The Cleveland Browns versatile defense and remarkably stable offense are apparent the moment you look at their initial 53-man roster. The offense reached new heights in 2020 and looking at the roster, their performance can be repeated. The defense, while somewhat lagging last season, has had new as well as experienced talent injected into it, and could improve substantially.
Cleveland Browns Versatile Defense and Stable Offense Can Thrive
Offense Has a Stable Foundation
The Browns made it their mission to bring life to the offensive side of the ball for the 2020 season, and it paid off. With last season’s success being credited to every single member of the offense contributing, it is of great comfort to know Cleveland kept their promise. 22 of the 25 offensive players who finished last season remain. 20 of that 22 were on the 53-man roster at the beginning of the 2020 season. And the only three new faces are fresh from the 2021 Draft.
The fact that almost all their coaches from 2020 are returning adds even more confidence. For the first time since the start of his professional career, Baker Mayfield will not have to build a new bond with a new head coach. In turn, the entire offense will benefit. The roster is still fluid, but right now, the pieces of the puzzle are in place to continue the success that began in 2020. Never has Cleveland had a stable offense that carried on from one year to the next.
Greater Depth and Versatility on Defense
The defense left much to be desired last season; the secondary struggled. Now, the unit has more depth and a lot of versatility at every position. John Johnson III, Anthony Walker, and Malik Jackson are leaders with playoff experience. First-round pick Greg Newsome has the ability to play multiple positions, as does Troy Hill. There has been some speculation that defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be able to line up inside in select packages.
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods got a big nod from Pro Football Focus during the off-season for ranking ninth in coverage uniqueness. While uniqueness doesn’t guarantee a defense will have great coverage, some of the very best defenses were unique. Unlike last season, Woods will have greater depth and versatility at each position, so his notoriously diverse scheme calls could work to the Browns advantage. In fact, he even alluded to the possibility of the Browns having a top-5 defense.
Lots of Potential From the Rookies
Building a strong team through the draft has worked wonders for the Browns. Running back Demetric Felton and safety Richard LeCounte III performed spectacularly well in the pre-season. Felton demonstrated his abilities as a running back, wide receiver, and special teams player. It is clear he is going to be valuable. Meanwhile, LeCounte showed no signs of the accident that ended his senior season, as he intercepted two passes. He possesses skills and traits of a safety much more experienced than himself. Coaches are optimistic about linebacker Tony Fields, despite his foot injury. It should be noted that all 15 players from the 2020 and 2021 draft classes feature in this season’s current 53.
The Browns have jumped through hoops to transform themselves into a team that is envied across the league. Their roster is regarded as one of the best this season. Barring injuries, there is every reason they can continue thriving both offensively and defensively.
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