The 2012 Cleveland Browns season kicks off in less then 24 hours and they have gotten nothing but positive news the past few days. On Wednesday we got the news that Trent Richardson appears as though he will be playing in full in Sunday’s opener. Yesterday, the four players that were suspended in the Saints bounty gate were ruled eligible to play Sunday after a court case reversed their suspensions. This makes free agent signing Scott Fujita available for Sunday’s game. Unfortunately, Fujita will most likely be sidelined with a knee injury but should be ready to go for week 2.
Heading into this game the Browns are a large underdog at home to a popular preseason pick to win the NFC, the Philadelphia. The Eagles disappointed last season after they became the self proclaimed “dreamteam” by backup (yes you read that correctly) Vince Young. Going into this season it is hard to see Philly dropping to 4-8 again before they got hot. This is an extremely difficult way for a team with low expectations to kick off the season. Cleveland is going to have to click on all cylinders and do everything right just to have a shot to win this game. It was interesting to see star cornerback Joe Haden come out and say he will be mirroring Desean Jackson. I am not so sure I like this idea for the Cleveland defense. Jackson has the talent to warrant this type of treatment but, is this the most effective way of stopping the Eagles offense. Jeremy Maclin is their possession receiver and could really tear apart a defense if not given the respect he deserves. It is a tough spot for the Browns defense but I would not put my best defensive back on one player the entire game. Who is going to shadow Michael Vick? The answer to this question must be MLB D’qwell Jackson. He is the only logical man for the job. If this is the case he is going to be in for a long day.
The biggest challenge for this defense is not going to be stopping Vick, Jackson, or Maclin, it is going to be trying to not allow Lesean Mccoy to run wild. This is a chore that not many teams were successful with last season. Mccoy had MVP type numbers last season and is poised to improve on those numbers this season. Stopping this offense is not going to be easy for any defenses this season and especially not for this Cleveland defense that lacks the talent necessary in the front seven.
Browns fans should be excited to get a look into their future with Weeden and RIchardson making their NFL debuts. They currently lack the talent to beat a team such as Philly but that will not be the case for long if these two guys can live up to their hype. Richardson has all the tools to step in and be effective immediately. The same cannot be said about Weeden but that is normal. It is very rare that a rookie QB steps in and is a stud right away it takes time. It is up to the offensive line to keep Weedens jersey clean tomorrow. This is going to a tough task against the Eagles daunting pass rush. I do not see a realistic way the Browns could win this game. Let’s hope there are some positives to take from it. We will see tomorrow at 1.