Looking at the Browns Inconsistent 2021 Season

What should the Dog Pound expect?

By: Andy Davies

Last season, the Cleveland Browns earned their first playoff appearance since the 2002 campaign and their first postseason win since New Year’s Day in 1995

As a result, they went into the 2021 season with plenty of hype. However, it hasn’t worked out like this. The team’s current record is 5-5 and they are in a division where every team has at least 5 wins. 

So, what has gone wrong for a team that many had down as AFC North division winners? Is there still a chance to win it?

Inconsistent Division

The short answer is yes, they can. The AFC North is fast becoming one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL, but no team has managed to get some sort of consistency. Baltimore Ravens fans will certainly tell you that. 

They had a 5-1 start, which included a 46-35 win over the reigning AFC Champions Kansas City Chiefs. The week after beating the Los Angeles Chargers 34-6, a team that many have as a Super Bowl dark horse, they lost 41-17 to division rivals the Cincinnati Bengals. On Thursday night, they lost 22-10 to the Miami Dolphins, who were 2-6 before the game. More worryingly for the Ravens, the Dolphins appeared to show the entire league the blueprint as to how to beat them. 

The Cincinnati Bengals were briefly top of the division just a matter of weeks ago but now sits in 3rd place. We have seen the excitement of the Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase partnership but have equally seen the defense allow at least 34 points their last two games as they suffered defeats to the Browns and New York Jets.

There was a difficult start made by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite the surprise 23-16 win over the Buffalo Bills in Week One, they lost their next three games to go 1-3. However, they have not lost a game since and now sit 5-3-1. Head coach Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season, but they still have to face the Chargers, Ravens twice, the current AFC number one seed in the Tennessee Titans as well as Cleveland.

Cleveland themselves have to also play the Packers on Christmas Day and the rest of their AFC North rivals, but also get to play a 0-8-1 Detroit Lions and an inconsistent Las Vegas Raiders. Their schedule is fairly favourable, but they have to cut out their own erratic performances if they are to succeed.

Sorting Out Their Own Inconsistencies

The Browns have really struggled for consistency this season. They won three straight games after their opening day loss to the Chiefs but have failed to win consecutive games since. 

If a team is to win championships, then they have to win games consistently. Whilst is it more important how you play in January than how you play in October or November, but you have to make sure you play in January past the regular season.

What have the great New England Patriots sides done in the past? Gotten a consistent run of good form down the stretch. This is exactly what the Browns need to do as runs like this help build momentum and confidence in the crucial postseason games.

The Baker Conundrum

Quarterback Baker Mayfield is easily one of the more polarising players in his position. There are some that feel he is the guy. There are others that view him as nothing more than a ‘game manager’. 

So far in 2021, he has 1,990 yards, 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. This has him projected to finish the campaign with just under 3,980 yards but crucially just under 18 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. This would have him at around his career best in terms of yardage but his worst season when it comes to touchdown passes.

His career so far has defined patchy. He had amazing seasons in both the 2018 and 2020 campaigns but has been poor in 2019 and 2021. He will be expecting a good season in 2022 judging by how his time as a pro has gone, but there is no guarantee he will earn his new contract. This ends after the conclusion of the 2022 season, which may see him raise his game. He has to be careful that he doesn’t suffer a further dip in form. 

Quarterbacks such as Jimmy Garoppolo and Tua Tagovailoa may be available that would fit into the game manager role and allow the excellent run game to flourish. He will have plenty of suitors due to being the number one overall pick in 2018 and the two excellent seasons he has had but he will want to succeed in Cleveland. This is clear to see. One thing that hasn’t helped is the broken-down relationship with wide receiver OBJ.

The OBJ Dilemma

Say what you want about Odell Beckham Jr, the dynamic around him and Baker’s relationship cannot have helped things in Cleveland. Throughout Beckham’s time in Ohio, the talk of a lack of chemistry between the pair has been a constant talking point.

There is substance to this, with the fact that the Browns made the playoffs last season with Odell injured. 

The loss of running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to injury hasn’t helped, despite the best efforts of D’Ernest Johnson. The one-two punch of both backs reduced the need for Baker to throw to ball to. Instead, these injuries have meant Baker has had to throw to ball to. This can be seen by his stats, with Baker projected to throw for career highs in completed passes and his second highest total in attempted passes. 

