This past Sunday was a rough day for the Houston Texans. Watching J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus both go down in the first drive of the game completely devastated me and potentially the Texans season.
Just when this organization finally found a worthy QB with the ability to command the offense...
Just when our defense started playing at an elite level that we know they can…
Just when our offensive line began to mesh and protect the QB better...
Just when the Texans seemed to be turning the corner from good to great...
The best pass-rushing duo in the league has season-ending injuries to completely derail the season. I know this is a Cleveland Browns article, but I would be remiss if I did not shed a little light on my reaction to the injuries. Man, do these Texans know how to break hearts. I know there were a ton of injuries in the league, most noticeably Odell Beckham Jr., but these injuries lower the ceiling to the 2017 season. It’s like…
Although we are all devestated about the injuries last week, fear not. The “Factory of Sadness” in Cleveland is churning out another terrible season for its fans. After an offseason boasting the largest salary cap in the league and drafting10 picks in the draft (including three in the first round) the Browns seem to be no better than before. In truth, they may have reaped the sow of failure in their transactions with the Texans. Taking in Brock Osweiler and then trading back in the draft to allow the Texans to nap Deshaun Watson has left Cleveland in another QB disaster early in the season. With that being said, take look at who all the Cleveland Browns brought in this offseason.
Through the Draft
He had been limited in the start of the season with a high ankle injury in practice. A product of some school in College Station (ed note: sorry, I am a Longhorn), he was the first-overall pick in the 2017 draft and expected to have an immediate impact on the defense. Last week against the Jets, his presence was surely felt in only 36% of the snaps. He recorded two sacks, two TFL, and 2 QB Hits. Against the Texans, he will cause problems for OTs Chris Clark and Breno Giacomini.
An unconventional product out of Michigan, many thought his size and speed would not fit either a inebacker or safety positions. So far, he has played almost every snap for the defense at safety with consistent production. He did get burned for a touchdown against A.J. Green when they faced the Bengals. He will be in the box when the Texans look to run and will most likely be covering the tight end.
Considered one of the most athletic prospects coming out of the draft, Njoku has immediately been installed into the Brown’s TE rotation. He has caught 12 receptions for 118 yards in his first five games. He has been a down-field weapon with two catches of 20+ yards. Look for Njoku to test the secondary with his combination of size and speed.
His higher level of production in his Sophomore season than his Junior season pushed him down draft boards. When he landed in Cleveland, most thought he would compete with Osweiler for the starting job. But even after Cleveland got the memo that Osweiler was garbage, Kizer may instead lose the starting role to Chris Hogan. Quality performances in the first couple games were followed by several disappointing games. We may see Kizer in the game if Hogan loses control of the offense, but it looks to be that Kizer has been benched.
University of Houston product Howard Wilson broke his kneecap before the season and was placed on IR. Roderick Johnson was the fifth round draft pick for the Browns and has yet to take the field on offense. He is not listed on their depth chart. I wanted the Texans to take his over Davenport, but it looks like Davenport is doing better. Caleb Brantely’s publicized draft-day slide resulting from a battery complaint right before the draft. He also suffered a broken finger in training camp which has limited his play. Zane Gonzalez was a seventh-round kicker from Arizona State who won the kicking job is 2/5 on field goals this season . The other seventh-rounder RB Matt Dayes has four carries for 9 yards.
Through Free Agency
We are excluding Brock from this part because we have already mentioned him enough and he is not on the team anymore.
As the part-time starter at center for Green Bay Packers for the past four years, Tretter has fully stepped into the starting role in Cleveland. He has played every snap at center so far this season and has done a good job protecting either Kizer or Hogan.
The Browns made him the highest paid guard in the league with a 5 year, $60 million dollar contract. He has also played every snap at right guard. The Browns are more than happy stealing division rival Cincinnati’s starting guard to bolster their own. Some have criticized the Browns for paying too much for Zeitler when they already had Joel Bitonio. Adding depth at offensive line is crucial in today’s NFL. We have seen teams copy the Cowboys in their commitment to sure up the offensive line before anything else. Adding Zeitler protects whichever or QB they put back there. With how many signal callers the Browns have been through, I would say that protecting him would be a top priority.
The ninth-year vet is having a hard time staying relevant in a crowded WR core. It is unknown if he will be playing against the Texans as he was ruled out of the last game with knee and groin issues. He has eight receptions and one touchdown on the season which are low numbers for a starting WR though five games.
A ton of new faces for the Browns. They are still searching for a QB after throwing Kizer into the pit of fire too quickly. A lot of the rookies are seeing valuable playing time on a team that has been the doormat of the league for a while. Even with the the injection of youth and a retooled offensive line, the Browns cannot seem to find what it takes yet to put a “1” in the win column.