The Cleveland Browns Training Camp opening day sits just behind the NFL Draft as a time of excitement for their fans. The Draft gives us hope of what could be while Training Camp gives us the first glimpses of what might be. Every year storylines emerge that either excite fans or give them cause for concern but always draw them in.
I have found that these storylines often are predictable. We have seen the story before, we just have to insert new names, positions or details to make them work. This isn't to knock the stories written, they need to be written, but instead to note the frequency in which Training Camp creates those stories.
With that, I give you my Five Predicted Stories for Browns Training Camp:
(Rookie) Looks Ready to Contribute Right Away - This one always excites Browns fans as they look for something to give them hope for the upcoming season. Nothing better than a young guy showing off right away. Rookies are often able to look good, especially early in camp, as veterans ease their way in, with far less to prove. While a rookie is giving everything he has to prove he belongs, veterans who feel good about their roster spots are more worried about the long term, learning the nuances and staying healthy. Duke Johnson is a good guess as he has already drawn a ton of praise.
When ________ Gets in Space Lookout - This storyline is always nice. An offensive player looks exciting in shorts and t-shirt and is making people miss with his explosion. "In space" has always been an interesting term to me, especially in the NFL. So you are telling me that if an offensive player gets the ball with no defender near him he is able to make some plays? Wow! Very rarely does that happen in games but in Training Camp, "in space" is often language used about an explosive player. Either Taylor Gabriel or Travis Benjamin will likely get this storyline this year.
(Offense or Defense) Way Ahead of (Offense or Defense) - This storyline is not unique to the NFL. In both the NBA and MLB, the two other sports I love, this storyline leaks out every year as well. Most often, in all of these sports, the defense (or pitchers in MLBs case) tend to be ahead. This will likely be true for the Browns this year as well. Not only does an offense require more timing and reps together but the Browns are learning a new offensive system while the defense is in their 2nd year together under Mike Pettine. Josh McCown taking over under center also likely means the offense is a bit behind the defense this year early in camp.
If Healthy, Lookout for ________ - This story tends to be about an oft injured player who looks very good early in camp but because of his injury history hasn't been counted on. With little contact, an often injured player is less likely to get hurt and more likely to look like he is ready to contribute to the team very quickly. Phil Taylor likely gets this storyline this Training Camp. With Danny Shelton and Randy Starks added to the Browns defensive line, Taylor has a lot of competition in his contract year. A hungry, healthy Taylor will likely impress many early in camp.
_________ Injured, Likely Done for the Season - A story that is unfortunate but happens to a majority of teams every season. Already Dante Fowler and other big names are out for the year around the league. The Browns were fortunate last Training Camp, and the hope is that it continues, but LeCharles Bentley and Gary Baxter are two big names the team has lost in Training Camps of years past. Nothing we wish for but less contact hasn't alleviate this big time Training Camp storyline around the league.
What Browns Training Camp Story do you predict for this year?