enough to just stick with Mason Rudolph and Kenny Pickett. It was incomprehensible to me that that's really what they were actually going to do at quarterback because that would have been a Cleveland Browns circa 2001 to 2017 thing that the Browns would do.

So they go out to get Russell Wilson and look, they pay nothing for him. Denver's going to pick up the tab there, so it is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Steelers, but I'll be honest with you, it just really doesn't move the needle for me right now. But if there is one person that may be able to resurrect his career, it is Mike Tomlin. I think Tomlin does not get enough respect for the program he runs there in Pittsburgh. He has had teams that by all rights probably should never have made the playoffs, including this past year's team, and just it seems every year he finds a way to win 10 games.

Now granted, they win their 10 games and then lose in round one of the playoffs, but that's neither here nor there. He has done a really good job, so again, I think if anyone can salvage Russell Wilson, it would be Mike Tomlin. What about Derrick Henry to Baltimore? Not a fan of that one.

That could be a little bit of a problem. I don't know where this notion that Derrick Henry might be washed up. The guy did run for over 1,000 yards last year in live season, I should say. If my memory serves me correctly, and I really don't like that move if you're the Cleveland Browns, you might want to beef up on the defensive line and linebackers to try and slow him down because he's just such a tremendous player. Is he the same guy in the prime of his career? Possibly not.

If he's lost a step, it's maybe like a third of a step or an eighth of a step. It's not much. I really don't like the fact that he's now a Baltimore Raven and the Browns are going to have to try and slow him down twice a season. That does not sound like it's going to be a very fun job for Jim Schwartz's defense. Last season, when the Browns were a bit of a surprise wildcard team, not that they weren't expected to contend, but coming out of the AFC North with 17 different quarterbacks and everything else that was happening, losing Nick Chubb, blah, blah, blah.

How do they build on that? What's their focus or what should be their focus this offseason? The only reason they were a surprise team was because of all the injuries and all the quarterbacks, but they went in organizationally with the expectation they were going to be a playoff team, and I have nothing to indicate that those expectations are changing for the upcoming season. I expect them to be a contender again. To me, the next step for them is to win the division. This franchise hasn't won a division since 1989. This past season was the first time since 1989 that the Browns finished ahead of the Steelers in the standings, which is mind-blowing. But the Browns haven't hosted a playoff game since coming back, and obviously the only way that's ever going to happen is that they win their division. Last year, we got to get back to the playoffs. We got to get this thing back on track, and I really feel like this year, their focus and energy is going to be trying to win this division and hosting a playoff game. Under Kevin Stefanski, the Browns have a home field advantage. They win a lot at home, and if they can host a playoff game here in Cleveland for the first time since 1994, my goodness, I can't even imagine what that scene is going to be like. They're going to be drunk by Friday night for a Sunday game. That's what it's going to be like.

It's going to be crazy fun, but that's where I think their focus and energy really is. Trying to finally get on top of three teams that for the most part have really had their number since 1999. Would this be like the Detroit Lions of the AFC finally ending that home playoff throughout? You're right, they might not know what to do. Yeah, well, the Lions fans certainly knew what to do, and they did it very well as a matter of fact.

Yeah, I think it would be. It's been so long since there's been a home playoff game here in Cleveland. It's nice to make the playoffs. It's also nicer to actually be able to go to a game that's being played in your own stadium. I think that the Browns would like to save on the playoff travel expenses this time around and actually at least host it. Well, they want to spend their money on training camp because they're going back to the Greenbrier for some more team bonding like they did last year.

It worked well, so hey, why not go ahead and do it again and believe me, they're going back to the Greenbrier for that very reason. You can find Daryl Reiter on Twitter at Reiter, R-U-I-T-E-R, Reiter Wrong, F-A-N, our Cleveland affiliate, 92.3 The Fan. It's been a long time, Daryl, but it's great to talk to you again. Thank you so much for a couple of minutes. You bet.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-13 08:47:57 / 2024-03-13 08:55:30 / 8

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