Cleveland Browns: 5 Players Who Will Stumble in Week 1
Cleveland Browns: Five Players Who Will Stumble in Week 1
Ever since the Cleveland Browns came back into the NFL, they have had very low expectations and many early picks in the draft. The majority of those picks haven't worked out, which is why they continue to draft early. They have played in one playoff game since returning to the league in 1999 and lost to Pittsburgh. They have only finished above .500 twice in those 14 seasons and have lost double-digit games in a single season 11 times.
To say that they are a struggling franchise is a big understatement. When you look at the flops they have had in the draft, it includes drafting Tim Couch and Courtney Brown No. 1 overall in back-to-back years; they also drafted William Green ahead of Clinton Portis, Braylon Edwards over Aaron Rodgers and Gerard Warren ahead of Ladainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees. Every team makes mistakes in the draft, but when you do it every year and your team is always hovering around the five-win mark, it is time for some changes.
This will be Jimmy Haslam's first full year as owner of the Browns, Joe Banner's first full season as CEO and Rob Chudzinki's first season as an NFL Head Coach. They are going into this season very confident at the running back position with Trent Richardson and at left tackle with perennial Pro-Bowler Joe Thomas. They are hoping to get improved play from Brandon Weeden in his second season and from their young athletic receiving corps.
I wouldn't feel very comfortable winning Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins if I were a Browns fan, though. The Dolphins spent over $200 million to upgrade their team this offseason, and are bringing back one of the top run defenses in the NFL from last year. While a few players may have decent games, I expect the following five players to stumble in the season opener.
5. Trent Richardson
Trent Richardson will be the best offensive player on the field on Sunday. However, with no receiving threat on Cleveland, the Dolphins will stack the box and make sure Richardson doesn't beat them.
4. Brandon Weeden
Brandon Weeden had an excellent preseason and will look to be much better in year two. However, with the suspension of Josh Gordon and the lack of a playmaker on the outside means he will struggle to get them in the end zone.
3. Buster Skrine
The Dolphins come in with a revamped receiving corps with Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson to go along with Brian Hartline. Joe Haden will be matched up against Mike Wallace for the majority of the game, so Skrine will be matched up with Hartline, who is Ryan Tannehill's favorite target and the guy he has the most chemistry with.
2. Greg Little
Greg Little is a decent NFL wide receiver. He would be a good No. 3 on any team and a passable No. 2 on some. However, with the suspension of Gordon, he will be locked up with Brent Grimes the entire game. Look for Little to struggle getting open and Grimes to end up with a big day on defense.
1. Mitchell Schwartz
Mitchell Schwartz will be stuck going up against Cameron Wake for the entire game. Even though he should get help from the tight ends and fullbacks, he will be overmatched every play.