Sean Flannery ‘16
The Browns have had their highs and lows through the first 4 weeks of the 2014-15 NFL season. They have lost two heartbreaking games in the final seconds of regulation, first to the Steelers and second to the Ravens. Winning the home opener against the high powered, pass heavy offense of the New Orleans Saints was a big confidence booster, not only for the players but the fans as well. The browns have lost 2 of the 3 games they have played by only a combined margin of 5 points. A 1-2 record may not show how the team is playing as a whole through the first four weeks of the season because of the nail biting games this team has gone through. The next few weeks will really indicate which direction this Browns team is heading for this 2014-15 season.
Coming into the season, all the talk was about how great the defense will be and how the offense is unreliable. Well, through 4 weeks it has been the complete opposite. After playing 3 games the Browns are averaging just over 24 points a game. Coming into the season, Cleveland fans would be overwhelmed with joy if they knew the Browns would be averaging that many points up to this point. But the defense hasn’t been able to hold up their end. The Browns defense is allowing 425.7 yards per game, that is 3rd last in the NFL. The secondary, led by Donte Whitner and Joe Haden, is giving up 272 passing yards per game which is also horrendous compared to the top defenses in the league. Cleveland was expected to be one of the top defenses coming into this 2014-15 season. The Browns do have some favorable opponents coming up in the next handful of games and hope to turn their defensive struggles around and capitalize on the poor offensive teams they play in the next 5 weeks.
Despite the defensive struggles and the 1-2 start, there are some high hopes for this Cleveland Browns team. Starting Quarterback and Cleveland native, Brian Hoyer, has been exceptional through the first 3 games. He has 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions thus far and a total Quarterback rating of 72.1 which is 12th in the league to this point. Hoyer has been playing tremendous considering the wide receivers he has. With Josh Gordon not returning until late in the season and Jordan Cameron’s injury, his top targeted receiver has been Andrew Hawkins. Hawkins, recently acquired through free agency this offseason, had only 12 receptions all of last year and has already surpassed that mark with 21 total receptions through 3 games. Hoyer’s number hopefully will improve in the coming weeks because of the returning of number 1 Running Back Ben Tate and Pro Bowl Tight End Jordan Cameron. Also, the next 5 games for the Browns are very manageable considering the combined record for the next 5 teams on the schedule is 4-16. Winning at least 4 of the next 5 games for the Browns is very possible and even likely. While the Browns record may indicate another rough season, the toughness and potential the team has shown through the first 3 games may foreshadow an entertaining season ahead of us.