Cleveland Browns fans have stuck with a franchise that’s given them little to believe in.
However, in 2020, behind their defense and Baker Mayfield, the team got its first playoff win since 1994.
But now the team has sent him to another team, now pinning their hopes on Deshaun Watson.
While they felt the move was best for them, they now face 2022 without him for 11 games.
What are three reasons for fans to still believe in Cleveland without their star quarterback?
3. Browns Have Their Two Biggest Defensive Stars Healthy
The top two past draft picks for the Browns, and their best defensive players, are heading into 2022 healthy.
Myles Garrett is looking great and Denzel Ward seems fine, after battling an injury this year.
Ward is a major threat in pass defense when healthy.
21 days until the start of the 2022-23 NFL season
Last year was an example of what happens when Denzel Ward is healthy. Another Pro Bowl SZN coming soon pic.twitter.com/vEBP19BEux
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) August 18, 2022
However, he hasn’t gone a full season yet without suffering an injury.
If he can turn that around this season, it gives the Browns a solid corner to defend the pass.
Garrett will also be key to the success of the Browns’ defense for 2022.
He’s a sack machine and consistently disrupts quarterbacks.
These players are healthy and their defense is solid, giving Cleveland Browns fans something to believe in 2022.
2. Browns Have A Trio Of Lethal Running Backs
When you have Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and D’ Ernest Johnson, there’s always hope for a team.
This trio of running backs has some impressive numbers in the running game.
Not just Chubb-Hunt, D’Ernest Johnson was #1 RB in RUN via PFF in 2021 reg seas 20% qualif so TRIO!
As @MaryKayCabot noted, DEF was excellent & key youngsters should be even better as they get normal rise. 2nd year guys Newsome, JOK & Delpit (Delpit 3rd yr but on IR all 2020)
— NFL Fact Checks (@wildlifeluvr) August 24, 2022
As they have a solid offensive line, these three amigos can pound their way through defensive lines.
Johnson is a huge backup running back for the Browns, as his play in games from 2021 show great promise with him.
re D'Ernest Johnson "chipping in effectively"
*D Johnson RUN grade
#34 Najee Harris
#27 Najee Harris
#12 Najee Harris
Src: PFF, RBs 20% qualif:#Steelers #HereWeGo #Browns
— NFL Fact Checks (@wildlifeluvr) June 6, 2022
He was top five in elusiveness, yards after contact per attempt, and overall run grade.
This is key, especially if he needs to step in for Hunt or Chubb.
However, some might worry about Hunt and his recent desire to leave Cleveland.
But that shouldn’t prevent him from performing well with the team in 2022.
He’s someone the Browns need both in the run and pass game.
They know this, which is why they aren’t trading him.
1. Browns Will Have Watson Back By Week 13
While Watson is serving an 11-game suspension, he can return by week 13.
If the Browns’ defense and running game can keep the Browns around .500, they can contend with Watson in the passing game.
However, many fans are split on their feelings about the Browns new quarterback.
But getting him back gives fans hope to believe their season can end in a playoff berth.
While he was rusty in preseason, he’ll have time to make improvements.
If he can return to his old playing days, it gives the Browns an excellent shot at making the playoffs.
But he needs the team to be at 5-6 or higher to make a playoff hope a reality.
So regardless of how fans feel about him, the reality is he’s better than Brissett.
That’s why his return can give Cleveland something to believe in 2022 when playing for an important playoff spot.