2. The back seven of the defense:
With Delpit out for good and Wilson likely missing games, the linebackers and secondary must pick it up to have a successful season. So far in camp, the defense has picked on the offense, but it is important to not get complacent.
The Browns have many new starters on offense and that is usually the last piece to come together. Just because they are winning the scrimmages in practice, doesn’t mean the Baltimore Ravens are going to lay down for them in week one.
The Browns Daily crew broke down both sides of the ball today and specifically mentioned that Chubb and Kareem Hunt have broken a lot of long runs in camp. Yes, the offensive line is good, but is that a lack of talent at linebacker that will be magnified against the Ravens rushing attack week 1? I certainly hope it is our offense being that good, but certainly have some doubts.
For the past 20 seasons, the Browns have always struggled to stop the run. Year after year once the team is down, they never stand a chance because teams have been able to just run the clock down. Let’s hope the addition of Malcolm Smith and growth by Sione Takitaki will be enough to give the team a chance this year. The front line should be strong enough to allow the linebackers to run free and make plays.
The secondary will also have to step up with Delpit out and Williams likely to miss some time. Denzel Ward has been tremendous when he is on the field, but he has really struggled to stay healthy. Ward must step up as a leader this year and shut down the top receiver from each opponent. Eliminating a top threat with one person can go a long way in giving the whole unit confidence.