For this writer, a lot of concerns have already been laid to rest for the Cleveland Browns. While fans and media bemoan the 0-4 record, the blown games (Browns could legit be 3-1) and all the injuries, the positives have been pretty overwhelming:
Hue Jackson Can Coach - Jackson has the players believing in him and playing hard. It is very apparent that players love him as a person and as a coach. He has also led the Browns offense to 12th overall in the league in yards and the #1 rushing team in the league. All with three different starting quarterbacks, losing both the starting and backup center to injury, not having Josh Gordon, losing Corey Coleman after his big breakout game in Week 2 and installing a whole new offense.
The Front Office Can Find Talent - The "analytics" Front Office did a very good job finding talent in the NFL Draft as well as players off the street. Coleman and Carl Nassib have looked very good. Emmanuel Ogbah, Derrick Kindred and Tyrone Holmes have looked good and flashed even more at times. QB Cody Kessler hasn't lit the world on fire but has not looked overwhelmed in his two starts. OLB Joe Schobert is starting for the team. C Austin Reiter looked really good before going down with an injury in his first game. Some of their draft picks are not playing much, either due to position limit, injury or just not being ready, but they have gotten a lot of production out of their rookies already. They seem to know what they are doing.
Running Game Is Great - As noted above, the Browns have the most yards on the ground this season. This is true even though they have gone away from the run late in games, have had injuries and shuffling on the offensive line and are only using two backs. One concern was that Jackson would get a little too pass happy with Coleman, Gordon and the emerging Terrelle Pryor. With Coleman out and Gordon unlikely to ever return, Jackson has leaned on his run game even when the Browns are down. Great sign in the rugged, weather dependent AFC North.
Pryor Is Legit - Few thought it would really happen but Pryor is a legit #1 type WR threat. It isn't just the gimmick Wildcat offense that is allowing him to succeed, he is winning as a WR in ways I never thought possible. He is running all the routes, playing physical and catching the ball with his hands. He still needs to work on consistency and the details of his route running but so far so good.
Team Has Assets - The above are really exciting for right now and the long term of the team. Add to that all of the draft picks the Browns have coming to them over the next two seasons and it is easy to get excited about all the talent, and how it will be coached, coming to the Lake Shore soon.
Team Has a Plan - We have never seen this before in Cleveland. While fans have talked about "rebuilding" since 1999, no team has ever actually torn it down to create a young, cheap foundation. This regime has. They didn't bring a few veterans to help them win now, with Robert Griffin III being the lone name free agent brought in (cheaply). They didn't try to quickly rebuild by trading for other teams' unwanted, spare parts. In their first 3 drafts, the Browns will have a chance to draft over half of their roster. That will be their foundation for years to come. Even with their strip it down and start over plan, the Browns have remained competitive in all but one game this season.
Pretty impressive start for this regime.
What positive notes do you have at the quarter mark of the Browns season?null