It’s so easy to point fingers after starting the season 0-2 and scoring just 16 points. The Cleveland Browns as a whole lack depth and chemistry. However, let’s find some positives amidst the dismal start.
When the Browns drafted Barkevious Mingo with the sixth pick, few knew what type of impact the slender player would have. The Browns knew though. After missing the home opener with a bruised lung from preseason, Mingo made an impact on his very first NFL snap. Lining up on the outside against the Baltimore Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie, Mingo blew by the seasoned veteran and wrapped up Joe Flacco for his first career sack.
Later in the game, Mingo almost single-handedly put the Browns up. Rushing from straight the middle this time, Mingo bolted through the heart of the offensive line gunning for Flacco, leaped high in the air, and deflected the ball ten feet up in the sky. Had Flacco not been in his way, Mingo would have picked it off and ran for daylight. We have not seen the last of Mingo.
Browns athletic tight end Jordan Cameron continues to shine. Cameron is pacing for 120 receptions, 1,624 yards, and eight touchdowns in 2013. Is this realistic? Probably not, but any Browns fan would take just 60 catches from Cameron for 1,000 yards and five touchdowns. No. 84 has been targeted 20 times and has an average of 14.5 yards per catch.
Another positive is the Cleveland defensive front. The Browns have allowed just 119 yards on the ground and opponents are averaging a poor two yards per attempt. The Browns have also sacked the quarterback six times this season which puts them on pace for 48 sacks in 2013. Not bad at all.
The final positive worth noting is the play of Joe Haden. In week one versus Miami, Haden held Mike Wallace to just one catch. Yesterday’s game against Baltimore was not great for him, but he did prevent star receiver Torrey Smith from finding pay dirt. While passes underneath are hard to defend, it is almost impossible to throw over the top on Haden. Is this the year that Haden becomes an all-pro.
This season is not all scrapped by any means. With intelligent adjustments, it can all be turned around and a .500 season is still realistic. Will the adjustments be made is the only question.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net.