The Bye Week – What Browns’ Fans Should Hope For
I got to admit, I was not extremely thrilled to see that the Browns had a week four bye during the 2014 season. It is the first bye week of the season, and then the team will have at least thirteen straight weeks with a contest. Will the early break help or be a hindrance for the franchise? Like many things in the NFL, time will only tell. There are many things supporters of this team can be optimistic about during the hiatus. Let’s further explore a few…
Get a Few Stars Healthy to Return to Action:
This refers primarily to getting Barkevious Mingo, Jordan Cameron, and Ben Tate full go for the Titans game and beyond. Granted, this team is starting to resemble a good team where talent is spread all over the field. However, having two weapons on offense and one on defense back on the field should definitely help going forward. Depth is vital for all teams over the course of a sixteen (and possibly more) game schedule – guys miss games from time to time, and I like theBrowns’ chances with most of their bullets in their chambers.
Further Camaraderie During the Time Off:
Winning games and routinely being around one another are the two best ways to grow companionship in the NFL. Some, if not most, of this roster will not be together in 2015 – so it would be a good idea to get to know their teammates this season. Knowing the tendencies and personalities of an athlete can transfer to on the field success as well. For example, when forced to make quick decisions, Karlos Dansby could accurately predict that Billy Winn prefers sliding outside to force pressure – allowing the linebacker to get to the quarterback in the inside gaps. I admit, this may be oversimplifying the camaraderie aspect, but it is an extremely important aspect in a team sport like football.
Staying in Rhythm:
In theory, teams coming off a bye week should excel on the field better than their opponent who just played a game the week before. However, that is not always the case as teams with rest need some time to get back on the same page (especially offenses) and play up to their capabilities. This week is a chance for the Browns to break that and remain focused when not on the playing field. I expect Hoyer, Hawkins, and the running backs to work on their communication – both verbal and non-verbal – during the break. Any advantage the Browns can get is extremely important if they want to get over the hump; remaining on the same beat is a must.
Conclusion: Despite the early layoff, I am confident the Browns can take advantage of their week without a game. Where past teams failed in preparation, intensity, and togetherness – this unit has a (mentally) stronger group. It begins with coach Pettine and trickles down to veterans like Joe Thomas, Joe Haden, Donte Whitner, and Karlos Dansby. I am eager to see the team return to action in a little over a week, but for now it’s time for them to keep their foot on the gas and maintain their focus.