Dawg Pound Daily

Show Me My Oppoenent: Cleveland Browns

In this weeks edition of “Show Me My Opponent” I catch up with Dawg Pound Daily editor Steve DiMatteo. I ask Steve what he expects out of the Browns this Season and if the fans are worried about the “Madden Curse”.

Click to read the full interview.

Going into the season how confident is the team in young QB Colt McCoy?
I think, by now, the team has hitched its wagon to McCoy and isn’t looking back. The second-year quarterback made great strides this preseason, and the transition to the West Coast offense has helped immensely, allowing him to utilize his strengths. The fan base is buying into McCoy as well – they sense the confidence and see his leadership out on the field.
Peyton Hillis was elected the “peoples champ”, by being the cover athlete of Madden 2012. How is the fan base feeling about the “Madden Curse”?
As far as that is concerned, I don’t think anyone wants to necessarily say anything about the supposed curse, you know, just in case. What people are worried about is the depth behind Hillis, now that Brandon Jackson is out for the season. Montario Hardesty has two surgically repaired knees and no one is sure what to expect of him in a regular season game. If Hardesty gets hurt, there’s nothing left behind Hillis besides undrafted rookie Armond Smith. Fans don’t believe in the curse, but they understand that Hillis’ running style is risky.
How have injuries affected the Browns roster for the 2012 NFL Season?
Unfortunately, the Browns roster has been hit with a number of injuries, some of which have forced players to be put on injured reserve (i.e. Brandon Jackson and Eric Steinbach). Other players missed time in camp or preseason games, but should be ready to start Sunday. Nevertheless, the Browns do not have great depth at many positions, and will need to stay healthy throughout the season to keep from faltering. The injury bug has already hit this team fairly hard, and everyone in Cleveland is hoping that was the worst of it.
The Browns seemingly had a fantastic 2011 Draft, what “new faces” will AFC North teams be playing against this year?

Most notably, AFC North teams will want to keep their eyes on the Browns’ young defensive line, as rookies Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard make up half of the team’s revamped four-man defensive front. Wide receiver Greg Little is another name to watch out for, as the second-round pick had a great training camp and preseason, in addition to being named as the team’s best rookie in camp.
What are the overall expectations for the Browns 2012 NFL Season?
The Browns are a young team heading in the right direction, slowly putting the right pieces in place. However, that process comes with its growing pains, and I’m not expecting the Browns to make the playoffs this year. With the schedule as soft as it is, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them finish 7-9, with 8-8 being a massive success. It’s the future that looks especially bright for this team, and this season will be the start of that movement towards contention.
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