I’ve made some outlandish predictions about the coming NFL season, but heads and shoulders above them all is my belief that the Browns have a playoff calibre team. So as I lay in bed in a heat fuelled delirium I figured now would be the best time to explain myself.
Lets start by saying I’m not saying they will definitely make the playoffs. What I’m saying is with the team they have and the change in mentality in Cleveland, they should be in the conversation.
So firstly lets look at the competition. The AFC is as weak as it has looked in a long time. Not a lot of terrible teams, but even the Elite teams are looking very beatable. Wild Card slots will be hotly contested and there is no reason the Browns couldn’t edge out a team like the Colts or the Dolphins. More importantly, what about the AFC North? An aging Steelers team, a depleted Ravens team and their main competitors, a Bengals team that despite making the playoffs over the last couple of seasons, haven’t set the world on fire and are beatable. Once again I think its worth saying, that I don’t think any of these teams are bad. But on their day, the Browns could win against all of these teams.
Okay then what makes the Browns better than previous seasons? Firstly, they have an established Offensive Line which has led to an established Run game with Trent Richardson set to live up to his first round value. To a lot of people the weak link of the offense will be Weeden. Yup he’s unproven but behind him he has one of the premium Offensive Coordinators in Norv Turner. So his reign as a head coach wasn’t wonderful, but you look at the great QB’s he has moulded (some dude called Troy Aikman?) and he has the best opportunity to excel that he could possibly have. So what they really need is a great 3rd down receiver…oh yeah, they covered that by signing Davone Bess, who had moments of genius last year. He joins a receiving corps of Greg Little and Josh Gordon. All in all a pretty sound offense…AND THEIR DEFENSE IS BETTER.
The Browns front seven is incredible. There. I said it. Lets look at their off-season acquisitions. Desmond Bryant, Paul Kruger and they took Mingo in the draft. Add this to D’Qwell Jackson and elite Nose Tackle Phil Brown and you have a very impressive D-Line and Linebacker Corps. Ok so the secondary could probably use work, but they do still have Joe Haden and 3rd round pick Leon McFadden. This is a defense that can punish QB mistakes and contain Running Backs. This defense should give the offense the field position they need to put points on the board.
So I might be crazy and I’m clearly suffering from sleep deprivation, but when you pull it apart…that’s a pretty good team.