While it would be probably be easier to put up the Cleveland Browns’ team picture and just have an arrow pointing to it to answer the question in the title, that wouldn’t make for a very interesting discussion now, would it?
Before we answer that question more specifically, let’s just take a look at what isn’t wrong with the Browns. To start, they have a quarterback in Brandon Weeden that is actually showing some potential, a running back in Trent Richardson that oozes talent, a receiving corp that could catch some secondary’s off guard and an offensive line that just might be able to get the job done.
On top of the players on the field, the personnel off of it certainly have what it takes to help Cleveland build a winning football team. New head coach Rob Chudzinksi did himself a huge favor in hiring former San Diego Chargers‘ head coach Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator. Turner brings a shotgun style offense that better suits Weeden, and he is also a good offensive teacher.
All in all, the offensive is shaping up to be better than it was last year. However, that also means that the offense isn’t what’s wrong with the Browns. Simply put, it’s the defense.
In 2012, the Browns’ defense ranked 25th in opponents’ passing yards per game by giving up 245.2 a game and 19th in opponents’ rushing yards per game by giving up 118.2 a game. As they found out in going 6-11, those numbers aren’t going to help you win many ball games.
When looking back on the 2012 results, it became clear that the Browns’ defense, or lack thereof, cost them more football games than a lack of offense did. The Browns scored at least 20 points in four losses and just 14-19 points in the other four. The offense could get it into the end zone, but the defense couldn’t keep the other team out.
This past draft, the Browns did themselves a big favor by drafting defensive end Barkevious Mingo sixth overall. Mingo had 38 tackles, including 4.5 sacks in his final season at LSU. He should certainly help boost that defensive front in Cleveland.
So far this preseason, the Browns’ defense has shown some muscle, but the passing defense has been somewhat uninspiring. They gave up over 300 yards through the air to the St. Louis Rams and 166 yards passing to the Detroit Lions. However, they did win those games 27-19 and 24-6 respectively. Remember, though, that it’s the preseason and it’s important to take everything with a grain of salt.
The Browns are always an interesting team to watch. While they are often the doormat of the AFC North and the NFL, they always seem to play teams tough. Last season, it was the defense that constantly let them down. In 2013, the offense returns and has plenty of talent to get better. It will be up to the defense if the Browns want to improve on their 6-11 season of a year ago.