Training camps are underway. The preseason has officially kicked off and the 2015 regular season is just weeks away. With that, let’s continue our look at the NFL, team by team, highlighting the good news, the bad news, and the overall impression.
Cleveland Browns (7-9, 2-4 Div.)
Good News – Cleveland can draft well.
Let’s not talk about 2014’s first round picks (cornerback Justin Gilbert and Quarterback Johnny Manziel, *shutter*). 2015 is already a different story. The Browns nabbed nose tackle, Danny Shelton, with the 12th overall pick and center, Cameron Erving with the 19th overall pick. Shelton is a guy that can plug up the middle with authority and also rush the passer. Cameron Erving, drafted out of Florida State, is a versatile offensive lineman who can handle playing with a quarterback who can’t escape the spotlight (does anyone really believe Josh McCown will start the whole year?). Don’t forget about Duke Johnson. The running back out of Miami will have his hands full getting playing time over Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. But he has impressed the coaches this summer and had a productive career as a Hurricane. History alone could be enough reason to keep an eye on this guy. Miami has produced running backs like Willis McGahee, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, and Edgerrin James, and Johnson might join that list.
Bad News – Quarterback is still important in the NFL.
I hate to beat a dead horse, but is Cleveland ever going to find a franchise quarterback? If the Browns are serious about not having a quarterback competition, Josh McCown will be the 22nd starting quarterback for Cleveland since 1999. By contrast, the Packers have had 3 different QBs start for them in that time (Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Flynn). Here’s another question: how does Josh McCown continue to find starting jobs? In 12 seasons, McCown has never thrown for 3,000 yards, never thrown more than 13 touchdowns, and has a starting record of 17 and 32. This is the same guy that managed to pull this off.
Yet, two offseasons in a row now, he has been signed as a free agent and immediately declared the starter. He led Tampa to the number one overall pick last year, and that was with Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans as targets. Who will he throw to this year?
The Browns will forever and always be the Browns. They went 7 and 9 last year and their fans rejoiced. The good news for Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel is that they have a running game to lean on. Duke Johnson, Terrance West, and Isaiah Crowell will be a three headed monster that will give defenses headaches. That being said, with McCown and Manziel as your potential starters at QB, Cleveland will be lucky if they win 7 games again in 2015.
*Image from the Huffington Post