It’s finally here, football fans! The Cleveland Browns open training camp at the end of this week, and exhibition football is just around the corner.
After accumulating cap space and high draft choices over the past few years, the Browns should be poised for improvement. Records of 5-11 and 4-12 should no longer be acceptable or tolerated.
This football team now has a new head coach in Rob Chudzinski and experienced offensive and defensive coordinators in Norv Turner and Ray Horton. These coaches have track records of developing players and putting them in position for maximum success.
That would seem to bode well for young veterans like QB Brandon Weeden, RB Trent Richardson, WR Josh Gordon, DE/LB Jabaal Sheard, NT Phil Taylor, and CB Joe Haden.
This squad has good, young players ready to make the step in becoming solid, productive football players, and fans should have faith that the new coaching staff will make that happen.
For all of the talk about Turner being a passing game guru, the man has a history of running the football effectively too. His offenses have been known to stretch the field with the passing game and pound the ball on the ground too.
That would seem to be a perfect fit for both Weeden and Richardson, as that would appear to be their strengths. If either does not flourish under the former San Diego head coach, then the front office will have to look to replace them both.
This isn’t to say that Turner is a miracle worker, but he’s had success in the NFL as an offensive coordinator and it seems like he has been able to maximize the strengths of players. And that’s exactly what Weeden needs after last year’s dink and dunk attack.
Horton’s influence is something new to Cleveland and his defense should be interesting to watch for Browns’ fans.
He likes to attack and that is something that we can’t remember from a Cleveland defense, and we’ve been following the orange and brown for almost 50 years.
Even in the late 80’s when Cleveland has two elite cornerbacks in Hanford Dixon and Frank Minniefield, they really weren’t an attacking style defense that got after the opposing quarterback.
Horton promises his crew will get after the passer and that will disrupt the aerial game.
That will be quite a contrast from the “bend, but don’t break” schemes Browns’ fans have been seeing since the days when Blanton Collier was roaming the sidelines as the head coach here.
With the talent acquired from the past few drafts, including the last few from the previous regime, and the experienced proven coordinators secured by team president Joe Banner and Chudzinski, if the Cleveland Browns can’t take a quantum leap forward now, they may never will.
It’s finally time to be optimistic about Cleveland’s football team, and with good reason.
Fans should expect a team that contends for the playoffs, nothing more, nothing less. And that is a good thing.
If the Browns don’t win seven or more games in 2013, there should be major disappointment.
And we didn’t even mention Jimmy Haslam’s problems with his company either.