Cleveland Browns fans, I know there seems to be hype surrounding your football team every year. You’ve gotten your hopes up only to be disappointed time and time again—last year especially. But quite frankly, there could be a legitimate reason for optimism this time around. Here’s why:
Cleveland has assembled quality talent at critical spots on defense
All of those years picking early in the draft may soon pay dividends. Obviously that’s contingent upon getting the players right and it looks like their solid drafts and free agent acquisitions over the past couple years are starting to pay off. Defensively, they just signed star pass-rusher Myles Garrett to a big extension. In the secondary, Denzel Ward has already been to a Pro Bowl. If Greedy Williams reaches the potential they believe he has, the secondary should be much improved. Grant Delpit comes in with much to prove after feeling overlooked in the 2020 NFL Draft. Obviously linebackers are a question mark, but with star players on the back end and pressure up front, this defense can make some noise.
Cleveland is built for success in the AFC North
This is based on the cold climate and the brutal wind that blows off the lake. Throwing the ball is difficult in Cleveland in the winter. With that said, Cleveland may have the best running back room in the NFL—their own version of thunder and lightning. Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing as a rookie. So he is clearly capable of carrying the load and being a nice complement to Nick Chubb. For a good amount of the 2019 season, Chubb was leading the NFL in rushing. He lost the rushing title in the last week of the season to Derrick Henry but still enjoyed a breakout season. His physical running style not only appeals to the blue-collar fan base, but finishes games for their offense. I can think of a couple million things more fun than tackling a physical running back in the freezing cold.
They’ve upgraded the offensive line
This may be the biggest X-factor going into the season. Mayfield was under far too much pressure in 2019. Getting hit too often can derail a young quarterback’s career, just ask Tim Couch. Jack Conklin comes over at right tackle and is an instant upgrade. J.C. Tretter is a leader both on and off the field. Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio returns at left guard and 2020 first-round pick Jedrick Wills comes from an elite program and should be ready to step right in and play—facing Garrett every day in practice should sharpen him and prepare him for elite pass-rushers in the NFL. If this unit plays well and protects Mayfield, Cleveland should challenge for a wild-card spot.
- Dec 01, 2022
- Nov 30, 2022