Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns are heading into a 2017 NFL season that many think will end up in another major disappointment for the fan base. It has been a long time since the Browns were viewed as serious playoff contenders, and it may be awhile longer before they are again. Cleveland has other ideas and are hoping that they can make some noise in the AFC playoff chase.
If the Browns are going to compete for a playoff appearance, they will need to play a nearly perfect season. There is no question that they have a lot of talent on the roster, but that talent is young, and many view it as a long way away from being a contending amount of talent.
Cleveland fans have been through a lot, although LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers finally brought a professional sports championship back home last season. The Cleveland Indians also made it to the World Series before blowing a 3-1 lead to the Chicago Cubs. While those success stories were huge for the city, seeing the Browns return to relevance would be just as big for many fans.
Looking at the AFC, there are a handful of teams who are expected to compete for a Super Bowl appearance. Obviously, the New England Patriots are at the top of the list once again this season.
All of that being said, what questions must the Cleveland Browns answer heading into 2017 NFL training camp?
Who Will Be the Starting Quarterback?
At this point in time, Cody Kessler appears to be the starting quarterback heading into training camp. Cleveland does have Brock Osweiler on the roster, as well as rookie DeShone Kizer, who could give the second-year quarterback some competition. There are not many other options, which leaves the question of who will be the starting quarterback to start the 2017 season.
Can Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers Turn the Defense Around?
Even though the Browns’ defense hasn’t been as bad as it could be, they are hoping to take it to the next level this season. Cleveland drafted Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft and then backed that up by taking Michigan star Jabrill Peppers later in the second round. They are hoping that the defense takes a big step forward this season with the two rookies helping lead the way.
Do the Browns Have Enough Targets for the QB?
One of the big question marks over the past couple of years for the Browns has been the wide receiving corps. After losing Terrelle Pryor in free agency, the Browns are even thinner at the position. Josh Gordon may return even though that does appear unlikely at this point, but there are still questions about whether the Browns have enough targets for whoever the starting quarterback ends up being.
Will Isaiah Crowell Live Up to the Hype?
Isaiah Crowell is without question one of the big question marks in Cleveland. He rushed for 952 yards and seven touchdowns last season, which was a huge part of the Browns’ offense. Crowell will be asked to take an even bigger role this season to take pressure off of the passing game, and it will be interesting to see if he lives up to expectations.
How Will DeShone Kizer Develop as a Rookie?
Cleveland was able to snag Notre Dame standout quarterback DeShone Kizer in the NFL Draft. It was a big pickup for the franchise, and there are high expectations surrounding him. Kizer may work his way into a starting option at some point this season, but it will certainly be intriguing to see how he ends up developing.
Expect to see the Browns take a step forward in their rebuilding process this season. They have a lot of young talent on the roster that will be exciting for fans to watch this season. The playoffs may be an unrealistic goal but contending with playoff caliber teams is reasonable.
Do you think the Cleveland Browns are close to returning to playoff contention? What questions do you think should be added to the list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Ron Schwane/AP Images]