The Cleveland Browns came out of nowhere in 2014. Since reentering the league in 1999 the franchise hasn’t won a playoff game, but they sure looked on pace for an appearance last season. Well, they fizzled out (big surprise there). But they still finished 7-9 (also surprising).
Please don’t get used to winning, Browns’ fans.
The Browns have shown no plans for improving on their success in 2015. In fact, after losing Brian Hoyer, the team had the brilliant idea of just bringing in Josh McCown and hoping for a miraculous season by Johnny Manziel.
Sure, McCown could potentially emerge as a starter, but let’s remember what he’s dealing with. The Browns coaching staff, especially Mike Pettine, has not proven itself able to properly use quarterbacks to the best of their ability. I mean, this is the same coaching staff that allowed Hoyer to regress into a Community College QB and helped Manziel orchestrate arguably the worst single-game performance in NFL history.
The worst part of the whole situation is that the winner of the Manziel-McCown training camp battle will have basically no help on offense. Tight end Jordan Cameron took the first ticket out of Cleveland and ended up with the Miami Dolphins. I don’t think anyone can blame him.
So now, the Browns have been reduced to Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe at wide receiver. Even worse, the team made no attempt to help out the quarterbacks during the 2015 NFL Draft, selecting two offensive players in the Top 100.
With their second 1st round pick (No. 19 overall), Cleveland took offensive lineman Cameron Erving out of Florida State. Maybe the Browns forgot that their offensive line is the one part of the team that actually does consistently well? I’m not sure. Either way, it’s an interesting pick. Erving really earned his stripes as a center for the Seminoles; however, Alex Mack is arguably the best center in the NFL right now, so no rookie will be taking his spot. The Browns would have been much better off drafting a designated guard or tackle if they were set on further improving their top three line.
The only other offensive talent that the Browns drafted in the top three rounds was Miami running back Duke Johnson. Once again, in Browns style, they covered a position that they already have depth in.
Johnson can help out. Maybe he’ll be a third-down back or even a No. 2 behind Isaiah Crowell, but the team would have been just fine with Crowell and Terrance West back there.
So the Browns can just rely on their run game to succeed in 2015, right?
No offense to Crowell, as he is a talented back, but he’s no Adrian Peterson. Crowell cannot and will not rush for 200+ yards a game and single-handedly carry this team to the playoffs. I don’t care how talented your offensive line is.
The real problem that Crowell will face this year, however, is stacked boxes. The defense knows they don’t have to respect the pass whatsoever. Alex Mack, John Greco, and Joel Bitonio have been fantastic, but they will have a lot of trouble in rush protection if there are seven guys to block Crowell from.
Joe Haden should have jumped ship as well, but maybe he can step up as a leader in the locker room and lead this time to three or four wins. Lord Knows they need some internal leadership. Hopefully the defense can keep them in a few games.
At least you still have LeBron, right Cleveland?