The Cleveland Browns have made some major upgrades over the offseason.
The team does look stronger than they did a year ago, but there are still concerns going into the 2020 season.
One of the biggest issues is the lack of talent at the linebacker position.
Earlier this week, linebacker Mack Wilson went down with an injury and could possibly miss significant time.
Mack Wilson suffers knee injury, undergoing evaluation
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 18, 2020
The Browns don’t exactly have reliable depth to fill the void if Wilson is sidelined for most of the year.
Cleveland struggled heavily versus the tight end position last year, so this problem could come back to bite them again.
Browns vs Tight Ends
On paper, the Browns had better linebackers last season, but still weren’t able to stop tight ends.
They head into this season with starting linebackers who are less inexperienced than the year prior.
Last season, the Browns allowed 70 receptions, 809 yards, and 10 touchdowns to opposing tight ends.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews finished with six receptions, 93 yards and two touchdowns versus Cleveland last season.
Noah Fant of the Denver Broncos destroyed the Browns for three receptions, 115 receiving yards, and one touchdown in his lone game against the team.
The Browns were not a team that stacked up well against tight ends and it hurt them.
Sadly, the organization did not address the linebacker position much during the offseason.
The biggest addition they made to their linebacker group was adding LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips.
#Browns draft LSU ILB Jacob Phillips at No. 97, the third-rounder from Duke Johnson trade. All SEC draft so far.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) April 25, 2020
It’s a fairly young group of linebackers that are probably going to need some time to adjust.
Both Wilson and Sione Takitaki are second-year players and expected to start from Day 1.
The Browns also signed B.J. Goodson who is a four-year linebacker with average numbers.
The signs aren’t exactly pointing to the Browns improving against tight ends next season.
What To Expect
The Browns did improve their secondary by adding Karl Joseph, Andrew Sendejo, and second-round pick Grant Delpit.
They also have plenty of depth at defensive back behind Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward.
The secondary should not be a concern, but linebackers remains a red flag going into the season.
Cleveland needs to do a much better job at stopping opposing tight ends.
A lot of that is going to be on the linebackers, but new defensive coordinator could have some tricks up his sleeve.
It sounds like the Browns could change up their defensive scheme from last season.
The health of Wilson is also going to play a role as he emerged as a key starter in 2019.
Maybe the Browns will surprise some people and their young players will step up to the challenge.
One thing is for certain, the Browns can’t allow tight ends to run through them again like they did last season.