We’ll continue a series of opponent preview posts for the New Orleans Saints opponents in 2018. Next, we’ll go to the home of the Dog Pound, the Cleveland Browns. Our friends over at Dawgs by Nature took some time to give us Saints fans the scoop a the young, potential-filled team.
Week 2: vs the Cleveland Browns
Notable free agent additions:
QB Tyrod Taylor (trade), RB Carlos Hyde, WR Jarvis Landry (trade), LB Mychal Kendricks, CB T.J. Carrie, CB E.J. Gaines, S Damarious Randall (trade)
5.5 wins. As stupid as it may sound to take the over (6 wins or above) for the Browns after having just 1 win in the past two seasons, the quarterback position makes a significant difference. The Browns were bit by too many turnovers last year, and Tyrod Taylor is known for protecting the football.
Most exciting rookie:
CB Denzel Ward. As the No. 4 overall pick, he is expected to be a Day 1 starter. Fans will already be rooting for him as an Ohio State product, but he also adds a physical man-press presence to the defense that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams needs for the rest of his defensive strategies to fall into place.
Position battle to keep an eye on:
Left tackle. After the retirement of future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas, this is the only position battle taking place on offense. Will it be Shon Coleman, last year’s starting right tackle? Will it be Austin Corbett, the team’s second-round pick this year? Or could veteran left guard Joel Bitonio finally make the switch over to left tackle?
Biggest storyline heading into training camp:
Hard Knocks being in Berea will be a storyline in itself, as Cleveland fans are excited to see some of the inner workings of the organization, the emotion of the players, how the coaches handle matters, etc. A reasonable alternative is the fact that it was just announced that Josh Gordon will miss the start of camp as part of his treatment plan, but the ambiguity of the whole situation will definitely be a big talking point heading into camp now.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:
Despite all the improvements the Browns have made this offseason, has the safety position been addressed enough? The assumption is that Jabrill Peppers will actually get to move to strong safety this year after frustratingly being stuck 30 yards deep all of last year, but will Gregg Williams go through with that? Also, Damarious Randall, who had been acquired from the Packers, has been a cornerback in the NFL. Will his switch to free safety work as smoothly as everyone hopes?
Notable injuries heading into training camp:
LB Mychal Kendricks and P Britton Colquitt were dealing with some minor injuries this offseason, but both are expected to be fine for some or all of training camp.
The Saints’ home opener is against a (likely) Tyrod Taylor-led Cleveland Browns. It’s to be determined if that fares better for the Saints or not.
So what says you, you unbiased Saints fans? Do the Saints win their second game at home, or will the Browns spoil the first game in the Dome? Vote in the poll. Explain in the comments. And make sure you also check out DraftDividends.com, a website for a new book I’m writing currently titled Draft Picks and Dividends: A Fantasy Football Player’s Guide to Understanding the Stock Market.
How will the Saints fare against the Cleveland Browns?
This poll is closed