OBJ’s dad has posted videos on social media of the amount of times Beckham has been open and not received the ball. There is clear frustration from the Odell camp. Now that he has gone, along with the return of Chubb and Hunt, will help ease the tension at the franchise. Should the struggles ease, with such a good plethora of offensive and defensive talent, this should see head coach Kevin Stefanski guide them to another playoff appearance (or two). Should things further unravel, then Baker will be vastly looking over his shoulder at Free Agency and the 2023 draft quarterback prospects.

Three reasons why the Steelers could repeat as AFC North champs

The Pittsburgh Steelers offseason needs high goals

By: Noah Nichols

Everyone knows the story. The Steelers began the 2020 NFL season with an impressive 11-0 record. They would then go 1-4 and be eliminated in the first round the by the Cleveland Browns. However, that first round loss has really brought down people’s expectations for the Steelers. It is a popular opinion to believe that the Steelers will not make the playoffs in 2021. To be sure, the end of 2020 left a bad taste in the mouth of both fans and critics. The Steelers flaws really came to the surface at the end of the season.

But that does not mean that the Steelers won’t win the division, like they did last year. Even when they were predicted to finish third in the division. Yeah, the Steelers did not look good at the end of the season. But they have changed some things to fix the flaws that were apparent at the end of the 2020. Like their running backs and offensive line.

The AFC North is not so different from 2020. Some new players here, same players there, talent lost, and talent gained. That’s what happens in free agency and the draft. And while the critics are quick to point out the Steelers flaws, and praise the rest of the division for players acquired, they forget the Steelers. They have everything that they need to win the division. And they plan to. They wont say it, but they don’t have to, they will let their play do the talking, and let the rest of the division take the spotlight. Like the Browns, who are now expected to win the division, something that they have not done since 2002.

The Steelers have a running game

It is not early to say that the Steelers will have a better run game in 2021 than in 2020, where they finished dead last in the NFL in rushing yards per game.

Najee Harris will make sure that doesn’t happen again.

After being drafted in the first round at 24 overall, he instantly improves the Steelers run game from worst, to average. At least. I can’t say, well he improves the running game, here, here, and here. Oh wait, I can. He’s smarter, bigger, more fluid, a better pass catcher, stronger, and more athletic than any other running back on the Steelers roster. By far.

It’s not just the influx of talent, it’s the amount of times that he will touch the football. 300 times this season is probably too low of a mark. 340 is closer. And that threat, will force the division to do something that they have not had to do in a long time.

Focus on stopping the run against the Steelers. The division has been able to key in on the pass for the past two-three years and largely ignore the running game except when James Conner was playing, when he was healthy. Now, they cannot ignore Harris. A great example is the second Bengals game from 2020 where JuJu Smith-Schuster caught a dump-off pass over the middle and was clocked by Vonn Bell. Bell knew that the Steelers weren’t going to run the ball, because they were so bad at it, so he keyed in on JuJu.

Harris will force teams to respect the running game, which also opens up the passing game even more. Essentially, Harris ensures that the division cannot focus on one aspect of the Steelers offense. And that’s something that they are not used to doing, not since the days of Le’veon Bell.

The Steelers defense is still elite

The offseason losses to the Steelers defense are a little overblown. First, Bud Dupree is a big loss. But Alex Highsmith, who took his place last year when Dupree tore his ACL, proved that he is a worthy starter. Highsmith will ease the loss of Dupree. The loss of Mike Hilton is more of a pass rush loss than a coverage loss. Hilton, being 5″8 and never the fastest player on the field, was never great in coverage. His bread and butter was defending the run and blitzing.

While Hilton was great at what he did, it’s not that hard to find someone who can blitz. And the Steelers are replacing Hilton with Cameron Sutton, who was much, much better in coverage. And even though Steven Nelson is no longer on the team, he was cut. Clearly the Steelers are confident in what they have behind him.

The Steelers still have an insane pass rush, probably the best interior defensive line in the NFL. They have the best edge rusher in the NFL to pair alongside that defensive line. And they have arguably the best safety tandem in the league. The defense is not going anywhere, and will be a pain to play against for the division.

The Steelers know the division, and how to win it

I wanted to put these statistics in the above column, but it made more sense here. Lamar Jackson has played the Steelers as a starting quarterback twice. He has been sacked nine times, thrown five interceptions, thrown 24 incompletions, compared to three touchdowns and 369 yards passing in two games. Not so great. Jackson lost both those games. (Fun fact, Jackson has never beaten the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger as the opposing quarterback.)

