In the first year with yet another new head coach and front office in 2016, the Cleveland Browns were dismantled and dominated on the field in many games and only could manage to upset the Chargers to notch a lone victory. One year after going 1-15, the Browns are looking to make improvements, especially in the standings. While they know that they aren’t a playoff team quite yet, head coach Hue Jackson and company at least want to be competitive and notch a few more wins than they did a year ago as they continue building the a future foundation with youth.
The Browns lost their season opener against the Steelers, but they turned plenty of heads while doing so. Not only did they show major improvements defensively, especially with their run defense, but they also showed strides offensively. One player who noticed is Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. While talking to the media on Wednesday, the former Miami (Ohio) standout, who has the most wins by any quarterback in First Energy Stadium after improving to 21-2 at Cleveland on Sunday, acknowledged that the Browns are much-improved since 2016 and will only get better, according to Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne.
There's hope Browns fans. Ben Roethlisberger just now: "That team is going to surprise a lot of people. I'm glad we played them in Week 1."
— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) September 13, 2017
Coming from a guy like Roethlisberger, who has dominated the Browns ever since he was drafted by the Steelers in 2004, a little statement like that might mean something to the young guys on the Browns roster.
While Kizer must work through his rookie mistakes and moments in Week 1, he also showed promise, promise that Browns fans hope one day can turn into him being a quarterback (and winning as many rings) as Roethlisberger. Following Sunday’s game, the Pittsburgh quarterback gave the rookie some words of encouragement.
Roethlisberger to Kizer after game: "You're a helluva player. Wish you all the best, stay healthy…we'll see you again soon" pic.twitter.com/yu5leuOvaW
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) September 10, 2017
Keep in mind, Cleveland showed plenty of improvement, especially defensively, and they were without top-overall pick Myles Garrett, who is out with a high ankle sprain.
Even without their No. 1 pick, the Browns were able to hold the Steelers to 21 points, seven of which came on the first drive of the game when the Steelers blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown.
At times, Pittsburgh’s offense couldn’t do much of anything. It wasn’t because Roethlisberger was struggling, it was because the Browns were so improved defensively. Add that to the fact that Kizer and his offense will only improve as the rookie gets more experience and Cleveland fans should finally have something to look forward to on Sundays sooner rather than later.
The Browns may be 0-1, but for the first time in quite awhile, their future seems to be going in the right direction. I mean, even Big Ben agrees.