This is the time of year when all NFL teams, including the Cleveland Browns, are filled with great expectations.
The draft picks are becoming ingrained into the team culture, and the free agents and traded players are settling into their new home.
The Browns made a lot of changes this offseason with the one goal of winning a Super Bowl now.
Draft picks were forfeited and large sums of money were paid to get players in Cleveland to win.
Here are three things that could go wrong and mess up the entire plan.
The biggest thing that could go wrong for the Browns or any other NFL team is to lose key players to injuries.
It is an unfortunate and unavoidable part of the game.
No matter how fit and prepared players are, injuries happen.
He’s battled a lot of injuries the last few years but I can’t wait to see Offensive Lineman Chris Hubbard back on the field this season #Browns.
— Tyler Johnson (@T_johnson_TJ) May 10, 2022
The offensive line struggled to stay healthy also, and Baker Mayfield‘s battle to play through injuries was well documented.
Teams that advance far in the postseason generally have fewer injuries.
2. Roster Does Not Live Up To Expectations
2021’s Browns roster was deemed to be the best one in the NFL on paper.
Yet the roster on paper, for many reasons, did not live up to its potential.
— NMR Burner (@NMRBurner) May 13, 2022
Anything short of a playoff run, two straight seasons with great rosters, will be deemed a disappointment.
3. Not Enough Depth In Key Positions
Two positions that come to mind right now are defensive end and wide receiver.
There is a reason that fans are on a Jadeveon Clowney watch, hoping each day for news that he re-signed with the Browns.
He is believed to be a missing link.
— Nick Karns (@karnsies817) May 13, 2022
Yes, the Browns added additional players at DE to compensate for Clowney and Takkarist McKinley‘s departures, but Clowney is a game-changer, and the defense instantly becomes a lot better when he is opposite Myles Garrett for many snaps in 2022.
At wide receiver, Cooper is the only one with vast experience.
The wildcard is how much they use Jakeem Grant on the offense, in addition to special teams.
The other intangible is whether Deshaun Watson will be suspended in 2022 and for how long.
.@AlbertBreer on @afternoon923FAN re: Deshaun Watson: "I think the commissioner is waiting on the civil cases. I think the possibility exists that he plays thru the 2022 season…I think there is a scenario out there where the suspension doesn't come until 2023." #Browns
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) May 4, 2022
Jacoby Brissett is very capable, but the Browns sacrificed a great deal to get Watson to come to Cleveland.
Without him for an extended period, the team could struggle to find its identity within a brand new quarterback room in 2022.