Quote of the Day is a recurring series that will single out something said by a Browns player, coach or executive in a given day and provide context behind its importance.
The quote: "For us, our theme has been flexibility and adaptation, and we have to be able to pivot as we get more information. We do have a number of contingencies in place. We are really focused on the things that we can control at this point in time. As we get more information, we will make more definitive decisions in that regard." — Executive VP of Football Operations and GM Andrew Berry on how the Browns' college scouting operation will adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The same challenges and hurdles the NFL is looking to overcome in the pursuit of a full 2020 season are amplified at the college level.
Division II and Division III schools won't be competing in the fall. The University of Connecticut announced Wednesday it would not be playing football. The Power 5 conferences that produce the vast majority of players who will be drafted in 2021 have announced major changes and decreases to their schedules in the hopes of a executing a season that will be the closest thing to normal. Some of the projected top prospects in the 2021 class have announced their intention to opt out of the upcoming season.
In a normal year, most scouts would be on the road right now. They'd be watching practices, gathering film and adding to the evaluations of players they've monitored throughout the years. Then, when the last week of August hits, they'd be watching the prospects in person.
There's still a chance for some or all of that to occur in 2020. And though it's not as cut-and-dry as usual, there is still plenty to do.
"There is a fair amount of work in the summer that we typically do that can already be executed by our scouts largely through film work," Berry said. "We are still a few weeks away in terms of really having to execute anything travel related. We have talked through and planned through a number of contingencies, but the reality of it is that all of us want certainty and we are creatures of habit, and that is not something that we have at this point in time.
"There are still a fair amount of unknowns with different colleges within college football – some are moving to the spring and then schools are still working through restrictions as it pertains to NFL scouts."
Check out photos of the team working out Tuesday
For Berry and his department, it won't just be college football that changes how it operates during this part of the season.
Berry expressed confidence in the team's ability to evaluate its own players over the next few weeks despite the lack of preseason games. It just makes it much more difficult to evaluate players around the league who could become available as rosters are trimmed to 53. Like most teams around the league, the Browns made multiple trades and waiver claims for players in this category just before the start of the 2019 season, and a handful of them made a significant impact.
Flexibility and adaptation, the words driving Cleveland's entire football operation as the season nears, will be key as the Browns look to construct the best possible roster for their Sept. 13 season opener at Baltimore.
"We still do have plenty of information from whether it is veterans across the league and their pro career or younger players in terms of their college career," Berry said. "It is always nice to have those call it 80-100 snaps during the preseason, but I feel confident that we will be able to navigate that really well once we get closer to the cut-down date."