The "Power Core" Pre-Season Power Rankings #14
The Cleveland Browns finished last season with the most successful campaign since their return to Lake Erie. The Browns made great strides and even contended for the playoffs for a brief, flickering moment. I actually thought they'd surprise everyone and make the playoffs, but thankfully, all is still right in the world, and Cleveland once again went home after Week 17.
#14 Cleveland Browns (7 - 9) third in the AFC Central
These Browns will be a good team this year. They have upgraded every position and overall should have enough talent to host a wild-card game. That being said, they still have problems. The offensive line has to be better than last season, right? And Tim Couch has to learn to be a clutch quarterback. And William Green needs to be the franchise runner they drafted him to be. And Earl Holmes has to stay healthy and provide the run-stopping presence they signed him for. And….And…And…to many "ands." That means there is not much depth on an otherwise team on the rise.
The Good: I really like Tim Couch. I think he's going to be a great quarterback very soon. He's got a great target in Kevin Johnson. It's amazing the Browns were trying to trade Johnson last pre-season. Couch when given time finds his open receivers, even though he will telegraph his passes every so often. The pass defense let the NFL in interceptions and should once again provide a strong presence. Earl Holmes should shore up a run defense that ranked an appalling 29th last year. He should bring that down to about 20th. William Greene is a year or two away from potential superstar status. If he can have a strong breakout season as a rookie he'll be the franchise back they are looking for. According to ESPN, the offensive line weighs on average 320 lbs. They should provide better protection and holes for Couch and Co.
The Bad: This team lost heartbreakers to Chicago and Pittsburgh in successive weeks and in effect broke this teams season. Something has to be said at the fact that this team as young and hungry as it is couldn't rebound from those two losses. The running game is an injury away from being as poor as it was last year. Tre' Johnson was hurt for much of last season, but resigned. I don't know how well he'll perform after missing over 3/4ths of last season. Once again, this team isn't deep on the line and any injury will be huge blow.
The Ugly: I could just finish with the fact that Cleveland is ugliness personified, but I won't. What's ugly will be the two scrums against Pittsburgh this year. Cleveland not Cincinnati is Pittsburgh's the biggest threat in the AFC North going into next season.
Synopsis: This team will contend all year for the playoffs. Pittsburgh is too strong in the North and so the rest of AFC may be too much to handle. I don't see them making the playoffs, but if they do, watch out for upset specials. 8 –9 wins.