The Cleveland Browns don't take the field for a regular season game for another 91 days. But you shouldn't let that stop you from getting excited about the work the team is putting in during their minicamp that just wrapped up.
The clips were dropping from the Browns social media team at a rapid rate. One-handed catches, toe-dragging touchdowns, and absolute dimes were being dropped during the team’s three-day minicamp. Then the social team clipped up the best of the day and sent them straight to the fans.
While I acknowledge that making plays in June, and mostly on air and in T-shirts and shorts, will not directly translate to wins and losses this upcoming fall, it is massively encouraging to see the Browns passing offense coming together and looking crisp early in the installation process.
Reasons to be excited about the Browns offense
The Browns made several additions to their wide receiver room this offseason, and so far, each pass catcher they added has made their share of plays during minicamp. The biggest splash plays early on in minicamp came from veteran speedster Marquis Goodwin.
While everyone is aware of Goodwin’s Olympic-level speed, Browns fans should be encouraged by the veteran’s ability to track the ball on deep shots. That trait pairs phenomenally with Watson’s proclivity to air out deep shots and allow receivers to run under the ball to the catch point.
Elijah Moore has been front and center in many of Cleveland's highlights from minicamp. The main reason to be encouraged about Moore’s play is not his ability, which is obvious, but rather the fact that the Browns have a plan for Moore’s skillset.
The third-year receiver has lined up all over the field: in the slot, out wide, in every variation of motions, and even in the backfield. Moore’s versatility is going to be featured in the Browns passing attack, and that should make fans excited about the possibilities and defensive coordinators nervous.
However, it needs to be stated that the new additions to the passing game were not the only players to look impressive during this minicamp session. The tight ends, most notably David Njoku and Jordan Akins, looked sharp and appear to be major focal points of the RedZone offense. Donovan Peoples-Jones looks to be a man on a mission and his chemistry with Watson was on full display for all three days of the minicamp.
And Amari Cooper was well...Amari Cooper, and even while rehabbing from his core muscle surgery solidified his spot as this team's number one WR.
But the biggest reason to be encouraged about the Browns offensive performance during their minicamp is Deshaun Watson. After his self-inflicted 700-day hiatus and subsequent six-game stretch with the Browns in 2022, there were, and are, concerns that Watson may not be able to return to his former level of play.
And while his performance at this past week’s minicamp is not a guarantee that Watson is all the way back, it is ultra-encouraging to see him execute at the level he displayed during the three-day session. The accuracy, ball placement, and timing could not have been better for Watson. From his mechanics all the way to his confidence, it is apparent that Watson has turned a corner in his mentality ahead of the 2023 season.
This team will only go as far as Watson’s play will allow. And while I am keenly aware that making plays during a minicamp in June ultimately does not count in September, it is a massive step in the right direction. But each good session that Watson can stack between now and September 10th is massive for this Browns team and gets him one step closer to regaining his place among the league’s best quarterbacks.
So, for the fans, get excited about the possibilities that lies ahead for this 2023 Browns squad. After all, that is what being a fan is all about. Believe me, I know that it is easier to be guarded about this franchise and not allow thoughts of grandeur to lead to inevitable heartbreak, but that is no way to live.
There might not be a team in the NFL with a greater variance of possible outcomes than the 2023 Cleveland Browns, but that also means there is a chance that this team could actually pull of the unimaginable. That alone should give you more than enough of a reason to get excited.