I apologize at the beginning for not finding a cuter picture to use in my Cleveland Browns team preview. I searched around the internet and I couldn’t find many ‘cute Cleveland Browns fan’ picture results. I’m friends with a lot cute, female Browns fans on Facebook…but a search there didn’t retrieve much either.
Dear lady Browns fans, I know you are a cute bunch, but step your game up and take more pictures in your gameday gear!
Oh yeah, back to the actual football team…they were bad in 2011. They drafted two offensive weapons in this year’s draft who will pay off instantly. Their draft prizes, RB Trent Richarson and QB Brandon Weeden, are upgrades from last year’s starters.
Key Additions: RB Trent Richardson, QB Brandon Weeden, DE Juqua Parker, OT Mitchell Schwartz, DT John Hughes and WR Travis Benjamin.
Key Losses: RB Peyton Hillis, OG Eric Steinbach, OG Artis Hicks, DE Jayme Mitchell and C Steve Vallos.
Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East
Fantasy Sleeper: WR Travis Benjamin – Brandon Weeden has a bigger arm than Colt McCoy, so expect the wide receivers to have increased stats. Greg Little, Josh Cribbs, and Mohammed Massaquoi will all have the opportunity for breakout years. Benjamin could sneak into the game when the Browns go four-wide. Rookie quarterbacks get to know rookie wide receivers really well. They work with them in rookie mini-camp and they could develop chemistry. I’m not the only one who feels this way, Nate Ulrich at the Akron Beacon Journal agrees with me.
Team Analysis: Cleveland’s offensive linemen will need to come through this season if the Browns hope to stay competitive. If they can’t open up holes for Richardson or keep Weeden off his back, this season will be a disaster. The Browns cut ties with an ‘America’s White Boy’ favorite (Peyton Hillis) to make room for Richardson. It was the right call to not re-sign him. Weeden has an improved group of receivers who will make him look good if he can get the ball to them. Cleveland’s lone bright spot last season was their pass protection. They were second in opposing passing yards with Joe Haden leading the secondary. He is an elite corner, even if the box score doesn’t show what he adds to the team. If they can just stop the run (ranked 30th in 2011), they would have a decent defense. Let’s face facts, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati are all playoff contenders and Cleveland plays six games against those three teams. They also play four games against the dominant NFC East, yikes! Cleveland’s best-case scenario would be winning six games…but I don’t see that happening.
2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 4.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 4-12