The only news that came out of Cleveland this offseason was been about Johnny Manziel. It shouldn’t come as a surprise since he’s been a media magnet since college. He seems to be getting his life in order. He spent time at a rehab facility and moved to the suburbs. We may not see Manziel much on the field this season, but he took steps off the field to make it possible.
Cleveland will be without arguably their most talented players on offense from last season. Tight end Jordan Cameron took his talents to South Beach via free agency and Josh Gordon has to sit out this season after failing a drug test. Their offense could struggle at times, but luckily their defense didn’t lose any key players. I actually think they are better than last year on that side of the ball.
How will Josh McCown fare as the starting quarterback?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Cleveland Browns.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 7-9
Key Additions: QB Josh McCown, WR Dwayne Bowe, WR Brian Hartline, TE Rob Housler, DT Randy Starks, CB Tramon Williams, P Andy Lee, RB Shaun Draughn, RB Jalen Parmele, WR Terrelle Pryor & CB Aaron Ross
Key Losses: QB Brian Hoyer, WR Miles Austin, TE Jordan Cameron, DT Ahtyba Rubin, DE Jabaal Sheard, CB Buster Skrine, P Spencer Lanning, DT Sione Fua, S Jim Leonhard & RB Chris Ogbonnaya
2015 Draft Picks: DT Danny Shelton, C Cameron Erving, OLB Nate Orchard, RB Duke Johnson, DT Xavier Cooper, S Ibraheim Campbell, WR Vince Mayle, CB Charles Gaines, TE Malcolm Johnson, TE Randall Telfer, ILB Hayes Pullard & CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
Non-Division Schedule: AFC West, NFC West & (Tennessee/New York Jets)
Fantasy Sleeper: RB Duke Johnson – Cleveland isn’t exactly stacked at the running back position. Isaiah Crowell or Terrance West hasn’t ran away with the starting position in their years in Cleveland. I loved Johnson when he was at the University of Miami. He averaged 6.8 yards per carry in college. He is also a pretty good receiver. He’s currently suffering from a hamstring injury and may not get the majority of touches early in the season, but if given the opportunity midseason, he could take over as starter.
Offense – QB Josh McCown, RB Isaiah Crowell, WR Dwayne Bowe, WR Brian Hartline, WR Andrew Hawkins, TE Gary Barnidge, LT Joe Thomas, LG Joel Bitonio, C Alec Mack, RG John Grego & RT Mitchell Schwartz
Defense – DE Randy Starks, DT Danny Shelton, DE Desmond Bryant, LOLB Paul Kruger, ILB Craig Robertson, ILB Karlos Dansby, OLB Barkevious Mingo, CB Joe Haden, CB Tramon Williams, SS Donte Whitner & FS Tashaun Gipson
Team Analysis: Head coach Mike Pettine has had to deal with the Johnny Manziel tornado since taking over the job. He has handled it very matter of fact. He is the right guy for the job in Cleveland. That being said, they are still building up their offense. Dwayne Bowe was a nice addition, but losing Jordan Cameron to the Dolphins and having Josh Gordon on the shelf with a suspension are huge blows. Quarterback Josh McCown realizes he’s a placeholder at quarterback until Manziel gets his sh*t together. If Cleveland somehow has a winning season, their defense will be the reason. I don’t believe it is in the cards this year, but their defense will win them a handful of games. I look for them to take a big step in 2016.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 6.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 7-9 (3rd (tied) in AFC North)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.