Cleveland Browns Mailbag: Will Joe Thomas Be Back?

Eric Urbanowicz
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Writers note: Before I get started answering your questions, I’d to take a moment and say, thank you for the support with the mail bag. Last week, the mailbag had over 1,000 views, and I’m grateful for the support. I’d like to invite you to follow me on Twitter, @Stoshball as well as on Instagram, @I_Am_Stoshball, in addition to various The 3 Point Conversion accounts. Tweet me or write me any time and of course have some questions ready. Without further or due.

In this past week, the Cleveland’s offensive coordinator search took two interesting turns with former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularky and former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo being tabbed as candidates. With these stories as well as other rumors, it’s time to open the mailbag and see what the fans have on their minds!

Q: My question is why is it thatHue Jackson doesn’t like running the ball? – Corey, Charleston, WV

A: Hey Corey, that’s been the million dollar question since week one of the 2016-17 season. Ultimately, I believe it comes down to what he was tabbed as. If you remember, Jackson was dubbed, “The quarterback guru” after working playoff magic out of the Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterbacks Andy Dalton and A.J. McCarron. It’s more interesting with the information that he held a running back coaches position with two NFL teams and four college teams.

Another possibility is because of the league changing. While the idea of a great run game isn’t dead, many people do subscribe to the idea that it’s a passing league now. Some use that more than others and given the Browns last really successful quarterback was Brian Hoyer, it stands to reason that Jackson could be pushing too hard to find “the one” before developing a run game, which doesn’t work in any sense. Whatever the case may be, it’s hurt Jackson and will continue until he is either fired or stops calling plays.


Q: Tell us about the uniforms coming up in 2020. Are we going back to the old unis? – Jeffrey, Penfield, OH

]A: This is the first question about something other than the players I’ve had to answer, so thank you Jeffrey. There’s been very limited talk about this but from what has been said, the team could be looking to redesign the uniforms and the logo. The logo has been said to not be the helmet that we’ve all become accustomed to and not be a recoloring of it, like we saw in 2015. While not much has been made about it, one idea has been white helmets. However, I would not expect anything too drastic, as even Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has said, “We’ve talked about it, but we haven’t conceptualized what that might be, and we have to work with the NFL on it. We’re the Cleveland Browns. We stand for a certain thing. I can’t imagine doing anything too crazy, can you? I can’t.” So don’t expect a major rebranding on uniforms but you can expect change.


Q: Why would we hire people that just got fired? – Brennon – Mount Gilead, OH

A: This has been asked around Browns Facebook groups over the last couple weeks, along with another question that I’ll get to, but there’s a couple reasons. Let’s start with the easier reason, why hire a head coach who was fired as a coordinator. The reason most coordinators are hired as head coaches is because they excelled in their past job, no matter if it’s offense or defense. When they don’t live up to snuff, they often go back to what they did well. Whether they stay, such as Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips or go back and work on their coaching skills, similar to whats going on with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, they can try again somewhere down the road.

Now when it comes to hiring a coordinator that was fired by another team, more so recently, it’s usually due to not getting the job done or not having a good relationship. The recent report with now former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley is because of a weakened relationship between him and the head coach Mike Tomlin. As for not getting the job done, look at former defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who struggled in stints with the Browns and Tennessee Titans. It’s not an easy pill to swallow and it can leave uneasiness in the minds of fans but it’s not always a bad thing to hire your guy the minute they’re fired.


Q: With the entire Cleveland Browns world over-focused on the QB situation, what under-the-radar OL saviors will be brought in to allow our current experiment more time for progressions, better decision making, and opening running lanes for Barkley? – Adam, Parts Unknown, USA

A: Well that’s assuming the Browns take halfback Saquon Barkley and a quarterback with their first round picks which wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. That said, there’s two trains of thought as the line is essentially built for next year with the only real questions being the two tackle positions. While popular ideas such as left tackle Nate Solder will be highly touted, the free agent pool isn’t the best option this year. Probably the best option will be to either stay in house or draft. Considering that left tackle Joe Thomas has a decision to make going forward and the team has three tackles in Shon Coleman, Roderick Johnson and Spencer Drango, one of them, most likely Johnson, will be designated as the heir to Thomas. There are a couple names in the draft to watch for that could be steals in second and third days, including Washington State Coguars’ Andre Dillard, Texas Longhorns’ Connor Williams, etc. One name I’d circle however is Brandon Parker from North Carolina A&T. He impressed scouts in the NFL, to the point that some point to him as a potential starter.


Q: There has been several articles saying the Browns will trade down (from either #1 or #4) but stay inside the top 10 to grab extra picks and a top 10 player as well…..what are your thoughts on that, & what type of trade scenario would make the most sense if any? – Ted, South Charleston, West Virginia

A: First off, I wouldn’t trade down. Part of the reason the Browns are in the whole they’ve been in is because they continuously traded down and settled. They traded down two years ago to gain Philadelphia’s pick in 2017 and lost out on Carson Wentz, then they traded down in 2017 for the Texans first round pick this year and lost out on DeShaun Watson. Trading down doesn’t always work out and it’s bitten the team in the butt often as we’ve seen, leaving the team with the fourth or fifth best option when they could have had the best. If the Browns were to trade down and stay within the top 10, you need to get a kings ransom for either pick.

One such example could be for a ready to start player. The Browns need a play that can be ready to go week one and make a difference week one. The one trade I could see happening is with the Chiefs who could use some pieces given their loss in the playoffs. One idea that’s been floated around is quarterback Alex Smith. I could see some modification for higher picks being exchanged, but really I don’t see the Browns reverting back to their “money ball” ways and following the “quantity over quality” idea again.


Q: Why is everyone so down on Sashi Brown? – Gary, Cleveland, Ohio

A: Short and sweet, because he didn’t produce results. Part of the general managers job is provide results and improvements on the team, he did neither and was let go. It also didn’t help that he subscribed to the idea of “quantity over quality.” While in theory, quantity can lead to getting quality more often, you also run the gambit of missing out on higher quality. I get that it was a three-to-five year plan but you still expect results and you expect development. Seeing as the team went from 3-13 to 1-15 to 0-16, that’s not really improvement.

Q: Is Joe Thomas coming back next year? Richard, Parts Unknown, USA

A: I see Thomas coming back, if for no other reason, because he doesn’t want to go out like he did. It’s similar to how Yankees closer Mariano Rivera went out. If you remember, he injured himself catching balls in batting practice. He would return for one more season to make sure that he went out healthy and giving his full effort. Shortstop Derek Jeter would do the same thing the next season. I see Thomas coming back for at least one more season. It could be more depending on if there’s progress made. There will be a clearer picture once free agency and trading starts.

Eric Urbanowicz


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