1. Pass Protection
Most importantly for Week 1, the Cleveland Browns must improve their pass protection. Not only was it bad for most of the 2022 season, but it also didn’t look great in much of the preseason when the first-team guys were getting snaps.
It’s easy to sit back and say that with a guy as athletic as Watson you don’t need an elite offensive line, but that is far from the truth. There were times at the end of last year when Watson had a guy in his face before he even had a chance to let his eyes look downfield.
Having an athletic quarterback certainly helps a struggling offensive line, but Watson wants to throw first and can be extremely gifted throwing the football if he can dissect a defense.
While the Bengals are loaded on the offensive side of the ball, the defense is reloading a bit, especially in the secondary. While Trey Hendrickson is a great pass rusher off the edge, the rest of the line is more focused on stopping the run.
At this point, there is no doubt that Bill Callahan and the five starting offensive linemen know there is a ton of pressure on them and a game vs. the Bengals who aren’t known for getting a ton of pressure on the quarterback could be a huge benefit.
Week two for the Browns on Monday Night Football vs. the Steelers will be an absolute eye-opener for fans if these tackles don’t get better against the speed rush.