NFL Offseason

The Round Up: Cleveland Browns

For the first time recent memory, the Browns are going into a season with expectations and big plans for the 2019 season. For a team that didn’t win a game just two seasons ago, they have made an incredible turnaround led by the likes of general manager John Dorsey and quarterback Baker Mayfield. 

There is promise throughout the organization and those looking from the outside feel it too, a fresh feeling for Browns fans who have suffered for quite a long time. Is the hype far overblown as most fans have come to believe or is the hype well deserved and are the Browns on their way to their first winning record since 2007?

Losses:

  • Kevin Zeitler 
  • Jabrill Peppers
  • Jamie Collins 
  • Emmanuel Ogbah 

The Browns are going into the season with a team that is almost fully intact and there is no true turnover that hurts the squad. Three of the four players that were lost were apart of deals to bring in Olivier Vernon, Eric Murray and, of course, Odell Beckham Jr. 

Though the team did not lose many players through FA, they will miss those who they shipped away. Kevin Zeitler signed with the Browns during the 2017 offseason and in the two seasons he spent in Cleveland he started all 32 games serving as a reliable lineman to the four quarterbacks who started. 

Jabrill Peppers was packaged in the deal which brought in OBJ, but had started to come into his own this past season as he racked up nearly 80 tackles anchoring the back end of the defense. 

Collins will be missed as well since he started all 16 games in 2018, controlling the middle on his way to over 100 tackles, including four sacks. Ogbah should be mentioned as well because he is a really nice rotation piece in a pass rush. 

Additions:

  • Odell Beckham Jr
  • Sheldon Richardson 
  • Olivier Vernon 
  • Kareem Hunt
  • Greedy Williams 
  • Mack Wilson 
  • Morgan Burnett
  • Freddie Kitchens as HC, Todd Monken as OC, and Steve Wilks as DC

Another great offseason that the Browns had following the franchise-changing 2018 offseason is what is bringing hope to all Brown fans across the country. After last offseason in which they brought in franchise QB and icon Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry, the Browns brought in star wideout Odell Beckham, troubled tailback Kareem Hunt, traded for Olivier Vernon, signed nice pieces in Sheldon Richardson and Morgan Burnett, while also drafting Greedy Williams. 

There is no reason why Brown fans shouldn’t be absolutely ecstatic about this upcoming campaign. After a historically good rookie year, John Dorsey made sure he would only get better and be surrounded by better players adding to his arsenal OBJ, and Kareem Hunt, who will be suspended for the first eight games but will be really dangerous with Nick Chubb. 

On the other side of the ball, Myles Garrett will now have new running mates in Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon who combined for 11.5 sacks this past season to make for a nice trio. In the draft, they picked up CB Greedy Williams who is essentially a first-rounder, as he slid to the second round due to concerns over his work ethic and his unwillingness to tackle. The addition of Greedy will make for a solid and young corner tandem as he joins Denzel Ward who played really well his rookie year. 

Overview:

The Browns have somehow become a team that is hated as a result of Baker’s antics and just how hyped up they are by the media, but they absolutely deserve all the hype. This team should be really good and would be disappointed if their season doesn’t end in a playoff berth at least.

I have been talking up this team a lot but if there is one area that is scary and should be addressed it is their offensive line. When your starting tackles going into the season are Greg Robinson and Sam Hubbard that is not good. Fortunately, Baker’s play-style certainly won’t be limited by the shortcomings of his offensive line as he’s a QB who is comfortable playing outside of the pocket, making unscripted plays, and throwing on the run as highlighted on a number of occasions throughout the season. 

The coaching staff will be something to watch as well as the team hired interim coach Freddie Kitchens, who led the team during their late-season turnaround. He has built a really nice staff, with the likes of Todd Monken and Steve Wilks joining him. Todd Monken led a prolific passing attack in Tampa that made Fitzpatrick and Winston put up gaudy numbers. While Wilks is coming off a coaching stint in Arizona that didn’t workout, he is well renowned as a coordinator. 

The hire of Kitchens as a HC has not been well received as he has been under fire for not truly leading the team during their run, but they should be ok as he has built an extremely solid staff.

Season prediction:

This team is stacked with talent and should expect nothing less than a playoff berth and division crown. The Browns are scheduled to play their division rivals as well as the AFCE and NFCW. There are certainly winnable games against each division. I would predict the Browns to go 11-5 and lose in the divisional round or potentially the championship game as Baker takes a big leap and the defense improves.

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