Browns 3 reasons for optimism and 3 reasons for concern in 2024

There are reasons for optimism and reasons for concern with the Browns in 2024
Cleveland Browns, Myles Garrett
Cleveland Browns, Myles Garrett / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

With the long break between minicamp and training camp, there's plenty of time to discuss the Cleveland Browns and their prospects for 2025.

After going 11-6 in the regular season, the Browns were dealt a frustrating loss to the Houston Texans in the Wild Card Round. Now, they look to get back to full health and find a way to make a deeper run in the playoffs.

With that goal in mind, let's identify three reasons to be optimistic and three reasons for concern heading into training camp.

Reason for optimism No. 3: WR depth is best we've seen in years

After adding Jerry Jeudy in a trade with the Denver Broncos, the wide receiver depth chart is the best we've seen in a long time. Back in 2019, there was a lot of hype surrounding Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. but this unit is far more dangerous.

They have a true No. 1 wideout in Amari Cooper (assuming they address his hold out) and Jeudy is a good option at WR2. Elijah Moore rounds out the main trio and all three can move from the boundary to the slot. They even have depth beyond them with Cedric Tillman, who has been turning heads during offseason workouts.

Reason for concern No. 3: Left tackle is far from solved

As good as the receiving corps is, the Browns have had issues giving their quarterback time to find the open man. Injuries were a problem in 2023 but even when Jedrick Wills (their starting left tackle) was on the field, they never knew what they would get.

Wills was the 10th overall pick out of Alabama in 2020 and while he's had some decent moments, he's also had more than his share of struggles. He enters the final year of his rookie contract and still has no competition around him. That means their protection on the blindside will fall on the shoulders of Wills — a very concerning thought.

Reason for optimism No. 2: Backup RBs are superior to 2023

Adding D'Onta Foreman and Nyheim Hines in free agency means Cleveland's depth at running back is vastly superior to what they had last year. They believe Nick Chubb will be back, which will be a huge boost, but they can still move the chains on the ground without him.

Reason for concern No. 2: Health across the board

Chubb is just one of many players returning from an injury. Deshaun Watson, Jedrick Wills, Jack Conklin, Dawand Jones, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and Grant Delpit all ended the season banged up.

This isn't a one-time issue for the Browns either. Injuries have been plaguing them for years and until they can get through a year without losing key players, it's going to be a concern. If they can stay healthy, this is one of the top teams in the entire league. If not, they could have more frustrating losses as they did against Houston.

Reason for optimism No. 1: Myles Garrett has a renewed hunger

Losing in the playoffs stings. Losing 45-14 in the playoffs stings worse and doesn't go away for a long time.

That's the case for Myles Garrett who isn't over the Browns' loss to the Houston Texans. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year thinks about that game constantly and is eager to get the taste out of his mouth. Garrett is one of the more dominant defenders in the league, so seeing him with extra motivation is highly encouraging.

Reason for concern No. 1: Deshaun Watson is still a major question mark

Deshaun Watson might be the most hated man in the league right now due to his off-field behavior. He believes that's why he faces the criticism he does, even saying he "must be pretty damn good" for people to comment on his play.

Watson can spin it however he wants but the criticism of his play is fair. He has yet to come close to earning his $230 million contract. Now entering year three, he has an elite roster around him but has to prove he can still be a reliable quarterback.

Cleveland mortgaged their future for a quarterback they wouldn't have to worry about yet he's become their No. 1 concern. If they can get him to perform anywhere close to average, they can win. But we still don't know if he can do that consistently.

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