If people ask Cleveland Browns fans when did a culture change begin to happen within the organization, some might say it was Jarvis Landry when he joined the team in 2018. Those people would be correct. Before Landry joined the Browns after getting traded for from the Miami Dolphins in 2018, the Browns just finished a 1-31 stretch from 2016-2017, including an 0-16 campaign for the first time in team history. There have been some low points for the organization, but 2017 was the lowest. However, everything changed once Landry joined the Browns.
The Jarvis Landry Effect
The Browns acquired Landry from the Dolphins for a 2018 fourth-round pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick. It is clear who won that trade if anyone asked people from around the NFL. That season would also see the acquisitions of Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, and Nick Chubb in the subsequent draft along with many others in the draft or in free agency. That said, the key piece of the offseason moves was, in many ways, Jarvis Landry.
That season HBO’s “Hard Knocks” chose the Browns as their team for that season to feature. Hard Knocks in a nutshell is a show that gives fans a behind-the-scenes look into what goes on in and around NFL training camps and the Browns were picked that year. Once the show started releasing episodes, it was clear who was going to lead the team that year from episode one. Besides Browns fans, tons of NFL fans know that moment in Hard Knocks when Landry stood in front of the wide receivers room during camp. It’s known as the “Contagious Speech” or the “Hard Knocks Speech”.
Jarvis Landry’s unedited Hard Knocks speech. It’s contagious. pic.twitter.com/ESi3QrT7Pz
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) August 8, 2018
Once that aired, there seemed to be a change around the organization. Guys were flying around the field, plays were going off without a hitch, it just seemed like there was a change brewing in Berea, OH. Landry became a fan favorite right from the jump after that speech. Landry up to that point had set an NFL record for most catches (400) in the first four years of a career.
Landry’s stats over the last two years hasn’t seen the five-time Pro Bowler wide receiver slow down at all. In 2018, Landry played in all 16 games and finished with 81 receptions for 976 yards (12.0 YPC) and four touchdowns. Landry followed up that impressive 2018 season with even a better one in 2019, finishing with 83 receptions for 1,174 yards (14.1 average), and six touchdowns. In his two full seasons with the Browns, playing all 32 games for the team, he’s accumulated 164 receptions for 2,150 yards (13.1 average) and 10 touchdowns. But the main thing about Landry is that he has changed the culture with the Browns.
Since he joined the team, the Browns have won 13 games in two seasons, which is mind-blowing considering the fact that the team won one game in the previous two seasons combined. Although 2019 fell short of high expectations, that hasn’t hindered Landry’s feelings or drive to continue to help the Browns strive for more going into the 2020 season.
Even though he has been rehabbing from an offseason hip surgery, it has not stopped him from going after it in rehab and getting prepared for the season as a whole. Head coach Kevin Stefanski has been preaching the word “Work” in the team’s Zoom meetings throughout the offseason and Landry for sure needs to motivate with that word since he’s been working since joining the NFL, and more so the Browns. Landry has been helping out newly required wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones in the offseason, which is good to see for a rookie coming into the room with Landry, Odell Beckham Jr, Rashard Higgins, and others.
Overall, Jarvis Landry has been one of, if not the biggest, factor to have changed the culture within the Cleveland Browns organization. Right from his entry into the team, he’s been a leader of not just the wide receivers but the team as a whole. He basically told the team that the culture needed to change because it was toxic. The team was just at an all-time low overall, and something needed to change.
After going 6-10 last year and 7-8-1 in 2018, there seems to be a good indication that the Browns will get better as long as Landry is with the team making sure that the team doesn’t fall from the path that they have been on since 2018 which is to get better. 2020 will be an interesting season, but one thing’s for sure: Landry will be there to help lead the way for the Browns to have an excellent season this year.