The Cleveland Browns open training camp on July 25 in Berea, Ohio. Here’s a closer look at a few storylines:
How exactly does Odell Beckham Jr. change the offense?
Directly and indirectly, Beckham’s impact figures to be significant. Most obviously, he’s a tremendous playmaker who will enhance the Browns’ intermediate and deep passing attacks. But on top of that, Beckham’s very presence will consume the attention of opposing defenses, opening up the field and creating favorable matchups for Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and even Nick Chubb and the running game.
How can Baker Mayfield take a step forward after a stellar rookie season?
Mayfield still stands to improve in several areas, a scary proposition. One way is with his downfield passing, where on attempts 30 yards or more downfield last season, Mayfield ranked just 27th in passer rating and 17th in completion percentage and QBR. Beckham’s arrival alone will give those numbers a boost. But if Mayfield can take a step forward with his accuracy and efficiency on deep balls, the Browns will be that much more lethal.
Can Myles Garrett become an MVP candidate?
Overshadowed by the OBJ trade, the Browns quietly upgraded their defensive line, acquiring a pair of difference-makers in tackle Sheldon Richardson and end Olivier Vernon. Garrett’s trajectory already pointed toward him becoming one of the top pass-rushers in the league. Now, with considerably more talent around him, Garrett could be primed for a monster third season.
What difference can Kareem Hunt make down the stretch?
The 2017 NFL rushing champ could make a huge difference for an already loaded offense. Because of his versatility as a pass-catcher (79 catches over 27 games) Hunt could easily play alongside Chubb in two- or three-back sets. But Hunt has already proven he can be an elite primary back, as well. And provided he can make it through the eight-game suspension, the Browns will be able to rest Chubb without any drop-off at the position.
How will Freddie Kitchens handle all of the big personalities?
Coaching colleagues from Kitchens’ past believe that he’ll connect well with the big personalities on this team, because he’s both straightforward and holds little ego. Of course, Kitchens’ mettle will be put to the test, especially should the Browns struggle at any point this season. But already, the team’s stars, including Mayfield and Beckham, have expressed their affinity for Kitchens – a promising start for the first-time head coach.