Things went from bad to worse for the Cleveland Browns as they finished a daunting 0-16. Hue Jackson remains the head coach this season, but the roster experienced much turnover in the offseason. Tyrod Taylor will battle #1 draft pick Baker Mayfield to earn the starting job at quarterback. Regardless of who is named the starter in week 1, protecting the ball will be critical for the Browns to find success. The Browns finished dead last in turnover margin with a whopping -28. The biggest upgrades on the offense will be at wide receiver with the addition of Jarvis Landry who led the league with 112 catches. Browns’ fans will keep their fingers crossed that Landry and Josh Gordon can form one of the league’s most dynamic receiving duos.
The defense for the Browns was efficient stopping the run as they ranked 7th in the league allowing 97.9 yards per game. The secondary was the biggest weakness and the Browns made many moves in the offseason. The Browns acquired Damarious Randall from Green Bay and former Buffalo corner back E.J. Gaines. The Browns also used their 4th overall pick in the draft on cornerback Denzel Ward from Ohio State.
Watching the Browns
The Browns will have two opportunities to show fans nationwide the improvements they have made with two games exclusively on NFL Network. The remainder of their games will be televised on regional coverage, and online streaming services such as DirecTV Now and YouTube TV provide alternatives to cable.
A winless season for Cleveland will certainly not happen again with the upgrades made to the roster. If the offense can limit turnovers, the defense should be good enough to make the Browns a competitive outing for most opponents. However, a push for the playoffs remains a stretch in a division consisting of the Steelers’ ferocious offense and the Ravens’ hard-nose defense. There are several winnable games on the schedule including an early home contest against the N.Y. Jets. Flirting with a .500 record could be an indicator of future success.
2018 Prediction: 4-12 & 4th in AFC North
It appears at the moment the Browns are dedicated to Tyrod Taylor being the starter. It remains to be seen how long the coaching staff will wait before giving #1 draft Baker Mayfield a shot running the offense as he has been impressive in training camp.