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Cleveland Browns

Division: AFC NorthGM: Michael LombardiHead Coach: Rob Chudzinski
2012: 5-11 (4th AFC North)vs. division 2-4
Points18.9 (24th)
Yards314.2 (25th)
Pass Yards214.7 (19th)
Rush Yards99.6 (24th)

Browns looking for another fresh start

Key Additions

HC R.Chudzinski, LB P.Kruger,
WR D.Bess, DT D.Bryant,
WR D.Nelson, K S.Graham
LB Q.Groves, QB J.Campbell

Key Subtractions

K P.Dawson, TE B.Watson,
WR J.Cribbs, LB S.Fujita,
CB S.Brown, WR M.Massaquoi

The Cleveland Browns are starting over… again.

After another disappointing season in Cleveland that saw the team finish last in the AFC North at 5-11, the Browns have hit the reset button with a brand new coaching staff and retooled roster.

Leading the changes is new head coach Rob Chudzinki who is the Browns fourth head coach in the last six years and was actually the team's offensive coordinator the last time they had a winning record, way back in 2007.

Chudzinski spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers.

Joining him on the Browns revamped coaching staff are Norv Turner as offensive coordinator and Ray Horton as defensive coordinator.

The team also made a splash in free agency this season with the biggest addition being dynamic young pass rusher Paul Kruger who the team signed away from Baltimore for $8 million a season.

Weeden, Richardson key to success

The Browns offence has nowhere to go but up after finishing near the bottom of the NFL in points, yards and rushing last year.

If they are going to improve though they will need their two first round draft picks from 2012 in running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden to make some major strides in their second NFL campaigns.

With Richardson, the Browns just need him to stay healthy. Richardson showed up to camp banged up last year and played much of his rookie season with broken ribs and also dealt with knee problems.

Still, he managed to rush for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Now they need him to shed the injury-prone label and improve on his 3.6 yards per carry average.

He should get help with the latter from the Browns solid young offensive line which should be able to open up some decent holes for Richardson. The line anchored by left tackle Joe Thomas is the one area of the offence doesn't have to worry about, ranking 5th in TSN.ca's pre-season rankings.

Solid blocking up front will also help Weeden who showed some potential last year throwing for 3,385 yards but was also fairly mistake prone and completely outshone by fellow rookie pivots Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson.

Turner, the team's new OC, also has a solid track record of developing young quarterbacks and he Browns say that Weeden has greatly improved his footwork, quickness and the speed of his delivery.

Now Weeden has to prove that he can translate that improvement into game day success or else he could wind up losing his job to one of the veteran.

Unfortunately for Weeden, he likely won't get a ton of help from his receiving corps. Josh Gordon and Greg Little have both shown flashes of promise in their young careers but neither is anything close to a true No. 1 receiver. Gordon is also set to miss the first two weeks of the season as he serves a two-game suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy.

The team did however bring in possession receiver Davone Bess who should be something of a safety valve for Weeden and tight end Jordan Cameron could be poised for a breakout year.

Turner is going to give Weeden the chance to succeeed but if he can't do it, don't be surprised if the team decides to cut bait sooner than later and turn to one of their newly signed veteran backups in Jason Campbell and Brodie Hoyer.

Campbell has the type of big arm that Turner loves and GM Michael Lombardi is particularly fond of Hoyer.

While the Browns still have some major holes on offence, they should, at the very least, be less predictable and more fun to watch with Turner calling the plays. (-TSN.ca)

Analysis: The Browns only had five draft picks in 2013 and they spent four of them adding to their promising young defence... With the addition of Mingo, the Browns' front seven may be one of the best in the league. They are also a very underrated bunch. Mingo has a chance to be a devastating pass rusher off the edge... McFadden will see the field this year, the only question is will it be on the outside or the slot in a sub package. He could be a strong nickel corner if they choose to use him inside... Slaughter and Bryant will both be projects, drafted in the sixth and seventh rounds. (-TSN.ca)

Round 1 6th overall Barkevious Mingo DE LSU
Round 3 68th overall Leon McFadden CB San Diego State
Round 6 175th overall Jamoris Slaughter SS Notre Dame
Round 7 217th overall Armonty Bryant DE East Central Oklahoma
Round 7 227th overall Garrett Gilkey OT Chadron State

Defensive Overhaul

With Ray Horton taking over from Dick Jauron, the Browns are switching to a hybrid 3-4 system and figure to be a much more aggressive team defensively in 2013.

