In the above picture Trent Richardson seems ready to play, but I think he just read Mike Freeman’s grade on the Browns going into Week 1. Freeman, the noted writer formerly of CBS Sports and now featured on Bleacher Report, put out his NFL grades heading into Week 1. You can skip directly to his grade on the Browns here, in which he gives the Browns a C.
Freeman quick notes on the Browns were interesting compared to what most national and local media are stating (Emphasis added):
There is a great deal of optimism in Cleveland. The team has a good offensive line, a quarterback who is getting better and a defense that could be pretty good.
Most would agree that the team has a good, if not great, offensive line and that the defense could be pretty good. Most off-season reviews of the Browns noted concerns related to QB Brandon Weeden even if the thought was he could get better it was not assumed that he was getting better. We at FoS appreciate the positive nature of this though and it should excite fans that a writer look highly on Weeden, until:
There’s just one problem: The Browns have no idea what they’re going to get from Trent Richardson.
WOW! It is understandable to be concerned about Richardson’s injury history as he discusses in the next paragraph but to state they have no idea is perplexing. This statement would make sense at the beginning of camp when Trent was coming back from injury but after playing well in pre-season and no injuries going into the season its a statement that seems a little off.
As for the overall C grade its important to put it in perspective with other teams he gave a C to:
Green Bay Packers – Freeman gave the Packers a C+ grade heading into Week 1. He notes the positives of Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers and continuous positive drafts. He states that the team did not do enough and states their defense is not a fit against the new read option look.
Houston Texans - The Texans are given a C- in his article. The entirety of his writeup consists of talking about RB Arian Foster and his injuries and the concerns it brings up. It looks like based solely on this the Texans got a C-, he must have no confidence in backup Ben Tate or the rest of the team to pickup the slack.
Jacksonville Jaguars - With the same C grade as the Browns comes the Jags. He notes the positive direction with a good owner, GM and coach in place off the field and with Maurice Jones-Drew returning successfully to the field. Unlike with Richardson he notes that MJD looked good in pre-season and declares him ready to go.
San Diego Chargers - Norv Turner’s old team got a C- from Freeman. He notes Dwight Freeney’s ability to still play but states that Philip Rivers is the problem for the Chargers. Rivers, who a few years back was a star, is noted as having accuracy issues and turning the ball over.
Seattle Seahawks - The team ranked #1 in ESPN’s rankings, was given a grade of C. His grade was given only due to the injury to Percy Harvin, similar to his Texans grade. Harvin, who was not with the playoff team last year, could return later in the season and provide a boost but shouldn’t stop the team from returning to the playoffs.
St. Louis Rams - One of the Browns’ pre-season opponents was also given a C. The young Rams are “average” due to Sam Bradford who has yet to unleash the potential seen coming out of college. Freeman notes the team will go as far as Bradford goes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs are another “average” C team for Freeman. Freeman notes that they were a hard team to figure out including HC Greg Schiano’s style and QB Josh Freeman. Their “unspectacular” off-season gave them a C grade.
Tennessee Titans – The last grade in the C bunch was a C- for the Titans. The Titans are compared to MJD’s Jaguars for their inability to utilize Chris Johnson and for that are given a C-.
Freeman has a long history in the NFL ranks and has a solid following. With 8 grades in the C range its possible that he is right on target as much of the NFL tends to land near the middle of the pack, 8-8, 7-9 or 6-10 in most years. The hope for these teams is A) Freeman is proved wrong and B) At least the Broncos, Vikings, Jets and Raiders were given lower grades then their team.
What grades do you think Freeman was off on? Who was too high? Too low? Just right?