Editor's Note: Over the next two weeks, Nathan Zegura, Andrew Gribble and Anthony Poisal will be giving their takes and predictions on some of the hottest topics surrounding the Browns as they prepare for training camp.
We're talking offense, offense and more offense in today's big question. Everyone's back and the expectations are high, but who will benefit the most from all of the stability?
Poisal: Nick Chubb. He'd probably be in for a big year no matter what, but I think there's a definite advantage to the run game when they have a second consecutive year with the same five offensive linemen. That group was the top-ranked O-Line in football last season, and it's not a stretch to believe they can grab that label again in 2021. Chubb would benefit most if that happens. Don't forget that he finished seventh in the league in rushing yards last season despite missing four games, and he still managed to climb the rushing leaderboard as the offensive line worked through injuries in the second half of the year. There's a lot of scary duos the Browns have on their roster this season, and pairing Chubb (and running back Kareem Hunt) with a returning and fully healthy offensive line might be the scariest.
Zegura: From the coaches to the players to the fans, everyone will benefit from the Browns running it back on offense. If I have to single out one person, I will choose head coach and play caller Kevin Stefanski. Despite winning the NFL's Coach of the Year honor in 2020, Stefanski immediately noted "if you stay the same, you're getting worse." With a full year of knowledge about his personnel and the findings of his thorough post-season scheme evaluation, I fully expect the Browns to be even more dynamic and productive on offense this season. We will get to see the evolution of the Cleveland Browns offense because as the play-caller and architect, Stefanski can hit the ground sprinting with his returning players and coaching staff. It must also be pointed out that this offense is very much a collaboration of an incredible group of coaches on the offensive side of the ball, four of whom, including Stefanski, have been play callers in the NFL themselves. That is why I am expecting some new wrinkles, whether that be more uptempo, no-huddle drives, more schemed up chunk plays or an increased emphasis on the screen game to really catapult the Browns offense to the elite in the NFL. You know our head coach and his staff will put in the work to put our team in the best position to succeed every time they take the field, and the continuity will only enhance his ability to do that at the highest level.
Gribble: I'm going with WR Odell Beckham Jr., who is poised to come back healthy and hungry after missing the second half of 2020 with a torn ACL. He'll be entering his third season with the Browns and his comfort within the offense and with Baker Mayfield should be at its highest level yet. Even while the Browns' offense struggled a bit at times during the first half of the year, Beckham made a number of marvelous plays and appeared to be in a good rhythm with Mayfield. Though Cleveland's offense turned a corner during the second half of the season, it desperately missed Beckham's ability to stretch the field and keep defensive backs honest. Now, Beckham should be the biggest beneficiary in an offense that figured out what it did best while he was sidelined and will be even better thanks to a full offseason of retooling and reshaping.