By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on June 5, 2014
As a whole, the Cleveland Browns are an intriguing team to watch in 2014. With a new coaching staff and a number of new faces in key positions, the Browns are poised to turn around a franchise that has seen just one playoff appearance since its return to the NFL in 1999. Now armed with big-name players, Cleveland’s roster seems fit to turn heads this year. Here are five of the more intriguing players for the Cleveland Browns in 2014.
Coming off an All-Pro season with the Arizona Cardinals, Karlos Dansby is looking to provide his veteran leadership to the Cleveland Browns. Many questioned the Browns’ decision to let D’Qwell Jackson walk during the offseason and then sign Dansby to a four-year, million deal. At 32, Dansby isn’t a pup, but his combination of run-stopping ability and pass coverage skills instantly makes him a key to the Browns’ defense.
Last season was Kruger’s first in Cleveland after spending his first four in Baltimore, including a 2013 season in which he accounted for 42 tackles and nine sacks. Kruger started off slowly for the Browns and ended up with 40 tackles and 4.5 sacks on the season. With a new defensive coordinator in place, it will be interesting to see how Kruger responds. This year, Kruger has competition and will need to prove why he was signed for million.
For Johnny Manziel, being drafted by the Browns was one of his best-case scenarios in that he will be able to compete with veteran Brian Hoyer for the starting role. Even if Manziel doesn’t end up winning the job, he will have a chance to play this year. If Hoyer falters during the season and Manziel shows that he is capable of running the Browns’ offense, Cleveland shouldn’t hesitate to give the former Heisman winner a chance.
After sharing carries with one of the best NFL running backs Arian Foster, Ben Tate chose to sign with a Browns’ team searching for a running game. Now he will be looked upon to carry the load for a team that totaled just 1,300 yards rushing last season. Tate has had his share of injury problems, including being placed on IR during his rookie season. Kyle Shanahan has said that the Browns will focus on the running game, making Tate a key in 2014.
Hoyer started the season third on the depth chart, but was given the opportunity to start against the Vikings in Week 3. Hoyer took advantage of his opportunity, winning that game and his next two, before a season-ending knee injury denied him from playing again in 2013. This year, Hoyer has been given the chance to assume his starting role, competing against Manziel. Hoyer will be able to emerge as a legitimate starting QB in the NFL.
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