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|Jarvis Landry has heard the horror stories. Since being traded by the Miami Dolphins to the Browns in March http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-josh-allen-jersey , he's been schooled on the misery, heartache and pain endured during a 0-16 season in Cleveland.
Landry's sympathetic 鈥?to a point.
"I wasn't part of that," the three-time Pro Bowl receiver said during training camp. "I didn't have nothing to do with what happened here. I can't take that on my back."
Landry was lucky, because anyone who lived through last season in Cleveland bears permanent scars.
However, thanks to an extreme roster overhaul orchestrated by new general manager John Dorsey, who previously revived the Kansas City Chiefs, there's reason to think the Browns will not only be better than a year ago 鈥?they can't do any worse 鈥?but they'll contend in the AFC North.
"This team is headed in the right direction, for sure," said former Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor, another of Cleveland's talented new additions. "The attitude is right. The energy is right in the locker room. We just have to remain focused throughout the full season and be able to withstand the ups and downs."
There were no ups last season when the Browns joined the 2008 Detroit Lions in ignominy as the only teams to whiff on a 16-game schedule. That calamity came after the Browns went 1-15 in coach Hue Jackson's first season.
Yet despite his 1-31 mark, Jackson survived. Owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam pardoned him and are giving the fourth coach they've had since taking over in 2012, a third season to awaken one of the league's most storied franchises.
Jackson's role is more CEO than coach this season after handing off the offense to former Steelers coordinator Todd Haley, who will call plays and try to get the most out of Taylor, a talented receiving group and three-back rotation featuring the versatile Duke Johnson.
The Browns have spent most of the past 20 years looking for a franchise quarterback, and the team feels they've found one in Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner drafted No. 1 overall.
Mayfield, though, will begin the season backing up Taylor, who guided the Bills to the playoffs last season but is being viewed 鈥?at least for now 鈥?by the Browns as a place-holder.
In the meantime, Taylor's work ethic and positive attitude is influencing teammates who are starting to believe the bad days are behind the Browns.
Linebacker Christian Kirksey predicts Cleveland will make the playoffs.
"When I really feel something John Kelly Color Rush Jersey , I'm going to say it," Kirksey said. "I'm confident in these guys. I'm a firm believer in if I put it out there, it begins to exist. I know a lot of people will say, 'You haven't won a game, this and that.' I really believe we're destined to win a lot of games."
Here are some things to watch with the Browns this season:
Myles Garrett may be on the verge of superstardom. The second-year defensive end missed four games as a rookie with a severely sprained ankle that never got completely healed. He still finished with seven sacks in 11 games, and the former top pick could double that total this season.
Garrett is quick, explosive and strong. And don't be fooled that he's soft-spoken or enjoys writing poems. The dude is nasty.
Make no mistake, Jackson needs to win. He's been given a pass because of previous mistakes made by the front office during the Browns' rebuild. Now, Jackson has to show he can develop talent, manage games and produce victories. He's running out of time. The Haslams have been supportive, but their backing could erode quickly if Cleveland doesn't show major improvement in the first few weeks.
Supremely talented, sadly troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon is back after missing training camp to work on his health. The former Pro Bowler is out of second chances with the NFL following numerous suspensions, and if the 27-year-old is going to revive his career, it has to start this season.
Gordon's speed stretches defenses, forcing them to respect the Browns' deep passing game and creates openings elsewhere on the field. Gordon can make Landry, a three-time Pro Bowler, even more dangerous 鈥?and vice versa.
BIG CLEATS TO FILL
Joel Bitonio didn't want to do it, but the Browns slid the standout guard into Joe Thomas' old spot at left tackle during camp. Thomas retired following 10 Pro Bowl seasons, leaving the Browns to address a position they didn't have to worry about for a decade. Bitonio played some tackle at Nevada and while he's not built like the prototypical end blocker, he'll hold his own.
Trouble is Da'Shawn Hand Jersey , by moving Bitonio the Browns may have weakened two spots. Rookie Austin Corbett has replaced Bitonio at left guard.
Turnovers were a major reason for the Browns' ruinous season. Not only did they commit a league-high 41 (28 interceptions, 13 fumbles), but Cleveland forced just 13 takeaways (seven INTs, six fumbles), the league's fewest.
The Minnesota Vikings are turning off the lights at the team's new practice facility south of Minneapolis after neighbors complained about the glow.
The Eagan building's north side is nearly 100 feet (30.5 meters) high and lights up with the team's Norseman logo and the words "Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center - Home of the Minnesota Vikings."
The NFL team will turn off the lights on the north side of the building between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., said Jeff Anderson, team spokesman. The shut-off time will be moved to about midnight when the team hosts night events such as high school games.
The team is "listening to the community," Anderson said.
The other three sides of the facility will remain lit every night, he said.
The Vikings moved into the 277,000-square-foot complex in March. The area includes an indoor practice facility, the team's headquarters and an outdoor stadium.
Mendota Heights residents complained about the lights last month.
City officials found the building complied with city code when it received an initial complaint about the lights in February, said Tom Garrison, Eagan spokesman.
"Brightness levels are the same as other wall signage in Eagan," Garrison said.
The new solution was an "internal team decision," said Lester Bagley, the Vikings' executive vice president of public affairs.
"We'd like to be collaborative and compromise," Bagley said.
Resident Nancy Commerford said the decision will help make her street feel less like a circus.
"If I wake up in the middle of the night now I won't see the lights," Commerford said. "Having them compromise like this makes my day."
The team expects the change to occur this weekend.
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