Like most years, the Cleveland Browns come into the 2013 season with more questions than answers. They have another new head coach and staff, so will this year be any different than the many years past in Cleveland? Let’s break down this offense, and see what kind of upside they may have in the NFL odds.
Under a rookie running back and quarterback, the Browns did about what everyone expected them to do. They played well at times, but injury and inconsistency (a theme for several teams in 2012) turned them from a budding young group, to a below average team. The Browns won only five games last season, and it will be tough for them to win more than that this season.
Brandon Weeden did show some nice signs last year, and although not everyone is sold that he is the long-term answer in Cleveland, he is getting some support from the likes of Jaws and other former players. Weeden will have to deal with his accuracy a lot this offseason, but his arm strength is good, and if he can get some more weapons to work with, that will help out this season.
Trent Richardson was the loan bright spot for this team last season, but multiple injuries slowed him down and limited him to only 3.6 yards per carry. He did have 11 touchdowns, but if he isn’t able to stay on he field, this team looks like they could be in for another rough year.
Where do I begin? Is Brandon Weeden the answer, can T Rich stay healthy, is Josh Gordon a knucklehead that is going to keep getting in trouble, can they gel under Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner and is the owner Jimmy Haslam going to get out of his legal/financial trouble?
While all of these will likely not turn into problems, there are multiple variables to account for with the Browns. I think the offense is going to be fine this season. Turner will likely get a lot out of Weeden and Richardson this season, and I think their offense will be very undervalued in the NFL odds.
The biggest questions for me are the legal issues of Haslam, and the health of Richardson. The news about his company and the lawsuits pending against Pilot/Flying J isn’t getting any better. It also appears he is in some considerable debt, which does not look good for Cleveland’s long-term outlook.
Richardson had another injury this summer, this time to his shin. Although it is considered minor, there are still some questioning the team and his statements that he will be ready by training camp in a few weeks.
While I cannot fail the Browns at this point because of the moves they have made hiring Turner as the OC, they are very close to failing. Unless Turner can turn this offense around, the Browns are in for another double-digit loss season. However I do think they have a lot of upside, and come on, this is the Browns we are talking about! No one is going to be paying any attention to them this season, which is perfect for our NFL picks, because they may be very undervalued going into the season.
My Grade: C-Have a different opinion? Share it on our message boards!