The Cleveland Browns might be looking at a reduced preseason schedule.
The NFL has canceled the yearly preseason kickoff, the Hall of Fame game, due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The news first broke from ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter about the decision, as well as a postponing of the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony. This then caused Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot to suggest that this is a sign that the NFL intends on cutting the 2020 preseason to two games. So if that happens, will it negatively affect the Cleveland Browns?
The quick reply? No, it won’t.
Firstly, the entire league would be reducing their preseason games, not just the Browns, so there’s going to be no unfair advantage there. If the Browns were forced to cut games but only a few other teams were forced to do the same, leaving the league largely affected, then yeah the Browns would have some issue. The Browns aren’t in that situation though.
Secondly, the Browns overhauled their roster but not to such a degree that there aren’t returning players. The systems being implemented aren’t that extreme either. Kevin Stefanski’s offense is pretty common across all forms of football and most offensive players have played in something like it before in their careers. As for the defense, besides terminology, it’s basically what the team ran last year; in theory.
So no, the Browns aren’t looking at some huge offseason of development like it were an expansion team. The big acquisitions are former Pro Bowl talent, which is why they got the big money, to prove they can adapt to situations. As for those worried about rookies being given their fair share of reps to get ready; yes, there’s a pause for concern there. It’s just not a concern that only falls on the Browns’ shoulders. Every rookie would have to deal with the shortened preseason games.
Plus it’s pretty clear who most of the cuts are going to be already. The preseason games don’t usually affect rosters too much, save for injuries. Most of the talent getting cut won’t be a surprise, so the two extra games won’t really make a big difference.
While getting game experience is always good, as long as the team is able to practice and scrimmage, things should be fine.