Thursday, January 28, 2021

Cleveland Browns: Do Not Underestimate Them In 2020

The Cleveland Browns have been one of the longest suffering franchises in US Sports history.

The Cleveland Browns are without a play off win since the 1994 wildcard round and have only won four play off games in the Super Bowl era.

The Browns thought their fortunes had turned around after the 2018 season and the 2019 off season trade for Odell Beckham.

Garrett, Landry, Beckham and Mayfield during Beckham’s first press conference.

However, the Browns would finish 6-10 and head coach Freddie Kitchens was fired after just one season.

However, with the draft choices and free agent signings, the Browns are being vastly overlooked and should not be slept on as much as they are.

Baker Mayfield had an excellent rookie season in 2019 but struggled in his sophomore year.

In his first career NFL start in 2018, Mayfield helped the Browns to their first win since 2016.

Part of the reason for Mayfield’s disappointing season was his lack of support in the offensive line.

New head coach Kevin Stefanski has added former Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Jack Conklin through free agency and drafted offensive tackle Jedrick Wills our of Alamaba tenth overall in the 2020 draft.

That is just the offensive line. Stefanski also made Austin Hooper the highest paid Tight End in the league when he acquired the former Atlanta Falcon through free agency.

Hooper during his time with the Falcons.

Stefanski made his name with the Minnesota Vikings after spending fourteen seasons in Minnesota. He was offensive coordinator in 2019 as they made the divisional round.

He was also Quarterback’s coach in 2017 for the Minneapolis Miracle.

Who was Quarterback in 2017?

Keenum after the ‘Minneapolis Miracle’.

Case Keenum. The journeyman back up was acquired by Stefanski for the Browns in 2020 free agency.

In 2017, Keenum recorded the most touchdowns in a season of his career with 22 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

This also puts added pressure on Baker Mayfield to perform.

Sep 22, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws the ball as Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) chases him during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Rams won 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

In 2019, Mayfield’s back up was Garrett Gilbert who has just two NFL career passing completions to his name.

Now he has a backup with plenty of experience and someone who Stefanski knows well.

Stefanski also helped Kirk Cousins win his first career play off game last season so can he help Mayfield improve in 2020?

Even with the additions in the off season, the Cleveland Browns already had a great roster. They already have wide receivers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry who have over 12,000 career receiving yards and 80 career receiving touchdowns between them.

Landry and Beckham Jr are very good friends.

The Cleveland Browns also have the running back threat of Nick Chubb who ran for 1,494 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns in 2019 as well as Kareem Hunt who can come in and make an impact.

Hunt was one of the league’s best backs before being released by the Kansas City Chiefs following legal issues. He didnt see an awful lot of the ball in 2019 but recorded some excellent stats in 2017 and 2018.

In 2017, Hunt ran for 1,327 yards and 8 touchdowns as well as recording 455 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns.

KANSAS CITY, MO – DECEMBER 24: Running back Kareem Hunt #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs to the sidelines just before kickoff in the game against the Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. ( Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images )

In 2018, Hunt ran for 824 yards and 7 touchdowns before being released by the Chiefs. He also recorded 378 receiving yards and 7 receiving touchdowns in 2018.

If Hunt can get back to his old form, him and Chubb could look at sharing the load, which could be very deadly and would also ease the pressure on Baker Mayfield.

The Cleveland Browns also have the potential dual option at tight end. The aforementioned Austin Hooper will join a Tight End room with David Njoku if he decides to remove his trade request. The likely scenario is Njoku being traded but if he were to stay, that would be a pretty great dual threat.

The Cleveland Browns have also got stud defensive end Myles Garrett who has recently signed a five year $125 million deal. The 2017 number one overall pick has 30.5 career sacks to his name in just 37 career games.

Garrett is one of the league’s best defensive ends.

In conclusion, the Cleveland Browns have a roster filled with talent. If they can get the team to play well together then they certainly should not be looked over.

They have a new head coach who will look to improve things in Cleveland and they certainly have the ability to be a team that can perform well in 2020.

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