Taking a midseason look at the preseason 2017 Browns predictions

The Cleveland Browns 2017 season has been a disaster to say the least. With eight games under their belt, the Browns are still looking for win No. 1. The bye week has gone exactly like the season, full of negative storylines and dysfunction. At 0-8, the season has not gone the way many had predicted it would go, including me. Before the season, I had a hopeful outlook on the season and the way the franchise was building. But, this season has hampered those hopeful thoughts.

With it being the midway point of the season, I am taking a look at my ten preseason predictions for the Browns 2017 season, reviewing how they are turning out with eight games behind us. Many of them are wrong or are on their way to being wrong, but some might turn out to be right. So, lets take a look.

  1. The Browns defense will be just outside the top ten in total sacks, increasing their total by more than 10 sacks

The Browns currently stand at 16 total sacks on the season, ranking 23rd in the league. So in terms of their standing in the league, the Browns have improved a little, but it is falling short of my prediction that the unit will rank just outside the top ten in sacks. However, the Browns do have a very good chance to improve last season’s total of 26 sacks by at least ten sacks. The Browns are on pace for 32 sacks, which would be an improvement of six sacks from last year, but less than my stated prediction. But, I believe the total should see a spike for one big reason, a healthy Myles Garrett. With Garrett cleared to play, the Browns pass rush becomes more dangerous and should cause the total sack amount to get to at least 36 sacks. 

  1. Even with the injury, Myles Garrett will get at least eight sacks in his rookie season

Myles Garrett has four sacks in just three games. He is right on pace to hit that eight sack total. Injuries have derailed his rookie season, but in the few games he has played Garrett has shown the talent that led the Browns to drafting him No. 1 overall. Coming out of the bye week, Garrett is expected to be ready to go and return to action. With how much success he has shown in just three games, if he can stay healthy for the last eight games, I think he can get to a double-digit sack total by the end of the season. Garrett has been one of the lone bright spots in this ugly season, even in his limited time on the field. 

  1. Jamie Collins will get at least four sacks, two interceptions and 90 tackles, becoming a true playmaker in the middle of the defense

Jamie Collins has been a huge disappointment, along with Christian Kirksey, at the linebacker position. Collins currently has 30 tackles, one sack and no interceptions in the five games he has played this season. He, like Garrett, has suffered through injuries during the season, hurting his performance this season. However, Collins has not performed to the level I expected of him. Unless he makes a major improvement, he will fall short of my prediction. He has been far from a true playmaker for the Browns, showing little evidence of the great player he was in New England. He has shown glimpses with some impressive plays, but his consistency has been underwhelming. The play of Collins and Kirksey has been a huge detriment to a defense that has performed inconsistently.

  1. Jabrill Peppers will score a touchdown on defense, offense and special teams

Jabrill Peppers has been another huge disappointment in more ways then one with some of the disappointment being caused by things he cannot control. He has not scored a single touchdown on either defense, offense or special teams. On defense, Peppers has been used out of position by Gregg Williams. Lined up as the angel safety in Williams defense, Peppers has been forced to play incredibly far back in the secondary to be the last line of the defense. This position negates Peppers skill set. He is a player who is a versatile defender, who is better lined up around the line of scrimmage to utilize is athleticism, toughness and versatility. As an angel safety, he has struggled, hurting his ability to be around the ball to force a turnover and score a touchdown. On special teams, Peppers has underwhelmed as a returner, showing little of the playmaking ability he showed in college. And on offense, Peppers has yet to play a snap. His rookie season has been underwhelming.

  1. Isaiah Crowell will exceed 1,200 yards rushing 

This is already wrong. There is no way Isaiah Crowell hits 1,000 yards rushing, let along 1,200 yards. Crowell has returned to his 2015 form, showing the inability to correctly find a hole and showing bad vision. He has struggled to find a consistent performance level throughout the first eight games of the season. Crowell has yet to show his 2016 form and the struggling run game can be blamed partly on Crowell’s performance. His play has led me to believe that this will be his final season with the Browns. Duke Johnson is a better back and should be receiving more touches than Crowell going forward.

