The Columbus Dispatch
Browns’ defense, passing game need to make strides
The Cleveland Browns are scheduled to hold organized team activities (OTAS) Tuesday through Thursday each of the next two weeks. So what is everyone looking for during the OTA sessions? Here are three things specifically.
How will WR, DL depth chart look?
The receiver position figures to be fascinating in regard to grouping and alignment. That's especially true with newcomers Elijah Moore, Marquise Goodwin and Cedric Tillman. The same holds true with the defensive line, which features recently acquired players Za'darius Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Siaki Ika and Isaiah Mcguire. What combinations does defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who loves to be ultra-aggressive up front, throw out there early and how deep does the rotation appear to go?
How sharp does Watson look?
Quarterback Deshaun Watson, and the rest of the team, will only be wearing helmets, so there will be limits when it comes to gauging how good the signal caller looks. Still, much has been made about Watson having a full offseason with the Browns this year. To be even more specific, much has been made about the throwing sessions he's had with his teammates, in Houston, Berea and, last week, Puerto Rico. That's why it isn't ridiculous to expect a much sharper Watson during this round of OTAS than a year ago. It shouldn't be a stretch to expect him to be more locked in with returning teammates like Donovan Peoples-jones and David Njoku, who have been healthy all offseason, and at least a little further along with Amari Cooper even though the receiver is coming off an offseason surgery to repair a core muscle injury.
Shuffling around the secondary
Last year the Browns had issues at the slot cornerback position. That's the spot where Greg Newsome II played the bulk of the snaps, almost by default, when the Browns were in three-cornerback looks. Newsome certainly figures to figure into the equation there again this season, even after he made some noise about how he was used last year. Does secondyear corner Martin Emerson Jr. see more snaps there, or will last month's fifthround pick, Newsome's friend and former Northwestern teammate Cameron Mitchell, try his hand there?