Denzel Ward, a two-time Pro Bowler, has spent five seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Despite never finishing better than third in the AFC North during this time, the team managed an impressive 11-5 campaign in 2020 under coach Kevin Stefanski. This marked their first postseason victory since 1994, ending years of disappointment for Cleveland fans.
The Stefanski Era and the Promise of a Stronger Roster
As we head into the fourth year of the Stefanski era, there is a palpable sense of optimism. The current roster arguably rivals the one that brought about the long-awaited postseason victory. Three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson, who served an 11-game suspension last year, will be available for the entire season. His pass-catching arsenal includes Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman, Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and David Njoku. Additionally, running back Nick Chubb, with four consecutive Pro Bowls and 1,000-yard rushing seasons, is in his prime.
Revamping the Defense
The defense has also seen significant changes. General manager Andrew Berry signed ex-Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. Za’Darius Smith, known for his sack prowess, joined from Minnesota. These new additions, along with existing talent, will operate under the guidance of new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Ward's confidence in the team's man-to-man strength suggests a promising future for the Browns' defense.
The Road Ahead
The preseason will serve as the initial test for this revamped roster. However, the real challenge will come on September 10 against divisional rivals, the Bengals. Ward's unwavering confidence in his team's ability to take on Cincy's formidable wideouts is a testament to the potential of this talented roster.