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Cleveland Plain Dealer: Cleveland Browns 2014 Season Preview

Discussion in 'Game Summaries & Team News' started by LtJustice, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. LtJustice

    LtJustice QSF Commissioner

    Jul 22, 2010

    The Cleveland Browns are under new ownership for 2014, as native Clevelander Jim Luby has returned home to take control of his beloved Browns. Luby is known in league circles as a shrewd negotiator that loves to wheel and deal. One thing that has become clear in his previous stops in the league, is that nobody is every 100% safe from trade talks. The question is; how will his style sit with Cleveland fans, who tend to canonize their favorite players, if he starts dealing away those popular player? Well, one thing is sure about Cleveland, their immense desire for a winner cannot be understated. If Luby can bring winning ways back to Cleveland, the fans will stand behind any moves he makes.

    The 2013 Cleveland Browns were a team that featured 6 Pro Bowlers and 5 All Pros, despite finishing 4-12 on the year. They then became one of the darlings of the NFL's 2014 off-season, where there has been a lot of buzz around the Browns heading into this season. Whether you're talking about the Browns drafting Johnny Football, Josh Gordon facing a potential suspension, or the Browns using the rarely used transition tag to keep All-Pro center Alex Mack; chances are that if you are a football fan, you have talked about the Browns this year. The organization is hopeful they can ride that momentum and live up to the hype to bring playoff caliber football back to Cleveland in 2014!


    Most of the buzz around the Browns these days revolves around two words; Johnny. Manziel. The dynamic (and polarizing) Heisman Trophy winner out of Texas A & M was selected by the Browns with the 22nd pick in the 2014 draft. Johnny Football appears to be the epitome of a boom or bust prospect. Many question whether he will be able to transition from the "playground style", that made him so successful in college, to a bona fide professional quarterback. It appears as though Browns management is ready to find out, and Johnny could get a baptism by fire in week 1 against the hated Steelers. While Manziel appears to have been given the keys to the castle, you can be sure that veteran Brian Hoyer will be chomping at the bit to take the top spot if JFF struggles.

    West tate.jpg
    The Browns dramatically improved their running back position, with the signing of former Texan Ben Tate. Widely considered the best running back on the free agent market. Tate brings an exciting mix of power and speed to the Browns backfield, and many expect him to have a breakout season now that he finally has the opportunity to be a feature back. Rookie halfback Terrance West, a 3rd round pick out of Towson University, has impressed in training camp and figures to get plenty of work as the primary backup to Tate.

    In the wake of the Browns drafting Johnny Football, word leaked out about Browns All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon facing a potential year long suspension for substance abuse. Fortunately for Browns fans, and Manziel, the NFL dragged it's feet and Gordon won't face any kind of ban in The Q. Gordon broke out last year and led the league in receiving yards, despite missing the first 2 games of the season, on his way to being named and All-Pro and Pro Bowler. A big beneficiary of Gordon's breakout season was Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron. With teams having to account for Gordon, often with double coverage, that frequently left the athletic Cameron in one on one mismatches against over matched linebackers and safeties. The Browns added dynamic slot receiver Andrew Hawkins from the rival Bengals, and expect speedster Travis Benjamin to bounce back from a knee injury last year as well. 2nd year receiver Charles Johnson has opened some eyes at training camp will get some looks on offense as well as special teams. Veteran receivers Miles Austin and Nate Burleson round out, and bring some experience to, the Browns young receiving corps.

    The Browns have possibly THE premier pass protector in the league guarding their QB's blindside, in All World left tackle Joe Thomas. Initially it appeared as though All Pro center Alex Mack would be in Cleveland for the foreseeable future, as the Browns transition tagged Mack and matched an offer from the Jaguars. However it appears as though Mack may have burned some bridges in the process and he has reportedly been traded by the Browns front office. While they have lots of promising youth across the line, including 2nd round pick Joel Bitonio, Mack will certainly leave some big shoes to fill for this unit.


    The Browns have no shortage of sheer mass on their front line, with 300+ pounders like Phil Taylor, Ahtyba Rubin, Desmond Bryant, Billy Winn, and John Hughes. Expect to see the big bodies rotated and lined up all across the front, to give the Browns defense a massive push up front. The Browns have been rumored to be adding linebackers Jabaal Sheard and/or Paul Kruger to this group to give this hybrid defense the chance to spread the line out wide. The browns are looking for this group to lead the charge for an aggressive smash mouth defense.

    The big story coming out of Berea is that in return for trading Mack, the Browns will be adding an elite talent to their linebacking corps. This player is expected to step right in as a starter and make an immediate impact as a cornerstone player for this defense. 2nd year linebacker Barkevious Mingo will start at outside linebacker and has the potential to develop into one of the top pass rushers in this league. Karlos Dansby was signed this off-season to fill the void left by the departed D'Qwell Jackson, but rumors have surfaced lately than Dansby himself may also be on his way out of town already. Browns 3rd round draft pick Chris Kirksey, out of Iowa, has impressed in camp and is expected to challenge for a starting inside linebacker spot. 4th year linebacker Craig Robertson is a favorite of this coaching staff and should see plenty of playing time, if not start.

    All Pro cornerback Joe Haden has become the leader of this Browns defense on and off the field. A true lock down corner, Haden has held his own against, and shut down, some of the very best receivers in the league. Almost the forgotten man from the browns draft, after all of the Johnny Football hype, has been cornerback Justin Gilbert out of Oklahoma State, who was taken 8th overall in the draft. Gilbert gives the Browns another lockdown type playmaker to line up opposite Haden, and the two form what has the potential to become the top CB duo in the league. With haden and Gilbert on the outside, that should allow the speedy Buster Skrine to slide back into his natural role as nickel back. The Browns selected cornerback Pierre Desir from the small college of Lindenwood in the 4th round of the draft. Desir is very raw, but with his size and ability he resembles a young Brandon Browner. If Desir can reaches his potential, the Browns could have an embarassment of riches at the CB position.


    While the Browns said goodbye to All Pro safety TJ Ward in free agency, they bounced back nicely as they signed Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner, a Cleveland native, from the 49ers. Whitner brings a winning pedigree and a menacing presence to the Browns defensive backfield. Opposing receivers will surely think twice about going over the middle with Hitner on patrol. The Browns front office have been reportedly looking for an upgrade over incumbent free safety Tashaun Gipson, and have apparently found their man. Look for a new running mate for Whitner to join the ranks, once the trade is completed.


    Veteran kicker Billy Cundiff and punter Spencer Lanning are solid, if unspectacular, kicking specialists. Don't be surprised to see the Browns looking for upgrades at both positions before long.

    Expect speedsters Travis Benjamin and Andrew Hawkins to handle the kick and punt return duties for the Browns. Both are very good open field runners, capable of making a tackler miss, and should bring some excitement to the special teams.



    This guy will NOT be suiting up for the Browns :(

    But we have JOHNNY FOOTBALL! :D
    • Like Like x 6
  2. wayers50

    wayers50 Walk On

    Oct 17, 2011
    I think josh Gordon should face that year suspension..jk

    Awesome stuff, can't wait for the season to start
    • Like Like x 1

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