As week three comes to an end tonight with the Falcons, Saints rivalry game, there are some teams that look set up for success this season and there are some that appear set for another miserable year. Among the teams in the second category are perennial cellar dwellers, the Cleveland Browns. With that being said, there are some positive things with this edition of the Browns.
The first thing is the balance they have found on offense. Through three weeks they average 144.7 yards per game, which is 4th in the NFL. These yards are not just coming from handing the ball off a million times as they actually rank 2nd in the league with 5.7 yards per attempt. One thing that crippled the Browns last year was their inability to run the ball, but with this new, more experienced coaching staff in place it appears that the balance is back on this side of the ball.
Another positive from the early part of the year has been the development of ex-QB Terrelle Pryor. His size and speed were something that the receiving corps lacked last season. He worked had during the offseason to become as sure-handed as possible in order to be a top notch wideout. This was on full effect yesterday as he caught 8 passes for 144 yards against the Dolphins. That is not where his usefulness ended, as he also went 3-5 for 35 yards passing and ran for another 21 yards on 4 carries. He even played one down at safety at the end of the first half. With versatility like that, Pryor is easily one of the most dangerous players on the team.
The final positive on the offensive side of the ball came from the position with the most change already this season. Number 26 on the QB list, aka Cody Kessler, made his first career start as the
different third player to start a game under center this year. Despite this a shaky offensive line that got him pummeled almost every down, he looked calm in the pocket and took care of the ball well after his early fumble. If he can continue to withstand the hits that he will be taking then he could develop into a solid QB at a position of much turmoil for the franchise.
On the defensive side of the ball there was one really big positive. Even without star corner Joe Haden the team was able to force three turnovers and even score a touchdown. This is due in part to the lay of rookie Emmanuel Ogbah. The Oklahoma State product was in the backfield on multiple occasions and overall looked solid throughout the game. In about a month, when preseason and weeks 1 and 2 star Carl Nassib comes back from a broken hand, this will be a strong pass rush.
As the season goes on the Browns players should continue to build on these things and hopefully it will lead to some wins down the line. Under the tutelage of Hue Jackson this is likely to continue as he has experience with keeping players motivated despite shaky play.