NFL teams are in the midst of training camp and preseason games are just around the corner. What do we expect from the Cleveland Browns in 2017?
It’s safe to say we’re not shy when it comes to getting you ready for the upcoming NFL season. Since March, we have strung together four different series in preparation for the fall. We just concluded looking at all 32 teams’ most improved area. That was preceded by pieces on a club’s best offseason addition, some facts, figures and feats for each squad, as well as an up-and-coming player for each roster.
So call this one for the thumb. With the regular-season rapidly approaching, we’ll take a look at what we could expect from each team. Every team wants to win the Super Bowl. However, 31 teams will obviously be disappointed. So we’re taking a look at all 32 clubs (in original 2017 draft order) and doing a little analysis. Hence, what are we really expecting from the Cleveland Browns in 2017?
A franchise that has gone through its share of ownership, head coaches and quarterbacks dating back to 1999 finally appears to have a plan. Over these past two offseasons, the Cleveland Browns have either watched free agents leave or released their share of veterans. The emphasis has been via the draft (24 selections in the last 2 years) and less on free agency. Head coach Hue Jackson returns after a 1-15 season and that figures to have a positive impact as well.
Help was needed on both sides of the ball. The club was outscored by a combined 188 points in ’16. There’s a few new quarterbacks in town in veteran Brock Osweiler and rookie Deshone Kizer. On defense, Cleveland used its first two picks in the first round on defensive end Myles Garrett and safety Jabrill Peppers. But keep an eye on an offensive front that already features 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas and added free agent center J.C. Tretter and right guard Kevin Zeitler.
The Cleveland Browns haven’t been to the playoffs since ’02. The franchise’s last winning campaign came in ’07. And the team has struggled mightily within the AFC North, going a combined 10-44 vs. the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers the past nine seasons.
However, new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will push the right buttons with this young talent. And that bolstered offensive line will help Hue Jackson’s club in many ways. There’s still a lot of uncertainty at quarterback and not a lot of offensive weapons at the moment. Still, this looks like a team capable of 4-5 wins. And it would be a plus if at least two of those victories came against their divisional rivals. All told, the Browns look like a team with some direction.