It is likely that Jacoby Brissett will start for Cleveland in Week 2
As the Deshaun Watson saga with the Cleveland Browns continues, the Baker Mayfield one comes to a close. Mayfield is headed off to Carolina, where he will compete against former Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
We have long suspected that Mayfield would never take another snap with the Browns, but there was the slim possibility that Cleveland would attempt a reconciliation as Watson insurance.
Watson will almost certainly be suspended for at least six to eight games. That makes the backup quarterback a critical position for the Browns.
While Mayfield may have played poorly last season on a torn labrum, he is still a better option than Jacoby Brissett.
With Watson, the Browns are instant contenders to make a deep playoff run, even in a competitive division. Without him, questions abound.
Even though Cleveland has been a run-first team, they showed last season that they cannot win with their rushing game alone.
Despite a deep offense that includes Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and David Njoku, the Browns are taken down several notches with Brissett at the helm.
Cleveland still returns a defense that finished fifth in the NFL in total defense last season. Led by star All-Pro edge rusher Myles Garrett and Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward, they get after the quarterback and defend the pass among the best in the league.
The New York Jets catch Cleveland at the right time with a Week 2 showdown at the Dawg Pound.
The Jets should not underestimate the Browns, even without Watson. But the defensive task does become a lot less steep, as the Jets will be able to key the run and dare Brissett to beat them.
The first four games of the season against the AFC North will tell the league a lot about this team. For the Jets to be taken seriously, they will need to beat a Cleveland team sans their star quarterback.
Also in the local NFL news
Former Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty has been an analyst for ESPN New York for the last number of years.
When Canty said Wednesday that the Jets are “thin at cornerback,” fans of the team took notice.
While the Jets have some holes on defense, cornerback may be their deepest position. D.J. Reed, Sauce Gardner, Michael Carter II, and Bryce Hall could very well become one of the strongest units in the league. Even Brandin Echols showed some potential last season.
We cannot decide if Canty just missed something or did not do his homework. Either way, that’s another inaccurate take by a household New York media name.