By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on July 1, 2014
For the Cleveland Browns, training camp will be a huge step in the transition process for the franchise. OTAs allowed the first glance into how the team will function, and how the roster will stack up. Other than the preseason or actual games, training camp provides the closest glimpse into the 2014 Browns. There are still plenty of questions that remain unanswered, so here are five storylines to follow during camp in Berea.
Heading into the offseason, two large questions faced Cleveland: Would center Alex Mack be in a Browns uniform in 2014 and if so, and who would play alongside he and Joe Thomas? Mack will be starting at center, but the question of who will be alongside him and Joe Thomas remains unanswered. Mitchell Schwartz started at RT last season and probably will again, but the guard positions are still open with four players truly in the mix.
Josh Gordon's looming suspension poses a big problem for the Browns. Gordon was set to be the focal point of the offense after a monster 2013 season, but now the Browns must rely on veterans like Miles Austin and Nate Burleson to carry the load at WR. Playmaker Andrew Hawkins would have benefited greatly from defenses focusing on Gordon, but now Cleveland must get Austin and Burleson to somehow draw attention in its offense.
Tate’s signing in free agency denoted that the Browns would put a strong emphasis on running the football in 2014. While Tate is well-known across the NFL, he has shown flashes of becoming a star; however, injury problems have hindered him in the past. Tate’s injuries led Cleveland to trade up in the draft to select West for insurance purposes. West’s style resembles Alfred Morris, who Kyle Shanahan coached, so Tate could be battling to start.
The possibility of losing Gordon for the 2014 season was a tough pill for Browns’ fans to swallow, especially a day after a promising first round in the draft. Gordon was the league-leader in receiving yards last year, and was by far the Browns’ best skilled player. It's unusual that the league has not announced Gordon's suspension yet, possibly signifying that he will not be facing the season-long ban that's been speculated since the news broke.
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. Manziel has been in the headlines recently, and not for the right reasons. Hoyer has earned the right to head into camp as the starter in Cleveland.
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