Baker Mayfield has a passer rating of 80.4 with 884 yards, 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in 5 games versus the Steelers in his career, much better than Lamar. However, Mayfield has been sacked 16 times in those five games. And one of those games was against the Steelers backups to end the 2020 season. Joe Burrow has not fared much better, going 21 of 40 for 213 yards, one touchdown, 4 sacks, and a passer rating of 76.4. Burrow has only played on game though, so that information cannot be taken as 100% accurate.

However, the division clearly struggles at quarterback when playing the Steelers defense. Ben Roethlisberger is 63-20 versus the AFC North, and half of those losses belong to the Ravens. Eight belong the the Bengals. Ben Roethlisberger has lost to the Browns only twice in his 18-year career. He knows how to beat the rest of the division. The Steelers know how to win the division. Yeah, the division got a little tougher in some areas, but it got weaker in others. Like the pass rush, outside of Myles Garret, not a single player on the rest of the division’s front seven would start on the Steelers front seven. And that’s not even because of how good their front seven is, but how bad the rest of the division’s is.

Bill Cowher said it best in a interview on First Take.

“I think they will, they’ll be the hunt,” Bill Cowher said when asked on First Take recently if the Steelers will make the playoffs in 2021. “When you look at them, yes the division’s got tougher, but I love the pick of Najee Harris…” “Defensively they get Devin Bush back and that’s a top-tier defense. So, yes the division’s gotten better, but they’ve got a lot of veterans in that locker room that know how to win close games. And that’s what it’s going to come down to, and they got a great kicker in (the) kicking game. So, I think they’ll be in the hunt, and yes, I will say they will make the playoffs.”

The Steelers have a running game, they have a great defense, and they know how to win the division. Oh, and their receivers are still pretty darn good. They have everything they need to win the division. Just because no one in the national media is predicting it, does not mean it won’t happen. Don’t be surprised when it does. Don’t sleep on the Steelers. I guarantee the rest of the division isn’t.

Why the Browns should sign Richard Sherman right now

Cleveland Browns secondary needs Richard Sherman

By: Noah Nichols

The Cleveland Browns entered into the 2021 NFL draft clearly lacking at the cornerback position. They had the 27th worst passing defense in the NFL in 2020. Quarterbacks averaged 265 yards a game against the Browns. Only five teams were worse in 2020. The Browns knew that something needed to change in their secondary, specifically at cornerback. As a result, they selected Greg Newsome II in the first round. They also signed former Los Angles Rams cornerback Troy Hill. Both these moves are indicative of two things.

One, that the Browns knew there was a problem- and addressed it. They could not ignore the horrible pass defense that their team consistently put up in 2020. Aside from Denzel Ward, there were questions about if the rest of the secondary even belonged in the NFL. Those questions have more merit than you might think. A.J. Green, Kevin Johnson, Andrew Sendejo, Karl Joseph, and Sheldrick Redwine were all starters in 2020 for the Browns. Only Sendejo and Joseph were supposed to start in 2020, and none of those players are starting in 2021 for the Browns.

Two, the Browns have lost faith in Greedy Williams and have lowered their expectations of Grant Delpit. Williams played zero games for the Browns in 2020 and twelve games in 2019. He has only two pass deflections to his name, and injuries seem to be derailing his career. The Browns are ready to move on, or replace him with someone else. Delpit has yet to play a snap in the NFL after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in training camp last year.

This opens the door for two things, players with availability, and players with experience. That’s where Richard Sherman comes in.

The Browns could sign Sherman to be a veteran backup/starter in case someone gets injured, and the Browns would not be forced to start someone who has never played a game. The problem that the Browns might be worried about with Sherman is his availability. He has not played a full season since 2016, though he was close to doing so in 2018 and 2019. However, if the Browns sign Sherman, he won’t be a starter, at least not right away. He would be the third or fourth cornerback, and could play more zone, where he excels.

Because he would not be the starter, the Browns would not be hit too hard when/if he was injured. They would be able to play Williams behind him, and would not see a huge difference in play. Sherman would bring experience to the cornerback position and would not have to be a starter, perfect for a player getting up there in age.

So, why should the Browns sign Sherman? A few reasons. First, Sherman is expecting courters at this point in free agency. As he stated in an interview, Sherman knows that teams would wait to sign him until after the draft. “Well, apparently we got to wait ’til the draft happens before anything else shakes out, because everybody has their hopes and dreams in the draft, which is understandable,” Sherman said, via Matt Maiocco of NBCSportsBayArea.com. “You turn 33, and then it’s like, ‘We’ll wait until we get a young pup; and if we can’t get a young pup, we’ll take an old fool.’ So that’s where we’re sitting.”

