CLEVELAND — The Browns and their fans can only hope that John Dorsey’s blueprint is not nontransferable, a plane ticket to Super Bowl Nirvana booked only in the name of the Kansas City Chiefs.
After a 37-21 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett found out how much the Chiefs believe in the man who was their general manager from 2013 until he was surprisingly let go in June 2017.
“When they came up to me after the game, they were excited for us that we had Dorsey,” Garrett said. He took little solace, too consumed by what he can do better as the Browns slipped to 2-6-1, the result seemingly the same in the first game since coach Hue Jackson’s firing.
Garrett and the Browns learned that the Chiefs' offensive juggernaut largely built by Dorsey is not a product of media hype. The Chiefs scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions, the only failure a drive that began with 26 seconds left in the first half. They put up 499 net yards, the second-most allowed by the Browns this season. They converted 6-of-10 third downs.
Even though the Browns trailed 21-15 at halftime, there was no doubt they were not in the Chiefs’ league talent-wise. Three Browns defensive players had been lost to injury. In a head-to-head comparison of offensive starters, the Browns would have the edge only on the interior offensive line.
The Chiefs have the league’s fastest receiver, arguably the best offensive line, the 2017 rushing leader and a tight end who has totaled the most yards after the catch since 2013. Making just his 10th career start, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is having the best quarterback year in the 59-year history of the Chiefs.
Garrett might not have come away with the feeling Dorsey, hired last December, will do the same thing in Cleveland. But rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield did and he might be the Browns’ cornerstone on the other side of the ball.
“Absolutely. We believe in what he's doing. We believe in the guys that he's brought in here and everything they're about,” Mayfield said. “It's about the culture. That's where it starts. He established a culture there. He brought in the right pieces. And you've got to get people to believe in that.
“It doesn't matter who you have. If you have that fixed, you can go a long way. Right now we're working on that.”
Admittedly, there is a little bit of a lightning-in-a-bottle feel to the Chiefs that might be hard to recapture.
Mahomes, the son of a major-league pitcher, is defying the notion that he was another system quarterback from the Big 12 and is benefiting from a rookie year when he spent 15 games on the bench.
Third-year receiver Tyreek Hill — whom Garrett called the “fastest guy I’ve ever seen” — is from the University of West Alabama, a school with an enrollment of under 5,000 located between Meridian, Mississippi, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Second-year running back Kareem Hunt’s draft prospectus on NFL.com called him “adequate in most areas and has talent to become a backup that can step in and handle a bigger load if needed.” As a rookie out of the University of Toledo, he totaled an NFL-high 1,327 rushing yards; he entered Sunday fourth in that category this season.
Tight end Travis Kelce, a quarterback when he arrived at the University of Cincinnati, was suspended for an entire college season for marijuana use.
The Chiefs also have the perfect coach in Andy Reid, 60, not afraid to admit he’s still picking up new ways to use Hunt on screens.
“Every day I’m learning and I love that part of it,” Reid said.
The Chiefs’ blueprint offers the Browns hope that they might not have to look far to find special players. Hunt is a product of Willoughby South High School, Kelce went to Cleveland Heights, backup running back Spencer Ware is from Cincinnati Princeton.
The Oakland Raiders showed Browns owner Jimmy Haslam a similar formula when they defeated the Mike Pettine-coached Browns in 2015 with a team built around draft picks David Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. That group got the Raiders a 12-4 record in 2016 and a wild-card playoff loss; now they’re tearing it all down under new coach Jon Gruden.
The Browns have the man who made magic in Kansas City, even though he wasn’t kept around to bask in the winning glow. But the Chiefs believe Dorsey can re-create what they have and that bodes well for the future, even if Garrett was too dejected to realize it.
Marla Ridenour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.