After going 1-15 in 2016, with their lone win due to a blocked field goal on Christmas Eve against the Chargers, the only way the Cleveland Browns can virtually go is up, right? Unless they have a perfect (imperfect?) 0-16 season in 2017 or win just one game again, the upcoming season will most likely be an improvement from 2016. Even after an impressive offseason, many sportsbooks still list the Browns as the worst team in the NFL, with virtually no shot of making the postseason, let alone the Super Bowl. In fact, they aren’t favored in any game in 2017.
Even so, starting running back Isaiah Crowell is extremely positive on the future of this team, especially beginning in 2017. He is awfully positive and maybe even a little too positive, honestly.
Here’s what he had to say, per the Ledger-Enquirer’s Jordan Hill:
“I feel very good about it. I feel like we’re building something special. A lot of people are underestimating us, but I feel like we’re going to shock the world.”
At his football camp back at his high school alma mater, where he once scored 61 touchdowns, Crowell played host to a bunch of youth players for free, giving back to his community. While the camp was important, what he said about the Browns really stuck out, especially to the Dawg Pound.
If Cleveland wants to “shock the world” in 2017, Crowell will likely have to continue where he left off in 2016. Last season, he finished with 952 yards and seven touchdowns on 198 carries and also brought in 40 catches for 319 yards. His 85-yard touchdown run against the Ravens was the longest of the season in the NFL and the second-longest rushing touchdown in team history.
The Browns have improved drastically this offseason, both through free agency and in the draft. Cleveland has improved so much that their front office was ranked as the fourth-best in the NFL by CBS because of the moves the team has made. They not only revamped their offensive line, but they also drafted plenty of young talent as well, much of which will receive significant playing time from Day 1 of their rookie seasons. Adding talent like defensive end Myles Garrett, safety Jabrill Peppers, and tight end David Njoku, among others, could potentially be franchise-changing, but it will most likely take much more than just 16 games in their rookie years to determine that. Unless all of that talent that the Browns have brought on since the final snap of the 2016 season become All-Pros, it’s hard to imagine the Browns shocking the world in 2017. Then again, anything can happen when in Cleveland.
In fact, the Browns are still in search of a legitimate starting quarterback, let alone a franchise quarterback. Many seem to think that that guy isn’t even on the current roster. Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler seem to have a slim chance of being a franchise-changer, and it will likely take much longer than 2017 for rookie DeShone Kizer to prove if he is or not.
The Browns seem to be rebuilding since 1999, but their running back seems to think what seems like for the first time in almost two decades, they may be the competitive football team that the Dawg Pound has always wanted.