Welcome back everyone to the Broulis Report. It’s been a while, but I’m back.
The Cleveland Browns are back and after a year with Covid restrictions, the fans will be back as well. The expectations are very high this year for the Browns, after a close road loss at the hands of the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs. Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield looks to make a deeper run in the playoffs this season.
Now, speaking of expectations, so much of that has to do with something the Browns haven’t had in a long time. Stability. This year, Cleveland finally has stability. Just about all the players from last year have returned and the Browns only lost a few coaches from last year. This is what owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have been looking for and waiting for. This is the main reason Browns fans have high hopes.
I wanted to take a quick look at a few positions before the season starts.
LINEBACKER- I know, this is not the sexiest position to start with and in today’s NFL it’s not valued like it was back in the 90’s, 80’s and certainly the 70’s. A lot of that is due to the NFL being a passing league now. I’m really anxious to watch how well the linebackers play this year. The Browns brought in Anthony Walker from Indianapolis to play middle LB and help make sure everyone is where they need to be. Mack Wilson could be fighting for his spot on the roster this training camp. Last year, Wilson was missing too many tackles and he knows it. Tony Fields was drafted and I’m reading that he’s very fast and can run sideline to sideline. I’m confident in saying that GM Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski wanted to get faster on defense.
On the weak side, one guy I really enjoyed watching once he came off the injured list last year, was Jacob Phillips. Talk about someone who was a tackling machine with speed, that was Phillips. I’m looking forward to watching him play. Then you have the rookie out of Notre Dame in Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. He can tackle, cover and blitz. Let’s see how much playing time he gets.
Finally, at the strong side is Sione Takitaki. He really had a good second half of the season last year. If he continues his play, he’s going to get an extension.
OFFENSIVE LINE- Every starter is back. Jedrick Wills, JC Tretter, Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller and Jack Conklin. One of the best lines in the NFL returns everyone. Cleveland has not had this very often and as a matter of fact, the last time I remember the Browns having a talented offensive line like this, was in 2007 and that line wasn’t as talented as this one. The backups aren’t too bad either. Chris Hubbard, Nick Harris, Drew Forbes and Michael Dunn are the vets and James Hudson is the lone rookie.
If the linebacker play improves this year, the Browns defense will be in much better shape. The linebacker position has been a big area of concern for years and they may be onto something this season. With stability at the offensive line, Baker Mayfield should also only get better. He knows his guys and they know how he likes to play.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis