The Cleveland Browns have been wheeling and dealing more than previous seasons. Will 2018 be the year they finally turn things around?
And just like that, the Cleveland Browns have gone from being a perennial laughingstock to one of the most compelling teams in the NFL.
Throw away those paper sacks, Browns fans, because newly-hired general manager John Dorsey has every intention of turning those frowns upside down.
A slew of offseason additions, most notably at quarterback, has the NFL’s worst franchise looking like a legitimate contender for “Comeback Team of the Year.” Better yet, make that “Comeback Team of the Century” if those hapless Browns find a way to finally turn things around.
Even diehard skeptics are ready to sink their teeth into the sequel to last year’s 0-16 season. As for Browns faithful, they are bracing themselves for either a miracle turnaround or another colossal train wreck of an NFL season. Things couldn’t possibly get any worse—right?
Here are five reasons fans should be excited for the 2018 season.
5. “Hard Knocks” debut
Move over, Charlie Chaplin.
The winless Browns are the latest popcorn team to be highlighted on HBO’s Hard Knocks, a reality sports documentary-style series that delves into the lives of the players and coaches on an NFL team.
It’s a shrewd move by the bigwigs over at HBO to feature an organization with plenty of drama swirling overhead and enough characters on the roster to fill a one-hour time block.
For fans, it’s an opportunity for a rare peek inside the unending renaissance project in Cleveland. Unlike previous seasons, a real hope for progress hangs in the balance for a Browns team that hasn’t made it to the playoffs in the last 16 years.
Even if the ineptitude continues on the field, fans will at least get a closer look at the NFL beginnings of prized rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The No. 1 overall 2018 draft pick is already a lightning rod for praise and criticism even though he has yet to even take an NFL snap. Being equally as polarizing as former Browns first-round draft bust Johnny Manziel isn’t always a good thing, but it can easily be overlooked by the fact that Mayfield comes with more upside.
Much of the talk in training camp will be about the 23-year-old quarterback making the necessary adjustments to compete at the professional level, which is something Manziel was never able to do.
The series might also explore the mind of troubled wideout Josh Gordon, who recently returned after a three-year layoff for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. Spotlighting his road to redemption could go a long way in healing his public perception, while also serving as a lesson to other young athletes teetering towards a similar path.