In a recent appearance on the popular sports talk television program “First Take,” former NFL player turned analyst Marcus Spears gave his opinion on the current roster construction in the league. With extreme confidence, Spears proclaimed that the best roster in the game belongs to the Cleveland Browns, a proclamation that has not been made in this writer’s lifetime. This certainly has caught the eyes of football fans around the country as preseason workouts begin to heat up.
When evaluating Spears’ comment, it may seem like a bit of a reach considering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers somehow brought every single player back from their Super Bowl winning team, and the Kansas City Chiefs feature a new and improved offensive line, in addition to the league’s most feared passer. However, the Cleveland Browns have certainly earned the right to be included among the game’s elite given their free agent acquisitions and draft haul.
While games in the NFL are not won on paper, Andrew Berry has made the necessary adjustments to the defense which will only complement Cleveland’s potent offensive attack. John Johnson III is one of the league’s premier players at his position, and will provide Cleveland with excellent play making abilities at a position that was sorely lacking last season for the Browns. Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah and Anthony Walker will also elevate a Browns linebacking core that was much maligned in 2020.
Shows like “First Take” thrive on introducing outlandish points for viewers to quarrel over. However, there is one player that can make Spears’ fruition come true. That player is Baker Mayfield.
Quarterbacks are known as the point guards of an NFL organization, as their job responsibilities include setting up teammates to make game altering and winning plays. In the second half of the 2020 season, Baker Mayfield was one of the league’s most prolific passers, throwing 16 touchdown passes as opposed to just two interceptions after week six. Once Mayfield began to build a rapport with first year play caller and head coach Kevin Stefanski, the Browns offense took off. Mayfield will surely want to impress in 2021 with a contract extension looming. If the Cleveland quarterback is able to take the next step in his development on and off the field, the Browns are positioned well to make Marcus Spears look like a very smart man.
Despite Spears putting some pressure on the Browns players to back up his comments, this upcoming Browns season can truly be described as reach the AFC title game or bust. While the AFC is loaded with talented quarterbacks and defenses, Cleveland has positioned themselves to be included in the conversation with Kansas City, Baltimore, and Buffalo on paper. As the team and organization becomes more accustomed with the leadership in charge, the sky is certainly the limit for the Browns in the next few seasons.
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