Talking 2016 Cleveland Browns

On July 13, 2016, in NFL, by Stephen

It’s said that in the NFL no team is as good, or as bad, as it looks on paper.

The 2016 Cleveland Browns sure look like the exception.

The Browns are the only team with an over/under win total below five victories. Normally in today’s parity-filled NFL it’s a near automatic reaction to go above a won/lost number of 4 1/2.

I don’t see the Browns, though, winning more than four games. Their talent is expansion level and the schedule doesn’t lay out well for them either. Cleveland plays five of its first seven games on the road. The two home games are versus the Ravens and Patriots.

Offensive left tackle Joe Thomas is their only elite player. Cornerback Joe Haden may be Cleveland’s best defensive player – and he’s off a disappointing season. The Browns surrendered the fourth-most points in the NFL last season and ranked 30th in run defense. They just lost defensive end Desmond Bryant for the season to a torn pectoral muscle. He was a three-year starter for the Browns leading them in sacks with six last season.

And Cleveland’s defense is better than its offense.

Not only is the Browns’ offense devoid of talented skill position players, but knuckleheads abound. Johnny Manziel is gone to a bar near you. But his one-time roommate, Josh Gordon, is still around having played in only five games since 2013 because of suspensions. Another member of the Browns’ Mensa group is Isaiah Crowell, their leading rusher last season. Crowell was just in the news for posting on Instagram an ISIS-style picture of a man in black slitting the throat of a white cop.

Another head case, Robert Griffin III, appears to be the starting quarterback. The Browns have occupied the cellar of the AFC North Division during 11 of the past 13 seasons. They are a perfect 4-for-4 in drafting first-round quarterback busts having selected Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Manziel. The Redskins, particularly Mike Shanahan, sabotaged Griffin’s once promising career. So excuse me if I don’t hold out much hope of the Browns being able to salvage the wreckage of the RGIII.

The Browns have dropped 34 of 48 games during three years of Jimmy Haslam’s ownership. They haven’t had a head coach last longer than two seasons since 2008. This doesn’t bode well for Hue Jackson especially figuring the Browns are likely to open 0-7 or 1-6.

The season still is nearly two months away, but it can already be said that Cleveland is on the clock with the No. 1 draft pick of 2017.


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