CLEVELAND — If this isn’t “going for it” — as John Dorsey swore straight-faced he would not do after a single 7-8-1 season — then his definition must entail something more.
Like acquiring at least one of Daenerys dragons.
For now, here’s what we can say about Tuesday night's acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr.
He’s no Dwayne Bowe. Not even close.
No Kenny Britt either.
And in part because of that we can say the days of Browns football being a measured “process” inching toward “sustained excellence” died in the organizational handbook GMs kept on their desks here for the past 20 years.
Under Dorsey, Browns football is certainly not a process.
It’s not a quiet knock or even a toe in the door of the AFC North. That’s too polite to describe this offseason in particular.
The entreaty aimed at getting the attention and respect of the division, conference and league is about as subtle as a battering ram.
First Kareem Hunt, then Olivier Vernon. Then Sheldon Richardson and Beckham in the same day.
And to think Dorsey lost an hour to daylight’s savings.
Hold on. Habit calls.
Watching Browns football since 1999 requires somebody to ask, “What could go wrong?”
Judging by the Mardi Gras that broke out on social media at the news of Beckham’s acquisition and the tease that Dorsey “isn’t done yet” (safety Earl Thomas?) this is a question that should be shouted from the rooftops to be heard, preferably by someone with operatic pipes or in possession of a megaphone.
Dorsey can’t account for injury. Beckham missed 16 games the past two seasons, though the bulk of those came two years ago. He’s had four 1,000-yard seasons, most recently a year ago while making just 12 starts.
Beyond that? Well, there are weird moments and occasional sideline meltdowns that are part of the package.
- But unless in a weak moment a kicking net accepts one of Beckham’s marriage proposals and the happy couple jets off to St. Lucia for a prolonged honeymoon, Dorsey will likely have reason to celebrate the day he delivered the electrifying offensive weapon the Browns need and quarterback Baker Mayfield deserves.
Dorsey can feel confident in part because Mayfield — in case you didn’t notice — is not exactly a wallflower himself. You can argue Browns football stopped being polite the minute Mayfield was drafted (and probably get no strong argument from Hue Jackson.)
Nothing about Mayfield screamed rookie a year ago. And he’s not likely to get cowed by a star receiver demanding the ball or acting up. Dorsey has reason to believe Mayfield can handle the idiosyncratic Beckham or he wouldn’t have willingly chased this pairing.
Is he right? Boy, it's going to fun seeing.
And now we know why Dorsey kept after this deal. It didn't require the two No. 1 picks we thought it might.
Dorsey acquired Beckham from the Giants Tuesday for a single No. 1 pick (17 overall in April), the later of two Browns third-round draft choices and Jabrill Peppers, who spent a chunk of his time in Ohio lined up in Michigan.
The Giants strategy, meanwhile, looks like a Benny Hill chase scene. Where are they going with the ancient Eli Manning at quarterback and how do they propose to get there now that they’ve traded his No. 1 target away and swallowed $16 million in dead cap money.
The head-scratching questions aren’t being asked of the Browns GM this time. This would normally take some time to get used to, but Dorsey ’s two years are moving at a clip that won’t allow for much reflection.
Or anything now except the highest aspirations.
It's a brave new world.
If it makes you feel comfortable, one thing hasn't changed.
The Browns used to cost you sleep.
And now when the prime time TV schedule comes out, they will again.