ESPN AFC North writer James Walker took a look at three reasons to be optimistic and three reasons to be pessimistic about the Cleveland Browns this year (disregarding the thought of a lockout).
Reasons to be Optimistic: The first two reasons Walker lists are simple: the team has a strong front office and good young talent. For all the teams who draft busts, it looks like the front office (and coaching staff) from last year struck gold with the likes of Peyton Hillis, Joe Haden, and T.J. Ward. The type of veterans brought in last year are ideal for allowing the other pieces to the puzzle to fall into place without overpaying a player. Walker's third reason is the fact that Cleveland has an "easy" schedule. It's hard to say if that will matter. We started last season off with losses against two teams we thought would be "easy" to beat (Kansas City and Tampa Bay) and later went on to beat two teams who were right up there with being the toughest teams to beat (New England and New Orleans).
Reasons to be Pessimistic: Walker's first reason is "too much change," and the short-term thought of a lockout actually is mentioned here for obvious reasons: if other teams do the same thing from last year, will Cleveland struggle with having an offensive and defense system switch? Maybe it'll end up working in our favor since teams will have less time to scout us. The second reason is the uncertainty at quarterback. We want to see Colt McCoy be the guy, but we'd be naive after all these years to think he is 100% the answer until proven otherwise. The final reason is that we still play in a tough division against Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Theoretically, our "easy" schedule should help combat that last one.