Browns: 6 positives to offset the 0-6 start to the season

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns may be 0-6 on the season, but there are some positives on the team. Here are six of them, one for each loss suffered this year.

Anyone with even a passing interest in the Cleveland Browns knows how bleak things have become for the franchise.

An 0-6 record to start the season, part of a 1-21 streak under head coach Hue Jackson. A revolving door at the quarterback position, an inability to be even remotely competitive within the AFC North Division.

The Browns may currently be in the driver’s seat to secure the top overall selection in the NFL Draft for the second consecutive year, but today is a day to accentuate the positive.

And, yes, Browns fans, there are some positives among the rubble of the 2017 regular season.

As the Dalai Lama teaches, “In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” So, with that in mind, let’s start creating a positive vision and look at six things (one to counterbalance each of the six losses) that the Browns have going for them.

Myles Garrett is the real deal

He did not make his debut until Week 5 against the New York Jets, has yet to play a full game and his ankle is still not 100 percent, but it could be argued that defensive end Myles Garrett is the team’s MVP.

Garrett opened his NFL ledger with a sack on his first play on the field, and has been a disruptive force anytime he has been on the field. From drawing double teams to harassing the quarterback, Garrett has a chance to be the best first-round pick the Browns have made since selecting left tackle Joe Thomas in 2007.

(Photo by Jason Miller /Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller /Getty Images) /

The run defense is actually good

After years of seeing the Browns defense get run over by every running back in the league, the defense if finally starting to fight back.

The Browns are tied with the Denver Broncos as the league’s best when it comes to controlling the run as they are giving up just three yards per carry.

Nose tackle Danny Shelton continues to be stout against the run (sorry about that one), and second-year defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah has the second-most run stops in the league since Week 2, according to Pro Football Focus.

Cornerback Jason McCourty is off to a hot start

A year after seeing new addition Jamar Taylor become the team’s best cornerback, the Browns scored again with free agent cornerback Jason McCourty.

The veteran cornerback, rumored to be moving to safety in training camp, has been one of the league’s best at his position and a bright spot in the secondary. He is fourth on the team in tackles, leads in passes defensed with nine, and has three of Cleveland’s four interceptions, returning his most recent one for a touchdown on Sunday against the Houston Texans.

Cleveland Browns
BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 17: Tight end David Njoku #85 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates his touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr /Getty Images) /

The offense has playmakers

While much of the focus has been on a lack of playmakers at the wide receiver position, running back Duke Johnson and tight end David Njoku have emerged as two reliable players who can make things happen when they get the ball.

Johnson is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and has two rushing touchdowns, while leading the Browns in receptions (26) and yards (269). His 41-yard touchdown reception against the New York Jets was pure Duke.

Related: How to fix the running game

Njoku leads the Browns in touchdown receptions with three and continues to show his athleticism with each passing week.

The only problem is that the Browns don’t get the ball to Johnson and Njoku enough, which is something that Jackson should really talk to his offensive coordinator about.

The offensive line is doing its thing

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, really, but people have been slow to pick up on the fact that the offensive line has been doing its job.

Left guard Joel Bitonio has remained healthy and continues to show why he is one of the league’s best young guards, and Shon Coleman is rewarding the team’s patience by holding down the right tackle position.

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The protection is there for the Browns quarterbacks, and the running lanes are open if running back Isaiah Crowell would care to utilize them, making the offensive line the unquestioned bright spot on that side of the ball.

The front office knows what it is doing

Now let’s take a moment and go back through the list of positives and see if we can come up with a common thread.

Garrett, Ogbah and Coleman? All drafted by the current front office regime.

Bitonio? Signed to a contract extension in the offseason by the current front office regime.

McCourty, center J.C. Tretter and right guard Kevin Zeitler? All free agent signings by the current front office regime.

It has become fashionable to characterize the front office team of executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, chief strategy office Paul DePodesta and vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry as abject failures because they have yet to solve the quarterback issue. And because they are using the devil’s tools – spreadsheets, computers and analytics – to help rebuild the team.

Next: The quiet emergence of Shon Coleman

But when you take a look, you realize that just about anything that is positive about the Browns has their fingerprints on it. That is why talk of Jimmy and Dee Haslam blowing up the front office and once again starting over is just so much nonsense.

Of course, leveraging those good things into an actual win or two would be the biggest positive the Browns could deliver to the fans.