The Cleveland Browns have been, for the most part, a laughingstock since returning to the NFL. Their failures in hiring front-office staff is only topped by their inability to find and develop quarterbacks.
But here’s the thing…I think they have finally figured it out.
They have a plan that is likely to succeed when it comes to quarterbacks. I loved the Tyrod Taylor trade even before they drafted Baker Mayfield. I don’t know if Mayfield will be a strong NFL quarterback, but I applaud the Browns for taking a big swing. I’ve said all along that I would have gone Saquon Barkley/Bradley Chubb, but I am not sold on any of the first four QBs that went in the draft.
Taylor now has Josh Gordon and the newly-acquired Jarvis Landry to throw to, along with Corey Coleman and David Njoku. And Duke Johnson out of the backfield. Taylor has the best weapons he has ever had and has a chance to put together a career year. He doesn’t turn the ball over, and he finally has an opportunity to take some chances downfield while having Landry and Njoku has underneath options,
I could see an 8-8 season – maybe 9-7 – for Cleveland. If they do that, if they compete for a playoff berth, then will they move on from Taylor? They probably have to, but wouldn’t that be a great problem to have, Browns fans?
If Taylor struggles, then maybe Mayfield gets thrown into the fire sooner and we get a glimpse of what he can do.
They have depth at running back with Carlos Hyde on a very team-friendly deal, Duke Johnson on a new deal and another team-friendly deal with the very talented Nick Chubb.
The trade for Landry could be very big if Josh Gordon can come close to his pre-suspension numbers.
The offensive line is better than the one that ended last season (remember, Joe Thomas was out).
Defensively, Myles Garrett anchors a line that has the potential to be nightmarish for opposing quarterbacks.
Denzel Ward will solidify the pass defense.
This team has done well with the moves they made over the last 12 months, much better than what they did in the previous years. I know Sashi Brown took a lot of heat and fell on the sword, but his savvy is what helped this team get to the position it is in now.
I think the Browns are the second-best team in the AFC North this year and they will be in contention for a wildcard berth late in the season (that’s a vague prediction, because what does “late” mean?). Okay, that’s fair. In November, we will be watching a Browns team that will be in contention for the playoffs.
No jumping in Lake Erie this year, Hue. The Browns are going in the right direction.