By Jack Spencer

With the culmination of Cleveland Browns OTA’s and minicamps, second-year quarterback Brandon Weeden has come away impressed. In fact, Weeden is so impressed, he’s telling reporters that he believes the Browns can be really good in 2013. In fact, really, really good.

Weeden told reporters, “I think we have a chance to be really good. I’m speaking about the whole team. Our defense is really adapting to what ( Ray Horton) brought in and I think guys are flying around on that side of the ball, just like we are on our side. So I think we have the potential to be really, really good. There’s other really good teams in the league, so we have to go out and prove that we can do it on a consistent basis and go from there.”

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Weeden has looked sharp during the offseason practices and has developed a good chemistry with receiver Josh Gordon. Unfortunately for the Browns, Gordon will miss the first two games of the regular season after failing a drug test.

Another area of particular concern for the Browns this season will be the health of RB Trent Richardson. Richardson fell just short of the 1,000 yard mark in his rookie season but crossed the goal line 11 times for the Brownies. He has been limited in offseason workouts with what sources are calling a muscle strain. Richardson is scheduled to have Dr. James Andrews take a look later this month.

There were concerns about Weeden’s future with the Browns this offseason after the coaching and front office shakeup. Rumors linked the Browns to having interest in Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. The team added veteran free agent quarterback Jason Campbell and recently signed Brian Hoyer after his release from the Arizona Cardinals. Weeden’s arm strenght was called into question early on after Rob Chudzinski was added as the team’s head coach. Chudzinski plays a deep passing attack style of offense.

Ms. Cabot reports that at this point in the offseason, Weeden is the clear number one quarterback for the Browns.

Cleveland was very active in free agency and could see improvement on the field this season. The team added former San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner this offseason as offensive coordinator. Turner has a reputation as a very solid coordinator and during his career has run an offense which has produced five NFL rushing titles for running backs (Emmitt Smith, Ricky Williams and LaDainian Tomlinson). If Richardson can stay healthy, he should have a very strong season.

The Browns are in a position to gain some ground in the AFC North. Cincinnati should field a strong team once again. Pittsburgh is in a rebuilding mode, but they won’t use that term with an aging defense. The Baltimore Ravens might be the reigning Super Bowl champions but they aren’t fielding the same team in 2013 after free agency gutted their roster.

While the Browns should have a competitive team in 2013, but the scheduling gods have not been kind. Their home games are front loaded in the schedule and they play four of their last seven and three of their last four, on the road. I realize that Browns fans are tired of losing and waiting, but the team appears to be making strides in the right direction. Give the current staff one year to evaluate what they have and another draft. In the meantime, seven wins looks achievable this season.

 

 

 

 

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