A year removed from having two first-round picks and a defense on the rise, the Cleveland Browns are right back to square one. Many felt that the Browns could use those two first rounders to bolster the offense enough to turn themselves into a contender, but that didn't happen in 2012. The team once again cleaned house after the season.
With a restructured front office, including new owner Jimmy Haslam, the Browns are still searching for the right coach and the right quarterback. Last season's first-round pick, Brandon Weeden, isn't guaranteed to be the starter under center, and all eyes will be on him and that battle. Let's take a look at what's changed this offseason:
Obviously, the biggest change occurs at the ownership and front office level. General manager Mike Lombardi heads the personnel side now, with new head coach Rob Chudzinski in charge of well-regarded coordinators Norv Turner and Ray Horton. There's a lot of experience on the coaching staff, but they have their work cut out for them.
Cleveland also invested in their defense heavily early on in free agency. The team signed Desmond Bryant to a huge contract and brought in pass rusher Paul Kruger. Add to that the drafting of Barkevious Mingo in the first round, and the Browns are expecting to field an impressive pass rush to go with their a secondary led by Joe Haden.
The team also added Davone Bess, but subtracted Josh Cribbs, who departed in free agency. Scott Fujita was forced to retire, and perhaps the biggest loss, kicker Phil Dawson, is out the door. There's a lot of talent on the way out, but that defense got better in a big way.
Training camp location and schedule
The Browns will open training camp on July 25 and wrap up on Aug. 13. All but one practice will be held at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio. The one that will not be held there will be the Family Night event held at FirstEnergy Stadium on Aug. 3.
We've got a full practice schedule, courtesy of SB Nation's Dawgs By Nature below:
|Thu, July 25||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea
|Fri, July 26||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea
|Sat, July 27||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
|Sun, July 28||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
|Mon, July 29||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
|Tue, July 30||NO PRACTICE|
|Wed, July 31||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
|Thu, August 1||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea
|Fri, August 2||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
|Sat, August 3||6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.||Family Fun Night (FirstEnergry Stadium)|
|Sun, August 4||NO PRACTICE|
|Mon, August 5||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
|Tue, August 6||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
|Wed, August 7||CLOSED TO PUBLIC|
|Thu, August 8||8:00 p.m.||Browns vs. Rams (Preseason Game)|
|Fri, August 9||NO PRACTICE|
|Sat, August 10||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
|Sun, August 11||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
|Mon, August 12||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
|Tue, August 13||4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.||Training Camp in Berea|
There are a few key positions up for grabs on the Browns roster.
Quarterback: Who doesn't love a quarterback battle? Many have suggested that taking Weeden in the first round last season was a desperation move, and it certainly seems that way. Weeden, 29, is old for a second-year player, and he didn't exactly have a solid first year. He'll be competing with both Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer in training camp and throughout the preseason.
Both Guard Spots: Both left and right guard are up for grabs. The Browns are hoping to field a strong rushing attack with Trent Richardson at the helm, but they really need to get those guard positions settled first. Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston will battle for the left guard spot, while Jarrod Shaw and John Greco are the two frontrunners for the right guard job.
Running Back: Richardson is the starter, but he's been injured here and there; if he goes down, the backup will be important. Montario Hardesty has played well in relief here and there, but he's not the guaranteed backup and will be doing battle with Dion Lewis for carries throughout training camp and preseason.