2022 opposition evaluate: Cleveland Browns

As coaching camp attracts to an in depth for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and with it the unofficial begin of the season, we’re taking a better take a look at the opponents on the crew’s 2022 schedule. Subsequent are the Cleveland Browns, who will rival the Buccaneers once they return from their Week 11 bye. The Week 12 Bux-Brown contest at First Power Stadium begins at 1:00 p.m. ET and might be broadcast by Fox.

Hopes had been skyrocketing for the Browns for the 2021 season when the crew broke a 17-season playoff drought in 2020 after which thrilled its followers 48-37 within the playoffs with arch-rivals Pittsburgh. Third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield, the primary choose within the 2018 draft, threw three landing passes in a win over the Steelers after ending the common season on a tear.

As an alternative, the 2021 marketing campaign was a disappointing one in Cleveland, ending and not using a repeat playoff berth and with the Browns and Mayfield getting divorced. The Browns nonetheless completed with the league’s fifth-best protection and the working recreation behind the highly effective pair of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt was one of many league’s finest, however the passing assault deteriorated and Mayfield was sacked 43 instances in 14 video games. been finished. That beating resulted in an damage to the left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was most likely instrumental in Mayfield’s second half, which was far worse than he had within the first six weeks of the season.

The Browns drew the Chiefs to Kansas Metropolis in Week One and practically went into bother earlier than a late Travis Kells landing led the house crew to a 33–27 victory. Cleveland scored three straight victories over Houston, Chicago and Minnesota earlier than dropping one other highway thriller, it was a 47–42 shootout with Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Browns would alternate wins and losses over the following 9 weeks, essentially the most notable resolution being a 41–16 blow to the Tremendous Bowl-bound Bengals in week 9, Mayfield throwing two landing passes and Chew working for 2 extra. That recreation got here simply days after Brown gave broad receiver Odell Beckham his requested launch; Beckham ultimately signed with the Rams and gained a Tremendous Bowl.

After popping out of their Week 13 bye and clipping a battered Ravens crew, 24-22, the Browns had been 7-6 and nonetheless very a lot within the run for the playoffs. They had been, in actual fact, tied with Cincinnati and had been only one recreation behind the Ravens on the time. Nonetheless, with the offense sputtering, the Browns misplaced three straight to Las Vegas, Inexperienced Bay and Pittsburgh to be out of competition. A Week 18 win over Cincinnati was too little, too late.

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Mayfield would end with a 17–13 TD-INT ratio and 83.1 passer score, and when he was sidelined (Case Keenum and Nick Mullens) his replacements didn’t carry out a lot better. Chub ran for 1,259 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, however Brown had just one wideout catch at Jarvis Landry, with 52 for 570 yards at Jarvis Landry. The sturdy Cleveland protection was led by Miles Garrett together with his 16.0 sacks and Denzel Ward together with his three interceptions, returning 99 yards for a landing.

Brown made one of many boldest strikes ever—and definitely some of the scrutinized—to deal with the quarterback place when he made three first-round draft picks, a third-round choose, and a fourth-round choose. Houston despatched in for Deshan Watson and a sixth-round choose on the finish of March. Watson faces a possible suspension from the NFL, maybe as this season and presumably a substantial size of time, stemming from the therapeutic massage therapist’s a number of dozen allegations of sexual misconduct, and the ensuing authorized proceedings. The Browns additionally signed Jacobi Brissette to a one-year deal and can seemingly flip to him because the beginning quarterback if Watson is unavailable.

Brown addressed his thinly obtained core with one other trade-off in addition to a draft choose. With Dallas searching for cap aid, Cleveland was capable of seize Amari Cooper only for a fifth-round choice and a sixth-round participant swap; Cooper averaged 1,056 yards and 7 touchdowns in his final three seasons with the Cowboys. He ought to be part of the beginning lineup with Donovan Peoples-Jones, as third-round rookie David Bell might be out of Purdue.

The Browns additionally handed out Jakim Grant, who was traded from Miami to Chicago in 2021 in a three-year deal, though he wouldn’t make a lot of a mark as a receiver. Relatively Grant, who’s coming off his first Professional Bowl look, will add juice to the return recreation. The Browns’ particular groups may also have a brand new set of kickers once they signed former Packers punter Corey Bjorkez and drafted LSU kicker Cade York within the fourth spherical.

