Heller’s Three Burning Questions 2022: Cleveland Brownsby Joe Heller July 12, 2022 0 comments
The 2022 NFL preseason is rapidly approaching, with team practices growing more intense by the day. Coming off an offseason for the ages that changed not only the complexion of individual teams but both the AFC and NFC as a whole. Many things will look quite different from a season ago. It’s the perfect time for the fourth annual edition of Three Burning Questions. As in years past, this 32-part series will look at the three most pressing questions facing each of the 32 teams. Here are the Three Burning Questions for the Cleveland Browns.
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So What’s the Backup Plan?
Arguably the biggest of the NFL offseason moves, the Browns pulled the trigger on a trade that brought quarterback Deshaun Watson to Cleveland. They worked out a trade with the Houston Texans for three first-round picks in the next three drafts along with three other later-round picks. The team also gave Watson a new contract in the form of a five-year, $230 million, all fully guaranteed. With the numerous allegations and admitted payoffs that the league is investigating, the NFL may still decide to suspend Watson. If that’s the case, veteran signal-caller Jacoby Brissett and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs are the other quarterbacks on the Browns’ roster. Just last week they traded the former number one overall pick Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers after his inconsistent play led them to make the decision to do whatever it took to get Watson in the first place. How this situation plays out will determine the direction of their season.
What to Expect From the Other Key Trade?
Prior to the Watson trade, the Browns made another deal. It was the beginning of the barrage of wide receivers taking their talents elsewhere. The Browns acquired four-time Pro Bowler Amari Cooper in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for their 2022 fifth-round pick and swapping of 2022 sixth-round picks. Cooper will benefit from the combination of Watson being under center and the two-headed monster in the backfield of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. It’s all but a lock that Cooper will set career highs in touchdowns and receiving yards.
Can Their Defense Still be Stifling?
The Browns’ defense finished last season with the number five defense in yards given up, but thirteenth in points allowed. For a team that finished 8-9 and in third place in their division that is rather impressive. Which is what led them to acquire Cooper and Watson in the first place. With Myles Garrett and company up front, edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney returning to Cleveland after an impactful season last year, and Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams in the secondary, this unit will remain among the top in the NFL in 2022, and could even be a top-three defense.
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