It’s easy to get excited about any season, even the ones in which the Cleveland Browns ended up going 1-15 and 0-16 over the past two years, respectively. Fandom often clouds our judgment before a season, even when we are trying to be fair outside observers for a second.
But this season is different. I know — you can go ahead and start up the laugh track if you want, but the vibe surrounding the 2018 Browns seems to be trending upward, and here are just a few reasons why:
- When it came to replacing Joe Thomas, the team may have dragged their feet a bit on finding a solution, but give credit for Hue Jackson recognizing early in camp that it just wasn’t working at the position with Shon Coleman there. Joel Bitonio has made the quick transition over there and has played well, while also allowing rookie Austin Corbett to join the starting lineup at left guard.
- Cleveland now has a potent offensive attack. Last year, one could argue that Duke Johnson was the only credible threat on offense. This year, Jarvis Landry has had an excellent offseason, and despite the few issues still remaining with Josh Gordon, there is optimism to believe he will still be able to contribute to this team all year long. David Njoku, now in his second year, is already being utilized better by Todd Haley. And Tyrod Taylor ties everything together with smart play and not turning the ball over.
- Defensively, the first-team unit has been darn-near lights out in camp and during the first two preseason games. One big key is that almost everyone has stayed healthy (knock on wood). Myles Garrett has been disruptive on the defensive line, Mychael Kendricks has been a playmaker at linebacker, and the secondary has held their own.
- Last, but not least, Hard Knocks has helped build my excitement by seeing the way Hue Jackson is able to operate the team. Todd Haley gets to focus on being the offensive coordinator, and that opens Hue up to thinking more about game strategy, or observing from a distance to make better personnel and coaching decisions on the fly.
Tell us, Browns fans — what has made you excited about the Browns’ 2018 season?