Which Cleveland Browns defenders will decide Week 1?
After a poor performance in 2019, most of the attention this season will be on the Cleveland Browns offense but let’s not forget it’s tough to win games if you can’t keep the other team from scoring. With a new staff and roster, defensive coordinator Joe Woods will have his hands full.
Things were never going to be easy for the defense as they quickly lost veteran linebackers, Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey. Schobert was able to get a huge payday in Jacksonville that Brown’s brass wasn’t willing to match, and Kirksey was released after too many injuries. While both departures are tough to swallow because both were fan favorites, at the end of the day the right decision was made on both players.
Not only was Woods faced with being short-handed off the bat, but the injury bug has also been atrocious all camp. It started with a quad injury to Myles Garrett and then only went downhill with more injuries to Mack Wilson (knee), Greedy Williams (shoulder), and rookie Grant Delpit (Achillies).
While the team will have Garrett in week one and is hopeful to have Williams, they all missed practice time which is imperative when installing a new system. Delpit will not return this season and Wilson will be evaluated weekly but looks to miss 2-4 games at a minimum. Both were expected to be huge contributors to the Woods system in 2020.
Although crowd noise won’t be a huge factor in week one, the Browns certainly have a tough test against one of the leagues best rushing attacks right away. Injuries are a huge part of the game, but man it feels like the Browns have had a run of terrible luck to start 2020. Here are three X-factors to keep your eyes on Sunday, which could change the landscape of the entire game.