The Browns have some lingering issues to resolve against the Chiefs
The Browns arguably had three big concerns after the end of last season. There are a lot of micro concerns, but we’re looking more or less at the macro of it all. The things that helped define, or limit the 2020 Cleveland Browns.
The team has taken huge steps in addressing all of these concerns in the offseason, for the most part (the ones they can), and the hope is this team is ready to go. Not just ready to go, but ready to chase down a Lombardi Trophy. This team was a solid linebacking corp from going to the AFC Championship game last year.
So there’s no reason to doubt their potential for a Super Bowl this year. This isn’t 2019. So what lingering questions still face the Browns after the offseason and preseason?
How improved is the defense?
It’s hard to get worse than the Cleveland Browns defense in 2020. Myles Garrett was the only real pass rusher they had, their best run stopper on the line, Porter Gustin, was the third end for most of the season. The linebackers were absolutely irrelevant and the secondary fell apart more often than an Erector Set built by a five-year-old.
They, hopefully, addressed every issue in the offseason by bringing in three new defensive line starters, two new starters at linebacker, and possibly two new defensive back starters. They did their job to make the team better in theory, now it’s on the players to prove they’re better in execution.
This will be answered quite quickly against the Kansas City Chiefs. Frankly, it doesn’t matter if the Browns defense destroys all other 13 teams they play besides the Chiefs. The Chiefs are the gatekeepers to the Super Bowl for Cleveland. If the team can’t beat them without knocking out Patrick Mahomes, then what’s the point?
Now, if the Browns lose to the Chiefs 21-20 or 24-20, ok, it just wasn’t the Browns’ day, but if they get rocked in a blowout, or lose/win in a massive shootout, then that’s going to be a problem. The team overhauled this side of the ball, and they need to produce.