What should we expect out of the 2023 Cleveland Browns?
In a division that features teams which can tend to beat each other up, the Browns need to step up in a few key areas in 2023 if they are going to compete for a postseason spot.
Not having seen the playoffs since 2020, the Browns are feeling the pressure, especially after having added some premier names over the past two offseasons. But, to get back to the playoffs, three specific things need to happen, starting with not getting gashed in the run game.
1. Defense has to stop the run
Believe it or not, the Browns' pass defense actually finished as the fifth-best unit in all of football last year, giving up just 196.2 yards per game through the air. However, when it came to stopping the run, the Browns were simply not good.
Last year, Cleveland gave up the eighth-most rushing yards per game at 135.0 per contest. Two of the biggest additions to this Browns team, this offseason, came up front across the defensive line. The first one was Dalvin Tomlinson. While Tomlinson is much better against the pass, he is still good enough against the run and should be an improvement overall from where the Browns were at last year.
Second, the Browns signed Za'Darius Smith, who will also help more against the pass. But, a tenacious, athletic veteran like Smith is going to further bolster the run defense.
If Cleveland can prove to stop the run at a better rate in 2023, their defense will look a whole lot more complete and thus be in good shape for a playoff run.