Should the Bengals be worried about the Browns?

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Head coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns looks on along with Dominique Alexander #54 and Tracy Howard #41 against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Browns 29-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Head coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns looks on along with Dominique Alexander #54 and Tracy Howard #41 against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Browns 29-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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After ending last season with a 1-15 record, the Cleveland Browns have been quietly putting together a very solid offseason. The Hue Jackson change in Cleveland is starting to buzz. But, has there been enough change to worry about what the Browns might do this year?

When Hue Jackson took over in Cleveland, the league was put on notice. That notice? If Jackson is given time and control, the Cleveland Browns would be a threat not only in the AFC North but league-wide.

Perhaps a 1-15 record was not quite the expectation of Jackson’s Browns in year one. However, a winning season probably wasn’t in the cards either.

The Browns got better at multiple positions this offseason, starting with luring  Kevin Zeitler from the Bengals. Zeitler will surely be missed in Cincinnati. Although, in Cleveland, he has provided an instant boost. He’ll allow the quarterback (whoever that may be), time to find the Browns other big free agent signing, Kenny Britt.

Britt is coming off his first 1,000-yard season with the LA Rams. After losing out on resigning Terrelle Pryor, Britt is a solid replacement that could help in the development of Corey Coleman.

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The Browns also acquired QB Brock Osweiler from Houston and safety Calvin Pryor from the Jets. Pairing these moves with the signing of veteran CB Jason McCourty and a stellar draft class that features Myles Garrett, David Njoku, Jabrill Peppers, Deshone Kizer, Zoey Gonzalez and Caleb Brantley, the Browns look much better… on paper.

Should The Bengals Be Worried?

The Browns are much better, so it seems. However, a lot of this buzz surrounding Cleveland is based on its draft class. Peppers was Mr. Do-It-All at Michigan, Myles Garrett is “the savior” and the rest of the draft class is equally exciting.  Essentially, what comes as the silver lining is the fact they are all rookies and simply no one knows how they will perform throughout a long, intense season.

I remember feeling the Browns’ buzz back when the team selected Trent Richardson in the 2012 NFL Draft. I felt it again in 2014 when the Browns selected Justin Gilbert, Johnny Manziel, Joel Bitonio, Terrance West and Pierre Desir. Perhaps the real buzz was based on the perfect timing of the movie Draft Day and how it portrayed a big year for Cleveland.

Well, it didn’t pan out the way the movie directors and Browns personnel wanted it to. In the meantime, let’s continue with this year.

What To Expect

At quarterback, well, it’s Cleveland. Reports have surfaced saying that both Osweiler and Kizer have looked really good. But, should the Bengals be afraid of either? Personally, I don’t think so. Especially, since there is a bunch of unproven talent at the wide receiver position. Coleman is penciled in as the No. 1 wideout.  And while he did show flashes last season–such as his five catches, 104 yards and two touchdown performance Week 2 against Baltimore–the rookie couldn’t stay on the field due to injuries. Britt has always been productive, but shouldn’t scare any of the Bengals’ defensive backs.

Next: How Bengals Can Crash The Postseason Party

Week 4 and Week 12 versus Cleveland will be tough as usual. The Browns are always way more competitive than what the scoreboard says. The Battle of Ohio will always be intense and it will show what type of year it will be for Cincinnati.

Cleveland is on the come up, there’s no doubt about it. Yet, they are a year or two away from being a thorn in the Bengals’ side. Pittsburgh continues to hold that position as of right now.

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