CLEVELAND BROWNS (0-16)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Berea, Ohio
LAST YEAR: Browns hit new low — and that’s saying something — by joining 2008 Detroit Lions in infamy as only teams to go winless in 16-game schedule. Nothing went right. Decision to start rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer backfired as he led NFL with 22 interceptions. Browns were better than their record but consistently found way to lose. Team suffered huge blow when perennial Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas tore triceps in Week 7 and missed remainder of season. General manager Sashi Brown was fired in December.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: GM John Dorsey, offensive coordinator Todd Haley, QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Jarvis Landry, rookie QB Baker Mayfield, LB Mychal Kendricks, QB Drew Stanton, RB Carlos Hyde, DB Damarious Randall, rookie CB Denzel Ward, rookie RB Nick Chubb, rookie OL Austin Corbett.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: OT Joe Thomas, RB Isaiah Crowell, QB DeShone Kizer, DT Danny Shelton, CB James McCourty, CB Jamar Taylor.
CAMP NEEDS: Coach Hue Jackson has spent offseason touting Taylor, who led Buffalo to playoffs last year, as Week 1 starter. But things could change if No. 1 overall pick Mayfield shows he’s ready. Plan is to bring him along slowly, but when have things ever gone as planned for Browns? Loss of Thomas leaves enormous hole that may take time to fill. RT Shon Coleman will get first crack, but there are other options, including Greg Robinson, former No. 2 overall pick by Rams who has been bust.
EXPECTATIONS: Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam stuck with Jackson despite 1-31 record over two seasons. He’s lightened his load by turning offense over to Haley, who spent past six seasons running Pittsburgh’s high-powered attack. Taylor gives Browns seasoned, proven QB who could stabilize position, but Jackson will feel heat to play Mayfield. Browns will be under more national scrutiny as featured team for HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” WR Josh Gordon has been on best behavior after years of suspensions. If he can stay clean and play alongside Landry, Browns could have one of league’s most potent passing games. DE Myles Garrett had solid rookie season, looking to have monster second year.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL