5 Questions Cleveland Browns Must Answer During Training Camp
Cleveland Browns: 5 Questions They Must Answer During Training Camp
The Cleveland Browns have endured tough times for over a decade. Their last appearance in the NFL Playoffs came after 2002, when Kelly Holcomb was at quarterback. Since then, several personnel moves have not panned out at football’s most important position.
Signing players past their prime like Jeff Garcia and Trent Dilfer proved to be ineffective. In 2007, Cleveland turned to former Notre Dame standout Brady Quinn, who did not work out in the end. He never really received a fair shot, only starting 13 games for a bad team. Colt McCoy tried next to save this franchise, but in his time with the Browns, McCoy produced just a 6-15 record. Once again, the supporting cast was less than stellar. I am a supporter of his and believe he could be a solid starting quarterback. Now, their signal caller is older, but there are some reasons for optimism.
A franchise running back has arrived, if he can stay healthy. Despite lesser value placed on this position today, there is such importance here. They now also appear to have landed one exciting receiver, which is vital for an offense that has long lacked outside explosiveness. Former head coach Pat Shurmur's removal also signifies yet another fresh start. Defense proved to hurt the Browns too, but some moves have been made to upgrade this unit. After last year’s 5-11 season they will try to climb out of last place in the AFC North. Here are five questions Cleveland must answer during training camp.
No. 5: Can New Additions Make A Difference?
Paul Kruger provided quite a pass rush for the Baltimore Ravens, especially during their Super Bowl run. He plays with tremendous energy that rubs off on teammates. The only issue is he only had 17 tackles his previous four seasons before racking up 42 stops in 2012. First-round pick Barkevious Mingo possesses tremendous upside after registering 8.5 sacks his final year at LSU. Cornerback Leon McFadden was selected in the third round and could start opposite Joe Haden.
No. 4: Will Josh Gordon Sustain His Success From Last Year?
Some thought that Cleveland reached by taking receiver Josh Gordon in the second round of 2012’s Supplemental Draft. Gordon responded with five touchdowns on 50 receptions. Pressure will be on the former Baylor player to progress, and he has all the tools to come through.
No. 3: Does Trent Richardson Get Healthy On Time?
Trent Richardson emerged as an impact player during his rookie season. The sturdy running back collected 950 yards and 11 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he will be out until August recovering from a strained shin. There is extra urgency for Richardson to return because of the burden he carries on offense.
No. 2: Is Brandon Weeden The Answer At Quarterback?
Usually, when a quarterback enters his second year, they are in their early 20s. Of course, this is not the case for Brandon Weeden, who played Minor League Baseball for years before he attended Oklahoma State. Weeden has solid arm strength and a good build. Turnovers were a problem, though, as he threw for 17 interceptions. As he already approaches age 30, there is pressure on him to improve, especially with new general manger Michael Lombardi, who has been critical of him in the past.
No. 1: Can Rob Chudzinski Turn This Team Around?
The Browns followed a trend by hiring another team’s coveted coordinator. Rob Chudzinski helped mentor Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and was partially responsible for his incredible rookie season in 2011. He may have been their third choice after Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone, but it was a good hire from an offensive perspective. Shurmur simply wasn’t working out, and Chudzinski brings energy.