In his quiet way, Brown seems confident, and he certainly has good reason. The addition of Wilson in the backfield gives him better blocking than he has had in some time, a more varied running attack and a "big back" backfield that is reasonably comparable to Green Bay's. His offense has been varied in early preseason games and no one so far has successfully guessed the plays before the Browns have actually begun to execute them.
Successful to a fault
The competition in the Eastern Division appears to be weaker this year than it has been the past few seasons. The general level of excellence is there, but the archrivals of the Browns—the Giants—are beginning to show some of the signs of age and have had a rash of crippling injuries where they most needed help. Too, the Giants, like the Browns, have suffered the penalty of success: a dearth of good young talent which comes with drafting last or close to it each year. The late draft choices that fall to the top teams year after year make it hard to replace aging veterans. This, according to Brown, is one of the difficulties he has had to face in trying to win another league championship.
"You know the formula for winning a championship?" he asked recently. "You finish last for about 10 years in a row, then you get a coach like Vince Lombardi to tie all those first draft choices together."
Reasonably enough, as this season approaches, Cleveland is appearing more and more often as the choice in the Eastern Division in the opinions of experts. Brown would rather be the underdog, but he isn't exactly displeased with the way things have been going for his team in training. You won't hear that from him now and, if he wins, he won't crow either. Paul Brown will let his record speak for him. As in the past, it should speak eloquently.