Hanford Dixon, “The Top Dawg” coined the name Dawgpound and helped create a fear factor for all opponents entering Municipal Stadium. He loved the energy, loyalty and lunch pail attitude that the Cleveland fans exuded. Dixon wanted to transfer that attitude to the field, defense and the team in general. Through trades, drafting and re-signing homegrown free-agents, Sashi Brown has reinvigorated the front seven and the Defense as a whole.

The below the radar move, minus personnel decisions, was the hiring of Gregg Williams as the new defensive coordinator. He is a no nonsense, hard-nosed football guy that will hold his players accountable for their assignments and praise them when they surpass their highest expectations. One of his best attributes is that he is not fixated on 4-3 or 3-4 formations. He truly uses a hybrid-style that will best utilize his players. This is the antithesis of what defensive coordinators have been doing year after year for the Browns. Hence here is a good question: “Why fit a square peg in a round hole?” Making sound moves and George Costanza like (the opposite of every instinct I have ever known) decisions is all anyone can ask of this entire organization.

Building through the trenches is the best way to create success. Brown has been stockpiling draft selections to bolster a deep rotation for the defensive line. This matches up perfectly with the aggressive nature of Williams’ defense, which calls for fresh waves of defenders rotating constantly. Here are the names that will be a part of this rotation: Larry Ogunjobi, Caleb Brantley, Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, Danny Shelton, Jamie Meder, Tyrone Holmes, Xavier Cooper, Desmond Bryant Nate Orchard and Carl Nassib. That list is impressive and a vast difference from several years ago as it features tons of youth.

The middle of the defense will be much improved with the continual pressure that will be put on the opposing quarterback. The long-term contracts of Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey were huge moves in creating credibility where there hasn’t been much for quite a while. Joe Schobert and Dominique Alexander will compete for the other starting spot. The hybrid set-up as mentioned before will give opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators many thoughts. Jabril Peppers is the Swiss-Army knife player that Williams absolutely loves. Peppers played an undersized linebacker role at Ann Arbor and has the skillset and tackling ability to play anywhere on the field.

The secondary certainly was a major weakness last year that could be turned in the right direction with an improved pass rush. Joe Haden’s health is still a very big question mark. The wear and tear that this incredibly physical game imposes on these athletes is something that can’t be overlooked. The NFL is the best sport in the land, but these muscle-bound gentlemen that put on the pads every day are only human. Haden is Cleveland through and through and nothing would make him and the fans happier than 2017 being a fully healthy campaign. The re-signing of Jamar Taylor was incredibly important. The acquisition of Taylor last year that Brown worked out was a steal of a trade with Miami at the 2016 NFL Draft. Jason McCourty and Calvin Pryor are two amazing pickups this offseason that will make the safety position much improved.

2017 is the beginning of bigger and better things for Believeland. Stability and continuity are the keys to turning this around and building a quality franchise. Here’s to the “Dawgpound” resurrecting itself and First Energy Stadium being a feared destination for opponents!

About The Author Joey Iuppa

I am originally from Rochester, NY....attended Marquette University, Graduated with Marketing Degree and a Psychology Minor. I have been a business owner for 20 years....recently married, wine aficionado and Browns fan for life!