5 Storylines to Follow During Cleveland Browns’ OTAs

5 Storylines to Follow During Cleveland Browns' OTAs

Josh Gordon
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For the Cleveland Browns, the 2014 season brings a renewed energy stemming from their active free agency period and headlines pertaining to their draft day maneuvers. These moves all look great on paper, but the key will getting them to translate to the playing field. There are many questions that will need to be answered prior to the season starting; here are five Cleveland storylines to follow during OTAs.

5. Newly Signed Defensive Stars Tutor Younger Players

Karlos Dansby
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5. Newly Signed Defensive Stars Tutor Younger Players

Karlos Dansby
Getty Images

While the majority of the Browns’ key defensive players are still young, newly signed veterans like Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner have provided instant leadership on defense – and not only to players in their same position. With a young group of defensive backs and linebackers, the Browns’ defense will be tested in a tough AFC North. The direction given by these veterans should benefit the defense’s development.

4. Who Will Emerge on the Browns' Offensive Line?

Joe Thomas, Alex Mack
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4. Who Will Emerge on the Browns' Offensive Line?

Joe Thomas, Alex Mack
Getty Images

Heading into season, one of the Browns’ looming question marks is the offensive line. Left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack are the only sure things on the line, leaving both guards and the right tackle position up in the air. OTAs may not provide insight as to who could join Thomas and Mack as starters, but a scuffle that broke out last week between the offensive and defensive lines show that there is an urgency to make an impression.

3. How Will the Defense Respond to the New Regime?

Mike Pettine
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3. How Will the Defense Respond to the New Regime?

Mike Pettine
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Aside from D’Qwell Jackson, the Browns returned much of their defensive nucleus in 2014. Now, defensive-minded head coach Mike Pettine is tasked with continuing to grow a defensive unit that was solid at times in 2013. The Browns brought in veterans like Dansby and Whitner to mentor the younger players, but it remains to be seen how the group will adapt to the new defensive schemes.

2. Who Will Step Up at Wide Receiver?

Josh Gordon
Getty Images

2. Who Will Step Up at Wide Receiver?

Josh Gordon
Getty Images

Josh Gordon’s future is still in limbo, but the receiver position had been an area of concern for Cleveland even before Gordon’s positive drug test. The Browns have a total of 14 receivers in OTAs on the roster and will need newly signed players like Andrew Hawkins, Nate Burleson, Miles Austin and Earl Bennett to emerge as viable options at WR.

1. Johnny Manziel's Role in Cleveland

Johnny Manziel
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1. Johnny Manziel's Role in Cleveland

Johnny Manziel
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The Johnny Manziel vs. Brian Hoyer saga began as soon as the Browns traded up for the former Heisman winner in May. Manziel was told he would be sitting behind Hoyer to begin the season, and the Browns have certainly shown that he will have to earn a starting role. Once rookies joined the veterans in OTAs, Manziel took third-team snaps behind both Hoyer and the newly signed Tyler Thigpen.


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