The Cleveland Browns have wrapped up the spring portion of the offseason after the mandatory minicamp ended on Thursday with the on-field workouts ending on Wednesday.
The team will now be off for the next six weeks before re-grouping in late July for training camp and the start of the 2018 NFL season.
I wasn’t in Berea to witness any of the practices but here is my thoughts on some things pertaining to the Browns before training camp begins
The QB position
The quarterback position of the Cleveland Browns is a complete 180 from what the position looked like a year ago at this time.
Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler, DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan were the quarterbacks and while Kizer was showing flashes of his potential, there wasn’t a lot of hope.
This offseason, general manager John Dorsey upgraded the position in a major way with the acquisition of Tyrod Taylor, signing veteran Drew Stanton and drafting Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Taylor has locked down the starting position and head coach Hue Jackson reiterated that he was the starting quarterback and he’s earned that throughout the spring. Mayfield started out as the third string quarterback but quickly jumped Stanton to become the backup.
Mayfield should push Taylor throughout training camp and the preseason but he doesn’t have a problem being the backup and relishes it as he stated sitting down a year after he transferred to Oklahoma helped him and perhaps sitting behind Taylor for a season will make Mayfield a better quarterback in the NFL
The Browns offense has a lot of promise
The Browns not only upgraded the quarterback position but they upgraded the entire offensive side of the football.
While they did lose their franchise left tackle in Joe Thomas, Cleveland was aggressive in adding skill players to the offense with the hiring of former Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, the acquisition of Jarvis Landry, the signing of Carlos Hyde and the drafting of Nick Chubb and Antonio Callaway.
They join an offense that already featured Duke Johnson, Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman and David Njoku, the Browns offense has a lot of potential in the 2018 season. Gordon told reporters earlier this week that the Browns have the best wide receiving core in the entire National Football League.
If Gordon can stay on the right track, it’s hard to argue his claim based on what both he and Landry have done during their career and the potential of Coleman and Callaway as the third and fourth receivers.
They still have to actually get on the field during a legit NFL game but this offense could be an exciting one to watch during the 2018 season and beyond.
No excuses from the coaches
Hue Jackson has been saying that he hasn’t had enough talent during his first two seasons as head coach of the Browns, resulting in the 1-31 record he’s responsible for.
With the amount of talent John Dorsey has added to the roster this offseason, Jackson has no more excuses to make. There’s legit NFL talent on both offense and defense that could start on other NFL teams today.
I didn’t like that Jackson gave the players an early start to their summer break by canceling Thursday’s session of on field work. Jackson should take every opportunity he has to put his players on the field to get better, especially on offense since it’s a new scheme under Todd Haley that the players are getting acclimated with.
The no excuses statement can apply to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams too. The defense was not very good during the 2017 season and while it was an upgrade from how it was under former defensive coordinator Ray Horton, it still wasn’t very good.
Dorsey added some defensive pieces in the offseason like Mychal Kendricks, Damarious Randall, EJ Gaines, TJ Carrie and first round pick Denzel Ward.
Along with the players who were already here like Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, Jabrill Peppers, and Christian Kirksey among others, the defense has a chance to take the next step this season and it’s up to Williams and his staff to have those players ready to go and in the right position to succeed.
I’ve been saying all offseason that the Browns will win six games in the 2018 season and I’m sticking around that number but I won’t be surprised if they win more. The talent is there for this team to win and for Cleveland to make some noise this season.
I’m keeping the number lower than some because I still have concerns about the coaching staff and I think their ineptitude will unfortunately cost the Browns some games this season.
If they get off to a slow start, I think it’ll be best for Jimmy and Dee Haslam to cut ties with Hue Jackson and to start the search for a legit, competent head coach that can use the talent at a high level to get Cleveland back in the playoff picture.