The “old fool,” has bid his time, and now it’s up. The draft is over, and now the Browns know what they have. They can add Sherman for cheap, with interest in the aging corner seeming to die down. They are a contender for the Super Bowl, something that Sherman made clear that he was looking for in the next team that he would sign with. And if the Browns sign him now, it prevents him from becoming more expensive in the future.

Sherman would be able to drive up the price if another injury were to happen in camp, because the Browns would not have many other options, if they wanted an experienced cornerback. Signing Sherman now would ensure that the Browns would have depth at cornerback- something that teams never can get enough of.

Critics will point out that the Browns already have depth at the position. They will argue that the addition of Hill and Newsome will be more than enough, and there is no need for added depth. However, the Browns have clearly had problems keeping their players healthy in the secondary over the past two years. And with a 17-game schedule, there is even more room for injury. Another player does not hurt, especially when it’s someone with the presence of Sherman.

The final thing that Sherman brings is fire to the position. He would inspire the Browns secondary to play with swagger and pride. The Browns defense would not only get better, but they would know and act like they were better. That swagger plays with the minds of opponents, and helps players believe in themselves.

Denzel Ward believes that the secondary can be great. “I think we can be dominant,” Ward, a four-year veteran, said Tuesday on the first day of minicamp. “You can never have enough corners, and all of those guys can play and they’ve shown that. So everybody has to come out here and compete and do our job, and everything else will take care of itself.”

Sherman would only build upon that mindset and belief. And if the Browns really want that mindset, then they should sign Sherman. He would only improve an already-improved defense. But they better do it soon, before someone else does.

Why Baker Mayfield will fully breakout In 2021

Browns QB Baker Mayfield will shine in 2021

By: Michael Welsh

The NFL career for Baker Mayfield has been somewhat of a rollercoaster. In his 2018 rookie year, he set the rookie record for passing touchdowns with 27 (which has since been broken by Justin Herbert in 2020), and lead the previous winless browns to a 7-8-1 record. Baker made countless impressive throws and looked like anything but a rookie almost all season. After that electric rookie season, the future looked bright for Mayfield.

Expectations skyrocketed in the 2019 off-season when the Browns traded for superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Fan favorite Freddie Kitchens was named the head coach and suddenly, the Browns were being talked about as legitimate Super Bowl Contenders. Hype surrounded Baker Mayfield as he appeared near the top in MVP odds, as many expected him to throw for 40 touchdowns and 4,500 yards. Unfortunately, Cleveland fell well short of expectations and finished 6-10 in 2019. Baker Mayfield was quickly painted as a “one read QB” and became known as a guy who was snarky with reporters and added to the many distractions from the team that year. Baker finished with 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.

Anyone who watched every Browns game knew that Baker wasn’t the real problem in 2019. It was the coaching, scheme, lack of preparation, and the offensive line. Some of the blame can be put on Baker, who admitted after the season that some of the players, himself included, thought it would come together a lot easier and they assumed they would be great. You still have to put the work in, and Baker learned that the hard way. Shortly after the season ended, Freddie Kitchens and General Manager John Dorsey were fired, and Cleveland began doing something that they know all too well: looking for a coach.

What looked like a bright future quickly saw the lights go out, and people began to speculate if Baker was the guy to lead the Browns to success. A lot of that was warranted, but some of it became too harsh of a narrative for someone who had a great rookie season not long ago. Plenty of quarterbacks have sophomore slumps, so why immediately write Baker off? The answer is simple… He plays in Cleveland, and with how bad they have been for so long, getting respect from the league and media is very challenging.

In 2020 the Browns hired Kevin Stefanski as the head coach and Andrew Berry as the General Manager. The hires of them were liked around the league, but per usual we just needed to see it to truly know. With the COVID-19 pandemic in full force, Stefanski had his work cut out for him with an unprecedented off-season. One of his biggest tasks was fixing Baker Mayfield. Stefanski and new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt found numerous ways to help Baker, such as changing his footwork and throwing motion. The most promising part of it all is the offense Stefanski wanted to run played to Baker’s strengths so well.

