At the very least, the Cleveland Browns will flirt with a playoff berth this season, but with the AFC being completely loaded with talent, it will be much harder for those aspirations to be achieved.
On paper, this team is as good as any in the conference or in the entire league for that matter, but as we've seen in the past, paper champions aren't typically real champions.
This list will exclude injuries as they are bound to happen. Some injuries can greatly harm a team's chance of making the playoffs. Injuries will always be a part of the game, but you never know when one will happen.
Here are the three nightmare scenarios for the Browns in 2023.
3. Revamped defense doesn't pan out
In 2022, we saw the defense of the Browns play too inconsistently which ultimately hurt the playoff hopes. The defensive line, outside of Myles Garrett, was a complete mess, and injuries plagued the linebacker room.
Andrew Berry couldn't spend another offseason sitting idly and not addressing the glaring holes on this roster, so he added some much-needed talent at different positions.
He acquired Dalvin Tomlinson, Za'Darius Smith, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Juan Thornhill, and Rodney McLeod, among others via free agency and trade. The team also hired Jim Schwartz to be the new defensive coordinator after firing Joe Woods, who was often the scapegoat last year.
Again, on paper, this defense is loaded and easily the best Garrett has played with, but it all comes down to execution. Surely, this unit will take a couple-three weeks to fully gel on the field, but what if they never gel together?
Does Schwartz have enough to command the best out of this side of the ball? Is there veteran leadership that will step up and not point fingers? These questions are ones that have troubled the Browns over the past three years.
Garrett has had his leadership questioned, but this could finally be the year he ascends to yet another level and put his name in the Defensive Player of the Year hat.
If the defense can show improvements from last season and be the unit many think they can be, it will spell good results for the Browns. If this unit doesn't get on track, it could be another long season of the blame game.