2018 Cleveland Browns Season Outlook

Since 1999, the Cleveland Browns have played a total of twenty-nine different starting quarterbacks, and they have produced an embarrassing 72-216 record. In the last nine years, five different head coaches have been at the helm of a pathetic football team. Nevertheless, the Cleveland Browns will be the Super Bowl LIII champions. Our Brownies have struggled to find consistency for the past two decades, but it seems like they have finally found the right men for the job.

Despite their infamous 0-16 record last season, the Browns did not have that terrible of a year. They lost a total of seven games by only one touchdown or less, while also developing future stars in defensive end Myles Garrett, tight end David Njoku, and safety Jabrill Peppers.

Nevertheless, the real magic comes in the form of their elite offseason acquisitions: Jarvis Landry, Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, and Denzel Ward. A former Miami Dolphin, stud wide receiver Jarvis Landry adds competitiveness and swagger to a Browns team that has been anything but fun to watch. Veteran quarterback and former Buffalo Bill Tyrod Taylor brings experience to a team that has struggled to find consistent production at the quarterback position for over two decades. Rookies Mayfield and Ward bring the wildly desired “alpha mentality” to the Browns and will prove to be fundamental building blocks for years to come.

The Browns have spent the summer under the microscope of HBO’s Hard Knocks—a television series that follows the team’s training camp. Because they were examined under this national lens, there is a lot of a hype surrounding the Cleveland Browns, a sentence I never thought I would be typing. As an avid viewer of Hard Knocks, I can confidently say that the true leaders of the team are Jarvis Landry and Tyrod Taylor, both making the playoffs with their previous teams and knowing what it takes to win. The Browns have already laid a solid foundation, and with the addition of a few experienced veterans, they are ready to take the NFL by storm.

The toughest challenges on the Browns regular season schedule will be the Kansas City Chiefs and facing off against the Pittsburgh Steelers twice. Excluding those two teams, the Browns are fundamentally better than every other team they face. Now, it is a matter of whether or not the Browns can avoid injuries and learn to play as a cohesive unit. Unfortunately, a scenario in which a Tyrod Taylor injury occurs is likely over the course of a 16 game season. This exposure to injury stems from Taylor’s play style; as a run and gun quarterback, he is frequently exposed to big hits.

The Browns’ lack of sufficient protection up front on the offensive line exacerbates the likelihood of an injury. However, with the number one overall pick in the 2018 draft, the Browns selected former Oklahoma Sooner and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, providing a solid back-up at the quarterback position. In the event of an injury, a poised, confident, young quarterback will show the NFL his true colors, and Baker Mayfield will live up to the hype attached to his name.

Once again, the Cleveland Browns will be the Super Bowl LIII champions. As I have been told multiple times already, this claim may seem outlandish, but I wholeheartedly believe that the Cleveland Browns will end the regular season with at least eleven wins and will lift the Vince T. Lombardi championship trophy on February 3, 2019.

– Cade Howard ’20

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