The Browns have three concerns heading into the regular season.
The Browns are pretty loaded. While there are a few areas that we don’t know much about at the moment, like some of the rookies and how they’ll adapt to the team, it’s safe to say the team is pretty solid. The offensive line is getting a bit older but we’ve also seen guys like Blake Hance and Michael Dunn step up in a big way. The receivers are deep but we have a few question marks, and the secondary looks stacked. Again, though, we’re waiting to see how some of the rookies step up.
Baker Mayfield seems to be right where he needs to be and Myles Garrett appears to be healed up from his bout of COVID-19. Now it’s all about keeping the team healthy, especially in the case of Nick Chubb.
That doesn’t mean the team doesn’t have some glaring issues that need to be explored. To be clear, because someone’s going to point this out, these three positions of concern feature new talent coming in, making the situation more of an unknown. These very well may be the strengths of the team by the end of the year, but for right now, these are the three positions with the most to prove.
Three positions to be concerned about with the season on the horizon
The starting linebackers will more than likely be Sione Takitaki, Anthony Walker, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah barring injuries. That isn’t exactly a reassuring thought. Takitaki has not been a player maker at any point in his career, Walker is one of the worst-rated linebackers in all of analytics, which makes his signing with such an analytics-driven front-office baffling and Owusu-Koramoah has only really shown us a few quarters of potential. Maybe this is the next 46 Bears-type defense waiting to happen. Maybe they’re all scrubs. We don’t know but we can hope that at least some of them step up.
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Honestly, I’d be fine with the Browns starting a group of guys led by Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and KhaDarel Hodge. I think most people would, but instead, we’re getting Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr, two guys who have been plagued by injuries over the last two years. Landry is still a top 100 player, and Beckham is…there…but what they can still do is anyone’s guess. Beckham hasn’t been fully healthy in what is now his fifth year. Many keep thinking that this is the year that he’s returning to form but honestly, that seems unlikely. Then again, we won’t know until the game starts.
The team made a lot of fans happy by bringing on Malik McDowell, a player drafted four years prior and hasn’t suited up for one regular-season game yet. To say the team is relying heavily on an unknown commodity is an understatement. Then you have Andrew Billings, who sat out all of 2020 due to COVID, and Malik Jackson, a 31-year-old who is three years removed from his last good year. All three men may be boons for the team, or all three men could be the tissue paper in front of a bowling ball. We really have no idea until the full unit gets out there against the Chiefs.