Should We Believe in Cleveland?
Writer: Andrew Martin
For the first time in a long time, the Cleveland Browns made one of the biggest off-season splashes in the NFL. For starters, they signed EJ Gaines at a low price of $4M/1yr, and picked one of the top defensive players in this year’s draft, Denzel Ward. Combine the new players with last years draft picks, Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers, and the Browns have a solid young core on which to build their defense.
On the other side of the ball, the Browns traded the 65th pick in next year's draft for former Bills QB Tyrod Taylor, and drafted Baker Mayfield out of OU. While Cleveland has said Tyrod Taylor will be the starting QB this season, there are still many questions around the organization about if Mayfield will start at any point this year. To gain other offensive weapons, the Browns traded two future draft picks for Jarvis Landry to go along with Josh Gordon on the outside. In addition to those pickups, they created a potentially dominant backfield by signing former 49er RB Carlos Hyde, and drafting Nick Chubb from Georgia.
NFL fans slowly started believing in this Browns team over the off-season, but recently in an article with Sports Illustrated, Jarvis Landry Said, “You’ll be lucky if we don’t score 40 on you.” Now fans are left to wonder if this Browns team is the real deal like Jarvis says, or are they the classic Cleveland team that has only won a single game in the last two years. As if that quote was not enough, later in the article, Landry said, “If we get everyone playing to their potential, we can win the Super Bowl this year.” Is Jarvis Landry insane? We know Landry is new to the team and all, but has he watched the same Cleveland organization that we have seen screw up year after year? Yes, this team has made significant improvements in the last couple years, but it’s simply not a Super Bowl contender yet.
Looking at team’s roster, there is an average QB in Tyrod Taylor that threw for 2,799 yards and 14 TD’s, and an unproven rookie in Baker. As of right now, neither of those QB options scream Super Bowl 53 champions. Their options on offense include Josh Gordon who cannot seem to give up pot despite his potential in the league, and an injury prone RB in Carlos Hyde. Jarvis Landry seems to be the closest to a reliable player on this offense -after having two 1,000+ yard seasons in four years- but he is busy predicting a Super Bowl right now.
The Browns could certainly become a contender in the next few years based on the progress they are making now. However, it is not time to be talking about a Super Bowl or scoring 40 points a game yet. Realistically, this team could end up at 8-8 this season, and maybe hit a high ceiling at 9 or 10 wins.