Doubters of Mayfield were silenced after he finished the 2020 season with 26 touchdowns, only 8 interceptions, and a top-10 Pro Football Focus 81.6 grade. He also leads the Browns to their first playoff victory since 1994 and looked impressive in the postseason overall, even in their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round. He looked comfortable in the offense, especially on the back half of the season when he finished with 20 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions from week 7 on. He was playing as well as Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes in the second half of the year and that isn’t a fluke. Baker has had the traits of a great QB for years, he just needed the right coach to unlock them.

So now all of this brings us to 2021. Coming off an 11-5 record and bolstering the defense all off-season, the Super Bowl expectations are real this time around, unlike 2019, and Baker is poised to full break out. What makes it different this time? There are a few things that factor into it.

The most important factor is there isn’t a coaching change. Baker will have the same head coach in back to back years since 2015-2016. Think about that… Baker has faced adversity a lot in his career, but now he finally has stability and an evolving playbook to learn, instead of a completely new one. In addition to that, there was no turnover on any of the coaching staff or the starting offense. They are completely running it back, which is rare in this league. Baker will be very comfortable in 2021.

One of the weaknesses of the Browns offense, particularly in the playoff game against the Chiefs, is that they had little speed and couldn’t stretch the field. This held them back a lot and made it tough to move the ball at times. The good news is, that should be completely different in 2021. Odell Beckham Jr is returning from an ACL tear, and is reportedly looking amazing in his rehab. He is already making cuts and catches that most couldn’t do at this point in his recovery. Comeback Player of the Year is realistic for OBJ and he should thrive now that Mayfield is comfortable and familiar with the offense. In addition to Beckham, the Browns drafted Anthony Schwartz in the 2021 draft. He ran the fastest 40 yard dash time with a 4.25, and is expected to factor in to help stretch the field.

As mentioned earlier, Andrew Berry and company completely overhauled their defense this off-season and are now expected to be in the top 10 of the entire NFL. If they perform as expected, that will help Mayfield with his mindset during games knowing if they can get a big lead, the defense can do their part and hold it. In 2020, that was not the case. The offense would get a big lead and oftentimes let teams catch back up and make it closer than it should have been. 2021 should be much different. Expect the Browns to blow out a few teams.

One of the final factors is that there is an actual off-season instead of just zoom meetings and limited training camp. The COVID-19 pandemic was devastating and challenging in general, and it made it difficult for Baker to learn another new offense mostly virtually without a pre-season. In 2021, there is a normal off-season routine, minicamps, training camp, and pre-season games. This will be huge for Mayfield and the team in general to get all of that work in person.

A stable environment is key for any quarterback to survive in the NFL, and it is honestly not talked about enough how Baker Mayfield has survived multiple head coaches, offensive coordinators, and offensive schemes in his young career. 2020 Coach of the Year Kevin Stefanski is the perfect coach for Baker and if things go well, it could be a duo that remains a contender for many years to come. It is very possible for Mayfield to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl with a 35+ touchdown season. He recently appeared as the most popular 2021 MVP bet in the William Hill US sports book, so apparently many people think he will break out as well and it is real, unlike in 2019. In due time, we’ll all know.

What did we learn at the Browns training camp?

OBJ healthy at Browns training camp

By: Pat Pitts

Mini camps breathe life back into football fans. It gave us a sample of what to expect in 2021. Teams watched their rookies take the field for the first time. Sadly, it has come to a close. 

Kevin Stefanski and his staff watched their team take the field for the first time last week. Cleveland has not been talked about as much when it comes to their mini-camp. It seems like the spotlight has been taken from them, but it’s time to shine. 

After their first playoff appearance since 2007, the Browns found themselves nothcing a win against division rival, the Ravens. The new coaching and front office changes have turned the organization around 180 degrees. 

Mini-camp just gave the Dawg Pound a lot of excitement heading into training camp. Here is what they should be excited about. 

Baker stays in the moment; focused on the present.

The offseason has brought an excessive amount of drama to the league. Star players refusing to show up because of contract issues. Former players trash-talking their former team and head coach on social media. Even worse, the league’s MVP might walk away from football to replace another MVP in the world of game shows..  

Cleveland has been blessed with their franchise quarterback telling the media that he is not worried about a contract extension; he has his focus on winning a Super Bowl. Mayfield told reporters, “Everything happens for a reason. So I am just focused on winning,” according to USA Today. 

Mayfield has had a rollercoaster of a career, so far. He ranked as PFF’s 8th rated QB, finally cracking inside the top ten. OBJ returns to the field, giving Mayfield an elite target to throw to. His presence causes defenses to panic over which player to cover, eventually leaving someone open. The Browns offense looks loaded heading into training camp. 

