Season Preview: Cleveland Browns

Season Preview: Cleveland Browns
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Sports Mole previews the season ahead for AFC North side the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are putting their faith in change as they enter the 2013 season as they have overhauled their coaching staff this year.

New head coach Rob Chudzinski, along with new offensive coordinator Norv Turner and defensive coordinator Ray Horton, is tasked with helping the Browns battle their way to a respectable record in the toughest division in the AFC.

Second year quarterback Brandon Weeden will again lead the team and the Browns will hope for a lot more from him and running back Trent Richardson this season.

Sports Mole takes a look at what the season ahead holds for the Browns.

Head Coach: Rob Chudzinski

Last season: 5-11

Review: The Browns started the season under Pat Shurmur with an opening-day 16-17 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles, as rookie Weeden struggled on his first start.

Life did not get much better for the 29-year-old and his side after that as they fell to four consecutive losses to leave them with a 0-5 record.

Respite came with wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Chargers but these were sandwiched between losses to the Baltimore Ravens and the Dallas Cowboys.

The Browns looked like they had finally clicked into gear with three straight wins, including one victory over the Steelers. However, their inconsistent form reared its head again as Shurmur's side lost their last three matches of the season.

Notable Ins

Paul Kruger: The Browns paid big money in the off-season to secure the signature of the outside linebacker. Kruger was instrumental in the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl win with several key sacks at crucial moments. However, Jim Harbaugh's side were unwilling to pay the 27-year-old the big bucks. It will be interesting to see if Kruger can match his level of production without being opposite Terrell Suggs.

Desmond Bryant: Another reinforcement on the Browns' defensive line. Bryant proved to be an excellent run stopper while at the Oakland Raiders and Chudzinki will hope this continues in a division with Ray Rice and Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis running the ball this season.

Notable Outs

Phil Dawson: After 14 years with the Browns, the kicker decided not to renew his deal with the club and joined the San Francisco 49ers in free agency. The 38-year-old was selected to go to the Pro Bowl last season and was also part of the All-Pro second team.

Pat Shurmur: After leading his side to a record of 9-23 over the past two seasons the Browns decided to fire their head coach and replace him with Chudzinski.

Key Player Offense: Trent Richardson

Key Player Defense: Joe Haden

Rookie to watch: Barkevious Mingo

Pre-season form: 3-1

Prediction: 6-10 – The transition under Chudzinski may take time to bear fruit for the Browns. They have a lot of holes on the offensive side of the ball and some on the defensive side. Weeden and Richardson will be much improved from last season but in an extremely tough division it's hard to imagine the Browns getting more than six wins.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden #3 of the Cleveland Browns throws before their preseason game against the St. Louis Rams at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 8, 2013
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