NFL Football 2013: Cleveland Browns Preview
When people who frequently try their hand at online betting are confronted by the reality of a new NFL season, they know that in many ways and on many fronts, they will have to change the way they think about teams. In the case of the Cleveland Browns, though, no real changes are warranted.
One is still hard pressed to think of a good explanation for the Browns’ selection of quarterback Brandon Weeden in the 2012 draft. Weeden was almost 30 years old at the time, having played a few years of minor-league baseball before arriving at Oklahoma State on the older side of 25 years of age. Perhaps a good fit as a backup quarterback in the NFL, Weeden – given his age – never did make sense as a high draft pick. Yet, the Browns, who have been beset by fundamental mistakes in their front office over the past several years, took the plunge with the Oklahoma State star who teamed with receiver Justin Blackmon to win the 2012 Fiesta Bowl over Stanford. Cleveland is now looking at a situation in which Weeden is battling journeyman Jason Campbell for the starting job, with Brian Hoyer – frequently a No. 3 quarterback during his NFL career to date – also on the periphery of the quarterback scramble.
A winning sports bet should be able to look at Cleveland’s quarterback situation and determine that the Browns are not likely to do much of anything this season. Do the running back and wide receiver positions offer the prospect of any help? Not really. Trent Richardson endured an injury-plagued rookie season at running back, and outside of Josh Gordon, there’s no reliable second option for the Browns at the receiver spot. This team is bereft of quality depth, and since there are few standout receivers to choose from, the quarterback on this team – no matter who it will be – will encounter that many more hardships in scanning the field when a play breaks down and a pass rusher closes in.
The online sportsbook calculus for the Browns will shift based on the performance of this offense. If there’s any reason to put stock in Cleveland this season, it will be due to the defense, which forced eight turnovers from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a victory last year, and generally help up its end of the bargain. This is a rugged and robust unit. It was able to hold up in the physically demanding AFC North, a division with blue-collar sledgehammer teams such as Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Cleveland didn’t get wiped off the field by the Super Bowl champion Ravens or the decorated Steelers, graced as they are by a longstanding reputation of being one of the most pugnacious teams in all of professional football. Cleveland was able to stay on the same field in terms of physicality. This team lacked playmaking skill and creativity. The Browns simply weren’t able to display the resourcefulness of a next-level team. In 2013, that resourcefulness will need to emerge… but it’s not likely to happen.