  1. Duke Johnson will have the second most catches on the team, behind Corey Coleman

Duke Johnson has been the best offensive skill player on the team. In eight games, he has rushed 34 times for 176 yards and two touchdowns, while catching 36 passes for 324 yards and a touchdown. Johnson has exceeded my prediction by leading the team in receptions with 36 receptions through eight games. Johnson has been one of the lone playmakers on the offense. He played both running back and receiver so far this season, lining up in different spots because of his versatility to catch passes. With the injury to Corey Coleman, Johnson has been the team’s best receiver. He should earn even more touches for the last eight games of the season, likely leading to him ending up as the leading receiver on the team when the 2017 season ends.

  1. Corey Coleman will have at least 800 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns

Corey Coleman has played in just two games due to another injury. In those two games, he had six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. This is another prediction where it looks to be almost certainly wrong already. But, this time it is due to an injury. Coleman once again broke a hand and is in the midst of missing a large chunk of games. Coleman has shown glimpses of his talent, but the injuries have derailed his career so far and have left the Browns questioning what kind of receiver he will be. He is expected to return this season and those games will be big for his future with the team. It has been really disappointing for him and the Browns that he has suffered these two freak injuries in his young career.

  1. DeShone Kizer will have a 20 or more touchdown passes and 15 or more interceptions

DeShone Kizer has had a really tough start to his career. In seven games, he has thrown three touchdowns and 11 interceptions. I was obviously too high on the touchdown prediction, but the interception prediction is looking like it will be right on the money. Before the season, I thought we would see a rookie quarterback who would show off his big arm with big plays, but also his inaccuracy and questionable decision-making. We have seen the latter, but the big plays have been lacking. The confidence of the young signal caller is at an all-time low. He has struggled as many rookies have struggled, but many other factors have crushed his confidence. The coaching and play calling of Hue Jackson has been downright horrible for a young signal caller, including getting benched on multiple occasions. Along with Jackson’s mishandling, the lack of talent to throw to has also hurt Kizer’s performance. I was not certain that Kizer would be the answer for the Browns quarterback woes, but I had the belief we would at least see some glimpses of his natural talent through big plays, however that has not even surfaced as much as I hoped. Kizer has not played well and there is a lot of evidence that Kizer is not a NFL starting quarterback, but the way he has been treated by the organization has been horrible, too. The whole situation surrounding Kizer has been a disaster, both by Kizer’s doing and the organizations.

  1. The Browns offense will be more balanced, with the team rushing at least 44% of the total plays

Oh how I was gullible. Hue Jackson said before the season that the run game would be the backbone of the offense. That was a lie. Of the 983 total offensive snaps, the Browns have rushed 350 times or 35.6% of the snaps. That is just ridiculous. With a rookie quarterback running the offense, Jackson has called an offense that is pass-happy and based on the back of Kizer rather than the offensive line and the running game. This fact is one of the factors that led me to the basis that Jackson should be fired. It is crazy to see a team that put so much money in the offensive line and has a rookie quarterback under center be so much orientated toward the pass and shying away from the run game. It is the definition of insanity.

  1. The Browns will have between 5-8 wins this season

Without a miraculous second half turnaround, the Browns have no chance of reaching at least five wins. This team has more talent then a winless team should have. The defense is littered with young talent and promising play. But, the team is still winless and the overall organization is a mess. The coaching staff has been a detriment and not an aid to the roster. Through player roles and play calling, the coaches have hurt the overall team’s performance. The front office has negated some key positions, most notably quarterback and wide receiver. They have put little talent in the receiver position, while adding a young quarterback who needs help around him to succeed as a young quarterback. The ownership now is getting involved on player acquisitions. The whole organization is a detriment to the talent on the roster, which is better than the record would indicate. The Browns are not the least talented team in the league, but they are the worst organization and team in the league.

  • tigersbrowns2

    I wouldn’t say Kirksey has been disappointing … and Crowell needs to average 82 yards a game the last 8 games to make 1,000 yards … this isn’t unrealistic. and Kizer just might get closer to 20 TD passes than you think.

    i do applaud you though , JOE … you’re not afraid crack on yourself a bit.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … and the Browns only need to go 6-2 the rest of the way to hit my 6-10 prediction … I’ve got everyone right where I want ’em.

  • mgbode

    mgbode to Lunch the breakfast sandwich • 2 months ago
    You want bold? Here’s bold.
    Sam Darnold won’t be a Top 10 pick.

    Feeling pretty dang good about this one.

