Cleveland Browns Season Preview

9 of 13

Aug 28, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) following a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Ravens defeated the Saints 22-13. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Opposition

The NFL is a quarterback and head coach kind of league. If you have a great one of each you are bound to win tons of games. The Patriots, both Manning led teams (Colts, Broncos) and many others have proven this system to be true. The jury is out on Mike Pettine and the combination of Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, though for 2014 we probably have a great idea. How the Browns do this year could directly be impacted by the talent behind center of the opposing team. When we get to our predictions these rankings may have already given you some hints. So we ranked those QBs:

  1. Drew Brees – Brees is one of the top QBs in the league and he and Sean Payton find ways to keep their offense humming. The Browns exotic defense will have to keep their cards close to the vest to surprise Brees ever.
  2. Andrew Luck – Luck has made a name for himself as the top young QB in the league. He is smart, accurate, tough and can run some. Even with a limited running game, thanks again Trent Richardson, Luck led the Colts to the playoffs last year.
  3. Cam Newton – Newton may not have the stats this year that show he is the 3rd best QB on the Browns schedule but he is. His offensive line is not very good and new to him. His receiving corp is not very good and new to him. If he can make things happen with that grouping his stock will rise dramatically.
  4. Matt Ryan – Ryan’s talent was able to make up for the Falcons lack of defense, offensive line or running game last year. Mike Smith has been a solid head coach and Matty Ice makes good decisions with the ball. One of few times the QB/HC tandem couldn’t make things work.
  5. Ben Roethlisberger –  The Steelers quarterback has made a living out of destroying one of his home state teams. The Findlay, OH native has made play after play behind a bad offensive line. His fit with Todd Haley isn’t perfect but they are growing together. Whether the team can get a running game going and find a second receiver is another set of questions for this year.
  6. Joe Flacco – Flacco had a huge year in his contract year but hasn’t improved much. Whether it was the injury to Dennis Pitta or the lack of a running game, Flacco didn’t live up to his huge contract last year. He is still very talented and doesn’t get flustered in the pocket. Expect a bounce back year with Steve Smith and Pitta as weapons along with Torrey Smith.
  7. Andy Dalton – The last of the AFC North QBs, Dalton is in a unique position. The Bengals keep getting to the playoffs but keep losing once they get their. Dalton has not looked good but the Bengals rewarded him with a contract extension. The extension is team friendly as the Bengals can cut him loose after a couple of seasons. His development under new OC Hue Jackson will decide his long term future.
  8. Josh McCown – Coming over after a stellar year subbing in for the injured Jay Cutler for most of last season, McCown still have a lot to prove. He has huge receivers that will make him look good, and help him feel like he is back with the Bears.
  9. Jake Locker – Locker’s placement on this list says a lot about the rest of the list and less about him. Locker could develop under new HC Ken Whisenhunt but he is in his make or break year.
  10. Chad Henne – The Jags drafted Blake Bortles but have planned to start Henne all along. That might not last long as Bortles has looked good all year. Henne has struggled when the pressure is on but could rise to the occasion in this ball control offense.
  11. E.J. Manuel – Manuel hasn’t looked good during the pre-season but does have value based on his running ability and the weapons around him. Manuel could jump out this year or have the Bills looking for a replacement sooner rather than later.
  12. Derek Carr – The lone rookie to win the starting job as a rookie QB this year, Carr has looked very good. The Raiders have limited weapons around him and could put him in some tough positions but if he can make it through it, unlike his brother David, Carr could be The Guy for a long time in the Bay Area.
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick/Ryan Mallett – It is not a good sign when your team trades a draft pick, no matter how low, at the end of the pre-season for a QB your new head coach worked with before. Who knows whether Fitzpatrick, Mallett or even rookie Tom Savage will start this season. It is likely all 3 will get a shot at some time.

3 Key Additions / 3 Key Subtractions / 3 Key Decisions / Biggest Strength & Weakness / Fantasy Football Contributors / Johnny Manziel / Schedule Evaluation /  QB Opposition / AFC North / Buffalo Bills Picks / Social Media/Connecting Predictions & Conclusion