It was not a brand new addition, however Cleveland was capable of keep away from the lack of its second main sack producer, Jadevon Clooney, in late Could once they reached a one-year take care of him. Clooney claimed to have turned down way more profitable affords to return to Brown. Cleveland made some new additions to its defensive entrance, as nicely, a one-year deal coping with Teven Bryan and eliminating Stephen Weatherly and Isaac Rochelle; Of the three, Bryan is almost certainly to begin and see vital recreation time. Additionally within the combine up entrance is third-round choose Alex Wright, based mostly out of Alabama-Birmingham. Mississippi State can kind a formidable trio of cornerbacks with third-round teammate Martin Emerson Ward and 2021 first-rounder Greg Newsom.

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The commerce for Watson signaled an nearly sure departure from Mayfield, and though it took a bit of longer than anticipated, Brown ultimately traded his former starter to Carolina earlier this month. The Browns secured a fifth-round choose within the 2024 draft, which may enhance to a fourth-rounder based mostly on play time.

Cleveland handed former Falcons former Falcons Austin Hopper a profitable four-year deal in 2020 however midway by way of the contract this previous spring after two heavy campaigns. Brown additionally launched Jarvis Landry, who later signed with the Saints. Fellow broad receiver Rashard Higgins signed on as an unrestricted free agent at Carolina, the place he should now proceed to work with Mayfield. Former Buccaneers cornerback MJ Stewart, who began three video games for Cleveland in 2021 and performed practically 40% of defensive snaps, signed with Houston.

The Browns may have a brand new heart in 2022 after selecting to launch long-time starter Jesse Traitor in March. Tretor began all however one in 5 seasons in Cleveland in a doable 81 video games. He had not signed every other crew till mid-July.

Tight finish David Nojoku isn’t new to Cleveland, however he has a shiny new contract extension after receiving the franchise tag that signifies he’s solely going to develop into extra central to the Browns’ passing assault. The Browns’ quarterback room has been utterly redesigned—former Steeler Josh Dobbs, signed within the low season to a one-year deal, is quantity three—so there is also a person on the fore. Drew Petzing, previously the crew’s tight ends coach, has been reappointed as quarterback; Earlier than that, offensive coordinator Alex van Pelt was really the quarterback coach.

Oh, and a few consider the Browns will use the NFL’s new rule for various helmets and put on the white hat in some unspecified time in the future in 2022.

Who might be beneath the middle in 2022?

The Browns invested closely in Watson by way of each draft belongings and assured pay, however aren’t but positive whether or not he’ll begin for them when the season begins this September. The NFL and the NFLPA held a three-day listening to earlier than Choose Sue L. Robinson two weeks in the past, which can in the end end in a decide’s resolution on Watson’s doable suspension. Primarily based on that call, an appeals course of may be adopted. what Is Clearly, as of mid-July, Brown doesn’t but know whether or not Watson might be obtainable to play within the first week.

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As famous, there’s a brisket fallback choice. He arrived in Cleveland after a season in Miami supporting Tua Tagovailoa. Brissette began 5 video games for the Dolphins, profitable two of them and compiling a 78.1 passer score. He has additionally hung out in New England and Indianapolis and began a complete of 37 video games with a 14-23 document.

No matter quarterback place, can the Browns win with a mix of an impressively quick assault and a protection that has the potential to be one of many league’s finest?

Followers of the Tony Dungy-era Buccaneers might adore this 2022 Browns crew. Dungy and his workers assembled probably the greatest NFL strongholds of all time within the late Nineties, and so they relied on that group and the backfield tandem of Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott to safe victory. Cleveland might take an identical method.

The Browns have probably the greatest offensive traces within the NFL, particularly in the event that they discover a good alternative for Traitor on the pivot. Former Titan Jack Conklin and 2020 first-round choose Jedric Wills put up a robust pair of tackles and All-Professional left guard Joel Bittonio has an underrated working mate in Wyatt Taylor on the suitable. On the time of Chub and Hunt splitting up and maintaining one another contemporary and shock 2021 D’Ernest Johnson ought to be able to step in if both of them are unavailable, Brown is predicted to observe up on the 2021 marketing campaign. during which he led the NFL. per carry.

In the meantime, Garrett seems destined for a 20-sack season in some unspecified time in the future in his profession and Clooney made 9.0 sacks in simply 14 video games final 12 months. Ward has quietly became probably the greatest cornerbacks within the NFL and Newsom had a really promising rookie marketing campaign. Weak linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoa is the breakout candidate for second 12 months and John Johnson is powerful on the again finish. The Browns had been fifth in allowed yards and thirteenth in factors final season and might be even higher in 2022.