Guaranteeing victories might be the least-controversial controversial thing going in sports these days, but they can be worth an eyebrow raise in some situations.
Take the Cleveland Browns’ Jarvis Landry, for instance. The wide receiver spoke to the media on Thursday and initially seemed very confident that his 2-4 Browns can head into Foxborough and beat the 7-0 New England Patriots — in a stadium where the Pats have won 19 straight games (including postseason).
#Browns WR Jarvis Landry on what he expects coming off the bye: "Well, we're going to win. We're going to win. It's that simple. We're getting guys back healthy. We're going to win."— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) October 24, 2019
Of course, Landry was asked whether he was actually guaranteeing a win. He clarified (walked back?) his statements just a bit.
#Browns Jarvis Landry clarified his comments about “we’re going to win.” He just said he meant “we’re going (there) to win”— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) October 24, 2019
So there you have it. Jarvis Landry either guaranteed a victory. Or he didn’t. But even if he didn’t, he believes his team can win. Or something.
Much like the overblown comments last week by Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys, the stakes with Landry’s guarantee/non-guarantee just aren’t that high. Pederson was not forced to give up his position after his team got drubbed in Dallas. And should the Browns lose to the Patriots, as many others expect, we believe Landry will be allowed to remain in his current work role.
Good or bad idea?
If you’re a Browns fan, you might love the confidence from Landry. It’s a swagger the Browns seemed to have lacked in a tough season so far, especially after losing three of the four games prior to their bye. Most sportsbooks have the Patriots installed as nearly two-TD favorites.
But you also might hate this as a Browns fan for the dreaded “bulletin board material” he provided New England. Yes, sure, Bill Belichick and his squad are likely to see this quote/non-quote — and even if they don’t, they’re likely to be asked about it. Ho hum, really.
Perhaps Landry realized what he had said and backtracked a little. Maybe he wanted to hedge every so slightly with his comments. Whatever the case might be, it’s likely that whatever Landry meant/didn’t mean will have little bearing on the outcome.
Interestingly, Landry actually has had some relative success against the Patriots, winning three of his eight career games against them. Considering the Patriots’ regular-season win percentage since the start of Landry’s rookie year of 2014 has been a whopping .793, him winning 37.5 percent of those games vs. New England isn’t too shabby.
Of course, the Browns have had far less success against the Patriots. Since the franchise reboot in Cleveland in 1999, the Browns are only 2-7 against them — and both victories came in Cleveland, the last one happening in 2010. The Browns’ last win in Foxborough? That would be in 1992. Their coach was ... yep, Belichick.
The most interesting thing Jarvis Landry said
Landry was asked about his young quarterback having to face the genius of Belichick and the members of the Patriots’ defense, which leads the league in several categories. The wide receiver’s answer was pretty darned interesting.
“I wouldn’t say they’ve faced a first- or second-year quarterback like Baker Mayfield,” Landry said.
Landry then doubled down on his team’s intentions for Sunday night: “We’re going to win the game.”
And, for good measure, Landry added: “I wouldn’t say anyone is a genius.”
Now that’s more interesting!
Maybe Belichick’s response will be to glue Stephon Gilmore to Landry’s hip for four quarters. But ... counterpoint: Maybe this is what the Browns want? After all, they also have a player by the name of Odell Beckham Jr. Belichick has been complementary of both wideouts over the years when asked about them individually.
But, yeah, were these fighting words from Landry? The type of thing that will melt the nonexistent bulletin board off the wall entirely? Well, probably not.
At least we have a tiny layer of intrigue prior to this matchup, which looked a whole lot more enticing prior to the 2019 season kicking off.
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