Baker Mayfield is strolling canine on the covers of magazines, the Browns are a scorching choose to win the Tremendous Bowl and Cleveland is the favourite to win the AFC North.
Oh my, how occasions have modified.
After a 1-31 stretch of distress over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, there’s out of the blue unbridled optimism in Cleveland because of a powerful end to a 7-8-1 marketing campaign a 12 months in the past and a few high-profile offseason strikes that bulked up the Browns roster with Professional Bowl caliber abilities like Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon.
So with expectations already sky-high, listed here are three daring predictions so as to add gas to the fireplace because the Browns put together for coaching camp subsequent week.
Myles Garrett Units the Franchise Single-Season Sack File, Wins Defensive Participant of the Yr
Coming off a 12 months the place Garrett completed with 13.5 sacks, only a half-sack in need of the tying Reggie Camp’s 35-year-old single-season franchise document, perhaps this isn’t so daring. Nonetheless, it’s a great start line for what needs to be a record-setting season for the Browns.
Garrett was a Professional Bowl choose and received the nod as a second-team All-Professional final season, establishing himself as one of many elite pass-rushing abilities within the league. And now he has some extra assist, with the acquisition of Olivier Vernon to man one other finish spot and Sheldon Richardson within the center.
What’s scary for the remainder of the league is that the previous No. 1 general choose might simply be scratching the floor of his abilities. Garrett made some headlines this offseason, saying that former defensive coordinator and interim head coach Gregg Williams restricted him throughout the season, telling him to solely use two pass-rush strikes.
“I hopefully have extra freedom to be the participant I need to be,” Garrett mentioned. “[Former defensive coordinator and interim head coach] Gregg [Williams] was extra like: ‘You win with these two strikes. I don’t need to see the rest out of you.’ It’s sort of exhausting with two strikes.”
Garrett is clearly anticipating huge issues as effectively, and has a quantity in thoughts that will put him firmly within the working for Defensive Participant of the Yr, ending Rams defensive deal with Aaron Donald’s two-year reign. Garrett not too long ago shared a video figuring out the place he was poked about his sack numbers.
“13 and a half sacks ain’t nothing man,” the cameraman says. “I would like 20.”
Garrett swiftly responds, “Simply wait on it.”
Baker Mayfield Leads the NFL in Passing Yards
A lot of the hype across the Browns is linked to Mayfield — essentially the most thrilling and outspoken younger quarterback within the NFL.
In simply 13 begins, Mayfield threw for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns throughout his rookie marketing campaign. The Browns completed 7-8-1 as Mayfield set the document for landing passes by a rookie, which was beforehand held by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson.
Mayfield was particularly excellent down the stretch with now head coach Freddie Kitchens calling the performs. Because the Browns reeled off 5 wins of their ultimate seven video games, Mayfield ranked third in landing passes (17), fourth in passer ranking (108.4) and first in yards per try (8.86) amongst these with 200-plus passes.
With the addition of one of many league’s elite pass-catching abilities in Odell Beckham Jr. to go along with Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway and tight finish David Njoku, Mayfield could have the flexibility to unfold the ball across the subject as defenses choose their poison on who they need to focus their protection on.
Mayfield averaged 266 yards per sport final season, however there’s a great likelihood that climbs nearer to 300 subsequent season along with his new weapons and a 12 months of expertise below his belt. A full offseason working along with his broad receivers gained’t harm both. Mayfield and his broad receivers labored out on the West Coast prematurely of his wedding ceremony earlier this month.
“I believe clearly it’s getting just a little little bit of timing down, however for essentially the most half, it’s being round one another, catching up, speaking,” Landry instructed Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “Clearly, we textual content and stuff like that, but it surely’s all the time good when you may bodily contact the individual you’re speaking to and have a relationship with. For us, that’s sort of the largest factor about going out to L.A. and doing that entire deal.”
Mayfield will possible have to encroach on the 5,000-yard mark to maintain up with defending MVP Patrick Mahomes and others, which places Brian Sipe’s franchise single-season document of 4,132 yards firmly in sight for Mayfield.
Browns Dominate AFC North, Earn First-Spherical Bye
Based on the most recent odds from Bovada, Cleveland Browns are at present favorites to win the AFC North at +125, adopted by the Steelers (+195) and Ravens (+275). The Bengals are approach within the distance at +1600.
With each the Ravens and Steelers shedding some key items within the offseason, it’s not a shocker to see the upstart Browns on the prime of the listing. With an getting old Ben Roethlisberger on the helm in Pittsburgh and Lamar Jackson nonetheless discovering his footing as an NFL QB with the Ravens, it’s conceivable that the Browns gained’t have to sweat it out for his or her first division title since reentering the league in 1999.
Final 12 months the Chiefs and Patriots earned the primary spherical byes within the AFC, ending with information of 12-Four and 11-5, respectively. With a barely weakened divisional schedule from a 12 months in the past, and non-divisional video games towards the Dolphins, Payments, Cardinals and Broncos on the docket, there’s a path the place the Browns end as one of many AFC’s prime two groups, making a street to the franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl just a bit simpler.
READ NEXT: Tom Brady, Michael Jordan Preserve Browns QB Baker Mayfield Motivated
Comply with the Heavy Cleveland Browns web page for the most recent breaking information, rumors and content material!