OBJ returns at 100%

Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a season-ending ACL tear during a Week 7 matchup against the Bengals. It put a bow on the disappointing 2020 campaign OBJ was on. However, it is a new season. 

When healthy, OBJ ranks as one of the league’s top pass catchers. There is not a pass he cannot catch. According to Browns.com, OBJ returned to the field at nearly 100% on the first day of mini-camp, eventually ending the day by attempting his signature one-handed catches. 

Since 2014, Beckham has the best stats against the AFC North, averaging 128.8 YPG, and the only trails Julio Jones in total yards during the span, as well. It is not a question of if he will perform; it is a matter of when it will start. 

Rookies making an instant impact

The Cleveland Browns offense ranked 14th in 2020, according to PFF. However, their defense ranked 20th. They addressed the issue by drafting two players to upgrade the bottom-tier defense. The Browns selected Greg Newsome II with the 26th pick and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah with the 56th pick. Two players who can make an immediate impact. 

The duo showed up to mini-camp, impressing everyone on the coaching staff. Newsome caught the media’s attention after intercepting a pass while in the red zone during the 7v7 drills. He ran it back while the entire defense followed in celebration; the chemistry has begun to build. 

Koramoah impressed the coaching staff with his quickness during pass coverage. He ran alongside some of the fastest receivers in the offense. The former defensive back turned linebacker has the edge over some of the linebackers. Joe Woods, the defensive coordinator, spoke to the media after camp about other facets of the rookies’ game that isn’t externally shown. 

“Those guys are both very smart players,” Woods said. “They’re very competitive players; they just bring a different element to the team.”

The rookies are not the only upgrades to the underwhelming defense. The Browns attacked free agency methodically. They prioritized enhancing their biggest weakness. 

Playmakers added to the defense

The draft is not the only route to acquire new players. NFL free agency kicked off a month before the draft, but the Browns patiently waited to strike. The signed DB John Johnson and EDGE Jadaveon Clowney; two signings that give them the much-needed boost on defense. 

Greedy Williams has not played an entire season over the past two years. However, it is a new season with new opportunities. Williams spoke after camp about how he feels heading into the new season.

“It is a great feeling. I was just happy to be reunited with my team just going through drills with them,” Williams said. “It gives you the most happy moments.”

Williams returns to the defense lining up alongside Denzel Ward and John Johnson, giving the Browns top-tier talent to defend the pass. All three players are 25 years old or younger. 

Jadeveon Clowney made his first appearance in a Browns uniform at camp. Stefanski plans to utilize Clowney on the EDGE with Garrett on the other side. Clowney talked with the media after camp, expressing how he has enjoyed playing alongside another number one overall pick. 

“This is a good team,” Clowney told reporters. “They’re having a good time. They’re fun to be around. It’s a young team, so you all kind of get the idea of what I mean by everybody having a good time.” 

Football is fun; So is the Browns’ defense. 

Battle of the Backfield

Two running back systems do not have the most success over the years, but the Browns figured it out. The tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt gives opposing defenses nightmares. At mini-camp, the backfield grew in numbers

The Browns added two new ball carriers to the mix, drafting Demetric Felton with the 211th pick, then signing undrafted free agent Tre Harbinson. The backfield may be too crowded for all four players. 

Felton has been rumored to be in contention for a punt returner role, which would fit his skill set best. Felton could even become a full-time pass catcher too. Felton ran routes during camp, which gives him an opportunity to see the field sooner rather than later. Stefanski sees Felton’s potential and believes he could handle multiple roles on the offense. 

“It depends on the player, (but) if a guy can handle it, the more jobs you can teach him, the better chance they have to help your football team early.”

Stefanski continued to comment on how well Felton has adapted as a ball carrier, but also as a pass-catcher. 

It will be an interesting battle to watch at training camp. There is a possibility that Felton has the ability to handle both extremely well. He provides the offense with a safety net when it comes to depth. He should be a player on everyone’s watchlist heading into training camp. 

The Cleveland Browns have assembled a superstar-filled roster heading into the new season. Kevin Stefanski and Baker Mayfield have brought a new attitude and culture to a once lifeless franchise. Not only Mayfield but Chubb and Ward have spoken out about how they are not interested in talking contract extensions. 

Teams with that attitude, tend to be successful. The Browns are off to a great start. 

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