The Cleveland Browns kick off training camp this week and they have some high expectations this season as they chase a championship
This is the first Cleveland Browns training camp where there are so many firsts that it’s hard to believe that we aren’t preparing for a Browns season of the past. How many years have we fans started the debate as to who will be the starting quarterback this season or what type of new offense and defense is the coaching staff going to install? Or how long does this coach have before we hire the next coach?
We are the same old Browns but with Browns coach Kevin Stefanski returning in his second season along with his quarterback Baker Mayfield things at the start of training camp just feel so different because they are different and that this is more like Christmas in July for Browns fans.
There are always storylines with any team and the Browns have many of those. But the type of story the Browns are telling is so far from what everyone is used to as fans.
We aren’t talking about a quarterback controversy or whether our players are flying to Las Vegas to party and haven’t looked at a playbook yet?
Instead, the last two weeks leading up to training camp, we are watching Baker Mayfield talk to kids at his camp and defending passes thrown by legendary former quarterback Bernie Kosar to those same campers.
Or we’re listening to Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. talk to his own camp students about working hard to get better at something and hear him say how “Cleveland needs a championship”’ and that’s his goal as part of the Browns. All of this is very refreshing.
There’s stability at the top and that means so much to a franchise on the verge of sustained success. Here are a few things that I’ll be paying attention to and watching closely as the season gets closer and the Browns begin training camp.
A crowded receivers room
Beyond the core of wide receivers Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr. Rashard Higgins, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, there are still questions as to who rounds out the group? The newly drafted Anthony Schwartz, the speedster out of Auburn is a shoo-in.
That leaves Ja’Marcus Bradley, Khadarel Hodge, Alexander Hollins, JoJo Natson, Derrick Willies, and Ryan Switzer all an opportunity to make the opening day roster.
Like most of you, I’m interested in seeing how Odell Beckham Jr. looks in his return to training camp, after coming back from a serious knee injury sustained last October. Will he be ready to go by opening day kickoff at Kansas City?
He’s been seen over the past couple of months working out with his fellow teammates leading up to training camp. Beckham does have a history of injuries, so we’ll see how that pans out. He can be lightning in a bottle like I discussed in a previous story.
The defensive cohesion
With so many new players on the defensive side of the ball, I’m anxious to see how they all jell and perform over training camp. Will newly drafted cornerback Greg Newsome potentially start opposite Denzel Ward or will cornerback Greedy Williams return from a serious shoulder injury last year and be the starter?
Will second-year player DT Jordan Elliott challenge DT’s Andrew Billings and newly acquired Malik Jackson for a starting spot?
And how will adding veteran cornerback Troy Hill and John Johnson III, both coming over from the L.A. Rams, reshape the backside of the defense?
And finally, there’s the book ends on our defensive line with Myles Garrett and veteran and newly signed free agent Jadeveon Clowney gearing up for a potentially historic season. I’m very excited to see how these two players can perform knowing that most defenses won’t be able to stop both.
So Browns fans, enjoy the show and the build-up to the season kickoff at Kansas City on September 12th. It certainly is a far more entertaining show now that the team is winning.