Believe it or not, NFL training camps will open in just about three months. With all the free agency moves and interesting draft, the optimism is once again high for the Cleveland Browns and their loyal fans. It begs just two questions: 1) Do the Browns have a better all around team than last year 2) Is it at all possible to win more than eight games? I guess the only answer is- why wouldn’t it be?
Some say that the balance of this season falls strictly on second year man, Brandon Weeden‘s shoulders. While quarterback is an important position on this team, do not underestimate this new feisty defense. On paper, there is a lot to like about Cleveland’s defense that should make some noise. If we go off of some games last year, the 4-3 schemed defense was the reason the Browns stayed in or won games. That was Dick Jauron‘s defense.
In comes new defensive coordinator Ray Horton to the rescue. A former player who also coached on that team east of here, Horton brings a nastiness to the defense we probably have not seen since the late 1980’s. With packages called “Fire Blitzes” where six guys are rapidly pursuing the opposing quarterback, Horton expects his defense to be top ten in the NFL in 2013. It would be crazy to not see this defense single-handedly win a few games this upcoming season.
New head coach and Ohio native, Rob Chudzinski made a smart move and hired Norv Turner to control his offense. There are a handful of players that should benefit from Turner being in Berea, OH. Known for his vertical attack offense, do not forget about last year’s first round pick, Trent Richardson. As long as he stays healthy, I expect an 1,800 all-purpose yard season for Richardson. Don’t laugh, there is a great chance of that happening. In 2007, Turner’s first year as head coach of the San Diego Chargers, LaDainian Tomlinson had over 1,900 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns.
For years, a guy by the name of Vincent Jackson flourished in Turner’s offense with the Chargers. Josh Gordon is the Browns’ version of Jackson. Even with Pat Shurmur‘s bland west coast offense, Gordon caught 50 passes for 805 yards and scored five touchdowns. At just 22 years old, Gordon is one huge key to a successful campaign this year. This kid missed a year of football before the start of last season. Imagine what he will do when used properly and has a season under his belt. Also, have faith in third year man tight end, Jordan Cameron.
While optimism is always high in this football town, the NFL better not fall asleep on the orange-and brown. The organization, the fans, and the city all deserve a winning football team this year. The stupidity and embarrassment must come to a close. At the same time, the team must produce W’s.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber. You can follow him on Twitter @ryanpruiz24 and Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz.