The Cleveland Browns’ 2023 outlook is that they are ready for their championship window to fully open. Upon looking over the contracts of recent extensions and free-agent signings. Those contracts are within a time period of three to five years, along with the core ages of Browns players are 25-27. This regime likes to keep the core players at a certain age to compete for longer. This time a year ago many fans believed the Cleveland Browns just needed a solidified top-level quarterback. For that reason, many are excited after seeing Deshaun Watson finally begin to play much better. With the recent successful outing Watson had many are ready for the 2023 season has in store for this team.
Cleveland Browns Optimism
On Sunday, January 1st, 2023 the Cleveland Browns beat the Washington Commanders 24-10. On the offensive end, this game was the tale of two halves. The offense had no rhythm and Watson only completed three passes for 28 yards. However, during the first, the defense played well minus a 21-play drive that was for 96 yards and ended with a touchdown. The defense overall created three turnovers and gathered 3 sacks on the day. Much was the same in the second half for the Cleveland Browns’ defense. Only allowing 10 total points.
It was the second-half performance of Watson that really turned this game around. For Watson, it wasn’t a 300-yard game but it was a game where he found his rhythm in this new offense. He was able to create explosive plays with his athleticism and uncanny arm talent. For instance, Watson was 9-18 with 169 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also added a total of 31 rushing yards. This total team effort is what many Cleveland Browns fans have been waiting to see all season long. Unfortunately, it’s too late for it to matter towards anything sustainable like playoffs. What does matter is putting it together to be able to finally compete next season.
This game was an all-around team win. Amari Cooper had 3 receptions for 105 yards, Nick Chubb had 14 carries for 104 yards himself. The defense seems to finally have turned a corner and created the ever-elusive turnovers they couldn’t get earlier in the season. As a result of this type of win, it could be what the Cleveland Browns have finally been trying to become. It was the second-half adjustments that really sprung them forward.
Cleveland Browns Long-Term Outlook
When the Cleveland Browns traded Watson last off-season sustainable quarterback play was the key for the entire operation to work. With many bringing the validity of how good Cleveland could become it was Myles Garrett who told reporters that “this team is close and few just need to tighten the screws and add a few players here and there”. In addition, Watson and Cooper talked post-game about how this is only the beginning and they are just starting to scratch the surface.
Cleveland Browns Off-Season Priorities
Heading into the 2023 off-season many believe that there will be a changing of defensive coordinators. Above all the defense has played better as of late but it may not be enough to save the job of defensive coordinator Joe Woods. Coaching a defense with this caliber of talent could be a dream job for future candidates. Former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and current Steelers assistant coach Brian Flores are potential replacements.
General Manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski cannot be satisfied, some tough decisions must be made this off-season. The Cleveland Browns have been a mediocre team since they went 0-16. In the first year of head coach Stefanski, this Cleveland team made the playoffs. Cleveland has not been back since the 2020 season.
During the 2023 off-season, the Cleveland Browns must be the most aggressive in order to get where it needs to be. Adding some wide receivers to open up vertical threats will be key. As well as adding a pass-catching running back, ultimately will open up this entire offense. Another position group to bolster is the defensive tackle room. Finally adding some new assistants on offense to help transition the passing game will greatly help. In today’s NFL, a team must be able to create explosive plays to win a super bowl. However, explosive plays in the passing game will be key.
The Cleveland Browns are very close to sustained success. After years of searching for head coaches and general managers to pair with said coaches. This Cleveland Browns team is finally aligned in the approach to the product on the field. As well as the core players are in place. To benefit the Cleveland Browns team everyone must work towards achieving the same goals.
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