The Cleveland Browns, for the first time in many years, will be the talk of the NFL in the early part of the 2014 NFL season, for the big reason being the drafting of former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Manziel, known as Johnny Football in many circles, has been the most polarizing athlete in sports over the last year. Many of the reasons for the polarization is the party lifestyle that Manziel has with his buddy Drake as well as prominent NFL players such as Rob Gronkowski. Manziel has the talent to be successful, but at some point, he has to be able to show it on the field & will be leaned on to be the savior for a Browns franchise who hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2003.
Cleveland Browns Offense
The Browns offense was looking strong until word came out that Josh Gordon had failed another drug test administered by the NFL & could be facing a possible season-long suspension from the league. The last thing a rookie quarterback like Manziel needs is his #1 target going down.
Which could actually mean that Bryan Hoyer could be the starter for a lengthy amount this coming season. Hoyer, a veteran out of Michigan State, showed some great promise last year before suffering a torn ACL which had him out for the season. Hoyer will most likely start the season & with their bye week in week 4, the team could go to Manziel after the bye, depending on the record.
With the possible loss of Gordon coming for at least a part of the season, the Browns went out & signed Miles Austin from the Cowboys & Nate Burleson, formerly from the Detroit Lions. Not that Austin & Burleson can come close to replacing the production of Gordon, but it can soften the blow substantially & keep the offense somewhat functional for a while.
In the running game, Ben Tate will be the main back right now, but that isn’t saying very much right now. The offense will still be predicated on the passing game, even with a strong offensive line led by dominant LT Joe Thomas.
The offense will be exciting but once the passing game is figured out, no clue as to what the Browns will do then.
Cleveland Browns Defense
The strength of the Cleveland Browns defense is clearly the secondary, led by All-pro cornerback Joe Haden. Haden is a true lockdown player & one of the few players on the entire team that teams have to gameplan against every week.
However, the Browns’ secondary got much stronger with the drafting of cornerback Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State & the addition of strong safety Donte Whitner, who comes over from the San Francisco 49ers.
The front seven, however, is going to be an area that could be an issue for the Browns. The top players, Paul Kruger & Karlos Dansby, are both solid players but also getting older by the day & the other players have not been among the better linemen & linebackers in the league & the team doesn’t look to have really made a strong upgrade in those areas.
Cleveland Browns Record Prediction
The Browns will make improvements this year, but not many to write home about. This is a 5-11 team, definitely last in the AFC North.