Browns can make playoffs regardless of Deshaun Watson suspension

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson hands the ball off to Nick Chubb during OTA workouts on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 in Berea.Browns13
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson hands the ball off to Nick Chubb during OTA workouts on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 in Berea.Browns13 /
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Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) and Cleveland Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) sandwich Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen (8) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal] /

The Browns defense started to gel with one another in the second part of last season and were a big reason the Browns were in so many close games. If that is something that is sustainable to start this upcoming season, the Cleveland defense has a chance to be really good.

One good thing that is different from a season ago is the fact that the Browns return seven starters, whereas last year, they had nine new starters. So of course the defense needed time to gel. That should not be the case this season, as only four new starters will enter the fold.

The defensive line is bookended by Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney and that is more than enough to get after the opposing quarterbacks. The duo combined for 25 sacks and 84 pressures a season ago and could be even better in 2022. They both played through injuries a season ago and it really showed in Garrett down the stretch. He will be highly motivated this season to help lead the team, especially with

The defensive tackle position is the biggest hole on the roster as of right, but there is still time to address that before September. Chase Winovich, who was acquired earlier this offseason in a trade with New England, could play the EDGE and move Clowney inside on certain packages.

The secondary could be the best part of the entire defense if they can remain healthy. Led by Denzel Ward, who is an elite quarterback in the NFL, this secondary will be hard to throw on. Along with Ward, who was given a massive contract extension earlier this offseason, the Browns will have Greedy Williams and Greg Newsome II.

Williams could be on the verge of a huge, breakout season that would warrant a big payday, whether it be from the Browns or another team. He will be on the opposite side of Ward and Newsome will likely move to the slot, where he will be around the ball a lot more, giving him ample opportunities to make plays. Newsome had a stellar rookie campaign and will look to be even better in year two.

The Browns will also have some depth with third-round pick Martin Emerson and AJ Green. Depth is crucial to any DB room, especially since they seemingly drop like flies. Also in that secondary will be John Johnson III – who got better as the season went on – Grant Delpit, and Ronnie Harrison. Delpit is entering his third season, but it is basically his second as he missed his rookie season with a torn Achilles. He played well a season ago and will look to be even better this coming season.

The linebacker room is led by Anthony Walker, but the standout will be Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Last season, defensive coordinator Joe Woods eased JOK into the mix, so this year the playing time should increase, which would also increase the production value.

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This team is fully capable of winning a Super Bowl with Watson under center. If Jacoby Brissett needs to play in the absence of Watson, whether it be a select number of games or an entire season, this team can make the playoffs.