I was contacted by the Editor of Arch Authority as the Browns prepare to take on the Rams in the Pre-Season opener tomorrow night. He had some questions for FoS related to the Browns, which I will share with you here as well as the answers given.
1. The Browns always seem to have the talent, but for one reason or another, they can’t put it together. What’s the level of frustration with the Browns in Cleveland?
Browns fans have had to learn to lower their expectations. Often time “talent” is only comparable to the past or the other talent around. Training Camp All Stars including James Davis and Ben Gay have been the norm. They look like world beaters, until they face other teams talent. A running back looks great against a defense with little talent and adjusting to a new system. The new systems has been the other part of the problem. Constant changes between 4-3 and 3-4, and different styles of each, means that not only new talent has to come in, and old not fitting talent goes out, but players have to relearn often. Frustrations simmer under the surface and boil as the season winds down.
2. What are some of the key players for the Browns this upcoming seson?
3 Key Players for the Browns this year:
QB Brandon Weeden – Returning to more shotgun should help him some, but possibly hinder Trent Richardson. Does Weeden have the instincts to make the proper reads and not get his passes knocked down. Does the new regime have any confidence in him? Will he learn when to throw the ball away in the new down the field passing attack Norv Turner brings in?
DE Desmond Bryant – Famous for his arrest photo, Bryant was given a large contract to make an impact on the defensive line. Combined with hold overs Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor, Bryant will be counted on to keep blockers off the linebackers and to stuff the run. Bryant comes over from a 4-3 defense where he had some success but not as a starter/full time player. Can Bryant fight his urge to rush the passer, therefore leaving linebackers open to be blocked? Will Bryant stay out of trouble off the field? Can he impact as an every down player while adjusting to a new system?
OLB Barkevious Mingo – Mingo was the Browns’ #1 pick this year. He has shown flashes in training camp, against a stellar offensive line. Mingo was a DE in the 4-3 defense run under Les Miles at LSU, and is transitioning into the OLB role. Mingo is slight in build but a dynamic athlete. New DC Ray Horton will look to him as a pass rush specialist to start off, with FA signee Paul Kruger and DE convert Jabaal Sheard holding down the starting jobs. Can Mingo hold up against the run? Will he be ready in case of injury, or poor adjustment by Sheard? Can he learn to drop back in pass coverage?
3. I know it’s a preseason game but what do you expect to see from the game on Thursday?
For the first pre-season game the expectations are low. The hope is that the offensive line and front 7 on defense can show that they can carry the team while the “specialist” get their feet wet. This season will be dependent on those 2 units to provide consistent positive play to stabilize the team. With Trent Richardson probably out for the game, how scat back Dion Lewis performs should be exciting. Same will be true for Mingo, fans will want to see their first round pick explode on the scene Thursday night.
FoS has sent him questions and will share the answers as they are received.