  • mgbode

    Chris • 2 months ago ::: The Indians will win more games in the World Series than the Browns will win all season… tie goes to the Indians.

    Tie goes to the Indians means you still have a chance here.

  • mgbode

    Preseason predictions are so tough. Even tougher to admit where you went wrong. Good on Joe always keeping himself honest by doing these.

  • Chris

    Ya, but the problem was I doubled down and put 4-12 on the Browns (although that was a separate prediction).

  • RGB

    I can’t believe I actually picked 3-13.

  • mgbode

    I now blame you for the Indians having zero World Series wins in 2017. You did this.

  • RGB

    Never underestimate the NFL’s ability to reach for QBs.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi MG … last I read , the Giants have taken a liking to Darnold … I also read that Darnold may return to USC if the Browns have the #1 overall pick. i think you may be right though , the Browns could actually take him with their other 1st round.

    are you thinking L.Jackson or Rosen #1 overall for the Browns ?

  • mgbode

    I was goaded into saying 5-11. That’s alright, you can state how optimistic you were!

  • mgbode

    Quite true.

  • mgbode

    As much as I dislike his persona, Baker is proving himself the No. 1 QB of this class. I really, really like Lamar though.

    Rosen is too inconsistent for me. Then again, I said the same thing about D.Watson last year. So, who knows? Obviously, not me.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … way to go , CHRIS.

  • Skulb

    I believe I said 2-14. And even that seems to have been wildly optimistic.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … me neither.

  • JM85

    Or the Browns.

  • JM85

    I need them to go 5-3 for my prediction. Say it with me. Yes we can! Yes we can!

  • tigersbrowns2
  • tigersbrowns2

    hi SKULB … I got a feeling you just might win then … I know most folks will say they can’t see 2 wins on the remaining schedule … they will probably find a way to win 2 games & screw-up getting the #1 overall pick.

  • Skulb

    Why does everything seem so possible in August and so impossible in November?

  • tigersbrowns2

    LMAO !! … i think RGB used this one last year during the 0-fer streak.

  • tigersbrowns2

    i don’t know about the rest of you , but i am looking forward to the last 5 games when Kizer will have Gordon & C.Coleman on the field to work with.

  • mgbode

    But, the Browns don’t pick QBs in the Top 10. Or Top 21.

  • RGB

    I can’t believe I defiled the memories of 99 Browns in anticipation of this season.

  • tsm

    Mayfield is Manziel 2.0 and Jackson is not the guy. Sam may be having an off year, but he is the next Wentz and we pass on him at our peril.

  • bossman09

    This reflection made me realize that the 2016-2017 Browns will have less wins than the 1999-2000 Browns. How on god’s earth is that possible.
    1999-2000, Browns were 5-27. It’s hard to believe that we need to finish the season 4-4 just to tie…

  • mgbode


  • Steve

    “How on god’s earth is that possible.”

    While near the bottom, the 2000 Browns were not the team with the most cap space available. The 2017 team is.

  • Skulb

    I wish it was possible to quote Big Lebowsky here without having the post removed.

  • mgbode

    The 2017 Browns are also spending the 4th most money during the current season. We didn’t have a rollover cap in 2000.

  • Steve

    Because they lead the league in dead cap space. They are second to last in active payroll. Spending money on Osweiler to get a second round pick isn’t an argument that they were trying to win this year. That they left more cap space available than anyone else is an argument that they weren’t trying though.

  • mgbode

    Not in “active payroll” but in “active cap” – there is a big difference here. Dead cap space is mostly money that has already been paid out. Agree on Brock.

  • Steve

    Very true about the difference in payroll and cap. They are very different.

    My point was merely that the 2017 team left more available tools on the table than the 2000 team.

    And while my foggy memory does seem to recall the 99 Browns trying to stay young and avoid expensive players in the expansion draft, the nature of a capped league is going to be that players left exposed are those with less surplus value than simply less talented.

  • RGB

    Wins? Pffffft! Wins aren’t important.
    It’s all about the process. As long as there is data to analyze, and decisions to evaluate, wins don’t matter. As long as they keep working on optimizing the process, that’s what REALLY matters.
    It could be 5 years, it could be ten years, but as long as the process is in place then all is well.
    Wins. How dare you measure the Browns success in such obtuse terms as wins.