Do The 2018 Cleveland Browns Have Actual Potential?
2018 Cleveland Browns Season Win Total Set At 5.5 Games
by DS WilliamsonCleveland parlayed a 1-15 SU season in 2016 to an even more dreadful 0-16 season in 2017. That’s right. The Browns didn’t win a single game last year. But, Browns fans should be bullish on the team's chances of at least winning 6 to 7 games this season. Heck, if everything works as planned, the 2018 Cleveland Browns could put together a .500 season!
Sounds like a joke statement, right? Let’s see if it is!
General Manager John Dorsey Has Ended Moneyball The biggest change with the 2018 Cleveland Browns is that they’ve decided to shelve the Moneyball approach. You can’t win football games by trying to put together a team on a budget. This is especially true at the quarterback position.
John Dorsey is now in charge of player personnel. His fingerprints are all over the Browns' revamped roster. The first thing Dorsey did was trade for former Bills’ QB Tyrod Taylor. Taylor doesn’t throw interceptions. That alone makes him a big step up from Cleveland’s quarterbacks last season.
But, Dorsey didn’t stop there. He selected Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield and Ohio State CB Denzel Ward with the first and fourth picks in Round 1 of the NFL Draft this past spring. Mayfield could end up starting if Taylor takes a step back. Ward is the coveted corner that teams salivate over, even though he was taken in place of several defensive studs the Browns could have used.
The years of counting pennies are done with in Cleveland. They're making big, bold moves and spending on deals where they need to. This is the type of aggressive attitude that a downtrodden fanbase needs to at least feel hopeful. How that plays out remains to be seen, but there's a lot of new and exciting talent donning the uniform this upcoming season. Credit Dorsey for being brave.
RB Nick Chubb could be awesome Dorsey’s best pick might be Georgia running back Nick Chubb. Sony Michel got the Round 1 designation when the Patriots chose him late. Chubb had to wait to get drafted in Round 2. The thing about Chubb is that he’s got all the tools to be this year’s Alvin Kamara.
That’s exactly what new offensive coordinator Todd Haley said he needed. Haley has already stated that the Browns will run the football this season. Chubb should start with RB Carlos Hyde getting plenty of carries. Duke Johnson, who showed flashes of brilliance last year, could enter the game as a nice change of pace back.
Despite the clutter at the position, Cleveland’s rushing attack will be better. That means, no matter what happens to WR Josh Gordon, Taylor or Mayfield will find open receivers. The most open? That will be WR Jarvis Landry who’s caught more passes in his first 4 years in the NFL than any receiver in history.
Can Cleveland’s defense stop any offense? Defense is where the 2018 Cleveland Browns could improve the most. Jamie Collins Sr. is one of the best linebackers in the NFL (sorry, New England). He’ll play right behind DE Myles Garrett. Julius Peppers, per defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, will play much closer to the line of scrimmage.
Not only is Peppers more comfortable closer to the line of scrimmage, he’s got the cover skills to go man on man with running-backs out of the backfield. He can also rush the passer and cover tight ends.
Ward will start at one corner. T.J. Carrie will start at the other. Carrie had 84 combined tackles with the Raiders last season. He’s a good cornerback.
Cleveland was average in yards allowed with the 15th most surrendered per game (328.1 yards allowed per game), but were the 31st ranked scoring defense with 25.6 points against on average. The personnel is strong on paper, and has nowhere to go but up. Buoying them is a supposedly stronger offense that boasts serious fire power. This will have to be a team that puts up a high scoring average to stay competitive because the 2018 Cleveland Browns defense is still a work in progress.
Browns should win at least 7 games Based on the schedule, the Cleveland Browns should win at least seven games this season. If they sweep Baltimore and Cincinnati, that’s four wins right there. Can Cleveland do it? They sure could because both of those teams are running in quicksand.
They can beat the New York Jets in Week 3. They can upset Oakland in Week 4. Tampa Bay in Week 7 could be another win. A favorable schedule is giving Cleveland a lot of opportunity, and for once they have the roster to get the job done.
There are at least seven winnable games on the board if the Browns can manage to sweep Baltimore and Cincinnati. A record of 7-9 SU won’t get them into the playoffs, but it’s a massive step in the right direction, though. That in itself is something that the Browns haven't done in a long time. More than anything, the 2018 Cleveland Browns simply need to show their fans - and their opponents - that they are no longer the league's door mat. Claiming seven victories will do just that.