AFC NORTH PROJECTIONS

Ravens (11-5)

Division Winner, solid season


Bengals (10-6)

5th in AFC, wildcard berth


Steelers (9-7)

6th in AFC, wildcard berth


Browns (6-10)

Almost there, but tough division

Horton will bring pressure from all over, use more movement and give opposing offences several different looks.

The biggest improvement the Browns should see this season defensively is in the pass rush. Paul Kruger was a big free agent get and he, along with sixth overall pick Barkevious Mingo and Quentin Groves, should give opposing quarterbacks plenty of headaches.

The Browns will be counting on their front seven heavily this season to help mask a suspect secondary outside of cornerback Joe Haden.

Haden is one of the best corners in football and looks poised to have an excellent 2013 campaign. The opposite side of the field however could be a problem.

Rookie third round pick Leon McFadden was projected as the team's starter but looked very raw in camp and could lose snaps to free agent pickup Chris Owens and even Buster Skrine.

What It All Means

After five seasons of winning either four or five games a season, the Browns figure to be better in 2013, but not much. This is a team with a good coaching staff and a more talented roster, but in a very tough division that likely won't see them back over .500 or anywhere close to the playoffs. (-TSN.ca)

OFFENCE

DEFENCE

LT

J. Thomas
R. Butler
M. Wallace
C. Faulk

LG

J. Greco
J. Pinkston
G. Gilkey

C

A. Mack
J. Shaw
B. Cave

RG

S. Lauvao
A. Adams
C. Hauptmann

RT

M. Schwartz
O. Cousins
R. Miller
D. Alford

WR1

G. Little
D. Bess
J. Norwood
J. Cooper

TE

J. Cameron
G. Barnidge
K. Davis
D. Gronkowski

WR2

J. Gordon
T. Benjamin
D. Nelson
C. Robertson

QB

B. Weeden
J. Campbell
B. Hoyer

FB

C. Ogbonnaya
O. Marecic
B. Smelley

RB

T. Richardson
M. Hardesty
D. Lewis
B. Jackson


Special Teams: K S. Graham, P S. Lanning/T. Conley, KR T. Benjamin, PR T. Benjamin

Fantasy - By The Numbers

The Browns' passing game has a long way to go, which isn't helped by WR Josh Gordon, who was a big-play threat as a rookie, being suspended for a couple of games for failed drug tests, so that makes Gordon and fellow wideouts Greg Little and Davone Bess depth options in the fantasy game and QB Brandon Weeden is near the bottom of the QB spectrum.

Get ready for the fantasy season with the latest from TSN.ca.
Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF
Fantasy Schedules: AFC | NFC
2013 Auction Values: Cheat Sheet
Fantasy Depth Charts: AFC | NFC

While the passing game is a work in progress, RB Trent Richardson could be among the league's most productive backs. He gained 1,317 yards from scrimmage and scored 12 touchdowns as a rookie and if the Browns are going to have any kind of offensive consistency this year, it's likely going to fall on Richardson to handle the bulk of that responsibility.

LB D'Qwell Jackson is a premier defensive option, racking up a lot of tackles, but also contributing sacks and interceptions (7 and 3, respectively, over the last two seasons). DL Ahtyba Rubin makes enough tackles to hold down a fantasy roster spot, but that's about it for players of interest. CB Joe Haden is a great cover corner and if he's getting picks could be valuable enough for fantasy purposes too. (-Scott Cullen)

WK AGAINST DATE WK AGAINST DATE
1 vs Sun, Sep. 8, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 10   BYE WEEK
2 @ Sun, Sep. 15, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 11 @ Sun, Nov 17, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
3 @ Sun, Sep. 22, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 12 vs Sun, Nov 24, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
4 @ Sun, Sep. 29, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 13 vs Sun, Dec 1, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
5 vs Thu, Oct. 3, 8:25pm et/5:25pm pt 14 @ Sun, Dec 8, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
6 vs Sun, Oct. 13, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 15 vs Sun, Dec 15, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
7 @ Sun, Oct. 20, 4:25pm et/1:25pm pt 16 @ Sun, Dec 22, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
8 @ Sun, Oct. 27, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 17 @ Sun, Dec 29, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
9 vs Sun, Nov. 3, 4:25pm et/1:25pm pt      



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