CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns defensive back Damarious Randall has ingratiated himself into the Dawg Pound with his solid play on the field, but also, by embracing the support of the fans and for his fun-loving mindset.
On Friday, Randall put the latter on full display by tweeting several pictures of himself posing with metal statues resembling English Bulldogs.
“Definitely belong in the Dawg Pound…,” Randall tweeted.
Fellow Browns defensive back Denzel Ward responded, “Facts.”
Randall’s tweet was liked more than 2,000 times and retweeted by 171 Twitter users in just three hours.
According to his Instagram account, Randall currently is on vacation in London, England after a solid first year in Cleveland.
The Browns acquired Randall in a trade with the Green Bay Packers last offseason. In exchange for Randall, the Browns sent quarterback DeShone Kizer to Green Bay. Also, the teams swapped picks in the fourth and fifth rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.
In 15 games for the Browns in 2018, Randall set career highs with 85 total tackles, 72 solo stops and 13 assists, to go along with nine passes defended and matched his previous single-season best with four interceptions.
A first-round pick of the Packers, No. 30 overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft, Randall has registered 229 total tackles, 198 solo stops, 31 assists, 41 passes defended and 14 interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns during his four-year career.
Randall got plenty of support from his play on the field, but it was something he did after an interception in a 35-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati last November that got him further in good standing with fans.
Following his dismissal from the Browns, coach Hue Jackson became a special assistant for the Bengals, and when the two teams met over Thanksgiving Weekend, Randall wanted to greet the former Cleveland leader.
After corralling an interception of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton with 9:09 remaining in the second quarter, Randall handed the ball to and greeted Jackson when he ran out of bounds on the Cincinnati sideline.
Former Green Bay Packers cornerback and current Cleveland Browns free safety Damarious Randall called out Green Bay’s front office in the wake of head coach Mike McCarthy’s firing while also suggesting that perhaps Rodgers has taken a step back.
“They traded away all their good players and they expect Aaron Rodgers to just be magical,” Randall said, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “The magic hasn’t been so magical lately. But other than that, I don’t know.”
Randall, Green Bay’s first-round pick in 2015, was also surprised to see McCarthy get fired.
“Mike McCarthy is a great, great coach,” said Randall, who was traded in March to Cleveland for DeShone Kizer. “I’ve got nothing but the utmost respect for him. I just wish him the best. I don’t know why they fired him. He’s definitely a good, good guy, and he’s a great coach.”
The Packers have struggled immensely in 2018 with a 4-7-1 record that all but assures they’ll miss the postseason for the second straight year after reaching the playoffs eight straight times from 2009-16. There’s little question that Rodgers has an inferior supporting cast and didn’t have the coaching under McCarthy that other quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff have had.
It’s harder to argue that Rodgers isn’t still playing elite football. The 35-year-old battled through a knee injury this season but has nonetheless thrown for 3,504 yards, 21 touchdowns and just one interception. He is completing just 61.8 percent of his passes, which rests below his career average (64.8 percent), though Pro Football Focus has given Rodgers a 90.5 grade for the season, fourth among quarterbacks.
Green Bay’s scheme hasn’t done him many favors, however. The Packers are 21st in run offense (105.7 YPG) and 25th in run defense (127.8 YPG), so the lack of magic in Green Bay is perhaps spread out evenly across the roster.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns moved to 2-2-1 by beating Baltimore in the fifth game last season, and first-year Browns safety Damarious Randall was already letting opponents know where things stood.
“I’ve just got to let him know I’m the best free safety in the league and I’m going to be going sideline to sideline the entire game,” Randall then said of what he told a Ravens receiver that Sunday.
Then he said this — again, after week five in the 2018 season.
“Honestly, I feel like if we can keep this team together for a couple years, we will bring a Super Bowl to this town. You can mark my words on that. If we can keep most of these core guys and most of this together, we will win a Super Bowl.”
This guy knew it. So getting Randall to Cleveland? That’s high on our list of moves that transformed the Browns, at No. 6.
The move: Acquire Damarious Randall from Green Bay for quarterback DeShone Kizer and a minor swap of fourth- and fifth-round picks in 2018. The Browns gave up Nos. 101 and 138 and got back Nos. 114 and 150.
The context: Kizer was done. The one positive thing from 2017 was that the Browns played Kizer as a rookie and made a definitive decision on him — he wasn’t their guy. They were going to draft a quarterback at No. 1, so keeping him around didn’t make sense if they could get something for him.
And boy, did they get something. After starting Derrick Kindred and Jabrill Peppers together at safety in 2017, the Browns wanted to improve. General manager John Dorsey targeted a Packer who had been playing out of position at cornerback in Green Bay. And Randall became a Brown on March 9, 2018.
The Browns looked it during Sunday’s win at Paul Brown Stadium, their first road win in more than three years. Baker Mayfield threw for 258 yards and four touchdowns, extending plays when the initial design didn’t yield the right option (he also didn’t turn the ball over and took zero sacks); Nick Chubb accrued 128 yards of offense and two touchdowns on 31 touches, including a seemingly impossible touchdown grab that he pinned against Brandon Wilson’s helmet and pulled into his chest as he hit the ground; and the defense didn’t allow a touchdown until 52 seconds before halftime.
The Browns didn’t just win on the road or for the second time in a row. They did so in convincing fashion. They never lost the lead and the Bengals never got closer than 7-0.
“I just want to credit my team for playing lights out,” Randall said. “Obviously, they saw what I said. The whole entire world saw it.”