2013 Season Preview: Cleveland Browns - Lots of Excitement in the Dawg Pound

Discussion in 'Game Summaries & Team News' started by LtJustice, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. LtJustice

    LtJustice QSF Commissioner

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    The Cleveland Browns come into the 2013 season with yet another new regime at the helm of the organization. General manager LtJustice and head coach Jim Luby return to their Cleveland roots and hope to bring over some of the success they shared leading the Carolina Panthers the last few years. It didn't take long for the new powers that be to make over most of the roster, in an attempt to put the team's revival on the fast track. Whether they did enough to immediately make the Browns competitive in year one or not remains to be seen, but there is definitely a buzz of excitement in Cleveland for their beloved Browns.​

    OFFENSE:


    QB:

    When quarterback Matt Schaub hit free agency, the Browns front office struck fast to bring in the former Texans franchise leader. Schaub and the Browns agreed to a 5 year contract that should give the Browns their first true franchise QB since their rebirth. The real question will be whether the 32 year old Schaub can still perform at a high enough level to be that franchise QB.​
    Behind Schaub the Browns have 29 year old sophomore QB Brandon Weeden, a first round pick a season ago. They also have veteran journeyman Tavaris Jackson, who's mobility should play a part in him seeing some action this year.


    RB:

    The Browns have a group of 3 promising young halfbacks, lend by 2nd year back Trent Richardson, who has the potential to develop into one of the top running backs in the league. The Browns also acquired 4th year speed back Jahvid Best from the Detroit Lions, to provide a change of pace from the bruising T-Rich. Rookie HB Deshaun Johnson, a 5th round draft pick out of Drake, rounds out the trio. Johnson is a raw talent; but with a rare mix of power and elite speed, the youngster could open some eyes around the league.


    WR/TE:

    The Browns landed another important pice in free agency, when they signed former Oakland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. The speedster, known by his nickname of DHB, was highly sought after in free agency and a lot of personnel men around the league expect him to be the next receiver to take the step to elite status.​
    One of the men sure to be happiest about DHB's arrival in Cleveland is 2nd year receiver Josh Gordon. Lining up opposite the dangerous DHB is sure to bring more one on one opportunities for the talented Gordon.​
    Fellow 2nd year speedster Travis Benjamin will fill the role 3rd receiver, and if he can improve his consistency catching the ball, he could be quite the weapon for Schaub in the slot. ​
    After dealing their original 2nd round draft pick to Jacksonville (for a 1st next season), the Browns traded back into the 2nd round to snag receiver Khiry Donaldson out of East Carolina. The Browns had their eyes on Donaldson and felt he would be gone before their 3rd round pick, an assumption that was verified after the pick. Donaldson is not only a special teams ace, but his elite speed, along with good size and hands, is sure to get him on the field in spread looks. ​
    Third year tight end Jordan Cameron will get every opportunity to prove he deserves to be the starter on this young offense, but veteran Todd Heap was brought in during the preseason to press the youngster.


    OL:

    When the new front office took over, the offensive line was probably the strongest unit on the team. Anchored by perennial All Pro Joe Thomas at left tackle, former Pro Bowler Alex Mack at center, and 2nd year stud Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle, the unit already had the potential to be one of the best in the league. The Browns added former Steelers guard Ramon Foster in free agency, and the 5th year pro is expected to step right in at starter between Thomas and Mack. 4th year guard Shawn Lauvao rounds out a very promising starting group.



    DEFENSE:


    DL:

    Defensive end Jabaal Sheard has quickly developed into the premier pass rusher the Browns envisioned, when they took him with their 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft. The Browns turned to free agency once again, as they signed former Ohio State Buckeye Thaddeus Gibson to start opposite Sheard at defensive end.​
    With the departure of defensive tackle Phil Taylor, in a draft day deal with the Packers, the middle of the Browns line will be manned by veterans Ahtyba Rubin and Tommy Kelly, both of whom are a mountain of a man capable of quickly shedding a block and getting into the backfield. ​


    LB:

    The Browns completely revamped their starting linebacking group this offseason and it started once again in free agency. The Browns signed veteran linebackers Thomas Howard and Geno Hayes, who are expected to be the starters at the outside positions.​
    The Browns surprised many around the league when they drafted middle linebacker Earl Williams with the 6th pick in the draft. The former Buckeye was projected my many draftniks to be a mid to late round pick, but the Browns front office didn't expect him to get out of the top half of the first round. Williams impressed right off the bat in his first training camp, and it didn't take long for him to win the starting middle linebacker spot over browns veteran and team leader D'Qwell Jackson. By all appearance so far, Williams looks to be the complete package and has the potential make up of a truly special player. Jackson handled the demotion with grace and is still expected to see plenty of playing time in the browns new attacking defensive style.


    DB:

    Probably the best player on the Browns defense, if not the entire team, when the new regime took over was cornerback Joe Haden. A truly special player, Haden has yet to have a partner in the defensive backfield anywhere near his level. That all changed when the Browns signed former Panther and Buckeye Chris Gamble to a huge contract in free agency. Haden and Gamble give the Browns a pair of the best cover cornerbacks in the whole league.

    Strong safety T.J. Ward, one of the most feared thumpers in the league, and free safety Usama Young round out the starting defensive backfield for the Browns defense.


    SPECIAL TEAMS:

    The Browns saw the departure of longtime kicker Phil Dawson this offseason. The veteran kicker, a fan favorite will truly be missed in Cleveland. Hoping to reduce the sting of losing Dawson, the Browns went out and signed 2nd year kicker Justin Tucker away from the rival Baltimore Ravens. Tucker may not be the polished product that the veteran Dawson was, but has all the tools to be a great kicker in this league for many years to come.

    Once again the Browns turned to free agency to fill their vacant punter position. The Browns snagged veteran boomer Pat McAfee and expect him to man the position for years to come.​
    Rookie receiver/returner Khiry Donaldson was an electric special teams player in college and already showed flashes of that in the preseason, taking the opening kickoff back for a touchdown against the Chargers.


    SUMMARY:

    The Browns front office is very happy with the youth and talent they have on their team, but they have been quick to quell any high expectations for the team this season. With so many new pieces, they have said all along that they would just be happy to see them all grow together as a team, as the season progresses.​
     
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